V12I3 (Jun/Jul 2017)

Page 1





Helping your sport horse find






HORSES JUMP Digestive health

and the


80% 1.5 BWR PD 5.95CN / 5.95 US


with horses






His pregnant mom was on her way to slaughter when RVR Horse Rescue stepped in.

$5.95 USA/Canada

June/July 2017


Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness

June/July 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 Karen R. Pack COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Shirley Alarie Gina Allan Laura Batts Joan Booth Kelly Brook Allen Melanie Falls Joyce C. Harman DVM, MRCVS Susan E. Harris Barb Kopacek Jessica Lynn Amanda Pretty Karen Rohlf Neva Scheve Tom Scheve Geri White Richard Winters ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Karen Jeffries SUBMISSIONS Please email all editorial material to Kelly Howling, Editor, at Kelly@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. You can also mail submissions to: Equine Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. Please direct other correspondence to info@RedstoneMediaGroup.com.

ADVERTISING SALES National Sales Manager: Kat Shaw (866) 764-1212 ext. 315 KatShaw@RedstoneMediaGroup.com National Accounts Manager: Ann Beacom, (866) 764-1212 ext. 222 AnnBeacom@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Becky@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Subscription Services Manager: Brittany Tufts, (866) 764-1212 ext. 115 Brittany@RedstoneMediaGroup.com CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $24.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext.115 US MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122 CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON Canada K9J 2T8

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Photo by Karen R. Pack

Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.

DEALER OR GROUP INQUIRIES WELCOME Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call Libby at 1-866-764-1212 ext 100 or fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail Libby@RedstoneMediaGroup.com.

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: May 2017.

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

Young Cinco would not have even been born had RVR Horse Rescue not stepped in and offered his mother a soft place to land. Read more about the great work that RVR does on page 24.

Equine Wellness







Managing the equine athlete from the inside out, and why probiotics are so important.

14 CUSHING’S SYNDROME IN HORSES – AN UPDATE – PART 2 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.



Find out why equine athletes can benefit from Tellington TTouch® techniques and exercises.



Understanding the five phases of a horse’s jump, and what happens during each, can help improve your riding and training.

The journey to competing barefoot needs to focus on more than just your horse’s feet. Here’s how a whole horse approach helped one FEI rider and her horse make the transition.




Horseback riding can be a risky business. Liability insurance is a very important consideration for any stable owner, horse trainer or riding instructor.




Working towards a goal in competition requires focus, but for your horse’s wellbeing, it’s important to also maintain balance in his life.



Rehabilitation and adoption program helps ensure horses get a second chance at a happy life.

You carefully manage your horse’s fitness program – but does your own posture and fitness level match up with his? 4

Equine Wellness


Going on a camping trip with your horse can be a fun adventure. Here are some things to consider before you head out.



Three main factors to consider when deciding what size trailer will fit your needs (and your horse’s).

nts 48 DEPARTMENTS 6 Editorial

COLUMNS 8 Neighborhood news

33 Product picks

22 Green acres

35 Business profile: Innovacyn

34 Herb blurb

40 Equine Wellness resource guide

54 To the rescue

47 Heads up

62 Minute horsemanship

60 Marketplace 61 Book review 61 Classifieds



CMYK / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

CMYK / .ai

Facebook Like us /EquineWellnessMagazine Twitter @ EquineWellness Instagram EquineWellness

Equine Wellness


EDITORIAL Performance horses

As I began work on our annual performance horse issue, I read a blog post that really stuck in my head. It was over on the Tamarack Hill Facebook page, and spoke about how we perceive competition, and our motivations for competing. The overall theme was that you should only compete if you want to, and only at the level you want to. Horse people can feel a lot of pressure to compete. Owning horses is generally an expensive luxury, so there seems to be an assumption that we need to do something with them so we’ll have something to show for it. Most commonly, that “something” is competing and the ribbons that come with it. People see horse shows and ribbons as a way to justify the time and money spent on keeping these large animals. And once you get swept up in competing, it’s easy to feel that you need to keep moving up the levels – bigger events, bigger jumps, bigger prizes. The reality is, though, you don’t have to do any more with your horse than you really want to. You can choose to never compete, or you can compete at the same level for years on end. Your horse doesn’t care – sure, some seem to enjoy the competition atmosphere, but it makes no difference to them whether they are jumping 3’ to 5’, or doing first level dressage versus Grand Prix. They just want to be comfortable and safe, healthy and cared for. In addition, as pointed out in the aforementioned blog, no one else is that worried about what you do with your horse. How many people really remember how you did at the last show, or during the last season? So set your goals to be whatever you want. Don’t feel pressured to climb the competitive ladder, unless you actually want to – there’s no problem with that, either! But if you want to just trail ride your horse, then trail ride. If you are happy puttering around in the 2’ jumping classes, do that. As I always say, this sport is too expensive and timeconsuming not to enjoy it. And only you should get to define how you enjoy it. Whatever your competition goals are, this issue has several articles tailored to the performance equine. Karen Rohlf joins us on page 44 with a great article on how to maintain a whole-horse perspective in discipline-specific sport training. Keep your horse healthy and happy with our articles on barefoot performance horses (page 51), digestive health for the performance horse (page 10), and TTouch for the competitive equine (page 18). You’ll also want to check out our articles discussing the importance of rider posture and fitness (page 29), and how to size up your horse trailer (page 56). And for something new to try (page 48), be sure to check out our advice on camping with your horse! Naturally, Kelly Howling 6

Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness




Photo courtesy of FEI/Liz Gregg


FEI supports


Equestrian sport has always been at the forefront of gender equality. It’s the only Olympic sport in which men and women participate in the same competitions, from grassroots up to elite levels.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos and FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez.

JFK International Airport now has a holding and rest area for all departing horses and livestock. The ARK at JFK recently announced the official opening of its Phase 1 services, dubbed ARK Export.

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has signed a pledge to become a member of the International Gender Champions Network in Geneva, an initiative committed to working towards gender parity in sport and organizations.

In order to meet JFK’s live animal cargo export needs, ARK Export is equipped with 23 individual 12’x12’ stalls outfitted with steel-framed open airway doors, non-slip flooring, and high quality hay and bedding. ARK Export can accommodate multiple shipments of horses and livestock. A dedicated and experienced staff of animal handlers and grooms provides all necessary care prior to domestic or international departure. With direct airside access at Building 78, this state-of-the-art facility offers expedient, efficient and safe handling and direct loading of horses from export departure to jet stalls. A reserved parking and trailer drop-off area optimizes agent ground transportation for easy animal unloading.

“Gender equality in sports has always been an important issue, from the perspective not only of female athletes, but also women in top level positions in sport,” says FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez. “Although gender equality has come a long way in the world of sport, at the FEI we are constantly looking at ways to improve. There should be no disparity in sports nor in the workplace. Women and men should be seen and treated as equals in all respects.”

Rate of fatal


Great news! For the fourth consecutive year, the Equine Injury Database (EID) reveals a reduction in the rate of fatal injuries in Thoroughbred racehorses. This amounts to a 23% drop since 2009, according to The Jockey Club.

The ARK at JFK will become fully operational this summer. Phase 2 will include a full-service ARK ImportExport Center (“IEC”) featuring Equine Quarantine/Import, Grooms’ Lounge and The ARK Aviary. Phase 3 services, operated by sub-tenants, will include a full veterinary clinic, a veterinary blood laboratory, and a pet boarding and grooming facility.

The data analysis was once again performed by Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow, who serves as a consultant on the EID. “One of the primary objectives of this project from the outset was to build a comprehensive data source we could utilize to improve safety and prevent injuries, and we are now clearly achieving that goal,” he says. “The racetracks, the horsemen, and the regulators who have implemented safety initiatives over this time period deserve a great deal of credit for this encouraging trend.” EID statistics are based on injuries that result in fatalities within 72 hours from the date of a race. The stats are for Thoroughbreds only and exclude races over jumps. Summary statistics for the EID are subject to change due to a number of considerations, including reporting timeliness. 8

Equine Wellness

Photo courtesy of AnthonyCollins.nyc

Across all surfaces, ages and distances, the rate dropped from 1.62 per 1,000 starts in 2015, to 1.54 per 1,000 starts in 2016 – the lowest since the EID started publishing annual statistics in 2009.

ARK Export stalls at JFK Airport.

New coalition for A new coalition of UK equine welfare charities has formed to advise, motivate and support implementation of the first-ever global welfare standards for working horses, donkeys and mules. The charities include Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA and World Horse Welfare. The landmark welfare standards were approved by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in May 2016, following advocacy and technical support from Brooke and World Horse Welfare. “We know that horses, donkeys and mules are essential to hundreds of millions of human livelihoods, and it is heartening that the world is now recognizing their versatility and importance,” says Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare. The coalition’s goal is to share professional expertise and technical knowhow by developing training resources and working with governments, academics, communities and professionals to help put the standards into practice within different countries, cultures and economies. This work will incorporate skills from the four organizations for the purposes

A Brooke veterinarian treats a horse in need.

Photo courtesy of TheBrooke.org


of welfare assessment training; building capacity in equineowning communities; and equipping service providers (including farriers, saddlers and vets) with the skills and tools required to provide affordable quality services. The coalition supports universities in curriculum development, and postgraduate vets with continuing professional development, and raises awareness among policymakers of the importance of working equids to human livelihoods.

Immigration and the


For many years, horse farms, horse shows, trainers and others in the equine industry have had difficulty recruiting American workers. This has forced many to rely on foreign workers and utilize both H-2B non-agricultural and H-2A agricultural temporary foreign worker programs to meet their labor needs, even though these programs are often extremely burdensome. Additionally, many workers employed in the industry may lack legal status. Recently, President Trump issued several executive orders relating to increased immigration enforcement and border security. These actions will impact many employers in the horse industry, including those in the racing and showing segments, and even those that rely on legal foreign workers. Most of the foreign workers are directly responsible for raising, training and caring for the horses upon which the entire industry is dependent. Without these workers, many other jobs held by Americans – not only in the horse industry but also supported by it – will be in jeopardy. Horse industry employers should be prepared for increased worksite enforcement and make certain all required paperwork is in order. This means they should make sure all Form I-9s are complete and accurate. The most immediate need for the horse industry is H-2B cap relief and restoring the returning worker exemption. If you, your business or members of your organization rely on H-2B workers, please contact your Senators and Representative and let them know that it is vital for Congress to reinstate the H-2B returning worker exemption. For more information, visit horsecouncil.org Equine Wellness




and the performance

horse By Jessica Lynn

Managing the equine athlete from the inside out, and why probiotics are so important.


ost performance and competition horses are bred along specific lines for the sports they compete in. Theoretically, this gives them the “the edge” in competition, be it barrel racing, reining, cutting, endurance, dressage or any other competitive sport. But all these horses are under a lot of stress from the rigors of training, competition, travel and other factors. So when it comes to getting that extra edge, the key is good health – and that health is ultimately derived from a healthy digestive tract.

Developing a healthy digestive tract To achieve digestive health, your equine athlete needs the best nutrition possible, along with high potency pre/probiotics. This combination promotes and maintains microbial balance within the intestine, and the absorption of all nutrients. It also gives your horse the energy he needs to help him be the best he can be. To prevent ulcers, which are so common among horses in competition, it is necessary to feed frequent small meals by way of slow feeders. In addition, it’s important to make sure your horse has eaten prior to training, or just prior to competition, so that his digestive acids are breaking down feedstuffs and not burning an empty stomach lining. 10

Equine Wellness

Let’s look at your horse from the inside. When a horse starts grinding food with his teeth, his mouth releases enzymes, and that begins the food’s approximately 75 to 100-foot journey through the digestive tract. The food mixes with digestive juices as it enters the stomach, where digestive enzymes and billions of microbials begin their work. Although a horse’s stomach is relatively small compared to his size, it is tasked with initiating the breakdown of nutrients using digestive enzymes and stomach acids; very little absorption takes place here. Soluble carbohydrates, along with minerals, fats and proteins, are absorbed in the small intestine. Insoluble carbohydrates that are not so easily digested, as well as any undigested soluble carbohydrates, then pass to the cecum, or the “fermentative vat”, before moving into the large intestine. A variety of live microbials in the cecum break down the remaining nutrients into viable, usable forms – among these are absorbable volatile fatty acids that the horse uses for energy and nutrients.

What is microbial digestion? Microbial digestion is the breakdown of organic material such as hay and grass, and especially concentrated bag feedstuffs, by microbial organisms. This is the basic function of the horse’s

large intestine, and it can be seriously damaged by prolonged or heavy dosing with antibiotics or sulfonamides and other drugs. The population of beneficial live microorganisms in the cecum remains relatively “stable” under normal conditions. As long as a horse is never stressed, never needs to be chemically de-wormed, is never vaccinated, never has a change in feed, and never needs antibiotics, then the balance should remain unaltered.

Microbial digestion is the breakdown of organic material such as hay and grass, and especially concentrated bag feedstuffs, by microbial organisms. However, as we all know, horses do experience stressful events, may need antibiotics or de-worming on occasion, and do experience feed changes with the seasons and each load of hay. Without a strong army of beneficial intestinal bacteria, food moving through the digestive tract is not “fermented” properly, and some remains undigested. When it hits the gastrointestinal tract, this undigested food may lead to colic, bloat, impactions or laminitis, and increases the possibility of food-related allergic conditions. A combination of select bacteria (microbials/probiotics) at approximately ten to 20 billion or more CFUs (colony-forming units) per serving/scoop, along with digestive enzymes and yeast, will help support and maintain a healthy digestive tract in your equine athlete, giving him more stamina and energy. If your horse is competing or training heavily, then the higher dose would be recommended. In her “Nutrition as Therapy” course, Dr. Eleanor Kellon quotes Dr. Scott Weese, DVM, as saying: “… at minimum, a microbial feed additive needs between ten and 20 billion live CFUs per serving size, minimum, to have any effect in a horse.” Dr. Juliet Getty, PhD in Equine Nutrition, concurs that the guaranteed CFUs have to be in the billions, not the millions.

Selecting a probiotic blend It’s no secret that probiotics are good for your horse’s gut, but did you know they are loaded with other benefits too? Continued on page 12.

Equine Wellness




A far too common cause of digestive disturbance can be starch and/or

sugar overload, which can come from grazing on rich spring grass, eating a diet too high in sugars (including concentrated grain type feeds), or adding oil from GMO crops (such as corn oil) to bucket feeds. All these can disrupt beneficial microbials, causing partial die-off of good gut bacteria, which raises acidity in the gut and alters the natural pH balance. The result is massive destruction of the normal micro-flora, which can inhibit the absorption of vitamins and other nutrients essential to good health and superior performance. Unfortunately, the microflora/microbial

Continued from page 11. These include supporting the immune system, reducing inflammation, preventing diarrhea, and helping to prevent gas and gas colic; they may even help prevent some types of impaction colic. Combining probiotics and yeast cultures with digestive enzymes is an art, and if you can find a product that also includes natural vitamins C, E and D, minerals such as zinc and copper, colostrum and extracted beta glucan from mushrooms, then you have found an excellent product. Dr. Joyce Harman of Harmany Equine Clinic has been an advocate of probiotics for horses for a long while, and is now also advocating mushroom beta glucan as an immune modulator. In her recent article “10 Herbs for Your Horse” she states: “Exciting research with immune system and cancer treatment support has been done with mushroom beta glucans or its extracts. The beta D-glucans appear to stimulate immunity for a broad spectrum of conditions. Extracts of the D fraction can be obtained in glycerin, which is palatable to many species.” A few companies have been using mushroom beta glucans in some probiotic blends for over 20 years now. Your performance horse needs some extra support for his digestive health in order to keep him in winning form. When searching for a probiotic supplement, do your research and read the labels carefully. Your horse is only as good as what you feed him!

balance in a horse’s gut can be upset much faster than it can be restored. Beneficial intestinal bacteria can be depleted or destroyed and the pH of their environment severely altered by many situations, although the effects may not show up immediately. Your horse may just seem a bit off with no explanation, and you may think nothing has changed, but the truth is, he is not able to digest his feed and convert it to the energy he needs in order to compete. 12

Equine Wellness

Jessica Lynn regularly contributes articles to various national and international horse publications. She is the owner of Earth Song Ranch, is an Equine Nutritionist, and a feed and supplement manufacturer based in Southern California, specializing in immune enhancing probiotics blends. Her products include EquineZyme and Equine Zyme Plus and she is also a distributor for Mushroom Matrix (mushroom beta glucans) and Horse Tech Products. Jessica has been involved in alternative health care, herbs, homeopathy and nutrition for almost 40 years, as well as barefoot hoof care for over ten years. Contact Jessica@earthsongranch.com or 951-514-9700; visit earthsongranch.com for numerous published articles on equine digestive health.

Equine Wellness


Cushing’s SYNDROME in horses – an update part 2

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.


f you read Part 1 of this article in the last issue of Equine Wellness (V12I2), you now have an overall understanding of how to recognize and test for Cushing’s. Now we’ll look at how to support and treat Cushing’s horses with supportive nutrition and integrative options.

Holistic medical treatment The alternative medicine toolbox contains many tools for treating the Cushing’s horse, but each animal is an individual and will respond differently. In treating these complex cases, it is important to proceed one step at a time, and realize that the course of treatment may be long and expensive if the horse has many medical problems. There isn’t one simple answer to Cushing’s. In my practice, I try to look at how severe and longstanding the clinical signs are so I can determine how much to do at one time. The goal in naturally treating Cushing’s or PPID and PPID-based laminitis is to return the horse’s metabolism to proper balance; provide nutritional support to prevent and reverse damage from circulating free radicals; and prevent further damage to and encourage healthy laminar attachments in the feet. Most horses can live a long and functional life, even with laminitis, if the program is good and tailored to their needs. 14

Equine Wellness

Repairing the gut The first step in your program is to repair the gut. Many horses have been given anti-inflammatories and antibiotics frequently throughout their lives. This compromises the health of the digestive tract in many ways. Here’s what you need to consider: Restore gut function with high quality probiotics. This is the most important thing. If the gut is in poor shape, try 20 grams of glutamine per day. Glutamine is an amino acid that serves as a fuel for cells of the gut wall. Feed whole foods if possible, unless the horse has poor teeth or poor digestion. Processed grains and hays may lose key ingredients during manufacturing since pellets and extruded feeds are made at high temperatures. Some horses digest their food better when enzymes are added. Choose a feed that’s low in sugar! No horse needs any sweet feed. Plain whole grains are effective; if you need to purchase a processed grain, get a low carb feed, preferably one made from nonGMO ingredients. Plain barley and oats make a simple, clean nonGMO mixture, if they are available. Barley is a cooling food from a Chinese medicine perspective, and is useful for inflammation.

You may need to restrict your horse’s grazing in order to control his weight.

nutritional program. Several key minerals are needed for glucose metabolism in the Cushing’s horse.

• Grass types, quality and sugar content vary across the country, so you need to learn about your local grasses.

• Magnesium affects insulin secretion and its action in the cells. It also helps cells become more flexible and permeable to insulin.

• Time in the pasture is good for reducing stress, but can cause problems as well. Pasture Paradise setups, with a track for horses to walk to reach their hay, water and shelter, can be useful if you own your property.

• Chromium helps make muscle more sensitive to insulin so glucose can be taken into muscle cells more easily. In addition, chromium is related to elevated blood sugar and is effective in reducing fasting blood sugar levels.

• Muzzles are a compromise that work well for many horses, though not so well for others.

• Vanadium or vandyl sulfate has actual insulin-like effects on glucose metabolism, which helps transport glucose into the cells.

• Exercise is one of the best things you can do to help control weight, but this won’t work if the horse is in a lot of pain. Consider a possible need for higher levels of protein (up to 14%) and calories for Cushing’s horses with weight loss problems. Increased calories can be given as fats (vegetable oils, coconut oil or rice bran) and are well digested by most horses. Provide high levels of antioxidants. • Coenzyme Q10 is very valuable in this respect. The therapeutic dose is 300mg to 600mg per day for the first week or two if the horse is acutely laminitic; the dose can then be slowly decreased to a maintenance dose of about 100mg per day (a good level for the non-laminitic horse). • Vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant and nutrient for collagen support as well as organ and immune system healing. Doses range from 3g to 8g per day. Give the horse access to free choice minerals, with salt fed separately. This is among the most important aspects of any

Provide essential fatty acids (EFAs); these are needed to help make cell walls more permeable to insulin. They are antiinflammatory and improve the health of the immune system. Omega 3 fatty acids are especially deficient in many equine diets. Flax, chia seeds and hemp provide plenty of Omega 3s that are palatable to the equine. Consider pituitary glandular support. I often use it for the Cushing’s syndrome horse, along with general glandular support, because the pituitary gland is central to the function of the entire hormonal system. Glandulars are nutritional supplements made from actual glandular tissue, often prepared with supporting nutrients. Glandulars can be useful in equine nutrition and should be considered instead of synthetic organ replacement, as in thyroid therapy or as support for other organs such as the pituitary gland. Cushing’s horses are about the only ones I will use glandulars for because of the vegetarian nature of

Equine Wellness


the equine. Additional thyroid supplementation may be necessary in some cases. Treat each Cushing’s horse as an individual and seek quality practitioners to assist as you develop a program to help your equine partner. Use as much whole food nutrition as possible, supplement with specific nutrients as needed, reduce stresses and vaccinations, and support a healthy digestive tract. With some dedicated effort, your Cushing’s horse can lead a long and happy life.


integrative therapies for Cushing’s 1. Herbs of many types are useful for the Cushing’s horse. Milk thistle, vitex agnus castus, bilberry, fenugreek, and many others have properties that support and correct the hormonal system. 2. Homeopathy is important to successful treatment in many cases. It is advisable to work with an experienced homeopath to determine the constitutional remedy that best suits the individual horse. 3. Chinese medicine, with acupuncture and Chinese herbs, can be also used to help Cushing’s horses. Herbal formulas are tailored to address the imbalance in each individual horse, so there are no generalizations. It is best to work with a veterinarian experienced in either Chinese herbs or acupuncture.


Equine Wellness

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

Equine Wellness



Tellington TTouch ®


Performance Horses Find out why equine athletes can benefit from Tellington TTouch® techniques and exercises.

By Mandy Pretty


uman athletes use every tool and resource at their disposal to improve performance and maintain physical flexibility and soundness. Our equine athletes deserve the same consideration. The Tellington TTouch® Method is used by countless world-class equestrians, including Olympians, to help maintain and enhance their horses’ performance and well-being. Regardless of the level of competition or work your horse is in, these simple and effective Tellington TTouch Method techniques and exercises will help maintain and enhance his performance and comfort.

Leg Exercises

Tellington TTouch Leg Exercises can be added to your daily grooming routine. They help open the scapula and can release the shoulder girdle, improve freedom of movement, and extend stride length. The idea is not to stretch the leg but to show the body new possibilities of movement. When doing any exercise, think about showing the nervous system what it can do, rather than what its limitations are. • To start, pick up your horse’s near fore (it does not matter which leg you start with, and it’s helpful to change your routine so as not to get into habits). Take your left hand and cradle the fetlock joint. It’s important to keep the pastern angle as “neutral” as possible so as not to put pressure on the joint. • Fold through your hips and knees so you are not straining your lower back. Allow your toes to be angled approximately 45° towards the horse’s barrel. 18

Equine Wellness

Photo courtesy of Gabriele Boiselle


Leg Circles are a great exercise to incorporate into your daily grooming routine.

Photo courtesy of Gabriele Boiselle

As you and your horse become comfortable with the exercise you can explore moving the leg in different ways. Resting the toe on the ground can be a great shoulder and scapula release.

• Rest your right elbow on your knee and support the hoof wall in your right hand. The sole of the hoof should be perpendicular to the ground. • Once you are supporting the leg you can begin the leg circles. Move from your body rather than your arms, and begin to circle the leg, imagining that you are drawing circles on the ground with the horse’s toe. Circles can be in a variety of sizes, in both directions, and at different heights. Look for ease of motion, not how big you can make the movements. • Ideally, the circles will be round, rather than egg-shaped. To start, make the circles as small as they need to be. If your horse is having difficulty, try changing the size, height and direction until you find a comfortable motion. As the shoulder releases over several sessions, you will find that the range of motion increases dramatically. The hind leg exercises use the same principles; however, your left hand will support the leg directly under the hock and the right hand will support the hoof. Many people habitually take the hind leg out behind or to the side. If a horse is tight in the SI joint or hamstring, this can create more tension and potential resistance. Keep the hind leg underneath the horse until he has the chance to relax, then slowly take the leg where you would like it. Continued on page 20.

Equine Wellness


The Balance Rein Photo courtesy of Gabriele Boiselle

Tellington TTouch involves not only bodywork exercises – it also incorporates a number of tools and techniques under saddle for helping enhance posture and performance. A fantastic tool for all riding horses, the Balance Rein can be an especially amazing asset for higher level work and subtle fine-tuning in performance horses and their riders. The Balance Rein is essentially a neck strap that sits around the base of the horse’s neck and is long enough for the rider to hold as an extra rein. It has a rope section that sits against the base of the neck, and a rein section that can be easily used by the rider. It’s fantastic for horses that tend to fall on the forehand, rush over fences or through lateral work, or get above the bit or behind the vertical. It can also help accentuate a clear half halt.

Help your horse relax the tail by mindfully working around the base of the tail.

Continued from page 19.


While a variety of tail exercises are used in Tellington TTouch®, the basic Tail Circle is a great one to start with. It is important to feel safe when handling your horse’s hind end and tail. If you have any concerns about how your horse may react to his tail being handled, err on the side of caution.

To use the Balance Rein, simply pick it up as you would a second rein, or use the index and middle fingers of one hand. As the horse gets heavy and starts to drop through the base of the neck or wither, simply use an upward pulsing motion to help encourage him to shift his weight up and back.

Most horses really enjoy Tail Circles, especially once they have an idea of what to expect. To be polite, I like to initially approach this exercise in a series of small steps. This ensures your horse is calm and comfortable with the exercise.

It is important not to hang or pull steadily on the Balance Rein. A steady pressure will usually elicit the opposite response and encourage the horse to lean. A pulsing or elastic signal will encourage more lightness and responsiveness.

Equine Wellness

• Start at the shoulder and move yourself back so you’re facing the point of the hip with one hand on the croup. Be sure to watch your horse’s response, noting ear, eye, respiration, tail and leg movements. A very still horse, as in frozen or breathing shallowly, or one that begins moving around, is generally not comfortable with where you are touching him. • If you are on the horse’s near side, take your left hand and place it on the croup, while your right hand moves in a circular or gentle stroking motion all around the haunches and the base of the tail.

Photo courtesy of Anna Lena Kuhn


Tail Circles

Like Leg Circles, Tail Circles are a very useful exercise to incorporate into your daily grooming routine, as a way to release the topline, free up the hindquarters and encourage more swing through the barrel. An extension of the spine, they involve gently moving the tail in non-habitual ways to relieve tension all the way to the poll.

• As you move your hand near the tail, notice if the horse tightens or lifts his tail. Gently make small circular motions along the skin, using light pressure. If your horse has a tight tail, he will often start to relax and release the tension. If he was starting to lift his tail anyways, you will probably find he lifts it or even presses into your hand. If this does not start to release the tail, try doing some hair slides by gently sliding the tail hair out to the side, through your fingers. Always watch your horse’s expression and let him dictate how much you do (or not), especially when first introducing any exercise. • Once your horse is comfortable with having his tail handled, you can start doing Tail Circles. Stand perpendicular to the hindquarters, level with the

base of the tail. Assuming you are on the near side, place your left hand underneath the tail, gently lifting it away from the body. Your right hand is placed on top of the tail hairs, near the end of the tail bone. Gently lift so that the tail is in a slight curve, like a “question mark”, and circle the tail. The tail should not twist between your hands. All the motion should be focused on where the tail meets the body. • Watch your horse’s topline. As you circle the tail in both directions and explore different-sized circles you will see the motion travel all the way up through the pelvis, lumbar, thoracic and cervical areas of the spine. Many horses enjoy

Photo courtesy of Gabriele Boiselle

Photo courtesy of Gabriele Boiselle

Slowly sliding through the tail hairs can release tension.

The TTouch Tail Circle is a fantastic exercise for releasing the whole topline, tail to poll.

this immensely so do not be alarmed if your horse presents his tail the next time you groom him! Adding a few simple Tellington TTouch® exercises to your daily routine can go a long way to promoting long term function, improving overall performance, and enhancing the relationship and trust enjoyed between you and your equine partner. Mandy Pretty is a Tellington TTouch® Practitioner and certified Connected Riding Teacher. She teaches lessons, clinics and seminars across North America. For more information about the Tellington TTouch® Method, visit ttouch.ca or ttouch.com.

Equine Wellness


GREEN By Laura Batts

Natural supplements for the performance horse Equine athletes have a lot of extra demands placed on them, so we need to pay more attention to their nutrition and health. There is no shortage of products to reach for when we want to address these areas, but you need to be aware of the chemicals that might be in them. Many people ask me, “Are there any natural supplements we can use instead?” My answer is always, “Yes!”


The equine athlete requires energy to do his job and one of the best alternative sources is bee pollen. Supplementing with bee pollen can increase strength, endurance and speed in performance horses. Bee pollen is also great for aiding the body in recovery after a workout since it’s loaded with antioxidants. Bee pollen has a nutrient profile that is perfect for the athlete – 35% protein, 55% carbohydrate, 2% fatty acids and 3% minerals and vitamins. It is also high in B-complex and vitamins A, C, D and E.


Joint health is a major concern for all horses, but especially the hardest-working. Most horse owners are familiar with the benefits of MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin and HA (hyaluronic acid), but did you know that other natural supplements can help as well? Turmeric has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties because it contains curcumin. The herbs white willow bark and boswellia also have anti-inflammatory effects on the performance horse.


Another area of recovery that must be accounted for is electrolytes, especially if the horse is sweating during exercise. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, calcium and carbon must be properly balanced to enable the horse to perform at his peak. All these are natural and can be found in many over-the-counter brands.



It’s important to provide protein from several different sources to make sure your performance horse is getting a variety of amino acids. Some of the more uncommon sources you can supplement with include hemp seeds (33% protein), chia seeds (23% protein), flaxseed (35%) and sunflower meal (30%).

If you want to eliminate as many chemicals as you can in an effort to reduce your impact on our planet, using biodegradable, natural supplements for your performance horse is a terrific place to start!

After a workout, it is super important to offer those tired muscles a way to rebuild. Think of human weightlifters – what’s the first thing they do after a good training session? Drink a protein shake! The protein in your horse’s diet is made up of amino acids, which are then used by the body to build proteins such as skeletal muscles, internal organs, bones, skin, hair and hooves.

Finally, due to the stress of exercise, travel and confinement, equine athletes are much more likely to develop gastric ulcers. Ulcers not only cause pain and affect performance, but they also inhibit the absorption of the very nutrients needed to perform. Herbal blends containing psyllium, corn silk, slippery elm, chamomile, cascara, dandelion, ginger and licorice root will help heal and prevent equine gastric ulcers.

Note: Always work with your vet when addressing any equine health issues. And be sure to check your organization’s prohibited substances list before starting your performance horse on any new supplements. If you would like more details on any of these ideas, contact Laura@horsehippie.com and check out her blog EcoEquine (ecoequine.wordpress.com). 22

Equine Wellness


Prevention & management of

Pastern Dermatitis

Mud fever in horses is a common and often frustrating problem. Also known as pastern dermatitis, scratches, greasy heel and dew poisoning, this skin condition affects the heel and pastern area of horses. It can range from mild irritation to a severely painful and swollen limb, if left unchecked.


Avoiding the Overuse of Antibiotics Sometimes antibiotics are warranted; however, there are alternatives such as antimicrobial enzymes. All enzymes have their own unique properties and when certain enzymes are combined, as in the patented LP3 Enzyme System, they can pack a powerful antimicrobial punch. Gentle and non-toxic, these enzymes are naturally derived, 100% safe, and have been recommended by veterinarians for over 18 years to help manage topical infections in horses, dogs, cats, and exotic animals.

Broad spectrum, tested effective, including: • Pseudomonas • Malassezia pachydermatitis • Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus •S taphylococcus aureus •C andida albicans •P roteus mirabilis • Eschericha coli •S treptococcus intermedius •S treptococcus pyogenes

Mud fever can affect any horse during a wet season. Those housed in wet and/or dirty conditions will be especially susceptible. Improperly cleaned stalls and muddy paddocks with manure or standing water are breeding grounds for infection (which can be bacterial, fungal, viral or parasitic in nature). The constant exposure to moisture irritates the horse’s skin, creating entry points for any opportunistic infection to invade. It is said that horses with white socks or light-colored legs may be more prone to mud fever, and for whatever reason it seems to affect the hind legs more than the front legs. In addition, horses with heavy feathering on their legs may be more commonly affected, since the hair will trap moisture, dirt and manure. As with anything, it is much better to prevent mud fever or catch it early on. Look for irritated, crusty or oozing areas on your horse’s skin. If mud fever goes unnoticed, it may progress to limb swelling and lameness or more serious problems. Mud fever can be quite painful for the horse, and managing it can prove tricky in some cases, especially if you have a sensitive animal.

MANAGEMENT AND PREVENTION The first step is good prevention. Keep your horse clean and use a good antibacterial wash followed by a conditioner massaged into the coat. ZYMOX® Equine Defense has a line of products to manage and prevent a wide range of bacterial and fungal infections and all the ZYMOX products feature a patented enzyme system providing antibacterial and antifungal benefits. If mud fever develops, it is not necessary to remove the scabs because ZYMOX works differently than topical antibiotic preparations. The area can be lightly rinsed with water to remove any large particulates, patted dry and the ZYMOX Spray applied. The enzymes interact with the organic matter to initiate the enzyme activity. This is a real benefit because most horses become skittish to the touch. If the condition worsens, it is important to have your horse seen by a veterinarian. Once a horse has developed mud fever, he may be more prone to it again down the road. Try to prevent prolonged exposure to muddy, wet areas. Keep your horse’s legs and anything that goes on his legs (wraps, boots) clean and dry. If your horse has feathers, pay extra attention to his leg hygiene. Zymox.com

Equine Wellness



Baby Cinco By Shirley Alarie

Photo by Karen R. Pack

The rehabilitation and adoption program at RVR Horse Rescue helps ensure horses like Cinco get a second chance at a happy life.


rowing up on a 1,000-acre ranch in Texas, Shawn Jayroe lived and breathed horses. She dreamed of one day creating a sanctuary for abused or neglected horses, particularly after observing a few local horses in need. One at a time, Shawn began purchasing some of these horses in order to rehabilitate and rehome them. This soon became a hefty undertaking without a facility, so the single mom and business owner saved up until she had enough money to purchase a 40-acre property in Riverview, Florida. This marked the start of RVR Horse Rescue. Since then, Shawn and her volunteers have rescued, rehabilitated, and rehomed hundreds of horses 24

Equine Wellness

that would otherwise not have been given a second chance. Or in the case of Cinco, been born at all.

CINCO – THE HORSE WHO ALMOST WASN’T In August of 2015, a call for help came to RVR Horse Rescue via Louisiana regarding three horses named Angel, Halo and Crosby. Good Samaritans had rescued the trio from a “kill lot” – a staging area for horses shipping to slaughter. Once the horses were secure, the rescuers needed to find a place to take them. In a great act of altruism, the three horses

ms lia da Wil Aman by Photo

were transported over many hours to their new home at RVR Horse Rescue. The 14-year-old sorrel mare, Angel, was battered and bruised upon her arrival. To the rescue’s surprise, the sweet senior was also pregnant.

Photo b

y Karen

R. Pack

Despite over ten years in the horse rescue world, RVR had never had a birth on site, so their many volunteers and loyal Facebook followers were excited by the news. Angel kept her fans waiting as her belly grew and finally began wiggling the following spring. In the wee hours of the morning on May 5, 2016, RVR Horse Rescue was awarded with a monumental first – the birth of Angel’s beautiful, healthy paint colt. Cinco was the winning name picked by his admirers to honor his birth date on Cinco de Mayo. The highly anticipated first-ever birth was broadcast live on Facebook and remains the featured video on RVR’s Facebook page. In only 20 short minutes, one life that had been saved from slaughter turned into two. The new mama stepped into her parental role beautifully and fans devoured updates on Cinco as he navigated his first days of life. Once he was gelded and weaned, Cinco went home to his forever family, while Angel got a pasture

Equine Wellness


for horses in need

RVR Horse Rescue’s dedicated team finds innovative ways to expand their outreach. They recently hosted Large Animal Rescue Organization (LARO) training for 30 people at their facility. This team is now qualified to assist emergency response crews from around the country in the event of natural disasters, accidents, or in other times of need. Another outreach initiative is RVR’s Horse Angels program. Horse Angels is designed to stem the tide of equine abuse and neglect by assisting horse owners during times of financial hardship. With sufficient vetting to confirm legitimate need, RVR provides assistance to local horse owners who are struggling to care for their horses by distributing hay, grain and even medical supplies. RVR also helps other local rescues during periods of financial difficulty or when they see an influx in the number of horses they care for.

Photo by Karen R. Pack

The Horse Angels initiative is developing a system for struggling owners to apply for support through the feed bank. RVR is raising funds to secure a truck and trailer to haul hay and grain to horses in need. The addition of a semitruck will allow them to expand the reach beyond the local community. Horse Angels will collect hay and grain feed, and distribute it to approved horse owners or rescues.

Photo by Amanda Williams

Horse Angels

pal named Grace. Another rescue mare, Grace will be Angel’s companion until Angel finds a forever family of her own.

RESCUE, REHABILITATE, ADOPT RVR Horse Rescue is dedicated to saving and rehabilitating horses in need, and is known for taking on cases that are the “worst of the worst”. A 100% volunteer organization with 501c(3) nonprofit status, RVR rescues horses from across the state of Florida, and sometimes beyond. At any given time, up to 30 horses may be in rehabilitation at the facility. RVR’s goal is to rebuild the mind, body and soul of each horse that they take in, allowing them to move on and find forever homes through the organization’s adoption program, just as Cinco did. On top of all their rehabilitation efforts, RVR also participates in fundraising events such as Giving Tuesday and Help A Horse Day. While most of the money they raise goes directly back into the rescue, it also allows them to provide assistance to other horse owners and rescues, to fund castration clinics, and to raise awareness. At RVR Horse Rescue, miracles happen every day. With the birth of Cinco, the miracle of new life has been added to their ever-growing list.

How can you help? • • • • 26

Donate bags of feed or bales of hay. Help them raise funds for a truck. Volunteer to assist with administrative duties. Help Horse Angels raise awareness. Equine Wellness

RVRHorseRescue.org Shirley Alarie is the author of three RVR Horse Rescue books. A Healing Haven is the inspirational adult story, complemented by a two-part children’s book series, A New Home for Dominick and A New Family for Dominick. The Dominick books include actual animals, people and events. Proceeds from all books benefit RVR. A Healing Haven is one installment of Alarie’s Lemons to Lemonade series of inspirational nonfiction books. In addition to her books, Alarie is a freelance writer and blogger. Check out her work at RVR Horse Rescue’s blog.

Equine Wellness




for eye health Antioxidants offer a range of health benefits to you and your horse. Did you know they can also be helpful for his eye health? Horses are exposed to the same oxidative stress as the rest of us, and they develop very unique eye problems that can be devastating to their vision as well as their careers. These problems include Equine Recurrent Uveitis (aka Moonblindness), Immune Mediated Keratitis, corneal ulcers with secondary bacterial or fungal infection, and squamous cell carcinoma (cancer eye), as well as other conditions.

MOST COMMON EYE CONDITIONS • Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU) and its complications are the leading cause of blindness in horses, incurring costs of up to $1 billion per year. In the United States, 8% to 25% of horses are estimated to be affected. • Corneal ulcers are traumatic in origin, and even a small ulcer or erosion can become infected with bacteria, or worse, fungi. Without aggressive and rapid treatment, the ulcers can quickly progress. • Cancer eye is more common in horses with white eyelids and is due to excessive exposure to sunlight.

ANTIOXIDANTS COMBAT OXIDATIVE STRESS Normal daily living, as well as all these diseases, results in many different types of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress generates free radicals (aka reactive oxygen species), unstable molecules that wreak havoc on the tissues where they are made. This in turn can affect neighboring normal cells, continuing the snowball effect of damage. The addition of a variety of antioxidants to your horse’s daily supplement regimen diminishes the damage caused by daily living and disease. Antioxidants complement the traditional therapies used to fight infection and inflammation in common eye conditions, and can be used as a potential preventative as well. 28

Equine Wellness


Rider fitness & Posture ARE SO IMPORTANT By Gina Allan and Barb Kopacek


You carefully manage your horse’s fitness program – but does your own posture and fitness level match up with his?

ou pay attention to your horse’s fitness program, but as a rider, it’s also important to understand how vital your own fitness is. It is your responsibility to ensure you have good body awareness and posture when you ride, so when you initiate even the subtlest movement in your position, you will know and expect your horse’s response. Horses can’t achieve good balance and self-carriage if their riders are unable to maintain their own self-carriage. Proper posture and understanding of the dynamics of the seat and back, and how they affect the horse, are essential.


In classical riding position, “the seat” is made up of the pelvis, which includes seat bones, the pubic bone, pelvic floor, abdominals, and

the lumbar area (mid-low back), all of which make up the torso. Legs and arms play a role, but the seat is at least equal to – and in most cases of greater importance than – leg and rein aids. Back health issues, including in the lumbar area, affect up to 90% of society, and 66% of those affected are between 20 and 50 years of age. Muscles that are too loose and weak, or too tight, cause 90% of muscular and skeletal injuries. Therefore, it is best to ensure that your posture, core strength and back health are in good condition before you set foot in the stirrup. Most injuries are due to muscles that are too tight or inflexible, or that lack sufficient strength. Injuries can also be caused by a fixed or repetitive motion with inadequate rest, or muscles that have not been properly warmed up prior to a workout. Continued on page 30. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 29. Improper alignment of the spine can greatly compound the impact that riding will have on an already compromised back. Faulty alignment is often the result of one muscle group becoming dominant on one side of a bone, a group of related bones, or a joint, pulling the body off its center. All the muscles around the back move in opposition to their corresponding muscle groups on the opposite side of the limb or torso. In the case of the spine, the addition of increased pressure on the discs and corresponding ligaments, tendons and joints also contributes to poor alignment and postural issues.


First comes the stretch, then comes the strength. Muscles are technically stronger than bones and act as the body’s pulley system, maneuvering and affecting the bones. The muscles determine the shape the body will take, so if you slouch, your muscles will pull the bones into that position, eventually shortening the muscles creating the constant slouching position. Once we have adopted poor posture, any attempt to use the muscles correctly will likely feel wrong. It will take time to make shifts in the body’s patterning and muscle memory in order to change it back. It is by using this awareness and patience that we can restore muscle balance and reawaken our underused muscles, gradually coaxing them to work harder. The “too strong” and likely “too short” muscles need to stretch and relax a little so we can restore balance and maintain good posture. This will enable us to ride with balance, ease of movement and athletic grace. Try the following exercises to improve your posture and develop greater core/abdominal control.

Photos courtesy of Nancy Adams


Begin by lying with your back on the floor, knees bent, and feet about hip-width apart and flat on the floor. You are looking for three points of contact with the floor: the back of your head, your upper back between your shoulder blades, and your pelvis. Position your pelvis so your tailbone is tucked under and points toward your feet. Contract the front of your pelvis, pulling your navel in toward your spine and contract the base of your pelvis as if trying to stop the flow of urine. 30

Equine Wellness

Broaden and lower your shoulders back and down your spine so that your shoulder blades are against the back of your ribcage, and your upper back lies flat against the floor. It is important to avoid scrunching up your shoulders. With your arms straight at your sides and palms facing upward, lengthen through the back of your neck as if trying to draw your chin inward while keeping it parallel with the ground. This will also help you lengthen and stretch your torso. Slide one hand between the small of your back and the floor. If the space is a greater than a hand’s width, you may need to contract your abdominals. If you carry an exaggerated curve in your lower back, you will need to stretch it out and then work on strengthening your lower abdominals.

C TRANSVERSE ABDOMINALS While still lying on the floor, take a deep breath, and as you exhale, contract your abdominals and bring your knees to 90°. Keeping your abdominals contracted, slowly lower one leg toward the floor and return to start position. Repeat with other leg. Maintain the three-point touch position throughout the exercise. Perform two to ten reps.


Take a deep breath (again while lying on the floor), and as you exhale, contract your abdominals, press the small of your back into the floor (pelvic tilt), and lift your knees to 90°, flexing your feet toward your shins. Keeping your left leg flexed, fully extend your right leg so it is straight and 1cm above the floor. Keep your pelvis and low back from rotating or lifting from the floor. People with sensitive backs can place their hands under their hips to stabilize the low back. Perform two to ten reps.

Photos courtesy of Nancy Adams


Lie on your back with your shoulders open, hands facing down on the floor beside your hips, and knees bent over your ankles, with your feet flat on the floor. Inhale slowly Equine Wellness


Postural Concerns 1. The hunched or rounded upper back,

known as “kyphosis”, is a common postural problem. It can inhibit breathing, interfere with digestion, and cause tremendous stress to the discs between the vertebral segments of the thoracic spine. All this offers little support to your equine partner and often results in pushing him onto the forehand. Stretching through the front (anterior) chest muscles and strengthening the mid-upper back muscles can help correct this problem as long as the kyphosis is not too advanced.

and tuck your tailbone gently under so the small of your back flattens and engages your gluteal muscles. Now slowly, vertebra by vertebra, lift your hips until you create a straight diagonal line from your knees down to your shoulders. Focus on your breathing so your abdominals expand and your hip flexors, which are often very tight in riders, have a chance to stretch and release. Try to hold this position for about 30 to 60 seconds, then slowly return to the floor. Repeat two to ten times, building to the full 60-second hold. Avoid over-extending through your lower rib cage when you are in the bridge position.



Begin in tabletop position, kneeling on your hands and knees in three point touch posture. Engage your core. Extend your right arm and Photos courtesy of Nancy Adams


2. Another common postural problem is a

protruding belly, or “lordosis”. It may result from tight hip flexors and poor abdominal strength. Although the “potbelly” may not necessarily be caused by weak abdominal muscles, the forward tilt to your pelvis will likely block your horse through his back, disallowing the hind leg energy to travel through his body. To correct a tipping pelvis, imagine that your pelvis is a bowl full of water. Rotate it backward as if trying to prevent the water from splashing over the front edge.

If the seat bones remain connected to the saddle and your horse’s back at all times, and your feet rest properly on the stirrups, you’ll most likely feel a greater, more consistent connection to your horse throughout your ride. This will help keep your movements well-controlled and deliberate. It is important to note that when the back muscles are tight, having very strong abdominals may not be enough to pull the pelvis back into alignment, or to vertical or neutral position. 32

Equine Wellness

opposite left leg while keeping your core engaged and your hips level and square. Hold this position for up to ten seconds. (Add elbow to opposite knee). Repeat on the other side. Try two to ten reps on each side. If you practice these exercises three or four times a week, you will improve your overall posture, position and communication with your horse. This will give you the ability to be the best rider you can be! Gina Allan is an EC Certified Coach Specialist who shows her horse at FEI level dressage. She has focused on classical dressage training methods and is an accomplished teacher in Hunter, Jumper, and Dressage. She has coached clients through North America and runs a specialized program of equestrian centered fitness and position, enabling horse and rider to perform in greater harmony. GinaAllan.ca

Does your horse need help with joint health and function? Purica’s HA 300 is a high potency Hyaluronic Acid product that includes 300mg of HA and 7,000mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) along with a low dose of tasty fiber. Most HA product maintenance doses are only 100mg; higher ones are 200mg to 300mg. HA 300’s high dose per serving, along with the added benefits of vitamin C and fiber, make it the logical, affordable choice for both your competition and

PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD! Formula 4 Feet, the world’s first non-GMO hoof supplement and feed balancer, contains over 65 micronutrients. Approved by the Laminitis Trust and excellent for the insulin-resistant horse, it contains chromium, magnesium and vanadium as well as 20 mg of biotin in each daily dose. While Formula 4 Feet benefits poor horn quality, weak heels and cracked hooves, it also supports healthy insulin/glucose and metabolic levels, making it a valuable supplement for every horse.

EmeraldValleyEquine.com 888-638-8262

recreational horse.




WHY A HARMANY MUZZLE? • Customizable: form it to your horse’s head shape and dictate the amount of grass he gets. • Four sizes: mini, pony, horse and draft. • Humane: offers 50% more breathing room than traditional muzzles. • Durable: Kevlar fibers help prevent wear. ®

• Patent pending: It’s made of a medical grade plastic that becomes pliable when heated, allowing you to customize it to your horse. • Designed by renowned holistic and integrative veterinarian Dr. Joyce Harman. • The medical grade plastic is easily cleaned so your horse will not breathe in

NEW FROM FEATHERLITE Featherlite’s new Model 9652 straight load bumper pull horse trailer offers even more value to horse owners. It features a 54” full width rear ramp with double doors, aluminum butt/chest bars with padding, camper door in the trailer’s v-nose and aluminum wheels standard. The trailer is 12’6” long and 6’7” wide with an inside height of 7’6”. Model 9652 comes with Featherlite’s ten-year limited structural transferable warranty and three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.


dirt and germs.


Equine Wellness


HERB BLURB By Melanie Falls

Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

It’s commonly used in energy drinks and memory-enhancing supplements, but did you know that ginseng is also a wonderful support herb for your performance horse? Ginseng is part of a family of herbs called adaptogens, which help the body cope with external mental and physical stressors – like those faced by performance horses who are constantly on the road and subjected to heavy physical demands. One of the most popular herbs in North America, ginseng is easily recognized by its gnarled beige roots with long root hairs. Both American and Korean ginsengs are used for their medicinal properties, which come from substances called ginsenosides. Siberian ginseng, meanwhile, used for similar treatments, gets its medicinal properties from eleutheroside compounds and is generally considered less potent.

