V15I1 (Jan/Feb/Mar 2020)

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Display until March 23, 2020 VOLUME 15 ISSUE 1

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mental health — NATURALLY EquineWellnessMagazine.com


Equine Wellness


Dawn Cumby-Dallin


Elisabeth Dunphy

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Kimberly Smithson

COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Bill Bookout Margaux W. Buchanan, DVM Teri Clark Melanie Falls Juliet M. Getty, PhD Susan Guran Brenda Judah, CBS, CBI April Love Mark S. Meyers Jennifer Moore, PhD Wendy Murdoch Sharron Oyer, MEd, CBS, CBI Stephanie Sawtelle Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE Muffy Seaton Amy Snow Jennifer Walker Erin Zamzow, DVM Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION


Brittany Sillaots

SUBMISSIONS Please email all editorial material to Emily Watson, Associate Editor, at Emily@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. You can also mail submissions to: Equine Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada, K9J 2T8. Please direct other correspondence to info@RedstoneMediaGroup.com.

DEALER OR GROUP INQUIRIES WELCOME Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call Libby at 1-866-764-1212 ext. 100 or fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail Libby@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. ADVERTISING SALES National Sales Manager/Editorial Associate: Kat Shaw (866) 764-1212 ext. 315 KatShaw@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Business Development/Editorial Associate: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Becky@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Multimedia Specialist: Jamie McClure, (866) 764-1212 ext. 227 Jamie@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Editorial & Multimedia Specialist: Rebecca Bloom, (866) 764-1212 ext. 224 Rebecca@RedstoneMediaGroup.com CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $20.00 including taxes for five issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext. 115 US MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122


CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8 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.

EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published five times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2020. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: January 2020.

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With his thick coat and wispy muzzle, this handsome bay looks ready to take on winter in all its glory. Although it’s hard to say for sure what’s going on behind those soft eyes, the alertness in his ears demonstrate an undeniable keenness that’s sure to bode well for him in the impending cold months — and all the seasons to follow. Ready to instill the same mental and physical vigour in your own equine companion? This issue of EW is a great place to start!

Equine Wellness




January/February/March 2020

6 Editorial 8 Neighborhood news 19 Saddle fit 25 Product picks 34 Herb blurb 35 Heads up 45 Business Profile — Kemin 52 Acupressure at-a-glance 53 From the NASC 60 To the rescue 61 Equine Wellness resource guide

62 Rider fitness 63 Events 64 Marketplace 65 Classifieds 66 Newsworthy

Features 10


W hat horses can teach us

about mindfulness

A practical guide to the benefits of greater self-awareness and mindfulness in the barn and beyond.



H EALTH WATCH When should I have my horse’s teeth checked? Some easy-to-recognize signs that it’s time to schedule a dental appointment for your equine companion.

Saving America’s wild burros

An inside look at the current circumstances surrounding wild burros in the US, and how organizations are working to manage the overpopulation of these animals.

38 4


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S EASONAL 5 myths about winter horse care

These winter horse care myths are more common than you might think! Here’s what caretakers really need to know to keep their equine companions healthy and comfortable this season.

14 22

H EALTHY HOOVES 3 straightforward ways to improve hoof quality

How diet, environment and podiatry play a role in healing the troubled hoof.


E ATING WELL Feeding your horse for hormonal balance What and how you feed your horse can either increase or decrease his stress levels, and affect how his body functions.


M IND, BODY, SPIRIT A homeopathic approach to mental health issues in horses

Just like humans, horses can suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health problems. In many cases, homeopathic remedies offer a natural way to help them cope and heal.



N ON-TOXIC LIVING Ammonia in your barn — what you need to know


Ammonia is the second leading cause of severe respiratory disease in horses. Here’s how to prevent it from affecting your own equine companions — and you.


N ATURAL SUPPLEMENTS Top sources of Omega-3 fatty acids for horses A look at the role of Omega-3s in the equine diet, and how to determine the best source for your horse.

S ELF-CARE How acupressure can improve rider comfort Over time, riders experience aches and pains that result from performing repetitive movements on horseback. Acupressure can help restore rider comfort and improve performance.


N ATURAL HORSEMANSHIP Driving horses — an introduction A step-by-step guide to training a driving horse.


L IFESTYLE 10 ways horse caregivers can avoid burnout

Some tips and tricks to help horse enthusiasts avoid the reality of caregiver burnout.


A LTERNATIVE APPROACHES PEMF therapy for your horse’s health and performance


Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy is used by horse caretakers, trainers and groomers to enhance health and performance in equines.

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

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The power of intention New year, new goals! As a yoga instructor, intention setting is something I try to integrate into my daily life. Though the practice of setting resolutions is typically reserved for January 1st, I find it extremely beneficial to set intentions all year round. Whether it’s at the start of a yoga class, over that first morning coffee, or before an interaction with animals, it helps to focus on what I want to gain from every experience. Shifting your mindset in this way can do wonders for your mental health. It creates ample time for self-growth by helping you recognize and say “no” to situations that don’t serve you. It also deeply enriches your relationship with those around you — whether they’re two- or four-legged. While, as humans, we usually have to work at this kind of conscious behavior, horses do it without thinking. They might not set intentions, but our equine companions are constantly weighing benefits versus risks. They’re hyperaware of their environment and how it makes them feel, and they use that astute mindfulness to protect themselves. In short, they do everything we should strive to do when it comes to improving our physical and mental well-being! In lieu of that innate equine knowledge, I’m proud to share with you this issue of Equine Wellness. Within its pages, you’ll find a wealth of information about improving your — and your horse’s — mental health. Stephanie Sawtelle starts us off on page 10 with an interactive guide to practicing mindfulness in the presence of your equine companions. On page 52, you’ll learn how staying present and performing a gentle acupressure session on your horse can help deepen his trust.


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Flip to page 42 to check out some helpful tips on preventing caregiver burnout, and learn why equineassisted therapy is becoming so popular on page 66. Spoiler alert: intention setting is an underlying theme in every single one of these articles. We’ve also made sure to fill this issue with plenty of advice on how to improve your horse’s physical condition — from his teeth to his hooves. As you’ll see in homeopath Susan Guran’s article on page 30, mental and physical health are closely linked, so be sure to take it all in and apply it as needed to promote optimal well-being in your equine companion. As we ring in a new decade, I encourage you to set your resolutions, goals and intentions for the year to come. But don’t stop there. Set those intentions mindfully and often, and pay close attention to how they positively impact your life — both in and out of the barn.


Emily Watson, Associate Editor

Equine Wellness



Nicolazzo with Wrangler after a


SENIOR HORSE RETURNS TO RING AFTER KISSING SPINE In 2018, an 11-year-old quarter horse named Wrangler was brought into Cornell University Hospital for Animals’ equine hospital after bolting at a competition and showing obvious signs of discomfort. An assessment confirmed he had Kissing Spine — a painful condition in which the vertebrae touch or grind against each other. High-definition X-rays revealed he was suffering from this condition in 11 of his vertebrae, and that four had fused together completely. Wrangler’s caregiver, Anjanette Nicolazzo, suspected she would never perform with her beloved companion again. Dr. Elaine Claffey, a surgeon with Cornell’s Equine Hospital, performed an operation on Wrangler’s vertebrae to provide more space between them. A long recovery period was ordered, during which Nicolazzo worked to rehabilitate his strength and endurance. Ten months later, Wrangler returned to Cornell for an orthopedic exam. He was free of pain, and his incision had healed perfectly. Exactly one year after his surgery, he was cleared to be put under saddle again. Today, Wrangler and Nicolazzo are back in the show ring. The duo recently competed at the all-American Quarter Horse congress in Columbus, Ohio, winning the championship in the Hunter Under Saddle division and placing in the Top 10 in all other divisions. “Having him at shows in general, win or lose, means we’ve won,” says Nicolazzo. Watch the video featuring this case at youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=etZQzcuSCA0. 8

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At the end of 2019, the ASPCA announced they’d be taking on a new program to expand their equine welfare efforts. The Right Horse Initiative, a program originally established in 2016, focuses on increasing the number of successful horse adoptions in the United States, and helping horses transition between homes, owners and careers. The ASPCA is thrilled to team up with the industry professionals, organizations and advocates that make up The Right Horse Initiative, and looks forward to breaking down the stigmas that land so many horses in fatal situations.

Photo courtesy of The Right Horse.

Photo courtesy of the Nicolazzo family.


“The Right Horse Initiative has been pivotal in bringing together leading voices from all corners of the equine community — an approach the ASPCA employs in our own equine welfare work — and together we will continue to improve the lives of countless horses through innovative adoption programs, training, and increased public awareness,” says Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. therighthorse.org

ADVOCATES ACT AFTER INFLUX OF RACEHORSE DEATHS After numerous horses were euthanized on racetracks in 2019, an advocacy group against cruelty to animals has ramped up their efforts on Capitol Hill to push for a new bill to be passed. The legislation, commonly known as the Horseracing Integrity Act, would protect racehorses by establishing a national standard for medication use. At the time of this writing, the bill has 203 co-sponsors, including presidential candidates Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Only 218 votes are needed for it to pass. According to Marty Irby from Animal Wellness Action (AWA) — a key supporter of the bill — a hearing will likely take place early this year. In the meantime, groups like AWA, The Breeders’ Cup, The Jockey Club and The Stronach Group will continue to lobby for change. animalwellnessaction.org

NEW APP LETS YOU COMPARE YOUR HORSE TO OTHERS A team of equine trainers, vets and behaviorists at the University of Sydney are launching a global database of horse behavior. The app, known as E-BARQ, will allow horse owners to log information about a horse’s physical, mental and social development, and compare it to other data that has been inputted. Owners can share the data with their vets and coaches. The goal is to create a benchmark for certain aspects of equine health and well-being. This project builds on a similar project for dogs called C-BARQ — an online compilation of information on over 85,000 dogs.

The data has been used in more than 70 research studies, some of which have changed the way we care for canines. E-BARQ is a not-for-profit project that allows the global horse-folk community to share their observational

data with the University of Sydney and gain useful benefits in return. The resulting “share-&-compare” graphs will reveal attributes such as trainability, rideability, handling, compliance, boldness, and human social confidence. e-barq.com

Equine Wellness


FEATURE What is mindfulness? I like to think of it as being here, now. In other words, not in the past, not in the future, but in the present moment, aware of the myriad bits of information available through our senses, thoughts, bodily sensations and intuition. Horses happen to be experts on the subject of mindfulness, and we can learn so much about it in their presence.

What horses can teach us about


HORSES AS A MIRROR One way horses can teach us about mindfulness is by modeling the behavior for us. Horses, by their very nature, are mindful. Because they are prey animals, they instinctively keep themselves safe by living in a state of awareness of their environment. This awareness allows them to tend to their needs as they stay alert to potential threats by continually receiving information about, and reacting to, their environment. In striving to be horse-like, we may also benefit from mindfulness by being more conscious of our own needs and staying safe, therefore reducing stress and conserving energy. Another way horses teach us mindfulness is through their reactions and responses to us in each moment of our interactions. Since we are a part of our horses’ environment, they are continually monitoring and reacting to our feelings, moods, body language and energetic qualities.

By Stephanie Sawtelle

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Liz Photography & Design.

A practical guide to the benefits of greater self-awareness and mindfulness in the barn and beyond.


Equine Wellness

If we are mindful of the feedback horses provide to us about ourselves, then they serve as a barometer of our state of being. Remember that any feedback they give us is in real time. This means that as we change something about ourselves, we may immediately see that shift reflected back to us by our horses.

REAPING THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS The benefits of mindfulness are innumerable. Incorporating it into your interactions with your horse can be immensely rewarding for your relationship, and is an important skill to carry into other aspects of your life. Learning to be aware of the feedback you’re getting from your horse and yourself in each moment can

help reduce stress for both of you and enable you to make appropriate decisions during your time together. You will be safer, the lines of communication will be more open, and the opportunity for harmony and joyfulness increases.

the barn, your approach to your horse, and your greeting. However, they can easily be modified to apply to grooming, tacking, groundwork, riding, and the intervals pre- and postinteraction with your horse.

Mindfulness can improve the quality of the time you spend with your horse by preventing superfluous thoughts, baggage from your day, or concerns about the future from stealing your attention or negatively affecting your interaction. If your thoughts are elsewhere, you may miss important communications from your horse and information from your environment.

Familiarize yourself with the prompts ahead of time, and have a pen handy as most are best answered in the moment. Repeating this series of exercises over several occasions will help you develop new habits and allow you to start seeing patterns and making connections that may otherwise not be apparent. Continued on page 12.

Furthermore, if you can be aware of the feedback your horse offers you about your state of being, you’ll become more conscious of the way you show up in your life on the physical, mental, emotional and energetic levels. Being conscious of how you show up means you have more influence and decision-making power over every aspect of yourself. Another benefit of bringing mindfulness to the time you spend with your horse is that you may realize how your thoughts affect your mood, how your mood affects how you feel, and how you feel is reflected in your body language and the energy you give off. Horses are masters at reading all these non-verbal signals, so if your awareness is in the present moment you can avoid bringing in elements that aren’t necessary, helpful or relevant. While mindfulness practices positively influence the relationship between you and your horse, they can also be carried into other situations and relationships in your life to create similar benefits. For example, consider the benefits of really listening and being aware of the communication, verbal and nonverbal, coming from yourself and those around you. You’ll be more in control of yourself instead of constantly being in a state of reactivity.

“Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.” — JON KABAT-ZINN

PRACTICING MINDFULNESS WITH YOUR HORSE Photos courtesy of Stephanie Sawtelle.

What follows is a modified excerpt from my workbook, What Horses Can Teach Us About Mindfulness, a series of guided exercises and prompts designed to encourage you to bring more mindfulness to your equine interactions. It is meant to be used as a whole or in parts. I encourage you to use what serves you at the pace that feels right to you. This particular set of exercises and prompts includes a basic mindfulness exercise and is tailored to your arrival at Equine Wellness


Continued from page 11.

A mindfulness exercise:

1. Upon arriving at where your horse is kept, check in with your breathing and five senses. How would you describe your breathing? What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Feel?

As you move through the exercise at right, be mindful of any apprehension, nervousness, fear, uncertainty or discomfort in yourself or your horse. Keep in mind that horses communicate through changes in body language, posture, positioning, breathing and expressions. Look for even the smallest signals, such as a turn of your horse’s head, a change in his breathing, or a shifting of his weight.

2. Describe your experience with this first exercise. How is this different from your usual arrival?

arrival, approach and greeting

If you sense any negativity, pause to consider the importance of carefully choosing the next best step for both of you. Ignoring or pushing through these warning signs may set you and your horse up for unnecessarily difficult or fearful circumstances. This is especially true if you are both experiencing these feelings simultaneously. If this is the case, allow yourself to consider alternatives such as being with your horse from a distance.

3. How is your horse reacting to you? Describe any communication coming from him/her in the form of body language, posture, positioning, breathing and expressions. Does s/he change or stay the same? How do you react to him/her?

4. When and how do you greet your horse? When and how does s/he greet you?

A FEW PARTING TIPS Be patient with yourself and your horse. New habits take time to develop. New skills take time to learn and practice. It’s okay to make mistakes…horses don’t judge! Mindfulness has positively and profoundly impacted my life and the lives of those I work with, both human and horse. It can lead to deeper and richer connections, reduced stress, and rewarding experiences at the barn and in all other areas of your life. Enjoy the journey!

Stephanie Sawtelle is an expert on the dynamics of the horsehuman relationship on the physical, emotional and energetic levels. Whether for the purposes of equestrian endeavors, personal growth or healing, she facilitates meaningful horsehuman interactions with a focus on the mind-body connection, emotional intelligence and intuitive development. You can find more about her at StephanieSawtelle.com.


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5. What is the most notable aspect of your approach and greeting? What does this tell you about yourself? Your horse? Your relationship with him/her?

6. What have you learned or experienced through these exercises that would be helpful in other areas of your life? Describe the circumstance(s) in which what you’ve learned would be helpful.


When should I have

my horse’s teeth checked?

By Erin Zamzow, DVM


Ever wonder how often you should get your horse’s teeth checked? This question very much depends on the horse and what will be expected of her by the humans in her life. The general timetable I recommend is: • One conformation exam between six months and one year of age • A checkup between 1.5 and 2.5 years to check for wolf teeth and do a “baby float” and equilibration as needed 14

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• Examination and floats every six months between two and five years of age. After five, a horse should have a dental checkup if it’s been a year since she’s had dental work done, or if it’s been less than a year but she’s exhibiting signs of discomfort or dysfunction when she chews or has a bit in her mouth. Horses in their 20s and 30s may need checkups more often if they have uneven wear or periodontal disease.

DENTAL CHANGES THROUGH A HORSE’S LIFESPAN Because a horse’s teeth change so quickly in the first five years of his life, it’s best to start early with dental examinations and make a plan based on his individual needs. Any time between six months and a year of age is a great time to have a basic dental conformation exam done by your equine dental-savvy veterinarian. Checkups and touch-up work should then be scheduled every six months until the horse turns five, if possible. A pronounced over-jet or under-jet (also referred to as “parrot mouth” or “sow mouth”) to either the incisors or molar arcades should be addressed early on in the growing horse to prevent uneven wear patterns from getting worse as he ages. In the first 2.5 years of life, all the teeth in a horse’s mouth are deciduous or “baby” teeth that will be shed and replaced with adult teeth. Typically, this process continues until the horse turns 4.5; she will lose 24 teeth in those two years. The three back teeth in the molar arcades (the true molars) erupt as adult teeth at one, two and three years of age, respectively. These erupting teeth can come in at odd angles since the baby teeth may not come off evenly, and create pain and/or unsymmetrical tooth occlusion. Erupting canine teeth in male horses (between four and six years of age) are another source of discomfort as the sharp tip of the tooth pushes on the gums for weeks before it erupts. Watch for these bumps between the incisors and molar arcades and be gentle putting the bit in and out to lessen his discomfort during this process. (Note: a touch of clove oil or anbesol liquid on the gums can help ease the pain of erupting canine teeth.) The canines are not to be confused with the “wolf teeth”, which are the first premolars (see sidebar on page 16). The canines are unique in that they do not continue to erupt through the horse’s



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A word about wolf teeth

Wolf teeth are the first premolars to come in on a young horse. Not all horses get these teeth, but if they do they are almost always in the upper arcades and may only occur on one side of the mouth. Both males and females get wolf teeth and they usually show up between six and 18 months if the horse has them.

Top: Upper wolf tooth (first premolar) in front of a rostral hook on the second premolar. Both of these will cause pain with a bit in the mouth. Bottom: Upper wolf tooth in a young horse. These need to be removed before training with a bit is started.

life as the premolars, molars and incisors do. They can, however, get very long and sharp, and reducing their length and smoothing the tips can be beneficial. It is also important to make sure that young horses don’t have too much floating (grinding/filing) on their teeth at one time. It’s literally impossible to make a float “last” a year in a horse under five years of age, and it is normal for young horses to develop sharp points in between checkups in these early years.

8 SIGNS IT’S TIME FOR A DENTAL EXAM If you can’t afford regular dental exams for your horse, there are signs you can look for that indicate it’s time to book one. 1. Dropping feed If whole grain or unchewed balls or ropes of hay (also known as “quids”) fall out of the horse’s mouth after she attempts

It’s important for your vet to manually feel for wolf teeth as well as look for them; they may be under the gum, which can create a lot of pain and resistance to bitting. I’m a believer in always removing wolf teeth even if the horse isn’t currently being asked to wear a bit; in spite of our intentions, horses often end up in different homes throughout their lives.

to chew it, she should have her teeth checked. 2. Weight loss This is an obvious one that may or may not be related to dental issues but is certainly a reason to have a horse checked. With the right kind of feedstuffs, even horses without any functional teeth can keep weight on, but dental exams and care are important in determining if they are at this stage. An overweight horse can have painful teeth as well so don’t assume a horse is okay just because she isn’t losing weight. 3. Fussing with the bit Schedule a dental checkup if your horse starts fussing with or refusing the bit, or reacting differently to pressure on the bit. 4. Cranky behavior and head shyness You don’t have to stick your fingers in your

horse’s mouth to see if she has sharp points that are causing discomfort. Generally, you can feel along the cheeks outside where the molar arcades are located; the horse will flinch or pull away when you push her cheek against a sharp tooth. 5. Recent colic or choke Older horses often lose the ability to chew long stem fiber into small pieces they can adequately digest. But younger horses can also have impaired chewing, and may end up with an esophageal impaction (also known as choke) or colic from improperly chewed masses of hay not moving properly through the gut. Of course, eating too fast or not staying hydrated can also contribute to these problems. 6. Difficulty chewing If your horse chews differently on one side than the other, or always chews on one side, it could be a sign Continued on page 18.


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Equine Wellness


Continued from page 16. that her mouth is in pain. This can be challenging to discern but watch which way the lower jaw swings when she’s chewing — you should see it swing out in one direction for a while, then switch to the other direction.

“But my horse seems fine!” It’s very common for a horse to be a good weight (or even overweight), exhibit no noticeable signs of trouble in the bridle or with eating, and still have dental disease and/or pain. Most dental problems in horses develop gradually, which allows them to get used to the constant discomfort they’re experiencing. Often, horses will put up with a certain level of pain, and then seem to “suddenly” show symptoms of something wrong in their mouths — alternatively, they will exhibit behavior changes or pain elsewhere in the body.


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7. Odor from the mouth I think we can all admit that horses smell pretty amazing! Even their breath is usually sweet and intoxicating. If a horse has a rotten smell coming from her mouth, like sour feed or infected tissue, it’s likely she has an infected or rotten tooth that needs attention. It may also be an indicator that she has feed impacted between her teeth or has developed periodontal pockets. Both of these situations need attention.

8. Uneven incisors Most of the horse’s teeth are hidden from our view and aren’t simple to evaluate on a regular basis. But most people can get a look at a horse’s front teeth to see if they are lined up. Look at them straight on while someone else holds the horse’s lips apart. Are the teeth in a straight line? Is there a “smile” or “frown” shape to them? Do they have a wedge or diagonal shape, where one side of the upper or lower incisors is much longer than the others? Is the horse missing any front teeth or are there malformed teeth (see diagram on page 15)? Horse’s teeth continually erupt from birth to some time in their 20s, at which point they stop erupting and start to wear down. With early intervention, you can help set your horse’s teeth up for better symmetry — and fewer problems — going forward.

Uneven incisors, commonly known as a "diagonal bite". These patterns can be corrected at an early age to prevent them from getting this severe. When incisors are this uneven, it is difficult for the horse to chew on both sides of the mouth so one molar arcade is used less, leading to further uneven wear on all teeth and changes to the entire jaw structure.

Dr. Erin Zamzow graduated from Washington State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1990 and has made equine dentistry a large part of her practice since 1996, caring for hundreds of horses from foalhood to old age. Dr. Zamzow lives with her husband, Jeff Alm, in Ellensburg, Washington with their adopted cats, horses, dogs, potbellied pigs and a couple of pretty cool human offspring. In addition to being a mom and running her veterinary practice, Dr. Zamzow is co-founder and president of VivoAnimals, LLC (vivoanimals.com) and enjoys being the veterinarian for the chimps and cows at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (chimpsnw.org).





The cold season is in full swing, and that means your horse’s saddle might be fitting a bit differently. Here’s how to assess and readjust it accordingly. When it’s cold, riding is often the last thing you want to do. But who can resist the lure of bright sunshine, crisp air and quality time with their best friend? The weather really shouldn’t change your routine too much — remember that your horse looks forward to his time with you no matter what the season! There will, however, be some differences in his metabolism and physiology that will impact his comfort under saddle. Now that your horse has adapted to winter, it’s highly likely his conformation and coat are very different from what they were before the temperature dropped. Of course, if you’re one of those lucky riders who live in a temperate climate all year round, this might not be the case. But no matter where you live, we still recommend that you have your saddle fit checked twice a year — once in the spring just before competition season begins, and again in the fall as you change your training patterns. If it’s been a while since

you’ve checked it, there’s no time like the present! Fitting a saddle does not just involve reflocking; the gullet plate may also need to be adjusted. You should be able to change not only the angle (as is the case with many “do-it-yourself” interchangeable gullet plates) but also the width. You need to ensure there’s a minimum of two to three fingers’ worth of space all around the withers — not just at the top — so there’s enough room for the shoulders to come up and back through (like a sliding door) when the horse is in motion. If the saddle is too tight at the withers in the gullet channel, don’t add an extra pad. It’s easy to assume that this “quick fix” will prevent rubbing, but in reality it’s like wearing another pair of socks when the shoes are already too small. It doesn’t take long for a horse to lose muscle mass, which is why his conformation can change so drastically in a very short time. This is especially

true if you give him time off in the winter. It makes sense, then, that a saddle that fit well during performance season might not fit optimally by the time winter rolls around. In the spring when you begin riding more regularly, the reverse will happen. As your horse gains muscle, his saddle will become too tight, causing him to develop performance issues due to pain. Schedule two saddle fit checkups with a professional every year to ensure your horse stays as comfortable as possible no matter the season! For more tips, check out schleese.com/saddle-fitting-eguide/.

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.

Equine Wellness



5 myths


By April Love

These winter horse care myths are more common than you might think! Here’s what caretakers really need to know to keep their equine companions healthy and comfortable this season. Freezing temperatures and snow bring several misconceptions about how we care for our equine companions. Though a horse’s health, nutrition and grooming requirements are slightly different in the winter than during performance season, she still has many basic needs that have to be met. Busting the following myths will help you understand how to best care for her until spring!


“It's cold, so I better blanket my horse!” This isn’t always the case. If you aren’t planning to ride your horse often or hard enough to generate a lot of sweat, it’s best not to blanket so she can “hair up”. A thicker coat will trap in her body heat, providing her with all the warmth she needs in most situations. If you live in a very rainy or snowy area where your horse’s hair will be lying flat a lot of the time, consider investing in a waterproof blanket. Make sure it’s breathable, as otherwise she’ll sweat underneath and become chilled. You can also use the blanket on the trailer after exercise to keep her muscles from cramping and getting stiff.


“My horse doesn’t work in the winter, so I can feed less.”

False! Even if you aren’t working your horse, she’ll need adequate energy in the form of calories to stay warm during the cold months. Provide free choice hay in a slow feeder or hay net so she can nibble all day — an eating pattern that’s ideal for horses regardless of the season. Talk to your vet about the best supplements to give your equine companion during the winter as well. Chances are, he or she will recommend adding a healthy fat source — like black oil sunflower seeds or chia seeds — to your horse’s regular feed program. Beet pulp pellets and some rice bran can help support her digestive tract if her fiber intake needs a boost.


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“My horse doesn’t need to drink as much in the winter.”

Your horse requires three to five gallons of water a day, all year round. It should be clean and free of ice. If you have temperatures below freezing, a stock tank warmer may be necessary. It will keep the water from freezing, and will also encourage your horses to drink. They will drink more water when it is warmed, and not ice cold.


Unable to get electricity to a stock tank warmer? You can purchase solar tank warmers. Or, to easily break the ice, tie a piece of long baling twine to a nearby post or fence, and put the other end in the drinking water. At night, the water will freeze on top, and in the morning you can break it and pull out the chunk that’s frozen to the twine. Hit it against something firm to break off the ice and then put the twine back in for the next freeze.

“You should keep all the doors and windows in your barn shut during winter.” If you have ever walked into a barn where all the doors were closed and the horses inside all night, the smell of urine/ammonia and feces can be overwhelming. When you breathe in ammonia, you’re not just inhaling the smell; you’re inhaling noxious gas released by bacteria, which can lead to respiratory issues (flip to page 36 to learn more about ammonia in your barn). Keep your horse breathing well all winter by opening windows and doors during the day when temperatures warm up. Keep them closed at night, but increase airflow by strategically placing fans in the barn.

Usually, horses will drink less than they need in the winter because they either have to break through the ice or the cold liquid causes their stomachs to cramp. For this reason, mysterious colic can happen as horses become dehydrated, which can lead to impaction. If you’re concerned about your horse’s water intake, feed a watered-down mash with a teaspoon of natural salt or electrolytes. Giving your horses access to loose salt is also recommended, as it is difficult for them to get enough salt from a salt block.


“I’m not riding during the bad weather so I don’t need to worry about my horse’s hooves.” Hoof health is important all year round! Even though you’re not riding as much in the winter, you must keep your horse’s feet clean and trimmed. The cold weather can cause cracks in her hooves that can lead to a whole host of problems. And being stalled for longer periods or standing in cold or frozen mud can result in issues like thrush, scratches and laminitis. Keeping her feet in good shape with regular care and farrier visits will help you make a much easier transition to riding in the spring! You can also invest in a hoof solution (I prefer essential oils) to apply to her frogs and white line area to keep the hooves healthy, strong and infection-free.

As the founder of Holistic Horseworks, LLC, April Love (formerly April Battles) has taken her experience of training and riding to a new level of healing horses. She has spent the last two decades training “un-trainable” or problem horses, studying and practicing a variety of alternative therapies, and learning how to find the root of the pain that causes behavior problems. She teaches her innovative techniques to horse caretakers and equine professionals at clinics worldwide. She also has several DVDs, home study courses, and over 140 free YouTube videos that help people make their horses’ lives more comfortable. holistichorseworks.com

Equine Wellness



straightforward ways to improve hoof quality By Margaux W. Buchanan, DVM

How diet, environment and podiatry play a role in healing the troubled hoof.

Everyone has heard the adage “no hoof, no horse”, but how many people actually know how to keep their horses’ hooves happy? While there is no guaranteed method for encouraging hoof quality, some basic principles can help.

Nutritional support for hoof health DIET The number one hoof need is proper nutrition. This is required for a healthy horse overall. Horses should be fed a balanced diet of forage and protein recommended for their caloric needs. Nutrition is best discussed with your veterinarian, since an easy keeper may need a ration balancer while a threeday event horse will need more calories from a nutrient-dense grain. Drafts, minis, foals and seniors have even more specialized needs. Work with your local feed store to find a high quality hay source, as this is a major foundation of the equine diet. You should feed 1.5% to 2% of your horse’s body weight in hay per day. In terms of grain, look for a fixed formula feed for your horse so you 22

Equine Wellness

know his micro and macronutrient needs are always being met. The company that does fixed formulas with the most research backing them up is Purina, while a good overall diet-balancing supplement is Platinum Performance. These companies do research into their feeds, have equine nutritionists on staff, and make sure the ingredients are the best sources for quality equine nutrition. Once again, your veterinarian is a great source for which feed company and type is best for your horse, but the main message is to take care of your horse’s major nutrition needs of fiber, protein and calories. For most horses, meeting these needs will result in good hoof quality.

Bedding matters A recent barefoot hoof trimming study examining sole depth showed that sand is great for keeping horses with bare feet comfortable. However, sand is a rough surface that actually makes the soles thinner in the long run! The results of this research are in direct opposition to what we have been preaching for years. It turns out that thinsoled horses need soft bedding or shoes to protect their soles from loss through normal wear and tear and abrasion. Keeping hooves in a clean dry environment with excellent nonabrasive bedding and footing will go miles toward keeping them healthy and improving their quality.

SUPPLEMENTS If your horse is on a balanced diet and hoof quality is still a concern, you’ll need to investigate further. Most of the time, specific supplementation will be required in these cases. Supplements are only as good as their studies. I recommend using the acronym R.I.D.E. when evaluating supplements: Research, Ingredients, Dosage and Efficacy. • Does the company supply independent Research for their products? • Are the Ingredients high quality and bioavailable? • Are the primary ingredients included at the proper Dosage? • Last but not least, is this product Efficacious for your horse? Very few supplement companies meet all four of these criteria, but they’re key to making sure the supplements you use will actually help your equine partner. EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking for the NASC Quality Seal is a great way to know if the product you’re using comes from a responsible supplier.

Let’s use hoof supplements as an example. Lots of supplements on the market claim to have all sorts of ingredients that correlate to hoof health. However, the only nutrient studied and shown to directly cause improvement in hoof quality is biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin involved in making fatty acids and glucose, and encourages healthy keratin, the same substance found in hair, nails and hooves. Most balanced diets have plenty of biotin in their formulas, but research has shown that 20 mg of biotin daily will significantly help horses with poor hoof quality. My favorite supplement is Farrier’s Formula Double Strength (lifedatalabs.com/farriers-formula), as I have had great success using it to encourage hoof growth and increase sole thickness in my equine patients. The company has research articles attached to their product page, and the biotin is there in sufficient concentration to give effect. Platinum Performance (platinumperformance. com/horses) and Kentucky Performance products (kppusa.com) also adhere to my R.I.D.E rule and have great product lines for a variety of a horse’s nutritional needs. Continued on page 24. Equine Wellness


Topical products to support hoof quality Continued from page 23.

Husbandry helps preserve the hoof you have Second to nutrition, daily care is the most important element in improving your horse’s hoof quality, as husbandry helps prevent hoof loss. Remember, keratin is a main component in hooves, and just like daily hair care helps keep your hair shiny and healthy, so does daily hoof care promote improved quality. If you allow your horse’s hooves to erode by letting them chip in improper footing, get wet and rot, or become bruised — which can cause internal hoof capsule injury — you’re going to counteract any nutritional support you give. Daily examination and picking all four feet encourages wet spots to dry, and allows you to become familiar with your horse’s normal hoof anatomy. Once you know his normal sulcus depth, frog size and sole shape, you will be able to pick up on bruises, thrush, minor injuries, loose shoes and other concerns before they become painful problems that lead to lameness or hoof damage.

While I firmly believe there aren't many top dressings that do anything other than make the hoof transiently shiny, I am enthusiastic about a few products. For transitioning feet from shod to barefoot, or to support hoof horn quality, Keratex is a great product that claims to crosslink keratin and help stabilize hoof capsules. I have seen many horses experience less chipping and fewer thrown shoes after using it regularly. For people looking for a natural hoof oil, I like Farrier's Fix. It contains turpentine, healthy oils and wintergreen oil — lots of support for the hoof capsule and protection against thrush, inflammation and dryness. My polo ponies seem to enjoy this product the day after a hard competition.

Your farrier is your friend The third most important aspect of hoof health is excellent farrier care. Look for a farrier who can do many things: recommend barefoot when appropriate, ask a veterinarian for a consult with possible x-rays when problems are noted, and also put on a regular or therapeutic shoe. Nowadays, many farriers talk about podiatry as opposed to shoeing, as the focus has shifted to providing therapeutic care to the hoof. Horse feet are not one-size-fits-all, and neither should their shoeing needs be! Farriers can become certified and go to continuing education, as any professional

should, to keep up with current science and best care for your horse. If you’re looking for a farrier, visit the websites of the American Association of Professional Farriers (professionalfarriers.com) or the American Farriers Association (americanfarriers.org). These independent bodies have certification programs for hoof care based on science. When in doubt, call your veterinarian, as most vets have a few farriers they work with regularly. It’s important to have a team when caring for your horse's feet!

Conclusion When it comes to hoof quality, remember the three steps to achieve improved hoof quality: a good diet and supplements that adhere to the R.I.D.E. principles; day-to-day husbandry and footing; and the professional podiatry your horse receives. Your veterinarian can be your partner in all three aspects of caring for your horse’s hooves, and can help you understand normal from abnormal, give you valuable nutrition tips, and assist you in finding a farrier that will help your horse put his best foot forward! Dr. Margaux Buchanan is an equine-only veterinarian practicing in New England. Her interests include podiatry, nutrition, internal medicine, geriatric care and sport horse medicine. She plays polo, and has a string of polo ponies with their own hoof quality concerns!


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Better nutrition = better health Hay is typically deficient in certain nutrients, eventually resulting in sub-clinical symptoms such as poor hoof quality, dull and fading coat, a compromised immune system, exercise intolerance and more. Vermont Blend Forage Balancer is formulated to provide what your horse’s forage is lacking. It delivers amino acids for topline and muscle support, biotin for hoof quality, and yeast for a healthy hindgut. CustomEquineNutrition.com

Equine Wellness





What and how you feed your horse can either increase or decrease his stress levels, and affect how his body functions. What exactly does “metabolism” mean? By definition, it encompasses a wide range of biochemical processes involving nutrients and energy. Metabolism is influenced by hormones — most commonly, insulin (from the pancreas), cortisol (from the adrenal gland), thyroxine (from the thyroid), and leptin (from fat tissue). Survival depends on metabolic hormones. Some correct blood disparities, others support the body’s adjustment to environmental changes. What we feed our horses, and the way we feed it, can either align with or run counter to what they instinctually know. The goal is to strive toward feeding horses in sync with their physical and emotional nature, thereby allowing for hormonal balance.

HORSES HAVE A UNIQUE ISSUE The equine digestive tract cannot tolerate periods of time without forage; it requires a steady flow of hay and/or pasture. There are several reasons for this:

Living, healthy grass is the best whole food Grazing in the open air is the greatest stress reducer. The amount of grazing depends on your horse’s individual condition. If he is currently in a dry lot with hay, and not doing well, and you have access to pasture (especially one with a variety of plants and that isn’t over-grazed, or heator drought-stressed), you might consider gradually switching him to the pasture over a three-week period. It is best to test your pasture first.15 Start the transition in the early morning hours when the sugar/starch level is at its lowest. 26

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• The constant secretion of stomach acid increases the potential for ulcers. • The cecum must be full for digested feed and indigestible material (e.g. sand) to exit at the top. • The gastrointestinal musculature must exercise continually to prevent certain types of colic. Horses who experience times with nothing to eat are in physical and emotional distress. Forage restriction is incredibly stressful.1

HORMONAL RESPONSE TO STRESS Stress causes the adrenal gland to release the hormone cortisol. Cortisol tells the tissues to ignore insulin’s attempts to get glucose into the cells.2 Insulin increases to try to overcome this, but not very successfully (i.e. insulin resistance). When insulin is elevated, inflammation increases, and the cells hold on to body fat. And when body fat increases, it releases a hormone called leptin. Normally, leptin is a good thing, but not in this case. The brain can become resistant to leptin. Under normal circumstances, leptin (secreted from fat tissue) goes to the satiety center in the hypothalamus portion of the brain to tell it that the horse’s appetite is satisfied. 3 This is the body’s way of maintaining normal weight: fat increases, leptin rises, the brain says the body has had enough to eat, and weight stays within a normal range. The excess body fat of obese horses promotes inflammation through the secretion of substances known as cytokines.4 Cytokines can damage the areas within the hypothalamus that recognize leptin. 5 Leptin levels are high, but the brain is not responding (i.e. leptin resistance). Consequently, the horse keeps eating, getting more obese, producing more cytokines, increasing inflammatory damage to the hypothalamus, resulting in greater leptin resistance.

REDUCING INFLAMMATION HELPS HYPOTHALAMUS REGAIN SENSITIVITY TO LEPTIN • Never let your horse run out of forage, even for a few minutes. Not only is free-choice forage feeding critical to your his overall health, 6 it also increases the metabolic rate. 7 Feed appropriate hay and/or pasture that is low in calories, sugar, and starch.8 Continued on page 28. Equine Wellness


Avoid thyroid medication Elevated cortisol (from stress or pain) can reduce thyroxine (T4) levels, leading one to believe that thyroid medication is necessary. But reduced T4 in these circumstances is not an indication of an underactive thyroid gland. Furthermore, adding T4 will not do any good if the horse is stressed, because excess cortisol interferes with the conversion of T4 to T3, the active hormonal form.

• Feed a variety of protein sources by mixing grasses and adding whole foods. When only one or two protein sources are fed, the excess amino acids can be converted to glucose, potentially increasing insulin. • Eliminate excess sugar and starch. These are found in sweetened feeds, cereal grains, wheat middlings, and rice bran. They raise insulin as well as triglycerides. Triglycerides can bind to leptin in the blood stream and prevent it from signaling satiety to the brain.10 • Avoid high levels of Omega 6 oils. These are highly inflammatory (e.g. soybean, vegetable, corn, wheat germ and safflower oils).

The goal is to strive toward feeding in sync with the horse’s physical and emotional nature, thereby allowing for hormonal balance.

• Feed whole foods free of additives and toxins.9 Whole foods can include beet pulp, alfalfa, hay pellets, copra meal, split peas, hemp seeds, ground flaxseeds, moistened chia seeds, blue-green algae, and various fruits and vegetables. Limit soybean meal — the long term impact of isoflavones (the phytoestrogen found in soy) on the thyroid gland is controversial. 28

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• Add a probiotic for haybased diets. Horses who graze on pasture will naturally consume a variety of microbes. • Allow for movement. Exercise increases insulin and leptin sensitivity and lessens inflammatory cytokines.12 It has also been shown to directly reduce hypothalamic inflammation.13 Keep stall confinement to a minimum. • Limit grazing muzzles. They can defeat the purpose if they cause stress. Limit their use to no more than three hours per day because the digestive tract needs more forage than they allow. • Consider slow feeders. Several should be placed in a variety of locations.14


Continued from page 27. • Add a comprehensive vitamin/ mineral supplement to haybased diets. This fills in nutritional gaps and reduces the horse’s drive to overeat simply to obtain enough nutrients.

• Avoid prolonged use of H2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors for ulcers. They can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, and create rebound acid production upon removal.

• Increase Omega 3s. Feed ground flaxseeds or moistened chia seeds. Fish oils can be included in cases of high inflammation levels (see page 38 for more info on Omega 3s). • Add antioxidants. These include vitamins E and C, beta carotene (vitamin A), lipoic acid, grapeseed extract, green tea extract and spirulina, as well as herbs including turmeric, boswellia and ashwaghanda (which is particularly useful in combatting stress).11

Stress launches your horse’s hormonal response into a state of imbalance. First, reduce his stress: unrestricted grazing on appropriate forage is paramount. (If necessary, use a slow feeder.) Second, feed him an anti-inflammatory diet; and third, increase his movement. Your horse’s brain and body will regain health. This is the formula for success. Visit equinewellnessmagazine.com/feedinghormonal-balance for reference list.

Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist with a wide U.S. and international following. Her research-based approach optimizes equine health by aligning physiology and instincts with correct feeding and nutrition practices. Author of the comprehensive resource book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse and the topic-centered Spotlight on Equine Nutrition series, available through her website GettyEquineNutrition.com.


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EW 15:1



A HOMEOPATHIC APPROACH to mental health issues in horses

By Susan L. Guran

Just like humans, horses can suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health problems. In many cases, homeopathic remedies offer a natural way to help them cope and heal.

A horse’s state of being is inseparable from his environment and those around him. When major environmental challenges arise, you may see signs of withdrawal, anxiety, grief or heartache. If these reactions are prolonged, they can profoundly impact the horse’s physical and mental health. While there are a number of ways to treat these issues, homeopathic remedies are a great place to start.

THE MIND/BODY CONNECTION All homeopathic remedies are capable of addressing aspects of mental health in some way. The metaphorical nature of homeopathy shows us that depression remedies and heart remedies often overlap, and that anxiety is closely related to depression. Here are a handful of remedies that, in my


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experience, were relevant to treating symptoms of depression, grief or anxiety alongside the physical issues present in some of my cases. Because emotional states are so influential in the development of physical symptoms, homeopathic remedies emphasize mental/ emotional symptoms first and foremost. This offers us the opportunity to treat an individual before certain physical symptoms have a chance to fully manifest. Mind symptoms, as they are called in the Materia Medica, give us the most accurate picture of the remedy’s overall flavor and are integral to differentiating one from another. Mind symptoms are of primary importance because the mind and body are interconnected. In early follow-ups, we determine how well a remedy is working by noting changes in demeanor, since

these changes take place most rapidly and distinctly, particularly in horses. The resolution of physical symptoms happens more slowly over time.

HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES FOR MENTAL HEALTH Aurum Metallicum is beneficial in treating symptoms that arise in the later stages of Lyme disease, when issues with the heart are often present. In some of these cases, you will find a literal “heaviness of heart” that is associated with

CASE STUDY His heartbeat was visible through his chest and made his whole body shake. His movement was slow and effortful and his breathing was labored. He walked with his head hung low and appeared to be in a dire state of depletion. Aurum Metallicum was the remedy this horse responded to. He was despondent and “heavy” in every sense of the word. He had been suffering from symptoms of late-stage Lyme Disease and, as in many such cases, there was a noteworthy state of “depression” or withdrawal. Lyme carditis is an aspect of late-stage Lyme that affects the electrical system of the heart and can include palpitations, chest pain and shortness of breath. After receiving Aurum, this horse made a complete recovery, returning to a lightness of being where he easily lost excess weight and came back to a normal level of energy.

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How to tell if your horse is experiencing mental health issues Though horses live in the present, past situations can leave lasting impressions. As observers, we can see that horses will withdraw or shut down, and even fall into a state of despondency and/ or resignation when they face loss, danger and other negative experiences. Any of the following signs might suggest your horse is suffering from one or more mental health issues relating to depression, grief or anxiety: ➾ Dramatic changes in heart rate ➾ Labored breathing ➾ Low-hanging head ➾ Lethargy ➾ Withdrawal ➾ Visible shaking ➾ Unresponsiveness ➾ Dull eyes ➾ Stumbling ➾ Rapid weight loss ➾ Reactivity

deep depression (see case study on previous page). The overall expression of a horse in need of this remedy is a sense of heaviness. It is often associated with grief from the loss of a loved one and is a remedy that comes up for consideration when treating states of depression. Silicea is another remedy called for in Lyme disease, in which there is an obvious state of withdrawal. It is associated with despondency and depression. Movement takes great effort for these horses, so they stumble a lot. They don’t enjoy being touched or being near others, and there is a clear message sent out that says “leave me alone.” Digitalis is a heart remedy that can be used in cases where a deep chronic cough is present. This symptom can easily divert one away from the remedy because it seems unrelated to its primary association. However, in examining the dynamics of the horse’s everyday life, you will find that he has no filter for absorbing the anxiety of those around him, and will seem firmly planted in a state of perpetual worry, concern and resulting depression or sense of hopelessness. It will seem as though he cannot “unplug” from others. In general, Digitalis is associated with

guilt, which in a horse appears as a sense of responsibility for the feelings of those around them. Physical symptoms can include both an excess buildup of fluids as well as an excess loss of fluids through perspiration or urination. Baryta Carbonica can be used in cases of grief, depression and despondency. You will find a massive state of energy conservation associated with this remedy, in which the animal has no desire to move at all. It is also associated with swellings and enlargements and some form of rigidity, hardness or inflexibility. A horse in need of this remedy might seem shy and unwilling to engage. Thuja is a remedy that’s commonly used for horses overall. It is associated with many expressions, including cancer, rapid weight loss, and a general state of despondency. Individuals who need Thuja seem to be missing in action amid their own story. There is a spooky lack of presence and character and a sense of both fragility and rigidity at once. Thuja is a great preventative treatment for vaccine injury and can be given solely for that reason following vaccination. Staphysagria has become one of the most common remedies for the

➾ Resistance These symptoms can also indicate physical ailments, so be sure to contact a holistic veterinarian if you notice any in your horse. He or she will help you determine what’s going on so you can treat the issue accordingly.


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From left: Digitalis, Thuja, Staphysagria

treatment of horses that are shut down. These animals have often been asked to do too much without their consent or adequate support. It is a remedy associated with resentment, which in horses present as quiet yet formidable resistance. An animal might need Staphysagria if he appears to be very tolerant, but ultimately tolerates too much and ends up feeling overly imposed upon. The result is a deficient state that may appear as an overall dullness and disassociation. Nitric Acid is associated with depression, anxiety and grief. While it can be helpful for horses who display weakness and fatigue, it’s

most beneficial for irritability and oversensitivity. If a horse “discharges” often — including energetic discharges that are super-charged and explosive — Nitric Acid might be in order. Similarly, if an animal has some kind of tissue destruction, such as decaying teeth or discharges that destroy the surrounding tissue, or if he has an element of despair, this remedy may help. The despair will manifest as snappishness and oversensitivity to outside stimulation — wind, noise, light, touch, etc. The horse will close off emotionally as a form of self-protection. Symptoms of depression and anxiety alert us to the horse’s state of mental health and his need to be regarded holistically in mind, body and soul. If we pay attention to his emerging mental/emotional state, we can treat him homeopathically before physical symptoms become advanced. Treating proactively on this level makes the best use of homeopathy’s full potential for curative action.

EDITOR’S NOTE Beyond homeopathy, there are many natural ways to improve equine mental health, such as acupuncture, chiropractic and energy work. One particular form of energy work known as resonance re-patterning utilizes muscle checking for choosing the modalities most effective for the particular horse. Past trauma that is currently still bothering the horse is addressed with any of a number of modalities, including color, light, sound and more. The horse caregiver may work with the practitioner online and proxy the horse. One site offering this form of energy work is pethealingsocal.com.

Susan Guran is a graduate of the New England School of Homeopathy and practices classical homeopathy (one remedy at a time), using the Herscu method, developed by Dr. Paul Herscu. She treats horses, dogs, cats and sometimes their humans (if they ask). Susan incorporates animal communication skills into her case taking methods for a more complete picture of the animal’s needs. She works in Vermont as both a homeopath and a PATH Certified Instructor.

Equine Wellness



Catnip (Nepeta cataria) It’s not just for cats! Catnip, also known as catmint or catwort, is an awesome addition to your equine herbal treasure chest. A member of the mint family originating in Europe, China and the Middle East, this hardy herb is very easy to grow and a wonderful aid in improving your horse’s nerves and insect resistance.

PLANT PARTS AND USES The leaves are the most commonlyused part of the plant, often as a tea

with fresh or dried leaves, or made into an essential oil for topical or internal ingestion. In addition to being a favorite among felines, catnip leaves have a whole host of medicinal benefits; they can be used as a relaxant, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing agent, and a very effective insect repellent. This lovely cousin of the mint plant also features purple or white flowers — a fragrant addition to your garden!

By Melanie Falls

MOST COMMON USES FOR THE HORSE Some recent studies have shown that catnip is more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes and houseflies. Mix some fresh leaves with water and place in a spray bottle to keep those pests away from your horse. Alternatively, get some catnip essential oil and mix it into your favorite fly spray for an additional boost. Showing? Trailering? Expecting your horse to go through a stressful event? No problem. Catnip contains nepetalactone, a chemical compound very similar to those found in valerian, to help horses relax. Throw some dried catnip into his feed to help him adjust and settle down.

HOME GROWN This perennial herb is very invasive, just like mint, and therefore should be controlled if you are going to plant it. Place in well-draining soil with plenty of light. Water regularly, and trim for the most robust foliage. Catnip blooms in the summer and fall so it’s best to plant during those periods. Insect- and deer-resistant, this is a great herb to situate among other plants to bolster the overall health of your garden.

Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, having healed her own horse, 25-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, 844-946-5378.


Equine Wellness

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT FULL- AND BROAD-SPECTRUM HEMP Research alongside a holistic veterinarian allowed Essential Herban Pet Life to discover that organic full- and broad-spectrum CBD/hemp oil offers the most benefits for animals. Their oil is cold-pressed and distilled using the entire hemp plant, which contains hundreds of beneficial cannabinoids. When given to horses, benefits may include relief of joint stiffness and pain, improved cardiovascular and digestive health, increased relaxation and reduced anxiety and stress. EssentialHerbanPetLife.com

Full-spectrum hemp oils (2000 mg) from Green Coast Pet are high quality oils in a tasty peppermint flavor for easy administration at an affordable price point. Available for horses, dogs and cats, this full-spectrum cannabinoid product is made with hemp grown in the US using a solvent-free, super critical CO2 extraction method. NASC Certified. greencoastpet.com Source CBD 2000 mg full-spectrum CBD-rich hemp oil horse tincture is specially formulated for equines. Developed by infusing cannabidiol-rich industrial-grade hemp oil with high quality liquid coconut oil, this product is non-psychoactive and contains only the highest quality ingredients available. sourcecbdhemp.com

REDUCE BACK SORENESS IN EQUINE ATHLETES Do you want to help your horse feel his very best before and during every ride? Benefab ® understands the important parallel between pain and behavior, and this was the driving force behind Rejuvenate SmartScrim — an acupunctureinspired sheet that’s been clinically proven to reduce back soreness in equine athletes. It features far-infrared therapy with medical-grade magnets that lie over key acupuncture points for a targeted therapy — addressing the back, shoulders and hind end. Benefabproducts.com

EAR PLUGS FOR SENSITIVE EQUINES DOES YOUR HORSE NEED TO CHILL? Chill™ is a horse calming formula made with botanicals well-regarded for their ability to stabilize psycho-emotional disturbances. Used to help promote relaxed behavior in horses with trailer fright, behavioral problems and separation anxiety, as well as those on stall rest, this allnatural blend focuses the mind without causing dopiness. Chill™ supports and maintains the horse’s normal disposition and will not negatively affect performance, making it perfect for excitable equines with pre-performance jitters. omegaalphastore.com

Pomms Horse Ear Plugs can be an extremely effective tool for sensitive horses. By blocking out distractions, they help the horse — and the rider — find peace of mind in new situations off property. We love the soft texture of Pomms ear plugs and find them very easy and gentle to use. They’re available in black or pink, for pony or horse. eaglewoodequestrian.ca

Equine Wellness




Ammonia is second only to dust as the leading cause of severe respiratory disease in horses. A one-time exposure to high ammonia concentration can cause irreversible chronic illness. And horses aren’t the only ones at risk — horse caretakers and their families, trainers, instructors, managers, grooms, farm hands, pupils and visitors can also be affected.

THE DANGERS OF AMMONIA POISONING Ammonia is a caustic, corrosive gas that is poisonous when inhaled in high concentrations. Some signs of ammonia poisoning in horses and humans are: • • • •

Ammonia is a stealthy compound that impacts even the most pristine equine facilities. A smell so powerful would normally cause a knee-jerk reaction in the brain’s amygdala region. But due to sensory adaptation, our awareness of ammonia odor is reduced after prolonged exposure, causing us to dismiss it. Here are some ways to reduce ammonia in your barn.

burning, watery eyes nose and throat irritation difficulty breathing dizziness

• coughing • vomiting • nausea

Over time, ammonia poisoning can cause blindness, permanent lung damage and even death.


Ammonia – When excess protein is not metabolized by the horse, it’s shed in urine in the form of urea. Bacterial activity breaks down urea, creating ammonia gas, a chemical that burns the nostrils and lungs.

Urine – Sterile clear to yellow liquid from the kidneys that eliminates water, salt and other waste products not processed by the body into energy.

NATURAL WAYS TO REDUCE AMMONIA Many people think ammonia is a necessary component of the equine business. IT’S NOT! Tackling ammonia means implementing: ✔ proper diet for your horse

✔ good bedding

✔ one-piece stall mats

✔ stall amendments

✔ proper cleaning

✔ good ventilation

✔ more turnout time

✔ regular testing


A balanced diet equals less ammonia. Speak with your veterinarian or an equine nutritionist to make sure you’re providing your horse with the nutrients he needs.


The more time horses spend outside, the less opportunity they have to urinate in their stalls. If your horse tends to urinate in one spot, try training him to pee mostly outside by placing his wet bedding outdoors where you want him to “go”.


Equine Wellness


Good bedding is a necessity for horses that spend a lot of time indoors. It provides absorption, moisture control, and acts as a barrier to noxious gases. Besides reducing the presence of ammonia, the right bedding can also help prevent high concentrations of mold, viruses, spores, bacteria, allergens, dust and endotoxins. HOW DOES YOUR BEDDING RATE? Hemp Peat moss Flakes Shavings Sawdust Wood pellets Straw Paper Peanut shells Rice hulls

Stall amendments Because ammonia needs moisture to produce odor, stall amendments can be of great benefit.

TRY… Diatomaceous earth (DE) Soft sedimentary rock ground into a fine powder, DE has a unique pH that neutralizes ammonia. It’s also very absorptive. Look for a product with a pH of less than 6 to neutralize ammonia. Clinoptilolite (zeolite) A type of mineral that traps liquid and odor molecules in its honeycomblike structure. Changes ammonia to ammonium then releases it as nitrogen.

AVOID… Hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) Though often spread on stall floors to absorb moisture and remove ammonia odor, it’s highly corrosive and can burn nostrils, eyes and hooves. It may even increase the alkaline level in bedding and actually create more ammonia gas. Barn lime (calcium carbonate) Otherwise known as dairy lime, barn lime is crushed limestone. It looks pretty but doesn’t do much for drying or odor control.


Passive (natural) ventilation means orientating barn doors and windows toward the prevailing wind and keeping them open to create airflow, perpetually renewing the air throughout the barn. Ceiling baffles, ridge vents and wall louvers are other options. Active (mechanical) ventilation — the use of fans — isn’t common in horse barns, but can make the difference between a hot dank barn and a freshsmelling one with low ammonia levels. Strategically-placed fans directed with the prevailing wind will pull heat, airborne pathogens, moisture, ammonia and carbon monoxide outside. Place fans high and out of reach in stall corners and on ceilings.

One-piece stall mats

These lack seams, thereby minimizing the shifting, sliding and lifting that urine wetness can seep through. Multi-seamed mats allow for urine puddling underneath, creating a temperate moist breeding ground for fungus and noxious ammonia.

Cleaning Testing

In their article “How to Do Air Quality Testing in the Equine Barn”, Tuft’s University suggests testing stall air quality with a cyclone device or laser photometers. Otherwise, the best way to check the ammonia level in your barn is to get low and sniff!

Keeping stalls clean and dry goes a long way to reducing ammonia. Increase the rate of cleaning during inclement weather or periods of greater barn occupancy during recoveries, etc. When you muck a stall, remove wet bedding and lay down a heavy dose of stall deodorizer. Apply fresh, dry bedding.

Equine Wellness







S D I C A Y T T FA FOR HORS E S By Jennifer Moore, PhD

A look at the role of Omega-3s in the equine diet, and how to determine the best source for your horse.


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Omega-3 fatty acids are a particular type of fat. The name “Omega-3” refers to the chemical structure of the fat — particularly, the placement of a double bond in a specific location along the molecule. This gives Omega3s high fluidity, which is of great benefit in one of their main functions — forming part of the structure of cell membranes. Because every cell in the body has a membrane, it’s no surprise that Omega-3s have many benefits! Some include immune and anti-inflammatory functions, and roles in brain and eye tissue. Needless to say, Omega-3s play an important role in your horse’s overall health.

When Omega-3 supplementation is warranted One Omega-3 fatty acid is essential to the horse’s diet — alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The term “essential” is used because ALA cannot be made by the body and must be consumed in the diet. Once in the body, ALA can be used to form other Omega-3s, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). You can think of ALA as the building block, and EPA and DHA as the functioning products. You can’t make the final products unless enough building blocks are available.

A horse maintained primarily on fresh pasture is able to consume large amounts of ALA, and such a diet contains substantially more Omega3s than Omega-6s (see sidebar at right). However, the further you move away from this more natural diet, the lower the horse’s access to Omega-3s becomes. Hay has lower Omega-3 concentrations than fresh pasture, but still contains more Omega-3s than Omega-6s. Grains used in concentrate feeds, such as oats and corn, have even lower levels of Omega-3s, and to make matters worse, contain significantly more Omega-6s. The same is true for most plant oils. For these reasons, horses who do not have access to fresh pasture may benefit from Omega-3 supplementation. This is particularly true when grain-based concentrates make up a large portion of the horse’s diet. Horses with inflammatory conditions or concerns may also benefit from added Omega3s. While research has shown varying results, Omega-3 supplementation may be beneficial for respiratory and joint inflammation, and for horses with metabolic conditions such as insulin resistance. Additionally, Omega-3s can be beneficial for exercising/performance horses and breeding horses.


isn’t available, and if the horse has some of the additional needs already mentioned, supplementation with other sources of Omega-3s may be beneficial. FISH OIL Fish oil is one of the only natural sources of EPA and DHA. As such, it is typically considered the best Omega-3 supplement source, since it provides the EPA and DHA rather than just ALA. Getting horses to consume fish oil can be a problem, as horses often do not care for the taste. Adding a drop of peppermint oil and mixing the supplement in with grain can help mask the fishy flavor.

Sources of Omega-3s

Recommendations on how much fish oil to feed vary widely (see sidebar on page 40), so be sure to talk to your vet or an equine nutritionist before adding it to your horse’s diet.

PASTURE/FORAGE As previously mentioned, the most natural source of Omega-3s for horses is fresh pasture, which is rich in ALA. Besides being a better source of Omega-3s than grains and vegetable oils, fresh pasture is more conducive to the horse’s digestive tract, which is designed for small frequent meals of fibrous feed (i.e. grazing). However, pasture is not always a realistic option. When regular access to pasture

FLAXSEED/LINSEED Flaxseed is typically considered the best plant source of Omega-3s, containing a large quantity of ALA. “Flaxseed” and “linseed” are often used interchangeably, but while they are sourced from the same plant, they are processed differently. Flaxseed is typically used for feeds. The whole seeds are less digestible, so ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil are the typical supplement sources. Continued on page 40.

While Omega-3s tend to get the most attention, Omegas 6 and 9 fatty acids also play important roles in the body. Like Omega-3s, their names are based on the location of the double bond along the molecule. However, while Omegas 3 and 6 have many double bonds, making them polyunsaturated fats, Omega9s typically only have one double bond, making them monounsaturated fats. Unlike Omegas 3 and 6, Omega-9s can be made in the body from other fats, so they are not essential in the diet, though the natural equine diet does contain them. Omegas 3 and 6 are both essential in the diet and are involved in inflammatory pathways. Omega-3s are usually involved in antiinflammatory pathways, while Omega-6s are typically involved in the pro-inflammatory pathways. Not surprisingly, therefore, they are somewhat in competition within the body. While a healthy inflammatory response is beneficial for processes like blood clotting, excess inflammation can lead to other problems. For this reason, while both Omega-3s and Omega-6s are vital to the body, it is important to maintain them in an appropriate balance in the diet.

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HOW MUCH OMEGA-3 SUPPLEMENTATION DOES MY HORSE NEED? Though serving recommendations for Omega-3 sources vary widely, general recommendations based on equine research are summarized in the chart at right.


Omega-3s provided

Serving recommendation



Free choice

Fish oil


2 tablespoons to 1 cup



½ to 1 cup for ground or whole seeds; 2 tablespoons to 1 cup for oil

Chia seeds


¼ to 1 cup

flaxseeds, however, chia seeds have softer hulls and can be fed whole. While chia seeds are likely to have similar benefits as other Omega-3 sources, no scientific research has been conducted on feeding them to horses.

Selecting the best source of Omega-3s

Continued from page 39. There’s often a misconception that flaxseed is toxic, but it has been shown to be very safe to feed to horses, even at rates much higher than those recommended for Omega-3 supplementation. However, the recommendation is that flaxseed be fed in the suggested preparations (ground seeds or oil) rather than soaking or boiling the seeds, as both of the latter have the potential to result in the formation of toxic compounds. CHIA SEEDS Chia seeds are another excellent source of Omega-3s, again in the form of ALA. Unlike

When considering Omega-3 supplementation for your horse, it is important to consider what type the supplement is providing. In horses, the process of converting ALA to EPA and DHA is inefficient and becomes less effective under stress conditions. For this reason, enough ALA must be provided to overcome this inefficiency, or additional EPA and DHA may need to be directly supplemented if there are concerns about a horse’s ability to process ALA. For horses that may have reduced metabolic function, such as seniors or those with metabolic conditions, a direct source of EPA/ DHA is recommended. For other horses, sources of ALA alone may be sufficient, but supplementing the diet with a combination of EPA/ DHA and ALA would be preferred.

This could be accomplished with a combination of fish oil and pasture, or a commercial supplement that provides both EPA/DHA and ALA sources. Another concern is rancidity. Because Omega-3 sources are high in polyunsaturated fats, exposure to air can quickly lead to rancidity. This is especially true for oils or ground products (like flaxseed). For these products, look for sources that have been stabilized. Typically, they’re stabilized with vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant. You will see something like “mixed tocopherols” on a label when vitamin E has been added. In the case of ground flaxseed, if you choose to grind the seeds yourself, avoid storing them by ideally grinding them right before feeding. Store oils in the refrigerator when possible. Overall, horses are designed to have a diet high in Omega-3s, as provided by fresh forage. Because not all horses are fed fresh forage, and some have additional needs for Omega-3s, supplementation with other sources can be beneficial.

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


Equine Wellness

Omega-3 sources

Equine Wellness



horse caregivers can 0 1 ways avoid burnout By Jennifer Walker


Caregiver burnout is a common part of the ride for many horse enthusiasts — but it doesn’t have to be. The life of an equestrian is often full of highs and lows since the workload involved in owning one or several horses can be daunting and exhausting. But steps can be taken to avoid burnout and the symptoms that come along with it. 42 Equine Wellness

1. BE MINDFUL No matter how much you love your equine companions, a life dedicated to horses can be exhausting and can lead to burnout at any time. Being mindful of the signs and symptoms (see sidebar on page 44) can be crucial when trying to avoid the woes of this common health issue.

Claire Hunter, trainer, breeder, equine consultant and owner of Braecrest Farm, has experienced caregiver burnout firsthand. “I am mindful of why I burned out the first time and how to not let it happen again,” she says. “For me, caregiver burnout is the loss of joy day to day; I isolated myself and was walking a fine line.”

WHAT IS CAREGIVER BURNOUT? For those experiencing physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, caregiver burnout could be looming. This health issue is common in people who spend their lives caring for those in need, such as children, seniors or animals. Often the caregiver gets so busy that they sacrifice or overlook their own well-being, which can lead to overwhelming feelings of fatigue, and may also be accompanied by a change in attitude and a loss of passion.

equestrian career, while putting things into perspective and providing a fresh outlook on life and what is important.

3. INVEST IN YOURSELF MENTALLY While it’s important to know when to take a break, it’s also important to stay mentally invested in what you do. Challenge yourself by reading books and articles about horses, or take a continued education class. If it adds to your stress, stop — but you might find that learning new things about your equine companions helps you enjoy your work more. And it’ll teach you how to “work smarter, not harder”!

Getting proper rest, eating healthy and using supportive therapies are essential when working through the stresses of caregiver burnout. “It is not weakness to need this support,” says Claire. Massage, chiropractic and acupressure services can promote relaxation, alleviate stress, and lower blood pressure while also improving the body’s immune system.

6. PLAN TIME AWAY While taking regular short breaks is a must, planning longer periods of time away from work can also be beneficial. Find someone to fill your shoes for a week or more so you can go on a trip — or just curl up at home for some R&R. Unplugging and unwinding for a decent length of time will give the body, mind and soul time to break away from the demands of everyday life, lowering stress levels and improving your outlook on life.


2. TAKE A STEP BACK Recognizing the need for help or the need for time alone is a must when caregiver burnout is on the horizon. Stepping back for a few days or even just a few hours can have a massive, positive impact on a busy


4. WORK WITH A COUNSELOR OR LIFE COACH Having a professional like a counselor or life coach on your side can be beneficial when working through feelings of stress, anxiety and all things that come with caregiver burnout. He or she can help you find clarity about your future, work with you to set reachable goals, and help you remember why you started working with horses in the first place. Sometimes just talking about your feelings can have a positive impact.

While social media can be a great way to connect with other horse enthusiasts, it can have a negative impact on everyday life for those indulging on a regular basis. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can dredge up feelings of envy and inadequacy, which can be harmful to businesses and individuals alike. “It’s all about perspective,” says Claire. “People are only showing you the positive things in life and in business. They’re painting a picture of perfection that we all compare ourselves to, and it’s not real.” Continued on page 44. Equine Wellness


SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE BU RN E D OUT Learning to navigate the signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout is a crucial component for prevention as well as the recovery process. Those who are headed down the slippery slope to caregiver burnout may experience various symptoms, such as: • Depression • Anxiety • Loss of interest • Loss of ambition • Fatigue • Feelings of resentment • Difficulty sleeping • Irritability

Continued from page 43. The social media pressure to lead or appear to lead a perfect life or business can be detrimental to one’s self esteem and productivity. If you enjoy spending time on social media, make sure you’re doing it in a healthy way. Only follow accounts that inspire you, and know when to stop scrolling!


Being present and remembering what brings joy into our lives is vital to working through caregiver burnout. If you’re feeling burned out, take time every day to sit quietly on your own. Listen to your breath, notice how your body feels and recognize how your mind tends 44

Equine Wellness


to wander. Meditation exercises can reduce stress, help you control anxiety, improve self-awareness and support emotional health.

9. KEEP A LIST OF TRIGGERS Words, people, opinions and stressful situations are all emotional triggers that can cause various negative reactions. Knowing what your triggers are can be a great way to steer clear of caregiver burnout. To help keep her mind clear and her motives in check, Claire keeps a list of triggers that cause bad feelings and stress, and another list that outlines the things that bring her joy and happiness. She then dedicates time to removing the negatives from her life by doing more of the things that bring her peace and joy.

While horses are a lot of work, they are also great companions and are consistent in drama-free friendship. Unfortunately, coworkers and family members cannot always offer the same qualities, which can lead to unnecessary stress. Having people around you who have your best interests at heart is always important, especially when running a business or keeping up with a hobby that requires a lot of financial, physical and emotional upkeep. Unfortunately, the pathway for most horse enthusiasts can be a bumpy one, full of highs and lows. But remembering why your heart led you in this direction is important. Caregivers must always focus on the passion, dedication and undying love for horses that inspired their journeys in the first place.

Jennifer Walker studied journalism before starting her career as a reporter at The Uxbridge Times Journal. After she and her husband welcomed their Irish twins, Frankie and Finn, Jennifer decided to change lanes and focus on being a stay at home mom and wife. As the girls grew, Jennifer decided to return to her passion for writing and has been freelancing from home for various Durham Region publications for the past six years.



Images courtesy of Kemin Animal Nutrition and Health — North America (Kemin Industries, Inc.)

As many horse caretakers now know, a well-functioning gut is a critical component of overall health in equines. If a horse’s performance, body composition or general mood changes, there’s a good chance something might be off in his gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In fact, GI issues are the second-leading cause of death in horses. Driven by these facts, Kemin, a leading ingredient manufacturing company, developed a one-of-a-kind program that’s changing the way people deal with equine gut issues. The Kemin Gut Health Triple Check Program, and the products that support it, are based on a three-pronged approach to gut health. “Over the years, Kemin has researched a variety of approaches to improving gut health — ways to positively impact beneficial bacteria and optimize nutrient digestion and absorption,” says Matt Christofferson, Senior Product Manager for Equine at Kemin. “Improving equine gut health involves a comprehensive focus on the feed going into the animal, integrity of the intestinal wall and immune system and pathogen reduction.” Step one of this comprehensive approach is to “Clean Up” healthimpacting contaminants in a horse’s diet. Supportive products include antioxidants, flow agents and mold inhibitors.



PROGRAM PRODUCTS • ButiPEARL™ Z EQ: An encapsulated organic acid/nutrient combination that promotes intestinal barrier strength • CLOSTAT®: Contains PB6, a naturally-occurring probiotic that inhibits pathogen growth and supports microbial balance • Aleta™: A 1,3-beta glucan that supports immune function

The second step is to “Build Up” the intestinal barrier and immune system to maximize nutrient absorption. Kemin’s ButiPEARL™ Z EQ is the primary solution for this stage. The third and final step is to “Knock Out” or eliminate harmful pathogens from the body using specific probiotics such as the Bacillus subtilis PB6 in CLOSTAT® to support intestinal microbiome balance. Kemin has managed to make a rather complex process extremely easy to implement. Since its launch in 2017, the program has helped support the absence, prevention and avoidance of diseases such as leaky gut syndrome. “Our success stories include a four-

year-old thoroughbred filly that retired from racing due to body condition issues and chronic diarrhea,” says Matt. “ButiPEARL™ Z EQ and CLOSTAT® were part of the feeding regimen that led to a more compliant horse with improved body condition. Another instance was a 29-year-old mare with diarrhea so severe the owner had to wash her every night. After 1.5 weeks of feeding ButiPEARL™ Z EQ, the manure started to normalize.” Kemin’s mission, like their program, is threefold — to grow their support of equine initiatives, increase the overall health and well-being of horses and, ultimately, improve equine performance. “Helping horses and their owners reach peak performance and enjoyment is what we appreciate most,” says Matt. “Hearing success stories in which our products helped nutritionists, veterinarians and horse owners improve the overall well-being of their animals makes our work worthwhile.” To learn more about GI issues in horses and how Kemin’s program and products can help, visit kemin.com/leakygut.

Equine Wellness



PEMF therapy for your horse’s health and performance

By Brenda Judah, CBS, CBI, and Sharron Oyer, MEd, CBS, CBI

Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy is used by horse caretakers, trainers and groomers to enhance health and performance in equines.

What happens when you marry ancient healing wisdom with modern wellness technology? A perfect match! Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) technology is becoming a popular therapy for humans and horses alike because it embraces both these aspects — conventional “horse sense” and scientific innovation. The result? Limitless positive effects. The energy flow of the body as perceived by integrative practitioners thousands of years ago has now been validated by current medical research. Using innovative equipment and expertise, this energy flow can be measured and observed — how it moves, how it operates, and how it enhances our healing process. At the core of every living organism, including humans and their horses, is 46

Equine Wellness

energy — the fundamental component of understanding and acquiring health and healing. This is the premise by which PEMF devices work.

How do PEMF devices work? PEMF devices send powerful pulsed energy waves into the body to stimulate its natural ability to heal and regenerate on a cellular level. These energy waves directly impact cell energy and their ability to ward off whatever is threatening them, whether emotional or physical. Some PEMF devices use proprietary multi-dimensional signals or waveforms via the electromagnetic field to stimulate the body’s healing response. Because these devices support the very essence of energy flow, they can be effectively used on a daily basis not only to accelerate

healing, but also for preventing disease and disorders. Using pulsed energy waves, these devices are designed to stimulate the circulatory system. Blood is the body’s universal means of transporting oxygen, nutrients, hormones and immune fighting cells.

Less than two minutes into a PEMF session and the relaxation process is quite visible. Relaxation equals recovery, regeneration, suppleness, and focus for the horse.

The blood stream also delivers toxins to the eliminative organs. PEMF devices are designed to stimulate the flow of blood to every part of the body, and therefore have a huge impact on the health of your horse — from the immune response to the digestive and excretory systems, as well as every system in between. PEMF devices are safe and painless. There are no negative side effects; only a sense of relaxation and wellbeing as the electromagnetic signals gently pulsate their healing properties throughout the entire body and mind.

What issues do PEMF devices positively affect? The most efficient PEMF devices focus on the core bodily systems necessary for health and wellbeing. Many physical discomforts are directly related to a diminished circulatory system which can result in dysfunctional metabolic processes. PEMF improves your horse’s restricted general blood flow, which provides a considerable boost to his recovery and regenerative processes. PEMF therapy also:

• Supports the action of the parasympathetic nervous system which directly impacts the digestive and immune systems. This is certainly not an exhaustive list; it shows only some of the benefits that can be expected. Because the main focus of PEMF therapy is stress reduction and energy flow, the autonomic nervous system is greatly impacted, which in turn regulates every physiological system of the body.

• A n FDA-registered medical device • Focused stimulation to the microvascular system to maintain optimal health • Research — the company you buy from should be experienced and knowledgeable

• Promotes muscular regeneration

• Endorsements and use by NASA

• Promotes relaxation and recovery processes

• I ntegrity — product claims should be fully supported

• Reduces stress

• Endorsements of well-respected and successful professionals using the product in their medical practices and/or personal lives

• I ncreases performance • Helps prevent and increase defence against infection • Expedites the recovery process after an injury

PEMF therapy

Like all products and services, some PEMF devices are better than others. When it comes to your health and your horse’s, there is much to consider. Here’s what to look for to get the most bang for your buck:

• Non-partial independent comparative studies

• Optimizes exercise and supports training by helping improve suppleness

PEMF devices are fast becoming a favorite among veterinarians, trainers and horse caretakers alike. Because they support the natural healing capabilities of the entire body, they’re an investment that will bring you great returns!

What to look for when buying a PEMF device

• I mproves microcirculation and vasomotion

• I mproves energy flow

Photo courtesy of BEMER.

• Results in more efficient hydration

• E ase of use, both for horse and human; seek a lightweight, adjustable, battery-operated device that includes multiple uses with one charge • Additional applications for injury therapy (wraparound pads, etc. for more intense focused therapy).

PEMF devices send powerful, pulsed energy waves into the body via the electromagnetic field stimulating healthy blood flow.

Brenda Judah, CBS, CBI, and Sharron Oyer, MEd, CBS, CBI, are certified Biofeedback and Stress Management Specialists and Instructors with the Natural Therapies Certification Board. They have over 29 years of combined experience using BEMER PEMF therapy and biofeedback devices with both humans and animals. They co-own Equine Bio Health and Integrity Biofeedback Academy. equinebiohealth.com, integritybiofeedbackacademy.com, (239) 221-8977.

Equine Wellness



Saving America’s

wild burros By Mark S. Meyers

An inside look at the current circumstances surrounding wild burros in the US, and how organizations are working to manage the overpopulation of these animals.

For centuries, wild burros have played an integral and invaluable part in the Western world’s expansion. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the US’s wild burro population. The issues and welfare concerns surrounding wild burros in our country is quite complex and overwhelmingly misunderstood. Our hope is to bring to light the issues wild burros currently face, and what the future may hold for these beautiful creatures.


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All photos courtesy of Mark S. Meyers

A BRIEF HISTORY In 1971, centuries after burros were first introduced to the West (see sidebar at right), Congress passed the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act as a way to address the overpopulation of these animals. Prior to the passage of this act, horses and burros were routinely shot, rounded up and harassed as they were seen as direct competitors to cattle ranchers. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was given the responsibility of establishing Herd Management Areas (HMAs), setting stocking rates and removing any horses or burros deemed excessive to what the rangelands could support. Through the years, the BLM has assisted other agencies such as the National Park Service (NPS) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) with their burro populations. Unfortunately, in recent years, the numbers have become much higher than their adoption program can handle. Today, the storage of these removed horses and burros has finally hit a tipping point.

WHAT’S BEING DONE? To properly understand the current state of America’s wild burros, you must first understand which animals are protected and which are not. As things stand today, only those burros on BLM administered lands are considered “protected”. BLM lands lie outside national parks, military bases, USF&WS refuges,

A brief history

Donkeys first arrived in the Americas on Christopher Columbus’ second voyage in 1493 and quickly became instrumental in mining, agriculture, and transportation across the region. During the westward expansion, donkeys were an invaluable part of railroad construction: they carried explosives into the mountains and other areas where larger horses and mules could not reach. Over time, some of these early donkeys wandered away or were traded to the indigenous people. These would eventually become the first free-roaming wild burros in North America.

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Native American reservations, and state-held lands. The numbers of wild burros in these areas are debated — some estimate there could be anywhere from several hundred to several thousand. They also migrate in herds between protected and unprotected lands in search of resources as populations shift. On protected lands, it is a federal crime to harm wild horses and burros, but the animals are not offered the same protections within unprotected areas. In fact, national parks have a “Zero Horse and Burro” policy based on the fact that these animals are a “non-native species” that competes with native wildlife and causes destruction. The argument is also made that car accidents often occur in overpopulated regions as the burros migrate.

Death Valley National Park is known for having large numbers of wild burros. Since 1938, burro roundups have been conducted in this park by the BLM and other agencies at the direction of the federal government. But although millions have been spent on these roundups, one thing has happened each time — the BLM never maintains the projects. Eventually, the burros return and repopulate, and more roundups are required — typically every 20 years.

TOO MANY BURROS, NOT ENOUGH RESOURCES The BLM spends more than half its entire budget on feeding and storing over 50,000 wild horses and burros at various sites in Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Their own Advisory Board has repeatedly recommended that these surplus animals be destroyed. Public opinion has kept this recommendation from being implemented, but the current predicament of overpopulation on these storage sites has resulted in fewer and fewer roundups taking place. As the populations continue to grow, the burros from one area will move to an area with less competition for resources. This means that places like Death Valley become a choice area for grazing, breeding and foal rearing. It also means that a once federally-protected burro is no longer afforded that protection.

HOW THIRD PARTY ORGANIZATIONS ARE HELPING Various groups and organizations such as the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue (PVDR) have stepped in over the years to assist where they can. PVDR has been involved with wild burro management since 2004, and has helped manage excess burros on the lands where they are not federally protected. We use only humane bait and water traps, and do not chase, harass or rope the burros. This allows for a much easier transition into domestic life. PVDR is currently under contract with the NPS to manage the burro populations in Death Valley National Park, the Mojave National Preserve, Fort Irwin National Training Center, NASA Goldstone Deep Space Communications, and various areas in Arizona and Texas. These ongoing projects will keep burro numbers down and not allow them to repopulate. Various agencies such as the NPS have the authority to use lethal shooting to manage the numbers on their lands, but PVDR’s involvement keeps this from happening.


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What is a burro?

“Donkey” and “burro” both refer to the Asinus Equus, or common ass. In the United States, we use “donkey” to refer to the domestic stock and “burro” to describe their free-roaming brethren. Donkeys come in three distinct sizes: Miniature — 36" at the withers Standard — 37" to 55" Mammoth — 56" and above Without fail, wild burros always fall within the standard size range.

PVDR’s captured burros are taken to a nearby staging area where a licensed veterinarian draws blood samples to test for common equine diseases. Once cleared, the jennets (females) and foals are taken to PVDR’s Western Regional Facility in Arizona, while the jacks (males) are transported to our main facility in Texas to await castration in the cooler months. All burros are microchipped, and all their personal details including their capture location are recorded in our online data system. The burros are then assessed for training. If they show an interest in people, they will enter our training program for eventual adoption. If they are still wild and having a difficult time adjusting to their new surroundings, they are placed at one of many sanctuaries where they have a sense of freedom but are still being handled and given medical care and hoof trimming. Currently, 3,500 donkeys are under the care of PVDR, nearly half

of which are wild burros. In our 20 years of operation, we’ve rehomed thousands. The fate of wild burros in America is uncertain. Luckily, new studies are being conducted regarding the benefits these animals may have brought to the region over time — such as the ability to locate underground water sources and dig wells when water is particularly scarce. The public is also becoming aware of the situation and that is incredibly helpful. Donating and volunteering with groups involved in saving, studying and advocating for wild burros is important, as is simply understanding that this is an issue we should all care about. After all, if it weren’t for wild burros, our country may not have not grown the way it did. Mark Meyers is an author, photographer and award-winning filmmaker. He is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) charitable organization (Tax ID #77-0562800). To learn more, about PVDR, visit donkeyrescue.org.

Equine Wellness



Building your horse’s trust

By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis

How staying present and performing a gentle acupressure session on your horse can help deepen his trust in you. mounting to ride. Being present while riding lets your horse know you are alert and want to protect him. Trainers tell you to look where you want the horse to go because he knows where you are looking. It’s a good motto.


If you think your horse knows exactly what you’re thinking and feeling when you’re riding, you are absolutely right! Horses are incredibly sensitive to human thoughts and emotions, so his level of trust — and ultimately his behavior — depends a lot on your mental state during a ride. Because horses are prey animals, their safety requires them to be constantly alert. They rely on their keen ability to read everything in their environment — including you — and the ambient emotional tenor of their surroundings directly impacts their emotional stability.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING PRESENT When you’re with your horse, staying present is one of the best ways to earn his trust. If you get mentally distracted by what you’re going to make for dinner or what you need to buy at the grocery store, your horse may spook or bolt before you realize what’s happening. He’ll pick up on the fact that you aren’t present, and will overreact to the snap of a broken twig because he thinks he has to protect himself. Even the most “push-button” horses have experienced the “fight or flight” instinct when they suspect they aren’t safe. 52

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A CHINESE MEDICINE PERSPECTIVE In Chinese medicine, the spirit of the animal is important. Emotions such as fear and anxiety can seriously disrupt the health and well-being of an animal — especially a prey animal. When faced with a fearful situation, horses want to run away as fast as they can. If the horse can’t get away, anxiety builds, and at an extreme level of stress, he can become self-destructive, which is not a good survival strategy. Your job as a rider is to help allay your horse’s fears and provide a sense of security. Building trust between you and your horse is essential, even before

Acupressure is based on Chinese medicine and can help build the bond between you and your horse. Specific acupressure points, also called “acupoints,” are known to promote a sense of trust (see chart below). Just by offering your horse this acupressure session every fourth or fifth day as part of your grooming regimen, you will enhance your connection. When your horse trusts you, and the both of you feel a strong sense of being bonded, your training and riding take on a whole new level of enjoyment. You become a special team! Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of ACU-HORSE: A Guide to Equine Acupressure, ACUDOG: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and ACU-CAT: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Resources, offering books, manuals, online home-study courses, DVDs, apps, and meridian charts. Contact animalacupressure.com or tallgrass@animalacupressure.com.

Acupressure Session: Building Trust Yin Tang

POINT LOCATION Yin Tang Located on the dorsal midline, slightly above the midpoint of the eyes. St 36 One-half inch lateral to the tibial crest on the lateral side of the tibia. Pe 6 Medial aspect of front leg, cranial to the midpoint of the chestnut. Bai Hui Found on dorsal midline at the lumbosacral space. © Copyright Tallgrass Publishers, LLC. All Rights Reserved 1995-current animalacupressure.com | 303-681-3030

Bai Hui

St 36

Pe 6







By Bill Bookout

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the hottest topic in animal health today. Many horse caretakers who have used CBD themselves are now choosing it for their equine companions in the hopes of helping them feel better. CBD’s potential benefits are exciting, but the huge selection of products and claims can be overwhelming, particularly when you see CBD products for sale virtually everywhere: grocery stores, coffee shops, gas stations and even video stores! If you think CBD may benefit your horse, begin by talking to your veterinarian, particularly if your horse takes any prescription medications. He or she can advise you on potential interactions and side effects and may have additional information to share. But don’t expect your vet to rattle off a list of studies supporting CBD use in horses; research is limited and most of what is currently known is anecdotal. Depending on where you live in the US, or if you’re in Canada, laws may even prohibit your vet from recommending or prescribing CBD, although he or she should still feel comfortable discussing it with you. It is ultimately your responsibility to research the CBD equine products you’re considering. Product labels

only tell part of the story. Scrutinize the supplier’s marketing materials, including their company website, to fully understand who is behind the company and how products are advertised. If a company is making direct or implied claims in any of their materials — including product names — that their products will treat, prevent, mitigate or cure any disease, they are breaking the law and misleading consumers. There are far too many opportunistic companies in the CBD space that have a “gold rush” mentality and will say anything to make a sale.

law, the CBD content meets label claims, and the products have been tested for microbial contaminants, heavy metals and pesticides?

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call the companies you’re considering. It is in your horse’s best interest to get answers to these important questions:

Finally — and very importantly — if you are an active competitor, it is important to note that CBD is not currently permitted under USEF rules. A positive test for CBD will result in a GR4 violation. The FEI also includes CBD in its list of prohibited substances. You are encouraged to carefully review the rules pertaining to CBD on the USEF and FEI websites.

• Does the supplier have a solid track record of producing equine supplements? • Does a veterinarian oversee product formulation, or does the company have a qualified animal care professional available to answer questions? • Can they provide lab test results that prove the product’s THC content is less than 0.3% as mandated by federal

The NASC Quality Seal is an excellent way to identify a product that comes from a responsible supplier. To earn permission to display this seal on their products, a supplier must pass a comprehensive facility audit every two years, maintain ongoing compliance with rigorous NASC quality requirements, and pass random independent product testing to ensure products meet label claim.

Bill Bookout is president and founder of the National Animal Supplement Council. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the animal health industry and holds a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences from the University of Wyoming, and a master’s degree from the Pepperdine University Presidents and Key Executives MBA program.

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How acupressure can improve rider comfort By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

Over time, riders experience aches and pains that result from performing repetitive movements on horseback. Acupressure can help restore rider comfort and improve performance.

Anatomically, humans are not designed to ride horses, and horses are not designed to have riders on their backs. Yet we experience spectacular breathtaking moments when horse and rider become one synchronous entity. As riders, we feel that magnificent moment when our bodies become a fluid extension of our horses’ powerful articulating muscles in stride. But despite how natural it may feel to be on horseback, rider comfort is an important consideration.

MASTERY AND TRAINING TAKES A TOLL ON THE BODY Today, most of us value our horses for sport. Riders and their equine companions work together to master specific techniques, whether for an English or Western discipline. Meeting such specific requirements takes a huge amount of effort — both emotionally and physically — but as riders, we are so intent on becoming good at our chosen disciplines that we focus on “doing it right” rather than how it feels. There are many components to learning and being an expert rider. 54

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We all start with the basics of learning how to stay on the horse while walking, trotting and cantering. Our instructors counsel us to get our heels down, lower our hands, and keep our backs straight. As we perform these well-intended instructions, certain unnatural tension builds in our bodies. Eventually, this tension impacts not only our own health, but the performance of the horses, our riding partners. As we gain confidence, skill and mastery of a discipline, it is important to pay attention to our physical comfort. In the long run, it affects our connection to the horse, and our overall enjoyment of the ride.

RIDER, HORSE AND ACUPRESSURE Even minor tension in your body affects your horse. How your body moves directly impacts your horse’s movement, so if your back is tight or your shoulder is injured, you will compromise your horse’s physical fluidity of movement. Your goal as a rider is to perform in concert and comfort with your horse, both physically and psychologically

— something that can only be achieved by making sure your mind is clear and focused on the ride while your body is not compensating for an ache or pain. Acupressure has a lot to offer the rider. It can increase focus for training and competing while also supporting the body’s ability to flow easily while riding. With regular acupressure sessions (performed on yourself or by a registered acupressure practitioner), your horse will feel the freedom of your movement as well as the guidance of your focus. These are two important elements in attaining both that sensational sense of connection with your horse, and complete mastery of your sport.

AN ACUPRESSURE SESSION FOR RIDERS Acupressure is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. After thousands of years of clinical observations, Chinese doctors proved there are energy channels below the surface of the skin that influence the healthy

balanced flow of life-promoting energy called “chi” as well as blood and other vital substances. Along these channels are found specific points, called “acupoints”, which influence the flow of nourishing vital substances. When there’s a blockage or disruption in the flow of chi and blood, the body may experience aches, pains and even serious illness. When stimulated, acupoints resolve blockages that are disrupting the harmonious flow of chi and blood, thus restoring physical and emotional balance and health.

Specific acupoints are known to increase mental clarity and focus. Others are proven to reduce soft tissue tension while enhancing its strength. In other words, acupressure helps keep the rider’s mind keenly present and supports the suppleness of his or her body, which in turn enhances the horse’s synchronistic performance. There’s an old saying: “It is always good to ride your horse in the direction in which he’s going.” This acupressure session will help you do just that!

1. This photo shows the Tui Na Technique. Place your palm down on the acupoint and gently rub up and back, making a “scooping” action between your palm and thenar eminence (large thumb muscle) on each acupoint. Remember to stimulate these acupoints on both sides of your body. 2. Large Intestine 4 (LI 4) — on the dorsum of the hand, between the first and second metacarpal bones. 3. Gall Bladder 34 (GB 34) — in the depression between and below the head of the fibula and the head of the tibia. Stomach 36 (St 36) — below the knee, one finger-breadth from the anterior crest of the tibia. 4. Gall Bladder 21 (GB 21) — located at the highest point on the trapezius muscle.



LI 4



GB 34 St 36

GB 21

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 Animal Acupressure Resources, offering books, manuals, online home-study courses, DVDs, apps, and meridian charts. Contact animalacupressure.com or tallgrass@animalacupressure.com.

Equine Wellness



Driving horses an introduction By Muffy Seaton

A step-by-step guide to training a driving horse.


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So you want to train your horse to drive! As with all disciplines, the primary goal is to achieve a confident, happy and comfortable driving partner who enjoys his job. Because horses are flight animals, you have to instill confidence in them and earn their trust. You have very few aids in driving, so your horse’s confidence has to be developed over time by repeating the following steps.

STEP 1: Teach him basic ground manners

A word of caution Breaking a horse to harness can be very rewarding. But if you don’t have the time, the right facility or a header, send your horse to a reputable trainer who is used to training horses to drive.

control over him on a lead shank than you will in a carriage, so take this opportunity to condition him to the equipment. If he seems afraid of anything, show him that it’s okay.

unless he objects to the crupper. If this happens, take more time to lift his tail until he accepts it. Mares are usually worse than geldings at this. Just work calmly and deliberately.

STEP 3: Walk him in the gear

This step can take minutes or months. You want a horse that isn’t nervous but also doesn’t push you around. Teach him how to stand on cross ties, stand tied, be groomed, have his feet picked up, back up on the lead, and have a blanket and harness on.

When the horse accepts the harness and crupper, start leading him around the farm. Introduce him to dogs, cats, vehicles, etc. You have a lot more

STEP 4: Try the snaffle bit Tie a snaffle bit to his halter and let him figure it out, again in the stall. Give him hay and have him eat with

Crupper Dock

At this stage, I leave the horse in his stall with a blanket on. This gets him used to having something on his body. I make sure there is nothing he can get hooked up on, such as water buckets, etc.

STEP 2: Put on the gear

Breeching Strap

The next step is to put the saddle, crupper and breeching on the horse (see diagram at right) while he’s in the stall. Tie the breeching up to the shaft tugs so he can’t step on the straps, and give him plenty of hay so he’s got something to do. Try this for an hour a day for a few days




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Photo 4: When your horse is still learning, put the reins through the shaft tugs instead of the saddle terrets so that the outside rein will prevent him from turning and facing you. Photo 6: Here, the long lines are attached to the halter rings and the bit is in the horse’s mouth.

What are blinkers? Blinkers (or blinders) are small leather or plastic cups placed on the outside of the horse’s eyes to limit the input of stimuli to his brain (Photo 9). In driving, since you can only control the horse using your reins and voice instead of your seat and legs as when riding, it’s really important to be able to limit what the horse sees so you can avoid issues that might mushroom to a runaway. While some horses drive better without blinkers, I don’t think it’s ideal. It’s my job to make all the decisions for the horse, who will be very grateful if he doesn’t feel he has to fend for himself.


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it. As usual, take anything he can get hooked on out of the stall.

STEP 5: Teach him to “go around you” Next, I teach the horse to go around me in the stall (Photo 1). When he’s accomplished that, we move to the round pen (Photo 2), and finally the field (Photo 3). I keep him in a halter for this step with the bit attached.

STEP 6: Attach the longlines Once he’s going nicely around you at a walk and trot, and will halt on command, attach longlines through the shaft tugs to the halter rings (Photo 4). Continue in the round pen until he can turn and stop (Photo 5). When you’re first starting out, it’s good to have a lunge line attached to his halter as well, just in case he decides to take off.

STEP 7: Incorporate the bit We communicate with horses through their mouths, so this is an important step (Photo 6). Once he’s fine going around you in the round pen with this configuration, start taking him around the farm, longlining him from behind.

Ask someone (a header) to walk with a lunge line at the horse’s shoulder to give him confidence (Photo 7).

STEP 8: Desensitize him When my horse is doing well with the idea of me walking behind him, I will start scuffing my feet and hitting bushes with my whip to desensitize him to surrounding noises. You can attach a few empty soda cans on a long piece of baling twine and drag it behind you (never attach it to the horse) when you’re longlining. It makes a racket just like carriage tires on gravel. If he’s nervous of the sound, let him look at and smell the cans.

STEP 9: Introduce the breast collar Secure the breast collar and attach a heavy single tree for him to drag on his own (Photo 8). Put baling twine extensions on the traces to make sure the single tree never clips the horse’s heels. He should still be in an open bridle at this point, with a halter over it. Use a header if necessary, and be careful not to trip over the single tree.



STEP 10: Add the reins Now is the time to put your reins on the bit rings. You’ve been teaching the horse to stop and turn, so this should be a non-issue. Continue to walk with him, always incorporating stopping, standing and turning.

STEP 11: Repeat the previous steps with blinkers Once your horse is doing well with all this, it’s time to go over all the previous steps again with blinkers (see sidebar on page 58). This can take time, so be patient!

STEP 12: Attach the carriage Finally, it’s time to introduce the carriage. I use a very light breaking easy entry cart, and always keep the horse's blinkers on to minimize distractions. In the barn aisle where I groom him, I stroke his hindquarters with the shafts of the carriage before

putting them into the shaft tugs (Photo 10). Then I drag the carriage by the shafts and ask my header to lead the horse forward. I bump the horse with the shafts on both sides and, if he’s okay with this, I hook the traces to the single tree.

too fast and need to go back to where he’s comfortable.

Since the breeching still isn’t done up, I keep my hand on the shaft to prevent the carriage from coming up on the pony. Otherwise, he is pulling it himself (Photo 11). Once he accepts this, I attach the breeching and the over girth and off we go for another walk. Do not make tight turns at this point as you don’t want your horse to get stuck in the shafts.

Now, all that’s left is to strengthen the trust between you and your horse. Remember — if he flees, your carriage (with you in it) goes with him. He has to pay attention at all times when you’re driving him, and that means you have to pay attention at all times also!

Do this for as long as it takes your horse to become very relaxed. By this time, pulling the cart should not be an issue. If he’s nervous about the sound of the cart, you’ve gone

When my horse is confident, I will just slip into the cart from the left side (the perks of an easy entry cart) and we’re driving!

Muffy Seaton is a well-known trainer, judge, coach and breeder of driving ponies. She has been a National Champion three times, first with a four in hand of Dartmoor ponies and then with pairs, and has brought eight horses to the FEI level of combined driving. She is a large R USEF and ADS pleasure driving and combined driving judge and goes all over the country doing clinics and expos.

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US HORSE WELFARE AND RESCUE Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code USHWR to US Horse Welfare and Rescue.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2016 LOCATION: Avon, CT TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: “Our rescue takes in all breeds of horses from all types of situations,” says Susan Mitchell, Founder, President and Executive Director. “We take in more off-the-track thoroughbreds than any other breed, but we also take quarter horses, ponies and more. Some of our horses are permanent residents while others we adopt out to the right home.” NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: Currently, this 501c3 organization has no paid staff. As many as 50+ volunteers help on the farm and with advocacy, education and outreach programs. FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: The rescue hosts Hug A Horse™ fundraisers that allow people to get up close and personal with their equine residents. Every June, they hold a big gala called “After The Roses” — their biggest fundraiser of the year. “We also have a booth at Equine Affaire in West Springfield, MA which serves to raise some funds but largely creates awareness regarding the plight of America’s horses and of horse slaughter,” says Susan.

Photos courtesy of Susan Mitchell.

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: Over three years ago, US Horse Welfare and Rescue took in a horse named Toffee. She was found in a kill lot in Shippensburg, PA with a note from her teenage owner saying she was going to college and could no longer keep her. “The note said, ‘does gaming, eventing and jumping’ and ‘had four new shoes put on last week’,” says Susan. But despite the affectionate note, Toffee still ended up in a kill lot.

After Susan discovered how few Americans know anything about the horrors of horse slaughter, she established US Horse Welfare and Rescue as a non-profit organization to promote the safety and welfare of horses through advocacy, education, supportive programs and rescue.


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“When there were only two hours left before the lot closed and weighed the horses, I told my husband we were taking in another rescue,” says Susan. “We drove five-and-a-half hours to get her, spent the night in a ratty hotel and then drove back with her the next day.” Safe at the rescue, Toffee was renamed Promise. Her new caretakers quickly discovered how well she performed under saddle — one of many traits that made her a favorite among the rescue’s volunteers. Promise stayed for three years at the rescue before being adopted by a veterinarian who loves trail-riding almost as much as her new equine companion! ushorsewelfare.org


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

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Equine WellnessResource 61 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

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How to regain mental fitness after a riding accident By Wendy Murdoch

Horseback riding accidents can be scary, and overcoming the fear you experience is easier said than done. These steps will help you get back in the saddle. Have you ever had a severe riding accident or been badly frightened by a horse? Understanding what is happening to you in those moments is an important step toward recovery.

Vagal response or tone A component of the parasympathetic nervous system, vagal tone is measured by the difference in heart rate during inhalation and exhalation. Higher vagal tone is associated with greater well-being and an improved ability to respond to stress. Low vagal tone is associated with inflammation, poor mood, loneliness and heart attacks.

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.


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Current research into the Polyvagal Theory explains what happens to us when we suffer from a severe accident or extreme fear. Simply put, the autonomic nervous system, of which the vagus nerve is a major component, gets “stuck” in a disrupted pattern caused by the trauma. We become paralyzed, just like a deer in the headlights. After the danger has passed, we are designed to run — a reaction that would relieve the fear we just experienced. When we can’t run away (as with severe injury), normal vagal tone (see sidebar at left) is altered. This results in stress, which is often the source of disease.

4 SIMPLE STEPS TO OVERCOMING FEAR 1. Start with a simple question: “Am I safe?” Think “gut check”. If you are not safe, your response to the situation will be autonomic: fight, flight, faint, freeze or fooling around. You can’t trick your nervous system by telling yourself “I am okay” when you aren’t. You can’t hide your response from your horse either — he is very in tuned with the safety of any given situation.

2. Take action by asking: “What do I need to do to feel safe?” At this point, it is very important not to let someone else bully you into doing something that does not feel safe to you. However, you need to be honest with your response and act accordingly. 3. Give your fear a number Use a number scale from 0–10 to rate your fear. Ten is when you are so over the top with anxiety you cannot function — like the feelings you experience during a panic attack. Zero is when you’re completely okay both internally and externally. Anything over a 5 and you need to take further action to get the number down. 4. Take steps to reduce your fear Your ultimate goal is to gradually lower your “fear number”. Do not expect to go from 9–1 in one jump, as your nervous system needs time to adjust. Start with something as simple as moving your eyes, fingers or toes to help you unfreeze. Take deep breaths — exhaling slowly to the count of six or seven can reset vagal tone. Keep this list handy in any situation where you find yourself in distress — at the barn, for instance. The more you work toward reducing your fear and strengthening your mental fitness in stressful situations, the easier it will be for you to enjoy the ride!

EVENTS Equine Massage Correspondence Program On Demand — Online Course

This is a non-certificate program for animal owners and lovers. You will learn about the anatomy of a horse, pre-massage considerations, recommendations and contraindications as well as massage strokes, pressure, techniques and sequence. Manual and lessons are PDF downloads upon registration. For more information: (303) 660-9390 information@rmsaam.com www.rmsaam.com

EQ900: Anatomy Discovery Workshop — Clay & Hands-On January 3–9, 2020 — Petaluma, CA

The difference between the average equine bodyworker and a great one is accuracy. Anyone in the equine health care profession — whether you use your hands, tools, or machines — will find this is a great opportunity to expand and enhance skills. This course is also useful for the trainer or rider because analytical skills are honed after understanding the structure of the horse. This knowledge improves your riding and teaching skills. This seven-day course is taught in a study group format with a hands-on approach. This course runs in threeday increments, with a one day break in between for self-study. For more information: (707) 377-4313 equinologyoffice@gmail.com www.equinology.com

Winter Equestrian Festival January 8–March 29, 2020 — Palm Beach, FL

This festival is the largest and longest-running circuit in the sports horse world. It is a 12-week show jumping competition for hunters, jumpers, and equitation and includes riders from 33 countries and all American States. For more information: info@equestriansport.com pbiec.coth.com

January Thaw Expo

January 18, 2020 — Fredericton, NB Come celebrate with us! We can’t do it without you. Let’s make this year the biggest yet in support of The Children’s Wish Foundation. All are welcome to this public event at the Fredericton Exhibition Center! Featuring over 70 exhibits to view and explore as well as many presentations. For more information: januarythaw.com


January 18–22, 2020 — Orlando, FL The North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) is a non-profit organization that provides world-class continuing education to all members of the veterinary healthcare team. Held each January in Orlando, Florida, the VMX Conference welcomes over 15,000 attendees from over 70 countries. We offer 50 intensive hands-on laboratories, over 350 speakers, dozens of different daily lecture tracks, the largest meeting of exotics practitioners in the world and the largest exhibit halls in the industry.

Theatre Equus is held only in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo. Separate ticket required. For more information: www.horseworldexpo.com/theatre-equus/

10th Annual Washington State Horse Expo March 6–8, 2020 — Ridgefield, WA

Whether you are a horse owner looking for training and care tips or someone who just loves horses — this expo has something for everyone.

This is an excellent opportunity to socialize and network with other industry professionals at our evening entertainment programs.

You won't want to miss the demonstrations featuring nationally-ranked clinicians, educational seminars, trail courses, entertaining performances by talented horses and riders and special activities for children. Plus a marketplace with over 100 vendors for a fun shopping experience!

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

For more information: info@wastatehorseexpo.com www.washingtonstatehorseexpo.com

Scottsdale Annual Arabian Horse Show

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course

In its 65 year, this Arabian show has set the pace in the Arabian horse world. This show has grown from 50 horses to nearly 2400 horses over the years and brings top owners, trainers, and breeders from all over the world to compete for a chance to win.

Introduction to Healing Touch: Friday / 6:00pm – 10:00pm Learn the fundamentals of energy therapy theories and techniques.

February 13–23, 2020 — Scottsdale, AZ th

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

18th Annual Horse World Expo February 27–March 1, 2020 — Harrisburg, PA

You will find top quality seminars and clinics, and many different mounted demonstrations. You can take a stroll down Stallion Avenue and, of course, there is plenty of shopping! Great family fun and entertainment! For more information: (301) 916-0852 info@horseworldexpo.com www.horseworldexpo.com

Theatre Equus

February 28–29, 2020 — Harrisburg, PA Are you ready to be thrilled, have fun, and fall in love with the beauty of the horse all over again? Then you are ready for Theatre Equus! Professionally choreographed and scripted, this new event promises to be entertaining, exciting and something you don’t want to miss.

March 27–29, 2020 — Seattle, WA

Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9:00am – 6:00pm Work hands-on with dogs and learn the first 12 techniques of the Healing Touch for Animals® curriculum. Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9:00am – 6:00pm Work hands-on with horses and experience a large animal's energy system. While this class is optional, it benefits students with greater energetic awareness and provides a well-rounded experience. *The Level 1 Small Animal Class is a prerequisite. *This class is required in order to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner. The Early Registration Tuition Price ends on March 1, 2020. For more information: Kathy Squires: (425) 308-7433 seattle@healingtouchforanimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com

Email your event to info@equinewellnessmagazine.com

Equine Wellness




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Equine Wellness

EMAIL YOUR CLASSIFIEDS TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com NATURAL PRODUCTS EQUIMEDIC — The world leader in Equine First Aid is committed to the safety and well-being of your equine partner. Choose from a variety of complete kits, or design your own. All refill, restocking, and other optional products are available on our website. (866) 211-1269; equimed@equimedic.com; www.equimedic.com THE HOLISTIC HORSE — We understand how important optimal health is, which is why we are committed to providing the very best all-natural holistic products for your animals and take great pride in helping provide a healthy lifestyle and sense of well being. Products ranging from digestive care and pain relief to joint care, breath freshener, flea and insect control and much more. For more information or questions: (877) 774-0594; info@theholistichorse.com; www.theholistichorse.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 EQUI-LIBRIA — Integrated Performance Bodywork is very effective since the horse actively participates in their treatment, thereby maximizing its benefit. A preliminary assessment of key areas starts the session, but then the horse guides the treatment with physical displays and indications of where they need the attention. Effective for all disciplines. For more information: (647) 633-2113; www.equi-libria.com HARMANY EQUINE CLINIC, LTD — Bringing holistic healing to horses from all walks of life, backyard retirees to Olympic competitors since 1990. Over the years Dr. Joyce Harman has observed and adapted to the changing needs of our horses and clients. Twenty-plus years ago, no one had heard of Lyme disease or Insulin Resistance, yet today that makes up a large part of this clinical practice. Small animal services are available as well. (540) 364-4077; muzzles@harmanyequine.com; www.harmanyequine.com

CLASSIFIEDS 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

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 which are available for English disciplines (Dressage, Hunter, Jumper, Endurance, Trekking, and Gaited), and are starting to branch into Western discipline products. (416) 708-1898; www.eaglewoodequestrian.ca

HOMEOPATHY FOR HORSES — Animals, and horses in particular, are very responsive to homeopathic treatment because of their natural connection to subtle energies. Susan L. Guran studied and trained with Drs. Paul Herscu and Amy Rothenberg at the New England School of Homeopathy and is continuously involved in specialized and clinical training, as well as volunteer work, to gain experience with a vast array of cases. Through a natural evolution of her methods, she now uses direct intuitive communication to offer greater support to the animals and their owners. www.homeopathyhorse.com

Equine Wellness



EQUINE-ASSISTED INTERVENTIONS MAY BENEFIT VETERANS Researchers have discovered that EAIs show promise for improving the psychosocial well-being of veterans. Equine-assisted interventions (EAIs) have been shown to be of great benefit to humans. Though more studies are needed to confirm their efficacy, they’ve been successfully used to help those with depression, anxiety, ADHD, addiction, trauma, eating disorders, dementia, and other mental health difficulties. An empirical study published in the latter half of 2019 reveals that equine-assisted interventions are also becoming a popular treatment modality for veterans with servicerelated health conditions.

The review, published in Military Medical Research, was written by a team of researchers who studied a wide body of peer-reviewed literature concerning EAIs among veterans. They looked at studies conducted and recorded between 1980 and 2017, all of which involved different EAI methods — from communicating with the horse to mounted exercises. The researchers concluded that EAIs targeting psychosocial outcomes in veterans yield promising results. According to the authors, over 300 programs currently deliver

equine-assisted services to veterans. However, little is known regarding the safe and effective delivery of such services. They agree that since EAIs that target psychosocial outcomes showed promise, further research into this type of therapy is warranted. Their hope is that future studies will focus specifically on the effects of EAIs on PTSD symptoms and physical pain. Read the full review at mmrjournal. biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/ s40779-019-0217-6.


According to the review, “Animalassisted interventions (AAIs) is a commonly-used umbrella term that encompasses a plethora of ways in which different species of animals are beneficial to people. Equine-assisted interventions, another umbrella term, comprise a growing subset of AAIs and encompass both equine-assisted activities (EAAs) and equineassisted therapies (EATs).”

Veterans suffering from cognitive, emotional and physical impairments often face many hardships, including difficulty with community reintegration. Evidence suggests that equine-assisted interventions may help.


Equine Wellness

EAAs involve horses, clients, participants, volunteers and instructors affiliated with an equine center in mounted and unmounted activities involving horses. EATs involve the same activities, but under the supervision and/or guidance of a credentialed health professional.

Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness