V14I2 (Apr/May 2019)

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April/May 2019



Equine Wellness


Dawn Cumby-Dallin


Theresa Gannon


COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alyssa Ball Luke Bass, DVM, MS, DABVP Kayla Christopherson Jane DeMeulemester Marianne Disipio, BSc OT, CWH, CEH Melanie Falls Debra Freiberg, DVM Jody Hall Liz Mitten Ryan Wendy Murdoch Joan Ranquet Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE Virginia Slachman, PhD Amy Snow Michelle Staples Daryl Anne Wilga Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION


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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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.

Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call Libby at 1-866-764-1212 ext. 100 or fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail Libby@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. ADVERTISING SALES National Sales Manager/Editorial Associate: Kat Shaw (866) 764-1212 ext. 315 KatShaw@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Becky@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Editorial & Multimedia Specialist: Carlisle Froese, (866) 764-1212 ext. 224 carlisle@redstonemediagroup.com Multimedia and Digital Specialist: Elisabeth Dunphy, (866) 764-1212 ext. 225 elisabeth@redstonemediagroup.com CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $24.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext. 115 US MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122

ON THE COVER PHOTO BY: Kristina Howell

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: March 2019.

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

The world looks better on horseback! This breathtaking view of Sun River, Oregon is part of the global photo album #LBTE. Kristine Dahms never imagined Life Between the Ears would resonate with riders globally when she started sharing her experiences on social media (and people started sharing back). Travel to page 40 for the full story.

Equine Wellness



Columns 8 Neighborhood news 22 Rider fitness 28 Equine chakras 49 Bridle fit 56 Acupressure at-a-glance

62 To the rescue 66 Herb blurb

Departments 6 Editorial 29 Product picks 39 Business profile:

Kristina Howell & Wyn overlooking Puget Sound to Mt. Rainier

April/May 2019


Features 10

53 Ideas for Spring resource guide

63 Events 64 Marketplace


Equine scratches — is your horse high risk?

Tips, contests and more! /EquineWellnessMagazine News, events, and tips! @ EquineWellness Tips, pet photos, and more! EquineWellness


Equine Wellness


Your horse’s gutbrain connection

The relationship between the gut and brain is at the forefront of medical research. Here’s how your horse’s gastrointestinal health affects her neurological wellness.


Gender-specific saddles — a novel idea!

Learn the key differences between male and female anatomy and how they affect your comfort in the saddle.

Learn what predisposes her to this escalating skin reaction, and what you can do to prevent its onset and treat it before it gets worse.

65 Classifieds

Social Media

can improve your mental health These simple mutuallybeneficial activities can transform your horse’s mental health — and your own!


57 Equine Wellness

3 ways horses


Get to know your horse with Equusology

What are your horse’s preferences? Does her personality fit with yours, and with what you want for her? Equusology can help answer these questions.


Growing a highimpact pasture — what to plant

Achieving a highly nutritious pasture is no small task — it takes year-round planning, cultivating and maintenance. This expert guide will get you started.


Life Between the Ears

What started as a hobby has transformed into a trending hashtag that’s capturing the attention of horse lovers worldwide.



Support your foal’s weaning process with the right diet Weaning a foal can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. As your foal finds his independence, support his diet (and your mare’s) for optimal health.


Manure management


Failure to keep your horse’s waste in check can have a detrimental effect on his health. Fortunately, if you’re diligent, you can mitigate these dangers.

Top 12 equine emergencies

Learn to recognize the most common maladies that could affect your horse, along with their causes and treatments.


Wildfire safety and preparedness for your herd

“Fire” is a four-letter word no horse caretaker wants to hear. But if the unthinkable happens, a little knowledge and preparation can go a long way.

58 50


Imprinting your foal — a non-invasive and loving approach Learn how to be the best birth coach a mare could hope for, and introduce her foal to a world of love, support and harmony with humans.

34 Equine Wellness




WITH YOUR HORSE! What’s that smell? Spring is in the air! The days are longer, the sun is warmer. Our horses are happy to get out of their run-in, basking in the soothing rays and rolling on the ground. This is the time of year I so look forward to. I love the mild temperatures and being hands-on with the horses — minus the thermal gloves and the summer insects! The herd gathers ’round to feel the love and make funny faces as they’re scratched in all their favorite spots. Our mini donkey, Leo, creeps closer and closer until he’s leaning on me and almost knocking me over. Others aren’t so subtle. They’ll present a shoulder or rump with a clear intent for me to “get the message” of where to apply my nails. The first time our rescued Canadian cross, Herald, a skittish guy with a history of lashing out with his hind legs when startled, sidled his butt up to me, I had to practice what I preach and take slow deep breaths to ground and dispel my apprehension. Herald and I both savored this new level of trust in each other. In addition to getting out more with the horses, spring brings other considerations, especially for barn and farm, the theme of this issue of Equine Wellness. Here in my neck of the woods, we had way more snow this past winter than we’ve had in years. While this does wonders for replenishing groundwater sources, it minimized the space our horses had to move in, as well as their ability to get around. Now that spring has arrived, we’re dealing with new issues — extra mud from excess snowmelt and an abundance of accumulated manure, as well as planning how to optimize pasture. 6

Equine Wellness

Our barn and farm issue addresses some of these problems, and more! It starts with how to plant the perfect pasture, and continues with how to minimize health risks to your horse through proper manure management. You’ll also find practical advice on how to handle pastern dermatitis, aka scratches or mud fever, a problem we deal with spring and fall, as well as ways to improve your own mental health by hanging with your horse! If you’ve bred your mare — or are thinking about it — you’ll want to read Liz Mitten Ryan’s heartwarming article on non-invasive imprinting (page 58) and learn the latest on nutritional support for weaning your foal, by Dr. Debra Freiberg, on page 43. Expect the unexpected. Prepare for 12 common equine emergencies (page 50) and ready your horses and property for wildfire (page 54). It’s never too early to cook up a good plan with an ounce of prevention. On a fun note, figure out your horse’s personality and preferences with Equusology, a typing method developed by psychotherapist Melisa Pearce (page 18). I hope you enjoy the myriad offerings within to nurture your equine’s well-being and help your relationship with your horse grow and blossom into a beautiful thing. Yours naturally,

Cindy MacDonald

Equine Wellness


NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS STUDY REVEALS THAT HORSES “SMILE” A recent study published in Scientific Reports suggests that horses have certain facial expressions that portray positive emotions. According to researcher Léa Lansade, PhD, these expressions can be considered smiling, so to speak. During the study, which focused on positive emotions during grooming, Dr. Lansade and her team noticed subtle facial expressions that aren’t easy to spot. They groomed horses in the “standard” way as well as a more “gentle” way. During the gentle sessions, the researchers would stop movements that evoked any sort of negative reaction in a horse, and continued other movements when the horse displayed pleasure. The horse’s body language and facial expressions were recorded. When comparing the data, Dr. Lansade and her team found that certain expressions


Each year, approximately 80,000 American horses are transported across the US border and slaughtered for human consumption, according to the ASPCA. Eager to permanently ban this inhumane practice, federal lawmakers Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) have introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act — legislation that would prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption countrywide, and end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad. “Horses have a special place in our nation’s history, and these majestic creatures were not raised as food for humans,” Schakowsky says. “I am proud to reintroduce this bill and work with Congressman Buchanan to put an end to this practice.” Since its introduction in January, the legislation has garnered the support of several leading animal welfare groups, who encourage the public to contact their US representatives and urge them to co-sponsor the SAFE Act. Learn more at secure.aspca.org/action/safe-act-2019 8

Equine Wellness

or forms of body language — such as a moderately-raised neck with eyes halfclosed and upper lips extended — conveyed “happiness”. “While in our scientific jargon we don’t really use the adjective ‘happy’, the emotion we’re picking up from the ‘smile’ does strongly resemble a positive welfare state,” Dr. Lansade says. She adds that being able to recognize a horse’s “smile” can lead to better welfare and a better horse-human relationship. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30279565

NEW ENZYME SHOWS PROMISE FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT Researcher Dr. Alonso Guedes is researching how an enzyme found in mammals — called soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) — can be used to advance our understanding of pain management. This enzyme decreases the body’s ability to self-repair, so according to Dr. Guedes, inhibiting Dr. Alonso Guedes’ work inhibits an it allows cells to work more enzyme found naturally in all mammals to improve pain management in veterinary efficiently. To learn more — and eventually, human — medicine. about how this can improve the health of both animals and humans, he is studying the effects of blocking this enzyme in horses with laminitis. Laminitic horses don’t respond well to conventional pain medications, so veterinarians are often forced to resort to euthanasia in severe cases. Dr. Guedes developed a compound that inhibits sEH and allows for more blood flow and nutrient delivery to damaged areas. “Inhibiting the enzyme could potentially protect some of the linking proteins that hold the tissues together in the hoof,” he says. Dr. Guedes has used the experimental compound on a few equine patients with laminitis, as well as arthritis. Used in conjunction with a pain medication, the compound has been shown to offer pain relief and speed healing in many cases. The team is now working to fine tune these findings. profiles-vetmed.umn.edu/article/answer-enzyme

FIRST PET SCAN PERFORMED ON STANDING HORSE The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine broke ground earlier this year when they performed the first successful positron emission tomography (PET) scan on a standing horse. This milestone is a huge step forward in the field of clinical equine imaging, which until now required equine patients to be under general anesthesia. The anesthesia not only increases costs, but requires additional staff and equipment. Sedation is still required to keep horses still when using the new technology, but the ability to perform the scan while horses are standing will allow for more routine use. According to UC Davis, PET scans show the activity of bone or soft tissue lesions at the molecular level, and are particularly useful for distinguishing between active and inactive injuries in bone or soft tissue. The school developed Equine PET in 2015, and is proud to announce this new milestone. “The ability to perform PET on standing horses will open many new clinical applications, such as following up on injury healing and screening for lesions at risk for catastrophic breakdown in

PET images are captured using detectors arranged in a ring. For standing PET, the clinician places the hoof of the sedated horse into the ring. This allows for the foot to be imaged without it being too high for the horse to safely step out of the ring.

racehorses,� says Dr. Mathieu Spriet, leader of the UC Davis PET research group. The team is also excited to see how this new technology is used in the assessment of laminitis, a condition for which anesthesia is not recommended. vetmed.ucdavis.edu

Equine Wellness


ways 3

HORSES CAN IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH What if you changed the pace for a while and stepped out of your usual routine? You might start to see and feel magical things happening with your horse’s mental health — and your own! By Marianne Disipio, BSc OT, CWH, CEH

Spending time with horses offers many wellness benefits. And the good news is that you don’t have to be skilled in an equestrian discipline, or participate in an equine-assisted program, to feel these wonderful effects! In fact, if you’re a horse caretaker, you can not only take advantage of what your horse can do for you, but also help improve his mental health at the same time. Two happy hearts make for two happy minds — and it’s easier than you think! In order for both human and horse to mutually benefit from what each has to offer, it is ideal to have a well-established relationship. But building a true authentic connection founded in equality, respect and trust takes time, and requires a specific focus. By the very nature of our busy lives, our time at the barn is often rushed. We tend to favor performance-based activities versus those that are rooted in relationship building. Try these simple, mutually beneficial activities and you’ll begin to notice improved self-confidence, a greater ability to self-regulate, and an ability to relieve stress as a team.


Equine Wellness

1. Improve self-confidence Activity: Go for a bareback ride. Use a gentle bit, a bitless bridle, or a simple halter with reins. Try to keep your ride to 15 minutes or less. Why this works for you: This activity helps build a sense of influence and control over your future and any arising challenges, which is an important mental healthprotective factor. All horses are unpredictable to a certain degree, and all riders accept this truth. It takes a bit more courage to ride bareback and with less bit control, as the rider is left without the security and increased sense of stability that comes with a saddle and stirrups. Life is unpredictable as well. Some of us are better than others at accepting this and rolling with the punches. Riding bareback gives us direct practice in gathering our courage, taking risks, and learning to feel safe when outcomes are unknown. This has a great empowering impact on our day-to-day life and overall wellness. Why this works for your horse: This activity works for your horse on many levels. Having you in close contact with him provides him with direct and simple proprioceptive feedback without any potential discomfort caused by a saddle. Some studies have suggested that horses begin to experience some symptoms of discomfort, regardless of saddle fit, within 15 minutes. Unlike other senses of the nervous system (which go to a processing center of the brain to be analyzed), proprioceptive pathways (which are stimulated through deep pressure to the joints) go directly to the cortex and cause a calming and organizing effect. If you keep your ride short, proprioceptive input can be calming for a horse that has a relationship with you. Having a calming effect on a horse increases his confidence in your presence. The same concept applies to gentle use of reins. Editor’s note: Bareback riding is not ideal for inexperienced riders or untrained horses. Be sure you trust your own abilities and those of your equine companion before attempting this activity. Continued on page 12. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 11.

2. Learn to self-regulate Activity: Let your horse lead you on a ride (instead of the other way around)! Take her on the grounds of your boarding facility or your home property. While respecting the safety principles of riding and intervening when necessary, let your horse explore as she would on her own. The difference is that instead of being the person giving directions for her to follow, you are like a little bird perched on her back, along for the ride! Why this works for you: This activity helps increase your awareness of the biofeedback symptoms of your nervous system, so you can learn to control your stress responses as soon as you see them emerging. Besides being fun, this activity teaches you to micromanage your most subtle reactions to the unpredictable decisions your horse may make. At times, your ride might feel peaceful or exciting; at other times, a little uncertain or nerve-wracking. As most equestrians know, since horses are prey animals, they are experts at picking up on our emotional states and will mirror them right back at us. That said, this activity also forces you to be consciously aware of every feeling you experience in order to keep yourself in check so your horse can feel safe. This is referred to as self-regulation. Nothing teaches this essential coping strategy as well as a horse! Why this works for your horse: Prey animals instinctually operate in a state of fight or flight when they pick up on stress or a perceived threat. By learning to control your own responses to mood changes and stress, you allow your horse to process what is happening on a conscious level, eliminating the need for the nervous system to kick into a protective mode of fight or flight.

3. Relieve stress Activity: Spend leisure time with your horse, without any expectations. Enjoy reading by your horse’s side or having your tea/coffee in his presence. You can even try inviting him to be with you around a campfire, or to keep you company during gardening tasks. Why this works for you: Simply being in the presence of horses has been shown to have a calming and reassuring effect on humans, and is a great activity to add as a coping resource. It’s also a great way to develop hardiness, 12

Equine Wellness

a protective factor related to how people process and cope with stressful events. Breaks are healthy and necessary for any living soul’s well-being. Giving ourselves permission to un-schedule our lives during stressful times is essential to relieving the pressure to perform and achieve when the focus should be tending to our mental health needs. Why this works for your horse: Making an effort to show your horse that your love and acceptance doesn’t depend on the quality of his performance or obedience is essential for reaching new levels of friendship. When your horse experiences a state of relaxation in your presence, it creates a positive emotional memory and is stored in the amygdala of his brain. Your horse is then more apt to associate you with feelings of comfort on a neurophysiological level. Spending quality time with your horse, free from restraint or expectation, can work wonders for your relationship with each other — and your relationship with yourself. Make these activities a priority and you will both reap the benefits.

Marianne Disipio, BSc OT, CWH, CEH, has devoted herself to building an exceptional practice in family wellness by acquiring essential professional skills and developing her own exclusive art as a practitioner. Marianne has made it a point to keep her approach well-balanced between evidence-based practices and practical life, while incorporating a certain soulful quality, which undoubtedly gives depth to our collective human experience. Her area of interest is providing wellness services for unique families, from the outside in! Marianne has experience with families, children and adults dealing with a multitude of circumstances and diagnoses impacting mental health. For more information, visit mariannedisipio.com.

Equine Wellness


Equine scratches


Is your horse more likely to have scratches than another? Learn what predisposes her to this escalating skin reaction, and what you can do to prevent its onset and treat it before it gets worse. By Jane DeMeulemester


Equine Wellness

Pastern dermatitis in its milder form is often called scratches or mud fever. As it worsens into an exudative (fluid emitting) state, it is also called dew poisoning or greasy heel. Pastern dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin on the pastern, between the fetlock and hoof. It is a syndrome of an underlying condition rather than a specific diagnosis, and as a result, it can have many causes.

are frequently exposed to heavy early morning dew, are prime targets. This is because the skin on their lower legs, pasterns and heels is subjected to a constant wetting and drying that robs it of natural oils. The process leaves the skin dried out, flaky and undermined. Once weakened, it’s easy for some small infection to take up residence — and the next thing you know, your equine has a case of scratches!

The fungus Sporotrichum schenki is often the culprit, but pastern dermatitis can also be caused by ringworm, mites, or an infection of the hair follicles with Staphylococcal bacteria. It is therefore important to get to the root cause to determine a proper course of treatment. As scratches progresses, it can become chronic and incredibly painful, infecting the deeper layers of skin in the heel, fetlock and pasterns. In mild cases, it makes your horse sore and tender; in more advanced cases, your horse will not want to move and will become lame.


Scratches often begins as a fungal infection that results in a secondary bacterial infection. The fungus thrives on organic matter and finds its way into tiny breaks in the horse’s skin. It begins as a small pinkish ulceration in the plantar pastern and develops into sores with black crusty scabs that can ooze pus and cause hair loss and edema. If left untreated, bacteria can invade inner tissue and even vascular and lymphatic vessels. When this occurs, the whole lower leg may swell and can often lead to lameness.

Scratches is more common in equines who have white legs or socks because the non-pigmented skin is more susceptible to chafing and abrasion, opening the way for infection. This malady is confined to a horse's lower limbs because blood flow in the legs is somewhat weaker, and good blood flow is essential for rapid, reliable sustained healing. Feathered legs, which are found predominantly in heavier breeds such as drafts, draft mixes or Gypsy Vanners, can also encourage scratches. Heavy feathers set up the perfect storm for infection since they trap dirt and moisture.

Factors that put your horse at higher risk CLIMATE OR MOISTURE Horses that spend copious amounts of time in damp muddy pastures, or who

Scratches is a frequent pesky infection that often inflicts show horses, since they generally receive more baths than their pasture counterparts. They also tend to work in rings and other warm moist environments where large quantities of manure have intermingled with the sand base over time. The gritty sand alone can irritate the sensitive skin and cause micro-tears for the bacteria to enter. Poor stable hygiene is another contributing factor.


Other sources of irritation that lead to scratches include insects and parasites that cause irritation and subsequent infection; and dry cracked skin that Equine Wellness


•B e watchful — scratches

can quickly escalate into a raging infection that can cause lameness. Know whether your horse is predisposed to the syndrome and be proactive at the first signs of any soreness or redness in the pastern or ankle. •D ry your horse's legs

thoroughly before putting him up in a stall. •A void early morning turnout

when there is heavy dew. •U se dry clean wraps/boots

around the infected areas and keep each horse's boots separate. •K eep your stalls clean

and dry. •R egularly clean and

disinfect all equipment.

is continually aggravated by the horse's movement.

TREATMENT FOR SCRATCHES Your vet may wish to take a skin scrape or culture to determine the exact cause of the rash, but initial treatment is standard. Clip any excess or long hair away from the infected area (taking care not to break the skin) to keep the area clean and dry. Do not attempt to pick off the scabs unless advised by your vet; these are nature’s protective Band-Aids and their removal will not only be painful for your horse, but leave the skin at risk for further 16

Equine Wellness

infection — they will fall off with treatment. Gently wash the affected areas with mild soap or a medicated shampoo. Pat the areas dry and apply a gentle, odor-free, non-stinging anti-fungal and antibacterial topical treatment. You may finish the process by applying an antimicrobial wound care cream that contains marine collagen and acts like a protective moisturizing barrier over the area.

Your goal should be to eradicate 100% of the infectious cells; otherwise the organisms will mutate and continue to thrive. When treating pastern dermatitis, your goal should be to eradicate 100% of the infectious cells; otherwise, the organisms will mutate and continue to thrive. Because of this, some approaches involve the use of harsh chemical mixtures, often containing iodine, alcohol or tea tree oil. A more benign approach as outlined above will generate more success. The problem with the harsher approach is that the mixtures themselves are often drying and irritating, so you’re less likely to continue using them for the full course of treatment. These treatments can also cause your horse considerable discomfort if they burn or sting, and will cause him to become difficult to treat. These issues may result in less consistent treatment and a prolonging of the infection. For best results, keep your horse in a dry clean environment for as long



Photo courtesy of Banixx

Tips to prevent scratches

Medicated shampoos, such as Banixx, used in the photo above, can be a gentler way to effectively treat scratches. Note the horse's "white" coat.

as possible. However, make sure he is also able to readily move, since movement will stimulate blood flow and subsequent healing. As always, consistency of treatment is key to good results, and daily attention is a must for success.

Jane DeMeulemester began riding as a teen and went through Pony Club in the UK. To her, this is one of life’s valuable experiences for any horse/pony rider. Educated as a CPA, she says: “I was driven to do this only to fulfill my dream of having a horse of my own.” She moved over to Digital Marketing as part of her employment at Banixx Horse & Pet Care. As a Thoroughbred advocate, Jane is constantly interested in highlighting the cause of off-track Thoroughbreds. When not working in the digital world, she can be found on the trails astride her trusty OTTB, Red Tiger, with her rescue mutt, Digby.

Equine Wellness


Get to know your horse with

Equusology By Jody Hall

WHAT ARE YOUR HORSE’S PREFERENCES? DOES HER PERSONALITY FIT WITH YOURS, AND WITH WHAT YOU WANT FOR HER? EQUUSOLOGY CAN HELP ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. “Why does my horse behave that way?” you may sometimes ask yourself. “Would she excel at a new discipline?” Horses, just like humans, have innate traits that make up their personalities and preferences. Just because a horse is bred for a specific job doesn’t mean she will enjoy it or perform well. On the other hand, if a horse isn’t bred for a specific discipline that doesn’t mean she won’t love it and excel at it! Using typology or “Equusology”, you can gain insight, understanding and knowledge about your horse’s personality and inherent characteristics, as well as your own. 18

Equine Wellness

THE HISTORY OF EQUUSOLOGY Melisa Pearce has been a psychotherapist for close to 30 years. In her therapy, she relies heavily on a condensed version of the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator developed by David Keirsey. In the 1980s, she began to use her horses in her psychotherapy sessions, and soon began to have better breakthroughs with her patients, who seemed to become more open to her as a therapist. As her skill at typing her patients’ personalities advanced, she also began to observe different personalities in her horses. For fun, she would type them as well. Her good friend Carolyn Fitzpatrick approached her about writing a book to help people better understand themselves and their horses’ personalities. Together, they wrote the book Equusology: Deciphering Human and Horse Typology. The book consists of three different segments: a personality questionnaire designed for humans, a unique typology for horses created by the authors, and exercises to help you understand your horse on an even deeper level.


them. An F does consult the mind — to see if it feels calm about the decision. J or P (Judging or Perceiving): This category deals with how organized we are, along with our orientation to time, space and our environment. The J person is highly organized with a strong work ethic. The P person is spontaneous and likes to keep their options open. These four categories are combined to create 16 different personality types: ESTJ, ISTP, ESTP, ESTJ, ISFJ, ISFP, ESFP, ESFJ, INFJ, INFP, ENFP, ENFJ, INTJ, INTP, ENTP, ENTJ. Every personality type is unique. Understanding the particular traits and idiosyncrasies of each is designed to help you know yourself, and the way you function in life, with greater insight. Once you know yourself, it’s time to figure out your horse! Continued on page 20.

(Opposite) Perceiving: A Perceiving (P) horse has a strong play ethic.

Before you can attempt to understand your horse, you have to first gain a better understanding of yourself. The 70question Keirsey Temperament Sorter in Melisa and Carolyn’s book helps you indicate which of 16 different personality combinations you fit into. Each of these combinations is made up of the following categories: E or I (Extrovert or Introvert): This indicates how individuals operate socially. “In my practice, I began to see it also as a difference in distilling thought,” writes Melisa. “The E needs to process orally with another person. By contrast, the I needs time to process, preferably without interruption or distraction.”

Introvert: An Introverted (I) horse needs time apart from the herd, but not too far away.

S or N (Sensing or Intuition): This category indicates learning style. The S is a detail-oriented person who has a no-nonsense approach. They don’t put much value or faith in hunches. The N person looks forward to the future. They are interested in what is possible. They follow hunches. T or F (Thinking or Feeling): This category is about how we make decisions and choices. The T person uses logic, research and fact when making decisions. They prefer policy and procedure. The F tries to discern how they feel about a situation and bases their decision on what the heart tells

Judging: A Judging (J) horse keeps things in order.

Equine Wellness


2 fun exercises A. Determine your horse’s social preference (E or I) Approximate time: 15-20 minutes What you’ll need: 1. Round pen or mid-sized enclosed space 2. The horse you’re testing and three to five other horses (a few your horse knows and others he does not) 3. A flake of hay What to do: Place one flake of hay on the ground in the center of the round pen. Put your horse in the round pen at liberty and move away from the pen. Have someone lead a horse (not a stallion) near the outside edge of the round pen and watch your horse’s reaction. Is it “a” or “b”? a. Y our horse nickers when he sees the other horse approaching. He approaches the corral fence whether he knows the horse or not. You see his energy level increase when the horse approaches the fence. b. Your horse only approaches the corral fence when he knows the horse being led nearby. He continues eating and shows little interest in the horse being led. He turns away from the horse being led past the fence. Results: The behaviors in “a” suggest an E (Extrovert), while those in “b” suggest an I (Introvert).

B. Determine your horse’s learning style (S or N) Approximate time: 20 minutes What you’ll need: 1. Enclosed arena 2. Two large objects your horse has never seen before, such as a large ball and a barrel. What to do: Place the objects in an enclosed arena. Spread them apart. Turn your horse into the arena at liberty. Now observe from a distance. a. Y our horse appears wary of the new objects. He slows to show interest in the objects. He appears to show interest but from a distance. b. Your horse shows almost immediate interest in an object and wants to investigate it. He stays near an object and wants to touch, smell or lick it. He quickly figures out how to manipulate the objects (such as moving the ball or turning over the barrel). Results: The behavior in “a” suggests an N (Intuition). Example “b” suggests an S (Sensing). These exercises are taken from Equusology: Deciphering Human and Horse Typology. For complete testing and scoring, refer to the book. 20

Equine Wellness

Continued from page 19.

EQUINE PERSONALITY TYPES E or I (Extrovert or Introvert): The extroverted horse is vocal. She needs to be with other horses and does not do well when isolated from the herd. The introverted horse needs time alone. This horse can often be spotted wandering away from the herd, perfectly content. S or N (Sensing or Intuition): The sensing horse is down to earth and likes routine. The N horse might have a hard time focusing on the job at hand and seems to have her head in the clouds. T or F (Thinking or Feeling): Thinking horses can appear aloof; they are firm in the herd and want their boundaries respected. Feeling horses are sensitive; harmony is important to them. They love to be touched. J or P (Judging or Perceiving): Judging horses have a routine — they keep their stalls and blankets in order and like to be fed at the same time every day. The perceiving horse is in no great hurry; she likes to hang out. Her blankets are often askew or torn off.

WHAT JOB WOULD YOUR HORSE ENJOY? •S P (Sensing and Perceiving) horses are all about freedom. The first SP-type horse that comes to mind is a racehorse that is given extreme freedom on the track. Cutting would also be a good job for an SP horse, since she would be given the freedom to follow her instincts. •S J (Sensing and Judging) horses are responsible and like detail. They do well with repetitive tasks, making them perfect for barrel racing or the plow or harness. •N F (Intuition and Feeling) horses are good at hippotherapy because they can make loving connections and seem to be innately drawn to a person in need of emotional support. •N T (Intuition and Thinking) horses have a desire to master their jobs with expertise and precision. A great example is the Western pleasure horse or a hunter-jumper. If you come from a long line of accountants but are not good at math, then you would probably be miserable following your family’s legacy. Horses are the same. They will usually try to get along and do what we want them to do, but they

have innate aptitudes that make them excel and enjoy certain jobs more than others. Playing to their strengths will make them happier and better-adjusted. “How can I get my horse to do something easier, faster, better and with less argument?” asks Melisa. “We leave ourselves out of the equation. We have to listen to the horse as well.” Understanding your horse’s preferences — and your own! — will help you better relate to her in the barn and in competition. Take the time to figure out her personality and the unique gifts she has to offer, and you’ll soon find you’re both happier and more fulfilled! This is a very brief and concise look at a very complex and fascinating subject. Visit equusology.com for more information.

Jody Hall has been in love with horses since she learned to read as a child and began writing stories about them. She attended CU Denver where she studied English/writing, including courses in magazine writing, creative writing, grant writing and screen writing. When she is not writing, she enjoys trail riding in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Equine Wellness




Do you have trouble turning your horse in one direction? Do you turn your shoulders but find that nothing happens until you resort to pulling on the reins? Turning your horse is easy when you start with your pelvis, and working out with an adult hula hoop is a great way to practice. I have had riders report that years of back pain were eliminated and back surgery prevented by working with a hoop on a regular basis. Not to mention their riding improved dramatically, as did their waistlines!

repetition, or can any horse understand your aids the first time you ask? I find there’s a universal way of asking any horse to turn. It involves clear direction from the rider’s seat. When the rider’s weight is in the middle, she has to do very little to ask her horse to turn. But many riders are not in the middle, and often use the body differently when asking for a turn to the right versus the left. This leaves the horse confused and resistant. A hula hoop will help improve your turns in both directions and make any disparity obvious. You want to be sure to get an adult size hoop (available online) as opposed to children’s hoops found in toy stores, as the latter are too small and light. Look for one that’s approximately 40" to 42" in diameter and weighs about 1.75 lbs. These larger hoops are much easier to master, especially if you didn’t learn as a child, because their increased size and weight make it much easier to keep the hoop spinning. To begin:

Hula hoops come in various sizes. The larger the hoop, the easier it is to use.

Take a moment and consider all the different instructions you’ve received about riding circles and turns. When you ride, notice what you do when asking your horse to change direction. Riders report wildly different instructions but the question remains — has the horse simply learned what you mean by 22

Equine Wellness

1 Simply spin the hoop and let it fall to the ground. Notice which direction you spun the hoop. This is most likely your easier direction on the horse. 2

Repeat the first step several times, counting the number of spins before the hoop falls to the ground. This demonstrates that you don’t have to work hard to keep the hoop going, thanks to centrifugal force.

3 Feel where the hoop touches you — follow it to keep the hoop in motion. Sometimes it helps to watch in the mirror to see what is happening. Observe how you are using your pelvis. As you get familiar with hooping you will need to do less and less to keep it going. Master the easier direction first before attempting to spin the hoop in the opposite direction. If you are having trouble, return to the easy way to sense, feel and observe why it is easy. Then go the opposite way again. Continue changing directions until you can go both ways. Using a hula hoop will not only improve your circles and turns — it’s also fun, so take yours for a spin!

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, allow her to show riders how to exceed their own expectations.

Equine Wellness



THE UNIQUE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE GUT AND BRAIN — KNOWN AS THE GUT-BRAIN AXIS — IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF MEDICAL RESEARCH THESE DAYS. LET’S LOOK AT HOW YOUR HORSE’S GASTROINTESTINAL HEALTH AFFECTS HER NEUROLOGICAL WELLNESS. Our bodies — and our horses’ — depend on a vast army of living organisms (microbes) to stay alive and thrive. This microbiome of cells (including bacteria, viruses and fungi) is responsible for protecting against germs, and for breaking down food to release energy, produce vitamins and more. The biggest populations of these microbes reside in the gut. This complex community is known as gut flora. Healthy gut flora fosters healthy gut function overall, and has been linked to normal central nervous system (CNS) function in humans and horses. Conversely, a lower diversity of gut flora has been linked to an increased occurrence of CNS disorders such as anxiety, depression, aggression, memory loss and other problems. Here’s how it works. The gut sends signals to the brain via hormones, neurotransmitters and other immunological factors. These signals can become impaired by inflammation of the GI tract and an imbalance of gut flora, known as dysbiosis. Intestinal permeability (leaky gut) results from dysbiosis, allowing proteins and bacteria to escape through intestinal tissues and circulate systemically. These rogue molecules then increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, negatively impacting brain function which can lead to the development of CNS disorders. 24

Equine Wellness

Communication between the gut and brain is bi-directional, so it can work in the reverse order — signals sent from the brain to the gut will also impact gut health. Positive thinking is therefore a powerful practice; later, we will discuss ways to foster this in the equine.

3 STEPS TO CREATING A GUT-HEALING ENVIRONMENT FOR YOUR EQUINE Common contributors to an unhealthy equine gut include stress, a poor quality diet, synthetic vitamins and minerals, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals. Optimizing your horse’s diet, properly managing pharmaceuticals, and supporting her through periods of high stress will each have a positive effect on her gut microbiome. Creating an environment that is conducive to gut healing is the first step toward improving your horse’s neurological and overall body function.

1. Optimize her diet An ideal diet is modeled on how horses would eat in the wild, but this can vary depending on individual needs. To cover the basics, 24/7 access to naturally-grown grass or hay forage, fresh


water and mineral salts is crucial. When considering feeds and supplements for your horse, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the ingredients. Marketing lingo can be very convincing, but does the ingredient list on the packaging paint a different story? Learning to identify pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory ingredients can also help determine how a feed might impact your horse’s GI health. Grains are naturally inflammatory and can be challenging for horses to digest. This is especially true for horses with a history of ulcers or other digestive disorders, so it is wise to limit their grain intake. Organic grains are easier on the gut than conventional or genetically modified grains. In the US, there are no requirements for labelling GMOs, so familiarity with current GM crops will help you identify them. GMOs and conventional wheat carry many risks, including glyphosate contamination. Glyphosate is an herbicide, a probable carcinogen, and a contributing factor to leaky gut and

inflammation. Popular horse feeds and supplements often include wheat, GMOs (soy, corn, alfalfa, beets and canola) and synthetic vitamins. They can even legally contain things like formaldehyde (as a “pellet binder”) and anti-freeze (propylene glycol). Yikes! Alternative feeds such as those made with coconut meal, hemp hearts, chia seeds and flax offer an easily digestible, glutenfree, anti-inflammatory meal with many benefits. Coconut feeds, such as Stance Equine’s Cool Stance®, are chemical-free, low in non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) and rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCT) and lauric acid, which may kill harmful pathogens in the GI tract. Hemp hearts (hulled seeds) are rich in high quality protein, are alkaline-forming and contain all ten essential amino acids, which are building blocks for synthesizing body proteins for healthy blood, hooves, organs, hormones and more. Chia and flax are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals. “Including fresh vegetables can

Equine Wellness


THE PROS AND CONS OF PROBIOTICS It’s common practice to supplement with probiotics when trying to restore the equine gut...but are they as effective as we think? “Because the horse is a hind-gut fermenter, meaning they process most of their nutritional uptake in the last part of their digestive systems, it can be very difficult to get probiotics to reach this far section of the GI tract,” says Dr. Rebecca Quesnell, a scientist with a focus on the microbiome. “Alternatives to live probiotics (which are rarely still viable when fed to animals) include products that support gut bacteria all the way through to the hindgut. One example is Culbac® (cultured bacteria) — stabilized, functional, killed bacteria with nutritional fermentate.” Studies have shown that fostering beneficial bacteria in the gut can create an appreciable decrease in adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels; this means focusing on the gut health of horses with Cushing’s disease is worth consideration and will ultimately strengthen their immune systems.

also help dramatically with your horse’s intestinal health,” adds Equine Nutritionist, Claudia Garner. Additionally, these feeds are all prebiotics, which means they nourish healthy gut flora. They are also safer options for horses with allergies, which often stem from a weakened GI state.

2. Properly manage pharmaceuticals Reserving pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, for specific and necessary situations can limit negative interference with the gut. Alternatives such as herbs, essential oils, superfoods and medicinal spices typically support the whole body while promoting the healing of specific ailments. The herbal tincture, Bor L Immune™ by Sustenance Herbs, is an example of an exciting alternative to allopathic medicine. It effectively eliminates Borrelia burgdorferi (the spirochete bacterium that causes Lyme disease) from tissues while supporting the gut and enhancing CD-4 white blood cells and vital organ function. Herbs benefit the body in many ways, and horses typically love the taste as they consist of plants they would have naturally


Equine Wellness

sought in the wild in order to self-heal. Natural antibiotics that can be considered for use in horses include colloidal silver, oil of oregano, apple cider vinegar and unrefined coconut oil. If you offer probiotics (see sidebar to the left), it is critical to halt their use while delivering antibiotics. Synthetic antibiotics do not have the ability to recognize “good” or “bad” bacteria and use a one-for-one ratio when eliminating bacteria. Probiotic supplementation with antibiotics brings the risk of persistent infection. On the other hand, it is safe and beneficial to feed prebiotic foods and herbs as they will not interfere with antibiotics.

3. Support your horse through periods of stress During periods of stress, you can help your horse remain mentally and physically healthy by consistently supporting her gut. More specifically, herbs such as yucca, chamomile or slippery elm, and essential oils such as frankincense, peppermint, lavender or copaiba, can all help to calm the mind and heal the gut. Another impressive supplement for stress management is organic CBD oil. Interestingly, studies have demonstrated that the gut microbiota uses the intestinal endocannabinoid system to control the degree of intestinal permeability. CBD oil supports the practice of replenishing this naturally-occurring endocannabinoid system for GI and neurological health. It’s also important not to underestimate the power that your voice, love and presence have on your horse’s well-being. Reassure her that she is safe and doing well, and whenever possible, be there to enjoy life with her. For some horses, especially those without pasture mates, the human-equine bond can play an integral role in their health. Hippocrates wrote in the 4th century B.C. that “all disease begins in the gut”. Begin the journey of healing your equine partner by nourishing her digestive system and supporting the complex cross-talk between her gut and brain.

Daryl Anne Wilga, a New England native and graduate of Gordon College, has combined her equestrian background with her passion for nutrition and natural remedies in her journey as an entrepreneur. Daryl Anne is the founder and owner of Yucc' It Up! Equine Supplements in Douglas, Massachusetts. Yucc' It Up! uses certified organic superfoods, wild-crafted herbs, medicinal spices and pure essential oils in its Yucca schidigera-based formulas. yuccitup.com

Equine Wellness





The horse’s fourth and fifth chakras are the epicenter of love, emotions and communication. The fourth chakra is the heart chakra, which governs the heart, lungs, bronchial tubes, withers, shoulders and front legs. The rib cage houses and protects these life-affirming organs, which are very tender and emotional in nature. It is an area of unconditional love for horses, as well as a nurturing center.

4th Chakra — Unconditional love, the heart, lungs, bronchial tubes, upper back, shoulders, withers 5th Chakra — Creative expression, throat, teeth, gums, glands, parathyroid, vertebrae of the neck

RIDING FROM BACK TO FRONT The horse’s hind legs are the source of his energy, which then travels over his back and is received by the rider’s hands. This channel of energy improves the connection between horse and rider, helping to balance their heart chakras and deepen their bond. 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


Equine Wellness

This area gets sore and breaks down when the horse has a weak or ungrounded hind end. The heart chakra becomes unbalanced as it struggles to compensate for that weakness. When a horse is not ridden from back to front (see sidebar), the front end is often susceptible to lameness. Emotional blockages can also accumulate in this area if a smooth connection between horse and rider is not established, or if the horse’s saddle fits poorly. The fifth chakra is the throat chakra, representing creative expression and communication. Physically, it covers the thyroid, teeth, gums, parathyroid, trachea, hypothalamus, esophagus and the vertebrae of the neck. Many horses suffer from jammed necks or severe tightness within their fifth chakras, and the problem goes largely undetected. Tension here can even lead to neurological disorders, while jammed necks pushing into the cranial bones can alter the entire spine.

An unbalanced throat chakra can also lead to conditions of the thyroid that affect metabolic disorders and mood, and can impact skin and hair health. When it comes to the fourth and fifth chakras, our equine friends can use a little balancing and TLC! Here are some basic ways to help:

1 An unbalanced throat chakra indicates a block in communication. To clear it, talk and sing to your horse as you groom her. Cup your hand at the base of her throat, encouraging the energy to flow through. 2

Take a pendulum and hold it over the withers. Watch it spin and/or sway. A pendulum that swings clockwise indicates a balanced heart chakra. Massage the withers in a clockwise motion and then bring the pendulum back to see if your body work has influenced the health of that chakra.

3 Time, self-nurturing and sacred rituals are as good for your horse as they are for you. Is she getting enough turnout time? Does she spend time with friends? Sometimes just handgrazing your equine friend goes a long way in repairing a broken heart and deepening your communication — vital components of balanced heart and throat chakras.



Scientifically-proven way to purify hay A veterinarian-conducted study on hundreds of horses found that 84% suffered from Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD). This condition is incredibly detrimental to equine health even though some horses may not show immediate symptoms. The same study found that steaming hay with a Haygain steamer reduced the risk of IAD by 63%. Haygain’s hay steamer is the only proven method to significantly eliminate harmful allergens such as mold, bacteria and dust from hay. haygain.us

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ButiPEARL™ Z EQ is a one-of-a-kind product that supplies two important nutrients — butyric acid and zinc — to your horse’s entire digestive tract. These nutrients strengthen the gut barrier and support the immune system, resulting in improved performance and overall well-being. Visit Kemin.com/bpzeq today!

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Equine Wellness



pubic symphysis



pubic symphysis

The number of female riders is on the rise, yet women are still under-represented when it comes to saddle design and fit. Learn the key differences between male and female anatomy and how they affect your comfort in the saddle.

Human anatomy is a crucial factor in saddle fit, and gender is a major part of this. Because saddles have traditionally been built for men, they have it much easier when trying to find saddles that fit. In this article, we’ll discuss four key points to consider when determining proper saddle fit for women. After all, it’s important for a female rider to have a saddle that conforms to her shape, and not the other way around.

1. The twist The “twist” is the part of the saddle that’s felt between the upper inner thighs. It’s generally easy for men to find a saddle that fits in this area, since the majority of English saddles on the market today are still made to allow the male anatomy to sit comfortably and balanced. Generally speaking, you are looking at a fairly wide twist and a smaller seat to accommodate the male pelvis. The width between a woman’s upper inner thighs affects the width of the twist she will need in her saddle. Because 30

Equine Wellness

Parts of the saddle

of a phenomenon called “Q-flexion” (whereby female thighs tend to angle outward at the hip and back inward at the knee), women will carry more weight on their upper inner thighs than a man. Because traditional “male” saddles are built fairly wide in the crotch area, but narrow in the seat, women

All photos courtesy of Saddlefit 4 Life Opposite page: The female vs. male pelvis. Top left: The saddle fitter needs to take some critical measurements of the rider to determine proper customization(s) of the saddle. Here, the full leg length (with knees bent) is taken to determine proper flap length. Top right: Although these two riders have a similar body shape on the outside, their "butt casts" clearly show the differences in their pelvic points of reference. The male (right) has two points of contact on the saddle at the seat bones, which are closer together than those of the female (left). In addition, the female pelvis has a third point of contact at the front (her pubic symphysis).

find themselves sitting with their legs jutting unnaturally outward, and/or painfully sitting on the seat seaming. A woman’s legs are pushed forward and the knees and toes are out at a 45° angle, which isn’t ideal. In fact, anatomy dictates that the saddle structure for women should be exactly opposite — narrow in the twist and wider in the seat area.

2. The stirrup bars For most males, the upper leg (hip bone to knee bone) is approximately the same length as the lower leg (knee bone to ankle bone). This means their legs will hang down straight when using a “normal” stirrup bar placement. Most women, on the other hand, have a longer upper leg than lower leg. With a regular normally-positioned stirrup bar, a woman’s leg will usually end up being too far forward because it will fall according to its center of gravity. (“Get your leg back!” — does this sound familiar?) Therefore, women generally require extended stirrup bars to allow their legs to find their center of gravity.

3. The flaps and thigh rolls A woman’s hip bones are articulated at the joint differently than a man’s. Male hip sockets are much further forward, so their legs can naturally hang straight down. Continued on page 32. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 31.

HOW ANATOMY AFFECTS POSITION AND BALANCE Rider position and balance are the key ingredients in all riding disciplines. The position of a male’s seat bones does not provide the obstacle that it does for the majority of females. In the male pelvis, the seat bones are much closer together, so the male comfortably fits into the padded part of most saddles. In the past, saddle manufacturers afforded special attention to the male skeletal structure given that, traditionally, more men rode. Unfortunately, too many women ride in saddles built for men, which is why women often struggle to find proper position and balance in the saddle. Women have a broad range of hip shapes, all of which need to be considered. Unlike the “V” shape of a man’s seat bones, a woman’s are usually flat. Women also have a more prominent and lower pubic bone. This combination causes a woman to sit as though she’s on a tripod. Herein lies the problem for most women — unless the pelvis is straight, the pommel of the saddle will inevitably interfere with the pubic bone, and unless the abdominal muscles are used, it is almost impossible to sit balanced in a saddle with proper support from behind. The seat bones are the key structure for the foundation of position and balance, but the gluteal muscles also play a role. Since a man’s tailbone is longer and his glutes are lower, he will not need as much support “behind” at the cantle as many women will. A woman almost has to “slouch” in order to get the same support from her saddle. This then leads to backache because the natural four curves in her spine cannot be properly used as shock absorbers when she rides.

A male (left) and female (right) rider sitting in the shoulderhip-heel plumb line alignment on a horse’s back. The male’s gluteus maximus muscle has much more contact with the horse, whereas the woman’s pelvis is tipped more forward, which lifts her gluteus maximus higher and away from the horse’s back. This positioning of her glutes is further exacerbated by stronger curvature in her lower back, and her shorter tailbone. In a men’s saddle, her pelvis won’t get the support it needs from behind to keep her balanced.


Equine Wellness

In dressage especially, it is difficult for women to achieve the classic "shoulders-hips-heels" straight line, because the articulation of their hips causes their legs to naturally angle out. It is painful to sit on the pubic bone, and as a result, most women collapse at the hip to escape the pain. The leg shoots forward and time is spent fighting the position instead of concentrating on riding. Changing the angle of the flap and the position of the thigh roll will address this problem.

4. The seat A lower pubic symphysis can cause friction with the seat. The male pelvis (see image on page 30) has a higher pubic symphysis (PS) than a female pelvis. When a man sits in a balanced position with his spine perpendicular to the ground, his PS tips upward and does not make contact with the seat. When a female sits on the saddle with her spine perpendicular to the ground, her PS is much lower and closer to the front of the saddle. This can create rubbing, which can cause significant discomfort, recurring bladder infections and even bleeding. Unfortunately, aside from cosmetic changes, saddles have not evolved much over the years. Most companies still use the same trees, the same technology, and the same manufacturing process they always have — with a few exceptions. This seems paradoxical when you consider that the majority of riders are female. The adult amateur female rider is the market, and thankfully women are beginning to realize that a) riding doesn’t have to hurt, b) there are alternatives available and c) if they are vocal enough with their demands the industry will change.

Former German three-day event rider, Jochen Schleese, was the 1986 Official Saddler for the World Dressage Championships held in Toronto, and the 2005, 2007 and 2009 World Cup Dressage and Jumping Finals in Las Vegas. He is a guest speaker at veterinary associations, schools and riding instructor conferences worldwide. Jochen is the founder of Saddlefit 4 Life®, a global network of certified equine professionals dedicated to the comfort and protection of the horse from long term back damage due to poorly fitting saddles. He is the author of The Silent Killer (WuWei 2012) and Suffering in Silence — The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horse (Trafalgar Books 2013), now in its third edition. Saddlesforwomen.com, Saddlefit4life.com


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Achieving highly nutritious pasture is no small task — it takes year-round planning, cultivating and maintenance. This expert guide will get you started at planting the perfect pasture for your horses. A herd of healthy horses quietly grazes on lush, green pasture under a big, beautiful sky. For horse people, this scene is as serene as it gets. Maybe this is your vision for the horses in your own care. Perhaps you’re thinking that all you need to do is find some good-looking grass, turn the horses out, and let them graze to their hearts’ content. Think again. Creating your perfect pasture requires a lot of planning and maintenance. You need to be knowledgeable about soil and plant care, grass cultivation, and what sorts of grasses grow best in your climate. 34

Equine Wellness

Maintaining your horses’ health also requires sensitivity to their needs at any given moment. According to the National Research Council’s Nutrient Requirements of Horses, equines need water, protein (amino acids), carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals to maintain health. But, like most things, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to the amounts of each needed by any one horse. Factors such as equine workload, condition, age, health, stress, injury, breed (“easy” vs. “hard” keepers), as well as environment and weather all impact how much nutrition from each category a horse requires. With all that said, equines require forage — they have a “trickle in” digestive system and can spend nearly 70% of their time grazing. In fact, it’s best if at least half a horse’s intake comes from forage, as this maintains his digestive tract. Good pasture, then, is critical to horse health. If all this sounds overwhelming, well… it is and it isn’t. If you put the work in up front by understanding a few principles about nutrition, forage production, and how to manage your pastures season to season, producing healthy pastures becomes a routine — one you can certainly manage.

CAN A HORSE SURVIVE SOLELY ON PASTURE? Equine nutrition expert, Steve Jackson, would prefer it that way. He feels pasture is “the most appropriate way for these ‘wandering herbivores’ to acquire balanced, adequate nutrition.” Jackson should know — he’s the president of Bluegrass Equine Nutrition and has been a Thoroughbred consultant for 28 years, working with top stud farms all over the world, including Coolmore, Taylor Made, and Denali Stud. So, let’s look at how you can design a pasture that offers optimal nutrition.

WHAT YOU PLANT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU ARE According to Kathleen Crandell, who holds a PhD in equine nutrition and works with Kentucky Equine Research, the secret is a mixture of grasses, including both warm and cool weather varieties. “Here in Virginia, as in most temperate climates, a mixture of bluegrass, orchardgrass, perennial rye and tall fescue (if you aren’t grazing broodmares) works well,” she says, adding that you could include Bermuda grass or crab grass for production during the high heat of summer. Continued on page 36. Equine Wellness



• Bluegrass • Orchardgrass • Perennial rye • Timothy grass


• Bermuda grass cultivars • Bahiagrass • Pangola

Other equine nutritionists, like Steve Jackson and Roger Allman, an agronomist in his 38th year of advising clients about pasture management, and owner of The Farm Clinic, provide more insight, breaking grasses down according to two broad U.S. zones, with Tennessee being the dividing line. “North of Tennessee and across the country, cool season grasses predominate,” notes Jackson, “while south of that line, warm season grasses do best.” Jackson feels cool season grasses are especially high in nutrient density. “In England, France, Japan, and areas of the U.S. (the more temperate climates), bluegrass, orchardgrass, brome grass, and fescue do well,” he notes. “Various cultivars of Bermuda grass, such as Tifton, do best in Florida, Alabama, across the south into Texas, and California.” But warm season grasses are lower in nutrient value. Though experts differ on exactly how much protein each grass species delivers, Jackson notes that bluegrass can offer more than 20% protein, with additional digestible energy derived from its sugars and fiber content. Bermuda grass, on the other hand, has only 10% to 12% protein. He also notes that protein concentration is very dependent on nitrogen fertilization. This is why, in warmer climates, most nutrients are delivered from hay bales rather than pasture, along with grain if necessary. In central Florida, around Ocala, three grasses predominate: Bermuda, bahia, and pangola. Bahia seems the preferred grass type because it’s good at withstanding heat and does well in less fertile ground, such as in the sandy regions of Florida.

In contrast, bluegrass predominates in areas like Kentucky, the Thoroughbred mecca of the world. “It’s difficult to make a mistake with bluegrass,” says Jackson, who feels it’s a great choice because of its nutrient availability, including adequate amounts of phosphorus and calcium, which are necessary for bone development. David Crouch, who manages the pastures at prestigious Denali Stud, includes bluegrass in his array, planting ten pounds each of bluegrass and orchardgrass, plus five pounds of perennial rye. He uses 25 pounds in total per acre when renovating or over-seeding pastures. If you’re starting a new pasture, Jackson recommends 60% bluegrass, 20% orchardgrass, and the rest annual rye as a “nurse plant” since it germinates and grows quickly, preventing erosion and allowing the other two to get a foothold. After year one, he feels bluegrass and orchardgrass are good choices.

At least half a horse’s intake should come from forage as this maintains his digestive tract. Good pasture, then, is critical to horse health. But bluegrass goes dormant in the heat of summer, another reason why a mixture of grasses is best. Cool season grasses, such as bluegrass and orchardgrass, come on strong in areas such as Kentucky from April 1 to June 1, and from September through November, given adequate moisture. Orchardgrass tends to be more adept at staying vigorous in the summer; it can persist when bluegrass production diminishes. Continued on page 38.


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Some typical pasture grasses include:

1. COOL WEATHER: bluegrass, orchardgrass, perennial rye and Timothy grass

2. WARM WEATHER: crab grass, Bermuda grass cultivars, bahiagrass, and pangola.

3. FESCUE AND PERENNIAL RYE: In parts of the U.S. with long growing seasons, fescue can grow through January. Rye grows well in all seasons and horses can eat it all year round, so it’s a good choice if you don’t pull horses off pasture in the winter.

Continued from page 36. Allman also advocates a mixture of bluegrass and orchardgrass for temperate climates, but for different reasons. “Bluegrass is lower in nutrition than orchardgrass, with around 12% to 18% protein and lower digestible energy from sugars, but it’s high in palatability,” he says, adding that orchardgrass can be as high in protein as 31%.

WHY PLANT A MIXTURE? You might wonder why everyone advocates mixing grasses for pasture. It seems reasonable to think that if one type of grass is nutrient-rich, reliable, persistent, palatable, and grows well in your region, why not just go with it? The obvious reason is they have different nutritional values and grow at differing times throughout the season. But there are two other considerations: 1. G rasses have different growth habits. This means they will be grazed differently. For example, orchard-

grass grows in bunches while bluegrass grows lower and more like a carpet. The spreading rhizomes help tighten the soil base and aid in weed prevention, the bane of the pasture manager’s existence. 2. H orses make palatable choices in what they eat. Sugar content often influences their choices. (Yes, they love the sweet stuff too). “Fescue grows during the summer, but the sugar content increases after a fall frost, so horses tend to eat it more at that time of year than in the summer,” says Crandell. Bluegrass, too, is not as palatable in the summer as in the spring and fall, likely due to the increased sugar content at those times of the year, as well as its diminished vigor during the heat of mid-summer. Grasses produce sugars through photosynthesis, and the leaves are imperative in sugar production. Some grasses store sugar at their base, while others store it 2" to 3" from the soil. Orchardgrass, for instance, stores sugar higher on the stem than some other grasses, so it doesn’t flourish if grazed too low. When horses graze grasses too low, it puts pressure on the root systems to support the plants’ viability, and they will eventually die, especially if this happens going into winter. To preserve your forage, experts have long advocated this rule: take half (the growth height) and leave half (the grass height post-grazing) while never allowing the grasses to drop below 3" in height. As you can see, taking climate considerations into account, you can plant a mixture of grasses that will deliver highly nutritious pasture — and remember, forage is essential to equine health. So no matter how much or how little land you have, try to get your horses out on some palatable, high-impact grasses. In the next issue, we’ll help you troubleshoot your grazing space and resolve some problems you may encounter.

After conducting research for her first novel at a Kentucky Thoroughbred breeding and training farm, Virginia Slachman became a devoted advocate for retired racehorses. In addition to continuing her writing and university teaching career, Slachman has worked for years with ex-racehorses in one way or another — caring for them, rehabilitating or retraining them for new careers, and writing about them. Her work in rescue led to her adoption of Corredor dela Isla, her own ex-racehorse, who continues to be her beloved companion. She’s the author of three collections of poetry and her memoir as well as two novels. Blood in the Bluegrass, her second novel, is due out soon. virginiaslachman.com


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When dealing with laminitis, a supplement alone isn’t always enough. Here’s how one company is lending laminitic horses a helping hand. By Sariana Burnet

Laminitis is a painful and debilitating disease that affects many horses. Nothing is more upsetting than witnessing a laminitic horse in pain, and feeling unequipped to assist him. The healing process can be long and painful, and caretakers are often left wondering how they could have prevented the condition in the first place. These concerns are what inspired veterinarian Dr. Frank Reilly to develop a unique product called Heiro. It started in 2006, when Dr. Reilly found himself treating an overwhelming number of horses with laminitis. During one particular week, he was run off his feet trying to manage

three ongoing cases. He realized there had to be a better way — a proactive approach, rather than a reactive one. This approach became the primary building block for Heiro — a natural unprocessed formula that could both help prevent laminitis and speed healing for horses that are already afflicted. At the time, there were no nutritional supplements on the market that offered this type of all-encompassing support. Heiro is more than just a supplement. It provides support for horses showing signs of insulin resistance; improves the hoof quality of laminitic horses by preventing damage and providing comfort; and helps heal the laminae in horses with chronic signs and symptoms. Along with this specialized formula, Dr. Reilly also offers customers access to his four-step program, which looks at hay consumption, rotation balancers, and thyroid function to further assist in bringing horses back to health. The program includes a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, a free veterinary consult for those who are interested, and information on how to test your horse’s insulin. Another important facet of the Heiro name is testing and quality

assurance. Made of high quality herbs, vitamins and minerals, Heiro is the most tested equine supplement in the US. The company prides itself on transparency, and will happily provide the results of lab tests indicating that its products have no traces of heavy metals, pesticides, lead, melamine, e. coli, salmonella or other scary contaminants. The supplement is also tested to ensure safe levels of sugar and starch, which is essential to managing insulin levels. One of Dr. Reilly’s passions is working directly with farriers, veterinary students and caretakers to develop laminitis management and prevention strategies. He enjoys the satisfaction that comes from helping horses get moving again, and claims that working with other equine professionals keeps him young! But with age, as they say, comes wisdom — an adage that’s substantiated by Dr. Reilly’s longstanding partnerships with some of the most respected associations in the industry. Currently, he sits on the board of directors for the International Association of Professional Farriers (IAPF), and is the first veterinary board member of Ryerss Horse Rescue and Retirement Farm — the oldest horse rescue in the US. Indeed, Dr. Reilly’s knowledge is vast, and he’s using it to help laminitic horses across the nation. Talk about a “heiro”! Equine Wellness




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Left: Charlotte Beck Top left: Joanna Bink Photographer / #EyeLikeLight Top right: Kristina Howell, overlooking Puget Sound from Maury Island


All over the world, individuals are grooming manes, mucking stalls, tightening girths and soaking in the sunshine from the backs of their trusted equine companions. The universal bond between horse and rider transcends time and space, and breaks down all cultural barriers. And nothing celebrates this connection better than a new social media account aptly named “Life Between the Ears” (LBTE), which unites horse lovers and travel enthusiasts around the globe through their passion for riding. This collaborative photo album has become a platform that’s frequented — and adored — by thousands. In fact, since its launch a decade ago, Life Between the Ears and its associated hashtag, #lifebetweentheears, has garnered photo submissions from over 100,000 social media users. When Kristine Dahms shared her first post back in 2008, she had no idea it would turn into something quite so impactful. Her only intention was to share a few photos from her hacks out on the trails. “Soon my friends were sending me their ‘between the ear’ photos, so I started a dedicated Facebook page to share them all,” she says. “Then the whole thing exploded


and I started sharing other people’s photos that I’d find from all around the world.” Within just a few years, Life Between the Ears transformed from a personal Facebook account into a community of riders hailing from Jordan, Australia, Norway, South Africa, Ireland, Germany, Canada and numerous other countries. Kristine’s Instagram feed boasts nearly 40,000 followers, and over 1,000 images from various contributors. Each of these photographs also includes a thoughtful caption outlining cultural information about the location in which it was taken. “I started sharing educational info simply out of my own curiosity,” says Kristine. “I figured people might have the same curiosity, so I started Googling to learn more. There are so many gorgeous images and sites out there, but it’s context that makes things more meaningful.” For anyone interested in submitting photos to Life Between the Ears, Kristine suggests choosing the right time of day to snap an ideal shot. “The best times are in the morning and evening when the sun is not directly overhead and harsh,” she says. “The Golden Hour is my favorite, which is just at dusk when the light Equine Wellness



is glowing and shadows are long. I try to get my horse’s head with a bit of light outlining his ears and not in the shadows.” She also recommends taking the shot quite close to your horse’s ears, especially if you’re using a phone camera. And of course, ears forward! Left: Betty Camilla Hellum Right: Rana Babac Celebi


TIPS FOR TRAVELING HORSE LOVERS As a horse caretaker, traveling with horses can be tricky. There’s a lot to sort out before taking off, and often it’s easier to just stay put. But scrolling through feeds like @lifebetweentheears is bound to give you serious wanderlust. According to Kristine, you can have the best of both worlds. “I have friends I trust to care for my horses when I’m away,” she says. “The best advice I can give is to have a relationship established before you plan on traveling, along with the obvious whiteboard of feeding and turnout instructions and emergency vet contact information.” Here are a few more tips Kristine has to offer: • If you want to ride horses at your destination, be honest about your skill level…and ask for a gelding. • Buffer your ride with at least a day of down time to combat jetlag and adjust to your new surroundings before hitting the saddle. • Be sure to break in any new gear before your trip — especially boots. • If you plan to take photos on your ride, pack extra camera batteries and recharging devices. • Sign up for an international phone plan so you can carry a cell phone on your ride in case of emergencies. • Get travel insurance for equestrians. • Bring your riding gear in your carry-on in case your luggage gets lost.


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Don’t have images of your own to contribute? Don’t worry. Whether you prefer the familiarity of your own farm or consider yourself a seasoned globetrotter, this one-ofa-kind social media account is an inclusive space for horse lovers from all walks of life. “We all speak horse,” says Kristine, who has met with a few other Life Between the Ears contributors, and hopes to organize a big gallery meet-up sometime in the future. In the meantime, this virtual gallery is a must-follow. You’ll learn about the traditions and customs of other countries, and connect with people on the other side of the world who, like you, prefer looking at the world from between the ears of a horse.

GET CONNECTED lifebetweentheears.com pinterest.com/lifebetweenears instagram.com/lifebetweentheears facebook.com/lifebetweentheears twitter.com/LifeBetweenEars

Support your foal’s weaning process with the right diet By Debra Freiberg, DVM

Weaning a foal can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. As your foal finds his independence, support his diet (and your mare’s) for optimal health.

Weaning is a natural part of any mammal’s development. It’s a beautiful time of growth and individuality — yet in the equine world it is considered one of the most stressful times in a horse’s life. In worst case scenarios, this stress can mark the start of health issues that may potentially last a lifetime. How can we get back to the natural order of things, and help our foals get through the weaning process more smoothly?

WHEN TO WEAN There are many opinions surrounding the best time to wean a foal, with recommendations ranging from four to 12 months. Foals are able to eat and process enough forage on their own by four to six months of age, while a mare’s milk production has been shown to sharply decrease after three months. This seems to indicate that a natural weaning process allows the foal to become gradually able to get the nutrition he needs, independent of his mare’s milk, starting at four months of age. This gradual progression is important, since the occurrence of Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD — see page 45) grew more frequent only after it became common practice to supplement foals with grain starting at three to four months. This practice, also known as “creep feeding”, does result in fatter foals and rapid growth. However, while these foals may

reach their final height faster, they don't grow any larger than their delayed weaning (six months or longer) counterparts. That said, providing adequate calories and nutrition for the mare to support the foal is key to weaning at an older age. Monitoring the mare’s body condition so she stays in good flesh is important — waiting until the mare is thin and milk production has significantly decreased may make it impossible for the foal to continue nursing. No matter the exact age you choose to wean your foal (your vet can help you make a decision based on your individual situation), here are some basic tips to make weaning less stressful: •A llow weaning to happen naturally at a later age (nine to 11 months). •P rior to weaning, implement gradual periods of separation from the mare. •A llow the foal to be in a herd situation with horses he knows. •A llow him to become accustomed to being led and handled while the mare is present (turn to page 58 for tips on non-invasive imprinting). Continued on page 44. Equine Wellness


INTRODUCING NEW FEEDSTUFFS HELPFUL SUPPLEMENTS FOR WEANING A few general supplements are beneficial during this time of transition and stress: •V itamin E and essential fatty acids should be supplemented if your foal is not on pasture regularly. •S accharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces boulardii are species of yeasts that help protect the hind gut. •P robiotics and prebiotics improve digestion and help keep the gut population happy and balanced. Probiotics need to be full-spectrum (12 strains) and fed in large quantities to work properly. •C olostrum (preferably instantized to increase absorption) prevents gastric and intestinal ulceration, defends against pathogens in the gut, and repairs cartilage. •M edicinal mushrooms provide prebiotics, antioxidants, enzymes and naturally chelated minerals. Specific mushrooms can help protect and heal the gut, plus relieve anxiety. •Y east beta-glucans and mushroom beta-glucans are immune modulators and can help protect the weanling from pathogens.

Making sure your mare eats a diet that simulates her natural needs as closely as possible is the best nutrition plan for any age. Most mares need free choice grass hay or pasture to maintain their weight. If you are lucky enough to have mares and foals on pasture, the foals will naturally start nibbling grass at an early age. Over time, the consumption level will increase and the foal’s digestive system will adapt. If you don’t have pasture, feeding hay at ground level allows the foal to start nibbling on hay alongside the mare. A diet consisting solely of grass hay does not address some key nutrients. For example, fatty acids and vitamin E need to be supplemented in any horse not on pasture, as these nutrients are volatile and quickly lost in the drying process involved in haymaking. Knowing the nutrient content of your hay will help you fill in what’s missing. Protein in particular can vary widely between batches of hay. Often, hay is purchased in small untested batches. In this case, it is best to rely on generalities going by hay type and regional trends. Here in the Southwest, we tend to have hay high in iron, low in copper and iodine, and adequate in selenium. If you look online, you can purchase supplements made for specific areas. Having a natural form of free choice salt available is also a good idea. Redmond Salt or Himalayan Pink salt seems to work best. Both varieties are available in rock or coarse ground forms. Finding a forage-based concentrate with added vitamins and minerals is another good option for adding nutrition to pasture or hay, without the negative consequences of grain on both the mare and foal. The foal can start sharing the mare’s concentrate while he’s still nursing.

GRAIN OR NO GRAIN? Dr. Debra Freiberg graduated from Ohio State University Veterinary Medical College in 1993. In her current practice, Healing Hands Equine, Dr. Debra's mission is to help animals live healthier lives through a holistic approach that addresses the physical, mental, and emotional root causes of problems. She utilizes medical manipulation therapies, nutritional therapy, acupuncture and horsemanship dentistry. Her passion at home is also horses. She and her husband, Walt, compete in endurance competitions. Dr. Debra and her Missouri Fox Trotter, Playboy’s Desert Reign, are the 2018 AERC National Limited Distance champions as well as recipients of several other national awards for their accomplishments.


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Due to their sugar content and fast fermentation rate, grains and legumes will destabilize a foal’s blood sugar. Sugar spikes cause an acute stress response that elevates cortisol. Cortisol has many negative effects on the horse’s overall health. All grains contain phytic acid, which suppresses pepsin and therefore compromises digestion. Grains also change the pH of the cecum from the optimal pH of seven to a more acidic environment that inhibits fermentation. This causes the weanling (or horses of any age) to have less efficient digestion of grass/grass hay and a higher likelihood of hind gut ulcers.

DIET CAN HELP PREVENT POTENTIAL HEALTH PROBLEMS Developmental Orthopedic Disease Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD) refers to any musculoskeletal growth disorder in a young horse. A family history of rapid growth makes the weaning process even more important in preventing DOD. It is best to wean these foals as late as possible to encourage a more natural growth process. Excess calories and limited exercise are key contributors to the development of DOD. To avoid this problem, your foal should derive his energy from fiber instead of starch and sugar. Additionally, free exercise is far preferable to being stalled and exercised in short spurts, particularly through lunging or round penning. Joint injuries are much more likely when exercise is limited. Monitoring growth in height as well as weight gives you a better idea of how fast the foal is growing. It’s also important to visually monitor the foal to ensure that ribs can easily be felt, and that he has a trim body. Additional health issues The stress of weaning can carry lifelong consequences. Cribbing can start at weaning as a way to not only relieve stress, but also self-medicate stomach ulcer pain. Nervous behaviors such as weaving, pacing, wind sucking, food aggression and others can develop during this time. Along with the issues mentioned above, increased cortisol can cause lesions by inhibiting normal bone remodeling and decreasing growth. It can also cause aggressive behavior. Physical, emotional and dietary stresses can all cause cortisol to increase. This is another indicator of why it’s so important to minimize stress and maintain blood sugar stability to prevent high cortisol levels during the weaning process. Weaning is also not the time to give vaccinations or de-wormers, since the stress of these chemicals can inhibit the immune system. Wait for several weeks until the foal is thriving. It’s important to be sensitive to both your mare and foal during the natural but stressful weaning process. Be sure to give both horses plenty of emotional support and proper nutrition. No part of this undertaking should be abrupt or traumatic; instead, it should be a celebration of the foal’s natural growth and maturation process. When raising a horse that’s happy, healthy and well-adjusted, there’s no need to rush. Equine Wellness


By Kayla Christopherson

Proper manure management is a critical part of horse care. In fact, failure to keep your horse’s waste in check can have a detrimental effect on his health. Fortunately, if you’re diligent, you can mitigate these dangers.

Horses poop… a lot. In fact, horses produce anywhere between 30 to 50 pounds of manure (and about two gallons of urine) per day. That equals roughly ten tons of waste per year, per horse! It is the responsibility of every farm owner to implement a manure management plan that matches the size of his/her property and the intended use for the poop. This is an essential for keeping dangers such as ammonia, parasites, molds and infections at bay in your barn and paddocks. Luckily, there are several tried-and-true methods of manure management to consider, such as composting, pasture rotation, and environmentally-friendly storage techniques.

and paddocks, for instance, is a critical component of good hygiene. “Ammonia is not only insulting to your nose, but also has detrimental effects on your horse’s health,” says Ontario Veterinary College student, Kristyne Smith. “Ammonia can significantly damage both the human and equine respiratory system lining, leaving the horse or person at a greater risk for developing an infection or chronic airway disease.” Smith adds that respiratory diseases are often lifelong problems that drastically limit a horse’s performance and comfort. Using a stall freshener such as lime can help neutralize ammonia in the short term, but the healthiest way to freshen the air is with regular mucking. When it comes to manure, one of the biggest dangers is the parasites such as small strongyles, roundworms and tapeworms that can be found within it. “The best way to prevent the spread of internal parasites is through proper fecal counts, a good deworming program, and good manure management,” advises Smith. “Removing manure from paddocks is extremely efficient for reducing worm burdens (the number of worms a horse carries).”

Health risks associated with waste build-up Limiting the build-up of equine excrement is essential to your horse’s health and safety. Controlling ammonia in barns 46

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Unsurprisingly, stalls and paddocks thick with wet fecal matter will often have detrimental effects on the hooves of their equine inhabitants. “It contributes to the ‘mud’ factor which increases the chance for thrush and rotting soles,” says Smith. “Manure left in paddocks allows for parasites to flourish, and once frozen can act as stones to cause bruises. It also impairs grazing areas from growing grass if it is left in piles, and of course attracts pesky flies.”

Manure management methods Manure can be spread straight onto fields as long as there are no animals grazing there in the next few months. With exposure to sun and rain, the manure will break down into the soil, but there is a possibility of weed seeds having passed through your animals and germinating among your crops. Composting your manure eliminates any seeds, as well as parasite eggs, odor and bacteria; plus it improves nutrient density in your soil.

It’s important to consider the environmental impact of your manure pile. While common sense may tell us that manure from a grazing animal is natural and harmless, the fact is that runoff from manure piles contains high levels of toxins that can pollute waterbeds. If grazing animals are set up

Composting is the process of piling your horse’s feces in a heap at least three feet wide by three feet high, and balancing the levels of nitrogen, carbon, moisture and oxygen. Microorganisms inherent in the manure will take it from there, heating up to temperatures of 122°F to 140°F (50°C to 60°C), and will provide you with lush “black gold” in just four to six weeks. Nitrogen and carbon levels can be maintained by adding roughage such as straw or bedding. Moisture in composting manure should be kept at around 40% to 65%. You can test for moisture content by performing a “wet rag test”. Squeeze a ball of compost in your hand. No water should seep out, but the ball should feel damp, like a wet rag. (Always wash your hands after handling poop.) The other important component of effective composting is ensuring the microorganisms have adequate access to oxygen to kick-start the aerobic (rapid and oxygen-loving) composting processes. This is done by turning over your compost pile roughly once a week. Without access to oxygen, anaerobic composting processes take over, which are much slower and can smell foul. Equine Wellness


OFF-SITE MANURE MANAGEMENT Not all farms will have a use for their stockpiled horse manure. In these cases, arrangements will need to be made to have the manure hauled away. Try to find a farmer, landscaper or gardener who will use the manure, instead of hauling it to the dump where the valuable nutrients will go to waste, and where it will potentially become a biohazard. If the right equipment is not available, hiring a hauling company is an option, though often a costly one. Different arrangements can be made based on local demand, such as having a container placed on your property by either a commercial hauler or local gardener to be picked up when full. With some creativity and strategic community outreach, you may be able to sell your manure for a profit. Composting the manure creates a more attractive finished product that can easily be sold in containers such as empty feed bags.

near a river or pond, ensure a grass buffer of about 100' (30m) wide separates the manure from the water so that vegetation can help filter out the toxins. In addition, keeping stored manure under a roof of some kind prevents the rain from washing away either valuable nutrients or possible pollutants. It is also important to refer to the federal, state and local manure management regulations in your area to ensure your protocol is fully compliant. Whether your farm is a two-pitchfork operation or has a state-of-the-art fleet of tractors and manure spreaders, it is essential to have a plan for what to do with all that poo.

Kayla Christopherson began riding at the age of eight and soon after found employment cleaning barns, spending lunchtimes sitting on hay bales and watching horses interact. She spent a summer after high school working on a ranch in Banff, Alberta, and it was there that she decided to build a future in the horse world. Kayla is a University of Guelph graduate and animal nutrition enthusiast, and is currently studying farriery at Cornell University. She can often be found on the trail astride her trusty paint gelding Tiiko, with her dog Buck in tow.



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1-3 - Branches of the trieminal nerve 1 - Opthalmic nerve 2 - Maxillary nerve 3 - Mandibular nerve 4 - Branches of the Infraorbital nerve

1 4

By Jochen Schleese, MDS, CSFT, CSE



Souces: Anatomical Skull (Shutterstock) — Nerves an adaptation referencing imagery from Anatomy of the Horse by Klaus-Dieter Budras, W.O. Sack and Sabine Rock by Michelle J Powell.



Above: Complex nerve innervation of a horse’s skull.

You may be surprised to learn how much a poorly-fitting bridle can impact your horse. Proper bridle fit is just as important as saddle fit in maintaining his comfort and optimum performance. A horse’s head is his most sensitive area. The cranial nerves located there play a role in things like balance, hearing, vision, chewing and pain reception. A poorly-fitted or -designed bridle can place pressure on these delicate structures. Fortunately, recent design changes have made bridles more comfortable and anatomically friendly. If a bridle is too tight, behavioral issues can arise, including head tossing, lack of chewing, and lack of engagement with an unwillingness to move. These reactions warrant a closer look at what’s under the skin of a horse’s head.

Equine head anatomy The gross anatomy of the head is easily recognizable — only a thin layer of skin covers the skull, while veins and muscles are only minimally visible. What you don’t see are the multitudes of nerves and the delicate connective tissue at the various bone junctions that make the head extremely sensitive to pressure and pain.

Numerous nerves originate at the base of the skull and spread upward — often ending exactly where the various pieces of the bridle lie. When the bridle exerts too much pressure, it’s not just uncomfortable on the head, but also on the fascia (connective tissue) that runs through the entire body. A poorly-fitting bridle can cause problems all the way down to the hocks, impacting flexibility, range of motion, and engagement. Although only a few studies officially document how a poorly-fitting bridle impacts a horse, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. The most severe problems arise in the neck and base of the skull if the bridle fits badly at the headpiece, but a noseband or flash that is buckled too tightly can also cause problems.

How bridle fit can affect the neck Bursae are thin fluid-filled sacs that counter friction between bones and surrounding soft tissue (skin, muscles, ligaments and tendons). Sensitive bursae are found between the nuchal ligament and the first two cervical vertebrae, preventing the ligament from rubbing on the vertebrae and getting damaged. Bursae cannot withstand a lot of

pressure and react to a poorly-fitting bridle by increasing fluid production, resulting in obvious swelling. These affected bursae may also cause the horse to ignore aids, toss his head, or refuse to go on the bit. He may “invert” his neck in an attempt to escape the pain. The muscles of the topline begin to atrophy, resulting in a “ewe” neck. Wellintentioned padding of the headpiece may be counterproductive, causing skin folds and worsening the pressure. There is no universal formula for all horses about “how much is too much” when it comes to their ability to withstand pressure at the headpiece. These issues may not come from the bridle (dentition problems and simple rider errors may also be factors), but it’s important to listen to your horse and find a bridle that works for her!

Certified Master Saddler Jochen Schleese came to Canada in 1986 as Official Saddler for the World Dressage Cup. He is the world-leading manufacturer of saddles designed for women, specializing in the unique anatomical requirements for female riders (Saddlesforwomen.com). His team has worked with over 150,000 horses over the past 35+ years. Jochen is the author of the best-selling book Suffering in Silence: The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological Trauma in Horses.

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By Luke Bass DVM, MS, DABVP, and Alyssa Ball

We asked specialists from Colorado State University Equine Field Service to shed light on the top emergencies they come across in equine ambulatory medicine. Learn to recognize the most common maladies that could affect your horse, along with their causes and treatments.

Education on equine health, horsemanship and preventative care is a rapidly advancing aspect of modern horse guardianship. Veterinary medicine and the diagnostic and treatment capabilities of ambulatory and referral practitioners are also evolving. Becoming familiar with equine emergencies is a vital part of this growth, and knowing what to watch for will help you spot trouble early on.

1. LACERATIONS Causes of laceration are multi-factorial — a combination of equine curiosity, and sometimes, just plain bad luck. Depending on the size, location and age of the wound, your veterinarian may elect immediate or delayed closure of the lesion. Anti-inflammatories and broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy are indicated, as wounds are a source of discomfort and possible infection. Superficial lacerations or wounds can be effectively managed in the field; however, wounds involving joints/tendon sheaths or bones are more efficiently managed at a referral center. 50

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2. COLIC Colic is a catchall term describing abdominal pain. Horses may display many characteristics of abdominal/visceral pain, including rolling, pawing and flank-checking. Treatment for colic varies, as multiple causes including gastrointestinal disturbances, pneumonia, and even some orthopedic abnormalities like laminitis can be implicated. Studies have shown that 80% of cases can be treated with medical management, while the remaining 20% may require referral to a hospital. Your veterinarian will use a number of parameters to assess the overall severity of your horse’s colic. In cases where the pain might be indicative of tissue destruction (e.g. intestinal torsion), referral or humane euthanasia are, unfortunately, often the only options.

3. CHOKE Any number of factors, including improper dental care, dehydrated feed and motility disorders, can cause choke.


Classic presentation includes gagging/coughing with food material exiting from both nostrils. The mainstay of treatment involves the hydration and breakdown of the blockage with movement into the stomach. Choke that does not resolve with initial lavage (warm water sent through a stomach tube) can consequently result in serious infections, such as aspiration pneumonia, and may be managed in the field or at a referral center.

Trauma, windy environments and puncture wounds all cause damage to the eye. Consulting with your veterinarian early on is important — slight abrasions left untreated can develop into serious injuries that may result in loss of the eye or blindness, and are often a significant cause of pain. Severe ophthalmologic cases in which loss of the eye is a possibility are often time-intensive and time-sensitive, and therefore warrant referral.



“Tying up” is a colloquial term encompassing a number of disease processes. These range from the active breakdown of muscle tissue due to excess exercise (rhabdomyolysis), to genetic abnormalities such as polysaccharide storage myopathy (an inheritable glycogen storage disease known as PSSM). The immediate crisis of tying up can be toxic to the kidneys, so IV fluids are the mainstay of treatment. Referral is suggested when kidney damage is apparent; however, some caretakers and farms have the capability to manage in the field.

Until birth, foals are completely dependent on oxygen supplied by the placenta. Therefore, premature placental separation from the uterus, or prolonged labor that may be caused by abnormal presentation of the foal, results in prolonged delivery and puts the foal at risk of death. As time is of the essence, the foal must be delivered as quickly as possible for the health of both the mare and offspring. Difficult dystocias may only be corrected under the assistance of general anesthesia, and referral clinics are best equipped to deal with this.


9. ANAPHYLAXIS A natural reaction of the immune system, anaphylaxis is a result of appropriate yet over-zealous response to a trigger. It may occur when an abscess in the abdomen bursts, or if a horse has vaccine reactions or severe allergies. Immunosuppressant therapies are the mainstay of treatment. Once the initial crisis is resolved, these patients are often effectively managed in the field.

10. LAMINITIS Inflammation of the sensitive hoof lamina is poorly understood. Increased incidence of laminitis has been associated with overeating grain, bacteria in the blood stream, metabolic diseases, and other factors. Anti-inflammatories, along with Foot wound: This wound not only involved the skin and underlying subcutaneous tissues, but also the pastern joint of the forefoot. Wounds involving joints/tendon sheaths are a medical emergency and should be assessed by your veterinarian as soon as possible.

6. FRACTURES Fractures are traumatic for both horse and caretaker. Initial treatment includes pain control, sedation and stabilization for transport or radiographs. Some fractures may require extensive operations and housing at referral centers, while a few might be managed in the field. However, humane euthanasia may be the most economical and beneficial option for some fractures.

Photos courtesy Dr. Luke Bass

Nails or other foreign bodies penetrating the foot can be either innocent or incredibly serious. Further, it is impossible to know what structures might be involved without taking radiographs. Therefore, a foreign body should be left in place until your veterinarian can assess its location. Treatment will depend on the structures involved. Wound flushing, sterile bandaging, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and even surgery might be implicated to provide full resolution.

Laminitis: This x-ray shows rotation of third phalanx (coffin bone) within the hoof capsule, indicating severe acute laminitis. Note that the bony column should be parallel with the hoof. This horse had Equine Metabolic Syndrome leading to laminitis.

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TAKE AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH After your vet has conducted his or her initial assessment and diagnosis, and outlined the treatment options, ask about complementary therapies to help your horse through the healing process. providing mechanical relief to the hoof, are standard treatments. Horses experiencing acute-on-chronic (an acute exacerbation of a chronic illness) episodes of laminitis might benefit from deeply bedded stalls or sand, and ice therapy applied directly to the distal limb.

11. INABILITY TO RISE Significant trauma, viral or parasitic neurologic diseases, malnutrition or colic can result in a horse that can’t rise. Safety for both caretaker and horse is paramount when cases are found in the field. Care might be largely supportive


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and medically aggressive. In some cases, the most humane option may be euthanasia. A downed horse is best managed around the clock at a referral center.

12. FEVER Infectious, non-infectious, autoimmune and inflammatory events may all cause an elevation in body temperature (>101.5°F). Anti-inflammatories are essential, and antibiotics or immune-suppressants might be used, depending on the cause. Common sense biosecurity with hand and boot protection and animal isolation are vital. Fevers of unknown origin, or with concurrent blood work abnormalities (e.g. low white blood cell count) are best managed at a referral center.

Dr. Luke Bass is a graduate of Colorado State University and has worked in private practice in California for five years. He has been an assistant professor of Equine Field Service at Colorado State University for the past six years, where he leads the Equine Field Service program. Alyssa Ball is a senior veterinary student at Colorado State University. Upon graduation in May 2019, she will be completing an equine internship at Oakridge Equine Hospital in Edmond, OK. After the one-year internship, Alyssa hopes to complete an equine surgical residency followed by a PhD in equine orthopedic surgery.


spring HEMP FOR SEASONAL SUPPORT Spring is a time of transition, which means your horse might need some extra support. Help promote balance and well-being with Healthy Hemp Pet’s latest product, Equine CannaDrops™, offering caretakers and clinicians a flexible and cost-effective way to administer PCR hemp oil to horses. Each barn-friendly bottle contains 1,600 mg of USDA-certified organic PCR hemp oil. Like all the company’s products, Equine CannaDrops do not contain gluten, fillers, chemicals or fragrance, and are cruelty-free. healthyhemppet.com

KEEP RAIN ROT AT BAY Keep their coats beautiful, shiny and healthy through the wet season with Ricochet Horse Spray. This essential oil blend in a witch hazel base is gentle, all-natural, and will keep your horse’s coat resilient to changes in weather, and the fungal and bacterial infections that are common in damp months. It’s non-irritating to the skin and lungs and has a delightful, natural citrus scent. wholeequine.com



Foaling season is just around the corner, and it’s time to start preparing! A controlled-starch pelleted feed for pregnant or lactating mares and growing horses, Nutrena® Feeds SafeChoice® Mare & Foal helps ensure your new addition gets off to a strong start. Designed with those key first years in mind, it nourishes growing muscles, contributes to proper bone growth, supports a young immune system, enhances hair and hoof quality, and aids in nutrient digestion and health. It also includes Topline Balance, Nutrena’s unique approach to topline health. nutrenaworld.com

Lush spring grass can be hard on your horse’s digestion. Gastric Support from Yucc’ it up! contains a blend of organic superfoods, herbs, prebiotics and frankincense that creates a synergy to soothe the stomach and digestive tract, soak up excess stomach acid, eliminate gas, support balanced gut flora, aid in nutrient absorption, repair intestinal perforations…and more! This supplement is great for horses with gastric or duodenal ulcers, digestive disorders, and those on antibiotics. yuccitup.com

GET ENERGIZED WITH EOS Shake off those winter blues with Valor! Every horse and rider can benefit from the uplifting and affirming scent of this essential oil blend. Its powerful combination of ingredients encourages a positive can-do attitude to get you and your equine companion through the day, while being versatile enough to help you both unwind afterward. You’ll want to have this with you all the time, in every barn, tack box and trailer! youngliving.com

GOODBYE ICE, HELLO ICELANDICS! Start riding season off right at Harmony Icelandics! This one-of-a-kind farm is proud to provide high quality Icelandic Horses. Located on 800 acres of rolling hills, woodlands and plains in central Iowa, Harmony Icelandics boasts an intimate stable setting with outdoor and indoor riding arenas, a track, lush pastures and miles of trail riding. Meet and ride the horse of your dreams! harmonyicelandics.com

Equine Wellness



“Fire” is a four-letter word no horse caretaker wants to hear. But if the unthinkable happens, a little knowledge and preparation can go a long way. Fire is one of the scariest scenarios when it comes to horses. Fire is fluid and moves quickly — faster than you can run, and sometimes faster than you can drive. It can have a devastating impact on you, your horse, your property, your neighbors, and the people who come to help you. Fire is capricious and unforgiving — it can even generate its own weather. The US and Canada have always had areas prone to fire, such as Southern California. However, climate change is making the fire season longer, more intense and more widespread. A study funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecasted a dramatic increase in the frequency and scale of wildfires over the next several decades.i In addition to a wildfire’s natural causes, such as lightning and droughts (that turn shrubs and trees into kindling), we also have to contend with human interference — power lines sparking, 54

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overgrown forests, unextinguished cigarettes, burning debris, arson, and the invasion of wilderness by people who build homes and other structures among pristine woodland. In the past 20 years, 84% of all wildfires were of human origin.ii

The triangles of fire behavior Fire needs three things to burn: air (oxygen), fuel and heat. Take away any one leg of this triangle and the fire will fail. Wildfires have another triangle of behavior: topography, weather and fuel.

Topography: This term refers to the physical features of an area. Wind and fire both run faster uphill. The fire warms and dries the vegetation in front of it, making it burn faster and hotter. Hills that face south have warmer drier vegetation. Weather: Rain, wind, temperature and humidity all have an effect. Wind can supply oxygen to grow the fire, or blow embers and start a new one. Low humidity and high temperatures cause vegetation to dry and become more flammable. Fuel: This is the material that’s burning. The type of fuel directly affects how the fire behaves. Fire through dry grasslands can travel at high speed but won’t burn for long. Hardwood trees, on the other hand, can burn for a long time at very high temperatures. Major sources of fuel for modern wildfires are structures — for example, houses or barns.

Procedures for preparedness Whether we’re talking about wildland or structural fires, there are things you can do to keep yourself and your horse safe.

PROPERTY •R emove vegetation and debris from around your stable. • Store fuels (hay, bedding, gasoline, etc.) in another structure, downwind of your stable. • Does the wind blow from one direction during fire season? This is the prevailing wind. Be rigorous about keeping debris, grasses, shrubs and trees cleared in that direction. For instance, if the wind blows from the south, keep the south side of your barn clear. • Have a ladder on each long side of the stable so responders can reach your roof if necessary. • I nstall an outside faucet. Attach a hose that will stretch down each long side of the barn. • M ake sure your physical address is very clearly posted at the road.

STABLE •E ach stall should have an outside door (even if there is an inside one) leading to a field/pasture that is blocked off from the road/driveway. • Have at least two exit doors from your stable. • A isles should be wide enough for two horses to pass and should be clear of all equipment/feed/tack. • Hang fire extinguishers at each exit and every four stalls in a large stable. They should be regularly inspected and everyone should know how to use them. • Consider installing a sprinkler system. It can mean the difference i

between life and death, keeping flames and fumes at bay while you evacuate and await first responders. • Do not use household appliances and equipment in your stable. Your electrical wiring should run through a non-corrosive conduit and plugs should be the outdoor covered variety.

EVACUATION •E very horse in your stable should readily load into a trailer under all circumstances. Start training now! • During fire season, leave your hauling vehicle attached to your trailer, pointing toward the road. • Keep your fuel tank full and “go bags” onboard. Every horse should have identification (equestrisafe.com), and his “go bag” should contain meds, vaccination certificates, proof of purchase, ID sheet with your contact information, description of the horse, along with pictures that clearly feature you and your horse together. (Visit redjeansink.com/downloads.html to print and download helpful documents to keep in your “go bag”.) Coordinate with stables outside your area where you can take your horses during a disaster. Have at least two in different directions. Finally, every stable owner should write up a fire plan and practice it with regular fire drills. You won’t know if it works unless you practice it. This is especially true if you have a boarding or training stable, where a number of people are passing through. Make it fun, interesting and educational — and most important of all, make it mandatory.

renaudbarbero.weebly.com/uploads/2/1/5/5/21555380/barbero_etal_ijwf.pdf pnas.org/content/early/2017/02/21/1617394114



Starting a disaster dialogue with neighbors, especially fellow horse people, could save your critters, both large and small. If you are away from home and a fire pops up in your area, there is a good chance you will not be allowed to re-enter. Your neighbors could take your horses, dogs, and other creatures with them when they evacuate. They won’t save your buildings, but they could save the lives of the living beings on your property, and you could do the same for them.

Michelle Staples has been involved in animal and human safety since 2001. Her book, Save Your Horse! A Horse Owner’s Guide to Large Animal Rescue (amazon.com/Horse-OwnersGuide-Animal-Rescue-ebook/dp/B00OSWTUZW/), was the first written on the subject. Along with its Australian counterpart, Equine Emergency Rescue (with MaryAnne Leighton, equineer. com), this classic is still the only non-textbook on LAR. Some of Michelle’s accomplishments include EMT, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team with FEMA) instructor, CPR/ first aid instructor, university instructor (University of Guelph and Breyer State), NDART (National Disaster Animal Response Team with the HSUS). She also rehomes and retrains horses, especially Standardbreds, and is a Special Olympics riding coach. redjeansink.com

Equine Wellness



ACUPRESSURE FOR ALLERGIES AND BETTER BREATHING The equine respiratory system is a masterpiece, thanks to the evolutionary process. The nostrils, larynx and trachea make up the upper portion of the airway. A horse’s huge lungs (which extend from her shoulders to almost all the way back to the far end of her rib cage) are considered the lower airway. When a horse is at rest, she will take about 12 breaths per minute. Amazingly, when she’s exercising strenuously, her breathing capacity can reach 100 breaths per minute. It’s this ability to extend her powerful breathing capacity that makes the horse our trusted companion in sport. Unfortunately, horses can fall prey to respiratory allergies that affect the upper airway. Allergy symptoms include coughing, drippy nose or eyes, raspy or congested breathing and exercise intolerance. Allergies can compromise your horse’s health and, at the extreme, be life-threatening. Severe allergic reactions can lead to

respiratory failure. When symptoms arise, your holistic veterinarian needs to be consulted to help identify the cause of your horse’s specific condition.

Allergies and Chinese medicine Allergies are a hypersensitivity to a particular allergen. An allergic reaction is the horse’s body overreacting to an offending irritant by creating antibodies to fight the allergen. In other words, the horse’s immune system is overworking to fight off the invading irritant. Common airborne allergens that can adversely affect the horse’s respiratory system are dust, mold, pollens, chemical grooming products, fly sprays, bedding, microscopic particles, crop insecticides, fertilizers, and stall cleaning products. You can do your best to manage and minimize your horse’s exposure to these potential inhalant irritants, but it’s next to impossible to remove all allergens from her environment.


CV 17

Lateral © Copyright Tallgrass Publishers, LLC All Rights Reserved 1995 - Current www.animalacupressure.com - 303-681-3030


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Lu 9

Found on the radial side of the carpus, between the 1st and 2nd row of carpal bones just cranial to the accessory carpal bone.

BI 13 About 3 inches lateral to the dorsal midline in the 8th intercostal space.

Lu 9




CV 17

On the ventral midline, at the level of the caudal edge of the elbow.

By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis

The main purpose of Chinese medicine is to support the horse’s immune system so she can effectively cope within her environment. From a Chinese medicine perspective, when the animal is experiencing an allergic reaction, her immune system is not balanced and thus not as strong as it needs to be completely healthy. Acupressure-massage is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). You can help your horse by offering her an acupressure-massage session two times per week. By balancing and strengthening her immune system, she will be able to fend off the effects of airborne irritants. Her body will be naturally resilient and less likely to overreact to inhalant allergens.

Acupressure-massage session Specific acupressure points, also called “acupoints”, are known to strengthen the immune system. These acupoints can help enhance the flow of chi (lifepromoting energy) and balance the entire body. When your horse’s body receives a harmonious flow of chi combined with reduced exposure to offending allergens, her immune system will be robust and able to function healthfully within her environment.

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 world-wide. 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 or tallgrass@animalacupressure.com


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 Horse, Natural Hoof Sarah Graves Boone, CO USA Phone: (719) 557-0052 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com Cynthia Niemela — Barefoot Hoof Trimming Minneapolis, MN USA Phone: (612) 481-3036 Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com Better Be Barefoot Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 432-2218 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com

Jeannean Mercuri — The Hoof Fairy, LLC Long Island, NY USA Phone: (631) 434-5032 Email: neanpiggy@me.com Website: www.neanpiggy.com, PHCP Mentor & Clinician, AHA Certified Member, Area Served. 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

To advertise in the EW Resource Guide, please contact info@equinewellnessmagazine.com

57 Equine WellnessResource View theWellness Wellness Resource Guide Guide online online at: at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com EquineWellnessMagazine.com View the

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 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

Equine Wellness 57 Equine Wellness 57

Imprinting your foal By Liz Mitten Ryan

A NON-INVASIVE AND LOVING APPROACH Learn how to be the best birth coach a mare could hope for, and introduce her foal to a world of love, support and harmony with humans. I am always refining and enhancing my connection and communication with horses, so I read everything I can get my hands on. I specifically remember when Dr. Robert Miller published his findings on imprinting, to the snickers of the “old boys” club. His practices are now embraced by natural horsemanship greats like Pat Parelli, and adhered to religiously by most breeders. As a Warmblood breeder for 20 years, I have birthed and raised dozens of foals (visit youtu.be/4TodnCE5FVg where I share what I’ve learned). Over time, I have developed a more 58

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holistic and rewarding approach to the imprinting process — an approach that’s more in line with how we welcome humans into the world. Loving and non-invasive imprinting has several key concepts. Let’s take a closer look.

BE A TRUSTED AND CONSIDERATE FRIEND TO YOUR MARE In order for your mare to welcome you at the birth of her foal, and to trust you with her well-being, she must first

Photos courtesy of Liz Mitten Ryan

LEARN ALL YOU CAN ABOUT FOALING This is essential in order to be able to make wise safety decisions. Find a reliable and comprehensive book on the care of mares and foals throughout the birthing period. I recommend two books by M. Phyllis Lose, VMD, Blessed are the Brood Mares and Blessed are the Foals (available on Amazon). Study diligently to become more confident, so you can recognize when all is normal and when to call a vet. If you don’t know what to look for, you won’t be able to help your mare or her new foal if problems arise. Horses birth quickly and efficiently unless there is a misalignment, so it’s crucial that you know how to step in if needed.

HELP MAKE THE BIRTHING EXPERIENCE GO SMOOTHLY Be there for your mare when she is birthing, and help make it easier for her. Because my mare knows her well-being is everything to me, she welcomes me at the birth. When her water breaks and the sac appears, I immediately check the position of the foal. In a normal birth, one foot is presented slightly ahead of the other, soles down. If it is any other way, make an emergency call to your vet! Holding the foal’s front pasterns and pulling gently and rhythmically towards the belly with the mare’s contractions will help her labor proceed more easily. When the foal’s nose appears, break the sac so the baby can breathe.

Paschar, having been lovingly imprinted, is no stranger to a compassionate and loving partnership with humans.

consider you a true friend. This is a lifelong process, but a simple lead-in is to be genuinely considerate — to be as kind and generous as you would be to a human friend. One of the best ways to a mare’s heart is through her stomach. Make a fuss over her condition by preparing wholesome healthy meals and snacks. This will have her nickering the minute she sees you. Grooming, scratching, and forays to find choice patches of succulent grass are also great bonding exercises. All of this is time well spent, as your mare will transfer her feelings about you to her new foal. Animals learn by example, so in turn, the foal will watch his mother closely to see how she responds to her human caregiver.

If all goes smoothly, birth usually occurs about 20 to 30 minutes after the water breaks.

BE SENSITIVE AND GENTLE Imprinting can be loving and helpful, rather than disruptive and invasive. Harsh imprinting methods recommend taking the baby away from its mother at birth and performing a series of extreme de-sensitizing exercises. These exercises, like tapping the soles of the foal’s feet hundreds of times, or sticking fingers in all his orifices, are designed to deaden his reaction to simple procedures like trimming and shoeing, or veterinary treatment. Electric clippers, plastic bags — the list goes on and on. These brutish practices form the baby’s first impression of the world while his mother is restrained and not allowed to welcome her own baby. In my barn, the foal is towel dried and loved. I kiss and congratulate the mare until she or the foal breaks the umbilical cord. I then help the foal get close to the recovering mom Equine Wellness




Be prepared: Read extensively, prepare a birthing box, have ready access to clean towels and hot water (to wash your hands), and have the camera ready. Establish a caring friendship with your mare. Feed her wholesome treats, take extra care while grooming her, and offer special privileges like grazing your front lawn.

Liz and Epona welcome Paschar into the world.

Spend time talking to her and the unborn baby. Mares start nickering to their babies in utero at about eight months. Help facilitate an easy birth and a feel-good bonding process between the three of you.

DON’T Wait to call the vet. Anything that is not a normal birth needs immediate attention (check alignment when the sac appears). Interfere with the mare and foal’s bonding process by monopolizing the foal or taking him away. Restrain the foal or the mother. Help them be together at all times — halter training can come much later when the foal follows at liberty and you don’t need to pull. One-day-old Paschar finds his feet as his mom shows him the ropes.

so she can lick all the places I have just dried. Afterward, the two of us alternate in one big welcome fest! The mare then rises and I clip her placenta back up to itself (squeeze clamps from the hardware store work well) so she won’t step on the trailing end and tear it. It is the weight of the placenta that helps it separate cleanly from the uterine wall without leaving bits that can cause serious infection. Though it might seem tempting, don’t attempt to pull it off yourself! During this time, the baby will be attempting to stand. 60

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When he succeeds, he will then begin the search for his mother’s udder. It is better to give him time (up to two hours) to find it on his own — most mares will try to help by getting in position and pushing the foal in the right direction. My lead mare, Limited Edition, is a master at this. She curves her body around the foal and pushes his hind end with her nose. If your mare needs a little extra help and is open to it, you can gently guide the foal to the general area.

DON’T DOMINATE OR FORCE THE FOAL As Pat Parelli says, “take the time it takes”. Gently and considerately get to know the foal. Prove to him that your concern is for his comfort and safety. Talk gently, praise him, and don’t be in a hurry to restrain him. You’ll see the proof is in the pudding, as I did with Paschar, the foal in the photos on the previous pages. Paschar was born three weeks early after Epona, his mom, had a serious bout of pneumonia. The vets suggested we abort the ten-month-old fetus as the mare was having trouble breathing. But Epona and I agreed that our baby would live! When Paschar was born, he was literally fighting for his life, and even after my gentle welcome, he tried to rear and run at me a day later. I understood his concern; humans had wanted to end his life and he had to fight for it. I patiently talked to him and told him he was my angel (he’s named after Paschar, the angel of vision) and as I talked and stroked him, his eye softened and he relaxed. Days became weeks, and I constantly reminded Paschar who he was and how loved he was. Each time, his eye grew softer. By the time he was two months old, he was the most gregarious, loving and affectionate foal, and particularly loved being buried under hugging children. At three months old, he followed at liberty, backed, moved his hind end and shoulder, picked up his feet, trailer loaded (all at liberty), and ran happily behind me in a game I call “stick (to me)”. He was fully imprinted and de-sensitized while filled with life and joy. By two years old, Paschar understood my every word. He was so self-assured that he followed me down to our playground several hundred yards from the paddock where his family was grazing, and got up on tires, ran across bridges, walked, trotted and “whoaed” all through the use of voice and body language, without halters, ropes or sticks. Paschar is a super horse. Why? He was born gently, loved, treated with patience and consideration. There is no question in his mind that his well-being is my first concern. Liz Mitten Ryan is a clear channel for the ALL (or God), sharing the pure outpouring of inspiration as a diverse rainbow of creativity. As a child, she was clearly aware of her purpose to bring forth an understanding that not just humans, but all life, is an interface with God, source, or as the animals have shared, the ALL. On a secluded 320-acre plot of sacred land in the hills of BC ranch country, the “Herd” and Liz offer connection and interface with horses and nature at an off-grid retreat center. Visitors experience the higher vibrational energies of the land and the herd, consisting of 14 horses, two pet steers, dogs, cats and the local wildlife that make the retreat their home. Liz and the “Herd” have written five award-winning books and have been the subject of two award-winning documentaries. Visit equinisityretreats.com to learn more.

Equine Wellness



T & D DONKEY RESCUE Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code TDDR to the T & D Donkey Rescue.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2016 LOCATION: Liberal, MO TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: Donkeys, hinnies, mules and some horses.

NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: The T & D Donkey Rescue is 100% volunteer based. They have a team of 13 compassionate volunteers who “bring a diversity in knowledge, abilities and ways of thinking to the rescue”, says Deanna Kafka, founder and the “D” in “T & D” Donkey Rescue.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: Throughout the year, T & D’s team of volunteers helps the rescue collect new or gently used items such as saddles, tack, and other items to auction online. Some rescue supporters hand-make items including artwork, quilts, scarves, soaps and more to donate to the auction. All proceeds go to the care of the 80+ equines the rescue currently houses.

The team at the University of Missouri Veterinary Hospital works tirelessly to treat Noodles.

“We give many tours throughout the year to people from across the country,” adds Deanna. “Our volunteers help us do events within the community that bring awareness to the plight of donkeys. The public loves attending our ‘curry club’, where people of all ages can enjoy petting, grooming and just visiting the donkeys. It’s long-ears and smiles galore!”

RESCUE STORY: If Deanna had to choose one of her many favorite stories, it would be the one about Noodles. Like so many animals that come through T & D’s gates, Noodles seemed to have little hope. But thanks to an amazing community of volunteers and veterinarians, she is now thriving. Noodles was born without the ability to nurse and was rejected by her mother. Deanna and the T & D team worked tirelessly to get her to nurse; even after 11 hours, she never gave up. However, born underweight, Noodles was severely dehydrated and running out of time. Yet she stayed strong for the five-hour drive to the University of Missouri Veterinary Hospital for medical care.

Noodles fully recovered, and having a ball.


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Photos courtesy of Deanna Kafka

Noodles is comforted by her teddy bear.

“So many hearts skipped a beat waiting for her to pull through,” recalls Deanna. Her recovery took round-the-clock care and lots of TLC. As Noodles grew stronger, she was integrated into the T & D’s herd; her life so far had consisted only of humans and teddy bears for company. “Now, she brings smiles along with her antics and her teddy bears,” Deanna says. Noodles is flourishing with her loving adoptive family, who also adopted another donkey similar in age so she would always have a companion.

Follow Noodles at facebook.com/Noodles-A-Donkey-Tale-1133156066849842/ Follow T & D Donkey Rescue at facebook.com/tddonkeyrescue/

EVENTS Overview of TCM — Equine or Small Animal

Equine Affaire

Kentucky Derby

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

With a crowd of more than 150,000 people, unparalleled history and tradition and its unique spectacle, the Kentucky Derby is unlike any other sporting event! Every year, on the first Saturday in May, thousands of guests gather to create lifelong memories with their friends and family.

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

For more information: (502) 636-4400 kentuckyderby.com

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

Western States Horse Expo

April 11–14, 2019 — Columbus, OH

April 27–May 4, 2019 — Louisville, KY

Online Course

This Overview covers the basic underlying concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): Yin/Yang Theory in relation to the animal body and assessment of conditions; Meridian Theory and the meridian system; The Five-Element Theory; the internal organ systems, zang-fu organs in relation to the body; and how the vital substances function within the body. This course provides an understanding of how the Chinese perceive the living body and offers tools for assessment and session work. This course is required for the Practitioner Certificate Program. A Certificate of Completion for 20 LUs is available upon completion of the online quizzes following each of the eight units, and a two-part final examination. For more information: tallgrass@animalacupressure.com animalacupressure.com

Holistic Horsemanship Comprehensive Training Program

April 6–11, 2019 — Bend, OR

Reach Out to Horses® is excited to announce the launch of the Holistic Horsemanship Comprehensive Training Program. Whether your goal is to begin a career or you want to develop your skills to become a wellrounded expert in the equine industry, this program has something for you. Each segment of the program is designed to allow individuals the chance to study the methods at their leisure, returning to the center when time and finances allow. You can choose to explore the first stages, gaining valuable training and insight into the world and training of the horse, or complete the training and become a certified ROTH instructor — the choice is yours! For more information: info@reachouttohorses.com reachouttohorses.com/courses.html

Midwest Horse Fair

April 12–14, 2019 — Madison, WI

May 9–12, 2019 — Sacramento, CA Come join the fun! You will find many demonstrations, lectures and competitions, as well as plenty of shopping! Find saddles, horse sales, trailers, trucks — it’s all here in sunny California!

The Midwest Horse Fair® is one of the top 3-day horse fairs in America. Hundreds of clinics, seminars and educational events are presented by some of the top horse professionals from around the country. Over 500 vendor booths offer shopping opportunities with something for everyone.

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

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

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

The Mane Event: Red Deer

April 26–28, 2019 — Red Deer, AB Some of North America's top clinicians provide quality information on a variety of different disciplines at the largest indoor equine trade show in Canada! Explore the best selection of equine products and services available from bits to boots and tack to trailers. For more information: info@maneeventexpo.com red-deer.maneeventexpo.com

Extreme Mustang Makeover

June 20–22, 2019 — Lexington, KY

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

Email your event to info@equinewellnessmagazine.com

Equine Wellness




Equine Wellness


EMAIL YOUR CLASSIFIEDS TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com NATURAL PRODUCTS 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 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 they 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 make up a large part of this clinical practice. Small animal services are available as well. (540) 364-4077; muzzles@harmanyequine.com; www.harmanyequine.com

CLASSIFIEDS SCHOOLS & TRAINING 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 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 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

RETAILERS & DISTRIBUTORS WANTED 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

Equine Wellness



These WARMING HERBS will help your horse thaw out for spring. By Melanie Falls

Shake off those wintertime woes and get ready for spring with some warming herbs for your horses. These herbs provide immune support during the cold wet months of late winter and early spring, and can encourage picky eaters to finish their meals.

WARMING HERBS — SAY WHAT? The concept of “warming” and “cooling” herbs is rooted in Eastern medicine and is often referred to as “herbal energetics”. The basic idea is that certain warming herbs can actually increase blood circulation by opening up capillaries and bringing blood flow to the surface of the skin and the extremities. Also, these herbs typically provide immune, digestive and blood sugar support. Both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine recommend the consumption of warming herbs in colder weather. Here is a list of warming herbs to try as we transition from winter to spring: Yarrow — This popular herb is used in sweat lodges for its ability to encourage 66

Equine Wellness

sweating and heat production. Yarrow’s flower is also known to support the immune response. Add dried yarrow leaves and flowers to your horse’s evening mash to keep him cozy and healthy during the damp spring weather. You can also apply dried yarrow leaves to an open wound to help stop bleeding. Ginger — It’s well known for offering digestive support, but did you know ginger can also be a great help for older horses experiencing joint pain? Help prevent your aging pasture buddy from getting stiff by adding some ginger to his feed. You can also peel and boil some fresh ginger for a nice tincture to add to his bucket. Hawthorne — Feed the highly palatable berries or flowering tops to help increase circulation in the heart and assist with ailing joints. This is a popular herb for horses with laminitis or navicular syndrome, as it increases circulation to the feet. Hawthorne is also very rich in flavonoids and can be a great source of anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

Cinnamon — Make sure to use Ceylon cinnamon instead of Cassia, as Cassia has been shown to cause kidney, liver and lung damage in humans when taken in large quantities. Cinnamon increases circulation by relaxing the blood vessels to increase blood flow. Not only do horses find it highly palatable, it also offers a whole host of other healthful properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and insecticidal benefits. These warming herbs will make a big difference to your horse!

Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, having healed her own horse, 21-year-old Desario, with 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. Contact wholeequine.com, info@wholeequine.com or 844-946-5378.

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Equine Wellness