HISTORY Due to the shape of the plant’s roots, ginseng was known as the “man root”, and its medicinal uses can be traced as far back as 4,000 years ago in eastern China. Lore indicates that the Chinese revered the plant for its strengthening and rejuvenating powers. Native Americans also used American ginseng for its medicinal purposes. A growing demand from China created international trade for American ginseng root, and in the 1700s, Canadian and American settlers began exporting it to China. By the end of the 19th century, however, wild forms of the root were nearly extinct due to over-harvesting and habitat destruction, so Korea began the first commercial cultivation of the plant in the 1900s.

PLANT PARTS AND USES Ginseng is one of the most popular adaptogenic herbs on the market. Most of its health benefits can be found in the plant’s roots, which have a high concentration of saponins and flavonoids. These substances assist with the immune-supporting and anti-inflammatory properties provided by this herb. More generally speaking, however, the medicinal properties of ginseng are found in

the ginsenosides within the plant – many of these are still being studied and are not well understood within the scientific community, but they have been identified as having beneficial biological effects. Among the identified effects is cortisol regulation in response to exercise or stressful situations. Ginseng is also a potent immunesupporting herb, featuring a large quantity of antioxidants and Cox-2 inhibitors that assist with the anti-inflammatory response. In 2015, the University of Guelph conducted a study in which ginseng was shown to increase antibody titers in horses that were recently vaccinated.

COMMON USES FOR HORSES Ginseng is an important herb for supporting horses exposed to a lot of stress, including the stress created by a heavy exercise schedule and frequent travelling. It can support the immune system response and calm a horse’s nerves by regulating cortisol, and its anti-inflammatory properties can help with recovery. You can top dress your horse’s feed with dried ginseng root, but be sure to consult a veterinarian on the appropriate dosage. It is generally suggested that you do not mix ginseng with popular equine non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), including phenylbutazone (Bute), flunixin meglumine (Banamine), and firocoxib (Equioxx).

HOME GROWN Ginseng is a very difficult plant to grow yourself, and takes a very long time to mature. Seeds need to be stored for two years in appropriate conditions before they will sprout, although you can also purchase whole roots and plant them. The plants, however, will not be ready for harvest until seven to ten years after planting. However, ginseng is beautiful when in bloom, and is ideal for those who live in wet, cool, forested climates with shady, rich, loamy soil covered in leaves. Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, having healed her own horse, 21-yearold 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 allnatural 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


Antibiotic resistance meets innovation

The liberal use of antibiotics in both human and animal medicine has led to a serious dilemma – drug-resistant bacteria. Modern medications that were once so powerful are becoming less so, and we’ve been warned that this will become a growing problem in the future. As a result, more and more people are searching for alternative natural solutions.

Filling a gap in wound management

Bob Burlingame, founder and CEO of Innovacyn, saw a need for such products in the animal health industry. He grew up on a farm with large and small animals raised for both agricultural and domestic purposes. Often wishing there was a product he could use on the typical cuts and scrapes many farm animals tend to acquire, he developed and launched the Vetericyn Animal Wellness product line in 2009. “This line offers products for skin, eye, ear and coat care for every animal, at all life stages,” says Geoff Hambly, marketing director for Vetericyn Animal Wellness. “One of the most popular products in the line is our original Vetericyn Plus Wound & Skin Care liquid. The liquid can be used to clean a wound bed and flush any irritants out of the skin, helping to jumpstart the healing process.” These products do not contain any antibiotics, steroids or alcohol. They are non-cytotoxic (not toxic to living cells) and have zero oral toxicity in case an animal accidentally ingests them.

Antibiotic-free healing

Because the Vetericyn Plus line contains no antibiotics, repeated and extended use of the products for cleaning and debriding wound beds has no adverse consequences. “The products utilize a proprietary and non-cytotoxic formulation of oxychlorine compounds,” explains Geoff. “It can be used to moisten, clean and debride acute or chronic wounds without harming healthy tissue. These oxychlorine compounds, including hypochlorous acid, do no harm to healthy tissue, are non-cytotoxic, and have no known drug or treatment interactions.” With the success of the Vetericyn wound and skin line, the company expanded its product offering to include FoamCare, a revolutionary spray-on, foaming equine shampoo. “Since our launch we have gone from two product offerings in the US to 40 products used in over 30 countries and we’re excited to add FoamCare shampoo to our lineup,” says Geoff. “We have continued to grow our company while increasing compliance with the FDA and the Canadian Low Risk Veterinary Healthcare Products program. We challenge ourselves to drive advancements in animal wellness and bring the highest level of products to our customers.”


Equine Wellness



IN MOTION: the 5 phases of how horses jump By Susan E. Harris

Jumping is one of the most beautiful and athletic activities horses are capable of. Understanding the phases of the equine jump can help us with riding, training and judging in jumping sports. A horse’s jump has five phases: approach, takeoff, flight (bascule), landing, and recovery. Horses can jump from any gait or from a standstill, but they usually jump from the canter. Ideally, they jump most ordinary obstacles “in stride”; that is, the length of the jump is the same as the length of the canter stride.



During the approach, the horse sees the jump, judges the effort necessary to clear it, and adjusts his line (direction), pace (speed), balance, impulsion and length of stride to arrive at the best takeoff point. He needs a well-balanced, rhythmic gait to allow him to adjust his stride and engage his hind legs under his body for takeoff. Because of the way a horse’s 36

Equine Wellness

eyes focus, he must raise or lower his head to adjust his focus on the jump. A very high head position or restriction of the head and neck can affect his ability to see the jump.



The last stride before takeoff is often short. Balanced on one foreleg, the horse engages his hind legs forward under his body, flexing the loin at the lumbosacral joint. The hind legs should be lined up together for maximum thrust. The horse “sits” on his hindquarters with his hocks bent as his forelegs thrust against the ground, one after the other, using the muscles

Approach and Takeoff



Jumping with a stiff, hollow back or retracted neck prevents a good bascule and causes a stiff, inhibited jump. Without a good bascule, the forelegs cannot be lifted as high or folded as tightly, and the hind legs may trail too low and hit the obstacle. A rider falling behind the motion, interfering with the free use of the horse’s spine, or restricting the horse’s use of his head and neck, can cause lack of bascule. A desperate horse may perform “acrobatics” in an effort not to collide with the fence – he may snatch up his legs, twist sideways, make desperate “swimming” motions with his legs, or extend his forelegs or hind legs early. He may even try to put a foot down on top of the obstacle, usually with disastrous results!

of the forelegs and shoulders (especially the triceps) and the spring mechanism of the forelegs to lift the forehand. Both hind legs thrust powerfully against the ground, sending the whole horse up and forward. As the horse leaves the ground, his neck extends forward and his shoulders rotate, bringing his forelegs up. His forelegs fold tightly to avoid hitting the obstacle, and his hind legs extend backward as he leaves the ground. The balance and thrust of the takeoff are critical, as this determines how high and wide the horse jumps – once in the air, he cannot lift himself higher. Failing to engage both hind legs or push strongly enough, or “leaving a hind leg behind”, robs the horse of power and “scope” (ability to jump high and wide.) If he is too slow in raising his forehand or folding his forelegs, or if his shoulders do not rotate or his forelegs do not fold sufficiently, he may hang his knees and hit the fence with his forelegs. Hitting an obstacle in front, especially above the knees, may cause a fall and is therefore considered a serious fault.


Flight and bascule

In flight, the horse leaves the ground, traveling up, forward, and over the obstacle in an arc or “bascule” (a French word meaning Equine Wellness


“arc in motion”). His neck extends forward and down as his shoulders rotate, raising and folding his forelegs to the utmost as they pass over the highest point of the obstacle. The lowering of the head and neck pulls on the nuchal and dorsal ligament systems, especially the supraspinous ligament that runs down the top of the back. This helps create the bascule or arc in the horse’s body. As the back rounds, the hindquarters rise and the hind legs begin to fold.

Flight and Bascule

Landing and Recovery



As the hindquarters pass over the highest point of the jump, the hind legs are folded. The hocks, stifle joints and fetlock joints are tightly flexed, with the hocks pulled up behind the hindquarters. As the forehand descends toward the ground, the horse’s back flattens, the lumbosacral joint closes, and the neck rises, as the forearms and forelegs unfold and stretch forward toward the landing point.

The horse lands first on one extended foreleg, quickly followed by the second. The body pivots forward over both forelegs, which are then picked up and folded backward under the body, creating a brief moment of suspension before the first hind leg touches the ground. The lumbosacral joint opens and the back rounds as the hindquarters come forward to land. The first hind leg is grounded well forward under the horse’s body, followed by the second hind leg. The forelegs fold, unfold and reach forward again in the proper sequence for the canter, on the lead the horse has chosen. The horse absorbs the first shock of landing with the muscles and tendons of the shoulder sling, arm and foreleg, pasterns, and the joints of the forelegs. A good landing is balanced, coordinated and elastic.



The horse recovers his normal canter balance and stride and resumes the canter. The first step after landing often resembles a small jump, called a “half bound”. When a horse jumps in stride and lands lightly in good balance, his recovery is quick, natural and effortless and he can easily go forward. A rider who remains in balance and does not interfere with the horse’s efforts makes this easier. The order in which the forelegs land establishes the canter lead; since the forelegs are evenly folded during the jump, it is easy for a horse to change leads over a jump or to choose the lead he prefers to land on. Good jumpers, especially when going over a medium to large jump, are likely to change leads.


Equine Wellness

Landing gear

A stiff, unbalanced or rough landing is hard on both horse and rider and can injure the horse. A tense horse cannot use his springs and shock absorbers efficiently as he lands, and is more likely to make mistakes or injure himself. Insufficient impulsion and poor balance can make a horse land heavily on his front legs – this makes it difficult to resume the canter, and on rough, deep or slippery ground, it can lead to a fall. Some horses land unevenly to spare a weak or sore leg. If a horse must turn soon after a jump but lands in the wrong lead, the turn is more difficult and he may have to execute a flying change of leads. Rider interference (especially falling behind the motion, dropping down onto a horse’s back, or catching the horse in the mouth during landing or recovery) can cause the horse to drop his back and hind legs prematurely, landing more or less on all four legs at once. This is rough, painful, and very hard on the horse’s back.

Landing stiffly, in poor balance or with insufficient impulsion makes recovery an effort. A delayed recovery makes a horse slow in getting away from the obstacle; it also takes him more time and effort to adjust his balance and stride. If a rider loses his balance or interferes with the horse’s recovery efforts, he may become tense and quick, bucking or running away from the unpleasant effort of recovery. Deep muddy ground can delay the horse in picking up his forelegs during landing; this puts him in danger of “over-reaching”, which occurs when the hind leg strikes the back of the foreleg, tendon, heel or shoe. This can result in injury or the loss of a shoe; tendon boots and bell boots are used to protect the forelegs against such injuries. A successful rider doesn’t just ride her horse – she also understands how he functions and moves. Understanding how your horse jumps can improve performance, prevent injury, and assist with problem-solving when things aren’t going quite right. Susan E. Harris (First North American Rights)


Susan Harris is a clinician, artist and author from Cortland, NY. She teaches Anatomy in Motion™/ Visible Horse, Horse and Rider Biomechanics, and Centered Riding® Clinics around the world. She is author and illustrator of the US Pony Club Manuals of Horsemanship, and more recently, Horse Gaits, Balance and Movement (Revised), which has also been published in Germany. Visit Susan Harris online at anatomyinmotion.com.

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

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


Equine Wellness Equine Wellness 4141

Liability Insurance Why it’s vital to

Equestrian Professionals

Horseback riding can be a risky business. Liability insurance is a very important consideration for any stable owner, horse trainer or riding instructor. By Joan Booth


very sport involves some risk, and horseback riding is among the most dangerous. If you’re a stable owner, horse trainer or instructor, you must give serious thought to limiting your liability. Certainly, when someone is injured, your first response is to see that he or she receives any necessary medical attention. Then you must ask yourself: Could this have been prevented? Who was at fault? Accident prevention is a key ingredient to limiting your liability – as is protecting yourself with liability insurance.

Commercial liability insurance A liability insurance policy is issued to protect an equestrian professional, business or organization against liability claims for bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD), medical payments, products and completed works, and fire legal liability. If you lease a facility, fire legal offers protection for a tenant’s liability for damage by fire to the rented premises. Incidental contractual liability is also provided, which would cover BI or PD for liability assumed under a lease of premise contract. The policy includes payments for defense in addition to the limits for the commercial liability coverage. Make sure you read and understand the policy – all the coverages, conditions, rules and exclusions, including what you must do in case of a loss. You may be required to notify the insurance company within a certain timeframe in the event of an incident that could lead to a claim. Failure to comply with the rules may result in loss of coverage. You should work with an equine insurance agency that specializes in this type of insurance. Whenever you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact your agent. If you own the property, inquire about farmowners insurance, which could cover your commercial equine operations as well as your personal liability, in addition to your buildings and their contents. 42

Equine Wellness

Limit your liability First, consideration should be given to forming a legal entity that will limit your personal liability such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Partnership. This would protect your personal assets, as a claim would be against the company and not you as an individual. Do consult with an attorney. Require all who come to your facility to sign a Release of Liability and Waiver agreement (Hold Harmless agreement). This puts the signer on notice that there are inherent risks related to taking part in equine activities. Obtain the advice of an attorney when drafting your release to make sure it is enforceable and in compliance with the statutes in your jurisdiction, and that it contains the proper language and is understandable. It is also very important that those who come to your facility be given sufficient time to read and comprehend the release before signing it. Post warning signs (required in some states) and safety rules, including helmet requirements. Accidents happen – be prepared for that possibility and know who to call (911) or notify (a family member). You must also realize that a lawsuit could be filed. That said, be very careful what you say about the accident, since statements pertaining to fault could be used against you in a lawsuit. Don’t describe the accident to anyone other than your attorney or your spouse.

The insurance application As stated earlier, select an agency that specializes in equine insurance and that chooses to represent carriers highly rated for their financial strength. In order to obtain a quote, you will be required to complete what appears to be a lengthy application. Not all the questions may apply to you, but it is important to answer any that pertain to your operations, as the application will undergo an underwriting process. Choose the limits you want or need. If you are operating on property belonging to someone

Limited equine liability laws Over 40 states have adopted limited equine liability laws. But it’s a misconception to think they prevent anyone from bringing suit against you, and that you therefore don’t need insurance. These laws vary from state to state, but most of them essentially specify that persons who engage in an equine activity cannot bring suit if injured as a result of the inherent risk of the sport. However, most laws contain exceptions under which you can be found liable. These include: faulty tack or equipment, dangerous land (latent hazardous conditions), mismatched horse and rider, wanton and willful misconduct (gross negligence), intentional wrongdoing, and negligence. Negligence is generally defined as “someone not taking the care that a reasonable and prudent person would take in a similar circumstance”. A good example is forgetting to tighten a cinch before someone mounts your horse.

individual who has had no losses in “x” number of years, may qualify for a premium reduction. Once your application is accepted, you have paid the premium and the policy has been issued, do not neglect to advise your agent of any significant change in your operations. For instance, perhaps you decide to include a riding clinic or summer camp that was not declared at the outset. You must notify your agent so the policy can be endorsed to reflect additional coverage. By the same token, you may decide to have a pool party for your students. This would call for an exclusion to be placed on the policy – not covered! Related topics to explore include employer liability, volunteers and/or independent contractors working on your property, the liability for non-owned horses in your care, and so on. Wherever risk is involved, there is probably an insurance product to cover it. Be sure to ask your agent!

Joan Booth joined Blue Bridle Insurance Agency in 1983 and returned to Blue Bridle in 2000 after being employed as the Farm and Liability Product Line Manager for a major insurance carrier for six years. Joan has owned horses for 40+ years. She is actively involved with pleasure horse clubs; serves on the Board of Directors for three organizations and is a regional delegate for a national breed association. She enjoys competition as well as pleasure riding. Joan is knowledgeable in all lines of equine insurance. She serves as website administrator and as marketing coordinator for Blue Bridle. BlueBridle.com

else, you will be required to carry the same limits they do (e.g. $500,000/occurrence, $1,000,000 aggregate, or $1,000,000/ occurrence, $2,000,000 aggregate). Premium quotes are based on risk categories since some activities pose a higher danger than others. A breeding farm with little public exposure will be rated much lower than a riding stable with non-owned horses in training, or a riding lesson program using school horses. Rates are based on actuarial results. Once the premium is determined, the carrier may allow what is termed an individual risk premium modification (discount). For example, a riding instructor who has achieved certification, or an insured Equine Wellness




PERSPECTIVE Photos courtesy of Dana Rasmussen

in Sport-Specific Training By Karen Rohlf

Working towards a goal in competition requires focus, but for your horse’s well-being, it’s important to also maintain balance in his life.


hen it comes to competing with your horse, it can be all too easy to develop “tunnel vision”. You can become so focused on your competitive goals that you lose sight of what makes you and your horse happy.

Here’s a too-common story... Things are going well with your horse; you have been learning and progressing. He is sound and you are confident, and you are both happy. You decide to put some competitions on the calendar. You are excited and become laser-focused. Your rides get more detailed and precise. You spend many weekends at shows, and start keeping your horse in a stall more so he doesn’t play around and get hurt. You are doing well so you start entering more classes and going for championship or year end points. Your instructor suggests some different equipment to make it even easier to get a better result. Your horse is feeling a little tired so you add some supplements. He starts kicking out when you pick up the canter, and “getting after him” doesn’t seem to work so you try a chiropractor, body worker, and then a new saddle. In a competition, your horse can’t get away with bad behavior so your instructor starts getting on to “tune him up” for you before your class. At the next show, your horse colics. You are losing 44

Equine Wellness

confidence and doubting that he is the right horse for you. He starts pinning his ears when he sees you, and you are working harder and harder to get less and less out of him. It’s not fun anymore. At the end of the show season, your horse is sore and has ulcers. You feel as if you can’t ride and wonder what went wrong.

Losing sight of the big picture Don’t let the above scenario happen to you! It can, if you lose sight of the big picture. The highly specific focus you need for performance can work against you unless you remember to balance out your horse’s life. If you are advancing your training in a specific discipline (whether or not you are competing), you have to remember that your horse was born a horse. Horses just want to be safe, comfortable, able to move, graze and be social, and have enough variety in their lives to keep things interesting. We humans are the ones who decided they must be jumpers, dressage horses, reining horses or driving horses. Having specific goals is a great way to measure your progress. But the goal of a horseman in any discipline is to have a happy horse that understands and can be successful at what we choose to do with him.

Top training facilities often model a very narrow focus. They may even call themselves “jumper barns” or “dressage barns”. Horses get little or no turnout, and always alone. They go from the stall to the grooming stall to the arena and back to the stall. The only thing they “do” is the sport they are in. Problems such as weaving or cribbing can become commonplace. Some horses get anxious when turned out. Sadly, this can be seen as “normal”. Students assume this is the best way to keep horses because the top professionals are doing it this way. This is not a normal life for a horse. It may be a short-term scenario, but it’s not a long-term management style.

Creating a happy athlete As a horse owner, you need to take responsibility for preserving balance in your horse’s life, and your laser-focused training sessions should be just one small part of that life. Your horse cannot balance his life himself – you need to do it for him. It’s helpful to have some guidelines: Start with happiness. Know what makes horses happy, and what makes your particular horse happy. All horses, by nature, want to feel safe and comfortable. They want to be able to graze, socialize, wander, and investigate things. If you and your horse are happy, you can better harmonize. Take care of your partnership. Solve the areas where you and/or your horse feel tension or anxiety around one another. When you do that, you’ll experience higher quality Equine Wellness


communication, which will enable you to better apply the techniques necessary for your specific sport. At the end of the day, you want your horse to feel happy, and to understand and get along with you. You want to be successful doing your exercises so you can be confident and progressive in your sport.

The happy athlete training scale Solve every problem by asking: Is there a way I can better meet my horse’s most basic needs? Look at how happy (or not) you and he are, and work your way up the scale. Not every jumping problem is a jumping problem. Not every dressage problem is a dressage problem. • In the figure at right, you can think of Happiness and Harmony as being related to how your horse is kept, and your attitude about him.

• Technique is where you take care of the sport-specific exercises that will build your and your horse’s ability to successfully complete the “tests” of your sport.

Every horse’s basic needs No matter how advanced or specialized your horse is, these needs must be met: 4 4 4 4 4 4

Safety Comfort Forage-based diet Movement Play/socializing Variety

Your particular horse’s needs Know your horse’s particular preferences and take time to do them to keep him happy and your connection strong. These preferences could include: 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

Trail rides/hacking Gallops Jumping Grooming Playing with toys/obstacles Non-demanding time together Playing at liberty Playing in water

What does your horse like to do? See if there is a way you can do more of it together! 46

Equine Wellness

The top priority is the base. The lower priority is the sport. This doesn’t mean you aren’t serious about your sport, or that the sessions aren’t intense or progressive or amazing. It just means you are keeping things in perspective. If you don’t think of it this way, then you can’t be surprised if your Grand Prix horse develops behavioral, performance or health problems.

Seeing things from your horse’s perspective Pretend your horse is writing his autobiography. What would he say? How would he describe his life with you? Would it be a comedy or a tragedy? Would it be an amazing story of personal development? I know we are not “supposed” to anthropomorphize our horses, but sometimes we can play this little game in order to take a best guess at what life must be like for them. At the very least you will discover what you already know, deep down – that you need to change or improve. You are your horse’s life manager. He cannot do it for himself. It is very possible to have a happy, healthy horse that loves his life and excels in his sport. You just need to keep your – and most importantly, your horse’s – life in balance!

Photo courtesy of Dana Rasmussen

• Communication is about the basics every horse needs. These basics are things that make it easy to get him from Point A to Point B, and cover basic handling, leading, groundwork, and riding. It’s about your horse being “comfortable transportation”.

Karen Rohlf, creator of the Dressage Naturally program, is an internationally recognized clinician who is changing the equestrian educational paradigm. She is well known for her studentempowering approach to teaching, her ability to connect with a wide range of horses, her virtual courses, and her positive and balanced point of view. dressagenaturally.net

We are the top choice of veterinarians and equine hospitals. Our webbing is custom woven to be the toughest yet softest available. We have built custom yacht canvas for over 40 years and we know the best and toughest materials. Everything we build is quality and built to last. We have over 30 styles and sizes. Everything from one flake to a 50lb bale. And we have Ground Feeders! Proudly built in the USA.


Böckmann North America introduces Germany’s premier horse trailer built for 3,500lb tow capacity vehicles. It has 4% loaded tongue weight, advanced suspension systems, drag-reducing rooflines and independent braking systems, and is easy to tow. Features bright spacious stalls, airflow regulation, robust materials, cool interiors – loaded with safety features for your horse, these sporty units are simple to handle. Reduce your carbon footprint. Increase your horse’s comfort. Use one tow vehicle for work and play.



Boeckmann-NorthAmerica.com NibbleNet.com 772-463-8493


The Poll Cap™ is a hands-free, self-contained, AA battery-powered device for treating the poll region. It is a very effective tool for calming horses. The device can be used for frontal sinuses, TMJ, and the first and second vertebrae, as well as primary acupuncture points in the area.

Revitavet.com/product/poll-cap/ If you’re looking for an event that is as much fun as it is educational, you may want to know that the world’s largest consumer/trade fair in equestrian sports is now in North America. EQUITANA USA is an entire series of equine-focused events for riders of all disciplines, age groups and riding levels. EQUITANA, aka the “The Equestrian Sports World Fair”, has been setting international standards and generating fresh ideas for the entire equestrian sports industry since 1972.

EquitanaUSA.com Equine Wellness


Camping horse with your By Kelly Brook Allen

Going on a camping trip with your horse can be a fun adventure. Here are some things to consider before you head out.


any horse owners dream of camping with their equines. Few things feel better than getting away to spend time in nature with friends, family – and, of course, your horse! But when you actually begin to plan a camping trip that includes your horse, it can seem daunting. Where do you even start? How do you find places to camp? And what do you need, whether you’re camping for a weekend or a month? First and foremost, let me say that your horse is going to make a big difference to the success and enjoyment of your camping trip. You need a good, safe, reliable trail horse/mule that can high-line, picket or stay in a portable corral. I cannot emphasize this enough!

Finding places to camp When we started camping with our own horses, we joined Back Country Horsemen (there are various chapters of this group across North America). This is a fabulous group to belong to because they help maintain trails, trailheads and horse camps, and keep the trails open. If you don’t have a Back Country Horsemen chapter in your area, find other groups that love camping with horses. It’s always more fun to camp with others. If you live in the US, there are places on the BLM and State Lands where you can camp for up to two weeks, but check for permits for the areas you want to camp in. Forestry sites are always great too. In Canada, there are Crown lands and Forestry sites that allow for horse camping.

Starting small If you’re a first time horse camper, start small. Try finding a good place close to home that has corrals and well-marked trails. Don’t go out and buy a big rig or plan a big trip until you know for sure this is something you want to do. 48

Equine Wellness

We started with a one-ton 4X4 pickup, a tent, and a two-horse bumper pull trailer. Our first camping trip was close to home. It wasn’t the best – too many bugs and some of the trails were inaccessible – but we did find one incredible trail to a mountain lake that made me want to hit new trailheads. Our second trailer was a gooseneck; we ended up finishing its interior to make it comfortable for us to stay in. We traveled twice with it all the way to Arizona, for up to six weeks. Just before we retired, we bought the big rig.

Towing vehicle checklist 4 Oil and coolant levels 4 Power steering levels 4 Drive belts and hoses 4 Battery 4 Brake components 4 Signal lights 4 Dash lights/gauge warning lights

Find out how much you actually like camping with horses before you decide what kind of trailer you want to buy, or what adventures you are going to go on.

4 Fuel level

Before you hit the road

4 Navigation system or maps

Before you embark on your trip, here are some things we always check. It is important to make sure all of your vehicles and equipment are in good, safe working order before you go – nothing is worse than a preventable breakdown with horses on board when you’re far from home!

Trailer check Look at the tires on your trailer to ensure they are in good condition and that the pressure is optimal. We have experienced tire blowouts; it is unnerving and can be very dangerous for both you and your

4 Oil pressure 4 Wipers/washer fluid and blower 4 Four point brake check 4 Two-way radios 4 Rims, nuts, hubs, tire thread, and tire pressure 4 Headlights (high and low) 4 Brake lights 4 Fifth wheel assembly 4 Gooseneck or trailer hitch – locked in and secure 4 Truck and trailer safety stickers 4 Trailer safety chains and breakaway cable 4 Breakaway brake check and breakaway battery charged (some trailer setups do not charge)

Equine Wellness


animals. Make sure your breakaway battery (which operates your brakes in the event of a disconnect) is fully charged and in good working order. Have your brakes and bearings serviced annually. Check brake function and adjust accordingly. Make sure the floor of the horse trailer is solid and not damaged. Ensure all windows and doors are latched and locked prior to travel. If your living quarters are equipped with slide-out, make sure it’s properly brought in and secured, and that the fridge and sliding bathroom doors are latched. Close all roof vents and lower any antennae before travel. Fill water tanks, fully charge all batteries, fill your propane tanks, and fuel up the generator tank. Ensure your hitch is closed and latched with safety chains on and a breakaway cable. Make sure all electrical functions are working. Check that all your running lights, brakes and signal lights are working on both your truck and trailer. Secure any and all loose items in the trailer in preparation for travel. If you are also traveling with smaller pets, like we do, keep them in crates for their own safety.

What to bring When travelling with horses, it is always better to be over-prepared, especially when camping in remote areas. You may find yourself a long way from the nearest feed store, tack shop or veterinarian. Make sure your horse is up to date on applicable shots and de-worming and that you have the relevant paperwork as well as your horse ownership papers (registration papers, bill of sale, lease agreement, etc.). Bring water containers for the horse/s – allow for 20 gallons per horse daily. Pack water and feed buckets, hay nets or bags, feed and hay (bring extra in the event of a delayed return), and a good blanket or rainsheet in case you encounter a cold or wet night. You will also want to bring a rope for highline or picketing, and/or portable electric fencing or corrals for overnight, as well as a muck bucket and fork. You will also want your usual riding and grooming gear as well as an extra saddle blanket, extra cinch/girth, extra stirrup/leathers, extra reins, extra halter and lead, leather punch, shipping boots/wraps, fly masks and spray, hoof boots and farrier tools, and a very well-stocked first aid kit for both humans and horses! If you are traveling out of state/province or across the Canada/US border, you will want to bring current health papers as well as proof of a negative Coggins. Most states will also require a Brand inspection or proof of ownership. To cross the border into the US or Canada, you must have a current International Coggins, and International Health papers (different from state-to-state health papers). Always carry proof of ownership for your equines as well as Brand inspection papers.

Respect the experience Camping with your horse is a wonderful experience. You get to explore new sights, bond with your horse, and have fun adventures with your equine friend (maybe you’ll even make some new friends along the way!). Always remember that being able to camp with your horse is a privilege, so respect sites and trails, and always remember to pack out what you packed in – leave no trace behind. Happy trails! Kelly Brook Allen has been riding all her life. After many years as a hunter/jumper rider, she tried her first camping trips in 2004. Now travelling and camping with her horse comes first. She started a website called Camping and Horses in 2007 to help others find places to camp. She travels south every winter to warmer states with her horses and spends a lot of the summer months camping in and around British Columbia. campingandhorses.com; Facebook group – campingandhorses. 50

Equine Wellness



Margaret K. Boyce and her horse, Big, after their barefoot transition.

The journey to competing barefoot needs to focus on more than just your horse’s feet. Here’s how a whole horse approach helped one FEI rider and her horse make the transition.

ore and more people in the performance horse world are taking a serious look at the many benefits of barefoot hoof care for their performance horses. Yet I often find myself at a crossroads with one of those horse people who feel assigned to guard the past. In a recent conversation with a respected Thoroughbred racehorse trainer about horses racing barefoot, I was told: “It cannot be done

– you’ll have to prove it to me.” Little do these people know the proof already exists in the form of many equine athletes performing successfully while barefoot!

BAREFOOT SUCCESS A few years ago, I had the opportunity to work with a horse in the Competitive Trail Riding discipline who won the Florida Equine Wellness


100-mile CTR for the Lightweight division two years after going barefoot. I also worked with a Thoroughbred mare at the Oklahoma Training Track in Saratoga, New York, who trained noticeably well while barefoot. In the discipline of dressage, the accomplishments of USA Olympian Steffen Peters and his wife Shannon, who successfully transitioned many of their top equine athletes to barefoot, sent a ripple effect across the country. East coast dressage competitors immediately began contacting me to see if their horses were good candidates for barefoot performance in the dressage arena. One of those calls was from a certified dressage coach and judge, Margaret K. Boyce of MKB Dressage.

Photo courtesy of Margaret K Boyce


“There were many extremely expensive imported horses being presented at the Symposium, but in my opinion Gideon moved the very best,” says Margaret. “He was the most level and even in his gaits, and had the most solid connection to the ground. He was barefoot! It was seeing the way Gideon moved that made me want to go barefoot with Big.”

BAREFOOT CHAMPIONS – the list continues to grow Joe Camp, renowned author of the bestselling book, Soul of the Horse, has a long and growing list of “Barefoot Champions” on his website (thesoulofthehorse.com). The list details successful performance barefoot horses in nearly every discipline, all competing and winning without shoes.


Equine Wellness

For Margaret, dressage is not only a profession but her passion. In 1994, she was exposed to classical dressage, and was immediately hooked. She began her studies with top German dressage master and judge, Dietrich VonHoffgarten. Eventually, Margaret became one of Dietrich’s working students in Vancouver, Canada and obtained her NCCP Dressage Instructor Certificate, as well as her Equine Canada – Official Judge status.

Margaret accepted two working student positions to further advance her dressage education. The first was in Verden, Netherlands with Dutch Dressage Olympian Bert Rutten, and the second in Voerde, Germany with dressage master Johann Hinnemann. Her education was further expanded when she visited the Spanish Riding School and received lessons at the French National Riding School with Head Trainer, Olympian and FEI Judge, Colonel Christian Carde.

BAREFOOT BEGINNINGS Margaret moved to NYC and quickly brought Carde over to teach. She helped arrange Carde’s participation in the 2008 International Dressage Symposium “Classical vs. Competition”, alongside German Dressage Master Klaus Balkenhol and FEI vet Dr. Gerd Heuschmann. It was here that Margaret met Kim Walnes. Kim rode Gideon, a Connemara cross stallion, in lessons with Carde, and also participated as a demo rider at the Symposium. Seeing Kim and Gideon perform together was the beginning of Margaret’s barefoot journey with her Hanovarian gelding

Bigello (aka Big). It was around this time that Big began showing signs of unsoundness after showing on deep footing. Big had long toes and a distinct medial-lateral imbalance, and Margaret could constantly feel his unevenness up front, as he paddled badly. She had been told this was just how his hooves grew. Dr. Carol Edwards, a top equine vet and chiropractor and an advocate for barefoot, insisted that Big’s hoof was much too long and that he would go lame if it was not addressed. Margaret finally removed his shoes.

BIG’S BAREFOOT TRANSITION Big and Margaret suffered several setbacks during his transition. They encountered everything from over-trimming and incorrect feed choices to not enough turn-out. Many other vital aspects of hoof rehabilitation were missed when Margaret embarked on this journey. Transitioning to barefoot is not as easy as simply removing the horse’s shoes and going on your merry way into the performance arena, especially if your horse has been shod long-term without ever having an opportunity for a rest from shoeing. More than once, Margaret was told to put Big’s shoes back on, and she was often ridiculed by other professionals as being eccentric. It was at about this point in her journey that Margaret contacted me. I began working with her and Big as well as some of the other horses Margaret was training. We had to review diets, supplements, turn-out time, hoof boots, dentistry, and have serious discussions on current vaccine and chemical deworming programs. Margaret and I worked together using a more holistic approach, treating Big and every other horse as an individual. She quickly understood that natural horse care principles differ greatly from an approach that focuses only on the hoof without considering the whole horse and the many other factors that can cause soundness problems. After making many of these crucial changes over time, Margaret and Big are set to enter the performance arena this year – barefoot and sound! Every equestrian in the performance realm who has taken their first steps toward allowing their equine athletes to also be “horses”, by implementing a healthy lifestyle paradigm, comes to the same crossroads Margaret and I did, where they are met by a thousand people guarding the past. It is up to each of us whether we continue stepping into the future, or become one of the thousand.

Geri White has an Equine Sciences Degree, Natural Hoof Care Certification and is a Field Instructor with the Equine Sciences Academy. She is a Certified Hoof Care Professional with the American Hoof Association and currently serves as President. NativeHoof.com

Equine Wellness



FLORIDA THOROUGHBRED RETIREMENT AND ADOPTIVE CARE Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA210 to Florida Thoroughbred Retirement and Adoptive Care

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2009 LOCATION: Palm City, FL TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: Florida TRAC rescues, retrains or retires Thoroughbred racehorses. The organization strives to provide the horses with meaningful second careers and an excellent quality of life.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: Florida TRAC is currently raising funds to build shelters for the horses in their pastures. You can also donate items, become a sponsor, or attend one of their fundraising events, such as Help A Horse Day.

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: “Lord Robyn is a handsome and personable 2002 OTTB gelding,” says Karen Monaco, a member of Florida TRAC’s fundraising committee. “He has raced everywhere from Saratoga and Churchill Downs to right here at Gulfstream in Florida. He is a graded stakes winner and won over $500K in his 56 starts. One of our favorite horses, Lord Robyn has a way of recognizing a timid/inexperienced rider and is our resident babysitter for beginners who want to hop up for a short ride around the property. He is only one of the many special horses available for adoption.”



Equine Wellness


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Equine Wellness


Photo courtesy of EquiSpirit Horse Trailers

For balance and health reasons, horses need lots of headroom in a trailer, like in the Equispirit horse trailer, shown here.


Sizing YOUR


Three main factors to consider when deciding what size trailer will fit your needs (and your horse’s).

By Tom and Neva Scheve


orses first. Trailer second. Tow vehicle third. It’s a simple formula, and it makes sense when you think about it. But it’s surprising how many horse people buy a tow vehicle before knowing for sure what it needs to pull. Many of us want a tow vehicle that can be a great everyday vehicle during the week, and that can tow a trailer on the weekend. But when the tow vehicle is chosen first, the buyer often finds it doesn’t quite meet the requirements for safely pulling a fully loaded horse trailer. When that happens, owners start looking for a lighter and smaller trailer to keep the weight down; but if the trailer is too small or insubstantial for the horse(s), problems can arise. In other words, the buyer is trying to fit the trailer to the tow vehicle instead of to the horse(s).


To choose the right trailer, start by determining the size of the horses you have now, and the size of those you might have in 56

Equine Wellness

the future. If you have Warmbloods, for example, your trailer will need to comfortably fit horses from around 16 to 18+ hands, which requires a stall length of 11’ and an interior height of 7’8”. If you have Quarter horses, you want to make sure your trailer will fit animals in the range of 14 to 16.3 hands, necessitating a stall length of 10’, and an interior height of 7’4” to 7’6”.


Once you know the size and weight of your horses, you have the information you need to choose the right-sized trailer. Keep in mind that a horse needs room, light and ventilation to stay sound and healthy during transportation. It is important that he has enough head room. He needs to be able to stretch out his neck for balance, to cough out any hay or dust that might lodge in his respiratory system, and to stand in a natural position. If the horse can’t lower his head to cough out hay dust or noxious gasses, he can be at risk for shipping fever. Interior height is also

Understanding trailer stall length It’s important to realize that a stall may not only be too short – it can also be too long. • In a straight load trailer, a horse with too much stall length from butt bar to breast bar can be tossed too far forward into the breast bar if you stop suddenly. Too much length can also give the horse room to go up and over a chest bar. • A slant load trailer does not have butt or breast bars, but stall lengths are limited by the width of the trailer, which is set by the Department Of Transportation. Most stalls in slant load trailers are 36” to 44” wide, which makes the usable length of the stall only about 8’6”. This means horses over 15 hands just won’t fit comfortably. Be careful when getting slant load stall measurements – some dealers will give you the diagonal length (far corner to far corner) which will measure about 2’6” longer than the actual usable horse space. important. A horse is less stressed and less claustrophobic if he can lift his head without feeling the roof is restricting him. Stall length is measured from butt to breast bar. A horse should fit between the two without being squeezed, yet not have so much room that he could be harmed by going up over a breast bar or being thrown into it during a sudden stop. The width of your trailer stalls is also very important. A horse can keep his balance quite well if he has room to spread his legs. That’s why we recommend a partial center divider, which doesn’t extend to the floor. A lower center partition will restrict the horse’s ability to spread his legs and keep his balance. Of course, there are exceptions. Some horses, who have had poor experiences in the past, have learned to lean on the dividers; but usually, once given the right amount of room, they learn to keep their balance without leaning. Some horses will learn to climb the trailer walls if they don’t have enough width to follow the motion of the trailer. Once you determine the size of trailer that will keep you and your horses safe and comfortable, you need to determine its loaded weight, or use its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), which is stated on the trailer as the maximum weight it can carry and still be safe. When you figure in the weight of your horses, plus tack, feed, hay and water, make sure that total is not more than the GVWR. You should never exceed the trailer’s capacity as determined by the manufacturer. In general, most well-constructed, two-horse bumper pull trailers with a dressing room will weigh around 3,200 pounds. Add two 1,200-pound horses and some tack, and the trailer will then weigh about 6,000 pounds. The GVWR of most two-horse dressing room trailers is 7,000 pounds. In this case, you would use the GVWR to determine the capacity of the tow vehicle you’ll need.


Now you have all the information you need to choose a safe tow vehicle. There are three criteria to use when choosing the right vehicle: The tow rating – this refers to how much the vehicle is rated to tow safely. For 1. example, a trailer with a GVWR of 7,000 pounds (but with a loaded weight of around 6,000 pounds) should have a vehicle that can tow at least 20% more than the loaded weight. But since most horse owners don’t weigh their trailer when fully loaded, it would be best to choose a tow vehicle that has a tow rating equal to the GVWR of the horse trailer, but preferably have a tow rating 15% higher. So a trailer with a GVWR of 10,200 pounds should use a tow vehicle with a tow rating of at least 10,200, but preferably 12,000 pounds. But the tow rating is not the only factor. Continued on page 46. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 45. The wheel base length – this is the distance between the 2. front and back axles of the tow vehicle. The longer the wheel base, the more stable the vehicle. With bumper pull trailers, vehicles with a short wheelbase tend to bounce from front to back due to the trailer’s tongue weight pushing down on the rear hitch. This causes the front end of the tow vehicle to lift (float), giving you less control. Floating can be corrected by a weight distribution system (often mistakenly called sway bars), which is highly recommended.


The curb weight – Some very light tow vehicles have a fairly good tow rating, but you don’t want the “tail wagging the dog” so to speak. A tow vehicle can weigh less than the loaded weight of a bumper pull trailer, but it shouldn’t be by much less. The Combined Gross Vehicle Weight Rating for the tow vehicle will tell you how much the whole rig should weigh and still be safe. For larger gooseneck trailers, such as a four- or six-horse trailer, the difference between the trailer’s weight and the tow vehicle can be greater. For example, a truck pulling a loaded six-

Air flow, shock absorption and durability are key factors in choosing a trailer. Some trailers, like the Featherlite trailer shown below, are even fully customizable to ensure your horse’s every need is met. For more info, visit fthr.com.


Equine Wellness

horse trailer weighing 16,000 pounds can be pulled with a one-ton truck rated to pull 20,000 pounds, but the truck itself will weigh 6,900 pounds.

In summary, the formula is simple: • Horses first – determine their size and weight. • Trailer second – determine the size, style and strength (construction) that will best keep your horses safe. • Tow vehicle third – choose the vehicle that meets all the requirements to safely pull your chosen trailer and horses. For more in-depth information on trailer terms and safety, visit equispirit.com.

Tom and Neva Scheve are authors of the Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer and Equine Emergencies on the Road. They are nationally recognized for their clinics on horse trailer safety and are the developers and owners of EquiSpirit Trailer Company. For more info, contact Tom at 1-877-575-1771 or tom@equispirit.com or visit equispirit.com.

Equine Wellness




Equine Wellness

If you would like to advertise in Marketplace, please call: 1-866-764-1212 ext 413


MASTERSON METHOD® - Is an integrated, multi-modality method of equine massage. It is a unique, interactive method of equine massage in which you learn to recognize and use the responses of the horse to your touch to find and release accumulated tension in key junctions of the body that most affect performance. It is something you do with the horse, rather than to the horse. This participation and interaction is what makes the method fascinating for those who use it. In fact, if you do not allow the horse to participate, it does not work! (641) 472-1312; www.MastersonMethod.com

DANAMAY SUPPLEMENT COMPANY – Every product was designed to improve the most commonly known abnormalities of the Horse. For improving the digestive tract function with the Preventcol™ to maintain the integrity of the skin, coat and hooves with the POWER HORSE® Montmorillonite. These are the supplements that everyone can count on, when expecting the results that other products promise, but don’t deliver. (877) 648-9451; danamay@sympatico.ca; www.danamaysupplementcompany.com

TRANQUIL COMPANION – I am a Healing Touch for Animals® and ART Reiki practitioner, as well as a Certified Equine Iridologist. I do both distance and hands-on work. I use non-invasive modalities and healing therapies that address chronic and acute issues like emotional and physical stress, behavior problems, pain and injuries. My therapies can be used alone or as an adjunct to regular veterinary programs. (618) 972-8267; tranquilcompanion7@gmail.com; www.TranquilCompanion.com

MAD BARN – is your best source of nutrition and supplements for horses: probiotics, performance supplements, digestive enzymes, equine minerals vitamins. Some equine issues require extra attention, and Mad Barn makes it easy to address these through diet. Pre-packaged for simple use, our Special Care Formulas are ready to add to existing feed to give your horse the boost needed to improve specific points of concern. Completely customized formulas for your horse are available by contacting Mad Barn directly. info@madbarn.com; www.madbarn.com



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

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

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

BUSINESS FOR SALE 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.

NATURAL PRODUCTS DAILY DOSE EQUINE – Non-GMO horse feed and herbal equine supplements, Our formula contains bioavailable protein, chelated minerals, balanced vitamins, probiotics, sunflower, flax, edible clay, and hay. Retailers Wanted. www.dailydoseequine.com

RETAILERS & DISTRIBUTORS WANTED EQUINE LIGHT THERAPY – Many veterinarians and therapists offer their clients the healing benefits of photonic energy with our Equine Light Therapy Pads! Contact us to learn more about the advantages of offering them through your practice! According to “Gospel”…Equine Light Therapy/Canine Light Therapy. www.equinelighttherapy.com; questions@equinelighttherapy.com; (615) 293-3025



THE PERFECT HORSE™ - Organic Blue Green Algae is the single most nutrient dense food on the planet with naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals and amino acids; all are provided in The Perfect Horse (E3Live® FOR HORSES) Our product sells itself; other make claims, we guarantee results. Join a winning team at www.The-Perfect-Horse.com; sales@e3liveforhorses.com; (877) 357-7187

SCHOOLS & TRAINING EQUEST EQUINE FIRST AID – We are dedicated to helping horse owners and lovers improve the health and safety of horses by providing emergency first aid training to individuals, clubs and organizations across both Canada and the States. Equine First Aid is the first response support treatment available to a horse before a veterinarian can attend to the animal. Our courses provide you with hands on training preparing you to handle equine emergency situations while waiting for your veterinarian’s arrival. Participants will receive a certificate of achievement upon completion of the course. equestequinefirstaid@hotmail.com; www.equestequinefirstaid.com

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

THE 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

TITLE: Heart to Heart with Horses AUTHOR: Kathleen Prasad Kathleen Prasad, the founder of Animal Reiki Source, discovered the healing power of Reiki in 1998. In her new book, Heart to Heart with Horses: The Equine Lover’s Guide to Reiki, she offers you an opportunity to learn how this energetic healing modality can benefit your equine friends. “Throughout history, mankind may have admired the physical strength or ‘horsepower’ of equines, but perhaps we have overlooked the even greater inner horsepower that our equine friends embody:

BOOK REVIEW the power to heal through compassionate, heartful connections,” writes Kathleen. “This healing power of the heart is something that we humans also possess! It is through sharing Reiki meditations with horses that I have gained an awareness and deep appreciation of the healing power that lies within the heart of each of us.” Kathleen shares Reiki tips intertwined with personal stories of horses and their healing nature, along with case studies. She explores the importance of self-balance and of learning to be in a state of being versus doing, along with several helpful meditation exercises. She then examines ways in which horses help heal us, and vice versa, and guides you through an introduction of sharing Reiki with your horse as well as how it can be used in specific situations requiring inner healing, such as those involving fear and grief.

PUBLISHER: Animal Reiki Source Equine Wellness



STAND STILL! By Richard Winters

Work on your horse’s mounting manners.


t’s annoying. It’s awkward. And it can be dangerous. I’m talking about a horse that won’t stand still when you’re mounting. Has your horse ever started to walk away just as you put your foot in the stirrup to get on? It was no big deal at first; you just got on and rode away. But as time progresses, your horse’s movement will increase and it becomes more difficult to mount safely. Most horses will begin to do this if you’re not proactively doing something to counteract this behavior.

The wrong behavior is not standing still.

MAKE THE WRONG THING DIFFICULT Here’s what I would suggest: as with every training scenario I address in this column, your job is to make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult. We know the right thing is standing still. The wrong thing is moving away. Rather than trying to make your horse stand still, let’s make moving a difficult proposition and then perhaps we can change your horse’s mind. First and foremost, make sure your horse is properly warmed up. Do enough groundwork with your horse saddled so he is mentally and physically relaxed. Now try this technique: put your foot in the stirrup and start to get on. If your horse does not stand perfectly still, step down, tip your horse’s nose toward you with your inside rein and hustle his hindquarters around in three or four tight circles. Bring up your energy and make your horse really work at this. Now relax your body language, tell your horse “whoa” and rub him on the shoulder. Immediately start to mount again. If your horse starts to move his feet, repeat the tight circles again. You might need to do this three or four times.

Make the wrong thing difficult by moving your horse’s feet.

CHOOSING TO STAND STILL Your horse will begin to make a decision about what is best for him. He can stand still and feel comfortable or he can begin to walk away and have to work. The choice is his. He has all the power. At this point, consistency on your part is very important. If standing still is not important to you every time, it will not be important to your horse at any time. You might also incorporate some kind of routine once you are mounted. Perhaps backing two or three steps and then turning left or right before you ride off. You might ask for lateral flexion to the left and right at the standstill before departing. This will help your horse understand that just because you put your foot in the stirrup doesn’t mean you’re ready to walk away. As a side note – make sure you keep the reins in your hand quiet and still throughout the mounting process. If you’re fussing and adjusting your reins while mounting, you’re sending signals down to your horse that might cause him to move off. Also, consider how balanced and athletic you are when you’re getting on. Are you dragging yourself up onto the saddle and pulling your horse off balance? Horseback riding is an athletic endeavor and we should do our best to be smooth and balanced in all our maneuvers. Set a high standard and be consistent. You’ll find your horse will rise to the challenge and be a partner you can count on. 62

Equine Wellness

The right behavior is standing still.

Richard Winters has dedicated himself to honing his horsemanship skills, and passing this knowledge on to others, for over 35 years. His horsemanship journey has earned him Colt Starting and Horse Showing Championship titles. He obtained his goal of a World Championship in the National Reined Cow Horse Association 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. He has returned as the Horseman’s Host for five consecutive years. Richard was also a Top Five Finalist at the Cowboy Dressage World Finals in 2015. wintersranch.com

Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness