V14I1 (Feb/Mar 2019)

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you can share with your horse








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February/March 2019



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February/March 2019 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Cindy MacDonald EDITOR: Ann Brightman ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Sariana Burnet ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Emily Watson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Anna Dezsi WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT: Lace Imson SOCIAL/DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER: Theresa Gannon COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Isa Fernandez Fernandez COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sariana Burnet Deanna Corby Melanie Falls Ava Frick, DVM Juliet Getty, PhD Joyce Harman, DVM Amy Hayek, DVM Crystal Lynn Jennifer Moore Wendy Murdoch Terry Newton Martin Nielsen, DVM Sarah Nielson Bill Ormston, DVM Joan Ranquet Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE Amy Snow Michael Woolhouse Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Susan Smith SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES MANAGER: Ericka Carbonneau 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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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.


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ON THE COVER Photo by: Isa Fernandez Fernandez

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© 2019. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: January 2019.


This beauty is the picture of good health. To help maintain optimal wellness and performance in your own horse, start with the best nutrition possible. The right forage, feed and nutrients form the foundation for a fit and balanced equine partner who will do you proud whether on the trail or in the show ring. Our nutrition issue gets you on the right path!

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If your horse is a fast eater, you may think she’s greedy; but in fact, she may just be a little stressed out. Here’s what you can do to help.


HEMP PRODUCT FOR YOUR HORSE One of the newer trends we’re

seeing in holistic animal care is the use of hemp products. Being an informed consumer will help ensure you’re providing the best for your horse.



comes to intestinal parasites, caretakers often look to de-wormers as a first line of defense. However, you may be doing more harm than good. Take a look at why parasites, like bacteria, aren’t all bad.


MISTAKES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM Lunging is a great way for horses to exercise and build muscle. But it’s easy to fall into bad habits. See if you’re making these lunging mistakes and learn how to correct them.


programs can take a toll on the horses’ well-being. Here’s how to keep them happy and strong.

to admit their horses are getting a bit overweight. But the reality is that weight is one of the most important things for us to monitor. You may want to consider a grazing muzzle as part of your own horse’s diet plan.





haylage are a vital part of your horse’s diet, so it is important to provide optimal quality. Learn how to evaluate your forage and determine if it’s right for your horse.


SUGARS IN YOUR HORSE’S DIET Pasture grazing is often considered

one of the most natural sources of nutrition for a horse. While this is largely true, both lush pastures and grain-based concentrates can also contain staggering levels of unhealthy sugars – here’s what you can do.



Learning environments do so much to improve the welfare of humans – but these 4

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YOUR HORSE THROUGH YOGA AND MEDITATION Looking to build a deeper bond with your horse? Try harnessing the power of yoga and meditation.


barn having a tasty snack and your horse expresses interest, you may be tempted to offer her a bite. The good news is there are fruits and vegetables you can safely share with her! In fact, they can even be beneficial.


GETTING THE NUTRITION SHE NEEDS? What the equine body needs and what we think it needs can be two different things. Fortunately, there’s a test that can help.

nts 42



8 Neighborhood news

6 Editorial

20 Herb blurb

27 Product picks

26 Saddle fit

49 Heads up

36 Rewind

63 Equine Wellness resource guide

40 Rider fitness

64 Marketplace

54 Acupressure at-a-glance

65 Classifieds

62 To the rescue 66 Equine chakras



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EDITORIAL Horses are



orses love hemp. Our herd members will attest to that. We add hemp fines (broken hulled seed pieces and shell fragments) to their daily bucket meals, alternating the fines with ground flax seeds over the year. They also get hemp pellets (extruded leftovers from the extraction process) in their meals and as treats. I keep a handful in my pocket,so I’m really popular when I go into the pasture! They’re great for training, bribing fearful but food-motivated rescues and for practicing boundary setting with the pushy, dominant leaders. Dogs and pet piggies love them too. If you’re thinking of offering this versatile plant to your horse in oil form, turn to page 14 for tips on choosing the best product. We have several food-related tricks up our sleeves to address the various nutritional issues that arise with horse-keeping. To slow down those who wolf their hay, turn to page 10 for three simple tricks that can help. Hay is served as a round bale in a slow-feeder net, placed inside a custom-made ‘hay holder’, framed in steeltubingbut open on all sides and topped with a metal roof to provide nominal protection from the elements. Exception being those nasty sideways winds. The feeders are on the track of our Paddock Paradise. Grazing on the inner circles of pasture is verboten except for a couple of hours in the early morning when the sugars are lowest. The rest of the time it’s the hay slowfeeders and the nibblings of grass that they search out as they travel around the track, getting exercise for their


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bodies and minds. This minimizes the laminitis episodes are poor mini-horse suffers through. He also gets to wear a grazing muzzle. He detests it, but I patiently explain that it keeps his feet from getting sore. I don’t think he believes me but I hope he feels my good intentions. Our equines get free-choice pumpkin every fall. It’s a funny story, actually. I call it “The Circle of Poo”. I feed fresh or frozen, then thawed, pumpkin (seeds and all) to our two pet potbellied pigsevery day to prevent constipation. I pick up their poo and put it out in the pasture in the horses’ manure pile. Every year, there’s a bumper crop of new pumpkins from the poo pile. The pigs get their supply for the next year and the horses help themselves until the pumpkins are gone or frozen. The horses also enjoy playing hoofball with those pumpkins! Toys and food — heaven for horses. You could grow your own horse pumpkin patch by chopping up pumpkin and putting the seeds in your manure pile each fall. No watering or fertilizing required! See what other human foods you can share with your horse on page 56. Be well and stay nourished! Naturally,

Cindy MacDonald

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COULD TOBACCO START SAVING LIVES? Researchers at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT)

According to Sue Dennis, PhD candidate and lead author

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology have

of the study, the plant-produced vaccine doesn’t carry

developed a new plant-produced vaccine to help protect

these risks. “We’ve used tobacco plants to produce four

horses from African Horse Sickness (AHS). Which plant

different virus proteins that automatically assemble to

did they use? Tobacco!

form a virus-like particle (VLP),” she says. “It looks the

AHS is a devastating disease, with up to 90% of infected

same as the virus, just without any of the genetic material,

horses dying in outbreak areas (most notably Africa). The

so it cannot replicate or infect horses with the disease.”

current commercial vaccine for AHS is a live-attenuated

Testing the plant-produced vaccine in healthy horses

version, which uses a weakened form of the disease.

yielded very promising results. The vaccine

“Live vaccines can and occasionally do cause outbreaks

initiated an immune response at the

of their own,” says Professor Alan Gutherie, director of

same level as the live vaccine. Before

the Equine Research Centre at the University of Pretoria.

the vaccine can be sold, however,

This is why the commercial vaccine is not used in other

it must be tested against an actual

parts of the world.

outbreak of AHS. news.uct.ac.az

MOUNTED PATROL GOES BITLESS AND BAREFOOT! The Houston Police Department is setting standards for

The horses in HPD Mounted Patrol unit are composed of

mounted patrols everywhere by transitioning their horses

a variety of breeds and backgrounds, but each undergoes

to bitless bridles. This move follows on the heels of their

the same 90-day evaluation and training program to

successful barefoot program – in fact, every horse in their

ensure they have the right temperament for the job. All

mounted patrol unit is now barefoot and four officers

mounts must also pass a four-week Natural Horsemanship

have been trained in barefoot hoof trimming.

training program using Pat Parelli’s principles.

Now that the horses are barefoot and going bitless, the department reports they are healthier than ever

Photos courtesy of HPD

and their veterinary bills have been cut in half!


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Assemblymember Todd Gloria has introduced new state

Scientists from Trinity College Dublin and University College

legislation aimed at protecting California’s wild horses

Dublin have delved deeper into the gene responsible for affecting

from being rounded up and slaughtered by the federal

skeletal muscle growth and race distance aptitude in Thoroughbred

government. Assembly Bill 128 is intended to reinforce

horses. Earlier research conducted at UCD established that different

section 598 of the state Penal Code, which makes it a

versions (polymorphisms) of the “speed gene” could account for

felony to sell, import, export or possess a horse for the

the gene-based factors that determine why some racehorses are

purpose of slaughter for human consumption.

better equipped for speed, and others for stamina. According to

“Californians have made it very clear that they oppose the

their findings, horses with “CC” copies tended to develop into

slaughter of wild horses, but the Trump Administration still does not seem to get it,” says the San Diego Democrat.

sprinters; those with “CT” copies were usually middle-distance performers; and those with “TT” copies were best equipped for

“That’s why I put forward AB 128 to implement stronger

long distances.

protections for California’s wild and domestic horse

But until now, scientists were unsure which element(s) of the

population.” The legislation comes in response to the U.S.

gene were responsible for limiting myostatin protein production

Forest Service’s program to round up and sell federally-

in Thoroughbreds. The newest research has pinpointed the exact

protected wild horses from the Modoc National Forest.

non-coding section of the gene that’s exclusively responsible. “This

Some of these horses were sold for just $1 and without

element is the key genetic factor in determining distance aptitude

limitation on slaughter.

in Thoroughbred horses,” says associate professor Dr. Richard


Porter. “This knowledge is extremely valuable to Thoroughbred breeders and trainers.” sciencedaily.com

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3 10

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simple ways to slow down

the fast eater

If your horse is a fast eater, you may think she’s greedy; but in fact, she may just be a little stressed out. Here’s what you can do to help. By Juliet Getty, PhD


f you have visited with me about your horse, listened to my lectures, or read my book, you know that everything I do is based on feeding horses in sync with their instincts and physiology. Horses are grazing animals and are designed to consume forage virtually all day and night, taking just a few minutes here and there to rest. It’s not surprising then, that some horses may be a touch overzealous in their eating habits, and end up consuming their food too quickly. It’s important to learn what you can do to slow your horse down if she’s a fast eater.

WHY IS MY HORSE BOLTING HER FOOD? The most common reason a horse eats too quickly is stress. Just as in humans, eating is a comfort and can offer temporary relief from boredom and anxiety. For horses, this stress comes from the fear of not getting enough, and can be due to inconsistent feedings or competition from herd mates. So although it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best things you can do to slow down a fast eater is offer her a constant source of food and get creative with how you deliver it, rather than restricting it altogether.

1. REDUCE STRESS BY FREE FEEDING An empty stomach is incredibly stressful for a horse, both physically and mentally. Stress produces a hormonal response (the secretion of cortisol) which starts a vicious cycle of obesity. To halt this dangerous cycle and reduce the flow of cortisol, we need to stop the source of stress! Horses instinctively know how much food they need to maintain overall body condition. But when they experience gaps in their forage supply, they perceive themselves as starving and go into survival mode, “inhaling” every batch of hay you provide. Amazingly, when they are allowed to have a never-ending supply, they will calm down, eat less, and self-regulate their intake. I have witnessed this hundreds of times. Once your horse gets the message that hay is always available, that she can walk away and it will still be there when she comes back, she will take a break and lose interest in stuffing herself. For most horses, it takes about a week for them to start to selfregulate. For some, it can take up to two months. But it does happen eventually – give your horse the chance for her instincts to kick in. All this being said, free choice only makes sense if the hay is low in calories, as well as low in sugar and starch. You can’t expect your horse to slow down and lose weight if you give her all the “candy” she wants. Grass hay (Timothy, Bermuda, orchardgrass, brome, teff, etc.) tends to be lower in calories than legumes (alfalfa or clover).

2. USE SLOW FEEDERS The purpose of a slow feeding system is to simulate grazing. Horses in a natural setting eat small amounts of forage as they wander in search of the next tasty morsel. When used properly, slow feeders are an excellent way to reduce stress. As their name suggests, they Equine Wellness


slow down the rate of consumption by providing hay through small openings. When slow feeders are kept full, they allow the horse to graze whenever she wants, thereby encouraging her to eat less and still have free access to forage. There are many devices on the market that slow down hay consumption by encouraging smaller bites. These are worthwhile but keep in mind that you need to introduce them very slowly, allowing your horse to become accustomed to this new eating method. If your horse gets frustrated, it can defeat the purpose and cause the hormonal stress response that leads to fat storage and fast eating. Slow feeders can be used inside stalls, and ideally, placed in several locations outside to encourage movement while grazing, and reduce competition at the food source. The best approach is to find a slow feeder that can be placed safely on the ground. Chewing with the head low is more in line with a horse’s natural physiology. It creates even pressure on the teeth and allows the jaw bone to move freely in all directions. Furthermore, the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and bone structure are not stressed when horses can grab hay in a straight downward motion. Eating with their heads down also protects their eyes and respiratory tract against mold spores and dust, and provides for better nasal drainage.

Grazing muzzles If your horse tolerates a grazing muzzle, it can

Start by placing some hay in the feeder and loose on the ground next to it. After a few days, most horses will get the hang of the slow-feeder. Some take longer, so don’t force the issue – let your horse get used to it at her own pace. Supervise your horse during the adjustment period and watch for signs of frustration. This is a form of stress and needs to be avoided.

allow her to spend some time out on pasture


with her buddies. But if the muzzle continues

Soaking your hay in hot or cold water has several advantages. If you soak your hay for a longer period, it can reduce the number of water-soluble carbohydrates and offer more fiber with fewer calories. So although your horse may consume damp hay at the same rate as dry, she is still taking in fewer calories. Damp hay also has fewer dust and mold particles for your horse to inhale.

to cause frustration and stress after the initial adjustment period, it can have the opposite effect you want it to. So pay attention to your horse. Limit use to no more than three hours per day. The benefits of exercise and companionship in the pasture can outweigh the downside of short-term reduction in forage intake, but it has to be the right fit for your horse. To learn more about introducing a grazing muzzle, turn to page 28.

You can try feeding hay to your horse 20 minutes prior to grain, so she’s already a little full (it’s like eating a salad before an entrée). You can also soak your grain into the consistency of oatmeal, spreading out the number of calories per bite. If your horse tends to devour her grain, get creative. Try putting large rocks in the bottom of your feed bin or screwing in large, tough, nonsplintering and non-toxic balls to slow her down. You can also try feeding from a wide shallow bin rather than a deep bucket that she can dive into.

Dr. Juliet M. Getty earned her Master of Science degree in Animal Nutrition at the University of Florida. She completed her doctoral coursework in Animal Nutrition at the University of Georgia, and continued her studies at the University of North Texas, where she earned her PhD. Winner of several teaching awards, Dr. Getty has taught comparative nutrition studies at the University of North Texas for 20 years. At the same time, she has been working in the field, consulting privately with horse owners to customize feeding plans that address a variety of health conditions. Recently retired from academia, she now resides in Denton, Texas, where she devotes herself full-time to equine nutrition. Through her consulting company, Getty Equine Nutrition (GettyEquineNutrition.com), she provides consultations locally, nationally and internationally. 12

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Choosing the right


for your horse

One of the newer trends we’re seeing in holistic animal care is the use of hemp products. Being an informed consumer will help ensure you’re providing the best for your horse. By Sarah Nielson


verywhere you look lately, you see hemp products on shelves for both human and animal consumption. Hemp has been around for eons, but suddenly it’s all the rage. In this article, we’ll provide a basic primer on hemp, the benefits it offers horses – and most importantly, how to choose the best equine hemp products.

An introduction to hemp As hemp products gain popularity, confusion remains over the differences between hemp, cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabis. While hemp and marijuana are both cannabis varieties, they couldn’t be more different. Hemp contains negligible amounts of THC – too little to produce a “high”. Hemp also contains CBD – a non-intoxicating compound with medical applications that can be used for optimal health benefits. The primary difference between hemp oil and CBD oil is where the oil comes from. Hemp oil is produced from the seeds of a hemp plant and only contains trace amounts of THC and CBD. CBD oil, on the other hand, is produced from hemp flowers, leaves and stalks and contains high amounts of CBD. When buying products with hemp oil, look for PCR hemp oil (phytocannabinoid-rich) which will include the full spectrum of healing hemp compounds.

The benefits of using hemp for animals Hemp products are ideal for horse owners, trainers, large animal veterinarians, farriers and anyone else working closely with horses who wants to treat animals holistically without the use of harsh pharmaceuticals. Hemp oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids, 14

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which are well known for their health benefits. Supplementing with these Omegas helps facilitate the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Omegas are also known to reduce inflammation, support immune function, help horses with allergies and skin conditions, and increase joint health. Many equine owners are wisely using hemp products as a preventive measure to ward off arthritis.

What conditions can hemp oil help treat? Hemp oil has been recommended for a variety of conditions and problems including, but not limited to, pain, general equine anxiety, hauling and transporting issues, arthritis and joint discomfort, and behavior problems. It can also be used as a training aid; for grooming and body clipping; for horses that need to be stalled or restricted due to injury; and to ease veterinary appointments. Veterinarian Dr. Kim Henneman recommends using hemp for competition horses during the off-season to help with pain, anxiety or post-operative healing. “Right now, I have a mare with a foot abscess that is very sore,” she says. “I started her on Healthy Hemp Pet Company Equine CannaDrops. I combine the drops with homeopathics when I want to replace the possibility of using an NSAID like phenylbutazone or Equioxx.” The performance horses in Dr. Henneman’s practice cover all disciplines, including endurance, racing, eventing, dressing, jumping, Western/English pleasure, reining, roping, cutting and barrel-racing. A large portion of her companion animal practice involves helping people and their animals through serious

chronic illnesses such as arthritis, renal disease, geriatric issues, and cancer – all conditions for which she finds hemp extremely helpful.

What to look for when buying hemp products for equine use It is important to use a product that contains high-quality hemp versus something less expensive and lower in quality. “I find myself really frustrated with products that don’t openly list the amount of CBD,” says Dr. Henneman. “Companies just list hemp oil, which confuses consumers. I don’t want animals that are having health challenges (especially those with compromised immunity, or geriatrics who are frail from illness) to be exposed to hydrocarbons left over from the petroleum distillation procedure. Or to miss out on the full benefits of hemp due to companies using alcohol extraction, which misses a lot of important active compounds.” It’s critical that equine caregivers do their research when it comes to product quality. With so many hemp products on the market, there’s a huge variety available at tack stores, pet stores and even dispensaries. Many veterinarians aren’t always aware of the differences in quality, so it’s important to ask the right questions (see sidebar at right). Ideally, the company you choose will answer the phone or email you back when you reach out for advice and help.

What to ask when researching hemp products: •Is it organic? •Does the product specifically display how many milligrams any particular volume contains? •How is the hemp oil distilled? •Are the products made in the USA? •Where is the hemp grown? •Are products large batch or small batch? •What carrier oils are used? Are they clean and safe for horses? •Are all the ingredients listed on the label?

Once you’ve done your research on the product, take a look at the company as a whole. You want a company that’s not new to the marketplace. While you won’t likely find hemp companies that have been around for many years, you should be able to find one that’s been in business since the Farm Act of 2014. Look for a company that shares consumer testimonials and is 100% transparent with its labeling – specifically the amount of hemp oil each product contains. It’s even better if you can find a company that shares their certificates of analysis. Take your time and do your research when choosing hemp products for your horse. Doing so will ensure you’re reaping the maximum benefits from this time-honored holistic remedy that’s making such a comeback.

Sarah Nielson is the CMO of Healthy Hemp Pet Company and an avid animal lover. When she’s not taking care of her rescue dogs, she’s obsessively researching holistic healthcare. She grew up on a farm and still dreams of someday owning a Sorraia Mustang to complete her family of blonde animals.

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equine parasite control When it comes to intestinal parasites, caretakers often look to de-wormers as a first line of defense. However, you may be doing more harm than good. Take a look at why parasites, like bacteria, aren’t all bad. By Martin Nielsen, DVM


t’s a common misconception that all parasites are bad – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it’s normal for horses to harbor intestinal parasites the same way they harbor bacteria. The intestinal tract is full of bacteria and some are potentially harmful, yet we don’t administer penicillin to all our horses with fixed intervals. Why not? Because there are several potential unwanted side effects to such a strategy – most notably antimicrobial resistance and disruption to natural bacterial flora. Worm parasites should be thought of in a similar manner. They are normal inhabitants of the gut and are going to be there no matter what we do. Decades of intensive de-worming have only led to lots of drug-resistant parasites around the world, and that’s a significant problem. There are situations in which de-worming a horse with an appropriate anthelmintic product is warranted, and we want to make sure we have safe and effective products should such situations arise. Unfortunately, we are slowly running out of treatment options, since it’s a lengthy process for the 16

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pharmaceutical industry to test and develop safe and effective new products with completely new modes of action. We have not seen any new classes of de-wormers developed for horses since the early 1980s.

Why de-worm? At this point you might be asking yourself – why de-worm at all? The truth of the matter is that intestinal parasites can cause disease in individual horses that are exposed to an unusually high infection pressure (a high number of infective eggs or larvae) and/or are particularly susceptible to parasite infection due to young or old age, concurrent disease or other predisposing factors. We want to make sure we keep a low infection pressure and may choose to de-worm horses at certain ages or certain times of the year based on the parasite and climatic conditions.

What can be done to mitigate parasite infections? To help lessen your horse’s risk of parasite infection, good management of his health, paddocks and pastures is key.

Making sure pastures are not overgrazed is essential, as all major parasites are acquired while grazing on pasture. High stocking density on overgrazed pastures means high parasite infection pressure. Good pasture management, which has been shown to reduce parasite infections, includes pasture rotation and mixed/ alternate grazing with ruminants such as sheep or cattle. The specifics on how well this might work and how it should be set up is highly weather- and climate-dependent. In some countries, it is quite normal to have sheep “clean up” paddocks after horses. The horses graze first, and then the sheep take over and graze everything down. Finally, the paddock is rested until the grass has come back up, and horses can be turned out again. This can have a huge impact on reducing pasture parasite infectivity – especially for foals and young horses.

What are the most important parasites to think about? • In foals, the most important parasite is the ascarid (Parascaris spp.), which infects virtually every foal during its first six months of age. Ascarids can cause stunted growth, weight loss, and most importantly, small intestinal impactions in the young foal.

• Tapeworms are very common in most horse establishments, except for the more arid and dry climates. They can cause certain types of colic in horses with high burdens. Not all dewormers have activity against tapeworms.

Are there any effective natural de-wormers? The short answer is no, unfortunately. There are lots of natural products, but very few with any documented effects against parasites. I have been involved with testing some of these products and have yet to find any that reduce parasite burdens. Colleagues elsewhere in the world have similar experiences. And no, diatomaceous earth does not work. But as a famous parasitologist once said: “Somewhere out there is an excellent de-wormer that just hasn’t been discovered yet.” So we keep an open mind and continue the search. Using a natural product for parasite control should never be a goal in itself. The goal should be to use safe and effective products of good quality. The term “chemical de-wormer” is misleading, since everything is chemistry. Even a natural dewormer would only work if the plant, root, fruit, flower, oil, etc. contains a chemical with activity against the parasite. The term “natural de-wormer”, therefore, is equally misleading. Ivermectin is an example of a natural de-wormer that has undergone quality control for the concentration and activity of its active

Photos courtesy of Martin Nielsen

• In other age groups, strongyle and tapeworm parasites are most important. Among the strongyles is the bloodworm, which has become rare in most managed horse populations, but has been found to re-emerge in horses that never or rarely receive anthelmintic treatment. The bloodworm is the most

harmful of all equine worm parasites as it migrates through the blood vessels and causes substantial damage. This can lead to severe and sometimes fatal disease in the horse.

Large roundworm (ascarid) parasites are common in foals and can cause general ill-thrift as well as small intestinal impactions.

The equine tapeworm commonly occurs in young and adult horses and can cause certain types of colic associated with the junction between the large and small intestines.

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Photo courtesy of Jenny Evans

ingredient, and has been meticulously safety-tested in horses. Ivermectin is produced by a naturally-occurring fungus, so it qualifies as natural even though many would regard it as a chemical. At the end of the day, reach for a de-wormer that’s undergone strict quality control, standardization and safety testing.

Are there any benefits or consequences to not de-worming your horse? At the University of Kentucky, we keep a herd of horses that has not been de-wormed since 1979. These horses have very high parasite loads, including bloodworms, ascarids and tapeworms, but they are in good health and do not show any signs of parasitic disease. Being a research herd, all horses are monitored carefully every day, as we do not allow any kind of distress or suffering. Their stress levels are probably lower than what most horses experience since they are never moved, ridden, or trained in any manner, and they are on pasture every day year-round. These factors may all contribute to their health status.

NEW RESEARCH IN DE-WORMERS One of our current research projects is evaluating the effectiveness of a naturallyoccurring bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, against parasites. It produces a certain type of crystal protein, which kills parasites. We have seen promising results in the lab, and

The historic Gene Lyons Parasitology Herd was established at the University of Kentucky in 1979 and has been maintained without deworming ever since.

Research in human medicine has suggested that intestinal parasite burdens can be beneficial in preventing allergies and autoimmune disease. We don’t know if this is the case with horses as well, but it cannot be ruled out.

Why not skip de-worming? 1. In foals, we want to avoid the very high ascarid burdens that typically occur at around four to six months of age. This coincides with weaning, which is very stressful for foals, and large parasite burdens put them at risk for small intestinal impactions – which are life-threatening. 2. We want to make sure yearlings and youngsters do not accumulate large burdens of encysted small strongyles, which can be harmful and cause severe diarrhea. 3. In all age groups, we want to prevent bloodworm from occurring, as it can still cause serious and lifethreatening disease. So there are still reasons to de-worm your horse with an effective product. But the blindfolded chemical warfare strategies where all horses are treated with an arsenal of products at fixed calendar dates year-round need to be abandoned and replaced by approaches based on diagnostic information, and by taking parasite biology and treatment susceptibility into account.

when we treated horses for the first time, we found it to be completely safe. Foals infected with ascarid parasites were cleared from infection after a single oral treatment. While these results are promising, we still have a long way to go before this could potentially be used as a de-wormer in horses. 18

Equine Wellness

Dr. Martin Nielsen graduated with his DVM degree from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Denmark in 2001. He spent three years in equine veterinary practice before joining graduate school in 2004. He received his PhD in equine parasitology at the University of Copenhagen in 2007, and served as assistant professor there until 2011. He then joined the M.H. Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky where he currently serves as associate professor in equine parasitology and holds the title of Schlaikjer Professor in Equine Infectious Disease. Dr. Nielsen is board certified in veterinary parasitology with the European Veterinary Parasitology College (EVPC) and with the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists (ACVM). He is chair of the AAEP Equine Parasite Control Subcommittee , which published its guidelines in 2013.

Equine Wellness


HERB BLURB By Melanie Falls


Stinging Nettle (Urtica diocia)

ich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese and calcium, stinging nettle is a wonderfully nutritious plant that horses love. It grows abundantly around the world and thrives in moist environments with soils rich in phosphorus and nitrogen. In North America, stinging nettle grows particularly well in the Pacific Northwest where there is heavy rainfall.

It’s best to harvest nettle in the first few weeks of spring and take only the tops of each stem so you get the tenderest of leaves. Be sure to use gloves so you don’t get stung. Leaves gathered after the plant flowers may be harmful to the kidneys, so be sure to harvest before flowering. You can chop down a good amount of nettle, let it wilt for at least four hours, then feed alongside hay. Horses generally enjoy the taste of dried nettle.

PLANT PARTS AND USES The roots, leaves and stems are prepared for medicinal purposes – you can dry or boil nettle leaves and stems to remove the “stinging” quality, or make an alcohol tincture from the root. The leaves contain polyphenols that generate the plant’s powerful antioxidant and analgesic properties. Stinging nettle is best known for its effectiveness in cleansing the kidney, along with its anti-inflammatory properties that can aid with osteoarthritis. Leaves and stems are commonly boiled or dried and put in teas, salads and soups.

MAKING NETTLE TEA 1. Dry or boil one cup of leaves in two cups of water 2. Let steep for ten minutes 3. Let cool until drinkable, and enjoy with your horse!

MOST COMMON USES FOR HORSES Nettles can be very effective in giving horses relief from allergies, osteoarthritis, laminitis and other metabolic conditions. Moreover, due to the herb’s rich nutrient profile, it’s also a healthy forage to add to her daily diet. Nettles contain a compound that balances sugar in the blood and prevents insulin “spikes”– so they can be very helpful for an insulin-resistant horse or one with laminitic episodes. Also, due to its strong anti-inflammatory effect, stinging nettle is a great treatment for arthritic horses and those with allergies, such as hives or reactions to midge bites.

HOME GROWN You can grow nettles from seed directly in your garden. Plant the seeds just before the last frost, in an area with rich wet soil and away from other herbs. Note that nettles are very invasive, so they need to be controlled. 20

Equine Wellness

CAUTION: Some horses are allergic to nettles and will get a “nettle rash”. Be sure to test a small amount of nettle with your horse before feeding in large quantities. Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, inspired by healing her own horse, 23-year-old Desario, using natural methods. She writes articles for various equine publications and online blogs and is the owner of Whole Equine, an online store featuring a large catalog of top quality all-natural horse care products including supplements, fly sprays, first aid and 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


TOP LUNGING MISTAKES Lunging is a great way for horses to exercise and build muscle. You can also use it to check for lameness, bond with your horse, or simply see what kind of mood he’s in today. But it’s easy to fall into bad habits. See if you’re making these lunging mistakes and learn how to correct them. By Deanna Corby

Photo courtesy of Cassidy Brooke Photography


and how to avoid them

A cavesson, seen here on Roman, puts the lead rope on the nose rather than under the chin – the change in pressure offers clearer communication through gentle hints with the lead rope. 22

Equine Wellness


s a professional trainer, lunging is a handy skill I practice often – both in the round pen and on the lunge line. Lunging may sound simple – just make the horse go in circles around you, right? But it’s actually much more complicated than that. I frequently observe lunging mistakes in the arena that can have very dangerous consequences. Lunging accidents can result in a horse getting away from his handler or becoming entangled. Equipment can break, and more. This can translate to a traumatic experience that will decrease the trust between horse and handler.

To lunge your horse safely, avoid these common mistakes. MISTAKE #1: Skimping on safety equipment ALWAYS wear gloves. Why? Because gloves are cheap and rope burn HURTS! I even recommend wearing a helmet while lunging, just as with riding. Being complacent is never a good idea when it comes to working with horses.

MISTAKE #2: Using a halter Lunge with a cavesson instead of a bridle or halter (see photo on opposite page). This way, if your horse gets silly, you won’t accidentally pull on the bit or break your halter.

MISTAKE #3: Allowing floppy reins If a cavesson is not available and you must use your bridle, be sure to secure your reins. I twist my reins under the horse’s neck until they won’t twist anymore and then secure them using the throat latch. The less loose and floppy your equipment is, the better.

MISTAKE #4: Forgetting your lunge whip

MISTAKE #5: Being sloppy with the lunge line

You need to use a long whip with a very long lash to ensure your horse stays out on the big circle without requiring you to chase him around. Never put your whip on the ground – you may need to use it in case your horse invades your space while lunging.

Always keep your lunge line organized in equal loops and never wrapped around your hand. Never let your lunge line touch the ground, as you may risk your horse’s or your own feet becoming entangled in the line.

Continued on page 24. Equine Wellness


Photo courtesy of Cassidy Brooke Photography

Deanna and her 2010 Hanoverian gelding, Roman, practice their lunging skills.

Continued from page 23.

MISTAKE #6: Not standing your ground You must insist that your horse respect your space while you are lunging. Do not back away from him. Instead, use your long lunge whip towards his shoulder and assert your dominance with your body language (the way you would while handling your horse at other times). Your horse should have a healthy respect for, but not fear of, your personal space and the whip. If you are working with a horse that becomes defensive or even aggressive, keep a safe distance and do not push. You will need to continue working toward establishing a foundation of general respect – but it’s important to do so safely. A large dependable circle is critical to the horse being able to find his balance and build consistency in his frame and tempo, while giving you both the space to feel comfortable.

MISTAKE #7 Not maintaining a good position

MISTAKE #8: Staying the same

Your lunging position reflects your riding position. Your hips should face your horse in the “pie wedge”, your hands should be soft but ready, your elbows should be in and near your hips, your thumbs should be up and your feet should be a guide (in this case, with one foot firmly planted) to build good geometry.

You should change direction often in lunging, which can be a pain, so use tack adjustments as an opportunity to switch it up. Never go longer than five to six minutes on one side, and change gaits frequently to engage your horse’s mind.

MISTAKE #9: Alternating your voice commands

MISTAKE #10: Doing too much, too soon

I try to remain consistent in word, tone and sound when giving and repeating commands. For instance, when I want my horse to transition to a faster gait, I say the word "trot" or "canter", always starting with a low tone and ending with a higher-pitched tone.

If you or your horse are new to lunging, it’s best to develop your skills in an enclosed space. I would suggest starting in the round pen first and then moving to a bigger enclosed arena. Lunging takes lots of coordination and it requires time to master.

Deanna Corby is a full-time dressage trainer, instructor, competition judge and USDF bronze medalist. Based out of Waxhaw, North Carolina, she offers lessons and training to riders and horses of all levels. She also hosts an educational YouTube channel with over 100 free horse training tips, rider position tips and product reviews (DeannaCorbyDressage.com, YouTube.com/user/DressageDT). 24

Equine Wellness


LUNGING TIPS • When I lunge my horse, I try to keep him on a 20-meter circle minimum, especially if I’m asking him to do anything more than walk. I usually don’t lunge for more than 15 minutes total, to prevent boredom. • Side reins are a great tool for encouraging your horse to use his back while moving. I almost always lunge my horse with side reins, otherwise he’s only getting cardio exercise rather than also building back muscle and improving his balance. If you are unfamiliar with side reins, I encourage you to seek the help of a professional first. • I lunge my horses a couple of times a week for just a few minutes as a warm-up, or for about 15 minutes if I don’t have time to ride. Regular lunging has many benefits – it gives me time to connect with my horse, allows him to work for a while without having to carry me, and offers the opportunity for me to check that he’s sound. Lunging on a regular basis also serves to keep the skill fresh, reinforce your dominance and help train your eye. • It's a good idea to put protective wraps (such as polo wraps) on your horse for lunging. This is an inexpensive way to help prevent injury if he scrapes his legs together while traveling on the circle. • Never crack your whip. The sharp sound can make your horse and other horses around you nervous. It's better to practice brushing your horse's hind end gently, using a very long whip with a long lash. This will help to engage his hind end and lift his back for better balance. • Keep in mind that lunging is not a form of punishment. It's important to know that horses live in the moment and do not understand the concept of punishment the way that we do. The purpose of lunging is to build the horse's fitness and balance while educating your eye to his movement and soundness.

Equine Wellness


By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSE, CSFT


horse’s “circle of influence” is composed of the various elements that play a role in his well-being and performance. These elements must work together in equal harmony in order for him to thrive. If one area has too much or too little focus, the other areas will suffer. Influenced by many interdependent factors such as age, training and nutrition, a horse’s circle of influence – and each of its components – will change several times over the course of his life.

How does this affect saddle fit? If a horse’s diet or training method is altered, his body composition will change. As a result, his saddle may no longer fit. Paradoxically, saddle fit is the best indicator of change resulting from the influence of one or more of the circle’s components. Keeping the horse sound and the rider healthy is the ultimate goal for each member of the horse’s circle. But it’s crucial that they work cooperatively to achieve this. Every change that affects one team member will have an effect on the others, with the simple result that the saddle no longer fits. For example, imagine your horse is showing lameness on the hind right, and as a result, your saddle twists to the right. You call in your saddle fitter to make the saddle sit straight again. The vet comes and administers a hock injection, the lameness disappears, and the saddle readjusts. Soon after, the farrier comes in and re-shoes. Saddle balance changes yet again – it slips to the right, and your horse goes lame.

RIDER • Ability improves • Changing disciplines • New trainer with different expectations • New horse • Significant weight loss/gain


Equine Wellness

THE CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE Image courtesy of Schleese Saddlery.

When your veterinarian arrives, she may simply recognize that your horse is indicating lameness and treat accordingly without addressing the cause – in this case, poor saddle fit. Communication here is key to preventing future issues! Look to the circle of influence, and address any potential causes that might be affecting your equine companion’s health. In most cases, it’s not the saddle that changes. It is the threedimensional back shape of the horse that changes as a result of an external influence. It is the saddle, however, that can potentially inflict the most anatomical and physiological damage when it no longer fits. It is also an essential indicator that something is going on. This is why the circle of influence is so important. It will help bring an understanding of what is being impacted, and why. The chart below demonstrates some outside influences that may affect either the horse, the saddle or the rider at any given time, some of which may even change the fit within 24 hours. Certified Master Saddler Jochen Schleese came to Canada in 1986 as Official Saddler for the World Dressage Cup. Schleese is the world-leading manufacturer of saddles designed for women, specializing in the unique anatomical requirements of female riders. His team has worked with over 150,000 horses over the past 35+ years. Jochen is the author of the best-selling Suffering in Silence: The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses. saddlesforwomen.com

SADDLE • Flocking shifts • Leather condition • Tree twisting (due to uneven musculature of horse and/or rider) • Seat foam (mattress) settles • Billets stretching

HORSE • Training • Conditioning • Nutritional changes • Age • Health changes • New shoes • Teeth floated

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Photo courtesy of Harmany Equine

By Joyce Harman, DVM

Look for a grazing muzzle that is lightweight, adjustable and provides your horse with plenty of breathing room. Pictured here is the Harmany Muzzle.

No one wants to admit their horses are getting a bit overweight. But the reality is that weight is one of the most important things for us to monitor. You may want to consider a grazing muzzle as part of your own horse’s diet plan.


Equine Wellness


esearch shows that upwards of 51% of American

A domesticated horse does not generally face these issues. Most

horses are obese. In the UK, meanwhile, a study

conscientious horse owners feed to maintain a good healthy

estimated there are 8,000 cases of laminitis per

weight all year long. So the additional sugars and calories from

year (that’s 7.1% of the population). The most

fresh grass are not necessary and can even be detrimental. Excess

serious complications arising from obesity tend to

sugars increase inflammation and often lead to debilitating

result from horses and ponies on grass. Grazing muzzles can

laminitis, insulin resistance, and even arthritis from carrying

reduce your horse’s caloric intake, while allowing him to remain

around excess weight.

in a healthy pasture situation and enjoy the company of his herd mates. He’ll benefit from more exercise, reduced stress, and less unnecessary food.

Equine metabolism and the modern horse

Determining if your horse needs a grazing muzzle It’s time to do a serious evaluation of your horse’s weight. Go to your local feed store and find a weight tape (they’re often free).

Horses in the wild are on a constant search for food. They graze

In a small notebook, keep track of his measurements or body

on whatever scrub, grass and weeds are available for the greater

condition score every two weeks during the grass-growing

part of the day, with only about four hours of rest. During this

season. While tracking his measurements, touch his body to feel

time, they are moving constantly, except for the relatively short

for the following:

periods spent sleeping. In contrast, the diet and lifestyle of the modern horse consist of readily available commercial feeds, rich

Ribs –You should be able to find and feel them.

grass designed for fattening cattle, and limited exercise. Crest of the neck – The crest should be soft and not A horse’s natural metabolism is designed to adapt to periods of

excessive in size.

poor feed availability – for example, during a drought or winter. The wild horse benefits from the flush of carbohydrates that spring grasses bring. This vital nutrition helps them regain the weight they likely lost during the period of drought or famine.

Tail – No fat pads should be present around the tail. Any fat he does have should be smooth and soft. Continued on page 30.

Equine Wellness



Continued from page 29.

• Feed your horse a treat when putting the muzzle on to help make the experience as pleasant as possible. • Adjust the length of time the horse wears the muzzle, based on the amount of grass present. This will vary from season to season and with the influence of rainfall, sunshine and temperature. So keep an eye on grass growth, not just the season. • Add real sheepskin to the halter or muzzle if rubs appear. • Use an adjustable muzzle if you are getting rub marks, and shape it to the horse’s head.

If you can’t feel his ribs, his fat is hard or lumpy, and there are extra fat pads present – your horse may need a muzzle, or at least some dietary adjustments.

Muzzle fitting and use Horses do not love to wear muzzles, so it's important to be sure the one you choose fits well. The muzzle needs to have enough space from front to back to allow your horse to chew naturally. This can vary depending on the shape of his head. To check, watch your horse as he grazes, or offer a treat and watch carefully – there should be clearance at all times, though it does not have to be large. As a starting guide, a space of about two fingers’ width should be present behind the jawbones at the back. For an average horse, the muzzle should attach to the halter

• Check the size of the holes in the bottom of the muzzle on a weekly basis. It is very common for a horse to chew out a larger hole, rendering the muzzle ineffective.

and hang down, leaving about ½” between the nose and the bottom. Smaller ponies will need less space. For clever “Houdini” horses that are good at escaping, be creative and add straps. A browband or chin strap is very useful. Be sure to adjust the chinstrap so it goes above the cheek, rather than low on the back of the jaw, to help keep it in place. Use the internet as a resource to learn what other people have tried, and see what works for your horse.

Safety precautions Muzzles must be used with breakaway halters in case the horse catches it on something, or more commonly, tries to rub it off. Muzzles that are too large can get caught on things more easily. Keep the muzzle clean, especially in warm damp weather. Mold can grow in the webbing and cause allergies. If another horse is bullying yours and he cannot defend himself with the muzzle on, change his companions in the field. It is not fair for the muzzled horse to get picked on. A grazing muzzle can help ward off those extra pounds and keep your horse at a healthy weight. Give it a try and see if it works!

Joyce Harman graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Her practice is 100% holistic, using acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine and homeopathy to treat horses and enhance performance for those with a variety of chronic conditions. Her publications include the Pain Free Back and Saddle Fit books, the only ones written independently of a saddle company. She maintains an informative website at harmanyequine.com and harmanymuzzle.com 30

Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness


QUALITY CONTROL CHECKING YOUR HORSE’S HAY AND HAYLAGE Hay and haylage are a vital part of your horse’s diet, so it is important to provide optimal quality. Learn how to evaluate your forage and determine if it’s right for your horse. By Michael Woolhouse


hen combined with balanced equine feed, hay and haylage can offer your horse a nutrient-dense diet – a critical step in ensuring he’s as happy and healthy as possible. There are various methods you can use to assess the quality of the hay or haylage you’re giving your horse. Here’s a guide to help.

Hay vs. haylage – what’s the difference? The main difference between hay and haylage is how they’re made – hay is completely dried, while haylage is semi-dried. The preservation process is also different. Hay is preserved through a drying process and haylage is preserved by how it is wrapped. Hay provides your horse with essential fiber, which helps maintain a healthy functioning digestive system. Haylage offers different but equally beneficial properties. Haylage is more digestible than hay and has a higher protein content. 32

Equine Wellness

Evaluating hay quality by look, smell and feel

then tested and the results returned in the form of a lab report

The most common method of deciphering the quality of your

that can indicate levels of nitrate, moisture, crude protein,

hay is the good old-fashioned way – using your natural senses:

starch, fiber and digestible energy.

sight, smell and touch.

Always check for mold and dust Sight: Good hay is pale green to gold in color. If it is dull and

The best quality hay has no traces of mold or dust. Dusty or

brown then you should generally avoid it. Scan the batch

moldy feed is never good. Not only can it decrease the hay’s

for dried weeds and thistles.

nutrient value, but it can also result in abdominal pain, breathing problems and many other complications that can cause long-

Smell: The scent should be sweet and pleasant. Make sure you really stick your nose in when testing your hay – you

term suffering. Store your feed containers in a cool dark place to avoid this.

want an authentic smell. Mold grows when hay is too moist. Ideally, hay Touch: Your hay should feel leafy and flexible. If it feels coarse and harsh in your hand, it will feel the same in your horse’s mouth.

should be baled when moisture content is around 15%. Higher moisture in hay can also present another problem – it’s more flammable and becomes a

You can also have your hay professionally analyzed for quality. Many organizations offer this service. For a fully representative

fire risk. Continued on page 34.

and accurate analysis, the process generally involves taking core samples from between six to 12 bales per stack. The sample is

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 33. Haylage has more than double the moisture factor of hay. However, because haylage is often tightly “double wrapped” in multiple layers of plastic, it is protected from oxygen and mold growth. Though wrapping methods help preserve haylage, the higher moisture content does present an increased risk of bacterial growth, especially if there are “hot spots” within a bale or if the haylage is low in quality. Only the highest quality haylage should be provided for equine use, and it’s never a bad idea to have it sampled and analyzed for quality assurance.

Evaluating your horse’s needs There are many contributing factors to consider when deciding what hay is best for your horse. The hay may be of the highest

Varieties of hay and haylage

quality, but it might not be right for your equine companion.

Hay comes in many variations. The majority of these are

First consider your horse as an individual – her weight, age,

generally categorized as either legume or grass hays.

activity level and condition. If she is unwell, pregnant or a growing foal, always consult your vet or an equine nutritionist

• LEGUME hays like alfalfa are higher in protein and

to decide what to feed her and when.

calcium than grass hay. The protein and mineral content from this type of nourishment can encourage your horse to drink more water – hydrating her and improving her

The general rule for a healthy equine diet is to feed the horse

overall health. Legume hay can be suited to horses with

70% to 80% hay, haylage or pasture. The remaining portion of

higher nutritional needs, such as working or lactating

your horse's diet is typically being made up of grain. Feeding

horses, but is too rich to be used as the main daily hay

small amounts on a regular basis is recommended as it is better

for an average horse. It is best used as a treat or blended

for digestion. Of course, it’s always essential to provide your

with grass hay.

horse with a plentiful supply of water for hydration.

• GRASS hay may be lower in protein and energy but the fiber content is higher. Types of grass often used include Kentucky bluegrass, orchard and Timothy.

If your horse uses a lot of energy, is a growing foal, or requires a high-calorie diet, then legume hay could be a good choice. If he is exerting less energy, you may choose grass hay as it is high

• HAYLAGE is semi-wilted and slightly fermented forage.

in fiber and will satisfy her hunger without adding too many

It’s closest to a horse’s natural diet of grass, both in

calories or excess protein. If you’re still unsure what type of

texture and nutrition. With 90% of the feed value of

hay or haylage your horse needs, schedule an appointment with

fresh grass, haylage is more digestible than hay. This can be beneficial for horses that are lightly worked or in rest.

your vet or a certified equine nutritionist. It never hurts to seek expert individualized advice! Michael Woolhouse is the owner of MS & TJ Haylage, expert haylage specialists for the whole equine market (http://msandtjhaylage.com/).


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This column features articles from our library at EquineWellnessMagazine.com

Understanding Equine



By Bill Ormston, DVM and Amy Hayek, DVM


Equine Wellness


quine Headshaking Syndrome can be extremely painful and debilitating. Here are some things you should know, and how to help your horse.

All horses shake their heads from time to time, usually as a

would have had it not been taken off. Both of these conditions

reaction to insects or other irritating stimuli. If your horse begins

are similar to Equine Headshaking.

to shake his head more than normal, there may be a medical or mechanical reason for it. Medical causes can include middle

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Michael Merzenich, Jon Kaas and

ear disorders, ear mites, cranial nerve disorders, guttural pouch

Doug Rasmusson found that by using cortical maps they were able

infection, or head trauma. Mechanical causes could encompass

to determine which parts of the brain were activated by certain

poorly-fitting tack, sharp teeth, or rough hands during riding. If

parts of the body. What they also found was that when a part of

your horse is shaking his head excessively, eliminate all these

the body was amputated, its cortical map changed.

possibilities first.

Headshaking Syndrome

All pain is perceived in the brain. This is where the sensory cortex registers external sensory information. When a portion

Also called photosensitive headshaking, Equine Headshaking

of the brain that has previously been assigned to a body part is

Syndrome is a condition in which a horse flips his head in

no longer receiving information from that body part, it is soon

reaction to sunlight, wind, movement, stress, etc. He may

occupied by the sensory information from another body part.

display only mild annoyance – or he may exhibit sheer panic and extreme pain. Some headshakers will hit their heads against

But the brain doesn’t know which part is sending the signals.

walls because of the deep pain in their heads. Some will strike

So your consciousness still identifies the previous part as the

at their noses with their forelegs because of the biting or

sender. Often when upper limbs (forelimbs) are amputated in

burning sensation. Others may simply scratch their noses on everything they can find. This behavior can also include extreme nose blowing, snorting and coughing. The horse may exhibit signs of photophobia, or he may not. He may put his nose under another horse’s tail or dunk his nose in his water bucket. Some horses may refuse to move forward and will rear if forced. Owners should be aware that horses with Headshaking Syndrome may be suffering terribly and should not be forced to work in pain. Headshaking Syndrome is painful and debilitating and should be treated as you would any serious illness.

The brain-body connection Trigeminal neuralgia is a human condition described as an intense nerve disorder that causes a stabbing or electric shocklike pain in parts of the face. Nicknamed “the suicide disease”, it is a disorder that is painful and confounding to many. Treatments for humans include several drugs that are mood-altering or mood-stabilizing. Phantom limb pain is a human condition that is described as pain felt in a limb or organ that was previously amputated. Most often the sensation from the body part that has been amputated is painful. However, in most instances the patients report that they also “feel” the body part moving as it Equine Wellness


people, sensory portions of the brain are taken over by portions

Bright light causes constriction of the muscles of the eye, which

of the face. In humans who were born with eyesight but lose

fire into the area of the brain nearest the horse’s extensor

it later in life, the sensory portion of the brain that once was

muscles. Turning on these muscles can trigger pain in muscles

stimulated by their eyes is often taken over by their fingertips,

already in spasm through other neural channels linked to the

and they begin to “see” with their fingers.

GI tract.

Mixed signals

Trigeminal neuralgia can be caused by trauma or tumors,

Since amputation of organs can also cause this sensation, it is

although its cause often remains undiscovered. Similar to

plausible to say that rewiring of the brain can go on even when

headshakers, it occurs in older humans, usually over 50, though

there is no amputation. Pain from organ systems which are

it occurs more commonly in females. In humans, the nerves of

not often localized to the organ but to an external body part,

the face often lose their coating to become pure pain fibers. This

such as numbness or pain in the front limbs during a heart

may be similar in chronic horse cases.

attack, illustrate this situation. Headshakers or fly-flickersyndrome in horses can be likened to trigeminal neuralgia. It is

Altering your horse’s diet and helping remap his brain are

often treated by applying a light mask to the nose of the horse,

two ways to address this issue. Reducing processed food and

which sends a counter sensory signal to the brain and quiets

carbohydrates in the diet will greatly reduce the inflammatory

the initiating stimulation (we call this inhibition in relation to

proteins in the body. Ways to begin remapping the brain

the brain and spinal cord). However, it doesn’t address where

include chiropractic adjustment because it realigns the sensory

the sensory signal is originating. Similar to phantom limb pain

input to the face, and the rest of the horse. Acupuncture

and trigeminal neuralgia, headshakers are likely responding

therapy has been shown to be useful as it also helps rewire

to sensory signals coming from other areas of the body. This

pathways, and homeopathic remedies can aid the organ from

could be organs that are irritated, in a similar manner to a heart

which the pain originates.

attack. If this is the case, consider gastro-intestinal involvement since the GI tract in the horse sends many signals to the brain

While more research is needed to locate the origins of

regarding sensory information. It could be as simple as sensory

headshaking, resolving the issue in your horse is more important.

input from an amputated organ, such as in the case of removing

The therapies mentioned above typically offer some relief,

the testicles from a stallion.

which is often well received by both the owner and horse.

Common triggers and possible solutions The New Bolton Lecture series reports that headshaking is usually an adult-onset disease, starting at around seven to nine years old. Geldings are most commonly affected, and horses that are over-conditioned seem at higher risk. Horses can be seasonal headshakers or shake all year round, and

Headshaking Syndrome is painful and debilitating and should be treated as you would treat any serious illness. Common triggers for headshaking are bright light, heat, spring/summer season, and exercise.

some will progress from seasonal to year-round. Common triggers for headshaking are bright light, heat, spring/summer season, and exercise. These commonalities suggest that the actual cause of the stimulus to the horse’s face is coming from a distant sensory pathway that moved in on the face portion of the brain. Horses in heavy work are usually on high carbohydrate diets which change the lining of the GI tract, causing sensory input from this tract to change. Ulcers reported in these horses confirm this. 38

Equine Wellness

Bill Ormston 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. Amy Hayek is a veterinarian and writer for many equine health magazines. She practices in Meridian, TX with her husband, Dr. Bill Ormston, and shares her education and experience with doctors through teaching at the premier online school for Animal Chiropractic, Animal Chiropractic Education Source. Find an AVCA certified doctor in your area and learn more about how your horse can be healthy at www.animalchiropracticeducation. com and www.allcreatureseveryspine.com the website for her clinic. Join her on Facebook at @animalchiroaces.

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RIDER FITNESS By Wendy Murdoch • Now, stand up and pull your belly button toward your spine. Slowly lift one knee toward your chest while keeping your abdomen pulled in. How easy is it to lift your knee? Let your belly go soft and repeat lifting the leg. How easy is it now? Holding your core limits the movement in your hip joints and pelvis, which inhibits your ability to follow your horse’s movements. Good riding requires your pelvis to move with your horse. Your spine needs to be able to move so you can absorb the motion of your horse’s back. Maintaining the alignment required to hold core strength is not going to absorb motion because the pelvis and lower back are no longer pliable enough to follow through. Therefore, intensive core strength is counterproductive to good riding.

“Core strength” is a popular buzz phrase used in both

fitness and riding circles. I regularly hear my students say: “If only I was stronger in my core, I could [fill in the blank]”. It's as though your “core” will answer all your riding problems, help you overcome a lack of fitness, and create the perfect flat stomach that so many Americans desire. However, in my experience, riders who focus too intently on core strength often miss the larger and more important picture. You may think you need core strength, but what you really want is core stability. To feel how intentionally contracting the abdominal muscles affects overall function, try the following: • Begin by observing your natural breathing – the ease, frequency and size of breath. Now, tighten your core – what happens? Notice how shallow your breathing becomes. Feel how the lower ribs are restricted.

Core stability is a more appropriate goal because it includes coordinated movement. Unfortunately this concept has been greatly overshadowed by the promotion of core strength as a sign of physical fitness. Core stability includes diversity, variety and use of the entire body. Exercises such as hula hooping, dance, swimming and walking distribute the effort of activity throughout the entire body, and contribute to core stability. If you get a chance, watch small children ride. If “core strength” is so important, how are they able to control a horse that far outweighs them and yet ride so beautifully? Yes, you need to have good muscle tone, and it is important to maintain it as you age. However, the efficiency and ease with which you use your body far outweighs how many pounds you can press or how long you can maintain a plank position. Ready to stabilize your core? Take up one of the aforementioned activities, or simply practice sitting purposefully and moving with your horse next time you’re out for a ride.

Wendy Murdoch has been recognized internationally for over 30 years as an equestrian instructor and clinician. Author of several books and DVDs, creator of the Ride Like A Natural®, SURE FOOT® Equine Stability Program and Effortless Rider® courses, she is an innovator in her field. Wendy’s desire to understand the function of both horse and human, along with her curiosity and love of teaching, allows her to show riders how to exceed their own expectations. 40

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Equine Wellness


IN YOUR HORSE’S DIET By Jennifer Moore


Equine Wellness


asture grazing is often considered one of the most natural sources of nutrition for a horse. While this is largely true, both lush pastures and grain-based concentrates can also contain staggering levels of unhealthy sugars. Much like humans, horses tend to struggle with portion control – here’s what you can do.

When compared to the feral horse eating a natural diet on

production alters fluid and electrolyte absorption and makes

rangeland, the maintenance horse on lush pasture is much

the hindgut more acidic, which can result in the death of

like a kid in a candy store. While a feral horse spends a

certain types of microbes. When this process occurs on a large

substantial amount of time walking and selecting food sources,

scale, the massive death of microbes can combine with other

such as native grasses and shrubs, a horse on pasture is often

compromising factors, leading to endotoxemia which can

surrounded with high-calorie grass that’s full of hidden sugars

result in laminitis.

Continued on page 44.

he can consume to his heart’s content. Similarly, providing a horse with a large bucket of grain-based concentrate gives him a meal replete with calories and carbohydrates. Horses choose to eat what tastes good to them, and they won’t stop eating once they’ve fulfilled their nutritional requirements. This situation can quickly lead to an overload of sugar which, under the right circumstances, can cascade into laminitis. Even in the absence of laminitis, the overconsumption of lush pasture grasses or grain-based concentrates can quickly lead to obesity and insulin resistance. With these consequences in mind, it might seem as if carbohydrates should be avoided in the equine diet. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. There are simple sugars, such as glucose, and more complex carbohydrates, such as starch and fiber. Let’s take a closer look.

Simple sugars vs. fiber • Simple sugars and starch produce lactic acid when fermented in the hindgut (cecum and colon). Substantial lactic acid

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 43. • Fiber is a complex carbohydrate, and one of the most important

Planning your horse’s diet

components of an equine diet. Not only is it essential for

To avoid these issues, it is necessary to minimize the amount

gut health, it is also a major source of energy. When fiber

of starch and sugar load a horse receives, particularly through

is fermented in the horse’s hindgut, it produces volatile

fructans and resistant starches. To minimize the starch and sugar

fatty acids, which can provide the vast majority of calories

load, split grain-based concentrate feedings into multiple small

he requires when he’s on a forage-only diet. Additionally,

meals. If possible, find a substitute for grain-based concentrate

the microbes that perform the fermentation produce other

altogether. Either of these options will limit your horse’s

beneficial by-products, such as vitamin K and B vitamins.

exposure to grains – the primary source of resistant starch in a horse’s diet.

Comparing these effects may lead to the conclusion that fiber is a “good carb” and simple sugars and starches are “bad carbs”.

Avoid grazing your horse on pasture during periods of rapid

However, simple sugars and starch only become “bad” when

growth (e.g. after a sudden increase in rainfall or on fresh

they are in the wrong place at the wrong time – much like the

spring grass) or when the plants are undergoing stress (e.g. in

kid in the candy store.

cases of drought and overgrazing). This will help minimize his exposure to fructans. Consider restricting your horse’s access

Simple carbohydrates aren’t so simple

to pasture, if necessary.

During the normal digestion process, starch is broken down into simple sugars by enzymes in the small intestine. These simple

For a horse that is especially sensitive to the effects of sugars

sugars are quickly absorbed and enter the bloodstream to be

and starches, such as an overweight animal with a cresty neck,

used as an energy source for the body. As long as this process

you may want to consider restricting turnout to the late evening

occurs, large amounts of starch and sugar won’t make it to the

and early morning, or removing him from pasture entirely and

hindgut where they can cause trouble.

substituting with hay. For horses that are less prone, pasture grasses are still an excellent nutritional option. However, the

However, there are limitations to the amount of starch and

limitations of starch and sugar digestion depend on what

sugar a horse can digest in the small intestine. When a large

the horse has been adapted to, so make any changes

meal of sugars and starches is consumed at once, it often

gradually. Overall, carbohydrates are an essential part

results in a spillover of some of these sugars and starches into

of a horse’s diet, but it is important to keep starch

the hindgut. Additionally, certain types of sugars and starches

and sugar in the foregut where they belong.

nearly always end up in the hindgut because they are not able to be digested in the small intestine (these include fructans and resistant starches). Fructans are chains of fructose molecules that serve as a common form of energy storage for cool-season pasture grasses. Resistant starches cannot be broken down in the small intestine because of their specific chemical structure, or because they are contained within a feed that has to be broken down in the hindgut (typically grains).


Equine Wellness

Jennifer Moore is a PhD Candidate studying Equine Nutrition and Physiology at NC State University. Her research focuses on using exercise as a treatment for obesity in horses. As a lifelong horse person, with involvement in riding, competition and research, she hopes her work will one day help improve the health and well-being of horses across the country.

FEED ADDITIONS FORAGE BALANCER/SUPPLEMENT Most classes of horse are able to obtain their calorie needs from hay or pasture alone. For those horses, a forage balancer or vitaminmineral supplement is often all that is needed to ensure they’re getting the nutrients they need without adding extra calories. You can feed the balancer or supplement alone, or as a meal topper on beet pulp (soaked until it puffs up) for horses that could stand to gain a few extra pounds.

BEET PULP This is an example of a feed that provides calories primarily from fiber and fat, rather than starch and sugar. It is a highly digestible source of fiber, meaning it is a good source of calories, but is also low in sugar. Additionally, you can easily mix other things into it (like that vitaminmineral supplement we mentioned) and/or topdress it with vegetable oil to provide even more calories.

SALT A salt block, or loose salt, is another dietary addition every horse should have. It’ll help ensure he is getting the right amount of sodium, and will aid in keeping him hydrated. Just be sure to provide constant access to fresh clean water!

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Maintaining horse well-being in an By Crystal Lynn

The team at Yarcort hosts a special event for women to connect and transform through Equine-Assisted Learning.

H 46

orses and humans share a powerful bond that has been in place for centuries. From the dawn of time when horses were first being ridden, to today’s equine programs that use equines to help people move forward in life, horses and humans have enjoyed a multifaceted relationship that only seems to be getting stronger.

Equine Wellness

Photo courtesy of Megcomm Films.

Equine-Assisted Learning setting


ne of the fastest growing industries in the

working with these animals. Above all, the care of the horse

horse world is Equine-Assisted Learning

comes first. So, what steps can EAL providers take to ensure

(EAL). This practice is extremely helpful for

equine well-being?

humans, but can be detrimental to horses if they are not properly cared for. Like people,

The Alexander Technique

horses experience a broad range of emotions

Many riders, especially those who participate in dressage,

that, if not tended to, can easily frustrate and wear them down.

will recognize the Alexander Technique. It teaches the

Client and facilitator can be at risk if the welfare of a horse in an

learner to align her body so only the necessary muscles are

EAL environment is not given top priority.

being used. It’s also used to relieve tension in muscles. It works by teaching you to be more aware of your body and

The power of energy

the unnecessary effort you may be exerting when using it. It

EAL environments expose horses to a great deal of energy.

addresses patterns of inefficient movement and accumulated

Horses are so well connected to humans that they are able

tension, not through a series of treatments or exercises, but

to understand – and even feel – our emotions. When a horse

by reeducating the mind and body.

in an EAL setting senses negative energy in a client, that energy is reflected back to the client through the horse. This

This technique, while great for people, is also excellent for the

reflection is instantaneous, clear and without judgment. It

overall well-being of horses – especially those in an EAL setting.

allows the client to begin unravelling his negative patterns

Training horses to have strong self-carriage (a balance and self-

and create new ones that make him a happier and more

maintenance of movement that doesn’t rely on a rider’s hands)

successful human being.

is a great way to help them feel better and relieve tension in their bodies. If their bodies can relax, so too can their minds – making

But being exposed to so much negative energy can severely

the Alexander Technique one of the greatest contributions to

impact the horse’s overall well-being. Providers must therefore

the overall wellness of our equine companions.

take extra care to help relieve stress and muscle tension while

Continued on page 48.

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 47.

Using essential oils

Contact Yarcort at https://yarcort.com/ to learn more about

Aromatherapy is a helpful method for relaxation. The use of

Equine Coaching and the methods we use to keep our

essential oils can help soothe muscles and encourage mental

horses healthy.

relaxation in both horses and humans. Scent is a powerful thing – horses rely on their sense of smell to build memories and help them navigate the world. Providing them with a soothing aroma to enjoy helps keep them calm, relaxed and happy. Essential oils can be used topically, aromatically or as a dietary supplement. Just be sure to use high quality, therapeutic grade essential oils that are safe for equine use, and consult an experienced practitioner to determine the type of oil and administration method that best suits your horse’s needs.

Equine companionship in the great outdoors Horses (like humans) are herd animals. This means they find happiness in the company of other equines. At EAL facilities, horses spend much of their time around humans. Therefore, it’s important to provide them with plenty of time with each other as well. Along with the company of other horses, a natural outdoor environment for exercise offers equines a wonderful outlet for their own energy and emotions. Incorporating natural elements into their outdoor environment, such as logs and trees, along with other items like balls and toys, will further enrich their space while offering opportunities for strengthening their engagement, focus and endurance.

In Our Blogs

To read about Anna, a young girl with selective mutism, and the incredible difference EquineAssisted Learning made in her life, visit:


EAL allows human and horse to uniquely communicate in a way that allows the human to focus forward in order to change old negative habits. With so many EAL providers certified worldwide – and more getting certified every day – it’s more important than ever to be mindful of maintaining wellness while caring for these majestic animals. This creates a healthy environment for the horse, and huge transformation for the client. 48

Equine Wellness

Crystal (Kris) Lynn is a Content Writer for Yarcort, a leading facility in the industry of Equine-Assisted Learning. Kris resides in Southern Pennsylvania with her husband, two dogs and two cats. She is passionate about reading, writing and anything to do with animals. Deeply interested in the human-animal bond, Kris strives to use her passions to enhance the lives of others through writing.

Skin infections are common in horses. To help, Banixx has introduced their Infection Care Cream. This unique product is exclusively formulated to aid in the recovery of equine skin infections while rebuilding and replenishing the skin. It’s a veterinarian’s choice for safely fighting multiple fungal and bacterial issues associated with scratches, wounds, cuts, scrapes, ringworm and dermatitis. Natural extracts such as aloe vera, peppermint, arnica and eucalyptus provide anti-inflammatory, analgesic and rejuvenating properties, while Marine Collagen aids in rebuilding and replenishing tissue.



Get your horse back to breathing better, faster, with HEAVE HO, specially formulated with natural herbs, minerals and maximum strength vitamin E. This veterinary-formulated nutritional supplement is allnatural, gluten-free, non-GMO and certified free of melamine, pesticides, lead and drugs. It comes in two flavors – molasses or sugar-free apple (great for insulin resistant/Cushing’s horses). Horses love it – and with a money-back guarantee, so will you!



EquiGroomer’s WaterWisk is made from flexible polyurethane so it can be used on every part of a horse’s body – even the legs and face. The brushlike handle is made from naturally water- and moldresistant cedar, so it will never crack, shrink or break. Best of all, its design forces the water onto the floor, not down your arm – so you can both stay dry!





The reviews are in for Simplify Your Riding by Wendy Murdoch. One reader calls it “The best book I have read about riding!” Whether you ride Western, English or enjoy trail riding, this book gives you stepby-step information to improve your balance, timing and feel – because gravity is not discipline specific!

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Nutrena® Feeds SafeChoice® Original has controlled starch levels to help support horses with metabolic concerns. The added prebiotics and probiotics aid in digestion and the guaranteed amino acid levels support muscle maintenance and development. Nutritionally balanced for growing and mature horses alike, SafeChoice Original makes feeding a wide range of horses more convenient – without sacrificing nutritional quality or peace of mind.


Equine Wellness



Connecting with your horse through

Yoga & Meditation Looking to build a deeper bond with your horse? Try harnessing the power of yoga and meditation. By Terry Lillian Newton with Emily Watson


uring my life, I’ve come to learn that yoga and meditation create a healing space. Trained in natural horsemanship, yoga and holistic healing, I quickly realized that these “separate” worlds are in fact very compatible, and can come together in the most organic way to promote health and wellness in both human and horse. In fact, practicing yoga and meditation with horses is an emotional, mental and spiritual journey that helps you rebalance and restore, while deepening the human-animal bond – and all it takes is an open mind!


Equine Wellness

Start with your breath

When you practice meditation with horses, you’re learning how to control and be aware of your breath, which helps you quiet your mind and the busy thoughts racing through it. When you do this, and arrive at a point where you are fully present in the moment (not thinking about what you're going to cook for dinner later) you start to participate actively in what is happening right now. Horses not only feel this in you, but need it. This meditative space is where you can hear your horse – and your own inner voice – and begin to forge a deeper bond with him.

Photo courtesy of Kindred Spirits, Costa Rica

Horses are very sensitive, so they quickly realize when we’re using our breath to communicate with them, and respond accordingly. They are always in the moment, aware of the slightest change of breath, energy and movement. As prey animals, this is what has kept them safe and alive. As humans, we've become disconnected with these subtle energies and movements, but through yoga and meditation, we can reconnect with our breath, and use that heightened awareness to become more conscious of our energy and body language – something our horses will deeply appreciate. The practice of Pranayama (breath control) helps you calm down, increase focus and unify your energy with your horse’s. Breathing in rhythm with his respiration rate has a calming effect on both your nerves and emotions, and can help you connect on a subtler level. Kumbhaka is a Pranayama breath work exercise that centers on retention. It requires you to hold your breath, very briefly, after the inhale and exhale. This practice is very simple, and can be done in the presence of your horse on a daily basis.

Moving in harmony

The purpose of this practice is to heighten breath awareness, clear and still the mind, and improve concentration. Observe your horse before and after a few rounds of Kumbhaka – his mental state, much like your own, will be calmer.

Horses make you feel good. Simply being in their presence releases the hormone oxytocin in your system, making you feel happier. Yoga, ironically, does the same thing. This “love hormone” helps your body and mind relax, reduces blood

Photo courtesy of Kindred Spirits, Costa Rica

1. Take a deep, slow inhale. Pause at the top of the breath, and hold for two counts. 2. Slowly exhale. Hold the breath at the bottom for two counts. 3. Breathe normally for one or two rounds, then repeat the retention.

By moving through yoga asanas (postures), you become aware of your body and learn how to relax each muscle, how to stretch and release, and how to tighten and strengthen when needed. This heightened physical awareness and balance helps you communicate more effectively with your horse, both on the ground and in the saddle. As a bonus, practicing yoga on a regular basis will serve to strengthen and align your entire body, making you a more stable rider.

Equine Wellness


Correcting energetic imbalances

When you spend time regretting the past, stressing about the present and worrying about the future, you set yourself up for dis-harmony that can lead to disease. Spending quiet time with your horse, and practicing yoga and meditation in his presence, realigns your energies and releases negative blockages. In short, it helps you let go of what no longer serves you. If you’re worried about energetic blockages in yourself or your horse, modalities like Reiki and acupressure are great adjuncts to these regular practices. By enhancing the body’s natural healing abilities, these alternative medicine techniques promote physical, mental and emotional balance.

round pen – just be sure to keep a lead on your horse in case he decides to get into trouble while you’re practicing. Drape the lead across his back so he still feels free – an important component of yoga and meditation – and only practice with a horse you know well and are comfortable with. Horse stance (see photo on page 51) is a strengthening pose that helps build muscle in the legs while opening the hips.

1. Start by walking your feet out into a wide stance – the heels 2. 3. 4.

should be a little wider than hip distance. Turn your toes out so they’re on an outward angle, then slowly begin to bend the knees until they’re over the toes. Keep drawing the knees apart from one another. Reach your tailbone toward the ground and keep your spine long and straight. Reach the top of your head toward the sky. From here, rest your hands gently on your inner thighs to encourage the legs apart, or draw your palms together at heart center. Close your eyes to challenge your balance, and breathe deeply.

Building a partnership

When we practice yoga and meditation with horses, the animals are not our props. They are our partners. These practices pressure, and lowers cortisol – the “stress hormone”. And that’s not all! When you practice yoga in the presence of your horse, you can experience many physiological benefits such as increased levels of beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters that serve as pain suppressors); reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety; improved social functioning; and increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self efficacy. If you’re new to yoga, taking a class or watching online videos is a great way to learn some basic sequences. Most standing poses are easy to execute in the barn, in an arena, or in a

allow us to spend time together in stillness, which provides a therapeutic change of pace compared to the typical learning/ working/grooming environment in which we usually co-exist. Throughout the practice, horses mirror what we need to see in ourselves more clearly, and help us enjoy each moment without expectation. With time, this will improve your communication and deepen all your relationships, both in and out of the barn. On the flip side, when your horse begins to feel your mindfulness, it makes him feel safer. When he senses you're not present, he feels the need to be in charge. Because you're not paying attention to that scary Photo courtesy of Kindred Spirits, Costa Rica

tractor or the wind rustling the


Equine Wellness

leaves, he takes over and spooks, runs, fights back and worries. This “bad behavior” is no more than instinct, and it can be prevented with active presence and awareness. As your energy becomes more present and positive, your horse will begin to yawn, his lower lip will quiver and he'll even close

Heart of the matter

Photo courtesy of Kindred Spirits, Costa Rica

Your horse’s heart is five times bigger than yours and can directly influence your own heart rhythm. He also has a coherent heart rhythm, which studies have shown indicates a sustained positive emotional state, and explains why you may feel better in his presence.

his eyes – completely relaxed. This is a good sign that a powerful healing process has taken place for both of you. Practicing yoga with my horses has made me a better human. I've slowed down, become more patient and compassionate, and I'm truly there for my horse in every moment we share. My horses are calm and relaxed, and because they know I'm listening to them, they are listening to me.

Terry Lillian Newton has been shaping the practice of Yoga with Horses since 2010 from her ever-expanding wellness center in Costa Rica, called Kindred Spirits, where she also dedicates herself to redefining the way we travel. As a lifelong lover of horses, natural horsemanship trainer and yoga teacher, her ultimate passion has become helping others find meaning in their lives through this incredibly rewarding practice. You can find Terry on lnstagram as @kindredspiritscr and follow her blog at kindredspiritscr.com.

Equine Wellness


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

Harmonious Stomach Chi Wouldn’t it be something if your horse could have a consistent, harmonious flow of stomach chi? If he did have harmonious Stomach chi, he could avoid colic, founder, stomach ulcers, and any other digestion issues horses are prone to have. Wild horses roam and consume forage as they go. They eat small amounts of young, tender plants continuously throughout the day and some during the night. By being constantly on the move, they can avoid predators while also providing the internal motility needed for healthy digestion. Motility is essential for creating absorbable nutrients, necessary circulation, and excretion of waste. With our domesticated horses, digestion may faces challenges because it is difficult to replicate the optimal “wild horse” model of feeding and exercise. Although we may do all we can to provide turnout, quality grass hay, lots of water, adequate exercise, we still come up short in being able to support equine digestion adequately. Equine digestion was designed through a long and arduous evolutionary process that’s at odds with our modern way of life. There are many avenues to glean information about your horse’s capacity consume and digest forage. Scientists and other experts in nutrition offer new information and resources. There’s also an ancient Chinese approach to helping horses with their tricky digestion called Tui Na, which is acupressure-massage.

Tui Na / Acupressure-Massage Tui Na has been used with horses for thousands of years in China and has proven to enhance digestion. If these handson techniques were not beneficial for horses, they would have dropped away centuries ago. From a Chinese medicine perspective, the goal is to create a harmonious and balanced flow of Stomach chi, life-promoting energy, to effectively break down forage into absorbable nutrients to nourish the body. There’s a technique called Mo Fa, or “Circular Rubbing Technique,” that’s known to harmonize Stomach chi. Mo Fa entails gently and lightly placing your hand flat down on the horse’s body and moving your hand in a circular pattern while counting slowly to 60. To make Mo Fa particularly beneficial for digestion, apply Mo Fa on two specific acupressure points along the Bladder meridian. These two points, Bladder 20 and 21 (Bl 20 & 21) directly influence digestion when stimulated on both sides of the horse. Another acupressure point known to support the harmonious flow of Stomach chi is Conception Vessel 12 (CV 12), also called “Ren 12". Applying Mo Fa to CV 12 strongly encourages the entire digestion process. The acupressure-massage technique Mo Fa, circular rubbing, gives you a powerful yet gentle way to support your horse’s ability to digest his food. When Stomach chi is good, horses are happy.

Gently place your palm flat on the surface of the horse’s body and rotate in a small clockwise circle. Rest your opposite hand comfortably on the horse.

Mo Fa / Circular Ribbing

Bladder 20 & Bladder 21 (Bl 20 & Bl 21) and Conception Vessel 12

With your palm flat down on the horse, about 2” to 3” off his spine, make small clockwise circles covering Bl 20 and around Bl 21, as shown on the photograph. Bl 20 is located in the space between the last ribs, while Bl 21 is just behind the last rib. For Conception Vessel 12 (CV 12), gently rotate your flat hand directly on this point, which is located on the ventral midline halfway between the xiphoid process (end of the sternum) and the umbilicus (belly button). 54

Equine Wellness

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 Private Occupational Schools through the State of Colorado, and an Approved Provider of NCCAOM (#1181) Continuing Education courses. Contact: 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com

Equine Wellness



By Sariana Burnet


you can share with your horse

If you’re in the barn having a tasty snack and your horse expresses interest, you may be tempted to offer her a bite. The good news is there are fruits and vegetables you can safely share with her! In fact, they can even be beneficial.

Offering the occasional fruit or vegetable to your horse is a great way to add variety to her diet, reward good behavior, and give her natural unprocessed treats. Here are six human foods you can share with your horse.




Feeding instructions

Grams of sugar


Beta-carotene (which is converted into vitamin A during digestion), vitamin K, calcium, potassium, fiber

Promote digestion and relieve constipation, promote a healthy coat, improve immune function, support bone health, act as an antiinflammatory and provide hydration.

To prevent choke, slice carrots into long strips before feeding. This will also help you ration the feeding, since carrots contain some sugar and should be given in moderation.

One 8” carrot – 3g


Fiber, vitamin C, folic acid (vitamin B9), riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), thiamine (vitamin B1), calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, ursolic acid (in the skin)

Support the nervous system, aid in the production of collagen, promote tissue repair, help with carbohydrate digestion and boost immune system.

Like carrots, you should cut apples into smaller slices. The skin is the most nutritious part, so consider feeding your horse apple peels to offer maximum nutrition with less sugar.

One medium apple – 13g


Vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, choline, lycopene (a powerful antioxidant that gives red fruits and veggies their bright color)

Horses can eat every part of the Hydrates, supports immune function, watermelon – rind, flesh and seeds (you reduces muscle soreness, helps can even try roasting the seeds). As keep free radical levels in balance, always, cut into small pieces and feed anti-asthmatic. in moderation.

One wedge (approx. 1/16 of melon) – 28g


Potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, protein, folate (B9)

Help relieve constipation, soothe the stomach (good for ulcer prone horses), soothe sore muscles and provide energy.

Horses love the taste of bananas. They can eat the fruit and peel. Try adding sliced pieces to her feed or offer as a snack.

One 7” banana – 14g

Improve immune function, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and help with blood sugar regulation (because they have a low glycemic load, strawberries do not spike blood sugar as much as you’d expect).

Wash your strawberries thoroughly. You do not need to cut the tops off before feeding, though your horse may prefer them without the leaves.

3 medium strawberries – 3g

Vitamin C, manganese, folate Strawberries (B9), potassium, iron



Potassium, beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, iron, folate (B9), magnesium, zinc, vitamin E , protein, fiber

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Improves circulation, provides arthritis relief, increases energy, provides allergy relief, improves coat and relieves constipation.

Cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces and feed raw. You can also boil it and make One cup a mash, or roast the seeds for a tasty pumpkin – snack. Limit intake to two cups of pumpkin 3.2g flesh per day or less. Do not feed your horse gourds.

POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND • With all these treats, it’s important to consider them as just that – treats. They should be fed in moderation and only on occasion, particularly those with higher amounts of sugar. • The seeds of some fruits (apples, watermelons, etc.) do contain toxins, but generally need to be consumed in very high quantities to be harmful. • Remember, horses, like humans, can be allergic to certain foods. Try any new food in small amounts at first, and see how your horse reacts. • Finally, always cut the food into small bites or long strips to prevent choke.

FOODS TO AVOID While some human foods make great snacks to share with your horse, others are toxic to equines. These include, but are not limited to: • Coffee • Chocolate • Garlic and onions • Tomatoes • Potatoes • Avocado • Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower (can cause gas)

Be a good neighbor – do not feed a horse that isn’t yours without permission from the caretaker. Doing so can have potentially devastating consequences and is just plain impolite.

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What the equine body needs and what we think it needs can be two different things. Environmental toxins can interfere with normal tissue function, mineral content, nutrient absorption and the cellular availability of nutrients. So even if you’re feeding your broodmare the right things, she may not be getting all the benefits. Fortunately, there’s a test that can help. By Ava Frick, DVM, FAIS

The effects of poor nutrition can be seen in both mares and foals. What’s in the mare (or lacking in the mare) will be reflected in her foal. That’s why it is important to ensure the mare is in optimal health before breeding her. It’s also important to maintain that health and throughout her pregnancy. But how can you be sure she’s getting everything she needs?

need manganese to “flower” and be good mothers; required as part of many enzymes and for joint tissue support • COPPER: Blood, enzymes, adrenal gland function • COBALT: Used by hindgut flora to produce vitamin B12 • IRON: Liver, blood • POTASSIUM: Electrolyte that works with sodium at cellular level; also benefits heart and adrenal function

VITAL NUTRIENTS FOR A HEALTHY PREGNANCY Some of the key nutrients needed for health, reproduction and fetal growth include: • VITAMINS: Vitamin A, E, D, D3, B12, B8 (inositol), thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2) and pantothenic acid (B5). • MACROMINERALS: The essential minerals calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus are classified as macrominerals, meaning the body needs them in larger amounts. • MICROMINERALS: Iron, copper, manganese zinc, chromium, iodine, sulfur and selenium are equally important, but are required in smaller amounts. • CHOLINE AND FOLIC ACID: Key nutrients for development and a healthy nervous system

WHAT ARE THESE VITAMINS AND MINERALS FOR? • PHOSPHORUS: Bones and muscle, protein assimilation • CALCIUM: Bones, milk, immunity, disease resistance, muscle relaxation • MAGNESIUM: Bones, enzymes, nerve calming, heart health • SODIUM: For its electrolytes, balancing body fluids, endocrine support • VITAMIN A: Epithelial tissue, immune system, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, inflammation reduction • SULFUR: Key to amino acids • ZINC: Needed as enzyme in over 200 reactions in the body, as well as immune system and liver, keeps inflammation down • MANGANESE: Known as the feminine mineral, it balances with iron, the masculine mineral; all females (plants included) 58

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MINERAL AVAILABILITY AND METABOLISM Most deficiencies in animals are the result of altered mineral relationships within the body. Both the retention and loss of minerals are as important as the nutrients consumed through food, and are valuable in determining dietary needs as well as for supplement recommendations at all stages of life.

The image below is called “the mineral wheel”. It shows how every mineral is in some way connected to every other mineral. It also indicates how a deficiency or excess of any one could affect all the others.

Mineral levels and ratios can be altered by the presence of toxic metals, nutritional deficiencies, infections, illness and stress. Thousands of biochemical reactions ultimately control metabolism, digestion, and the regeneration of body tissues. The vast majority of these reactions depend on minute levels of trace minerals for their activity. If these essential minerals are not present to fuel these processes, the body’s ability to regenerate, metabolize, or break down noxious substances is compromised. Minerals can become unavailable for many reasons. The malabsorption or bio-unavailability (meaning the nutrients are present in the body, but can’t be utilized) of specific minerals can have a myriad of causes: gut interference, improper form, lack of other needed vitamins, minerals or amino acids, cell receptor interruption and more. Studies of both horses and



humans link minerals to healthy nervous system function and behavior. Nutrient minerals must be available to support positive behavior. Setting out to supply your broodmare with sufficient amounts of these nutrients can be overwhelming. Not only do you want to ensure you’re providing her with everything she needs, but you also need to be sure her body is adequately processing and utilizing the nutrients she’s given. This can prove difficult without some form of formal testing.

TISSUE MINERAL ANALYSIS – THE BODY’S BLUEPRINT The most comprehensive way to determine and monitor your mare’s nutritional requirements is through a simple and relatively inexpensive test called Tissue Mineral Analysis (TMA). Testing is simple. It requires just two teaspoons of hair

5/24/2013: Optimal results would be indicated by all the minerals being near the dark line and within the range breaks, shown by the lighter lines. You can see this is not the case for this horse. She was subsequently treated with a broad spectrum vitamin/mineral supplement, electrolytes, and vitamin B complex tablets.

This case example using a series of three TMAs demonstrates how minerals can change over time, and how with proper nutrient supplementation, a horse can regain health and maintain a better body. Testing also allows you to monitor whether or not your treatment is working. The horse in this study is 17 years old. Traditionally active and energetic, she had become very lethargic on trail rides. No differences had been noted between pasture and stall time, or in eating. Her diet consisted of hay, pasture and a little grain.

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clipped close to the horse’s body. TMA uses a hair sample to create a blueprint of the individual’s biochemistry, and the nutritional metabolic activity that occurred while the hair was forming in the follicle. During a hair’s growth phase, it is exposed to the internal metabolic environment (circulating blood, lymph and extracellular fluids) and retains the metabolic products presented to it as it hardens. This is why it becomes a perfect tissue sample for testing body function, mineral levels, metabolic trends and toxic metals. TMA has been used throughout the world to assess the nutritional status of a single horse or a whole herd. It can even indicate metabolic dysfunction before clinical signs occur. The choice of hair as a testing medium is based on the fact that blood chemistries change dynamically from day to day, while hair values give a more stable view of the overall nutritional status, and offer a record of how the body is storing and disposing



Equine Wellness

of elements. It also provides a sensitive indicator of long-term metabolic trends brought on by the effects of diet, stress and toxic metal exposure. When performed to standards and correctly interpreted, a TMA can tell you exactly what your mare’s endocrine system is doing and what vitamins or minerals need to be raised or lowered – a powerful tool for any mare and foal wellness program.

“FREE CHOICE” VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTATION Horses are smart. They will “graze” through an offering of open feeding supplements and eat the exact ones they need. If your barn and pasture arrangements make it difficult to support your horses with free choice supplements, look for a product that addresses digestion, microflora and the immune system along with the specific vitamins and minerals included in the supplement.

12/10/2013: The mare has shown some improvement, but still gets tired. This test shows the thyroid is slow. I added some iodine and thyroid Protomorphogen extract™.


3/25/2015: Over a year has passed. The mare is her old self again. Her performance and energy have been good. Except for magnesium, her mineral levels are within range, and her thyroid function is better. I continued her with a multi-vitamin mineral and added some extra calcium and magnesium.

For example, utilizing natural plants like kelp, dandelion, sage, fennel, thyme and basil is an optimal way to support our herbivorous friends in a way their bodies were designed. Supporting digestive microflora by providing nutrient-specific enzymes, substrates and stabilized bacteria allows for increased absorption of all nutrients – even those occurring naturally within your horse’s water, forage and other feedstuffs. Whichever way you go about it, supplementing your mare and foal will not only give them what is lacking in their forage or feed, but also help counteract the effects of toxins that enter their systems every day. When you supplement properly, you can expect to see improvements in physical health and overall well-being, and see your mare through a happy and healthy pregnancy.

Dr. Ava Frick’s focus on nutrition and physiotherapy has spanned more than 20 years. She is recognized as the world’s leading authority on veterinary microcurrent therapy, and has lectured nationally at veterinary conferences and equine expos, as well as internationally via webinars and online courses. Dr. Frick’s publications include Fitness in Motion: Keeping Your Equine’s Zones at Peak Performance and Journal of Equine Veterinary Science (2005 and 2010).

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CALIFORNIA COASTAL HORSE RESCUE Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code CACHR to California Coastal Horse Rescue.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2000 LOCATION: Ojai Valley in Ventura County, CA TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: All horses, including seniors and special needs equines.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: The CA Coastal Horse Rescue hosts “Help a Horse Day” as a thank you to their community. A day of fun and learning, this event invites the public to an open house to observe rehabilitation and equine training demos, meet the horses, and shop from a large group of local vendors. “We have a corral full of kids’ activities, including mini horse cart rides. We also have a local live band, food trucks, a silent auction, plus our beer garden!” says executive director, Adri Howe.

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: “With the hard work of our volunteers and rehabilitators, we have witnessed amazing recoveries,” says Adri. “It’s not just a question of physical rehabilitation; it must be a holistic or whole-horse healing. It is certainly not an easy task, but we are still so amazed and grateful every time a horse comes back to physical and mental health.” One such horse was named Jessica, an Arabian/Saddlebred cross. She had been severely neglected, and lived in deplorable conditions in near complete isolation. It was strongly suspected she had never left her stall. And yet, when the team entered the property, she eagerly came over and made direct eye contact with her rescuers. “You could almost hear

Photos courtesy of Adri Howe

her say” ‘It’s me you have come for. I am ready to start my new life,’” recounts Adri. Jessica had never been haltered. Stimuli of any kind sent her bolting. Her rehabilitation would not be easy or quick. “Due to the extreme isolation she had lived in, along with a complete lack of attention or training, Jessica provided a very unique challenge for us. With the kindness of a local trainer and generous support from a local philanthropic group and other donors, we were able to send our girl to several months of intensive and specialized training and under-saddle work in Lockwood Valley, California.” When Jessica returned, she was happy, curious, and has since become a stellar trail horse who loves to explore the great outdoors – something her future caretakers are sure to enjoy. Jessica is just one example of the resilience and fortitude these amazing creatures possess. “The mare who could not handle stimuli now seeks out the volunteers, who give the best body scratches and the tastiest treats!” says Adri. “Although rehabilitation can be a lengthy process, we know that it can and does work.”

After a life of neglect and isolation, Jessica has finally found her stride.

Follow California Coastal Horse Rescue on Facebook! facebook.com/californiacoastalhorserescue/


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RESOURCE GUIDE ASSOCIATIONS Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association - CBHA Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: info@cdnbha.ca Website: www.cdnbha.ca 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

BAREFOOT HOOF TRIMMING 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

Natural Barefoot Trimming Emma Everly, AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.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 Kel Manning, CP, Field Instructor, NTW Clinician Knoxville, TN USA Phone: (865) 765-9632 Email: naturalhoofcare@me.com 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


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


NATURE’S RUN EQUESTRIAN Lessons, training and camp for all ages. Specializing in confidence building for horse and rider in all disciplines - from the ground to the saddle.

Jesse Cassidy-Skof Port Perry, ON • (226)236-8510 Jesse@naturesrunequestrian.com

NaturesRunEquestrian.com Make good choices, play with horses! The Masterson Method®, Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork Weekend Seminars, Advanced, and Certification Courses Worldwide Phone: 641-472-1312 Email: seminars@mastersonmethod.com Website: www.MastersonMethod.com Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Larkspur, CO USA Phone: (303) 681-3033 Email: acupressure4all@earthlink.net Website: www.animalacupressure.com Virginia Natural Horsemanship Training Center Blacksburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 953-3360 Email: sylvia@NaturalHorseTraining.com Website: www.NaturalHorseTraining.com

Equinology, Inc. & Caninology Gualala, CA USA Phone: (707) 884-9963 Email: office@equinology.com Website: www.equinology.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.

Equine Wellness 63 View theWellness Wellness ResourceGuide Guideonline onlineat: at:EquineWellnessMagazine.com EquineWellnessMagazine.com View the Resource

Healing Touch for Animals Drea Robertson Highlands Ranch, CO USA Phone: (303) 470-6572 Email: drea@healingtouchforanimals.com Website: www.healingtouchforanimals.com

THERMOGRAPHY Equine IR Bonsall, CA USA (888) 762-2547 Phone: info@equineIR.com Website: www.equineIR.com Email: info@thermalequine.com Website: www.thermalequine.com

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FOXDEN EQUINE – Producing premium equine nutritional and health products since 1996. Our staff has over 100 combined years of horse management and competition experience, and each proudly and confidently uses Foxden Equine products for our equine and canine companions. We are dedicated to the research, development and marketing of high-quality supplements that benefit the health and well being of equines. (540) 337-5450; www.foxdenequine.com

EQUINE ACUPRESSURE FOR HEALTH & PERFORMANCE – Learn to assess & resolve your horse’s issues – Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute training programs, Books, DVDs, Meridian Charts, & Apps. www.animalacupressure.com; tallgrass@animalacupressure.com; (884) 946-5378; info@wholeequine.com; www.wholeequine.com

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

HORSE CARE HARMANY EQUINE CLINIC, LTD – Bringing holistic healing to horses from all walks of life, backyard retirees to Olympic competitors since 1990. Over the years Dr. Joyce Harman has observed and adapted to the changing needs of our horses and clients. Twenty-plus years ago, no one had heard of Lyme disease or Insulin Resistance, yet today that makes up a large part of this clinical practice. Small animal services are available as well. (540) 364-4077; muzzles@harmanyequine.com; www.harmanyequine.com


EQUISSAGE – Since 1991, our Equine Sports Massage Therapy Certification program has certified over 20,000 students from every state and over 20 countries in Equine Sports Massage Therapy. And since 2000, we have certified Equine and Canine Sports Massage Therapists from across the country and worldwide through our home study programs. Equissage is an Approved Provider with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage Bodyworkers (NCBTMB) to offer 50 hours of Continuing Education units through any of our programs. To view available courses, please visit our website. (800) 843-0224; info@equissage.com; www.equissage.com

TACK SHOPS EAGLEWOOD EQUESTRIAN SUPPLIES – Located in the GTA, our showroom is open by appointment only. Please contact us to make an appointment. In addition to our location, we also travel to horse shows and events across Ontario. We hand pick high-quality products which are available for English disciplines (Dressage, Hunter, Jumper, Endurance, Trekking, and Gaited), and are starting to branch into Western discipline products. (416) 708-1898; www.eaglewoodequestrian.ca; muzzles@harmanyequine.com; www.harmanyequine.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; others make claims, we guarantee results. Join a winning team at (877) 357-7187; sales@e3liveforhorses.com; www.The-Perfect-Horse.com

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demystifying the



orse’s second and third chakras contain the tentacles of h our equine/human connection. The Power chakra envelops our interpersonal relationship with horses, while the SelfEsteem chakra is all about our roles within that relationship.

The Power chakra vertebrae governs the hips, reproductive organs, sacrum, lower vertebrae and lower intestine. This chakra also includes teats and male sexual organs, and corresponds with fertility, sex, power, one-on-one relationships with all beings, and creativity. If your equine friend isn’t thriving, ponder these second chakra questions: • How many homes has your horse had? • Is he at the top or bottom of the herd? • Has he had recent heartbreak? • Has he had to switch “jobs”? • Does he seem overly sensitive? • Is he enmeshed with your own feelings? The Self-Esteem chakra sits mid-back – right where you sit in the saddle. It governs your horse’s stomach, liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen, adrenals, digestion, filtering organs and glands. It is the physical, emotional and mental epicenter of all beings. Emotionally, the third chakra governs self-esteem, gut instincts and gut reactions. Being the true processing center, this is where weather, worry, and toxic foods collide. If your equine friend isn’t thriving, ponder these third chakra questions: • Is his diet where it should be? • Does it contain a lot of preservatives? • Is his hay and water high quality? • Is he sensitive to weather? • Is he happy in his “job”? • Where is he in the hierarchy of the herd? • Is he getting enough physical activity? • Is he super stoic, or does he notably demonstrate his aches and pains?


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As the human, it’s important that you establish yourself as the emotional leader in order to create a safe space for your horse to feel grounded. As we discussed in relation to the first chakra (see last issue), grounding is essentially more important than balancing. Because horses are prey animals, the first three chakras tend to exhibit the fight or flight mechanism, so alignment in these chakras is key to making your horse feel safe. To help your horse feel more grounded, make ground work part of your regular routine. This will help him build confidence. Acupressure, TTouch and massage are also great hands-on grounding techniques to help him feel safe in his own skin. Craniosacral adjustments can also help the second and third chakras feel more aligned, resulting in groundedness. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping is great for helping any trauma, anxiety or fear release from the body. Animal communication is another awesome modality that helps the horse be in all four feet – grounded and present. Then he can understand his purpose while gaining confidence.

SECOND AND THIRD CHAKRAS 2rd Chakra Power, one-onone relationships, creativity, birth, reproductive organs, the bladder, other elimination organs, male sexual organs 3rd Chakra Self-Esteem, gut instinct, filtering and digestive organs

Joan Ranquet is an animal communicator, energy healer, author and founder of Communication with all Life University (CWALU). She offers weekend workshops and home study courses as well as certification programs in animal communication and energy healing for animals. joanranquet.com

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Equine Wellness