V12I5 (Oct/Nov 2017)

Page 1


LIKE A HORSE How she eats is as important as what she eats.


HORSE CARE: A new look at the industry standard




How to check



Rescued from a kill pen through a case of mistaken identity, Swayze hits his stride as VIP Ambassador at Sky Dog Sanctuary

Natural horsemanship:

Teaching your horse how to TIE VOLUME 12 ISSUE 5




$5.95 USA/Canada

October/November 2017

EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness

October/November 2017 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Lindsay Day EDITOR: Ann Brightman STAFF WRITER: Emily Watson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Kathleen Atkinson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Sylvia Flegg SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT: Brad Vader SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: Maddie Maillet DIGITAL MEDIA SPECIALIST: Theresa Gannon COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Clare Staples-Read COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cathy Alinovi, DVM Laura Batts Melanie Falls Cindy Gendron Susan Guran Amy Hayek, DVM, MA, CVA, CVC Margot Neuman Sherri Pennanen Kathleen Prasad Karen Rohlf Karen Scholl Amy Snow Anna Twinney Richard Winters ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Susan Smith SUBMISSIONS Please email all editorial material to Lindsay Day, Editor, at Lindsay@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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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: Clare Staples-Read

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: September 2017.

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

When he first arrived at Sky Dog Sanctuary in Oregon after being rescued from a Colorado kill pen, Swayze was sick, weak and emaciated. In fact, he almost didn’t make it. But thanks to the care and loving treatment he received at the sanctuary, he eventually blossomed into the healthy and happy horse pictured on our cover. Turn to page 24 to read Swayze’s full story. Equine Wellness


Conte 23



Your horse’s health depends not only on what he eats, but how he eats!


Being tied doesn’t come naturally to horses, but it’s an essential skill for them to learn.


35 STRINGHALT IN HORSES The underlying causes of stringhalt remain poorly understood. A whole horse perspective can offer insight into better understanding and addressing this mysterious condition.


This therapeutic program uses equine-assisted activities to help military veterans find peace of mind.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a loved horse. Honoring his memory through ceremony, art or keepsake is a meaningful way to celebrate his life.




We are often faced with conflicting information, especially if we enjoy training and advancing in equine sports, yet also want to keep our horses in a more natural way.

From a kill pen in Colorado to VIP at Sky Dog Sanctuary, Swayze is a remarkable horse who is finding his stride.


It can be a powerful way to help horses dealing with trauma. Learn how to create a Reiki Space to promote healing.



A bounding pulse in your horse’s digital artery can be a warning sign of pain or inflammation in the hoof. Learn how to find and assess his digital pulse. 4

Equine Wellness

48 HOMEOPATHY FOR EQUINE SKIN CONDITIONS When selecting homeopathic remedies for your horse’s skin conditions, deciphering the nature of his symptoms is key.



Adopting a rescue might not change the world, but it can make a world of difference to the horse you bring home. Here’s how to find the right match.


A horse may be “retired” for any number of reasons. When it’s time to bring him back, it’s important to ensure he is ready, both physically and mentally.


6 Editorial

8 Neighborhood news

29 Product picks 47 Heads up

18 Acupressure at-a-glance

50 Equine Wellness resource guide

23 Herb blurb

60 Marketplace

28 Minute horsemanship

61 Classifieds

55 Green acres

62 Events

58 To the rescue



CMYK / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

CMYK / .ai

Facebook Like us /EquineWellnessMagazine Twitter @ EquineWellness Instagram EquineWellness

Equine Wellness



Giving I


’ve always believed that horses make us better people, and the world a better place. Whatever their role in our lives, horses have so much to give us. They can teach us about ourselves, and about trust and partnership. They can be a source of healing, comfort and freedom. They can show us how to be present and to listen with our bodies, minds and hearts. In return for all our horses offer us, there is a lot we can do to help make the world a better place for them too. With its focus on rescue and rehabilitation, that’s a large part of what this issue is all about. Whether for a horse we call our own, or others less fortunate and in need, there are many ways we can give back -- from ensuring the best care possible for their health and healing, to supporting a local rescue through volunteering, making a donation, or fostering or adopting a horse. If adoption is something you are considering, Cindy Gendron provides valuable advice on finding the right rescue on page 52. Our cover story (page 24) features the story of a special horse named Swayze, who was rescued by Sky Dog Sanctuary. With a 9,000-acre oasis for rescued

Mustangs, Sky Dog is working to raise the profile of these wild horses and create greater awareness about what they are facing across the Western US. On page 20, Margot Neuman, founder of the Fearless Victory Project, shares how mustangs are helping veterans overcome military trauma and find peace of mind. When it comes to the care we provide for our own horses, this issue also has a lot to offer. Karen Rohlf takes an insightful look at how we can improve the industry standard on page 40; Susan Guran discusses homeopathy for equine skin conditions on page 48; and Kathleen Prasad offers guidance in creating a Reiki Space for healing trauma in horses (page 30). If you have a horse that is returning to work after an extended period of time off, Karen Scholl talks strategy for ensuring a safe and smooth transition on page 56. In addition, you can learn about taking your horse’s digital pulse (page 44), teaching him to tie (page 14), and the biomechanics behind feeding horses from the ground (page 10). There are many ways we can give back to the equine partners that give so much to us. I hope you enjoy the ideas and insights our writers bring to the pages of this issue! Naturally,

Lindsay Day 6

Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness


goes to equine rescues NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS

OVER $100K

Celebrations were held by 173 different groups across 38 states, and the winners were selected based on event creativity and their success in engaging local communities. “Help a Horse Day illustrates how much can be accomplished when communities and advocates come together to make the most of their ideas, efforts and resources,” says Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. Twelve equine rescues have been awarded grants, thanks to this year’s Help a Horse Day competition, held by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in April. Now in its fourth year, the day is celebrated with nationwide events that encourage equine rescues and sanctuaries to raise awareness about the lifesaving work they do for at-risk horses.

This year’s events included open houses, education and volunteer programs, free gelding clinics, scavenger hunts and Facebook Live segments to promote equine adoption. Grant recipients included grand prize winner TheraPony of California, as well as Days End Farm Horse Rescue Inc. of Maryland, recognized for their innovative use of social media to increase awareness about equine adoption.


comes to the US

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in England recently launched a graduate diploma program in equine locomotor research. This unique course provides farriers with the necessary skill set to produce original research, increase the evidence base behind farriery, and enhance equine welfare. Following a successful inaugural year, the program will be open to farriers in the US beginning in 2018. The course will be delivered via webinars and podcasts, with face-to-face weekend learning sessions at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. Dr. Renate Weller, one of the professors leading the course, is enthusiastic about its potential. “As an equine clinician, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of farriery in the prevention and treatment of lameness in horses. And as a researcher, I am excited to be able to work with people who have the practical experience and knowledge to generate scientific evidence for farriery strategies”.

8 Equine Wellness


horse ownership

The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) has published several new educational documents for both first-time and current horse owners.

“Buying a horse or pony is a big decision,” says UHC Director Ashley Furst. “We want prospective owners to do the necessary research before purchasing a horse, and felt these short handouts would be helpful in getting started on the journey to horse ownership. We also wanted to educate current horse owners a little more on what their options are should they find themselves no longer able to care for their horses.” Handout topics include: • Is horse ownership right for me? • Alternatives to buying a horse • Questions to ask when rehoming a horse • Basic horse care: shelter and nutrition • Preventative health care The documents are available at: unwantedhorsecoalition.org/own-responsibly-beforeyou-buy/.


Przewalski’s horses

While the habitat of wild horses in the Gobi Desert has hardly changed over the past century, their diet has – mainly as a consequence of human influence.

Historically, Przewalski’s horses were seen as pasture competitors and were hunted for food. Using tail hair analysis, researchers from the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine found that these horses ate a mixed diet of grass in the summer and less nutritious bushes in the winter. Because the best grazing land was reserved for domestic sheep and cattle, access to good pasture was difficult for wild horses during the winter. After nearly going extinct, however, Przewalski’s horses in the Gobi are today fully protected and even revered. Thanks to this shift in societal attitude, these horses now have access to richer pastures and grazing land. Whereas they used to be chased into less productive habitats, they now eat high quality grass year-round.


in the Senate

We’re a step closer to ending horse slaughter. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 113/S. 1706) was introduced in the Senate on August 3. This legislation, which is supported by both the HSUS and the ASPCA, would prevent the horse slaughter industry from establishing operations in the US, and would prohibit the export of live horses for processing in countries outside the US, including Canada and Mexico. The bill was introduced by Senators Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Susan Collins, R-Maine. The House companion bill (H.R. 113), introduced earlier this year, already has approximately 150 co-sponsors.

Equine Wellness


EATING LIKE A HORSE Your horse’s health depends not only on what he eats, but how he eats! By Amy Hayek, DVM, MA, CVA, CVC


often think of horses as the whales of the prairie. Whales are the largest of mammals, yet they eat tiny fish and krill in order to stay alive. Horses are among the largest land animals in North America, yet they eat tiny blades of grass – millions of tiny blades of grass, every day. And these tiny blades of grass are what best nourish them.

Horses chew with hypsodental molar teeth (teeth that continually erupt). In fact, these teeth require the stimulation of chewing in order to erupt in a normal fashion. The incisors (front teeth) are large and used for grasping, biting, ripping and keeping food inside the mouth. Horses also have canine teeth, which evolved for fighting, but these can interfere with eating when they become too long.

Horses are designed to eat little and often, and a grass based diet is the cornerstone of a healthy feeding program. In addition to what we feed our horses, it’s important to consider how we feed them too.

Before the horse’s incisors grasp and rip foliage, his nose needs to detect food choices. Then the lips must sort the food. If the nose is not working because it isn’t lowered long enough to drain any inflammation, the horse may make improper food choices.

HOW HORSES EAT AND CHEW As prey animals, horses are gatherers. They use their mouths and jaws primarily for eating, and only occasionally for fighting. They tend to have smaller mouth openings than predatory animals, and have lips that are capable of grasping and moving food into their mouths. Drinking is usually done in a sucking manner, using the lips and tongue. 10

Equine Wellness

As soon as food is apprehended, the molar teeth begin grinding. In order for this to happen, the tongue must position the food correctly for efficient grinding and appropriate swallowing. Even though the incisors are not directly involved in grinding food, they are still important for efficient chewing. If they are unbalanced or unevenly worn, the food is not ground

efficiently and digestion is inhibited. Overbites or underbites can also affect how efficiently a horse can eat.


For the horse, eating happens while he is standing, so that he’s ready to flee if necessary. Eating while standing, with the head lowered to the ground, is a natural process for the horse. Eating with his head raised above shoulder height takes additional effort, and this can fatigue the extensor muscles in his neck. The weight of the horse’s head and neck (the spine is heavy, too) is an anatomical feature he must overcome when raising his head for long periods of time. Chewing is made possible through the coordination of many muscles and physiologic systems (that also allow for breathing, swallowing and salivary secretions). This requires a great orchestration of neural input, while at the same time cells are accumulating waste products as they work towards lifting the weight of the horse’s head. Without sufficient stretching and movement, the extensor muscles in the neck retain their metabolic waste products for a longer period, and can become sore. Giraffes eat with their heads extended upward, but they have a mechanism built into their neck muscles that allows for a reduction of waste products from these tissues. A giraffe’s head is also lighter than a horse’s, which allows for better stamina and no fatigue in the neck muscles. The sheer size of the giraffe’s heart and lungs accommodates this adaptation and allows for better pumping of waste materials from the head and neck. The horse, on the other hand, is not equipped in the same way for eating with his head up.

TEETH AND CHEWING The horse’s teeth are also affected by the position of his head when he eats. When he eats off the ground, he is able to grind all his molars equally because his lower jaw slides forward slightly and the teeth furthest back engage with the teeth above them. When horses eat with their heads raised too high, the jaw doesn’t slide forward and the last tooth does not grind, creating a long, sharp hook that later impedes jaw motion. When the jaw doesn’t move forward, the temporomandibular joint (the hinge joint) becomes painful. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) provides important sensory information to the brain related to balance and equilibrium. When this joint is painful, this sensory input becomes altered. A horse with a sore or restricted TMJ may become clumsy, tired and could be more easily injured. Continued on page 12. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 11.

Movement is life. Without movement, the brain and spinal cord don’t receive the information they need from the body in order to determine its relationship to the earth. Lack of movement also creates a hard time for the nervous system, which needs to be nourished by the fluid that surrounds it to stay healthy. When a horse moves his body, the brain and nervous system send signals to the rest of the body. These signals are important for all sorts of digestive functions, such as making stomach acids to digest food, moving ingested foods through the bowel, and absorbing nutrients from the food along with water. When an animal doesn’t move enough, not only do some of the muscles become weak, but the brain and nervous system also become less attuned to incoming information and communication.

Photo courtesy of Amy Hayek.


Horses who eat from raised hay nets often require more dental care. We recommend having their teeth checked every three to six months to look for and correct any irregular wear before it changes the sensory input for too long. These horses may also require more food or more frequent changes in feed because they don’t chew their food very efficiently. How the food is chewed determines how it is digested, and influences how the gastrointestinal (GI) tract moves, how acid is released in the stomach, and many other coordinated functions that go along with eating.

Eating while standing, with the head lowered to the ground, is a natural process for the horse. Eating with his head raised above shoulder height takes additional effort and can fatigue neck muscles.

SPINE Subluxations in the neck and back of the spine can be caused by arrhythmic chewing. These horses may show hind end lameness, and loss of muscle along the longisimus and intersegmental regions of the back. These subluxations can be on the same side as the dental issue, or on the opposite side depending on how the horse is using his jaw. Often, resolving the dental issue will begin to resolve the subluxation associated with it. Abnormal behaviors exhibited while eating are often caused by poor jaw movement. These might include dropping food, or eating with the head titled to one side. An AVCA certified animal chiropractor can help identify and address issues caused by spinal subluxations and imbalances in the horse’s jaw. Amy Hayek is a veterinarian and writer for many equine health magazines. She practices in Meridian, TX with her husband, Dr. Bill Ormston, and shares her education and experience with doctors through teaching at the premier online school for Animal Chiropractic, Animal Chiropractic Education Source. Find an AVCA certified doctor in your area and learn more about how your horse can be healthy at Animalchiropracticeducation.com and Allcreatureseveryspine.com, the website for her clinic. Join her on Facebook at @animalchiroaces.

12 Equine Equine Wellness Wellness

Equine Wellness




TIE By Anna Twinney

Being tied doesn’t come naturally to horses, but it’s an essential skill for them to learn.


here are many situations in which it’s important for your horse to tie well. It could be for the vet or farrier, at a show or event, or perhaps while you are grooming and tacking up. While it may seem simple enough, your horse may have quite a different perspective.

may learn fairly easily to accept being tied, others may have had experiences where they’ve broken their halters, hitching posts or worse, and have subsequently developed a phobia to tying. The good news is that no matter what his age, any horse can be taught what is expected of him if you use a kind and patient manner.

As prey animals, horses have a strong inborn desire to flee in the face of perceived danger. When a horse is tied, he can’t respond in this way. For the uninitiated or fearful horse, this can set off alarm bells and send him into a state of frantic panic, particularly if there is no breaking point or release in sight.


It is also important to recognize that horses are innately “into pressure” beings and – by their very nature – they lean into the point of pressure. This leads a horse to lean into you when you press on his flank, rump or other part of his body; or to raise his head high when asked to follow the feel of the lead rope. Without any support, or formal trust-based training, it is unlikely a horse will automatically take to being tied. While some horses 14

Equine Wellness

There are a number of things you can teach and practice with your horse to help prepare him for being able to tie well. By taking the time to do this work and approaching the task in an open, empathetic and supportive manner, you can create powerful and lasting results while avoiding mistakes or gaps in training that will require fixing later.

PRESSURE AND RELEASE One key to training your horse to tie well is teaching him to yield to pressure in situations that are stress-free, before introducing him to stressful scenarios. The first rule is to never attempt to tie without first exploring your horse’s knowledge of pressure and release.

Some simple yet essential exercises to prepare for tying include: • • • •

Light touch head drops Neck stretches and yields following the feel of the line Forward and back rocking horse steps Altering gait and speed while leading

As the exercises build on one another, make sure to create times for your horse to feel somewhat restricted while being given a chance to find a way out using collaborative communication.

DESENSITIZATION EXERCISES Once your horse fully understands how to get himself out of trouble by coming forward towards the pressure, it is time to introduce him to some surprises. It’s easy to teach him to tie when everything is calm, but you would be remiss if you didn’t prepare him for the unexpected, and provide him with appropriate coping skills for those stressful or startling moments.

Before tying a horse anywhere, integrate some in-hand, spook-busting methods: • Desensitize to scary objects and items • Desensitize to startling and unusual sounds • Graduate to an in-hand obstacle course of higher learning

BUILDING CONFIDENCE Another key to successfully training your horse to tie is to address the emotional and mental factors that create a “non-tying horse” to begin with. Training is essential to building the horse’s confidence in both himself and you, and will allow you to create a trust-based partnership. This can be done over time as your horse learns to come into himself more, leave the herd behind, explore and venture off campus, and experience a multitude of environments and situations. Once he has a good foundation of confidence, you can gradually introduce him to new locations and scenarios, and increase the stimuli that will trigger fears, such as a fear of isolation. Soon, fear will be replaced with the understanding that he is safe, even when you are asking him to be restricted or isolated for a time.

TRAINING YOUR HORSE TO TIE The simplest way to begin is to loop the line over a hitching post to create some resistance, and hold it in your hand while grooming! This way, the horse does not hit a rigid line and panic, which could put both of you at risk for bodily harm. Instead, your horse will be able to feel the give while at the same time making a pleasant association with tying through mindful grooming. This same looping method applies while teaching the horse to tie at a trailer, wash rack or other location, keeping in mind the

Looping the line around a fence or hitching post and holding it while grooming will ensure that your horse does not hit a rigid line and panic while he is learning to tie.

Equine Wellness


Pressure and release exercises to prepare your horse for tying


2 3 4

LIGHT TOUCH HEAD DROPS Apply light pressure with your thumb and index finger (think holding an egg) to encourage your horse to drop his head. This kind and gentle approach teaches him to choose coming off pressure and relaxing his head. FORWARD AND BACK ROCKING HORSE STEPS Using only the line and pressure on the halter (no body language), ask your horse to back up and then come forward, repeatedly, creating a “rocking” motion. Through experiential learning, this teaches your horse to be light on the line and respond to lighter and lighter pressure on the halter. NECK STRETCHES AND YIELDS FOLLOWING THE FEEL OF THE LINE While standing at your horse’s shoulder, encourage her to follow the feel of the line, and create a 900 stretch for her neck. This helps you to evaluate and maintain the suppleness of your horse’s neck, and teaches her to come off pressure while building trust. ALTERING GAIT AND SPEED WHILE LEADING Lead your horse through different gaits and speeds. This final step confirms that your horse understands and responds to the subtleties of the pressure on the halter.

necessity for excellent footing and surrounding safety. Naturally, the horse finds himself in a pressure/release situation and you may decide to include food as a reward to enhance the situation while expediting the lesson. You may also want to introduce the quick release knot, popular around the world. It gives a similar sense of resistance but still gives you a chance to release the horse should he panic. Some equestrians swear by the tradition of tying to a piece of string or bailing twine on a tie-ring to ensure breakaway. Although some believe that horses can learn their own strength by snapping these strings, and that you should never allow them to break away, I have seen it save lives. While this tradition remains prevalent, its popularity is being overridden by the blocker tie ring, which provides soft resistance and safe tying without using knots. If all else fails and your horse is truly phobic, you may decide to ground-tie him by simply teaching him to stand still when the attached lead rope is placed on the ground close by. It’s a pretty easy “trick” to start with and moves effortlessly into all you do when you ask your horse to stand!


Equine Wellness

Neck yield exercises can help teach your horse to follow the feel of the line.

WORK WITH, NOT AGAINST, YOUR HORSE From decades of experience worldwide, I have witnessed many approaches and seen some horrendous tying styles, ranging from snubbing posts through solitary standing stalls. Although it is customary for trainers to state that their methods work, these harmful and sometimes even cruel training styles simply aren’t necessary, and reflect a fear-based, dominance style of training. Remember that teaching your horse to tie goes beyond simply seeking a place for him to stand and wait – it is an introduction to the concepts of patience, respect, focus and a time to process. The bottom line is to recognize that tying is not something that comes “naturally” to a horse. Choosing a style of training that supports and works with your horse’s mind, and encourages trust, not dominance, will help him find success with being tied, and will create fewer issues down the road.

Anna Twinney is an International Equine Linguist, Clinician, Natural Horsewoman, Animal Communicator and Holy-Fire Reiki Master. She is recognized around the world for her unique and highly effective trust-based training methodologies. Through her unique perspectives and methodologies she teaches her students how to work exclusively in the horse’s language and create a true partnership between horse and human. For more information visit reachouttohorses.com.

Equine Wellness


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


PART OF A TEAM APPROACH TO EQUINE REHABILITATION Injury, disease and surgery can all lead a horse to rehabilitation. Wounds, soft tissue damage, lameness, nerve damage, atrophy and paralysis require immediate assessment and professional intervention. It takes a team of healthcare providers, and a range of therapies such as acupressure, to help restore such a horse to his optimal level of performance. The holistic side of equine rehabilitation has come a long way over the past 20 years. The services and training offered at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Colorado State University, and Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine School can attest to the great strides being made in taking an integrative approach towards rehabilitation. These schools provide an expanding range of therapies that go beyond current conventional medical technology, and include hyperbaric oxygen therapy, physical therapy, hydrotherapy, chiropractic, electrical stimulation, conditioning and acupuncture.

stimulating energy. Horses are highly sensitive to touch; think of how they can ward off flies before they even land.

ACUPRESSURE SESSION FOR REHABILITATION Rehabilitation healthcare protocols address the horse’s specific condition. A professional acupressurist would work with the healthcare team and make an assessment based on Chinese medicine techniques, selecting meridians and acupoints to address the horse’s current condition. However, even without a specific

As your horse’s owner and guardian, you can also join his rehab healthcare team. Along with providing the important ingredient of TLC, and following your holistic veterinarian’s recommendations, you can support your horse’s healing process by sharing an acupressure-massage session with him.

ACUPRESSURE-MASSAGE Like acupuncture, acupressure-massage is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has been used to support equine health for thousands of years. The difference between acupressure and acupuncture is that the latter uses needles, while in acupressure we use our hands and arms to stimulate the pools of energy (acupoints) along the body’s meridians. The assessment process and application of Chinese medicine theory is exactly the same for both acupuncture and acupressure. You can easily perform a gentle acupressure-massage session on your horse because it’s non-invasive. The meridians and acupoints flow right beneath the skin, so light touch has a powerful effect at 18

Equine Wellness

Working a Jing-Well acupressure point on the coronary band.

condition, we can employ a general session known to enhance the harmonious flow of energy throughout the horse’s body. By balancing and supporting this flow of energy, you are effectively addressing the physical and emotional issues that come up during the rehabilitation process.

Coronary band/JingWell points




The Jing-Well points are located along the coronary band and above the heel bulb. These points are where the energy of all the meridians “bubbles up” to the surface, making them very powerful when stimulated. Using the soft tip of your thumb, gently press along the circle of the coronary band as well as above the heel bulb, while keeping your opposite hand resting on the horse’s leg. Repeat, circling the coronary band three times on each of his four legs. You can perform this acupressure-massage session every second or third day. By working with these points, you are balancing and increasing the flow of energy throughout your horse’s body, thus supporting his healing process.

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

Equine Wellness


Fearless VICTORY By Margot Neuman

Photos courtesy of Gary Allen.

This program uses equine-assisted therapeutic activities to help veterans find peace of mind.


any therapeutic programs are turning to the healing power of horses to help people who are struggling with physical, mental or emotional issues.

One example is Fearless Victory, which uses partnership with horses as a way to offer veterans the means of overcoming the trauma of war, combat and other military trauma.

WHY ARE HORSES SUCH EFFECTIVE THERAPY ANIMALS? Horses are always attuned to their bodily experiences, and because they are prey animals living in herds, they’re very aware of everything around them – every presence, every mood. Their minds are naturally alert to any changes in the environment. Without deception, pretense, scheming or agenda, horses are simply present and aware. They epitomize heightened consciousness. Their acute sensitivity is hardwired into their being and passed on from one generation to the next. It is what protects them – and it is also what makes them such great teachers and healers. 20

Equine Wellness

Horses can identify and interpret emotions, characteristics and intentions, not just in other animals, but in people too. Within the herd, one horse may lower his blood pressure and respiration, in turn calming the other horses if they have been frightened. Horses can also have a calming effect on veterans. Equineassisted therapy programs like Fearless Victory help veterans relax and shift towards a more peaceful state of being, opening and softening their hearts in the process.

WHERE MINDFULNESS MEETS HORSE THERAPY Fearless Victory is a unique program and therapeutic resource for veterans and their families. It’s a collaboration between the Veterans’ Peace of Mind Project and the Medicine Horse Program, and offers an equine-assisted psychotherapeutic program for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition many veterans live with following experiences of war, combat and other military trauma. The program offers an innovative two-pronged approach that combines mindfulness training and techniques with equine-assisted therapy.

1. Participants first engage in mindfulness-based training and activities. These techniques might include secular sitting meditation, walking, intent listening, and observing sensory sights, sounds and smells. 2. This mindfulness is then brought into equine-related activities such as observing horse behavior, grooming, training and riding horses. For example, a favorite exercise is to sit on a horse with a bareback pad, and with eyes closed, feel the horse’s breathing with your legs. The horse is then led forward, providing a sense of your bodies moving together as a unit. Another favorite is to wrap your arms around the horse to feel his breathing, and even sync your own breath with it; in the winter, this exercise offers the added benefit and comfort of feeling the horse’s body warmth.

MUSTANG RESCUES ARE USED IN THE PROGRAM The horses at Fearless Victory are Mustang rescues. In the US, Mustangs are rounded up by helicopter (a controversial practice, but regarded by many as necessary). They may become separated from their family units while their freedom is lost and their lives forever changed. Veterans find interacting with these horses particularly moving and relevant. The name “Fearless Victory” not only describes the program, but also what it has accomplished. When we rescued a little Mustang filly to be our mascot, she was just four months old, malnourished, sick, and separated from her mother. We weren’t sure she would even live. She became a special project for the veterans, who were given the responsibility of naming her. They wanted her name to reflect meditation as well as the military. For meditation, they chose the name “Fearless” because of the courage it takes to begin working with the problems that have plagued them for so long. For the military, they chose the name “Victory” because our filly rescue overcame her trauma and survived. For the next several years, Fearless Victory was the veterans’ pride and joy. They played a large role in her training. She grew to be strong and beautiful, was very trusting, and completely happy to be with humans.

About three years later, we felt it was time to rescue another mustang as a special project for the veterans. We took a field trip to the prison in Canon City, Colorado, where Mustangs are kept when they’re rounded up. The prison inmates take care of the horses, and tame some to varying extents. It’s a highly sought-after job in the prison, the privilege of which is lost if an inmate cannot control his anger. Needless to say, this is a very effective means of emotional regulation. For the sum of $125 each, we purchased two six-month-old colts. Again, it was time for the veterans to choose names for their new mascots, and again they chose names signifying meditation and the military. To reflect the evolution of their journey to peace, the veterans named the little black pony Quiet Valor, and the bay colt Gentle Warrior. Even though the veterans didn’t have much past experience with horses, the program’s mindfulness-in-action activities revolved around them helping the young horses overcome their fear of humans and to gain trust. This, in and of itself, is beneficial mind training for trauma.

HEALING FOR VETERANS For seven years, the Fearless Victory program has been offered to veterans free of charge. We have helped Vietnam vets, Gulf War vets, and Afghanistan vets, as well as veterans who are victims of military sexual trauma. Most, if not all, have little prior experience with horses, so the moment they are introduced to the Mustangs is very special to them. • On one occasion, a young man arrived in a particularly bad mood. He recognized immediately that he would have to change his state of mind in order to work with the horses, and was surprised to find that he was able to do it, right then and there. • Another time, an Afghanistan vet got on a horse and was asked to practice mindfulness while paying attention to the horse’s breathing as well as his own. “It’s beautiful!” he exclaimed, indicating that it was an intensely visceral experience, and one that felt especially powerful for him.

Equine Wellness


mindfuln ess

How does help people dealing with trauma? A number of studies have revealed the value of mindfulness for reducing stress, and improving health and emotional well-being. The simple practice of grounding yourself in the present moment using mindfulness techniques allows you to develop emotional steadiness instead of reactivity, and to release the struggle with conflicted thoughts and feelings. Working with horses is a powerful way to accomplish being present – physically, emotionally and psychologically.

• A marine who has been deployed to Iraq several times, beginning in 2003, and who is also a licensed social worker at the Veterans Administration, said that Fearless Victory is a wonderful program because: “You don’t have to talk about anything unless you want to, but it’s still healing.” • Some veterans have remained in the program for the entire seven years, so we’ve been able to witness some remarkable changes in them. One female soldier commented again and again that it has changed her life. From the moment she first received meditation instruction, she sensed that a very different approach to her life was at hand. She came to love the horses, and each week came out at least half an hour early so she could visit them all, especially “our boys” Valor and Warrior. • Recently, a Vietnam-era vet joined our group. He suffered from depression and anxiety, along with a lot of survivor’s guilt. But the second he was with the horses, he was almost overwhelmed with lightness. “When I arrived today, I was really down, and now I feel completely better,” he said. “I feel cheerful. I don’t want to leave.” He adds that he feels this change every single time he is with the horses. Programs like Fearless Victory create a therapeutic community that addresses the wounds of war and other military trauma, with the invaluable and priceless assistance of horses. Veterans acquire new tools for working with their mental states in a supportive and healthy environment, thereby cultivating the seeds for inner peace.

Margot Neuman is the Executive Director of Veteran’s Peace of Mind Project, providing mindfulness training for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Together with the Medicine Horse Program, she developed Fearless Victory, a program for veterans. Mindfulnesspeaceproject.org 22

Equine Wellness


HERB BLURB By Melanie Falls


This delicious, lemony member of the mint family is a hardy perennial and a gem of an herb for our equine partners. Easy to grow, easy to prepare, and highly palatable to horses, lemon balm is a top herb to add to your horse’s diet. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is one of the most popular herbs in history, with references to its use for medicinal purposes dating as far back as the first century. It is known best for its calming properties and is often mixed with valerian and chamomile in herbal concoctions for calming the nerves. Its benefits result from its impacts on the physical manifestations of stress, such as gas and muscle pain.

PLANT PARTS AND USES The leaves of lemon balm are where most of the plant’s medicinal properties are found. You can make a tea from the fresh or dried leaves, or a tincture or ointment depending on what you’re using it for. The small flowers that appear on this herb have the added benefit of attracting bees. Lemon balm is also an effective mosquito repellent; crush up some leaves and rub the scent over your skin and your horse’s to ward off these pesky insects. Lemon balm offers lots of good reasons to be in your garden, ranging from its medicinal properties to its environmental benefits!

MOST COMMON USES FOR HORSES Horses often will eat fresh lemon balm leaves, as most of them find this herb very palatable and attractive. Lemon balm is known for its anti-spasmodic effects on muscle pains and stomach contractions, making it ideal for horses exposed to high-stress environments, such as a performance horse or one on stall rest due to an injury. The best way to feed for these issues is by giving the horse fresh or dried leaves, or a tea or tincture poured over grain or forage pellets.

However, please note that thyroid dysfunction in horses is notoriously difficult to diagnose, so please consult with a veterinarian first. Lastly, lemon balm has antiviral and antihistamine properties that make it very useful as an elixir to support immune function, or as a salve to heal summer skin irritations such as insect bites and stings. Mix a tincture or tea with healing clay for an effective salve, or feed a tea or tincture to help with illness recovery.

HOME GROWN Growing lemon balm in your yard is relatively straightforward, but like its mint cousins, it can be invasive, so it requires some pruning and trimming to keep it healthy and under control. Plant in well-mulched soil in an area with sufficient light and some shade during the day, to keep it healthy and prevent takeover. Lemon balm grows in clumps and spreads by growing from the original planting, and via seeds dropped by its flowers. In more temperate areas, the plant will die off by early winter but will re-grow in the spring. You can grow lemon balm from seeds or stem cuttings.

Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, having healed her own horse, 23-year-old Desario,

Additionally, this herb may have the power to normalize with natural methods. She writes articles for various equine publications and online blogs and is the owner of metabolic issues arising from hyperthyroidism in horses. Whole Equine, an online store featuring a large catalog of top quality all-natural horse care products including supplements, fly sprays, first aid, and much freeequine nutritional consultations to allblogs her customers Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, having healed her own horse, 21-year-old Desario, with natural methods. Melanie writesmore. articlesSheforoffers various publications and online and is the Lemon thefeaturing production ofof thyroid hormones and is including passionatesupplements, about improving the lives andand health our large four-legged friends. consultations wholeequine.com, ownerbalm of Wholecan Equine,reduce an online store a large catalog top quality, all-natural horse care products fly sprays, first aid muchofmore. She offers free nutritional to all info@wholeequine.com, 844-946-5378 844-946-5378 customers is passionate aboutassociated improving the liveswith and healthhyperthyroidism. of our large four-legged friends. wholeequine.com, info@wholeequine.com, and her ease theandsymptoms Equine Wellness


Photos courtesy of Clare Staples-Read




JOURNEY From a kill pen in Colorado to VIP at Sky Dog Sanctuary, Swayze is finding his stride.


By Lindsay Day

lare Staples-Read is originally from England, but it’s American Mustangs she’s dedicated to saving. “When I was young I used to watch this television show called Champion the Wonder Horse, about a wild Mustang and his band of horses,” says Clare of the show that first introduced her to the iconic American breed. But it wasn’t until she moved to the US later in life that she became aware of the significant struggles these wild horses now face. 24

Equine Wellness


Today, Clare is the president and founder of Sky Dog Sanctuary in Oregon, an organization committed to helping at-risk Mustangs from across the country – those that have ended up in kill pens, at auctions, or that have been neglected or abused. Yet not all the equine residents at Sky Dog are Mustangs, and that’s where a remarkable horse named Swayze and his friends comes in.



Clare first learned of Swayze when someone tagged her in a Facebook post last fall. All Mustangs that have been removed from public lands by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have a unique freeze brand on the left side of their necks, a marking easily identified by the white hair that grows over it. Yet in Swayze’s case it was harder to tell, recalls Clare. There were two horses in the photos from the Colorado kill pen, and with winter on the way their hair was growing in longer. They both also had white necks. Given assurances that these horses were indeed Mustangs, Clare decided to take a chance and bring them both home. There was something else Clare noticed about the photos – in each picture of Swayze, she could catch a glimpse of what appeared to be a donkey. “You’d see the leg of a donkey standing behind him, or an ear poking out, or a donkey’s tail,” she says. “In the end I called the lady at the kill pen and asked ‘Do you have any donkeys on the lot?’ She said, ‘Yeah, we have two.’” Since Sky Dog was sending a four-horse trailer to Colorado anyway, Clare decided to bring the donkeys back to the sanctuary with the two horses, who turned out not to be Mustangs after all. “It was one rescue but we managed to save four animals,” she says. The two donkeys, affectionately named Jack and Lady Betty (a jack and an old jenny, respectively) are inseparable and have remained at Sky Dog ranch. Unbeknownst to Clare, the mare who came with Swayze, named Pricilla, was pregnant. She gave birth to a healthy foal in the months following her arrival at Sky Dog.



Sky Dog Sanctuary has locations in Malibu and Calabasas, California, as well as a 9,000-acre ranch near Bend, Oregon, which offers an expansive natural habitat for the at-risk Mustangs. The sanctuary also aims to: •D emonstrate that wild horses can co-exist on the open range in ecological balance with many species of wildlife, and demonstrate how to best manage land to increase its carrying capacity and reverse range degradation. •P rovide a place of refuge, healing and peace for veteran volunteers as well as people in recovery who are actively working 12-step programs. How you can help: Sky Dog welcomes donations, which can be made via their website. Donations go directly to help save at-risk Mustangs and to pay for hay, feed, vet and farrier costs. People can also sponsor a Mustang on a monthly basis. For those local to one of Sky Dog’s locations, volunteering can be a fulfilling way to experience Mustang horses in a beautiful and tranquil environment.

Clare credits Swayze with saving them all – but given the weak and emaciated state he was in when he left the kill pen, he almost didn’t make it himself.

A HARROWING JOURNEY HOME As the trailer carrying Swayze, Pricilla, and the two donkeys passed through Wyoming, about an hour into their journey from the kill pen, Clare got an urgent call from her hauler. Swayze had gone down in the trailer, and looked as if he might not survive the trip. Continued on page 26.

Equine Wellness


THE CURRENT STATE AND FATE OF AMERICAN MUSTANGS • The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for the protection and management of Mustangs on public lands under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act. •P ubic lands managed by the BLM have multiple competing uses including recreation, mining, forestry, grazing for livestock and providing habitat for other wildlife. Roughly eight times more public grazing land in the US is currently authorized for privately owned livestock compared to free-roaming Mustangs and burros. •W ild Mustang populations are growing at a rate of 15% to 20% per year, and because grazing lands can only support a finite number of animals in a healthy state, the BLM engages in population control measures to limit the number of freeroaming horses on public lands. •H elicopter roundups – the BLM’s primary method of herd management and population control – are used to capture and remove horses from rangelands. The Mustangs are then auctioned, adopted, or transferred to long-term holding facilities. An estimated 45,000 free-roaming horses and burros are currently in these holding facilities. Such practices are widely considered unsustainable, and for many unethical. •H orse welfare and Mustang advocacy groups are also exerting pressure for more humane approaches. Strategies advocated include the use of fertility control methods, developing ecotourism, raising the profile of American Mustangs and seeking a better balance of rangeland allocation between Mustangs and livestock grazing.


Equine Wellness

Continued from page 25. In Malibu at the time, Clare immediately began Googling vets. Thankfully, she was able to locate a vet who treated Swayze with electrolytes and fluids. Regaining some strength, he was given the green light to travel, and the group continued on their way. But Swayze wasn’t in the clear yet. The veterinarian who tended to him in Wyoming found cancerous melanoma tumors around his tail, and when Swayze and Pricilla arrived at Sky Dog ranch, they both came down with strangles. They were strictly quarantined and treated for three weeks until they tested negative for this highly contagious respiratory illness. The team at Sky Dog then began the slow process of bringing Swayze back up to a healthy weight. Because winter was closing in, he was kept inside at night and blanketed during colder temperatures, since he didn’t yet have the body condition to keep himself warm.

VIP TREATMENT Estimated to be somewhere in his mid-20s, Swayze has since blossomed into a strong and magnificent horse. “There is something super special about Swayze,” says Clare. “He kind of looks like a Spanish horse. He has a ranch brand on him, and you can tell he was a really solid ranch horse. If you go to put a halter on him, for example, he just stands there and drops his head.” He is also incredibly striking, she adds. “Strangely, no matter whether we get mud, rain or snow, he stays the most sparkling white color. It’s kind of bizarre – he’s like some kind of weird self-cleaning horse!” Swayze remains a hard keeper and gets extra feedings to keep him in good form. Because stress can cause him to drop weight, Clare found him a suitable companion, an older Mustang named Read who has overcome some challenges of his own. Acquired from an Oklahoma kill pen, Read has an old halter wound that left a section of his nasal passages completely open and exposed. “He’s as resilient and as much

of a fighter as Swayze is,” says Clare, adding that the two make an odd but happy couple. “It’s like each of them thinks the other is in need of being taken care of.”

AWARENESS AND ADVOCACY Education is an important part of the mission at Sky Dog. “At some point, I’m just going to be another full sanctuary that reaches its limit of how many horses it can take. But I feel if I can raise awareness and educate people so they understand the issues facing Mustangs, that will help far more horses than I can ever help in my lifetime.” Sky Dog Sanctuary encourages prospective horse owners to adopt Mustangs directly from the BLM, via Internet adoptions, prison auctions, or from BLM holding pens. By showcasing the stories of the rescued Mustangs at the Sanctuary, and providing members of the public opportunities to meet them, Sky Dog aims to provide living proof of how special and valuable wild American Mustangs are.


Swayze and his friend Read, a Mustang with an old halter wound, share a pasture together at Sky Dog Sanctuary.

Though Sky Dog is a sanctuary for Mustangs, Clare is incredibly thankful to have Swayze, along with Pricilla, her foal, and the donkeys Jack and Lady Betty. “Sometimes I look at them and I think, none of you are supposed to be here”. But Clare says she doesn’t believe in coincidences. “Somehow, for whatever reason, they were listed as Mustangs, and for whatever reason the donkeys stood in those pictures. Today Swayze and his friend Read live in a pasture that wraps part way around Clare’s ranch house on the Oregon property. Though he may be an unlikely ambassador for a Mustang sanctuary, it’s a role Swayze seems to be taking in stride.

Equine Wellness






ith horsemanship, it is often the little things that make a big difference. Here’s a short list of some apparently insignificant things great horsemen and women do by second nature. Some might seem inconsequential. But when you put them together with 995 other ideas that might also seem inconsequential, they can collectively make a major difference in your training program.

Take time to hesitate. Sometimes when you do nothing, 4/ you really are doing something. After negotiating obstacles or performing any maneuver, stop and wait in those exact tracks for a few moments. This is a great way for your horse to mentally digest what has transpired, and allows him to stay quiet and relaxed during a training session.

atch a spooky horse with the horse in mind. Have your Allow your horse to cool down both physically and 1/ Chalter 5/ mentally and lead rope organized in your hand before you after a training session. When I was young, I approach him. A touchy colt might not hang around long enough for you to get your halter and lead untangled and organized. ake cinching up your horse a gradual two- or three-step 2/ Mprocedure. Cinching too tightly too soon can, at best, create a crabby horse with his ears pinned, and at worst, cause him to become cinch-bound. This can result in the horse pulling back from the rail, falling, flipping over backward, or doing other things you don’t want to have happen. oosen your reins. Often, riders sit casually with slight 3/ Ltension on their horse’s reins. When you’ve completed a maneuver, drill or exercise, and your horse is standing still, make sure the reins are loosely draped. Otherwise, he might begin to pull on your hands and try to create slack. That only stiffens and dulls the feeling in your horse’s face; in other words, his response to your bit.


Equine Wellness

worked for a horseman who had a very specific routine for his performance horses. He devoted an hour to each horse. He spent 20 minutes in warm-up, 20 minutes in serious training, and 20 minutes in cool-down. You don’t need to follow that exact regimen, but the underlying principle is important. You’re not riding a machine. Allow your horse to relax and cool down after a workout to help keep his mind right, and his attitude fresh and pleasant. Okay…only 995 more little things left to set you apart from just the average horseback rider! These subtle, sometimes seemingly insignificant things can truly make a big difference in your horsemanship journey.

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


Nibblenet hay bags are the top choice among veterinarians and equine hospitals. The custom woven webbing is the toughest yet softest available. Having built custom yacht canvas for over 40 years, the makers of NibbleNet know the best and toughest materials. Everything is high quality and built to last. With over 30 styles and sizes to choose from, NibbleNet hay bags can accommodate everything from one flake to a 50 lb bale! Ground Feeders are available too! Proudly built in the USA.

Endoscopy reveals that nearly 90% of examined racehorses and performance horses have gastric ulcers. Slippery elm powder soothes inflammation of the stomach, bowel and intestinal tract. Beneficial for horses with ulcers and colitis (IBD) and assists in the healing of irritation and ulceration of the stomach – safely and without the side effects commonly associated with traditional medications. We are proud to offer only the finest organic pesticide- and chemical-free slippery elm powder available.

NibbleNet.com 772.463.8493






NATURAL HORSE CARE MADE EASY Launched in 2013, Whole Equine is an online store featuring a large catalog of top quality all-natural horse care products, inspired by the healing of the owner’s horse, Desario. Whole Equine carefully selects its products based on confidence in the manufacturer, proven effectiveness, and ingredient type and quality. For more information, visit wholeequine.com, call us at (866) 946-5378 for a free consultation, or email us at info@wholeequine.com.

Red Brand’s Keepsafe V-Mesh and 2”x4” Non-Climb Horse Fence are designed for the utmost in safety and security. In fact, Red Brand is recognized worldwide by horse owners, farm managers, breeders and veterinarians as the very safest for horses. To learn more or to locate a dealer near you, visit redbrand.com


Wholeequine.com 866.946.5378 Equine Wellness



for equine trauma

How to create a Reiki Space to help heal the traumatized horse.


lmost all horsepeople need to help their equine partners get through some kind of trauma. It might be a horse rescued from a difficult situation, or perhaps he has experienced some other ordeal such as surgery or a long rehabilitation from injury. Trauma in horses can show itself in many ways, such as hyper-sensitivity, distractedness, anxiety or even aggression. Reiki can be a powerful way of dealing with trauma in horses, because it’s healing the origins of the issue, rather than just treating the symptoms.

A MEDITATIVE APPROACH Although we may think of Reiki as a hands-on healing modality, this is only true with humans. Animal Reiki treatments look very different. For animals, Reiki is a meditative practice that nurtures heart-to-heart connections. True healing starts where our hearts connect. Because of its gentle approach, in which animals lead each session and no physical contact is required, Reiki is ideal for helping even the most sensitive horses heal from trauma. Some horses may choose hands-on contact during the meditation practice, but others may not. The healing does not come from physical contact, nor does it come from our focus on what’s wrong. It comes from a much deeper place, beyond our conscious awareness: the place of heart connections. 30

Equine Wellness

Photo courtesy of Lexie Cataldo

By Kathleen Prasad

THE REIKI SPACE Through Reiki meditation, when we connect heart to heart, we can experience a deep sense of peace and well-being, from which joy will naturally arise. Our horses will be drawn to this beautiful space. I like to call this joyful place of heart-to-heart connection with a horse we love – a place where he can heal himself – the Reiki Space. The Reiki Space is an inner sanctuary of comfort and happiness, where your horse’s body, mind and emotions can restoratively align. It is a place created through compassionate connection through meditation. It is alive with the presence of HERE and NOW, and where trauma loses its power, because it is simply dust of the past. The Reiki Precepts (see sidebar on opposite page) offer guidance on how we can create this space with, and for, our horses. The precepts remind us to stop and breathe, listen without judgment, and look deeply into the heart of things. Rather than simply reacting from an emotional state, we learn to harness our inner power of mindful presence. The more we stay mindful of these precepts, the more we can begin to experience a deeper and more balanced way in the world. Radiating this beautiful mindfulness can transform and relieve the suffering of the horses we love.

The Reiki Precepts These precepts are the central teachings of the Reiki system.

Just for today: ✔ Do not anger ✔ Do not worry ✔ Be grateful ✔ Practice diligently ✔ Show compassion to yourself and others MINDFULNESS AND THE REIKI PRECEPTS The Reiki precepts “Do not anger” and “Do not worry” point to the power of staying in the present moment. When we are angry or worried about something that happened to a horse, our energy is unsettled and it becomes very difficult (if not impossible) to be right here, right now. Our thoughts may begin to focus solely on what may have happened to cause the horse’s trauma. In this way, without meaning to, we might begin to identify the horse with what is “wrong”, rather than focusing on the positive. This can generate a snowball effect of emotions within us – including anger, worry, bitterness, helplessness, and so on. The horse will sense this within us, and therefore, connecting with him becomes difficult. Sometimes it’s too painful for us to observe traumatic behaviors, so we might try to ignore them or just “power through” whatever sensitivities or anxieties the horse is showing us. In doing so, we are avoiding the unpleasantness of the present moment and not listening to or honoring the horse’s experience and feelings. The horse can sense this and may shut down or not want to connect with us. Our own emotional reactivity, whether it’s anger, worry or avoidance, creates an energy that is very out of balance and ungrounded (like a whirlwind). It doesn’t help our horses at all. The more we can be stable and calm for our horses, the easier it is for us to help them shift back into a balanced, peaceful space.

ACCEPTANCE, GRATITUDE AND LOVING-KINDNESS Reiki meditation can help us take the time to ground ourselves, and stop focusing on the negative or avoiding what’s difficult, so that we can just “be” with our horses. This way, we honor them and give them the space to express their feelings, without us trying to avoid, fix or change the problem. This kind of mindful presence is a powerful way to reassure your horse that everything is okay, and that you are here at this moment, whatever it looks like, even if it’s difficult. Accepting your horse completely and without judgment, even when she is not feeling her best, is a powerful healing attitude; she will feel your relaxed, open heart and be drawn to it. When your acceptance of the horse comes from a place of peace – without anger or worry – it’s very contagious, and your horse will derive a great deal of strength and comfort from your presence. Just try it, and notice how your inner positive attitude has a positive outer ripple effect on your horse! Continued on page 32. Equine Wellness


Photos courtesy of Kathleen Prasad

Reiki grounding breath practice Helping our horses heal with Reiki simply begins with awareness. Our greatest healing power lies not in what we can do to our horses, but rather in how we are when we are with them. When your horse starts to show signs of anxiety, distraction or extreme sensitivity to a situation, don’t ignore it or try to push through it. Start by reciting the Reiki Precepts three times. Next, practice this Reiki breathing exercise. Give your horse some physical space and freedom to move (do not hold or cross-tie him). Breathe in through your nose, filling your body with each inhale all the way to your belly. On each exhale, imagine your breath can slowly expand out through your body, filling the space around you with peace. Feel as if you have roots growing down into the earth, grounding you and keeping you stable. Keep your mind focused on your breath (breathing in all the way to your belly, breathing out and expanding) and your roots, rather than on the horse’s trauma behavior or any anger or worries about the past. Invite your horse to connect with you physically, from a distance, or not at all. Simply breathe and be here in this moment. Notice how your horse responds, and accept it all with gratitude and love. Continue this grounding breath for several minutes. When you are ready to finish, recite the Reiki Precepts three times again, and thank your horse for connecting to you in this moment. If you find this meditation helpful, consider taking an animal Reiki course to learn even more tools to assist your horse. 32

Equine Wellness

Continued from page 31. The third Reiki precept, “Be grateful”, holds a key to opening the door to true acceptance, which can help us stay positive. Even the most difficult moments in our lives shape us, help us grow, and make us who we are. If we look through eyes of gratitude, we can see the best qualities of a horse, even in the midst of a challenge: for example, his strength at getting through trauma, his courage in moving forward (at whatever pace he can), and the depth of his forgiveness, compassion, love and joy, despite certain moments of anxiety or distraction. Sometimes, we want so much to help our horses that it can be very difficult in tough moments to let go of anger and worry and find gratitude. This is why the fourth Reiki precept is to “Practice diligently”. Through daily Reiki meditation, we can practice creating a beautiful Reiki Space of calmness. “Reiki time” with our horses becomes an important healing time, where we can stop all the “doing” and just “be” together. It is a time to open our hearts and connect with loving-kindness. The more we practice, the easier it becomes! The healing power of being rather than doing is extremely strong, for there is no greater healing power than compassion! Continued on page 34.

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 32. This leads us to the fifth and final Reiki precept: “Be compassionate to yourself and others”. Compassion is really about loving-kindness – a way of living that is mindful, relaxed and full of gratitude. By practicing the first four precepts, you will learn how to face difficult moments with more compassion.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR Indications that Reiki is working include signs of connection or relaxation, such as peaceful grazing, licking and chewing, sighing or yawning, becoming drowsy or falling asleep. Even small observable shifts from anxiety to peace indicate big shifts on the inside of your horse! Be patient, as it may take time for him to heal from his trauma. Simply breathe, practice listening, and be present with kindness for your horse. No trauma is so deep that it cannot healed by the power of love, and this is the real Reiki Space that heart-to-heart connection develops within us.

Affectionately called the “godmother” of the Animal Reiki movement, Kathleen Prasad is the global leader in the profession. She is founder of Animal Reiki Source, which offers the world’s first extensive and specialized curriculum and training program in Animal Reiki. She is also co-founder and president of the Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA), the first nonprofit of its kind, promoting the use of Reiki meditation in animal shelters, sanctuaries and rescues worldwide. She authored the Animal Reiki Practitioner Code of Ethics, and has written several influential books in the field. Visit Kathleen online at AnimalReikiSource.com.


Equine Wellness

Stringhalt in horses:

A holistic approach to treatment and care By Cathy Alinovi, DVM

The underlying causes of stringhalt remain poorly understood. A whole horse perspective can offer insight into better understanding and addressing this mysterious condition.

“Stringhalt” is a motor disease of the rear

limbs in horses. Affected horses rapidly jerk one or both hind limbs in full flexion up toward the abdomen. For the horse owner who has never seen this condition before, it can be quite startling. Soundness is a concern because the spastic movements make riding difficult; in fact, stringhalt can end a performance horse’s career if it cannot be corrected.

TYPES OF STRINGHALT There are two forms of stringhalt – the Australian form and the Classic form. The Australian form is a bit of a misnomer; while the toxic plant that causes it (Hypochaeris radiata, a form of flat weed also known as false dandelion) is commonly found in Australia, it can also be found in other parts of the world, including the United States. (False dandelion has also been reported in New Zealand and South America.) Positive identification of the toxic plants, along with removing the horse from exposure to said plants, usually leads to a disappearance of clinical signs, given time.

The second, more common Classical form of stringhalt has no known underlying cause. The condition is believed to be due to a degeneration of nerves to the lateral digital extensor (LDE) tendon. However, the question remains whether the nerve degeneration starts locally at the lumbar spinal cord, or further forward in either the head or the neck.

MUSCLE MALFUNCTIONS Presumed deterioration of the nerves to the LDE results in spastic movements of the rear limb(s), resulting in stringhalt. Unfortunately, while it’s known that the LDE muscles are involved in stringhalt, the exact mechanism of spasticity is not known, and the current best “treatment” is to surgically transect (cut) these muscles. Future “treatment” possibilities include injection of “Botox” (botulinum toxin) into the affected neuromuscular unit, offering the same kind of result as transecting the muscle. Before one considers transecting the LDE of the affected limb(s), it helps to understand the function of the muscle. Despite its name, the LDE is actually involved in the flexion of the hock Equine Wellness


joint. The LDE works in conjunction with a number of other muscles that together make up the reciprocal apparatus in the hind limb – when the hock flexes, the stifle automatically flexes too. In a horse with stringhalt, the entire leg is forced ballistically toward the abdomen due to this interrelationship between the rear leg muscles. A secondary function of the LDE is to help laterally stabilize the hock joint. Transection of the LDE can result in lateral instability in the horse’s hind limb. This resultant instability can lead to breakdown of the hock joint, especially if both limbs are affected and both are surgically treated.

THE SCIATIC NERVE Though uncommon, some cases of stringhalt have been caused by medical intervention. Rarely, local or epidural anesthesia can result in interference with nerve signals to the LDE, such that the horse develops a case of stringhalt. Regardless of whether it is an idiosyncratic reaction to anesthetic, or direct contact of anesthetic with a nerve root, the result is the same – spastic movement of the affected rear limb. This unfortunate side effect of epidural anesthesia can give some insight into a potential mechanism behind stringhalt, and therefore, how it may be treated. In an epidural, the sciatic nerve, along with many others, is blocked. The sciatic nerve is made of components from the last three lumbar and first three sacral nerve segments. Each of these nerve branches leaves the spinal canal at their respective vertebral segments – lower lumbar and sacral vertebral – then they join together to form the sciatic nerve. Therefore, dysfunction at any of these spinal cord levels can impact the sciatic nerve, which in turn branches into other nerves that connect to the LDE. For this reason, a well-performed chiropractic adjustment with concentrated focus placed on the sacrum and lower lumbar segments may benefit stringhalt horses tremendously. (Acupuncture and massage can also help.)

NECK ISSUES AND STRINGHALT Research indicates that horses with cervical arthrosis (essentially arthritis in the neck) are more likely to have stringhalt. Normal nervous system function includes inhibiting information sent to the limbs from higher up the spinal cord. This inhibition dampens the spastic movement associated with stringhalt. Recall the examination in which a doctor taps on the human subject’s knee (the patellar tendon) with a reflex hammer – the normal response is a small “kick” from the lower leg. This response is dampened in a well-functioning nervous system. In subjects with deficient descending inhibition, the patellar reflex will be quite pronounced, almost ballistic. Thus, we have another possible way to explain stringhalt – interference with descending, inhibitory information from the cervical spine region. 36

Equine Wellness

CHIROPRACTIC, ACUPUNCTURE AND MASSAGE CAN HELP THE HORSE WITH STRINGHALT IN A NUMBER OF WAYS: 1. Restoring/maintaining balance and motion at the hock joint will help the LDE function more appropriately and assist with balance in those horses with transected LDEs.

2. Innervation to the LDE comes from the tibial nerve branch of the sciatic

nerve. The sciatic nerve travels through the lumbar and sacral vertebrae from the spinal cord. Therefore, chiropractic adjustment of the lower lumbar vertebrae and sacrum may be most beneficial. (Anecdotally, some practitioners have seen the best improvement by focusing on the affected horse’s sacrum.)

3. The third way occurs at the neck level. As discussed in this article, there

may be a correlation between cervical arthrosis and stringhalt. Restoring motion at the neck may be crucial for helping the stringhalt horse by supporting optimal nerve function that allows for dampening signals to reach the hock/LDE and reduce spastic movements. Chiropractic, acupuncture and massage are all excellent modalities to restore motion in the cervical spine (once it is determined there are no other concurrent cervical conditions).

NUTRITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS The positive response some horses have to adjunctive nutritional treatment suggests another potential cause of the condition. Many horses with stringhalt show some degree of improvement when supplemented with B vitamins and vitamin E, which can help stabilize nerve membranes. A healthy cecum and diet of fresh grass should normally result in plentiful B vitamin production for the normal healthy horse. Vitamin E is plentiful in seeds, and flax seed-based supplements may be quite beneficial. The implication for the stringhalt horse that improves when fed vitamin supplements and fresh pasture is that diet can be related to nerve function; vitamins and minerals (balanced appropriately) are crucial to a properly functioning nervous system.

A HOLISTIC APPROACH The horse with stringhalt will benefit from a natural diet and bodywork. Taken as a whole, input to the nervous system affects the entire body, including the brain. By providing the best nutrition (fresh grass, wholesome B vitamins and vitamin E), and balancing the body with chiropractic, acupuncture and massage, the brain will work at its best and thus help the body work at its best. As discussed above, a natural, fresh grass diet contains nerve-supportive biologicals – these will be anti-inflammatory and protect the nerves. While stringhalt does not have one clear cause or explanation, nor one clear-cut treatment, there is hope for the affected horse through excellent food/nutrition and body balancing care – be it chiropractic, acupuncture, massage or another movementrestoring modality. Dr. Cathy Alinovi is a retired holistic veterinarian, animal lover, frequent media guest and nationally celebrated author. She is quickly gaining national recognition for her integrative approach to animal health. After graduating from veterinary school, she realized conventional medicine did not meet enough of her patients’ needs, and became certified in Animal Chiropractic, Veterinary Acupuncture and other alternative modalities. While in practice, Dr. Cathy treated 80% of what walked in the door – not with expensive prescriptions, but with adequate nutrition. Now retired from private practice, she spends her time writing and helping pet owners feed their animals the best food for best health. DrCathyVet.com

Equine Wellness





It’s never easy to lose a much-loved horse. But honoring his memory through ceremony, art or other keepsake can be a meaningful way to celebrate his life and the relationship you shared. This article covers some simple options and ideas.



Equine artists can work from photos of your horse to create a commissioned painting or drawing. Different portrait sizes, styles and framing choices will typically present a range of pricing options. With artwork, you have the freedom to choose the painting’s background, and could also opt to have other horses or companion animals included in the picture. If you have quality photos of your horse, you can simply have the images enlarged and framed for display in your home.

Sculptures can be made from a variety of materials such as cast bronze, wood or clay. Raku pottery uses your horse’s hair to create a special and unique piece of art. Hair placed on the molded clay before it goes into the kiln leaves interesting patterns that become incorporated into the sculpture.


Equine Wellness

JEWELRY There are many artists who can work with your horse’s hair to create beautiful pieces of jewelry. Bracelets made with tail hair are most popular, and are a special way of keeping your horse near. There are a range of designs and styles available. You could also have your horse’s name or initials engraved on a ring or pendant.


SPECIAL GATHERING A memorial service, wake, or other gathering with friends and family can be a special way to honor, remember and celebrate your horse’s life. Share stories, memories, tears and laughter as you come together to say goodbye and give thanks for all your horse has given you and those who have been a part of his or her life.

MEMORY BOARD OR BOX With photos, ribbons and other special items you can create a collage in a large picture frame or put them together in a shadow box with your horse’s picture on the front. Items to include might be registration papers, a lock of hair, your horse’s halter or lead rope, a shoe (if he wore them), or any other keepsake from your time together.

4 Micro to Square Nets 1” + 1.5” In Regular & Heavy Duty 1/2” In Regular only

4 Round Nets 4 Lg Sq Nets 4 EZ Feeder Kits Regular & Heavy Duty -1” + 1.5”

• Contain the hay • Eliminate waste • Healthy Horse = Happy Owner Contact us on FaceBook via “Messenger” 1-780-387-3331 • 1-844-326-6387


www.econets.ca PHOTO BOOK Thanks to digital photography, it is easier than ever to create a book of photos that can be printed and bound. Many print shops have online services that allow you to create a customized book with the photos, text and layout of your choosing.

A MEMORIAL SPACE If you have buried your horse on your property you might mark his grave with a stone or flowers. Even if this is not the case, you can still create a special place of remembrance. Plant a garden with perennial flowers or a tree in his honor, or put a bench with a placard in a favorite spot.

DONATION IN MEMORY Enable your horse’s legacy to live on by making a donation in his or her name to an equine research fund, welfare foundation, or rescue facility. Initiatives like Equine Guelph’s Hoofprints Tribute program allow you to share a photo of your horse and a tribute message on the website.

SPONSOR A CLASS Another option is to sponsor a class at your local horseshow series, or at an event you and your horse often attended. If you and your horse competed over fences, you could also donate a special jump in his or her memory. Equine Wellness


Photos courtesy of Dana Rasmussen.


IT’S TIME TO TAKE A FRESH LOOK AT THE INDUSTRY STANDARD When caring for our horses, we are often faced with conflicting information. This is especially true if we enjoy training and advancing in equine sports, yet also want to keep our horses in a more natural way.

Students wanting to know how to take care of their horses look to the leaders in a particular sport. However, what you often see there is a model for a training business, not a model for optimal horse care. It’s time to take a fresh look at our industry standard in order to better serve our horses, and reduce the confusion amateur horse owners often feel. Professionals need to be models not only of their sport-specific techniques, but also of dedication to the living creatures that serve them so well.

THE TRAINING BUSINESS MODEL A typical professional training-based facility often looks like this: the horses are in stalls with solid walls. There is minimal (if any) turnout. When horses do go out, they are often put individually in small paddocks. Having shoes is the norm, and is often the default as soon as a horse is of riding age. As someone who spent a couple of decades training and competing out of a facility like this, let me say: I get it. I understand the logic. If your business


Equine Wellness

involves individual lessons or horse training, you have to fit as many horses as possible on the property in order to make ends meet. Many horses come in for short periods; there is no time for them to acclimatize to a herd setting, and often they have never been in a herd. Horses are expensive and no one wants to see them get kicked by other horses, especially when they are all wearing shoes. Decisions at these facilities are based on “protecting” the horses. The tendency is to want to enclose them in “bubble wrap”. These barns may have high quality grain, supplements, worldclass veterinarians, farriers, and cutting edge sports medicine. They may be very safe places in the sense they are well maintained. Yet they are lacking something horses really want: ample opportunity to move, a forage-based diet, socialization with other horses, and healthy feet kept free from shoes unless absolutely necessary. Training facilities like these are a necessary and hopefully temporary compromise. But they should not be the model for ideal horse management. We need to keep track of the bigger picture of our horses’ lives (see my article in the May/June 2017 issue of Equine Wellness, called “Keeping a whole-horse perspective in sport specific training”). When facilities like the ones described above are the industry standard, situations like the following can occur. A student purchases a beautiful young horse and a beautiful property with beautiful fields and a barn. She brings her horse home and puts him in a stall where he stands by himself all day. Just like he did at the training barn.

A PERPETUAL CYCLE It may seem as if horses need to be kept like this. For example: • Horses not used to turnout can go a bit crazy when first released. It’s scary, so they get brought in, only to perpetuate the cycle. If the horse injures himself in turnout, the turnout itself is blamed, rather than the fact that he may have been standing in a stall for 23 hours before going out. • Other horses may seem to “desperately want to come in” after only a short period of turnout. People see this as evidence that the horse “prefers his stall”. In the majority of the cases, however, I see it as evidence of human-caused insecurity arising from the horse not spending enough time outside. • Horses that have never had exposure to herd situations don’t have social skills and will therefore seem “unable” to go out with others. This also needs to be seen as aberrant, not normal, behavior. • Many horse’s feet become unhealthy, weak and under-run when in shoes. If the shoes do come off, they are sore. This is seen as evidence that horses need shoes, rather than as a consequence of wearing shoes. Continued on page 42.

We want to protect our horses. We just have to be careful that our “bubble wrap” doesn’t end up quietly suffocating them.

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 41.

LET’S LOOK AT SOLUTIONS FOR OWNERS Horse owners need to understand their horses’ natural and basic needs – a safe, calm, comfortable environment that offers them the opportunity to move 24/7; socialization with other horses; variety; a forage-based diet; and regular hoof trimming – with shoes or boots added only as necessary. Owners need to be confident, adamant and proud about providing these things to their horses, and not think this lifestyle is only “second best” to a fancy stall in a fancy barn. If you have horses kept at training facilities or boarding stables as described in this article, just know there are always others choices you can make. Perhaps the facility does not have to be your horse’s permanent year-round home. Perhaps there is some way you can acclimate him to turnout. Perhaps there is some way to allow him some variety, play and socialization with other horses.

FOR PROFESSIONALS The average professional also needs to understand the horse’s natural and basic needs, and to see his/her management style for what it is – a necessary and temporary compromise that comes from the current business model. You probably can’t suddenly throw all your clients’ horses out in a field together, but even just thinking of the horse’s whole life experience may inspire some changes. If horses were shoed only for an absolutely necessary reason, rather than at a certain age, then they could be turned out in a group without worrying about the risk a horse with hind shoes could pose to others in the herd. Additionally, the cost of letting horses keep each other company may be lower than the cost of vet bills stemming from the stress horses experience when they’re kept in stalls. There may also be cost benefits to keeping horses in pastures rather than stalls. You can also change the business model. You can move beyond the model that says you have to pack as many horses and students onto your property as possible. You can move away from a “work an hour to get paid for an hour” model and serve clients on a deeper level that leverages your time. With more time and space in your business, horses enjoy a healthier lifestyle, students become empowered, and you enjoy a better lifestyle too. (I will cover this in my next article: “Empowered teaching and learning”.)

OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO THE HORSE Students look to the professionals in their field to be the models of what is best, which means professionals have a huge responsibility. It’s true, horses don’t write the checks, but it is to them that we are ultimately responsible. We owe our horses that. 42 Equine Wellness

Professionals need to be models not only of their sport-specific techniques, but also of dedication to the living creatures that serve them so well.

Keeping horses in our crazy human world is always a compromise. All we can do is our best. We want to protect our horses. We just have to be careful that our “bubble wrap” doesn’t end up quietly suffocating them. The reality is that simply pulling a horse’s shoes and throwing him into a herd situation could be disastrous. Most horses will need good management while making the transition. There are no simple or quick answers, but the horse industry needs to have this conversation. Perhaps the best way to start is by simply asking our horses: How could I do a little better?

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

Equine Wellness




By Sherri Pennanen our horse is lame or unwell. You call your farrier or vet, and one of the questions he asks is, “How are the digital pulses?” Do you know the answer? Assessing your horse’s digital pulses is not a difficult skill, but it can be confusing because you will hear all kinds of ways to check and measure them. In addition, if digital pulses are normal, they can be hard to find! In other words, you may not be missing anything. However, being able to monitor your horse’s digital pulses – and knowing what is normal and abnormal – is an important health care and management tool that can provide valuable insight in the face of lameness or other health concerns.

localized problem, like an abscess or a bruise in response to an injury. It may accompany lameness or tenderness. The horse may stand with little weight on the affected limb. The hoof wall may feel warm.



Digital pulses are a reflection of the blood flow to the hooves. If all is well, the pulses can be a bit difficult to detect. But if there is any inflammation in the hoof, or a backup of blood because of inflammation, the pulses will feel unusually strong because it’s harder for the blood to pass into the blood vessels below. These strong pulses are said to be “bounding”. This doesn’t mean an increase in pulse rate, but in the strength of the pulsations you feel. Generally, an increased pulse in one hoof can indicate a 44

Equine Wellness

If you find stronger or bounding pulses in two or four hooves, laminitis is a possibility. In fact, bounding digital pulses and hoof pain are often the first signs of laminitis. The horse may shift his weight from foot to foot, or lie down more than normal. He may have a fever, though he may not. He may have a history of exposure to rich grass or other dietary stimulant.

Digital pulses can be felt on the lower leg of your horse in the fetlock and pastern area. The pulse comes from the blood flowing through the artery to the hoof. The artery will pulse with each beat of your horse’s heart. There are four places you can check the digital pulse in your horse’s lower leg. If you know the anatomy of the lower leg, it helps. But let’s try to make it simple.


There are two easy-to-find grooves in each lower limb above the fetlock joint. The first is between the cannon bone and the suspensory ligament. The second lies between the suspensory ligament and the flexor tendons, which run down the back of the lower leg.

Once in the pastern area, you will see and feel the extensor branches of the suspensory ligament reach from either side the fetlock down towards the front of the hoof, on a diagonal. The vein, artery and nerve travel in the groove behind these firm ligament structures, representing the third possible area where you can feel the digital pulse.


The vein, artery and nerve run together in the space between the suspensory ligament and the flexor tendons (the second groove). So if you find the big “chord” in the middle of the two grooves (i.e. the suspensory ligament), slide your fingers toward the tail of the horse and you should find the artery.





TOWARDS THE BACK OF THE FETLOCK Once the vein, artery and nerve pass through this area, they next move down over the back of the fetlock joint into the pastern area. As the digital artery crosses over the back and towards the side of the fetlock, you may also be able to feel the pulse at the bulge of the fetlock joint. At this point, the branches of the digital artery are close to the surface and may be easy to feel.

MID PASTERN Finally, you may be able to feel the pulse about three finger widths above the coronary band, just below the suspensory ligament hollow of the pastern area. A good time to find out where you can most easily feel your horse’ digital pulses is when he is well and having no issues. Try all four locations. Don’t be worried if you have trouble finding the pulse. As noted, pulses that are normal are more difficult to find. When feeling for the pulse, try different pressures. If you press too lightly you may not be able to detect a pulse. With too much pressure, you may restrict the blood flow and therefore the pulse. Continued on page 46.

Equine Wellness







• Practice taking digital pulses on all four legs of your horse when he is well and offering no signs of illness or lameness.

• Experiment with the four locations described in the article to see which works best for you. • If your horse exhibits lameness to a degree that causes you concern, call your vet. • An unusually strong digital pulse in one leg may indicate an abscess or bruise. • An unusually strong digital pulse in multiple legs may indicate early laminitis; prompt treatment can improve your horse’s prognosis.

A horse’s digital pulse is a refl ection of the blood fl owing to the hoof through the digital artery.

Continued from page 45. To assess your horse, be sure to check the digital pulse on each leg. This will allow you to notice any differences between limbs, which could indicate a potential issue or at least something to keep an eye on. This is why it is important to check your horse’s digital pulses when he is well, so you will know what the normal pulse in your horse feels like. Keep in mind that some variation is normal. I recommend checking during grooming or when you pick your horse’s feet out.

THE WHOLE PICTURE You can think of your horse’s digital pulses as a piece of a bigger picture. Before reacting to strong or bounding digital pulses, it is important to consider his condition as a whole. Does he appear ill, lame or in distress? How is he standing? Is there any history of injury? Does he have a fever? Are there any obvious signs of trauma? These are important things to report when you call your vet or farrier. If the only thing you notice is a stronger pulse, it’s most likely a normal variation due to exercise, hot weather, or some other factor. Sherri Pennanen of Better Be Barefoot is a veteran natural trim farrier serving western New York and southern Ontario. She offers balanced barefoot trims, lameness evaluations, and holistic/rehabilitation services on her farm (betterbebarefoot.com).


Equine Wellness

Back on Track offers two Back Brace models to suit your specific needs: the Regular and Double Layer. Made with Therapeutic Welltex® material, these braces provide support and compression where needed, and can help manage pain, increase mobility, and assist with recovery from injury. Try with a 30-day money back guarantee!



Eaglewood Equestrian Supplies is definitely not your average tack store. With a full online store and showroom, they offer products for Dressage, Hunter, Jumper, Endurance, Trekking, Western and Gaited disciplines. Find products here that you won’t see in local stores, including handpicked high quality items from Europe, the US and Canada.


Purica Equine H.A. is a high potency hyaluronic acid product that also features high levels of vitamin C, and a small dose of tasty fiber. Many maintenancedose H.A. products include 100 mg, with higher-dose products providing 200 mg to 300 mg. Purica Equine H.A. offers great value with 300 mg of H.A. and 7,000 mg vitamin C. Available in 30 and 90-day supplies.


GOING NATURAL WITH BITLESS BRIDLES Has tacking up got you down? Is your horse’s mouth ever open when you ride? Is he putting his tongue over or under the bit, or out the side of his mouth? Is he avoiding rein contact, going behind the vertical, or heavy on the forehand? Going bitless can help. Explore the options at nurturalhorse.com.




Stay warm this fall with the Contender Jacket by Cinch. It features durable 7.5 oz. cotton canvas with water resistant finish, fleece lining, adjustable cuffs and dual concealed carry holster rigs that accommodate both left and right handed shooters. Concealed side entry zippers, magazine holder and numerous exterior and interior pockets keep you organized.




Are you looking for 100% organic herbal nutrition products for your horse? From a seasonal immune booster to daily nutrition, Galcier Peak Holistics has you covered. For those inevitable “boo-boos”, they also offer a herbal formula for pain and relaxation, an anti-inflammatory, and a topical for minor wounds and skin rashes.


GlacierPeakHolistics.com Equine Wellness



for equine skin conditions By Susan Guran

When selecting homeopathic remedies for your horse’s skin conditions, deciphering the nature of his symptoms is key.


onventional medical treatments are disease-based. Homeopathic treatments are symptom-based. This difference in approach can make choosing homeopathic remedies seem confusing. And with issues related to your horse’s skin, the differences between remedies can be subtle indeed! For instance, there is no single remedy for hives because hives can present with a wide range of qualities. In order to set them apart from each other, we need to pay attention to how symptoms are aggravated or relieved, what the overriding

They are soothed by cold, such as cool air, cold bathing and uncovering. The “keynote” qualities to look for in this remedy are burning, stinging pains, swelling and hard welts.

qualities of the remedy are, and the horse’s behavior.

Arsenicum Album – Arsenic trioxide

HIVES, STINGS, BITES AND SWELLINGS Apis Mellifluca – Honey bee poison

Apis is useful for the itching and swelling reactions caused by insect bites and stings, scorpion stings, and spider or snake bites, particularly when there is rapid swelling that produces hard welts. Apis can also be used to treat hives and swellings of other origins. These eruptions are sore and sensitive and the skin is dry and hot, often forming dry scaly scabs. Apis skin issues are characterized by burning, stinging and intolerable itching. They can be sensitive to the slightest touch, though the horse may find many opportunities to rub and itch, sometimes abrading the skin to a point where it becomes visible through the coat. When this happens, the skin will appear shiny. Apis reactions are aggravated by heat, touch and pressure. 48

Equine Wellness

The horse who is hardworking and willing, as well as “bossy”, will have a tendency to these types of swellings. These horses will be oversensitive to pressure and very restless and irritable when symptoms are present.

A horse that needs this remedy will present with burning and itching swellings that are similar to Apis; however, these swellings are better with heat, hot applications, and/or warm wraps. Ulcers may form with foul-smelling discharge and the skin may look seared and dry, often leading to hair loss and peeling skin tissue. This horse will be quite restless, seem anxious, and may even tremble. He might also demonstrate a heightened level of fearfulness with an increased tendency to avoid being alone. He may be hungrier and thirstier than usual.

Rhus Tox – Poison ivy This remedy is also useful for hives and skin eruptions with swelling and itching. The skin is bumpy and can look thickened and stiff, as well as dry and scaly. As with Arsenicum, the

symptoms are better with heat. Hot or warm water can relieve itching; cold water will worsen it. You may also notice a marked increase in urination. A “keynote” feature of this remedy, that may or may not be present, is “eruptions forming upon eruptions”. Rhus Tox symptoms are characteristically better with continued motion, so getting the horse moving can offer some relief. Stiffness is a hallmark of this remedy (Rhus Tox is often used for treating arthritis); look for other signs of stiffness and rigidity to help determine if this remedy is appropriate. This horse may seem depressed, with increased irritability and restlessness at night, resulting in morning weariness.

Ledum Palustre – Marsh tea Ledum is classically known for its application in treating and even preventing reactions to insect bites. Look for a general lack of heat in the body, along with wounded parts that are cold. Despite this lack of heat, wounds feel better from cold applications. Ledum is also good for puncture wounds, particularly when the muscles tend to twitch around the wound. Scorpion stings also respond well to Ledum.


Thuja is useful for treating sarcoids, spongy tumors, warts, skin tags, styes, skin eruptions, ringworm, and ailments from vaccinations, including swellings at the injection site. Some of these growths may cause hair to fall out. Thuja can be a successful remedy for treating sarcoids that are wart-like, and also works well for systemic ringworm as well as rain rot.

THE HOMEOPATHIC APPROACH In homeopathy, each horse is viewed as a unique individual. Remedies are selected based on a horse’s specific symptoms, level of health, and behavior. Homeopathy operates under the concept of “like cures like” This means that a substance that may cause certain symptoms can alleviate those same symptoms when given in homeopathically-prepared form. Homeopathy is a complementary therapy, and is not a replacement for veterinary care.

Symptoms in these horses are worse at night, in cold damp weather, and following vaccinations; they are improved with warmth, including warm wrappings, warm air and warm wind. Motion and touch, such as stretching and massage, can bring relief. Thuja is characterized by a sense of “splitting” or duality, in which the personality may seem to encompass both fragility and hardness at once. Look for signs of “splitting” in other places, such as splitting hooves or splitting of the skin. This horse may appear especially weak and “burned out”.

Silicea – Silica, pure flint This remedy is helpful for the nodular type of sarcoid. It is also helpful in treating abcesses, ulcers and boils accompanied by offensive-smelling pus. These injuries tend to fester, and Silicea can be used to prevent infected or septic states. Horses that need Silicea are sensitive to intrusion and tend to move away from those who enter or pass by their stalls. In addition, they will seem notably awkward or clumsy, often stumbling through doorways and across thresholds. Homeopathy can be a helpful approach to giving your horse relief from the symptoms of many skin conditions. Considering the unique nature of your horse and how he experiences his symptoms will help determine the most appropriate remedy.

Susan Guran is a Homeopathic Practitioner and Therapeutic Riding Instructor living and working in Vermont. HomeopathyHorse.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

50 Equine Wellness View the Wellness 50 Equine WellnessResource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com

• 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 50


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 Wellness 5151 Equine

Photo of Dutch. Courtesy of Jenna Elliott.

Horse adoption guide:



By Cindy Gendron

hen you adopt a horse from a rescue, you save two lives – the one you adopt and the horse that takes his place. Being informed about the adoptive process, the rescue facility you work with, and the horse you ultimately choose to take home are all essential to finding a good match, both for you and the horse.

CHOOSING A REPUTABLE RESCUE FACILITY Good equine rescues provide an essential service for horses in need, and are deserving of support. It’s important to recognize that horse rescue facilities are not regulated, so you’ll want to do some homework before choosing to work with an organization. Rescues should be open to visitors, either by appointment or on a schedule. Here some are things to look for:

1. 52

Sound horse care – Although rescues take in horses in poor condition, the majority of the residents should appear in good health, and medical records should be available. Horses should have clean, filled water buckets, pasture or Equine Wellness

hay for grazing, and regularly trimmed feet. There should be adequate housing and pasture space for the number of equines on the property. Sick horses will be quarantined, skinny horses on a feeding plan, and wounds treated.

2. A clean and organized property – At a well-

managed rescue, clutter is under control, manure is managed, fencing is safe and in good repair, hay is stored safely, and a fire prevention plan is in place.

3. Collaboration

– Look for a rescue that works with local law enforcement or the public to rehome or provide sanctuary for horses in need, and that maintains membership in local and/or national coalitions, horse councils, and pertinent organizations. They should have knowledgeable volunteers, and may be active in providing local community programs.

4. Transparency – A rescue facility should be able to

provide contact information for organizational leadership

upon request, and maintain up-to-date charitable or non-profit status in accordance with its structure (e.g. 501(c)(3) IRS status in the USA). Website and social media accounts should be current and provide information about adoptable and adopted horses, fundraising events, or other activities. The rescue should have an appropriate operating budget, financial cushion, and an understanding of resource capacity.

5. C redentials – Equine rescues may be licensed by the state (where applicable), verified or accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, or the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance if eligible. Look for a good BBB rating, and good Charity Navigator and Great Nonprofits ratings (USA).

6. P rofessionalism – A rescue organization should have a good reputation in its community, including with veterinarians, farriers, and other industry professionals. They should not exploit grisly situations or be publicly malicious.

When you adopt from a reputable equine rescue, you have full disclosure on a horse’s health status, level of training and handling, and personality. Unlike sellers motivated by profit, a rescue’s motivation is long-term placement of a horse in a well-matched home. A good rescue organization honestly evaluates its horses and freely provides that information to those considering adoption.

FINDING THE RIGHT HORSE People shouldn’t automatically assume that horses in rescue facilities are physically or emotionally challenged. Many wonderful horses end up in rescues through no fault of their own. Often, the cause lies with the previous owners. Financial hardship, life changes, lack of understanding and commitment, or a poor match between horse and owner can put wonderful horses at risk. The most important factor to consider when choosing to adopt is the level of training of both the horse and human. Inexperienced horses and owners need professional assistance to make sure they start out, and stay, on the right track. Only wellmatched adoptions will break the rescue-rehoming-rescue cycle. Before looking at any horses, adopters should determine what their goals are for horse ownership and honestly evaluate their own ability, and the type of horse they will need, to reach those goals. This will help in determining the appropriate age, breed and skill level of a prospective horse. There are definite advantages to adopting, rather than purchasing a horse. The average time an equine spends in rescue is about one year. This gives the rescue facility plenty of time to evaluate the horse and get to know his personality traits, training level, and physical capabilities. Reputable rescues will allow you to spend as much time with the horse as you need to determine if the match will provide you with a viable partnership. If you already have a trainer, bring him or her along to help you evaluate.

BRINGING YOUR ADOPTED HORSE HOME Before bringing your adopted horse home, make sure you have all the relevant information on any specific nutritional and healthcare needs he may have so you can continue the work the rescue facility began. Remember that any dietary changes should be made gradually. Medical, dental, farrier, and training records should be shared, as well as contact information for the professionals who have seen the horse while he was under the rescue facility’s care. Continued on page 54. Equine Wellness


THE ADOPTION AGREEMENT Photo courtesy of Barbara Fagan Sullivan.

A good adoption agreement is one that protects all interested parties. Most well-written agreements are created with the assistance of an attorney and will include the following elements:

✔ Adoption fee ✔ Whether or not title to the horse passes to the adopter at time of adoption

✔ Responsibility and timeline for transportation to the new home

✔ Requirements for care and veterinary treatment ✔ Reversion of title in the case of inadequate care or ✔ Euthanasia restrictions ✔ Limitations of use ✔ Inspection rights of the adoption facility ✔ A no breeding clause ✔ Release of liability and indemnity agreement ✔ Return policy Make sure you read and understand the contract, especially in regards to responsibility for care and transfer of ownership. Some adoption facilities do not transfer title of the horse to the adoptee, resulting in a long-term free lease type situation.

If you are looking for a companion for your horse, many equine rescues have donkeys, like Tillie and Mae shown above, available for adoption.

Photo courtesy of Tina Phillips

breach of contract, and reclaim procedure

Adopting a rescue horse can be a rewarding and lifechanging experience, as Emma and Jazz, above, can attest.

Continued from page 53. Keep in mind that any horse entering a new environment or learning a new job will go through a transitional period. You will need to be patient and give your adoptee time to adjust to his new life. Establish a routine and stick to it. Get to know your horse in a positive, low-stress environment, emphasizing proper handling and ground manners. While you might be eager to ride, spending time grooming, hand-walking and getting to know each other first will make later training and riding easier. Down the road, if you feel things are not going well, determine if the challenges are stemming from something physical such as poor saddle fit or bullying by established horses. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. You could ask someone from the adopting organization to come out and watch you and your horse interact, or take a few lessons from a professional trainer. Use confidence-builders to give you and your horse the chance to succeed and bond. If you’ve given it your best shot and 54

Equine Wellness

it’s simply not working, most adoption facilities will take a horse back; another advantage of adoption! However, don’t be too quick to give up. Often, the best and most worthwhile relationships are those that have overcome challenges. Adopting a rescue horse can be a rewarding and life-changing experience. It might not change the world, but it can make a world of difference to the horse you bring home and into your life. It can also mean everything to the horse that steps in to fill his place at the rescue.

Cindy Gendron is manager of The Homes for Horses Coalition, a national coalition of equine rescues and sanctuaries supported by the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the Animal Welfare Institute and The Humane Society of the United States’ Jeannie and Jim Dodson Equine Protection Fund. It is dedicated to promoting growth, collaboration and professionalism in the equine rescue and protection community through resources such as webinars and a national conference. Find them online at homesforhorses.org and on Facebook at facebook.com/#!/HomesforHorses. Find out more about the only national conference for horse rescues and sanctuaries at bit.ly/2017horseconference.

GREEN By Laura Batts



cardboard is a good BMP, as these materials are dust-free and easily composted. • Fungal infections are quite common in horses with compromised immune systems, and may be an issue for a rescue horse. A BMP to consider here is using plant-based products rather than harsh chemicals for these infections. The chemicals in some products can add insult to injury as a rescue horse typically cannot tolerate them.

When rescuing an equine, many important aspects of horse-keeping need to be considered. Stabling, nutrition and general healthcare must all be taken into account. Many can be achieved in an eco-friendly way by using Best Management Practices, or BMPs. A rescued horse is not the same as a horse who has been properly cared for all his life. He may have gone without proper nutrition and healthcare for a long time. As a result, his metabolic and digestive systems may be affected. Many rescue horses have compromised immune systems, so it’s important to manage them in a way that goes hand-in-hand with BMPs, for environmentally-conscious horsekeeping. BMPs such as good pasture management, barn safety and design, mud management, and proper nutrition all support the rescue horse’s recovery. • Often, a rescue horse initially needs stabling while you attend to any health issues he might have, so be sure the barn has the BMP of good ventilation. Airflow that offers cross ventilation is best. If your barn doesn’t have good ventilation, consider housing the horse in a small paddock with a run-in shed. • The rescued horse may not have received proper hoof care, and might suffer from founder or other hoof problems. Deep dust-free bedding is a BMP that should be incorporated into your horse-keeping. Typical bedding choices of shavings or sawdust are not always the best options as they can be too dusty. Straw is not a good choice if the horse is starved, as he may try to eat it. Using shredded paper or

• Proper nutrition is paramount to a rescue horse, but any dietary changes must start with a prompt assessment by a knowledgeable veterinarian. In addition, special care must be taken to ease the horse back into health without shocking his system. Usually, the suggested BMP is a fiber-based diet to gradually get the horse back up to a normal weight. Fiber-based diets are what all horses are designed to eat, and will cause the least amount of shock to the rescue’s digestive system. • When the rescue horse is turned out, be sure paddocks are free of mud. This will reduce the chances of bacterial infections and other mud-related issues. Proper mud management is a BMP that should be implemented at every barn for the health of both your horse and the environment. Many common BMPs used for rescue horses are also considered eco-friendly. It’s nice to know we can save a horse and our planet at the same time! Laura Batts is the owner of Horse Hippie, an environmentally-conscious lifestyle brand that embraces horses, Mother Earth and good vibes. HorseHippie.com

Equine Wellness


Bringing your horse


– ensuring a smooth and safe transition

By Karen Scholl


horse may be “retired” from regular activity for any number of reasons. Perhaps the kids have outgrown or lost interest in him. Maybe she was used as a broodmare or companion horse. Our own lives change as well, sometimes leaving us with little time to ride. When the time comes to bring a horse out of retirement, however, we don’t always know how best to go about it. After all, horses are living, breathing, dynamic individuals that grow, age and change just like we do. Rather than assume everything will be the same as it was before, I highly recommend taking the time to make sure a horse coming back from retirement is properly conditioned to resume activity, both physically and mentally.


Think of it this way. If you had an old classic car that had been under a tarp in the barn for years, what would you need to do to get it ready for a daytrip, a week-long road trip, or maybe a crosscountry trip along Route 66? If you want your family to have a safe and enjoyable experience, you’d make sure everything was in good working order before heading out. If you’d driven the car regularly and it was stored for only a few months, it wouldn’t take nearly as long to prepare it than if your grandfather was the last one to drive it back in 1997. When we think of our horses in a similar way, we can get an idea of how to start bringing them back from retirement. Was the horse used extensively for years, demonstrating only confident, reliable behavior in many different situations? Or was he ridden only 30 to 60 days by a trainer who started him under saddle before putting him back out to pasture for a year or more? Another important consideration is an honest evaluation of your own current level of ability, skills and fitness. I emphasize “honest” because we can make a dangerous assumption that our ability, skills and physiology remain the same over long periods of time. If we ride horses regularly, our skills and fitness will be much better than if we take a ten-year break to raise a family or care for elderly parents. 56

Equine Wellness

Additionally, please never succumb to pressure or guilt from those who feel a need to tell you to get out and ride your horse. Horses can live to 30 or 40 years, and when kept in an area they can move around in (i.e. not stalled) with a buddy or two – even a goat, chicken or cat for a friend – they’re perfectly happy staying retired. You, too, are entitled to feel equally happy just hanging out with your equine friend.


Before you begin to bring your horse out of retirement, it’s important to evaluate his current health and condition. It’s not a bad idea to have his teeth checked, his feet shaped up, and to observe each gait for soundness. Keep in mind that physical conditioning should be a gradual process. Taking a horse too far too fast can put him at risk of injury. As you begin to work with your horse, build an understanding from the ground first. Every communication used while riding can, and should, be re-introduced from the ground. The feel of the lead line is the feel from the reins. Pressure from our hands on the horse simulates the pressure from our legs or reins. We can think of ground skills training as “riding from the ground”, and can use this approach to develop trust, respect and understanding before even putting a leg over the horse’s back. For riders that have been out of the saddle for some time, I’d also recommend beginning a regular exercise routine to develop your strength and balance. Even 40 minutes of brisk walking, three times a week, is enough to regain the level of fitness required to be more confident and effective with horses. You can even take your horse with you, practicing your ground skills during your walk, if you feel safe enough to do so.


As your horse makes gains in his physical condition and his ground skills become light and responsive, introduce the saddle as you would for a colt that’s never been saddled. Remember that a cinch can feel confining when unfamiliar, and the age of a horse has nothing to do with how he is going to respond to the

saddle coming back into his life. Do as many preparations as possible to simulate this type of pressure around the cinch area, just as you would before saddling a young colt for the first time. If at this point you no longer feel confident, it may be wise to hire an equine professional to put the first rides on the horse. Professionals regularly ride horses that move in unpredictable directions. Most people are used to one direction – forward – and usually not at every speed. Horses lacking confidence can

SAFETY NOTE As with any approach to shaping horse behavior, safety is the highest priority when bringing a horse out of retirement! I cannot emphasize this enough: if you do not feel confident at any time when attempting the techniques described here, please hire a professional who understands this approach and will take the time to help you and your horse to a stage where you feel confident enough to take over.

go sideways, backward, up and down when they’re confused or uncertain of what is being asked of them. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so consider this option if you feel it would help you reach your goals with your horse. If everything’s going well on the ground and your horse is wearing the saddle with complete confidence and relaxation, try tipping his nose toward you and step halfway up in the saddle – without getting on. See how the horse responds to your weight. Whether he gets bothered or not, get off, relax and go again. Repeat this until your horse becomes familiar with the weight of a rider again. Some people don’t even realize they’re nervous and just climb up and on; then they find out the horse isn’t as confident as he appeared to be. If the horse seems bored with this (a good thing), only then put your leg over, and just relax with him for a minute. Tip his nose to both sides to ensure a relaxed suppleness, then practice disengaging the hindquarters. Common sense would dictate that this beginning work be confined to smaller areas at first, moving to larger areas as confidence and trust is re-established. By taking all these factors into consideration, you can develop an effective strategy for bringing a horse out of retirement with a much greater chance of success. Stay safe, have fun, and take all the time your horse needs to adjust to his changing activity levels.

FURTHER LEARNING The ideas and insights offered in this article provide a good place to start, but if you have an interest in further developing these skills with your horse, I recommend receiving qualified instruction from an individual trained in these techniques. Alternatively, consider the DVDs,

Riding From the Ground and Riding From Above, available through my website.

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

Equine Wellness



DRIFTER’S HEART OF HOPE EQUINE RESCUE Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA240 to Drifter’s Heart of Hope Equine Rescue.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2014 LOCATION: Franktown, CO TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: Around 30 rescue horses call the farm home at any given time, along with a coop of chickens, ducks, and a few bunnies.

NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: The rescue is fortunate to have a great group of volunteers to lean on. Most of the horses need experienced riders.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: The first annual Drifter’s Dash 4 Cash Gymkhana took place this past August. Proceeds from this and other fundraising efforts go towards purchasing horses from kill pens, as well as hay for the winter.

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: “Last winter, we connected with someone on Facebook who asked that we save a mare and foal in a kill pen in Louisiana,” says Andrea Mena. “Our partner arrived in Louisiana to pick them up and found them being protected by a skinny older gray gelding. He was fending off other horses and ensuring the mare and foal stayed together and safe. He was beyond thin; he was emaciated. We have a policy: never leave with a half empty trailer. After a few calls and a unanimous decision, the gray gelding was loaded up with the mare and foal, who we named Millie and Hopeful.


“The gray gelding was named Morris. On the Henneke body scoring scale, he was a one, the worst we have ever seen. Although Morris was physically in ruins, we could still see spirit and hope in his eyes. He trusted his handlers, even though he had no reason to ever trust a human again. He ate well, was groomed daily by doting volunteers, and given long turnouts each day so he could enjoy being a horse. “Once Morris was in good health, we started doing groundwork and under saddle exercises to evaluate what sort of home would suit him best. He was a sweet and willing saddle horse that would work best as a light riding horse. After Morris was posted for adoption, it only took a few days for him to find his forever home. This lucky boy now lives on a sprawling acreage along with other horses adopted from our rescue. He has a loving home that truly cherishes him.”

After 58

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




Equine Wellness

If you would like to advertise in Marketplace, please call: 1-866-764-1212 ext 315

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

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 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



HORSE CARE 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

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

Equine Wellness



EMAIL YOUR EVENT TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com The Mane Event: Chilliwack October 20–22, 2017 Chilliwack, BC

To learn more about this Western Dressage Clinician visit: http://cathydrumm.squarespace.com/

Equine Affaire November 9–12, 2017 West Springfield, MA

Some of North America’s top clinicians provide quality information on a variety of different disciplines at the largest indoor equine trade show in Canada! Explore the best selection of equine products and services available from bits to boots and tack to trailers.

For more information: Heidi Potter heidi@heidipotter.com www.heidipotter.com

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

This prestigious show returns to the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park to feature a full array of Junior Hunters, Amateur-Owner Hunters, and the HighPerformance Hunters, Green and Regular Working Hunters and the Conformation Divisions. Each year, the top hunters from around the country are invited to compete during the National Horse Show, America’s oldest indoor horse show.

Equine Affaire’s legendary educational program forms the cornerstone of this event. Soak up information and advice at more than 230 clinics, seminars, and demonstrations on a wide variety of equestrian sports and horse training, management, health, and business topics.

Equine Myofascial Release Techniques Level II October 23–25, 2017 Petaluma, CA This course is designed for those individuals who have participated in the EQ1100 Equine Myofascial release course. We will expand on the MFR techniques and will present exercises to address the body’s dysfunction, enabling better recovery. There will be loads of problemsolving with various labs and lots of discussions. Each participant is asked to share one case study using Equine Myofascial Release Techniques (this is not required if you are doing the two MFR classes back to back). Documentation including initial exam, sessions completed and the outcome will be needed. Any visuals are welcome; please check with the office at least three weeks in advance if you require equipment which we may have on hand for your presentation.

For more information: (707) 884-9963 equinologyoffice@gmail.com www.equinology.com

Cathy Drumm Western Dressage Clinic October 25, 2017 Guilford, VT This day is all about improving the horse, regardless of your goals. Western Dressage will be discussed – what it is and why it is important for all horses. The day will begin with participants riding in small groups while Cathy guides them through exercises designed to improve the horse beginning with the walk. Plenty of quiet work to start with such as; the balance of horse and rider, length of stride, transitions, and collection. Lunch is followed by a question/discussion period and finishes with private 30-minute sessions for each rider. The individual rides can be used to work on specific areas or practice riding a test.


Equine Wellness

National Horse Show 2017 October 31–November 5, 2017 Lexington, KY

For more information: (859) 608-3709 cindy@nhs.org www.nhs.org

AQHA World Show 2017 November 2–18, 2017 Oklahoma City, OK American Quarter Horse owners and exhibitors will not want to miss this amazing event! Featuring exhibitors from around the world who must qualify for the event by earning a number of points to compete in each of the classes representing; Halter, English and Western disciplines. More than $2.5 million in awards and prizes is up for grabs at this year’s event. The show will feature a variety of new events and activities in and out of the arena for competitors, friends, family, and spectators.

For more information: (806) 376-4811 www.aqha.com/worldshow

The Royal Winter Fair November 3–12, 2017 Toronto, ON The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian competition in the world. This is a Canadian event where International breeders, growers, and exhibitors are declared champions and where hundreds of thousands of attendees come to learn, compete, shop and have a great time with friends and family.

For more information: (416) 263-3400 info@royalfair.org www.royalfair.org

Enjoy one-stop shopping at Equine Affaire’s huge trade show with more than 475 of the nation’s leading equinerelated retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and organizations.

For more information: (740) 845-0085 info@equineaffaire.com www.equineaffaire.com

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course November 10–12, 2017 Denver, CO Introduction to Healing Touch: Friday / 6:00pm - 10:00pm This class is a prerequisite of the Small Animal Class. Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9:00am - 6:00pm This class is a prerequisite of the Large Animal Class. Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9:00am - 6:00pm This class is required in order to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner. Working with the horses’ large energy systems benefits students with greater energetic awareness and a well-rounded experience. Registrations and payments in full must be received and/or postmarked by October 15, to qualify for the Early Bird Tuition prices.

For more information: Kate Fink (847) 721-9892 Denver@HealingTouchforAnimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com

Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness