V12I6 (Dec/Jan 2017-18)

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HOOF TRACTION How your horse copes, and what you can do to help


What you need to know to find a girth that fits

Liberty horse


Build confidence and a strong partnership with your horse


with Centered Riding VOLUME 12 ISSUE 6





Mini Therapy Horses

These miniatures make a


helping children and adults through challenging times

$5.95 USA/Canada

December 2017/January 2018

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December 2017/January 2018 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Lindsay Day, REMT EDITOR: Ann Brightman STAFF WRITER: Emily Watson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Kathleen Atkinson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT: Brad Vader SOCIAL/DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER: Theresa Gannon COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Carla Acevedo-Blumenkrantz COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Laura Batts Audi Donamor Melanie Falls Donna Kelleher, DVM Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD Victoria Nodiff-Netanel Bill Ormston, DVM Heidi Potter Kathleen Prasad Joan Ranquet Karen Rohlf Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE Amy Snow Madalyn Ward, DVM Emily Watson Geri White Richard Winters Nancy Zidonis 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 Cindy MacDonald, Editor, at Cindy@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. You can also mail submissions to: Equine Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. Please direct other correspondence to info@RedstoneMediaGroup.com.


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

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Photo by: Carla Acevedo-Blumenkrantz

CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON Canada K9J 2T8 Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.

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: November 2017.

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

From humble beginnings, Mini Therapy Horses has grown into an incredible charity, helping over 50,000 children and adults a year through challenging times. Though small in stature, the miniature horses at this organization make a big difference in lives of those the meet. Turn to page 36 to read their story.

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Sleet, snow, rain and freezing mud can cause traction problems for our horses. Here’s how we can help.


These techniques can help boost your confidence and build a strong partnership with your horse.



These tips can play a valuable role in helping you achieve a soft, clear connection with your horse.


Improve your horse’s well-being and performance by enhancing his nervous system through chiropractic care.


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How animal communication helped locate a missing Fjord pony stuck on the side of a cliff.


Treat your horse with something special this holiday season!


The girth directly affects saddle fit. Here’s how to find one that works for your horse.


HORSES – NATURE VS. NURTURE Working to achieve

straightness will support health and longevity in your horse’s riding career.



Though they’re not for every horse, extruded feeds offer important benefits in some circumstances.

Discover how Reiki meditations can enhance your senior horse’s health journey.



Though small in stature, these miniature horses are making a big difference for children and adults in crisis.


Herbs and essential oils are well-suited for addressing a range of skin conditions in horses.

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6 Editorial

8 Neighborhood news

27 Business profile: Redbrand 39 Product picks

17 Acupressure at-a-glance

53 Heads up

28 Dressage naturally

40 Equine Wellness resource guide

35 Herb blurb

60 Marketplace

54 Minute horsemanship

61 Classifieds

59 Green acres

62 Events

46 To the rescue


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Reflection AND INTENTION s we approach the holiday season, it’s time to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the year to come. I know for me, it’s been a busy fall, and I look forward to carving out more time for my horse over the holidays and through 2018. He’ll be turning 26 this winter, and I’m eager to try out the Reiki practice for senior horses that Kathleen Prasad guides us through on page 50.

As you set goals with your horse for the year ahead, we have a number of articles in this issue to help you get started. On page 18, Heidi Potter explains how Centered Riding techniques can help you improve your feel and connection, while Karen Rolf encourages us to embrace the concept of empowered learning in her column on page 28. You might also want to explore Liberty Horse Training for building your partnership with your horse (page 14). The holidays are also a time for giving thanks, and what better way to show your appreciation than baking your horse some homemade treats! Audi Donamor has some delicious recipes for you to try on page 29. We also show our gratitude by providing the best care possible for our horses. From winter hoof care (page 10), to choosing your horse’s girth (page 42) and feed (page 32), to complementary therapies like chiropractic (page 22), acupressure (page 17), and herbal skincare (page 56), this issue has you covered. It’s also the season for heartwarming stories, and this issue won’t disappoint. With Joan Ranquet’s story of locating a missing Fjord pony with the help of animal communication (page 24), and our cover story on the incredible work of Miniature Therapy Horses (page 36), we hope this holiday issue will leave you feeling uplifted and inspired! Wishing you and your horses all the best in 2018! Naturally,

Lindsay Day, REMT 6

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To decide who would take home

National Symposium, presented by

the title, spectators were asked to

Thoroughbred Charities of America,

vote via text message. Caldwell and

is an event dedicated to showcasing

his mare, Taberna, earned 27% of

the trainability and off-track talent

the overall vote along with $15,500

of ex-racehorses. This year, over 300

in prize money. The duo performed

participants competed in 10 different

so well that one of the judges, Tony

divisions. On a whim, 17-year-old polo

Coppola of Florida, a USPA Hall of

trainer Charlie Caldwell of Coldwater,

Fame Player, offered to buy Taberna

Tennessee entered the 2017 competition

– an offer Caldwell accepted.

with his mare, Taberna. To his surprise,

Like Caldwell, who has only been

he won the initial round of the polo

playing polo for five years, three-

division and found himself competing

year-old Taberna is inexperienced

in the finals. After another nail-biting

in the sport, but shows remarkable

round, Judges declared him the overall

talent. According to Caldwell, she

winner in his division – placing him

is incredibly patient and calm, and

amongst the nine other division finalists

mature for her age.

contending for America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred.

Charlie Caldwell and his mare, Taberna, won the title of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred in the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover.

Visit retiredracehorseproject.org/live-scoring for the full list of results.


Tips Disaster preparedness is important for all animals, but it takes a few extra considerations for horses due to their size. Keep your equine companions safe with these evacuation tips from the Humane Society of the Unites States.

 Make advance arrangements to have your horse trailered in case of an emergency.

 Know where you can take your horses. Make arrangements with another horse owner to stable your horses if needed, and look into shelters in your area.

 Inform friends and neighbors of your evacuation plans. Post the plans in your barn for emergency crews in case you aren’t able to evacuate your horses yourself.

 Place your horses’ identification, medical history and other important documents in a watertight envelope and keep in a safe place.

The Humane Society of the United States Animal Rescue Team responds to Hurricane Maria in Vieques, Puerto Rico. HSUS team member Dave Pauli feeds a horse during a field assessment of the wild horse population in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

 Prepare a portable first aid kit.  Keep a supply of water, food and any necessary medication on hand.  Practice loading your horses onto a trailer to ensure they’re comfortable with the process.

See humanesociety.org/emergency for the full list. 8 Equine Wellness

Photo courtesy of GRC Photo


Photo courtesy of Meredith Lee/The HSUS



Photo courtesy of AAEP





The American Association of Equine Practitioners

Most honey helps kill bacteria. But the enzyme that

(AAEP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the

causes this effect – glucose oxidase – is destroyed over

health and welfare of horses. With 9,000 members

time. Manuka honey, on the other hand, also contains

worldwide, AAEP is actively involved in ethics

the compound methylglyoxal, which increases its

issues, practice management, research and continuing

antibacterial properties.

education in the equine veterinary profession and

Manuka honey is the only honey graded for antibacterial

horse industry. This November, the organization installed their new vice president for 2018 – David Frisbie, DVM, PhD, DACVS (pictured left).

activity. Using the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) grading system, which ranges from 0 to 20+, strains of Manuka honey are tested to determine their unique antibacterial

Dr. Frisbie’s leadership and extensive experience has shaped the continuing

properties. A UMF rating of 20+ is equivalent in strength

education programs of the AAEP since the start of his membership in 2001. He

to a 20% solution of phenol, a disinfectant.

served on the board from 2012 to 2015, and received the 2011 AAEP President’s

Drawing on this knowledge, a team of researchers

Award for outstanding service on the Educational Programs Committee.

conducted a study investigating the effects of Manuka

Among many other titles, Dr. Frisbie is a professor at Colorado State University

honey on healing open wounds in horses. They compared

and director of research at CSU’s Orthopedic Research Center. He is also a

the healing rate of untreated wounds with those treated

Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and the American

with UMF 20 honey, UMF 5 honey and generic store-

College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, for which he currently

bought honey. The results showed that wounds treated

serves as secretary.

daily with a UMF 20 honey for as few as 12 days healed

Dr. Frisbie will assume the role of AAEP president in 2020.


the fastest, while wounds treated with generic honey did not heal better than untreated wounds.

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HOOF By Geri White


Sleet, snow, rain and freezing mud can cause traction problems for horses and humans alike. Here’s how our horses cope, and what we can do to help.


iving in upstate New York, we get very cold temperatures, brutal wind chills and a moderate amount of snow in the winter. We also have to deal with hard frozen ground when there’s no snow, as well as freezing rain, slush mixed with mud, and what many of us call “lava rock” or “moon rock”, when slushy mud freezes solid and every hoof print is frozen in time, leaving a 10

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rough textured surface that’s very difficult to navigate. All these conditions cause traction problems for both us and our horses.

NATURE’S GUIDANCE Many years ago, when I first started trimming my own horses and didn’t have the experience I do now, my trimming approach was one of routine maintenance. One winter during a brief

warm spell, I took the opportunity to trim my horses in more comfortable temperatures. We had a lot of rain and some melting snow, but about five days later, it all froze solid overnight. It became quite a struggle for us to get to the barn. One of my morning chores was to check the water hole to make sure the spot the horses drink from wasn’t frozen over. I took careful baby steps all the way there, slipping and sliding even while holding onto the fence. Before I even made it to the end of the fence line to go down the slight incline to the water, my horse, Sage, walked passed me with each of his feet simply sliding forward a little before stopping. He just kept going forward, using this slide-stop, slidestop motion on each foot. He made it to the water hole, took his drink, and walked back past me again toward the barn area, seemingly without a care. When I finally made it back to the barn, I took a look at Sage’s feet to see how he was able to navigate the terrain so much better than I did. To my surprise, the bars I had trimmed only days ago had returned to the same length they were before, providing a natural heel caulk. A V-shaped caulk on each heel gave him the traction he needed to navigate the icy terrain. From then on, when I trimmed horses, I started to really pay attention to environmental and seasonal changes as they relate to traction. I was determined to learn from nature rather than interfere with each horse’s ability to navigate our winter conditions,

WHAT ABOUT SNOWBALLS? I am often asked about snowballs getting stuck in horses’ hooves. For the most part, a horse that lives outside in a large enough environment where he can move in a herd will remove snowballs naturally. Since my horses live in a Paddock Paradise track system, we often see hoof-printed snowballs on the trails as we put out hay and clean up manure. Where I live and trim, the moisture content in the hoof horn is generally higher in the winter. My thoughts and observations suggest that the extra flexion in the moist hoof horn helps remove packed snow as the horse moves and the hoof mechanism expands and contracts. Movement also creates heat by sending blood through the hoof capsule, which will also assist in removing the snow. Again, there are always exceptions, especially in horses compromised by hoof pathologies, injuries or lameness issues.

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so I challenged myself by really studying each foot. I mostly left the bars alone or trimmed very little, and backed off on the amount of wall length I removed. Over the course of a couple of trim intervals, I found there was much less growth if I allowed for that bit of extra hoof and bar material for traction. I found a balance that gave most horses what they needed. Of course, there will always be exceptions, as each horse needs to be maintained for his individual needs as well as his environment.

A VISUAL COMPARISON: Different environments forge and demand different hoof characteristics.

THE “SELF-TRIMMING” DOMESTICATED HORSE IN WINTER CONDITIONS I had an opportunity to observe some horses that lived as feral as any I have seen, apart from wild horses. They were in a large herd living on 100+ acres with fields, streams, steep hills, woods and severe winter conditions. One of them was a three-year-old Appaloosa gelding that I was going to bring home to my own herd. After looking at his feet, and those of the other horses in the herd, it was clear their hooves were quite different from the classic western desert foot (see photos at right for comparison).

The hoof on the left is from an Appaloosa gelding that was living on a large range with fields, streams, steep hills, woods and severe winter conditions. The hoof on the right was found by a friend and came from a deceased wild horse in Nevada. As you can see, there is quite a difference between the length and definition of the heels, walls and bars on these two feet.


For brave souls who don’t mind bundling up and riding in cold and snowy conditions, hoof boot studs save the day. These studs are available through many hoof boot companies. They give a horse the extra traction he needs for safe riding in winter conditions. When you are finished riding, the boots are removed. The studs themselves can be removed from the boots when the season is over. Talk to your hoof care professional about studs for your horse’s boots. Photo Courtesy of Dana Johnsen/Nickers Saddlery Ltd.

In the early days of the barefoot movement, the focus was on the desert foot as a model. It has its place, but we have to consider that different environments forge and demand different feet. My advice for professionals and owners who trim their own horses would be to challenge yourself, as I did. It took one horse to lead me to rethink my approach. Consider working with nature and the environment by observing how your horse’s hooves respond to changing environmental conditions.

The bars of the feet in an unshod horse can provide a natural heelcaulk, providing increased traction in snowy and icy conditions.


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

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LIBERTY horse training Photos courtesy of Dee Dee Murry Photography

By Donna Kelleher, DVM

Liberty horse training techniques can help you build confidence and a strong partnership with your horse. You’re riding a trail when a bird jumps up and the lead horse spooks, bucking his rider off ahead of you. How can you convince your own horse to trust you more than the leader? It’s your horse’s confidence that will keep him, and you, safe. Liberty training techniques can help you build this confidence.

 Who will keep him safe?  Under what consistent rules can he access special or rare


 Who moves whom?

A lack of confidence and connection between you and your horse can be addressed using liberty horse training. Liberty training techniques utilize wild herd dynamics to develop a strong

Many people think liberty horse training is just like other forms of natural horsemanship involving round pens, ropes

human-horse partnership that can last a lifetime. They do so by meeting a horse’s innate longing for three important criteria:

resources like carrots, apples, cookies, or grain?


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and running in circles. These techniques certainly prove you can move your horse and that “who moves whom” is vital to establishing leadership. But it is only one part of the safety equation. Rules around “special resources” and the knowledge that you will keep your horse safe are important elements of training and building confidence and connection in partnership with your horse.

The rules and techniques around who moves whom, and how to use energy projection through body language, are an essential part of liberty horse training.

LIBERTY HORSE TRAINING METHODS When a horse lacks confidence, it is often much safer to address it from the ground through liberty horse training than to try “riding through the problem”. Liberty horse training uses wild horse communication (often non-verbal body language) to deeply instill in the horse a sense of what he is looking for more than anything – the feeling that you will keep him safe. Unfortunately, the horse world is often speckled with stories of accidents, trauma and misunderstanding, so this most essential part of horsehuman connection does not happen from the get-go. Take, for instance, conventional horse training and horseback riding. We are taught that we need to tie the horse’s head down with side-reins, martingales or worse. At the other end of the spectrum, we can be pushovers, too kind for our own good, letting the horse walk on our toes, go overtop us for grass, or pin his ears to demand food. If the horse is afraid of something, we avoid it. Without proper rules of engagement, and without knowledge of leadership training and who moves whom, we become a doormat and a Pez machine all in one. Make no mistake. We are teaching our horses every time we walk into the paddock. We are giving them unintended cues. They are looking for soft yielding and kind guidance from a strong, confident leader, someone, anyone, who will keep them safe. They are longing for their humans to “show up” in the relationship, and will push and push and even become dangerous in a desperate effort to force us to give them boundaries, consistent rules about space and food, and connection. Once a confident bond is formed, that bond is there whether you are walking beside or riding astride. Continued on page 16. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 17.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE The methods and specific techniques of liberty horse training vary tremendously and can be finely tuned in terms of how and when they are applied and integrated into the time you spend with your horse. By way of example, here is a partial list of techniques that might be utilized in liberty training: • Pushing the horse from behind. • Lunging from the center with no line. • Turning the horse in any direction by pointing your finger. • Gently leading the horse, beside him in partnership. This last technique is the most powerful, in my opinion, because the speed, energy, direction and cadence of your combined pace gives the horse more and more confidence in your shared partnership.

ASSESSING AND BUILDING YOUR PARTNERSHIP Want to test your relationship with your horse? After riding, drop the tack and watch your horse’s behavior. Does he immediately high tail it to the farthest corner away from you? When you try to catch him for riding, does he run away? Do you have to confine him or keep the halter on just in case you need to catch him again? Getting away and saying “no” is an essential part of liberty horse training. When we allow for a “no” with proper training, we ultimately get a better “yes”! Here’s an easy exercise that may seem pointless from a human perspective, but is important to the horse. Drop your horse’s halter. Walk side-by-side with him, slowly and methodically, praising him each time he chooses to step next to you without a halter. After only a few steps, ask him to halt. Step out of the paddock or arena to pick some grass for him. Do not expect anything from your horse. Do not insist on your agenda. How long does he choose to stay with you? If he walks away, stay where you are, looking away from him, and wait to see if he returns to you on his own. If he does, offer him more grass, or a piece of carrot. Other “special resources” can include your fingernails to scratch an itchy spot, access to another horse, or a favorite corner of the paddock. Resources need not be food.

Photo courtesy of Dee Dee Murry photography

These training techniques work best when he does not have access to these things for doing nothing. His brain and neurochemistry will rewire with liberty horse training techniques like this one.

Liberty horse training involves the creation and expression of energy. Energy can be transformed into tricks like rearing.

Donna Kelleher is a holistic veterinarian, author and horse language interpreter. From childhood she has ridden and competed in dressage and jumping and now working equitation. She moved to England to complete her British Horse Society Assistant Instructor’s certificate. For the past 20 years she has been teaching riding and horsemanship. Since 2010 she studied liberty horse training with Robin Gates and most recently with Frederick Pignon. She finds many “equine brain problems” are actually human-horse misinterpretations. She lives in Bellingham, WA with her husband and three rescued horses. 16

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




he holidays are coming up fast and there’s always so much to prepare for. It can be a stressful time no matter how you celebrate, and everyone knows it, including your horses. This simple acupressure session can help your equine friends feel grounded and calm during this busy time of year. Horses are sensitive creatures. They are fully aware of how you are feeling when you enter the barn or walk out to catch them up. If you’re happy and eager to go for a ride, your horse usually greets you with the same enthusiasm. When you’re overwhelmed and stressed, he senses it and becomes anxious and stressed, too. When you’re feeling harried and your internal pressure thermostat is rising, your horse is feeling every bit of that pressure. It’s time for you to relax and give him the gift of an acupressure session. You need it as much as he does!

GETTING STARTED Every acupressure session starts with you feeling grounded and centered. When you are stressed, your to-do list is probably racing though your mind, so begin the session by taking three deep breaths. Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth down to the bottom of your breath. Take the time to breathe fully and focus on each breath. Just let go of everything that’s driving you. While you are breathing, visualize how you can relax and share a half-hour of connected healing time with your horse. This is your time together. Specific acupressure points, called “acupoints,” help clear the mind and calm the spirit when they are stimulated. Interestingly enough, while you are stimulating these acupoints on your horse and spending this special time together, you are receiving equal benefit. In offering this caring work to your horse, you become the recipient as well.

POINT LOCATION Ht 7 Located on the caudolateral aspect of the radius, proximal to the accessory carpal bone. Opposite Pe 7. Pe 7 At the level of accessory carpal bone on the medial aspect of the foreleg. Opposite Ht 7. GV 20 At the highest point of the poll, in front of the nuchal crest.

Governing Vessel 20 (GV 20) has the attribute of helping to clear the mind and calm the spirit. It is called “Heaven’s Gate” because it is located on the very top of the horse’s head between his ears and is the “closest place to heaven”. Most horses enjoy having GV 20 scratched for a minute or so. You can begin and finish your acupressure session with this acupoint. Pericardium 7 (Pe 7) and Heart 7 (Ht 7) are two powerful acupoints known to reduce anxiety and calm the spirit. These two points can be stimulated simultaneously because they are located opposite each other just above the carpus (knee) on your horse’s foreleg. You can place the soft tip of your thumb on one side and your pointer and middle fingers on the other. Hold these acupoints for a slow count to 20 or longer. Once you have completed these points on one side of your horse, repeat them on the opposite side. You both deserve the gift of acupressure during this special but stressful time of year. To give and receive makes for a happier, healthier holiday season!

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, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com.

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IMPROVING feel and connection with

Centered Riding Basics

By Heidi Potter, Certified Centered Riding Clinician


s riders, our goal is to ride in lightness and harmony with our horses, sharing in balance and movement. We strive to develop and maintain a connection through our reins that least disturbs the horse’s natural ability to do all we ask of him. Sally Swift’s Centered Riding Basics of Soft Eyes, Breathing, Centering and Balance all play a role in helping to achieve this soft, clear connection.


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“Your arms and hands, from the shoulder joints to the tips of the fingers - Sally Swift and through the reins, belong to the horse.” A CONSISTENT CONNECTION


Pretend you’re a horse for a moment. Someone is standing behind you with their fingers in the corners of your mouth; they then ask you to walk, run, jump and climb while they try to keep that connection soft and supportive. Wow! That’s hard!

We work to keep our horses athletically strong, but often forget about ourselves. Riders need to be committed to their own fitness in order to ride well. There are many exercises and stretches designed for riders that promote flexibility and strength. They will make a big difference in your ability to carry yourself in balance, which is another necessary component of maintaining a soft feel.

GOOD HANDS COME FROM AN INDEPENDENT SEAT Many riders have been taught to control and primarily direct the horse through their hands and reins. However, early lessons should first involve learning about balance, feel and communication through our seat, legs and the use of our energy. Only once we have the ability to ride with an independent seat can we move in true harmony with the horse. Once this is accomplished, the reins are added to create clarity and finesse in communicating our desires to the horse. Developing a soft, following seat results from riding with relaxed, flexible hips, knees and ankles. Riding well isn’t easy, so your first goal should be self-awareness. The best way to become truly aware of your body is to focus on feeling the movement. In order to feel, you must let go of all tensions. This is made much easier on the lead or lunge line. Feel where your body is holding tension and try to breathe into that area. As you exhale imagine a soothing color or warm, soft liquid like molasses traveling down your entire body. Begin at your head and exhale several breaths all the way through your feet to the ground.

HOLDING BABY BIRDS Sally Swift’s image of holding baby birds is a classic for learning how to hold your reins. Don’t crush your birds, but don’t let them fly away either. In an attempt to be “soft”, troubling the horse the least, many riders ride with open fingers and loose reins. This can actually be confusing to the horse as it inhibits the connection from your center, seat and legs, into your hands. This lack of connection can result in the horse not staying on the rail, falling in on the corners, and not being able to maintain a steady rhythm and tempo. A softly closed hand simply serves as a hook for the reins to pass through. This image should help you provide a nice feel and connection with your horse.

ALIGNMENT THROUGH THE WRISTS When we consider our hands, one basic goal is to create and keep a straight line from the elbow to the bit, following softly with a giving hand. It is important not to bend or break your wrist line while holding the reins. When that occurs, you immediately block and disrupt the flow of energy, breaking the connection with your horse. Imagining that you are wearing a wrist brace (or you can actually do so) will help you remember to maintain that straight line. As your horse raises and lowers his head, your hands simply follow, keeping that straight line. Continued on page 21. Photo courtesy of Heidi Potter

In Centered Riding clinics, we actually simulate this exact idea. One exercise involves the human “horse” holding the bit in her hands and the rider standing opposite her with the reins. This exercise has undoubtedly been one of the most enlightening and often distressing experiences for clinic participants. They learn what it truly feels like to be connected to another living being by a piece of metal, via your “mouth”. Each rider’s sensitivity, understanding and awareness improve drastically when they can put themselves in the place of the horse.

Your goal is to develop a seat that is balanced, and able to receive and follow your horse’s motion. The hips, knees and ankles must be able to absorb the motion in order to maintain a soft, elastic feel of connection with the horse.

Working in pairs, students learn from each other what their horses feel from them.

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Continued from page 19.

Don’t “spill your wine” Keeping your hands in a mostly vertical position is crucial when it comes to following your horse’s movement and being able to ride with softness. When you hold your hands horizontally you are physically crossing two bones in your forearm, thus disturbing the connection. This inhibits your ability to maintain a soft, opening elbow, and disturbs the flow of energy that travels from your seat and center through your arms to the horse’s mouth.

BITS AND BRIDLES When we consider connection and softness through our hands, we need to rule out any issues with the bit. Bits will create either relaxation or resistance in your horse. If you are dealing with a behavior issue such as rooting, head tossing, head shaking, tongue over or out, teeth grinding, and so on, you obviously don’t have relaxation. You must first rule out pain, which could be skeletal, muscular or in the mouth itself. It may be necessary to consult a veterinarian, an equine dentist, an equine chiropractor, or all three. Once you have taken pain out of the equation, you must next be sure your horse is comfortable with the bit you have. Try different bits and compare his response to each. It will become clear which ones he prefers, assuming your hands are not the issue. There are also many bitless bridle options that I’ve had a great deal of success with.


1. Bend your elbows to a 90° angle and hold your closed hands out in front of you. (see pg. 18) 2. With your hands in a vertical (wine holding) position, extend them fully out in front of you and then allow your elbows to return to your sides. 3. Repeat this three times. 4. Next, turn your wrists so that your hands are sitting in a horizontal, “spilling your wine” position. 5. As you repeat the motion three times you will notice that there is a stiffness that travels up your forearms through your elbows to your shoulders. Your elbows can no longer open and close with ease.


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The rider demonstrates the desired straight line of contact using a bitless bridle. This unbroken “telephone” line sends messages from your center and your seat directly through the horse from the back to the front.

RIDE THE BODY, NOT THE MOUTH Our goal is to ride in harmony with the horse, without impeding his natural movement and balance. I really like reminding my students to imagine they are riding all four feet and the body of the horse. This image can help put their focus on the feel, and not on “steering” the horse through the reins. Riders are often amazed at how responsive and correct horses can become when they make their suggestions though their centers and minds first.

A Centered Riding clinic participant practices riding through her center. This exercise helps riders discover how the use of center, seat, weight and clear intent can direct their horses. It leads to using the body and mind in connection with the reins, rather than just the reins themselves.

Photo courtesy of Amy Barkley-Carey

Using Sally Swift’s “Barber Pole”, referred to as the “swivel”, will help you really feel what can be done without your hands. Next time you ride, try setting your reins down (while in a safe, enclosed area) and direct your horse with only your energy, intent and body. Imagine your body as the barber pole that swivels in the direction of “go”. Then slightly soften the thigh you are turning towards. Try halting by using only a big, deep, audible exhale and stopping the movement of your seat. This exercise helps bring awareness to riding with your body first, then using your reins to improve balance and communication in a soft, suggestive manner.

REWARDING THE HORSE Horses learn on the release of the rider’s cue. Whenever we set up a question for the horse, it is imperative that we stay focused and present so we can “hear” his answer. Softening your hands, along with whatever other means are cuing him (seat/leg/weight, etc.), will give him the “YES!” answer he seeks. Be mindful about asking slowly and releasing quickly. Your horse will thank you!

Heidi Potter is an internationally known and respected Trainer, Certified Centered Riding© Clinician, CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) Master Instructor/Clinician and Accredited Horse Agility Trainer. She teaches a wide variety of training and riding clinics at her Southern Vermont facility, The New England Center for Horsemanship, and abroad. In her new book, Open Heart, Open Mind – A Pathway to Rediscovering Horsemanship, Heidi shares the value of mindfulness, understanding and compassion towards horses, thus offering her readers great depth in how best to create a lasting bond with their equine partners. Visit heidipotter.com to order your copy, view a schedule of upcoming events, and learn about hosting your own event.

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CHIROPRACTIC CARE for equine health and performance By Bill Ormston, DVM


The nervous system is the communication network of the body. It relays messages to coordinate movement and physiological processes throughout your horse’s body. Any interference to spinal function can impede the nervous system from functioning at its best. In this article we’ll explore how chiropractic care can help maintain your horse’s nervous system function, and in turn, his health and performance.

joint, the other joints will not be able move properly either. It’s like a cog in a wheel – if one cog is broken the whole machine shuts down. Some muscles have to work harder to compensate for the problem limb. Some muscles move less to allow your horse to move in a straight line. Either way an examination by the equine chiropractor will help identify these joints, and help restore normal motion to the horse’s joints.



When one area of your horse’s body can’t move, he must make compensations in other areas. This abnormal motion leads to altered function of the limb. If left uncorrected, this altered motion can lead to tendon and ligament injuries and chronic joint changes. Evidence-based medicine shows that chiropractic care helps restore a more normal movement in the horse, which may help prevent career-ending problems. This means a horse just removed from stall rest after an injury is at greater risk of re-injury if his nervous system is not restored by a chiropractic adjustment; your horse’s altered motion is neurologic.

Mares with subluxations in the pelvis tend to lose muscle around both the rectum and vulva. This allows manure and urine to pool inside the vulva and enter the uterus. Because the uterus is also a muscle, it is usually compromised as well and can’t contract enough to move the material out. This leads to chronic uterine inflammation, which means conception is not possible. This entire loss of muscle is not limited to the hind end in these mares, and leads to a decline in their ability to appropriately respond to minor irritations. The nasty attitude displayed by these mares is neurologic.

Chiropractic care helps the body resume normal motion. To the joints in your horse’s body, movement is life. Lack of movement results in changes in the structure of the joint within 72 hours. If your horse has a lameness issue and is not moving well in one



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The nervous system balances the immune system, and an efficiently-functioning immune system protects your horse from all sorts of bacterial and viral challenges. Studies have shown

that chiropractic care may influence T and B lymphocytes, natural killer cell numbers, antibody levels, phagocytic activity and plasma beta-endorphin levels. The nervous system regulates all function throughout the body, and the production of immune cells is no exception. Giving medication to resolve an issue created by nervous system interference will do nothing more than manage the symptoms, unfortunately giving a false sense of health. Until the cause (nervous system interference) is addressed, health will continue to dwindle, leading to more symptoms and more medications. Chiropractic care does not “cure” a horse’s disease; it restores normal communication between your horse’s brain and every part of his body. Restoring this communication allows the brain to resume appropriate control and guide the organs to function at optimal levels.

POWER AND PERFORMANCE One aspect of health is performance, and this is the primary focus of all top athletes. When you look at athletes like Usain Bolt, who has used chiropractic for years, and where the margins for winning are fractions of a second, you see why even the smallest impedance to function could make the difference between gold and no medal at all. In your horse’s work, one subluxation can mean a half second slower. What would an extra half second mean to you and your horse? Chiropractic is about power, not pain and lameness. The power that turned two cells into the amazing mass of cells that is now your horse is the power that controls every reaction occuring in his body. A horse with a subluxation will experience improper nerve flow to and from his muscles and organs. Without this power, cellular dysfunction begins to occur. The chiropractic adjustment is about restoring the power that made the body. Equine chiropractors focus on restoring life, not eliminating symptoms or curing disease. The reason is simple – only the power that made the body can heal the body. With life restored via the chiropractic adjustment, the body is free to work as intended, curing disease and eliminating symptoms on its own. As far as you will be able to tell, your horse appears to have a functioning nervous system. However, to the trained eye of an Animal Chiropractor, who is an expert on how the nervous system coordinates health in the body, there may be flaws in your horse’s health. Any interference to spinal function can impede the nervous system from functioning at its absolute best. To have your horse’s functional neurological system checked, contact an AVCA certified doctor in your area. When you are deciding whether to continue with chiropractic care for your horses, or are deciding which ones to get adjusted, it is critical to remember that everything about the life your horses enjoy with you is accomplished thanks to their nervous systems. Bill Ormston, DVM received a BS in animal science in 1982 and a veterinary degree in 1988, both from Iowa State University. Since graduation Dr. Ormston has worked in or owned mixed animal practices. In 1998 he attended Options For Animals and became certified in animal chiropractic care by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Assoc. In 2004 he completed his degree in Veterinary Homeopathy from the British Institute of Homeopathy. His current practice is in the area surrounding the Dallas metroplex where he uses only complementary therapies to treat both large and small animals.

Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness

m m o u c n l i c a a m t i i o n n A m i s s e i h n t g horse g n i d n fi –

By Joan Ranquet

How animal communication helped locate a missing Fjord pony stuck on the side of a cliff.


nyone who has had a horse go missing knows what a terrifying experience it is. The good news is that there are many things you can do to help ensure his safe return. Along with alerting everyone you know via phone calls, social media, etc., calling an animal communicator might be the key to locating your lost equine and bringing him home again.

FINDING MAYA The call came in on a Memorial Day Monday. Like everyone else, I love holidays, but as an animal communicator, there are certain holidays we are used to not having because there are always lost animals to find – especially on New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July. But until that call, Memorial Day hadn’t been on the list. I answered the phone and it was a client (“Patty”) who specializes in training Fjord ponies here in the Pacific Northwest. One of her precious souls was missing, a Fjord named Maya. The pony was being boarded at a very busy three-day eventing barn. On a typical weekend at this barn, horses may leave on a Thursday and not return until late Sunday night, or sometimes Monday. On this particular Monday, all the horses were back at the barn but Maya was nowhere to be found; she wasn’t on any horse show chart, either. It was looking suspicious. I work by phone and in person. Phone is almost easier because you don’t have the distractions of a busy facility, other horses and like-minded horse-loving people. When I work by phone, a client will email me a picture of their animal. At the scheduled time, I “connect” with the animal using telepathy, the transference of pictures, words and feelings. Patty emailed me a picture of Maya, and as I tuned into her, I was able to tell Patty a few things. When I dive in to get the images, words and feelings from a lost animal, the first thing I will try to “see” is the landscape. As I took in all the physical data on behalf of Maya, all I could see was green, green, green, which would be considered Pacific Northwest terrain. In other words, Maya was still in western Washington and hadn’t travelled east to prairie or desert-like settings. “I don’t think Maya has been stolen,” I said to Patty. Continued on page 26. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 25. As I dove deeper into being Maya, I could still see green all around me, as if I was in a tree-lined paddock without fences. I could hear a highway in the distance, and I could sense horses around but not near me. I could feel that moist Pacific Northwest feeling, yet there wasn’t much else that could have pinpointed where in the state of Washington Maya could be. Except for one thing. For me, this one thing stood out. I heard splashing water, like a car wash. While it had rained a bit that weekend, this sounded like a small waterfall. I got a hunch that she was still at the eventing barn facility, but it backed against a hill, there was no drop-off for a small waterfall, and it wasn’t near any water source, to my knowledge. My logic was saying, “No way. There’s no water source anywhere near that barn.” I have been teaching animal communication since 1998, and I tell my students, “Say it. Even if it seems weird or there’s no logic behind it, tell the client that, ‘even though this is really weird, I get a sense of….’”

Tips for searching for a lost horse • Picture a positive outcome: the moment you reunite with your horse. • Remain calm. Any conscious breathing and other relaxation techniques would come in handy now! • If you suspect your horse has been stolen, contact the police and other local authorities, as well as netposse.com, an international organization that helps retrieve stolen horses • Print flyers as soon as possible and share them with local vets, feed stores, tack stores, training facilities and other horse-related organizations. • Post and cross-post on social media. • Gather a group of people, and spread out to look for the horse. Don’t all go together in one group. • Remain quiet and mindful as you look for a lost horse. When a horse is frightened and disoriented, you don’t want to perpetuate his fight or flight response. • Talk to all your neighbors, even if you don’t get along with them. This is a time to come together and keep your minds focused on the missing horse. 26

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I took my own advice and told Patty, “Even though there is not a natural water source at this facility, this is what I hear – splashing, like a waterfall, like a carwash.” Later, I sent Patty an email asking if she’d had any luck locating Maya. “Yes, she’s pretty stuck,” Patty wrote back. “Thank you, we found her!” The next day, I decided to visit the facility and see Maya after her “lost and found” ordeal. As I pulled down the road to the farm, I was met with someone waving their arms and showing me where to park. There seemed to be hundreds of cars around, and I quickly discovered that every news station was also there. I wondered what sort of “event” I had happened upon. I asked the arm-waving dude what was going on. He said there was a horse down in the ravine and the parking nightmare was the result of a 48-person rescue crew who had come to save her. My mind raced…could it be Maya? It turns out that Patty’s husband, who doesn’t believe in animal communication, took my comments about water literally and started following a teeny water source at the eventing facility. It got bigger and bigger to the point where he could hear “splashing”. As he continued to follow the water, he came to a cliff. About 20 feet below the cliff was a Fjord pony on a 12’x12’ ledge over another 60-foot drop. Patty and her husband, super athletes in their early 30s, slid down the cliff, clinging to rocks and ferns, until they were on the ledge with Maya. The pony was hungry, weak, dehydrated and had two minor abrasions. Patty and her husband got hay and water to her, then found a crew to rescue her from her predicament. Using two sets of pulleys braced in trees, Maya was pulled to safety, and is now back home again, safe and sound!

Joan Ranquet is an animal communicator, speaker, and founder of Communication with all Life University (CWALU). She is the author of Energy Healing for Animals, A Hands-On Guide for Enhancing the Health, Longevity & Happiness of Your Pets and Communication with all Life, Revelations of an Animal Communicator. She has been working with animals for as long as she can remember and is a lifelong equestrian. www.joanranquet.com

By Emily Watson

PREMIUM FENCING SOLUTIONS In the 19th century, building and maintaining split rail fences was a big part of the backbreaking labor that farmers faced on a daily basis. Having experienced this challenge firsthand, a farmer from Illinois named Peter Sommer decided to design an alternative. “In 1889, Peter, along with his eldest sons, John and Peter W., spent countless hours in a small wooden shed on their farm,” says Dain E. Rakestraw, Marketing Manager at Red Brand. “Their goal was to devise a crude machine to weave wire into fence.” The result was a unique apparatus that created an easierto-install wire fencing that was much more durable than split rails.

THE START OF A LEGACY This new invention was an immediate hit among local farmers. And over 125 years later, it remains just as popular. Seen on farms across the nation, Red Brand fencing has become a name that farmers trust to protect their livestock. Made in Peoria, Illinois, the fencing undergoes close monitoring during the entire manufacturing process. Rigorous testing and careful formulation ensures consistency and quality in every roll the company produces. Their product line includes a 2”x4” Non-Climb Horse Fence and a Keepsafe® V-Mesh Horse Fence – both specifically designed to stand the test of time. Keystone Steel and Wire Company, the parent company of Red Brand, became a well-known name due to its trusted durability. But another reason it has remained a recognized company is the variety of resources it offers its customers. “Beyond providing a quality product, we strive to be a resource for product selection and installation, and to provide the best in safety and security,” says Dain. The website offers various educational tools and articles, including fence concepts and terminology, ‘how to’ installation videos, a fencing calculator, product descriptions and usage recommendations.

TIMELESS VALUES According to Dain, the spirit of family that started the Sommer legacy endures. Embracing the values of innovation and commitment, the Red Brand family dedicates their time and resources to supporting equine welfare groups. The company is a sponsor of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and is represented on the Board of Old Friends, a working farm that’s home to over 100 retired Thoroughbred racehorses. Red Brand also provides curriculum kits to the United States Pony Clubs, helping to educate students on the importance of correctly selecting, calculating and installing agricultural fencing. Carrying on such a long-standing legacy is an honor to the staff at Red Brand, and seeing their red-topped fences across the country’s landscapes is a point of great pride. But for Dain, the most rewarding aspect of working at Red Brand is helping property owners protect their beloved animals. “We understand the needs of horse owners when it comes to safety, security and value,” he says. “By providing the very best in fencing, we help protect their investment in their horses. We truly enjoy hearing from horse owners about how our fencing meets their needs.” Equine Wellness


empowered DRESSAGE NATURALLY By Karen Rohlf

LEARNING FOR THE RIDING STUDENT Why do some riding students progress more quickly than others? You may think your progress is the responsibility of your instructor, but what if it actually depends on you?


Of course, some styles of instruction will push students into being

The dictionary definition of empowerment is:

afraid of experimenting. Some styles don’t care how hard a student

1. To give official authority

is working as long as they “get the horse to do it”. If the teacher says

2. To promote self-actualization

“good” even if the student’s arms are in pain and she’s crying on the inside because she inherently knows that isn’t what she wants, it will

The power needs to be given to you, the student. Your instructor can

disempower her and teach her to go against her feelings. No wonder

give it to you, but ultimately you need to give it to yourself. In my

students struggle to develop “feel”!

career, I have seen students without access to regular training make huge progress and become amazing riders. How does this happen?

MY BEST ADVICE TO STUDENTS After decades of teaching students around the world, the biggest

SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR RIDING. Students who make progress have a clear vision of what they want to create. They seek resources that serve them, put high priority on communicating with their horses, and allow themselves the freedom of trial and error. Riders who take responsibility show up for lessons hungry to learn. They value the quality of their communication with their horses. They seek a keen awareness of the cause and effect of the aids they use. These students don’t just want to be told to “put their leg on”. They want to know why and how, they want it to feel good, and they are willing to experiment to find that harmony.

breakthroughs come when I give them a level of freedom to experiment and self-assess that’s equal to the discipline of following directions. Start every day by reminding yourself of your vision with your horse. In every moment, make clarity of communication the top priority, and be willing to honestly assess yourself. They say the best-kept secret is between a rider and her horse. Only you can really know your own vision and communication with your horse. As a rider, you need to stay curious about how to best guide your horse, and make adjustments in the moment to help him do what you ask of him. Then observe the result so you can get it even better the next time. This empowerment will help you and your horse progress in a way that is a win for everyone. If teachers aren’t instructing students to be curious, aware and adaptable, they aren’t teaching them to be riders. An empowering lesson is one in which the instructor asks the questions, the student finds the answers, and everyone listens to the horse. 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


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home- baked HORSE TREATS By Audi Donamor

Give your horse something special this holiday season with these naturally delicious treats!

Holiday hemp biscuits Hemp flour provides a healthful boost to these biscuits, and horses love the taste.


1 cup pumpkin pureé or apple sauce 1 cup goat milk 1 cup hemp flour 3 cups whole oat flour (if you are making this recipe with apple sauce, use 1 extra cup of whole oat flour and add 1 additional teaspoon of cinnamon) 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 teaspoons carob powder 1⁄2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger or a scant 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger


Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender, until the batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured countertop or board, or on parchment paper. Use a holiday themed cookie cutter, or cut into desired shapes. Place treats on parchment-covered cookie sheets. You will need three cookie sheets for this recipe. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 175°F and bake for another four to six hours, until the treats are “hoof hard”. Cool completely and store in an open container.

Equine Wellness


Sugar-free treats Horses with insulin resistance and related metabolic concerns should avoid foods with high sugar content. But that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on treats altogether. Try this recipe for a tasty sugar-free option.



3 cups barley flakes 1⁄2 cup hemp flour 1⁄2 cup hemp seed nuts 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut 1 tablespoon cranberry essence or finely minced sundried, unsulphured cranberries 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice (a combination of cinnamon and allspice) 2 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon 1 teaspoon blueberry flour (optional) 1⁄4 cup hemp seed oil 1½ cups apple sauce (or apple butter) Acadian sea kelp

Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients in a processor, mixer or by hand. Roll out dough and cut into desired shapes, or spread out on the baking sheet and lightly score. Sprinkle with Acadian sea kelp before placing in a cold oven. Turn oven on to 350ºF. When it reaches this heat, turn down to 250ºF and leave biscuits in the oven for approximately 45 more minutes. Every oven is different, so check your treats – they should end up a deep golden color with no burnt edges. Turn oven off and allow the treats to cool completely before storing them in an open container, Ziploc bag or cookie jar. This recipe makes over five dozen large round treats. It can easily be doubled or tripled, and stores perfectly in the freezer.

Party pony pops If you find yourself with little time for baking, turn to this quick and easy recipe to spruce up your horse’s carrots for a special treat.


Baby carrots (organic “ready-to-serve”, if possible) 2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons unsulphured blackstrap molasses Flax seeds Sunflower seeds (t)


Set out a baking sheet and cover with parchment paper. Put out four shallow bowls. In the first bowl, mix honey and 1 tablespoon of water. In the second bowl, mix unsulphured blackstrap molasses and 1 tablespoon of water. Pour fresh flax seeds into the third bowl, and freshly shelled sunflower seeds into the fourth. You have now created an assembly line to make perfect “Party pony pops”. Take one carrot, dip it in the honey or molasses, making sure it is well covered, then roll it in the flax and sunflower seeds. Continue until you have filled the baking sheet with carrots, then put them in the freezer. For some extra holiday cheer, you can use chopped dried cranberries in place of the flax and sunflower seeds, and sprinkle the carrots with a bit of parsley as a final touch. When you are ready to “party with the ponies”, simply take the treats out of the freezer and pop them into a Ziploc bag, or use some special loot bags to make them look extra special.

Audi Donamor has been successfully creating special needs diets for companion animals for two decades. She founded the University of Guelph’s Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund and Smiling Blue Skies® Fund for Innovative Research. She is the proud recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College. The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund is also the recipient of the “Pets + Us” Community Outreach Champion Award. 30

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Installation is quick and easy. By using two screws, the saddle holder can be fitted to the headrest in just a few simple steps. When not needed, it can be folded down and secured into place.



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


GIVE THE GIFT OF HEALING TO YOUR FAVORITE HORSE LOVER! Reduce inflammation, treat sore muscles, heal soft tissue injuries, reduce healing time, increase circulation and relieve pain with the power of light. Available in three sizes, add a rechargeable battery pack and use it anywhere!

EquineLightTherapy.com 615-293-3025


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

Protect your saddle during transport with The Butterfly® Car Saddle Holder. This aluminum saddle holder is designed to save space in your vehicle, and is equipped with a leather covered padding to ensure protection from pressure marks.


Speciiasilng advertture fea


CINCH Classic Fit shirts feature a full body providing cowboys with ease of movement needed for riding, extra-long sleeves for full range of motion when swinging a rope and extra-long tails that stay tucked in. The Classic Fit shirts come in short and long sleeve button-down styles and feature various patterns such as classic plaids, unique prints, bright solids, sharp stripes and intricate paisleys. A truly great gift idea for this holiday season!

Cinchjeans.com 866-545-7035


Give your horse the gift of comfort this year. Schleese girths are lined with premium European soft leather that runs seamlessly down the entire length of the underside of the girth. This helps eliminate chafing and irritation. The company also uses elastic at both ends where the buckles attach to allow breathing comfort for the horse and ease of tightening for the rider.

Schleese.com 800-225-2242

Equine Wellness




By Madalyn Ward, DVM

My first experience with extruded horse feed occurred in the early 1990s. I had an aged Thoroughbred mare who maintained her weight very well on summer pasture, but lost significant weight every winter. No matter how much hay and grain I fed her, she lost all her fat over the winter. Each year she seemed to lose more, and I was concerned that one winter I would lose her. Her teeth were good but she just did not digest hay and grain well.


After extensive searching, I found a horse feed that was extruded. I could not believe the difference in my mare the first winter I gave her the extruded feed. She did not lose any weight and she loved the feed. From then on, I gave her more extruded feed and less hay during the winter, and cut the amounts back in the spring and summer when she had fresh grass to eat. She lived to be 38 years old, and died from an injury she received while playing too hard in the field.

Starches are converted to an easily-digested gel by the extrusion process. The expansion of starches during high pressure extrusion gives the feed a lighter, bulkier consistency, unlike the denser pellets produced from low pressure heat processing. Extrusion also makes starches water soluble, so extruded feeds easily break back down into slurry when water is added.

Proteins are made up of chains of amino acids. Horses need the individual amino acids contained in the protein chains. Extrusion breaks down the protein chains into individual amino acids, making them easy for the horse to absorb. This predigestion may also make proteins less likely to trigger immune reactions in food-sensitive horses.

WHAT IS EXTRUSION? Extrusion is a process in which feed is cooked under high pressure with high temperatures for a short time. A feed slurry is created, which is then pushed through a small die while it is still hot; the release of pressure after coming through the die causes the feed to expand. After the final product cools, it will harden and can be broken into appropriate-sized nuggets. The steam process breaks down the feed structures to make the nutrients more available. This pre-digestion process can make feeds up to 30% to 40% more digestible than standard pellets or whole grains. The final extruded feed has a very low moisture content so will stay fresh longer. 32

Equine Wellness

Extruded horse feeds have very little dust.

Simple sugars and starches in roughage, such as hay, are also made more available to the horse from the breakdown of fibrous material. On the downside, higher heat during processing may damage the natural vitamin content of feeds, necessitating the addition of vitamin premixes. More on this later.

BENEFITS OF EXTRUDED FEEDS Native pasture is by far the best food source for the horse. Pasture grazing allows him to move about freely and pick and choose from a variety of foods. Horses will browse weeds, leaves and small branches in a native pasture setting. They are not designed to eat grains. Whole grains as well as many seeds have a hard shell and enzymes designed to prevent them from being digested when the horse consumes them. On the other hand, grass and browse are easy for the horse to digest and yield a wide range of nutrients to feed him and his gut bacteria. When we bring horses off pasture and ask them to perform as athletes, we have to give them a suitable feed that provides adequate calories and is safe for them to eat. High roughage diets in a competition horse may not provide adequate nutrition and the added bulk can interfere with performance. Pelleted feeds are less digestible than extruded feeds, and also have several disadvantages. Horses may not chew pelleted feeds, setting the stage for choke. Less saliva is produced when pellets are consumed; without the buffering effects of saliva, stomach ulcers can become an issue. One of the most valuable aspects of the extrusion process is its effect on starch. While horses in a natural setting do not benefit from much starch in the diet, it can be an important source of energy for hard-working horses. Much of the starch a horse ingests is not adequately digested in the small intestine, so it is not a good source of energy. The extruded gelatinized starch is easily converted to glucose and absorbed in the small intestine. This prevents undigested starch from reaching the large intestine, where it can disrupt the balance of fiber-digesting bacteria. If too much undigested starch reaches the large intestine, the bacteria designed to digest starch will increase in numbers and fiber-digesting bacteria will decrease. This will deprive the horse of his ability to digest roughage, and can result in severe digestive upset. Another good thing about extruded feeds is that they have very little dust. Horses that live in stalls or have to travel in trailers are constantly breathing in dust and mold particles. Many develop lung conditions such as inflammatory airway disease or equine asthma. Continued on page 34. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 33.


Feeding an extruded feed along with soaked hay can help avoid lung issues and allow affected horses to breathe better.

• Old horses


EXTRUDED FEEDS • Starved equines that have lost the ability to digest • Those with lung problems • Young horses • Competition horses


EXTRUDED FEEDS PROS • Extruded feeds have a longer shelf life. • More calories are available, with less energy used by the horse. • There’s less bulk in the diet for racing and sport horses. • Expanded, bulky extruded feeds encourage horses to eat slower and chew more, decreasing chances of choke and increasing saliva to help buffer stomach acid. • There’s less chance of digestive upset from undigested starch. • Extruded feeds have less dust, making them good for horses with lung issues. • They’re great for older horses with bad teeth or those who have lost the ability to digest hay. • Horses that have been starved will often colic when feed is first introduced because they have lost many of the cells in the walls of their intestines; the pre-digested nature of extruded feeds works well to get these horses back on feed. • Young horses benefit from extruded feeds to support their growth, especially if they are also in training at a young age.

CONS • The increase in digestibility of extruded feeds can lead to weight gain or boredom if roughage is limited. • Horses with metabolic issues may not be able to handle the starch and sugar content of extruded feeds. • Higher heat during processing may have a deleterious effect on the natural vitamins in the feed. 34

Equine Wellness

Horses that are easy keepers will often gain too much weight on an easily digested extruded feed. If hay is limited to keep these horses trim, they can develop vices such as wood chewing or cribbing from excessive boredom. Extruded feeds may also not be a good choice for horses with metabolic syndrome. These horses do not have normal carbohydrate metabolism so can react poorly to even minor amounts of sugar and starch. Although the starch in extruded feeds is pre-digested to keep it from reaching the large intestine, it is more easily absorbed into the blood from the small intestine. Unfortunately, the extrusion process needs some starch to function correctly. Metabolic horses may do better with balanced hay cubes that are guaranteed low sugar/starch if controlled grazing on pasture is not an option. Although extruded feeds are a better choice in many cases than pellets or grains, they are not whole foods. Any processing, especially heat, can interfere with the vitamin content of these feeds. Most vitamin premixes included in the feed are synthetic and do not offer the same benefits to the body as vitamins from whole foods. Whole food sources of vitamins and minerals include raw fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, sweet potato, kale, cabbage, watermelon, oranges and apples. Super foods include green algae, selected seaweeds and chia seeds. Nutritional herbs and spices can also provide a variety of vitamins and minerals; they include parsley, fennel, rosemary, basil, ginger and turmeric. These are just a few great supplements to consider adding to your horse’s diet to replace nutrients lost during the extrusion processing of feeds. Good quality hay or pasture will meet the maintenance needs of many pleasure horses, but if additional support is needed for performance or health issues, a quality extruded feed has its place. Keep in mind that extruded feeds are only as good as the ingredients used to produce them. Low quality ingredients won’t be improved by extrusion. Feeds made with non-GMO ingredients are always preferable.

Dr. Madalyn Ward, DVM graduated from Texas A&M University in 1980. After nine years of practice, four at her own Bear Creek Veterinary Clinic in Austin, she remained frustrated about many aspects of conventional medicine. In 1989, she started seeking out information and training in alternative healing. She is trained in Veterinary Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Bowen Therapy, Network Chiropractic and Equine Osteopathy. She has authored three books including Holistic Horsekeeping and Horse Harmony. Visit holistichorsekeeping.com and horseharmony.com.



By Melanie Falls

Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves make many people think of eggnog, pumpkin bread and ginger cookies. Beyond giving your baked treats a holiday zing, did you know these aromatic spices can benefit your horse as well? Consider putting them in your home-baked horse cookies, use them to top-dress his feed, or add the essential oils to salves and tinctures for topical applications.


Nutmeg is a common ingredient in supplements designed to make your bay or black horse darker. It’s indigenous to Indonesia and is made by grinding up the seed of evergreen tree Myristica fragrans. Due to the high levels of beta carotene in nutmeg, it can keep sun-fade off your horse and keep his coat a nice rich, deep color. Another popular spice for this purpose is paprika; however, paprika can contain capsaicin, which is a banned substance by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), so nutmeg may be a better choice if you show your horse. To administer, use a teaspoon top-dressed on your horse’s feed every day.


Cinnamon is an all-time favorite, often used for its antibacterial properties, intestinal support, and its great taste and smell. Cinnamon may also be very helpful for horses that are insulin resistant. Some studies have shown that cinnamon can assist with blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Using cinnamon to support an insulin resistant horse can help him regain a normal weight and also assist him in recovering from laminitis. Generally speaking, the most effective type of cinnamon for antiseptic/antibacterial properties is Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum); most cinnamon found in your pantry is Cassia Cinnamon. The effectiveness of Cassia versus Ceylon for blood glucose issues has not yet been determined. Cinnamon can also help a picky horse eat his food; horses generally love the smell and taste so sprinkle some on his grain. The recommended dosage is four teaspoons per 1,000 lb horse per day. Or use the essential oil in a salve or tincture to help support the healing of topical irritations and infections. Cinnamon can interact with other herbs, so be sure to consult a qualified equine health practitioner before use.


Clove essential oil is a powerful antibacterial, and contains antioxidants that act as an anti-inflammatory. Indigenous to Southeast Asia and some parts of East Africa, it comes from the dried flower bud of the evergreen tree Syzygium aromaticum. Essential oil of cloves can be added to an antibacterial salve, tincture or poultice to help fight topical infections such as scratches and thrush; however, be sure to dilute it, as the oil can be very strong. Some popular carrier oils for dilution include almond oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil or olive oil. Another great use for clove oil is as an insect repellant; just add a few drops to your fly spray to boost its effectiveness! Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, having healed her own horse, 21-year-old Desario, with natural methods. Melanie writes articles for various equine publications and online blogs and is the owner of Whole Equine, an online store featuring a large catalog of top quality allnatural horse care products including supplements, fly sprays, first aid and much more. She offers free nutritional consultations to all her customers and is passionate about improving the lives and health of our large four-legged friends. wholeequine.com, info@wholeequine.com, 844-946-5378

Equine Wellness


Mini Therapy Horses Though small in stature, the miniature horses at this organization make a big difference helping children and adults through challenging times. Mini Therapy Horses founder Victoria Nodiff-Netanel.

Many of us like-minded souls have found comfort and companionship with our beloved four-legged friends. I know that is true for me. From the furry pals of childhood to the miniature horses that make up the team at Mini Therapy Horses, animals have been a key part of my journey. So how did a love of animals grow into a charitable organization that helps thousands of people a year? When I moved to the Santa Monica Mountains, I started trail riding with life long horsemen and women, and was 36

Equine Wellness

introduced to the sport of dressage. Whenever I had to trailer one of my horses to the Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Santa Ynez, I would bribe my daughter, Sophie, to go with me by promising a visit to Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch. There we would fantasize about one day having a mini of our own. That day finally came as my daughter went off to college. I contacted my friends at Quicksilver. They had a petite foal named Quicksilver’s Black Pearl and I brought her home at six

Photos courtesy of Carla Acevedo-Blumenkrantz

By Victoria Nodiff-Netanel

months old. A few years later, I added two more minis, Willow Blue and Liberty Belle, and was training all three for equine therapy. When I started, I knew nothing about equine therapy, had no one to ask, and just put one foot in front of the other. This is what I tell people all the time, especially children: find something you are passionate about and take one baby step at a time. Follow your heart. That’s what’s most important. I wanted to honor my father, who was a World War II fighter pilot, and I thought volunteering with the minis at the Veterans Hospital would be the perfect way to do so. It was an uphill battle because Pearl and I were the first equine therapy team at the Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital, and they had no idea what to make of us. We had a lot to prove. Today, Mini Therapy Horses has grown into an incredible charity, helping over 50,000 children and adults a year with highly trained teams of handlers and miniature therapy horses. We are very proud of the work we do helping grieving communities and children and adults in crisis. The horses comfort patients and staff in The Greater Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, the psychiatric wards, the Intensive Care Unit, and VA Hospice. We’ve been visiting weekly for nine years. We love the veterans, and they love our horses!

STORIES OF INSPIRATION There are so many heartfelt interactions that have inspired us, including a Last Wish request I once received. A terminal patient, Jerry Amato, requested to see my therapy horse Pearl. He had met Pearl before, and she had touched his heart because, as a child, he had been taken in by a family on a farm, and his fondest memories were of the horses he connected with there. On this visit, Jerry talked to Pearl as he went in and out of consciousness while stroking her. They were communicating in their own language. Pearl knew what he needed. A few days later, Jerry passed peacefully and I felt honored to have Pearl help him along his way. Continued on page 38. The miniatures are regular visitors at Ronald MacDonald House and local hospitals.

They bring smiles and companionship to those they meet and visit with.

Equine Wellness


ntz menkra edo-Blu v e c A of Carla courtesy Photos

Tricks of the trade

Our miniature horses have been trained to do many tricks that help break the ice, promote interaction between patients, and bring joy to people who are withdrawn, depressed or in pain. All the minis can play a keyboard, give a high five, smile, stand on their hind legs, kick balls, squeak toys, and of course, bow!

Mini Therapy Horses is affiliated with a number of law enforcement agencies and works with many hospitals. They maintain the highest standards in grooming, hygiene and professionalism, and have a 100% safety record.

Continued from page 37. All our tiny mares have a busy schedule. They are registered with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Civilian Volunteer Program and can be called on at a moment’s notice 24/7. We have a special literacy program with Lieutenant Jennifer Seetoo, bringing the minis to schools and LA County Public Libraries. Mini Therapy Horses are also regular visitors at Ronald McDonald House East Hollywood and Pasadena, where the families of children undergoing treatment for cancer and other critical medical procedures in nearby hospitals get to stay free or at low cost. The children are always excited to spend time with our tiny horses. We have had so many incredible experiences with the children and their families. Pearl and I visited with a little girl staying at Pasadena Ronald McDonald House who was going through critical procedures and had lost a leg to cancer. We hooked a lead on both sides of Pearl’s halter and off we went together, with the girl’s walker and all! She was overjoyed and felt so proud to be walking a horse. Being able to lead a horse from a walker or wheelchair gives these kids a sense of empowerment and memories they will never forget. 38

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Another magical visit involved our volunteer Megan Sullivan and myself, our mini therapy horse Willow Blue, and a child who was visually impaired. With sensitivity and compassion, Megan took his hands and helped him navigate Willow from her ears to her hooves. He felt the warm breath from her nostrils and ran his fingers through her fluffy mane. He was ecstatic and his mother was crying; she said she had never seen him respond in such an engaged way. The comfort and relief the mini horses give the parents and siblings of these children is vital to the health of their families. These experiences are the essence of what drives Mini Therapy Horses. We will be participating in the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade with our seven magical horses – Black Pearl, Willow Blue, Liberty Belle, American Valor, Blue Moon, Sweet Louise and Stormy Blue. This year’s theme is “Making a Difference” – very apt, since making a difference in people’s lives is our mission!

Victoria Nodiff-Netanel has been a horsewoman all her life. From pretending to be a horse as a kid in Wisconsin to painting photorealistic horses at California Institute of the Arts, from toy horses to competing in dressage at the Intermediaire level, Victoria has always known the magic of horses. In 2008, Victoria established Mini Therapy Horses, which has grown into an incredible charity. Mini Therapy Horses is available 24/7 with their teams of highly trained mini horses and handlers.

Searching for a treeless saddle that offers both comfort and support? Look no further. Ansur Saddlery Northwest LLC offers a full array of flexible English and western saddle models – all built on a patented FlexCore foundation to eliminate rigidity. Constructed by master saddle makers in Camas, Washington, Ansur saddles create a better riding experience for both you and your equine partner. Their western style Enduro Lite model pictured here weighs between 24 and 26 pounds.

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LOAD HAY WITH EASE Love your hay bags, but hate filling them? NAG Bags aspires to make this daily chore quick and easy, giving you more time to enjoy what you love most – your horses! Dedicated to making your life easier, they’re proud to offer the solution to all your filling needs. NAG Bags’ new loading racks can be mounted anywhere, or hung on almost every fence. These racks fit all flake feeding bags and remove the hassle of filling! Use promo code “equine” to receive 15% off your order.

Slowfeeder.com 250-295-5052



DON’T GO BITLESS…GO NURTURAL! Tacking up got you down? If you’re considering going bitless, Nurtural is a great choice. Featuring a unique design – patented Circle-X, solid crownpiece and textured noseband – Nurtural bridles send gentle yet consistent signals to your horse. Improve communication during rides, prevent chafing and slipping, and offer your horse the most Nurtural experience possible! Shop the extensive collection of leather, synthetic BETA and Nylon Bridles – made in Ontario by Mennonite craftsmen harness makers.

SLOW FEED NETTING Want to save money this holiday season? Slow Feed Netting can supply and custom make any size of netting that you require – at no extra charge. Whether you have a mini, a pony, or a draft horse, Slow Feed Netting offers multiple advantages. The company’s knowledge and expertise within the netting industry provides quality assurance for horse owners who are new to the slow feed concept. Durable and Canadianmade, their feed bags are available in various sizes, and are proven to work for all horses.

SlowFeedNetting.com 877-617-8787

nurturalhorse.com 877-877-5845

Equine Wellness


RESOURCE GUIDE • Associations • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Chiropractors

• Communicators • Insurance • Integrative Therapies

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

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

• Massage • Saddle Fitters • Schools and Training

Anne Riddell - AHA Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net Website: www.barefoothorsecanada.com Barefoot Hoofcare Specialist Kate Romanenko Woodville ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Barefoot with BarnBoots Johanna Neuteboom Port Sydney, ON Canada Phone: (705) 385-9086 Email: info@barnboots.ca Website: www.barnboots.ca Natural horse care services, education and resources Certified Hoof Care Professional Miriam Braun, CHCP Stoke, QC Canada Phone: (819) 543-0508 Email: Hoofhealth13@yahoo.com Website: www.chevalbarefoot.com Natural Horse, Natural Hoof Sarah Graves Boone, CO USA Phone: (719) 557-0052 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com Cynthia Niemela - Barefoot Hoof Trimming Minneapolis, MN USA Phone: (612) 481-3036 Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com Better Be Barefoot Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 432-2218 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com Jeannean Mercuri - The Hoof Fairy, LLC Long Island, NY USA Phone: (631) 434-5032 Email: neanpiggy@me.com Website: www.neanpiggy.com, PHCP Mentor & Clinician, AHA Certified Member, Area Served. Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com Website: www.hoofkeeping.com

40 Equine Wellness View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com 40 Equine Equine Wellness Wellness

• Thermography • Yoga

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

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

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

Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA Phone: (928) 282-9800 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com

THERMOGRAPHY 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

YOGA Yoga with Horses Pemberton, BC USA Phone: (604) 902-4556 Email: yogawithhorses@gmail.com Website: www.yogawithhorses.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

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– the two go hand in hand! By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE

The girth is the most important saddle accessory because it directly affects saddle fit and how it feels to your horse. There are many different types, lengths and versions of girths available. In this article, we look at the factors to consider when finding and fitting a girth that will work for your horse.

BILLET ALIGNMENT One cannot really discuss girths without considering how the girth is attached to the saddle. Ask yourself: • Does your saddle slide forward no matter what kind of girth you use? 42

Equine Wellness

• Have you ever had to stop in the middle of your ride and reset your saddle because it has moved forward onto your horse’s shoulders? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you may be faced with a billet alignment issue – a crucial consideration regardless of what girth you choose. Unless the billets on your saddle are positioned correctly, your saddle will not stay in its proper place on your horse’s back. And no matter how many times you stop and reset the saddle, or what type of girth you use, your saddle will continue to slide forward.

CHECKING BILLET ALIGNMENT To find out if the billets on your saddle are aligned properly for your horse, place your saddle on the horse’s back, making sure it is correctly situated behind his shoulder. The billets should hang perpendicular to the ground in the girthing area. If they hang too far back, gravity will pull them forward into the girthing area, which will pull the entire saddle forward. The girth will always find its position at the narrowest point of the rib cage behind your horse’s elbow, and the unfortunate result is that the saddle either gets driven forward into your horse’s shoulders, or driven clear on top of his shoulders. Why does this matter? The horse’s shoulder blade (scapula) consists of both bone and cartilage. At the very least, a saddle that is pulled forward onto his shoulders acts like a straitjacket: your horse will be unable to move freely through his shoulders and his movement will be compromised, sometimes severely. At worst, a saddle that constantly drives into your horse’s shoulders first will produce a buildup of scar tissue on his scapula. If the problem persists over the long-term, the tree points of the saddle will begin to actually chip away the bone and cartilage. Horses with this kind of irreversible damage often have telltale “holes”, particularly on the left shoulder blade. If the billets hang too far forward into your horse’s elbow area, they may make him sore in the elbows. And once again, gravity will drag them (and the girth and saddle along with them) back into the girthing area. You might think this is not a problem because at least your horse’s shoulders are free. However, there will be too much pressure on the panels at the rear of the saddle. Too much of the rider’s weight will be on the horse’s lumbar and kidney area. This is especially problematic when your mare is in season, since this excess pressure on her ovaries may cause her to show extreme discomfort or resistance when being saddled and ridden. What causes improper billet alignment? Frequently, the problem is that either the width or angle of your saddle tree, or both, are not the correct size for your horse. Work with a saddle fitter to ensure the saddle you are using has a tree correctly sized for your horse. Continued on page 44. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 43.

BILLET LENGTH Girths comes in many sizes, shapes and designs. When you girth a saddle with long billets, the girth should be at the last two to three holes of the billets. One of the highest points of heat and friction occurs where the billets lie against the edge of the horse. Less distance between the bottom of the flap and the top of the girth means less irritation. Every saddle has a different flap and billet length depending on the manufacturer. Try different lengths, shapes, and materials to see what girth works with your horse.

GIRTH SHAPE A horse has a curved shape with relief needed in the elbow area – an area easily chafed by the girth. It is necessary to have a girth with an area cut out behind the elbow. This allows the horse to move the front leg without being inhibited by the girth itself.

up. This means we have a solid leather band around the horse’s ribcage and around his lungs. A horse may be short of breath or irritable after being ridden in this type of girth, because of breathing issues. A girth with at least one side elastic is both better and worse. The advantage is that the ribcage has room to expand; the downside is that the give is only on one side and therefore can pull the saddle off to that side and cause unevenness in the horse’s movement and development. Best is a girth with both sides elastic. If the elastic is too weak or too long, the girth loses stability and stretches, allowing the saddle to move around on the horse’s back. On a short girth, the elastic should be a maximum of 1” long; on a long girth the elastic should be a maximum 2 ½” long. This gives the ribcage room while keeping the saddle stable. Watch for fraying at the elastic and buckle attachments.

In the diagram below, Girth B is preferable to Girth A. Girth A is very straight with only one strip of hard leather through the center, putting all the pressure onto that thin leather strap and acting like a “knife” across a horse’s sternum and pectorals. Girth B has cut-outs for the elbow. The stiffer leather goes all the way out to the edges with a soft leather backing that disperses the pressure over a much larger surface area, making the horse more comfortable. The wider center also helps stabilize a saddle from slipping side to side or going forward. A correctly shaped girth should displace pressure as evenly as possible along its length. Ideally, it should have a wider surface area along the sternum of the horse, which is the strongest point of contact. These “diamond” girths are anatomically accommodating, narrower at the ends where they sit under the elbow area, and widening to between 4” to 8” at the sternum to evently displace the pressure.

This girth is too short for the horse; you can see that the buckle will irritate him at the leg and elbow during movement. This is easily tested when positioning the leg as if the horse were in motion.

MATCHING GIRTH AND BILLET LENGTH The area where the girth is positioned and buckled is where several muscle groups converge and have their sensitive points – an area we should avoid irritating. The longer girth used with jumping and eventing saddles is usually buckled on the sweat flap, which means there is a relatively thick second leather layer protecting the horse’s flank from the buckle. Girth B is preferable to Girth A.

THE ENDS OF THE GIRTH – ELASTIC OR NO ELASTIC? A girth has the potential to put immense pressure on the horse’s musculature; therefore, it should displace this pressure as evenly as possible along its length. With no elastic at the ends of a girth, there is no give at all once a saddle is girthed 44

Equine Wellness

In dressage, short girths with long billets are the rule. A huge advantage is that the girth’s buckles don’t bother the rider at his thighs and allow the saddle to be fastened more securely. However, the girth buckles are located at a very sensitive area of the horse’s rib cage. A short girth is buckled directly on the side of the horse, so the buckle (which may be protected minimally with one layer of leather) may cause pressure. The girth should be buckled to the billets as close to the widest part of the horse’s side as possible

BE AWARE Where the two yellow lines intersect is where the triceps and the latissimus muscles cross. Behind the red “X” is the best spot for the girth buckle to be (the right back region of the “X” as per the arrows shown on the diagram).

This girth is too short for this horse because the buckles are sitting at the edge of the pectoralis muscle. The hand shows where the buckles should ideally be sitting.

Here the buckles are located correctly; they do not interfere with the pectoralis muscles (shown by the hand).

that the girth can be a significant cause of skin irritations. This can occur when: • the billets are not in the right spot • the girth is the incorrect shape • the girth alignment does not match up. The more a girth is able to distribute weight and pressure over a larger surface area, the more comfortable the horse will be. These are all examples of BSE (both sides elastic) diamond girths with 4”, 5”, 6” and 8” sternum shields.

(as high up as possible) so the buckles are “pulled away” from the rib cage and won’t put unnecessary pressure on his side and the insertion points (edge) of the M. Pectoralis profundus, but rather on its mass (flatness) – for example, the pectoralis or latissimus. The buckles should never cause pressure points to the horse or rider, or interfere with riding and moving freely without pain. Jochen Schleese came to Canada in 1986 to establish and register the trade of saddlery in North America, operating the only authorized saddlery training facility in Ontario. Schleese is the world-leading manufacturer of saddles designed for women, specializing in the unique anatomical requirements of female riders. Schleese provides diagnostic saddle fit analysis and saddle fitting services across North America to maintain optimal saddle fit to horse and rider. Saddlefit 4 Life educational programs and certification courses are held throughout the world. His first book “Suffering in Silence: The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses”, is available from HorseBooksetc. and through Amazon.com in hard cover or e-format. Saddlesforwomen.com; Saddlefit4life.com; Schleese.com ; 800-225-2242 ©2017 Saddlefit 4 Life® All Rights Reserved

Equine Wellness



CHILLY PEPPER MIRACLE MUSTANG EQUINE RESCUE & MORE Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA241 to Drifter’s Heart of Hope Equine Rescue.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2008 LOCATION: Golconda, Nevada TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: “We rescue wild horses, but specialize in neo-natal and/or injured orphan foals,” says Palomino Armstrong, founder of Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang (CPMM). CPMM also works with starving and injured horses, as well as the occasional dog, cat or any other animal that requires care.

NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: I am the only fulltime person here,” says Palomino, adding that she often works straight through the night when a foal requires 24-hour care. Palomino’s husband also dedicates a great deal of time to the rescue, helping transport horses in need. “When I am stuck at the rescue with critical care orphans, he will deliver, pick up or do whatever we need so I can continue the 24/7 care,” she says. They also have neighbors who have begun volunteering, as well as an intern from Europe who helps out several months of the year.

Midnight Onyx was covered in scars when he was first brought to CPMM. Today, his coat is beautiful and shiny.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: CPMM does most of their Honey Bandit was close to death when he arrived at CPMM. After a great deal of rehabilitation and care, he became one of the rescue’s many success stories.

fundraising through social media. They share countless rescue stories, which attracts the interest of donors worldwide. The Let ‘Em Run Foundation is one of their most loyal supporters.

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: Midnight Onyx is a 20-year-


old wild stallion CPMM rescued from South Dakota. He is completely blind. “He was born at the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs & Burros (ISPMB),” says Palomino. “He grew up fighting for his food and being attacked by the other stallions.” Forced to battle for survival in brutal winters without any shelter, it’s a miracle Midnight Onyx survived. When Palomino and her husband brought Midnight Onyx back to Nevada, their first step was to geld him. The improvements to his behavior after the procedure were significant. “He is now very mellow and listens to voice commands,” says Palomino. “He is still learning, but he knows if I tell him ‘whoa’, that he’s about to run into something, so he will stop.” According to Palomino, Midnight Onyx is a calm, happy horse who is well on his way to learning other commands. “My dream is to ride him someday,” she adds.

After 46

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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

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in horses: nature vs. nurture

By Lindsay Day, REMT

Like people, horses have a preference for using one side of their bodies over the other for more demanding tasks. Like the right- or left-handed person who has greater control and dexterity with her dominant hand, horses will show greater strength and coordination when using their dominant sides. While this preference may be something people are born with (and the science suggests it is), the way we develop our physical and mental skills over time serves to reinforce this preference, making it even more pronounced the older we get. But what about our horses? Are they too born with a dominant side? And what happens when they meet us humans, who bring asymmetries of our own to the way we handle and ride our horses?

Straightness is important because it means the horse is able to push off equally with each hind leg and can distribute his weight evenly over the two halves of his body. A horse that is going straight is better able to use his body in a balanced and coordinated way and will maintain an even contact through the reins on both sides. Yet for many horses, achieving this degree of straightness actually requires some work. Indeed, there are many horses that tend to travel crookedly when being ridden if there is not a conscious effort on the part of their riders to address it.



Throughout a horse’s training, “straightness� during ridden work is considered one of the fundamental building blocks to developing a sound and athletic horse. Straightness in the horse means that his hindlimbs are tracking in line with his forelimbs, whether he is going in a straight line or a circle. On a curved

To get a better picture of what happens when straightness is not being achieved, think of a horse trotting in a straight line. If he is right-side dominant, you will see that his right hind leg tends to track out. That is, his right hind foot will tend to land further out (away from the center of his body) than where his


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line, for example, this would mean his body is slightly bent from nose to tail.

right front foot is landing. Meanwhile, the left hind leg will tend to track further in and underneath his body. If you are sitting on this horse, his body will feel more hollow on the left side, while slightly bulging on the right. You would also tend to feel more contact on the right rein, and less on the left. He will often feel as if he bends easier to the left than to the right. This horse would be doing more pushing with his right hind (the stronger side) to propel his body forward, which is why he’d be considered right-side dominant, even though he travels better to the left. Interestingly, just like there are more right-handed people than left-handed people, researchers have found that more horses tend to be right-dominant compared to left-dominant. While you might think this has more to do with our training than anything else, studies with young unridden horses that were handled equally from both sides since birth have still found a greater proportion of right-dominant animals. Yet while this preference might be something horses are born with, we as riders can still play a significant role in creating greater or, ideally, less crookedness in our horses through the way we ride and train them.

ADDRESSING CROOKEDNESS Not only is a crooked horse less comfortable to ride, he will put more wear and tear on his body, which over time could predispose him to injury. Because most horses are naturally crooked to some degree, working to achieve straightness is an ongoing task throughout training. Muscles on the hollow side must be lengthened and stretched to prevent strain, while the dominant hind leg that tends to step out should be encouraged, through seat and leg aids, to come up and underneath the body. As the horse starts to do this, he’ll naturally move into the contact on the opposite rein to create more even contact in both reins. Working with an instructor can be extremely helpful as he/she can see how your horse is moving from the ground. He/she can also help you find and refine the correct riding aids, and lead you and your horse through exercises to help develop his strength and suppleness. Having mirrors on the arena walls can be a great asset so you can see how your horse’s body is moving and how that corresponds to what you feel. Or you might have a friend videotape you, which can be a great learning tool. You’ll also want to make sure you address your own imbalances. Yoga, massage and developing your awareness through breathing and other exercise can all be helpful strategies. It is also important to rule out and address pain or other physical limitations that may be due to an injury, past or present. Remember that your horse’s body functions as a unit and restrictions that have developed in one area can transfer to compensations elsewhere. Have your vet out to do an assessment if you are concerned. Once any issues are diagnosed, it can also be beneficial to work with an equine massage therapist, chiropractor, or other equine body worker, who can help address imbalances. Working to achieve straightness is an ongoing task but one that will support health and longevity in your horse’s riding career, making it well worth the effort! Equine Wellness



Using to support your senior horses


By Kathleen Prasad

f you’re lucky, your horse will live to a ripe old age. Along with the support of a caring holistic vet, sharing Reiki meditations with your senior can help you enhance his health journey. Because horses are prey animals, they are often very stoic and it can be difficult to know when they’re feeling poorly. By closely observing changes in the expression in your horse’s eyes, body posture or behavior, you can more easily recognize when he’s not feeling well. Reiki is a great way to quiet our minds so we can notice these changes, and is also a way to offer horses our heartfelt healing support and compassionate presence. In this article, I’d like to explore how Reiki can support healing for the conditions senior horses often face.


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Reiki can also help bring a sense of peace and calm to those of us who worry about our horses getting older. I love sharing Reiki with a horse’s human by setting up a chair just outside the stall and performing a hands-on Reiki session on the person with the horse nearby, relaxing and sharing the space with us. Reiki always offers wonderful gentle support for mind, body and spirit.

ACHES, PAINS AND LAMENESS Many elderly horses suffer from aches and pains associated with common health issues such as arthritis or laminitis. My 30-year-old horse, Shawnee, benefits from pasture living and special hoof care for his issues. In addition, he always looks forward to his regular Reiki sessions. Through Reiki, I can often sense how he’s feeling or if there is something going on that needs a vet’s attention. Often, horses who receive Reiki will show signs of significant improvement in comfort and mobility. It brings me great joy to see many of my arthritic clients getting a spring back in their steps after Reiki treatments. I’ve often seen Shawnee kick up his heels and canter like a young horse soon after a Reiki session.



Your horse will show signs of relaxation and interest in you, and may come forward so you can rest your hands on him. Or he may stay several feet away in a peaceful and calm manner. Remember, Reiki is about touching with your heart, not your hands, so physical contact isn’t necessary for your horse to benefit from the healing space you create.

our being, so we can connect more easily to a horse’s heart and being. When we connect heart to heart, we realize that although we often rely on “doing” things to connect us to one other and the world, these activities don’t define who we are. When our horses are less able to physically perform, Reiki helps us stay connected by heightening the awareness that comes from an open heart. By meditating with our horses, Reiki shows us that connecting with our hearts is a profound way to communicate with and relate to our horses – it’s even

As horses get older, it’s important to keep a closer eye on their weight, eating habits and energy levels. Sometimes, elderly horses develop hormone imbalances, causing them to become too fat or too thin. They can also develop dental issues that require dietary changes. Any changes you notice in your horse’s weight and energy should be discussed with your veterinarian, but Reiki is also a wonderful way to support him so he feels better. Many times, I’ve enjoyed the beautiful experience of seeing a horse with decreased appetite begin to eat during a Reiki session. I’ve also seen lethargic horses show increased liveliness after sessions; Reiki can bring back a beautiful emotional sparkle. Reiki is a wonderful way to bring balance and well-being to your horse, no matter what ailments he or she may be facing.

REIKI FOR RETIREMENT For many of us, our primary relationship and connection with our horses is through riding, so when they get older and we make the decision to retire them, it can feel like a big loss in our lives. Trying to adjust to a new “way” of being together, without riding, can be difficult at first, but Reiki is a wonderful way to smooth the process. Reiki meditation is about connecting from the heart. When we practice Reiki, we learn to breathe and focus into the heart of Equine Wellness



Stand in a comfortable position near your horse (inside or outside the stall, paddock or pasture), with your spine straight and your shoulders and arms relaxed. Place your hands palms out, at your sides. Relax your entire body as you breathe deeply a few times. Now take ten breaths, and on each inhale, feel the energy of the earth coming up into your heart. On each exhale, release any emotions, fears or worries about your horse. With each successive breath, feel more and more stillness and stability within you. Once you have completed ten breaths, allow yourself to stay for several minutes in the space of earth energy and stability you have created with your breath. Once you feel yourself become fully calm and connected to the earth, invite your horse to share this space with you. Simply set your intent to open your heart and share this calm, grounded space.

Now, recite the Reiki precepts in your mind and heart: For today only, do not anger. Do not worry. Be grateful. Practice diligently. Be compassionate to yourself and others. Bring these precepts into your heart and allow yourself to contemplate what they mean to you. How does your horse teach you these precepts? Does he model them for you? How can following these precepts help you to be truly present as a helpful caretaker for your horse? Now take a moment to thank your horse for being a teacher of healing in your life. Feel gratitude embracing both you and your horse. Let go of your expectations (along with any worries about what needs to be healed) and continue to breathe the calm and strength of earth energy into your heart as you share this space of gratitude for as long as you like. Tips: As you practice this meditation, remember to let go of the “doing” of healing. The most powerful healing you can offer your horse right now is to bring all your awareness and energy here to this moment, open your heart, and just “be.” If you find your mind becoming distracted, recite the precepts again or repeat the ten breaths to help you to re-focus.


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more profound than the connection we once found through riding! How wonderful that even though our horses slow down and age, Reiki will always give us a beautiful way to connect and be together! With everything we “do” for our horses throughout their lives, it can be difficult to navigate the many challenges they may face in their elder years, as they wind down towards their final days. As much as we work to “do” our best for our horses, Reiki helps us remember we can always be Reiki with our horses, no matter their age or condition. Reiki meditation can help us create a strong sense of peace, harmony, love and compassion, every day, through every condition, even as we support our horses during their final journey over the rainbow bridge.

Affectionately called the “godmother” of the Animal Reiki movement, Kathleen Prasad is the global leader in the profession. She is the 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 non-profit 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.


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Loading and hauling horses in a trailer is part of the equine experience for most horse owners. Many of us have stories about difficult horses or bad loading or hauling situations we’ve found ourselves in. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things I’ve learned from more than 30 years of hauling horses over thousands of miles.

Don’t wait till the morning of your trip to see if your horse will load

Without proper preparation, you should plan on your horse being resistant to walking into the trailer. There’s nothing about that metal box that is reassuring or inviting to him. Schedule a time well before your trip, when you have nothing pressing to do, to start the trailer loading process with no pressure or expectations. Load your horse in the trailer when you have nowhere to go and feed him his favorite bucket of treats while he’s standing inside. Then unload him and put him away. Follow this procedure three times in a row and your horse is liable to start dragging you into the trailer next time you go by it!

Remember procedures

I mention this specific concept because I’ve seen this mistake being made time and time again. When loading in a straight-load trailer, never tie your horse inside until you have secured the butt bar and/or door in the back. And


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Photo courtesy of Featherlite Trailers.

when unloading, never open the back door and let the butt bar down until you have untied your horse in front. Even the gentlest of horses will anticipate backing out as soon as the door is opened. If the horse is still tied, he could pull back and cause a dangerous situation because he was not secured.

Get going

Some horses will load up in the trailer but feel a little anxious and nervous once inside. In most cases, if they are safely secured, the best thing you can do is get going. The movement of a well-driven truck and trailer will often help horses stabilize and quiet down once you’re on the road. When I pick up a young inexperienced horse for training, I make sure my conversation with the clients is conducted prior to loading the horse. Once the horse is loaded, I say goodbye and hit the road.

Taking a break

Think twice about the wisdom of unloading your horse in the middle of a day-long hauling trip. It’s my experience, and that of many professional haulers, that 300 to 500 miles inside a safe trailer is not an unreasonable distance for most horses to travel. When you stop to refuel, your horse has plenty of time to urinate and rest. You can even offer water through the manger door. However, stopping at an unfamiliar place and unloading horses for 20 minutes midway through your trip may present more problems than benefits. Unless your horse is a seasoned hauler, and loads exceptionally well, it might not be worth the risk. We ask a lot of our horses – especially stepping inside trailers. However, with some good commonsense techniques, your horse can survive this experience. Proactive leadership can set your next horse-hauling venture up for success. Richard Winters has dedicated himself to honing his horsemanship skills, and passing this knowledge on to others, for over 35 years. His horsemanship journey has earned him Colt Starting and Horse Showing Championship titles. He obtained his goal of a World Championship in the National Reined Cow Horse Association in 2005. He is an AA rated judge. Another of Richard’s horsemanship goals was realized with his 2009 Road to the Horse Colt Starting Championship. He has returned as the Horseman’s Host for five consecutive years. Richard was also a Top Five Finalist at the Cowboy Dressage World Finals in 2015. wintersranch.com

Equine Wellness



Herbs and essential oils have many naturallyoccurring properties that make them well-suited for addressing a range of skin conditions in horses.

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Aloe use for skin problems dates back at least to the time of the ancient Egyptians. Aloe is used to treat wounds, burns, sunburns, insect bites and irritations of all sorts. Its proven effects include reducing pain and inflammation, reducing edema and preventing blister formation, decreasing scar formation, and increasing the rate of healing. Aloe also has some weak antimicrobial effects against Staph bacteria and skin fungi. Calendula (marigold) flower extract and oil have a long traditional history of use in the same situations as aloe, although this herb has not been given as much formal study. Calendula is known to stimulate the division of skin cells when used in low concentrations. In one study, it also showed antioxidant effects and improved wound healing. Chamomile (German) has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and is also anti-allergic and anti-itch. It has some analgesic and antimicrobial action. At least 18 active chemicals have been identified in this herb. It also speeds healing.

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Comfrey root contains allantoin. It is used as a compress or in a cream base to treat wounds, ulcers, burns and other skin irritations. It provides some antimicrobial action. Allantoin also increases the rate of healing. Dandelion is a common weed that originated in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Its use dates back to the 10th and 11th century Arabians. Externally, it is an excellent antioxidant and is mildly astringent.

for hor se s

By Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD, Uckele Health and Nutrition


Equine Wellness

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Echinacea has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. It also encourages healing. Mullein is a widely distributed wildflower originating in Europe and temperate Asia. It is traditionally used both as an emollient and moisturizing agent, but is also mildly astringent. Plantain or Plantago, a common broadleaf weed, contains high levels of allantoin. It is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and promotes healing. Tea tree oil (Melaleuca) can reduce histamine release in type I allergic reactions, but is not otherwise anti-inflammatory. Its major benefit for skin disorders is its antimicrobial effects.


Yarrow is a flower in the daisy family and is ubiquitous throughout Europe. Externally, it is used to shrink swelling and is mildly astringent. Continued on page 58.

use with care

Botanically active chemicals offer many benefits for skin problems. However, just because they’re natural, it doesn’t mean they should be used indiscriminately. Because of the chemical complexity of plants, they all have the potential to trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Essential oils can also be very irritating or even toxic if not properly diluted. Allergic or contact dermatitis-type reactions usually do not appear until multiple applications have been used. However, cross-sensitivity to botanicals can occur – e.g. tea tree oil and lavender – which means previous use of a botanical product may have sensitized your horse, even if it contained different ingredients.


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Continued from page 57.

ESSENTIAL OILS ALSO HELP We don’t think of plants or flowers as being particularly oily, but even grass contains about 6% fat. The distinct aromas of herbs and spices usually originate in their oil fractions. Essential oils are extracted from leaves, flowers or woods. Many essential oils are antimicrobial, making them good topical disinfectants. In fact, a study published in October 2009 compared the effectiveness of essential oils with substances like iodine, chlorhexidine and peroxide. The goal was to see if the oils were effective against candida and drug-resistant bacterial strains found in hospitals. Thyme, lemon, lemongrass and cinnamon oil were all very highly effective. Eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, grapefruit, clove bud, sandalwood, peppermint, kunzea and sage oils were also effective.

CHOOSING AND USING AN HERBAL PRODUCT Herbal products may be used for a variety of equine and human skin conditions, from abrasions, rubs and minor wounds to insect irritations and infections. All products should be used according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If an area is too dirty or crusted to be cleaned by water alone, take care to rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of soap. Your choice of product depends to some degree on the extent of the issue. Problems covering a large area of the horse’s body are best addressed with liquids, possibly combined with a salve, cream or ointment with similar ingredients on the worst areas. Dermatitis along the belly or elsewhere related to insect bites will need a thicker product so you can effectively shield it from further bites. For cleaned minor wounds and abrasions, stick with products that have low potential for irritation, and that stimulate healing. Look for ingredients such as aloe, comfrey, calendula and gentle essential oils like lavender. For superficial bacterial or fungal infections, and wounds with surface infections, additional useful ingredients are mullein, yarrow and tea tree oil. These products also have a very nice skin conditioning effect.

prope r stor age and use

Natural products do not usually contain preservatives, which makes proper storage important. Oxidation is the reaction of a chemical with oxygen in the air, and this reaction is hastened by warm temperatures. Oxidized chemicals undergo a change in structure that can alter their effectiveness. In the case of essential oils, oxidation can make some more allergenic. Products should be stored away from sunlight in cool temperatures, in lightproof containers with lids tightly on. Avoid contaminating creams or ointments by always using a clean wooden tongue depressor or piece of gauze to remove them from their containers. Shelf life varies considerably for different ingredients, and starts from the date of manufacture. Lavender and citrus oils are particularly fragile. To be safe, discard all-natural products one year after purchase, or sooner if there has been any change in color, smell or texture. Unopened products stored properly are probably good for two years if in airtight containers. In horses with sensitive skin, always test a product by applying it to the skin at the back of the pastern and waiting 24 hours before using it on the problem area.

Horses can be prone to a variety of skin injuries and conditions. Herbs and essential oils, properly chosen and used, can do an excellent job at soothing and healing the skin.

Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, has been an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and is a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via the integration of research and real-life clinical experience. Prevention laminitis is the ultimate goal. ecirhorse.org Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier. On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances. uckele.com 58

Equine Wellness



By Laura Batts

equestrian gift ideas

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Photo courtesy

Hand bags or grooming totes can be made from up-cycled fabric and leather.

Sure, shopping can be fun and buying the latest, shiny new things can feel pretty good, but the sense of reward you get from making something with your hands is terrific and can’t be earned any other way.

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Up-cycling projects reflect your personality and have a special meaning

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A grooming tote made from old shutters and wood.


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Up-cycling is relatively inexpensive. Add in the labor costs and you save even more. When you know how to do things yourself, you can appreciate what makes a high-priced product or service cost as much as it does.

When you buy mass-produced items, you get them quickly and with relative convenience, but it rarely promotes sustainable innovation and creativity. Upcycling projects can provide fun crafting time, especially if they include your friends or kids, and they exercise the brain!


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Costs less money (most of the time)

Creates an opportunity to use your hands and brain

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When you up-cycle, you remove items from the global garbage stream. Up-cycling only requires creativity and elbow grease.

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Reduces waste and environmental impacts

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Using up-cycled materials in your crafts and gifts this holiday season can be a fun and creative way to reduce waste and contribute to a healthier planet.

Picture frames and bird houses can be made using reclaimed wood and horse shoes

A pillow using horse show ribbons.

There are plenty of great ideas for making equestrian gifts using up-cycled materials. Just search Pinterest or Google for “equestrian up-cycled craft ideas”. If you are searching for an up-cycled equestrian gift made by another crafter, check out Etsy. It is full of wonderful items made from up-cycled materials.

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




Equine Wellness

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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

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


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

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

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EMAIL YOUR EVENT TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com Desert Classic Horse Show December 7-10, 2017 Scottsdale, AZ

22nd Annual Horse World Expo January 19-21, 2018 Timonium, MD

The Desert Classic Show is the third largest show in Region VII and has a reputation for being one of the most exhibitor friendly shows in the nation. We invite you to bring your horses and enjoy the experience.

You will find top quality seminars and clinics, and many different mounted demonstrations. You can take a stroll down Stallion Avenue and, of course, there is plenty of shopping! Great family fun and entertainment!

Sit in the comfortable, climate-controlled Equidome, and watch classes in English Pleasure, Hunter Pleasure, Western Pleasure, Halter and the ever-popular Native Costume Class, where the horses and riders show in authentic Arabian costume.

For more information: (301) 916-0852 info@horseworldexpo.com www.horseworldexpo.com

For more information: www.desertclassicshow.com

Winter Equestrian Festival January 10-April 1, 2018 Palm Beach, FL This festival is the largest and longestrunning circuit in the sports horse world. It is a 12-week show jumping competition for hunters, jumpers, and equitation and includes riders from 33 countries and all American States.

For more information: info@equestriansport.com http://pbiec.coth.com/

HITS Ocala Winter Circuit January 16-March 25, 2018 Ocala, FL The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit offers exhibitors 10 consecutive weeks of shows with 2 additional weeks of USEF-Rated shows — the Ocala Holiday Series — in mid-December. The extensive range of classes, offering over $4 million in prize money and abundant show opportunities, make HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida, a prime winter destination. The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit culminates each March with the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix.

For more information: www.hitsshows.com/ocala/hits-ocalawinter-circuit

January Thaw Expo January 20, 2018 Fredericton, NB Come celebrate with us! We can’t do it without you. Let’s make this year the biggest yet in support of The Children’s Wish Foundation. All are welcome to this public event at the Fredericton Exhibition Center! Featuring over 70 exhibits to view and explore as well many presentations.

For more information: www.januarythaw.com

AETA International Trade Show January 27-29, 2018 Oaks, PA Spend 3 days viewing English and Western merchandise, networking with each other, exchanging ideas on marketing and learning the latest in equestrian products and services at this year’s AETA International Trade Show. This equestrian event is specifically for equestrian trade exhibitors and buyers and is not open to the general public.

Equine Wellness

The North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) is a non-profit organization that provides world-class continuing education to all members of the veterinary healthcare team. Held each winter in Orlando, Florida, the NAVC Conference welcomes over 15,000 attendees from over 70 countries. We offer 50 intensive Hands-on Laboratories, over 350 speakers, dozens of different daily lecture tracks, the largest meeting of exotics practitioners in the world and the largest exhibit halls in the industry. An excellent opportunity to socialize and network with other industry professionals at our evening entertainment programs.

For more information: (800) 756-3446 info@navc.com www.navc.com

16th Annual Horse World Expo March 1-4, 2018 Harrisburg, PA You will find top quality seminars and clinics, and many different mounted demonstrations. You can take a stroll down Stallion Avenue and, of course, there is plenty of shopping! Great family fun and entertainment!

For more information: (301) 916-0852 info@horseworldexpo.com www.horseworldexpo.com

For more information: (717) 724-0204 www.aeta.us

Western States Horse Expo–Pomona March 9-11, 2018 Pomona, CA

Scottsdale Annual Arabian Horse Show February 15-25, 2018 Scottsdale, AZ

This event features demonstrations, shopping, lectures, competitions, and breeds as well as saddles, horses, trailers, and trucks for sale. Come on out and enjoy the fun!

In its 62nd year, this Arabian show has set the pace in the Arabian horse world. This show has grown from 50 horses to nearly 2400 horses over the years and brings top owners, trainers, and breeders from all over the world to compete for a chance to win.

For more information: (480) 515-1500 info@scottsdaleshow.com www.scottsdaleshow.com


North American Veterinary Conference February 3-7, 2018 Orlando, FL

For more information: letters@horseexpoevents.com www.horseexpoevents.com

Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness