V15I2 (Apr/May 2020)

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Equine Wellness


Dawn Cumby-Dallin


Rebecca Bloom

COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Shelly Black Bill Bookout Laura Boynton Denise Ellsworth Justine Griesenauer, DVM Joyce Harman, DVM Annette Kaitinis Rachel Kelly Steve Lantvit Nettie Liburt, PhD, PAS Wendy Murdoch Ian Pedersen Tom Seay Nicole Sicely Virginia Slachman, PhD Amy Snow Emily Weiss, PhD, CAAB Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Susan Smith SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES MANAGER:

Brittany Sillaots

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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: March 2020.

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Is nutrition a priority on your farm? It certainly is for this gorgeous Haflinger! As winter comes to an end, horses everywhere are relishing in the lush, spring grasses just like our cover star. But when it comes to the equine diet, there’s a lot to consider besides forage! The pages that follow will equip you with the knowledge you need to make this the healthiest season yet.

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April/May 2020

6 Editorial 8 Neighborhood news 20 Hoof health 26 Acupressure at-a-glance 35 Rider fitness 37 Product picks 41 Business Profile — Betty’s Best

47 From the NASC 57 Equine Wellness resource guide

63 Classifieds 64 Events 65 Marketplace 66 To the rescue

Features 10

6 easy ways to

promote your horse’s gut health Your horse’s gut health affects everything from his temperament to his immune system, so it’s important to make it a priority.


What you need to know about equine diarrhea

A number of factors can result in diarrhea in horses. Take a look at the most common causes, and some tips on how to deal with them.


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N ATURAL HORSEMANSHIP 5 steps to prepare your horse for training and competition — mentally and physically Show season is upon us, which means it’s time to condition your equine companion to perform at his best.


10 16

S POTLIGHT What you need to know about EMF exposure and your horses

EMF exposure poses a significant threat to the health and well-being of your horses. Here’s how you can protect them.


N EWSWORTHY Study shows that rider weight does not affect a horse’s ability

New data from a study in Denmark concludes that rider-to-horse weight ratios may be more lenient than previously thought.


L EARNING CURVE How learning skills in new disciplines can improve your riding

Trying new disciplines can greatly benefit your riding style and improve your horse’s attitude and understanding at any event.


E ATING WELL 10 foods that support digestion in horses

When it comes to feeding your horse, there are certain foods that can help “move things along” and promote an optimal environment in the gut. Take a look!


N EED TO KNOW Caring for your horse after antibiotics



Equine arthritis and the healing power of hemp

A look at arthritis in horses and why hemp is becoming a popular treatment option for this common condition.

A microchip might seem unnecessary, but it’s one of the best ways to identify your horse in the event of theft, escape or natural disaster.



Researchers have discovered that exposure to latex could be detrimental to a horse’s respiratory health, and may play a role in some cases of equine asthma.

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

H EALTH WATCH Understanding your horse’s gastrointestinal tract

Gaining a better understanding of her gastrointestinal tract will help you optimize her health and minimize complications.

Your horse just finished a round of antibiotics. What’s next? Here’s how a natural approach can help restore him to good health.

N EWSWORTHY Can latex exposure cause equine asthma?



S AFETY FIRST Should you microchip your horse?


G REAT OUTDOORS The ultimate guide to camping with horses — Part 1 Want to embark on that camping trip you’ve always dreamed of? Proper planning can help ensure a smooth, safe experience for you and your horses.


L IFESTYLE Tips for supporting pollinators on your farm


D IET AND NUTRITION Best practices for monitoring a horse’s weight Worried your horse is too heavy or thin? Here are a few easy ways to keep track of his weight to ensure he stays in good shape all year round.


I N FOCUS A beginner’s guide to protein and amino acids for horses This overview of protein and amino acids will help you better understand these vital nutrients and how they affect your horse’s overall health.


Bees and other pollinators offer numerous benefits to your farm’s ecosystem, and there are a number of steps you can take to help them thrive.

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Nurture with nutrition We live in an era of fast-paced change. Ten years ago, terms like “microbiome” and “adaptogens” were only uttered in medical circles — and now here we are making them a priority on our own farms. In these transformative times, however, trust is a major issue. With research bringing new (and oftentimes conflicting) information to light on an almost daily basis, it’s difficult to invest in your health, and that of your horses. Do you buy those trendy supplements in the hopes they’ll still be considered important a few months from now? Or do you skip them at the risk of depriving your horses of something truly beneficial? At the end of the day, we roll the dice on a lot of choices we make. But fortunately, there are a number of sure-fire ways to support the well-being of your equine companions — from their stomachs to their minds and everything in between. These methods have been tried and tested, time and time again, making them more of a guarantee than a gamble. And that’s the beauty of this era we live in…while there’s a lot we don’t know, there’s also a lot we do know. Take nutrition, for instance. Over the past decade, countless studies have proven just how important diet really is. Once upon a time, horsepeople believed that what their horses ate impacted only their weight — full stop. But we now know that diet affects our horses on a much more comprehensive level. Gut health, as a matter of fact, has been shown to influence immunity and neurological wellness, among numerous other factors. No wonder it’s such a popular topic of discussion! If you’re interested in staying up to date with the latest health developments, you’re in the right place. Here at 6

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Equine Wellness, we know how challenging it is to keep on top of your horse’s health in this ever-changing world — and it’s our goal to help you make sense of it all. Nutrition is a focus in this issue, starting on page 10 with a close-up look at gut health. On page 28, we’ve compiled a list of foods that help promote digestion — a good precursor to our article on page 44, which gives a fantastic overview of the equine GI tract and how it works. Of course, nutrition isn’t the only thing horsepeople are talking about. Surely you’ve heard the buzz surrounding CBD and EMFs — two acronyms that you’ll understand a lot better after reading this issue. And despite all there is to learn, let’s not forget that spring is just around the corner! You’ll love the fun seasonal content we’ve included about trying out new disciplines, supporting pollinators on your farm, and camping with your horses. Time brings change, and these days, change is fast and overwhelming. But through it all, the old adage holds true — knowledge really is power. The articles that follow will equip you with the knowledge you need to make more informed decisions for your horses. And that’s a statement you can trust!


Emily Watson, Senior Content Editor

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NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS RIDING BENEFITS CHILDREN WITH ADHD AND AUTISM New research shows that therapeutic horseback riding combined with cognitive exercises can help children with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The study, published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, is the first to show the short- and longterm effects of such a program. “We wanted to investigate how a combination of equine-assisted activities and various brain-building tasks, administered by a speech therapist, would affect motor skills in children with these disorders,” says Dr. Brandon Rigby of the Texas Woman’s University. Rigby and his collaborators recruited 25 children with neurodevelopmental disorders between the ages of

five and 16. Each child completed one of several different programs ranging from eight weeks to one year. The programs included weekly introductory horseback riding, as well as sessions with a speech therapist two to three times per week. After eight weeks, all the

children showed improved motor skills. Participants who continued the program for one year also showed improvements in their behavior and academic performance. frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/ fvets.2020.00022/full

NEW PROGRAM FOR HORSE CARETAKERS IN NEED Earlier this year, the ASPCA introduced their Regional Support Center, a pilot program to provide fully-subsidized services to horse caretakers in need in the Oklahoma City area. In collaboration with a local veterinary clinic and several re-homing partners, the openadmission center provides a safe place for people to relinquish horses for adoption into a new home, and offers access to basic veterinary services and humane euthanasia for suffering horses, mules and donkeys. “Unfortunately, there are very few safe affordable options for horse 8

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caretakers when they are unable to keep, sell or give away their horses,” says Tom Persechino, director of ASPCA Equine Welfare. “When dog and cat owners are unable to continue caring for a pet and need help, they can seek out a shelter where their animals will be cared for and placed into loving homes. The ASPCA — along with many of our shelter and rescue partners — are on a mission to create the same lifesaving options for equines across the country.” myrighthorse.org

Tomahawk is a two-year-old miniature horse that came through the Regional Support Center. At the time of this writing, he is available for adoption at Nexus Equine, one of the center’s re-homing partners.

LONGEST-SERVING U.S. BORDER PATROL HORSE RETIRES and safe”, and was often paired with the newest agents because he was so easy to work with. “We are honored to provide a home where Bob can live out his retirement grazing on hundreds of acres,

enjoying sunshine on his back, roaming with a herd, running and kicking up his heels,” says Noelle Almrud, director of the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch. fundforanimals.org/blackbeauty/

Bob was adopted in 2011 by the U.S. Border Patrol to work as part of the mounted patrol. He was gathered from a herd management area by the Bureau of Land Management and entered into a program with the Kansas Department of Corrections, which helps train and adopt mustangs. He was trained by inmates prior to his adoption by the government. Bob holds the record for the longest active service for a U.S. Border Patrol horse. He was known as “dependable

Bob enjoying retirement. The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch is operated by the Fund For Animals, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States. It’s currently the largest animal sanctuary in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of HSUS.

After nearly seven years of U.S. government service, ten-year-old Bob, a former wild mustang, is settling into a well-deserved retirement at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch.

NEW RESEARCH ON EQUINE METABOLIC SYNDROME (EMS) Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) is linked to obesity, insulin resistance and laminitis — a painful and debilitating inflammation of the tissue in a horse’s hooves. In severe cases, this disease can result in euthanasia.

often have mutations on more than one gene

A research team at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine recently set out to investigate genetic mutations in two breeds that are at higher risk for EMS: Morgan horses and Welsh ponies.

The researchers concluded that a single genetic test will not reveal whether or not a horse is genetically predisposed to EMS. Rather, the scientists suggest further research be done into developing a more intricate panel test to meet the complexity of the disease's genetic nature.

The scientists found: • EMS is polygenetic, which means horses with an EMS diagnosis

• Both breed-specific mutations are associated with EMS, and mutations are shared between the two breeds.

mdpi.com/2073-4425/10/11/893 Equine Wellness


6 gut health FEATURE

easy ways to promote your horse’s By Virginia Slachman, PhD

Your horse’s gut health affects everything from his temperament to his immune system, so it’s important to make it a priority. Here’s how.


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We all want the best for our equine partners, and optimum health is right up at the top of the list. As with humans, a horse’s ability to absorb nutrients is of paramount importance in maintaining health and well-being. In fact, the central role that gut health plays in the overall health of your horse may surprise you. A 2015 USDA NAHMS study notes that GI issues are the second leading cause of death among equines. Other studies indicate between 50% and 70% of working horses can have gastric ulcers, or experience an overly acidic or inflamed gut. Dr. Bill Gilsenan, internal medicine specialist at Lexington’s Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, notes: “Even minor changes in the GI tract can have very large negative consequences.” Dr. Olivia Rulolphi, DVM, member of the USEF Endurance Team Veterinary Commission, agrees, and observes that gut health impacts every system in the body. To maintain optimal digestive functioning, horses must have a proper gut environment, including optimal

“good” bacteria levels and pH balance, especially in the hind gut — the site of fermentation — from which the horse derives over 70% of his energy.

Gut issues — watch for these common signs

Thankfully, there are a number of easy ways to support your horse’s all-important gut health without breaking the bank.


Clinical signs, Dr. Rudolphi advises, can include back soreness, reluctance to work, lack of weight gain, and a rough-looking coat. Dr. Gilsenan adds that the consequences of gut problems can include colic and diarrhea, pointing out that the latter can lead to laminitis, jugular vein thrombosis, blood clots, and neurological problems.


Horses have a “trickle-in” digestive system that’s meant to ingest forage on a continual basis for optimum health. The colon, notes Dr. Gilsenan, never empties — nor should it, because its stability in terms of temperature, pH balance and bacteria is paramount to proper digestive functioning, and therefore to maintaining health.

In the event your horse has symptoms of digestive disturbance, Dr. Rudolphi stresses the importance of getting a correct diagnosis. Lab tests, as one part of the diagnostic process, can reveal changes in the white blood count, albumin, total protein, and hematocrit levels, among other important indicators, potentially alerting you to a gut disturbance.

However, Dr. Rudolphi advises, if your horse already has an irritated or inflamed digestive tract, try limiting long-stemmed roughage and incorporating more easilydigested forage, such as soaked hay cubes or pellets, until the inflammation diminishes.



It depends. Some breeds, such as those that evolved in harsh conditions, are able to maintain health on much less nutrition than, say, Thoroughbreds, who typically need higher protein counts than other breeds. So, first and foremost, determine the needs of your horse with the help of your veterinarian or an equine nutritionist. One-size-fits-all does not apply here.

“The use of unneeded dewormers can damage the gut wall, allowing undigested nutrients to pass into the bloodstream.”

If fed in excess, the sugar levels in grain can impact the health of the hoof and might result in metabolic disease in breeds that store fat readily, notes Dr. Gilsenan. But in all breeds, it’s important to remember that sugar in grains can have a large negative impact on intestinal flora necessary for digestion. The goal, says Dr. Rudolphi, is maintaining balance. She notes that not every horse should be cut off carbohydrates, but a large load, especially if introduced too fast, can cause a pH imbalance and inhibit digestion by creating a more acidic environment due to the breakdown of sugars being digested.

Keep in mind that horses didn’t evolve eating grain, so make sure you’re feeding judicious amounts. If you have to make changes in feed, do it slowly — stability in the equine diet is of paramount importance. Increasing or decreasing amounts too quickly can cause problems.



Supplementation isn’t always necessary, but it’s a great way to support your horse’s health. Dr. Rudolphi suggests buying encapsulated digestive aids, such as bicarbonates Equine Wellness


or electrolyte mixtures designed to balance an acidic overload. These won’t be digested in the stomach and will pass to the hind gut where the supplements can be fermented and so digested. Several Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, fish oil, flax and other plant oils may help decrease inflammation in hind gut disorders.

doing more harm than good in the long run, by routinely deworming when there is no need. The use of unneeded dewormers can damage the gut wall, allowing undigested nutrients to pass into the bloodstream. Leaky gut syndrome is something we all want to avoid. Overuse of dewormers can also damage the GI tract wall and result in ulcerations, muscosal thickening and inflammation, leading to horses that aren’t able to absorb nutrients.

Psyllium, too, is helpful in absorbing and eliminating toxic loads, aiding digestion, adding bulk to the diet, and managing water in the gut. This is especially useful in sandy areas of the U.S. where too often grit is ingested, inhibiting digestive viability.



According to Dr. Gilsenan, “There’s simply no alternative to administering antibiotics when there’s a need.” However, he advises supplementing them with a course of probiotics to protect intestinal bacterial balance. Flip to page 30 for more info on caring for your horse after antibiotics. In addition to probiotics, you can include the hind gut buffer sucralfate, an oral medication. Its coating properties support the mucus lining and so mitigates against an overly acidic environment, which can impede gastrointestinal wall healing.


“Several Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, fish oil, flax and other plant oils may help decrease inflammation in hind gut disorders.” LIMIT USE OF CHEMICAL DEWORMERS

Our perspective has changed on intestinal parasites over the last ten years. “We’ve realized that we’ll simply never get rid of them all,” says Dr. Gilsenan. Rather than routinely deworming your horse every three months, even if you rotate the dewormers, he advises doing a fecal test twice a year, say in the fall and spring. “Testing for levels of worm burden will sort out those horses who are constitutionally resistant to worms from those that are susceptible to them.” Then you can treat only those horses that need it.

Why should we do this? “Just as in human antibiotic use, the overuse of dewormers can result in developing resistant strains,” says Dr. Gilsenan. In other words, you may be 12

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Horses evolved as roaming herd animals, which means those on pasture 24/7 do best. Movement stimulates digestion and reduces the body’s stress levels, so there should be a concerted effort to get stalled horses turned out every day. With performance horses, be vigilant about overwork, which stresses both mind and body, and make sure they get enough “down time”. As with people, horses that are relaxed and have a balanced amount of exercise, are more likely to have a healthier happier experience. Overall, it’s clear that gastrointestinal health is of paramount importance to the overall health of your horse. But, just as with people, each horse has unique and specific needs, and these can shift as he ages and his workload changes. Know your horse, and be wise in selecting just the right interventions at the right time to ensure his safety and health. After conducting research for her first novel at a Kentucky Thoroughbred breeding and training farm, Virginia Slachman became a devoted advocate for retired racehorses. In addition to continuing her writing and university teaching career, Virginia has worked for years with ex-racehorses in one way or another — caring for them, rehabilitating or retraining them for new careers, and writing about them. Her work in rescue led to her adoption of Corredor dela Isla, her own ex-racehorse, who continues to be her beloved companion. She’s the author of three collections of poetry and her memoir as well as two novels. Blood in the Bluegrass, her second novel, is due out soon. virginiaslachman.com.



By Steven Lantvit

to prepare your horse for training and competition

— MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY Horse caretakers want results from training, and victories in the show pen. And that’s understandable. But to expect great things out of our horses, we have to put great things into our horses. We need to provide them with training programs that keep them happy and eager to please, and offer nutritional support to

ensure they can meet their energy requirements. Training really starts from within, and there are a number of steps you can take to prepare your horse — both mentally and physically. STEP 1

Get to know him Understanding a horse’s behavior is critical. When a client drops off a horse, or a horse comes in for a clinic, I evaluate him right there and then. Is he brave, nervous or anxious? Can he focus on me as the trainer or am I non-existent? Understanding what is happening in his mind helps develop a plan for training. Each horse is an individual, just like a person, and has to be trained in an individual way. I do not coach all riders the same; I take into account


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their personalities, riding levels and past riding experiences. A fearful rider would not appreciate a coach pushing her into situations that cause more fear and anxiety; instead, a slower approach may be needed to build more confidence. So why would we teach the horse any differently? STEP 2

Pinpoint the root of any issues A good trainer should be able to understand the root cause when a horse isn’t able to perform a particular task. Does he not understand? Is he being stubborn or fearful? Perhaps he cannot physically do the exercise. As I travel across the country doing clinics, I see all different levels of horses and riders. What I discovered is that the quicker I am at determining the root cause of an

issue, the quicker I can help the horse and rider become successful.



Be a good leader There is nothing to be gained from forcing a scared horse to do something. Instead, be a good leader — one who is fair and forgiving, yet leads with authority. Be a leader who a horse can turn to for guidance and security. If the horse feels you are the one to take care of him and keep him safe, training becomes easier. If the horse doesn’t understand what you’re asking him to do, then it’s your job to figure out how to communicate it in a way he understands. Can you break the exercise down into smaller steps, or go slower? Figure out what he needs from you. Be prepared for situations in which a horse may not be able to do what you want because of physical limitations. Be fair, and know that not all cow horses can be western pleasure horses or jumpers, and vice versa. Going back to step two — taking the time early on to understand and address the root cause of his resistance — makes for faster progress overall. STEP 4

Consider the whole horse I am a firm believer in whole horse wellness. I want my horses to be comfortable all the time and to enjoy their jobs. I want each of them to be waiting for me at the gate with an eager look that says, “Hey, let’s get this show on the road! What are we doing today?” If a horse is sore or uncomfortable, you can’t expect him to enjoy being ridden or to perform well. Horses that are pushed when they’re in pain can become sour — and can develop

1T rain at home. Show at the show. 2V isualize your ride. 3B e prepared, don’t rush. 4C ompete against yourself. Winning is when you do better than you did last time. serious health issues — so it’s very important that they’re taken care of on a regular basis. Dental care, chiropractic appointments and hoof care, in addition to general veterinary exams, are crucial. STEP 5

Feed him well In order to build a horse that’s physically and mentally ready for training and competition, you need to start from within. A good trainer should have a feed and supplement program that they wholeheartedly believe in. We feed a low-starch alfalfa-based extruded feed to keep our horses in top shape without the highs and lows caused by sugar-rich products. We also feed an alfalfa-grass blend hay to meet energy demands, using slow feeders so our horses are constantly grazing 24/7. Remember — how you feed your horse is just as important as what you feed. I also believe in using supplements to support joint and internal health by turning to trusted high quality brands. I’m concerned with gut health all the time as well. Training and competing can be stressful on a horse, and that can affect his gut, so supplements that promote healthy digestion are helpful.

5W arm up your horse properly. Some need more and some need less. 6D o not get frustrated if things don’t go as planned. Have the ability to shake it off and move on. 7B elieve in yourself and trust your horse. 8S howcase your horse’s strengths. 9H ave fun and enjoy the experience.

A horse is not a machine, but a living, thinking, feeling animal that deserves your dedication and care. As his caretaker, it’s your job to give him every opportunity to perform at his best. I choose to manage horses as naturally as possible, which involves ample turnout time, a healthy diet, and plenty of one-on-one attention. If you help your horse become as healthy and happy as possible, he will want to do the work you ask of him. Steven Lantvit’s training program is built on trust and true partnership, regardless of the rider’s discipline or experience. Steve enjoys conducting clinics and presenting at expos, and brings his teachings right into your home with his television series, Steve Lantvit “Sure in the Saddle” airing on RFD-TV and on the Cowboy Channel. More info at SteveLantvit.com

Equine Wellness




EMF exposure and your horses By Shelly Black

EMF exposure poses a significant threat to the health and well-being of your horses. Here’s how you can protect them.

Horses are known to be more sensitive to the world around them than we are. It makes sense, then, that they’re particularly sensitive to all forms of electricity and radioactivity, including EMFs. While there’s not much you can do about the level of EMF exposure in your area, there are several steps you can take to limit the extent to which it impacts you and your equine companions.

What are EMFs? EMFs (electromagnetic fields) are invisible lines of force that surround all electrical devices. EMF radiation is a fairly broad term for electric fields, magnetic fields, and microwaves. These come from all sorts of devices, such as smart meters, cell towers, microwaves, Wi-Fi routers, cell phones, TVs, dirty electricity (spikes and surges of electromagnetic energy traveling along power lines and building wiring), tablets and much more. In this age of Wi-Fi, we are experiencing an EMF deluge that may be causing problems with equine behavior, digestion, sleep and fertility, as well as biological tissue, organs and vitamin/mineral levels. 16

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The link between EMFs and stress Horse shows, competitions, traveling, training sessions and group rides are all situations in which horses can become stressed and anxious. Part of this stress is due to the busyness of the immediate environment and the

energy radiating from all the other horses. But chances are, their stress is also a result of Wi-Fi radiating from all the cell phones, wireless routers and nearby cell towers. Many factors may be contributing to the high stress levels we see today

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Signs of EMF exposure Here are some possible negative EMF impacts that can affect horses and livestock: ¥A ggressive or nervous behavior

¥ I ncreased healing time after injury or surgery

¥ Performance issues

¥R epetitive injury occurrence

¥G eneral chronic health issues

¥ Reduced growth

¥ Reproductive issues

in ourselves — and our animals. But our world now also contains technology-driven EMFs, which are creating radiation levels exponentially higher than ever before; and the levels are only continuing to increase. While little to no research has been done on how horses are affected by this surge (see sidebar on next page), many experts are pointing to EMFs as a primary contributor to increased stress levels. Unfortunately, in today’s world, it’s all too common to hear of horses with stress-related issues such as ulcers, colic and autoimmune disorders. Protecting them from EMF exposure may aid in reducing the risk of these health concerns.

EMF protection Wi-Fi is like a strobe light on the cells, sending erratic radiation waves around us 24 hours a day. While cells have natural defense mechanisms against things such as viruses, infections, fungi and diseases, they do not have any defenses against intermittent and ongoing pulsating radiation frequencies. A 2012 study published in Clinical and Experimental Reproductive Medicine revealed

¥R educed feed and water intake

that this manmade radiation can literally mutate the DNA within living cells. So how do we minimize EMF exposure in our horses? Relocate smart meters and routers First off, make sure there are no smart meters on your barn (same applies for bedrooms in your home). If your smart meter is on an exterior wall that houses any living beings, it needs to be relocated or removed completely. Next, ensure there are no Wi-Fi routers located close to stalls in your barn. It’s also a great idea to purchase a modem that allows you to turn off the Wi-Fi at night, as otherwise the radiation from the router is negatively affecting all nearby creatures 24 hours a day. Be wary of cell towers Be aware of any and all cell towers and power lines in the area where horses are kept or being ridden. Any cell tower within 500 feet may be emitting high levels of EMF radiation, and living beings should keep a fair distance from such intense levels of exposure. Continued on page 18.

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What does the research say? The study of EMF radiation and its effect on humans is quite new, and further research is needed to determine exactly how detrimental it is, and what we can do to protect ourselves. That said, the dangers of EMFs are now widely recognized as a serious 21st century health threat by Consumer Reports, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Cleveland Clinic and independent researchers from Harvard, Columbia and Yale. Unfortunately, there is even less research on how this radiation is affecting horses. That said, it is widely known that horses have a much lower tolerance to levels of electricity than do humans. ¥ In 2015, more than 190 independent scientists from 39 countries got together to warn the public that “EMFs are potentially harmful to all life” (emfscientist.org). ¥ The U.S. National Library of Medicine published a study that states: “To date, many studies have revealed that EMF exposure can alter cellular homeostasis, endocrine function, reproductive function, sperm cell death, sperm motility and hormonal balance.” ¥ While EMF exposure studies on equines are currently non-existent, research on cows by the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Pharmacy in Hannover, Germany found that “cattle seem to be affected by environmental EMF exposure” (bems.org/node/14835). ¥ According to the Canadian Society of Dowsers, “cows are sensitive to a variety of EMF phenomena”, which can affect how certain vitamins and minerals, including iron, selenium, vitamin E, iodine, magnesium, potassium and copper are absorbed by their bodies. It also negatively affects the cows’ immune systems, increases their risk of infection, creates poor udder health, reduces milk production and interferes with their reproductive health (canadiandowsers.org/ are-electromagnetic-fields-negativelyimpacting-your-cows).


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Continued from page 17. Keep your phone on airplane mode If you ride with your cell phone, it is best to set it to airplane mode while riding in order to shut off the Wi-Fi reception. If possible, encourage other riders in your group to do the same with their phones. Reach for protective products Fortunately, nature has a miraculous way of providing us with aids that can actually shield and protect us from many things, including Wi-Fi radiation. Orgone energy is one such resource. Created using rose quartz, copper and resin, Orgone energy is, ironically, found in computers. But because it creates many different frequencies — including a negative-frequency filter — these same properties may protect us from the damaging effects of EMF radiation when worn on our bodies. Two natural stones have also been shown to provide energetic protection from EMFs. Shungite and black tourmaline are both known to have deflective and protective properties that shield living beings from the harmful effects of radiation exposure. Your horse’s health is delicate, and anything you can do to remove possible problems from his environment is essential for optimal health. Protecting him from EMF exposure can have a significantly positive impact on his overall health, emotional balance, attitude and performance.

Shelly Black is a lifelong horse enthusiast. As a young woman, she had the good fortune of apprenticing under three different top horse trainers. She went on to study nutrition, which inspired her to take an all-natural approach to horse health. In 2019, Shelly created SecretSynergyStones.com, a company that provides EMFshielding jewelry to people and animals. She’s the proud creator of two other equine products, an All-Natural Tick Deflective Spray for Horses & Dogs (Ticks-Off.com) and an Equine Endocrine Support Calming Cream (SereneByNature.com), and is the author of a free e-book that shares over 200 links for healthy horse products (HealthyHorseHolisticHandbook.com). Shelly lives in Tehachapi, CA with her many rescued animals: three horses, one donkey, four dogs, three cats, and two birds.

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white line disease (SEEDY TOE) By Annette Kaitinis

White line disease can become quite severe if steps aren’t taken to eradicate it, so understanding what it is and how to prevent it is critical. Seedy toe, otherwise known as white line disease, is a type of infection that affects the hoof. This condition involves bacterial and fungal invaders, and is caused by other hoof pathologies.

A CLOSER LOOK AT WHITE LINE DISEASE In a healthy hoof, the walls are tightly connected to the coffin/pedal bone by the laminae. The hoof wall has two distinct layers. The outer wall grows down from the coronary band — it is thick and strong. The inner wall is produced by the laminae and this attaches the outer hoof wall to the coffin/pedal bone. It is this thinner layer that is susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections, such as seedy toe and white line disease. The end of the laminae is called the “terminal papillae” and this produces the white line. The white line is the connection between the sole and the inner hoof wall, as depicted in the top right image.

WHAT CAUSES IT? Contrary to the name, white line disease does not infect the white line. It manifests in the inner hoof wall, and is typically caused by a combination of factors. Hooves subjected to wet 20

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conditions seem to be more prone to infections, though horses in dry conditions can also suffer. The bacteria breaks down the keratin of the inner hoof wall. There are a number of ways this bacteria gets in, all relevant to poor hoof mechanics — more specifically, flaring of the hoof wall and long toes. The flaring stresses the connection between the hoof wall and the sole and, in turn, causes the wall to separate. Once this happens, the hoof will crack and split, and is then open to infection. If the walls grow too long, the connection between the hoof wall and bone is compromised. It is vital that after every trim, the lower outer wall is rasped to remove the flare and the perimeter of the hoof wall should be

Left: A hoof with an abscess and hoof wall separation. Right: This hoof shows a tight white line.

beveled. In addition, the hoof should never be trimmed flat as this encourages peripheral loading of the hoof wall, which produces flare. Laminitic horses are especially prone to seedy toe as the inflamed laminae forms a weak connection between the hoof wall and the coffin/pedal bone. Then there is the problem of the hoof being unbalanced. Excess pull from a long hoof wall can tear the wall from the coffin/pedal bone and in time will exacerbate until the white line stretches.

WAYS TO AVOID WHITE LINE DISEASE All the above factors make the hoof susceptible to bacteria and fungi. Appropriate equine management and regular, proper barefoot trims will lessen the possibility of these infections. Bacteria cannot manifest in a healthy hoof. If there is a strong attachment between the hoof wall and the coffin/ pedal bone then the horse will have a healthier, stronger hoof overall.

Annette Kaitinis is one of the co-founders and directors of hoof boot company Scoot Boots. Based in Tasmania, Australia, she is passionate about improving the welfare of horses worldwide and expanding the mindset of equine owners. She aspires to provide support for making informed decisions about going barefoot and maintaining your horse's comfort and health.


Study shows that rider weight

DOES NOT affect horse’s ability New data from a study in Denmark concludes that rider-to-horse weight ratios may be more lenient than previously thought. Ever wondered if your weight is negatively affecting your horse? A recent study indicates that acute changes in rider weight do not have an adverse effect on a horse’s ability.

gait symmetry and behaviors such as head tossing, tail swishing and mouth opening. The study found that increased weight in the riders did not significantly affect any of these parameters.

The study was conducted by Janne Winther Christenson and her team at the Aarhus University of Denmark. Twenty horses with 20 different riders were measured for their ability to perform a dressage test under varying weights.

The results were shared by Christenson at the 15th annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) conference held at the University of Guelph last year.

Riders rode first with no additional weight, then wore weighted vests that increased their body weight by 15% and then 25%. The horses’ performances were measured by heart rates, cortisol levels,

“Contrary to what we expected… adding up to a fourth of the rider’s body weight doesn’t seem to cause significant changes in the horse’s behavior, cardiac activity, or gait symmetry in the short term,” Christenson said. Previous studies have suggested that a rider should weigh roughly 15% to 20% of her horse’s weight in order to ride comfortably. This study indicates

that those ratios can be expanded by as much as 10%. The study also measured the effect of a rider’s weight on horse symmetry. Riders who participated in the study were tested in their mobility skills beforehand, and results were compared with their performance on horseback. A saddle pressure mat was used to measure rider crookedness; 19 out of 20 participants had more weight on the right side of the saddle. However, when additional weight was added with weighted vests, rider crookedness improved significantly, suggesting the additional weight made the riders more aware of their asymmetry. Other studies have noted that rider weight can still affect a horse’s ability when her weight ratio exceeds 29% of the horse’s weight (Stefánsdóttir et al, 2017). “We only measured the acute effects and at a relatively low exercise intensity,” said Christenson. “It remains to be seen what happens with increased weight over the long term, as well as at higher exercise intensities.”

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How learning skills in new disciplines can improve your riding By Laura Boynton

Trying new disciplines can greatly benefit your riding style and improve your horse’s attitude and understanding at any event.


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We all put our left foot into the stirrup, lift our right leg over our horse’s back, and sit down in our comfort zone. Whether it’s in a lighter English saddle with thin irons and rounded pommel, or a heavier tooled western saddle with silver inlay designs and a back cinch, we all find our security in the familiarity of the saddles that fill our tack rooms. We all walk in boots — some cover our lower legs in slim black leather, while others have thicker leather with square toes — but all are covered in the dust, sweat and tears that accompany our preferred disciplines.

As riders, we all have a similar passion in our hearts. But over time, we become complacent about what we know. We tend to close our minds to other breeds that don’t occupy our barns and pastures, and feel no need to broaden our skillsets. But just because we’re faithful to our disciplines doesn’t mean we can’t learn something new to better our horses and ourselves. As we approach prime riding season, why not put in a new bit, tighten a new saddle, or walk to a new mounting block? Here are a few disciplines you can try for a change of pace:

Unlike its leisurely name, trail riding is not a mindless sport. It requires a great deal of common sense, and safety is always a high priority. While the escape of an open trail can tempt you (and your horse) to take off running — don’t! Familiarize yourself with a few trail riding basics, and you’ll reap the many lessons this sport has to offer! Here’s a glimpse into what you might learn: • Better ground manners. Before venturing out, your horse should have impeccable ground manners. A strong knowledge of the basics will enhance his etiquette on the trail. But even the most well-behaved horses will learn a thing or two from riding away from the barn — skills such as standing while tied in the woods, and weaving between trees.

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Farace.

• The importance of carrying a first aid kit. Trail riding away from the barn limits the resources you have at hand during emergencies.

This discipline will force you to learn what you need to carry along in your saddlebag — and how to use them.

Photo courtesy of Wendy Wheelock.

TRAIL RIDING — the endurance sport

• Respect for the land. Any seasoned trail rider will tell you how important it is to make as little impact as possible on the environment. This sport will give you a deeper appreciation for nature and teach you how to “leave no trace”. • How to handle unpredictable situations calmly. Regaining control of a spooked horse and keeping yourself in the saddle are just a few priceless lessons you’ll take away from trail riding. • How to handle a runaway horse. Hopefully this is a lesson you’ll never have to learn firsthand…but you never know. A loose horse is one of the most frightening sights for any equestrian. As tempting as it might be, a smart trail-goer never chases a loose horse — ever. Instead, read up on some smart ways to grab his attention and lure him back to safety.

DRESSAGE — the fancy sport The early and classical forms of dressage were developed to train cavalry horses for war. The horse’s ability to perform maneuvers quickly from side to side, change direction and explode into a gallop or halt quickly came in handy on the battlefield. Today, the protective movements that were used in combat have been adapted into a modern sport, in which riders perform harmoniously in an artistic freestyle pattern set to music. Interested in trying dressage? Here are a few skills you’ll pick up along the way: • How to ride with purpose. If you’re not already familiar with the importance of your horse’s balance, self-carriage and engagement, you will be after trying dressage. You’ll also become more aware of your own deep connected seat and correct body positions, and will learn how to communicate better with any horse you ride. • Patience to master powerful yet soft aids when riding. Aids include your hands/reins, seat/weight and leg pressure. Dressage will teach Equine Wellness


HIRE A PROFESSIONAL you how to use these aids effectively to lengthen and shorten your horse’s strides, perform a leg yield, transition up and down gracefully, and ride in a measured complete full circle. • Goal setting, to gauge improvement. Every horse and rider have holes that can cause blockages and even stop the learning process altogether. Dressage will help correct any negative bad habits and establish a stronger foundation for both you and your horse.

If you’re interested in trying a new discipline, it can’t hurt to learn from someone who knows what they’re doing. Research is great, and practice is even better — but hiring a professional trainer who is well-seasoned in the sport you’re attempting is one of the best ways to learn everything you need to know. Remember — safety always comes first!

• A stronger partnership. It’s not a skill, per se, but dressage can help all breeds in all levels of training, and all riders in every level of experience, bond on a deeper level. It strives to bring the horse and rider team together for a true partnership, using the whole body to ride the whole horse.

RODEOS — the cowboy and cowgirl sport Rodeos involve horses galloping around the pen carrying costumed flag-waving cowgirls, stands full of rowdy cheering fans, and fireworks exploding in the distance. But don’t let the party atmosphere fool you. These timed events take a lot of skill, impeccable timing, and a will to win. Here’s what you can gain from partaking in a rodeo event — or even just the training:

• A desensitized horse. A scared horse is a dangerous horse that will lose trust if constantly put into threatening or unfamiliar situations. A good rodeo horse, on the other hand, has to deal with some crazy sights and sounds in order to do his job. With a gradual approach to rodeo training, you’ll teach your horse to be braver and overcome fears. • The ability to effectively use his gas pedal and brakes. It’s not always about speed — it’s more about control. Learning to feel when and how much gas to use and when to apply the brakes without abruptness are just two skills you’ll learn if you decide to train in the art of rodeo riding. • Better control of your horse. Practicing for the rodeo means learning to guide your horse’s shoulders, hips and ribcage with minimal cueing. The goal is to get him to move from side to side, and perform lifts and bends you can use in the rodeo ring and in everyday riding.

Photos courtesy of Wendy Wheelock.

• Effective use of adrenaline. Rodeo riding can be scary — but it’s also incredibly exciting. By practicing for this type of event, you and your horse will both learn how to use that exhilarating energy to your advantage.


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JUMPING — the flying sport The delight of soaring over jumps on horseback gives many equestrians a thrill like no other. Here are some of the things you might take away from a jumping class: • A new level of confidence and responsibility. Your concentration on not getting hurt and not putting your horse in danger will be first and foremost in your mind. • An ability to stay focused and think more logically. Instructors will demand that your head is clear of all other distractions and that you’re fully aware of your decisions. • Improved core balance and better timing. Jumping with your horse will teach you to stop shifting your weight in the saddle. It will also instill a rhythmic inner timing to allow you to correctly approach a fence by half-halting, shortening or lengthening your horse’s stride. • Self-love and forgiveness. Jumping lessons will build character as mistakes are easily made and have different repercussions than riding the flat. Miscalculations can result in a pole hitting the ground or a flat-out refusal that can land the rider on the other side of the jump without her equine partner. Tough sports make tougher riders. We may disagree on which is the best event, most talented breed, or whether a saddle should have one girth or two cinches. But we should never let our differences stand in the way of striving to become better horsemen and horsewomen. Once we step in the stirrup and swing our leg over the back of that animal, we all share the true love of horses.

Laura Boynton’s steadfast love for animals started as a young child and continues to be a big part of her life today. After working as a veterinary technician for over 15 years, she now spends her days at an equine boarding, instructional, training and show facility in Traverse City, Michigan, where she was born and raised. She has a breeding program at home with her future husband, where they work together to pair AQHA show pleasure bloodlines with their handsome foundation stud. Laura enjoys showing in all-around classes with her AQHA horses.

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Looking for a natural way to improve your horse’s digestion? Acupressure is great for achieving optimal movement and balance in his GI tract.

The quality of your horse’s feed and water is extremely important, but the key to healthy equine digestion is the motility of the gastrointestinal system. The enteric nervous system, often referred to as the “brain of the gut”, is responsible for the horse’s entire gastrointestinal function, from the first nibble and bite to the excretion of manure and urine.

A closer look a digestion Horse caretakers face many challenges when it comes to feeding. Replicating the horse’s natural feeding regimen is the goal, but achieving it is another thing. Horses are designed to graze fairly consistently so that ingested food substances, called “ingesta”, make their way relatively slowly through the complex gastrointestinal tract.

Peristalsis The second a horse take a bite of grass, the first stage of digestion — known as peristalsis — begins. Peristalsis is a strong muscular process that propels the ingesta up through the horse’s long neck. A pattern of muscular contractions and relaxation persists rhythmically and systematically to move the ingesta through the horse’s esophagus. The fermentation (i.e., the chemical breakdown of rough forage into absorbable nutrients) of the ingesta is acted upon by enzymes in the horse’s mouth and esophagus. The ingesta passes into the horse’s small stomach where the proteins and sugars are 26

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Optimize Digestion

Bl 21


One finger width from the head of the fibula, on the lateral side of the tibia.

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Found on the distal end of the medial splint bone.

Bl 21

3 inches lateral to the dorsa midline just behind the last rib.

CV 12

On the ventral midline, halfway between the umbilicus and the xiphoid process.

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© Copyright Tallgrass Publishers, LLC. | All Rights Reserved 1995-currentanimalacupressure.com | 303-681-3030

extracted and absorbed. It then continues on to the small intestine and the different segments of the large intestine, receiving further fermentation and making it possible for the horse to absorb essential nutrients.

The enteric nervous system The enteric nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system and is in charge of directing and coordinating the movement of ingesta through the horse’s body. The enteric nervous system is composed of two networks of neurons within the walls of the tubular digestive tract. The peristaltic process is driven by the enteric nervous system and the powerful muscles embedded in the gastrointestinal tract.

Optimal digestion requires movement For the equine digestive process to perform optimally, the motility of ingesta through the gastrointestinal tract is critical. Any disruption in propulsion and fermentation during digestion activity, such as stagnation or insufficient ingesta, can lead to colic, choke, gastric ulcers, and obsessive

behaviors including cribbing, weaving, wood-chewing, etc.

Chinese Medicine and acupressure For centuries, Chinese Medicine has proven to enhance equine digestive motility and nutrient absorption. Acupressure is based on Chinese medicine and utilizes specific acupressure points, also called “acupoints”, to promote digestion. There’s an old Chinese phrase: “If stomach is good, the prognosis is good. If stomach is not good, the prognosis is not good.” How true that is with horses! This phrase is not referring to just the stomach, but to the whole process of digestion. By stimulating the acupoints shown in the chart every four or five days, you can help your horse’s enteric nervous system promote digestive motility and nutrient absorption. 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, DVDs, apps, meridian charts, and online e-learning opportunities. Tallgrass is an Approved Provider of NCCAOM (#1181) Continuing Education online e-learning. Contact: 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com


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By Emily Watson

When it comes to feeding your horse, there are certain foods that can help “move things along” and promote an optimal environment in the gut. Take a look! 1 BEET PULP — Easily digestible and high in fiber, beet pulp is a great way to support your horse’s digestion. Because horses don’t have the enzymes required to break down fiber, it passes through to the hindgut where the process of bacterial fermentation takes place. The fiber is digested into volatile fatty acids, which provides a slow release of energy for the horse to use.

TIP No matter what you feed your horses, always provide access to good quality hay or forage. 28

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2 SOYBEAN HULLS — Like beet pulp, soybean hulls are often called “super fibers” due to the high levels of digestible energy they provide. These low-sugar pellets help maintain healthy digestion without putting horses at high risk of colic and laminitis.

TIP Moderation is key! As is the case with our own diets, it’s important not to feed your horse too much of any treat or grain. Even healthy fruits and veggies can cause diarrhea if consumed in excess.

3 ALFALFA CUBES — “Alfalfa cubes provide fiber and boost the

Enlist an equine nutritionist to perform a nutritional analysis on your horse. This will help you determine what elements of his diet need to be added/removed.

overall protein quality of the diet,” says equine nutritionist Dr. Juliet Getty. “Horses love them, so they make an excellent ‘carrier feed’ for added supplements. It is best to add water to soften them to avoid choke.” 4 PUMPKIN — When fed in small quantities (too much can cause digestive upset), pumpkin flesh can help support your horse’s digestion. Because it’s rich in fiber and vitamins and low in sugar, it’s the perfect ingredient to add to a batch of homemade treats! 5 FISH OIL — The average equine diet contains very little EPA and DHA — two very important fatty acids that

contribute to optimal digestion and help reduce inflammation. Feeding a cold-water fish source, such as salmon oil, offers your horse these nutrients. “Fish oil is high in long chain Omega 3s, which are excellent for inflammatory conditions such as ulcers or colitis,” says Dr. Getty. “Though most horses do not like the taste of fish, the same benefits can be derived by feeding microalgae, which is more palatable.”

TIP Avoid foods that are high in nonstructural carbohydrates (sugar and starch), such as cereal-based feed and treats, and rich spring grass. This is especially important for insulin-resistant horses.

6 FLAXSEED — You can also increase your horse’s fat intake by adding some ground flaxseed to his regular meals. Flaxseed is high in an essential fatty acid called linolenic acid (ALA). Often found in plant sources, ALA is converted in the body to DHA and EPA. Fresh grass tends to provide a good source of plant-based ALA, but supplementing with flax also supplies the horse with energy and benefits gastrointestinal function due to its high soluble fiber content.

TIP Avoid giving potatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and nightshade veggies to horses as treats, as these foods tend to cause intestinal gas.

TIP “Avoid weekly bran mashes, since they do not allow the microbial population in the hindgut time to adjust, potentially leading to colic,” says Dr. Getty.

8 KELP — Besides being rich in trace minerals and Omega fatty acids, kelp powder contains sulphated polysaccharides which have been shown to increase the growth of “good” bacteria and nourish the gut. 9 MINT LEAVES — Certain varieties of mint, such as peppermint and spearmint, are antispasmodic, and are known to have a soothing effect on the digestive system. Feeding your horse a few fresh mint leaves can help to expel gas and improve his appetite.

7 CHIA SEEDS — “Chia seeds are a wonderful way to add essential fatty acids that the horse must have in the diet (since his body cannot produce them),” says Dr. Getty. “In addition, chia is high in water soluble fiber, making a soothing gel that helps keep contents moving smoothly through the digestive tract.”

10 HIGH QUALITY HAY — There are a number of foods you can feed your horse to support good gut health

and digestion, but nothing compares to good quality hay. Chances are, investing a little extra on this crucial dietary element now will save you loads of money on vet bills down the road.

TIP How you’re feeding is just as important — if not more so — than what you’re feeding. To best support your horse’s digestion, feed him small meals throughout the day, and take steps to ensure his stomach is never empty. In order for his digestive system to stay healthy, it needs to be working continuously!

TIP Talk to your vet about feeding supplements that support digestion, such as probiotics and/or fiber.

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antibiotics By Joyce Harman, DVM

Your horse just finished a round of antibiotics. What’s next? Here’s how a natural approach can help restore him to good health.


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Antibiotics are used very liberally in the horse world, and they may be needed in many cases. However, it’s important to realize they do some damage to the gut. The good news is that there are many natural ways to heal the gut, repair the immune system damage, and improve the long-term health of the horse and his microbiome.

What is the microbiome and why should we care? The intestinal tract contains bacteria and many other microbes (the microbiota) designed to digest food, manufacture vitamins and make minerals available. The genetic makeup of these microbiota is called the microbiome. The microbiota grow on dietary fiber called prebiotics in the digestive tract, not on the

intestinal wall. The populations of microbiota are quite variable between horses, even those kept on similar feeding programs. Because they reproduce rapidly, microbial populations are susceptible to changes in the diet and environment. When digestive tract microflora become unbalanced, the bacteria are not present in the correct proportions and incomplete digestion occurs. With incomplete digestion and poor quality feeds, the pH can become altered, leading to the migration of bacteria into inappropriate places, or to an overgrowth of microbes that are not supposed to be in a certain location. Antibiotics damage the microbiota by killing all microbes indiscriminately. In the process, the gut wall also

becomes inflamed, creating a “leaky gut� situation. When this occurs, the gut wall actually becomes leaky and compounds can pass through it into the body in a form that is inappropriate or even toxic.

Immune system effects of microbiota Microbes play a variety of roles in the immune function of the gut. The good ones directly compete for space and can overcome pathogenic bacteria by their physical presence. They can also prevent pathological bacteria from entering the lining of the gut. They have been shown to play a direct role in the immune system in ways we are just beginning to understand. Continued on page 32.

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Continued from page 31. When we give antibiotics, we are trying to kill off the bad bugs that could overwhelm the immune system, leading to an infection. This could be an infected wound or something like Lyme disease. We tend to just assume the body will recover and be healed; however, once that microbiome is damaged, the immune system is also damaged. In some cases, in animals with a strong microbiota and immunity, the immune system recovers, and the horse stays healthy. In many cases, however, the immune system and microbiota never recover and the immune system weakens over time, increasing the risk of health problems. In the case of Lyme disease and similar deep chronic infections, the organism continues to deplete the immune system and the horse never seems to recover properly.

Repair the gut, heal the horse Repairing the gut microbiota is the most important thing you can do for your horse after a course of antibiotics. It is also important if your horse has any chronic diseases (skin issues, colic, allergies, etc.), since we often do not know our horse’s lifetime exposure to antibiotics. It’s possible that as a foal, she was treated for pneumonia; or if

Inulin, one of the most common prebiotics, can be given to horses in the form of concentrated chicory powder.

there is a scar anywhere, it’s likely antibiotics were used liberally to heal that wound.

in their bucket, and you can add any other supplements you wish.

Prebiotics A combination of healthy feeds, pre and probiotics, as well as some herbs and nutritional supplements can repair the gut wall and immune system.

Feeds Horses fed a forage-based diet tend to have a healthier and broader population of microbes than grain-fed horses. Switching to a whole food diet instead of processed feed will make a big difference. Unless you have a hard keeper that needs a lot of calories, most horses do well with a moistened hay pellet mixed with a vitamin/ mineral supplement as their “feed”. They think they are getting a meal

Prebiotics are short chain fibers that the microbiota grow on. One of the most common is inulin. It’s found in the plant chicory and can be fed as a concentrated powder (20 g to 30 g twice a day), if you do not have much chicory growing nearby. Others prebiotics include fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), beta-glucans (from mushrooms or foods like oats and barley) and mannanoligosaccharides (MOS). These can be found in some of the probiotic supplements on the market. Prebiotics can also come in the form of compounds from humus, such as fulvic and humic acids. These come Continued on page 34.



Research into the equine microbial populations is just beginning, along with our understanding of how the balance of microbes relates to health and disease. If you wish to know the details about your own horse’s microbiome, a British company called EquiBiome (equibiome.org) offers kits that use DNA analysis to tell you about his microbial balance, and give you suggestions on what to use to correct it. They have international kits, although some of the recommended products may not be available in your own country.


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Continued from page 32. from the soil; the microbiota that live and reproduce in the gut are similar to those that naturally occur in the soil, as opposed to those we commonly supplement. These soil compounds help support the microbiota.

Herbs and plants Herbs can be added for a variety of reasons because they contain many compounds that help heal the gut wall as well as supply prebiotics. Diverse pastures supply a variety of plants and herbs that the horse can select as needed. If that is not possible, try planting a patch of herbs for your herd to graze for short periods, or add seeds to your pasture to increase plant diversity. Plant small patches in areas away from high traffic paths so the herbs have a chance to grow. You can also grow plants in your own organic garden with great soil microbes, and feed carrots and other root crops without washing the soil off. Other herbs such as marshmallow, aloe, fenugreek, chamomile, dandelion and ginger can all be used to help heal the gut wall. Slippery elm is commonly used, but is an endangered herb, so if it is used, it needs to be harvested ethically. The company you buy from should be able to confirm the sourcing.

Probiotics Probiotics are always useful as part of the damage control and repair process. During antibiotic usage, the drugs kill off the probiotics you are adding to your horse’s feed. However, it is still beneficial to feed them, while knowing that all you are doing is some damage control. The real repair comes after the antibiotics are finished. If you can feed probiotics at a different time than the antibiotics, that’s great, but it’s not always possible in boarding situations or at home when you have to go to work and feed twice a day. Probiotic supplements primarily help create a positive environment for the microbiota to thrive, rather than replace the damaged bugs. Probiotics should be free from additives, fillers, sugars and preservatives. If possible, it helps to have them microencapsulated to prevent breakdown on the way to the small and large intestines, though products without microencapsulation do help.

Other nutrients Many additional nutrients help heal the gut wall and repair the gut’s immune system. Glutamine is an amino

acid that is fuel for the enterocytes (the cells that make up the gut wall), so the addition of 20 g to 30 g twice a day can be helpful, especially if the horse has been ill and wasn’t eating well during the antibiotic usage. It can also be helpful in lower doses as part of a supplement. Colostrum is an important nutrient that acts directly on the immune system in the lining of the gut wall. Colostrum has become very popular but should only be used if it is sourced from grass-fed cows that are not stressed. Commercial dairy cows are under a huge amount of stress and their colostrum is not as healthy for the immune system.

Conclusion Repairing the horse’s gut after antibiotic use is important. Gut health is really at the center of general health; research is now proving that without a healthy microbiome, overall body health suffers. It takes a minimum of three months to heal the gut after a short course of antibiotics, and much longer than that after months of antibiotics, or after repeated bouts of antibiotics, which are given to many Lyme and chronic disease sufferers. However, if you take the time and money to repair your horse’s gut after antibiotic usage, you will save both aggravation and extra cost in the long run, and have a healthier horse.

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


Equine Wellness


Achieve greater mobility with the


THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD — basic guidelines The purpose of the Pelvic Clock, or any Feldenkrais Method® lesson, is to help you develop awareness through movement. When doing this lesson it is very important to observe the following guidelines:

By Wendy Murdoch

Combat stiffness in your hips, improve pelvic mobility, and develop a better seat with this simple exercise. This lesson, commonly referred to as the “Pelvic Clock”, is an adaptation of a Feldenkrais Method® Awareness Through Movement ® Lesson. It will give you more mobility in your pelvis. Greater mobility allows you to find a more accurate balanced central position on your horse.


Sit at the front of your chair with feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes. Feel your seat bones in contact with the chair. Are they making equal contact?


Imagine sitting on the face of a clock (Illustration 1). Slowly advance the top of your pelvis towards 12 o’clock (Illustration 2) and return to center. Repeat many times, noticing what is happening to your seat bone weight, your breathing, hip joints and spine.


Tip your pelvis towards 9 o’clock (Illustration 5). Is this movement different than when you shifted your pelvis towards 3 o’clock? Which direction is easier?


Move your pelvis towards 12 o’clock, then continue around the outside of the clock towards 1 o’clock. Continue on to 2 then 3, back to 2, 1 and 12. Repeat this quarter of the clock several times. Notice which hours are easy and which are not so easy. What is the quality of the arc as you go from 12 to 3 and back? Is it jerky, smooth, flat or curved?

7 8

Repeat step 6, this time moving your pelvis from 12 to 9 and back.

Move the top of your pelvis towards 6 o’clock (Illustration 3). Your back will round slightly. Observe your weight and breathing.


Now move hour by hour in a clockwise direction. (Illustration 6). How smooth can you make the circle? What happens in your hip joints, ribcage and head? Next, move counterclockwise. How is this different?



Tip your pelvis towards 3 o’clock (to the right) either by lifting the left seat bone or pushing down slightly with the right seat bone. (Illustration 4). Repeat this movement several times. Do you tilt, lean or collapse into your ribcage as you move?



Begin to move across the clock from 6 to 12. Next, move between 3 and 9. Then, beginning with 1 o’clock, go through the hours diagonally (Illustration 7) — 1 to 7, 2 to 8, 3 to 9, 4 to 10, 5 to 11 and 6 to 12. Which movements were easy? Which were hard?




•G o slowly; take time to explore the movements • Keep the movements small • Stop and rest between every stage • Do not force the movements • If it hurts, do less • Visualize the movements if you can’t do them To learn more about the Feldenkrais Method or to find a Feldenkrais Practitioner in your area visit Feldenkrais.com.


Start to explore the clock more freely with your pelvis. Circle around and then across the clock. As you do this, see if you can determine the exact middle of the clock, where the hands would attach at the center. This would be a balanced, central position on the saddle. Notice if this center position feels different than it did when you started the exercise.

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



Equine Wellness



Can latex exposure cause equine asthma? Researchers have discovered that exposure to latex could be detrimental to a horse’s respiratory health, and may play a role in some cases of equine asthma.

In a study recently conducted at the Royal Agricultural University and University of Nottingham, researchers found that natural rubber latex — like other common allergens such as pollen, mold and insect proteins — may contribute to severe equine asthma (sEA) in horses. In fact, four of the five most significant allergens associated with sEA were latex proteins. Due to limitations in assessment methods, this is the first study to test the effect of latex on allergies in horses. The findings are significant, especially for horses that regularly come into contact with latex, such as that found on artificial riding surfaces like arenas and racetracks. Breathable latex from car tires in urban environments was also identified as a risk factor. Drawing on a larger study that used more comprehensive testing methods to determine precise allergens within stable dust (a common contributor to sEA), researchers tested nearly 400 extracts and proteins commonly found 36

Equine Wellness

in the equine environment using blood samples from 138 horses in Switzerland, France, the United States and Canada. It was found that horses with latex allergens in their blood had a higher incidence of sEA. “Research to date has generally implicated fungi and bacteria as the predominant allergens associated with sEA, so this was a little unexpected,” says Dr. Samuel White, Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, and lead author of the paper. “We would need to learn more about how these allergens affect actual predisposed horses, but avoidance of latex allergens may still be beneficial.”

The research, funded by Morris Animal Foundation, was published in the Nature Journal Scientific Reports. According to Dr. Janet Patterson-Kane, Morris Animal Foundation Chief Scientific Officer, the findings highlight the need to better understand the potential health effects of the environments horses are exposed to. “It’s crucial that we identify which allergens might cause them distress so we know what to avoid as well as develop appropriate treatments,” she says. Read the report at nature.com/articles/ s41598-019-51820-7.

What is sEA? Severe equine asthma, also known as heaves, recurrent airway obstruction and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, closely resembles human asthma. It is a debilitating and chronic allergic respiratory condition that affects 14% of all breeds of horses in the northern hemisphere. When exposed to allergens, these horses can experience inflammation and constriction of the airways, as well as excessive mucus production. There are currently limited treatment options for this condition.



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Bomber’s Happy Tongue bits are great for sensitive horses. Each has a solid mouthpiece that is curved and ported for tongue relief. There are also many cheek piece variations, so you can adjust your level of control. Ideal for horses that shake their heads, move their tongues around or snatch the reins! Orders over $100 from Eaglewood Equestrian Supplies ship free to Canada and the US. eaglewoodequestrian.ca

Get rid of parasites… naturally! Traditional commercial wormers contain toxic chemicals and can cause serious health consequences in horses, including allergic reactions, intestinal disturbances, laminitis, and damage to the immune system, liver and kidneys. Continuous exposure to these chemicals also contributes to the ever-growing problem of parasite resistance. WormGuard Plus is a natural, safe and effective wormer that kills intestinal parasites mechanically rather than chemically. It also contains probiotics for digestive health and grapeseed extract for immune system support. theholistichorse.com

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Your horse’s health and happiness matter — which means feeding him a healthy diet should be a top priority! Nutrena® SafeChoice ® feeds are nutritionally balanced for healthier outcomes and provide more topline support for the animals you love. With nine formulas to choose from, you’ll have no trouble finding the right SafeChoice for your equine partner. nutrenaworld.com/safechoice

A fitness tracker for horses Looking for the latest tech for riders? Equisense Motion S Fitness Tracker is a new digital riding companion that equine caretakers everywhere love! This innovation created especially for horses evaluates their fitness and physical condition (heart rate monitor), and analyzes their training thanks to an integrated GPS tracker It’s the ideal tool to optimize training and assure the best horse care. equisense.com

Equine Wellness



Equine arthritis and the

healing power of hemp A look at arthritis in horses and why hemp is becoming a popular treatment option for this common condition. By Ian Pedersen

Hemp has been around for a long, long time. It has been used in the manufacturing of rope, clothing and paper for thousands of years. Thanks to its value, American farmers were even legally required to grow hemp as a staple crop in the 1700s. Things have changed a great deal since then, but thankfully, the value of this versatile plant has not. Over the last two decades or so, we’ve seen a surge in popularity of this longtime beneficial plant for both animals and humans. Much of this popularity has to do with cannabidiol (CBD), a potent compound in the hemp plant. Found in high concentrations in the stalk and flowers of the plant, CBD has incredible potential for treating an impressive variety of health conditions, from epilepsy and other neurological conditions, to pain, inflammation and anxiety. Studies even suggest that CBD may protect against the development of certain types of cancer. And it’s not just for humans, dogs and cats. It’s wonderful for horses, too.

HEMP FOR HORSES Just like humans, horses have an endocannabinoid system. This system runs throughout the body, including the brain, central nervous system, and vital organs. It regulates and helps maintain balance within the central nervous system, and is made up of receptors (CB1 and CB2) that, when supplied with CBD, elicit a response to pain or mood. That’s what makes it so promising for arthritis. Any horse caretaker knows that arthritis is an unwelcome


Equine Wellness

diagnosis in an equine partner, regardless of discipline or occupation. It’s painful, and can significantly limit mobility. It can also have an impact on a horse’s temperament.

ARTHRITIS: A DREADED DIAGNOSIS Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that leads to a breakdown of the soft cartilage between the bones. It’s actually caused by wear and tear; over time, the tissue that absorbs shock and protects the bones begins to wear away. Often, an injury to the joint will exacerbate the problem and lead to arthritis. Because arthritis is a degenerative disease, it is most often seen in older horses, especially those involved in racing, jumping, dressage, or other high-impact sports. While it’s

most commonly seen in weightbearing joints, it can affect any joint in the body. Understandably, just as with humans, this breakdown of tissue results in inflammation, stiffness, and considerable pain. It can also result in lameness if not addressed.

MANAGING EQUINE ARTHRITIS Currently, there is no cure for most types of arthritis. Once that tissue is gone, it can’t regenerate. That’s why early diagnosis and appropriate management are crucial, especially with cases of inflammatory arthritis. Proper hoof trims and shoeing, good conformation, and proper footing can all help delay the onset of arthritis in horses.

A slight stiffness when first working out is an important early warning sign to watch for. Any pain or discomfort are also telltale symptoms, as is a change in temperament. In the advanced stages, x-rays may show bony growths (osteophytes) on the joint. When the signs of arthritis start to appear, many caretakers will turn to anti-inflammatories such as Bute (phenylbutazone) for daily pain management. However, the issues with this type of pain relief regimen are well

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documented (plenty of research shows it can lead to kidney damage); and we’ve seen a shift in the belief that Bute is the only solution to a horse’s discomfort — thanks in large part to CBD.



Taquito’s turnaround I’ve seen the positive effects CBD has on horses many times. Taquito’s story is just one example. A few years ago, my team and I started working with Taquito, a beautiful 15-year-old sorrel Quarter horse at the Wheel Barrow Ranch in Arizona. He was suffering greatly from arthritis. The stiffness in his joints was hindering his ability to move fluidly, and he was clearly in pain. Taquito was dosed at 0.2 mg of CBD per pound of his body weight (approximately 800 lbs) with a daily total intake of 160 mg. A 2 ml delivery of Source CBD hemp oil was added to his food or directly administered to his mouth with an oral syringe applicator. Taquito was dosed for approximately 90 days, using a 2 oz bottle that was used at a rate of approximately one bottle every 30 days.

Photo courtesy of Perfect Chance Photography.

After just a few treatments with CBD, Taquito was not only moving around more, with visibly reduced pain, but his temperament had also significantly improved. After 90 days, the overall inflammation in his ligaments had decreased, and the early onset arthritis issues had disappeared. 40

Equine Wellness

While CBD is a powerful pain management option, it is by no means only reactionary. It’s also a powerful proactive deterrent to help defend against any arthritis that may develop in the future. It can alleviate not just the joint stiffness that can lead to arthritic symptoms, but can also go to work on the endocannabinoid system early on. Studies have shown that this can help reduce the painful neurological impulses that simulate and result in adverse joint and nerve pain.

FINDING THE RIGHT PRODUCT FOR YOUR HORSE There are many different CBD products available on the market, although very few are labeled for use in horses. When sourcing a reliable product, look for a Certificate of Analysis from a third party laboratory. Make sure the product is tested for heavy metals, pesticides, and any residual solvents. Also ensure it’s sourced from organic hemp, as hemp absorbs toxins from the soil, which can then be transferred to the CBD oil. Additionally, look at the extraction method used. CO2 extraction is the cleanest and most complete method. It uses carbon dioxide (CO2) to extract the CBD from the plant, rather than solvents (which, like toxins, can remain in the oil). According to the World Health Organization, CBD has a positive safety profile and long-term use has shown no negative side effects. CBD oil is a breakthrough in health and wellness, especially when it comes to arthritis in horses. It has the power to support proactive joint growth and give protection from future breakdown, as well as providing significant relief from the painful symptoms of arthritis, helping your horse live a long, healthy and full life. It has been amazing to see, firsthand, the benefits of CBD for horses, and to hear from others the many positive experiences they’ve had with it. Adding it to your horse’s daily diet, no matter his age, weight or activity, can help bring about positive health benefits on so many levels.

Ian Pedersen is a leading CBD medical hemp researcher in the US, and has worked for over 20 years within the cannabis space to uncover the medical benefits of hempderived CBD. Ian’s background extends to launching state licensed medical cannabis facilities, as well as being the Founder and Director of Source CBD, which has been widely recognized as the pioneer in CBD research for pets and humans, as well as in treating rare and exotic animals at nationally-recognized wildlife refuges and parks.


BETTY’S BEST is changing the way people groom their horses Most horse caretakers have a favorite grooming tool they reach for again and again. Chances are, it gets the job done. But grooming is about so much more than removing loose hair, and the majority of tools on the market don’t address this. Enter Betty’s Best, Inc. — a female-owned and operated company that’s singlehandedly changing the landscape of horse grooming. Their signature product, StripHair® The Gentle Groomer ®, is a therapeutic grooming device designed to help animals look and feel their best.

Unlike traditional tools, The Gentle Groomer has no bristles, blades or sharp edges that can scratch the skin, tug the coat, damage the hair or cause discomfort. Instead, the textured rubber gently draws dirt and dander to the surface while removing loose hair and producing a natural shine. It also conforms to all areas of the body, providing a soothing massage that works to increase blood flow, speed recovery time and calm the horse — a feature that has captured the attention of hundreds of equine caretakers and industry experts.

Created in 2014, with a major re-design in 2018, The Gentle Groomer is an international award-winning product that transforms regular grooming sessions into a relaxing bonding experience. Formulated with natural tree rubber, orange essential oils and antimicrobial agents, it’s designed to clean, shine, shed and massage animals in the most soothing way possible. “Betty had a mission to change the way horses are groomed,” says Sunday Jacobs, co-owner of Betty’s Best. “Her goal was to develop a tool that would first and foremost benefit the horse as well as make the job of grooming easier.”

“Every product from Betty’s Best must fit these criteria”, says Sunday. “Safety, comfort and benefit for the animal, multi-purpose functionality for the user, and eco-smart materials that make the products renewable, reusable and longlasting.” The company’s latest product line, Betty’s Best Skin & Coat, includes grooming cloths made of 100% renewable bamboo fiber, as well as an all-natural stain remover. These unique products contain only natural hypoallergenic ingredients that work to clean and soothe the coat while eliminating odors. Like The Gentle Groomer, they were created with the animal’s well-being in mind.


Doing good for animals has always been a top priority at Betty’s Best — and that value extends to the animal community as a whole. Whenever someone supports their brand by purchasing one of their products, they give back to reputable non-profits. As of today, they’ve donated supplies to a number of rescues and shelters, as well as equine-assisted therapy organizations for veterans, special needs persons, and youth development. As their company continues to grow, they intend to extend their philanthropic reach even further. Today, Betty’s Best videos have been viewed well over 50 million times, The Gentle Groomer has received the highest international awards in the industry, and their products are available in over 20 countries. “We’re looking forward to what the future holds,” says Betty. “Our greatest motivation is feedback from our customers. Their horses always fidgeted and showed irritation with traditional grooming tools. But their attitudes are completely different when using The Gentle Groomer. Those testimonials make all our hard work so worthwhile.”

Because Betty’s flagship product can so quickly and easily strip a horse of loose hair, dirt and dander, it was originally christened “StripHair”. But over time, Betty and many enthusiastic customers came to the same conclusion: while the tool is excellent for removing loose hair, its most noteworthy feature is how gentle it is. StripHair organically came to be known as The Gentle Groomer, now a registered trademark of Betty’s Best.

Equine Wellness



Dr. Emily Weiss, PhD, CAAB

Should you MICROCHIP your horse?

A microchip might seem unnecessary, but it’s one of the best ways to identify your horse in the event of theft, escape or natural disaster.

This is just one real-life example of how a microchip can ensure your worst nightmare has a happy ending. Microchips form a permanent link between you and your horse, providing a safe and effective way to reunite caretakers with their equines in the event of theft, escape or natural disaster. They are also an important tool to assure positive identification at equine events. And, with more breed and sport associations requiring microchips for registration 42

Equine Wellness

HOW TO GET YOUR HORSE MICROCHIPPED The process itself is inexpensive, minimally invasive, and can be performed in a matter of minutes by your veterinarian. The microchip is roughly the size of a grain of rice, and a hypodermic needle is used to easily implant the electronic device in the horse’s nuchal ligament halfway between his poll and withers. Once inserted, the microchip cannot easily be altered or removed, making it more permanent than tattoos, brands, or other forms of identification. When each microchip is manufactured, it is encoded with either a unique ten-digit alphanumeric sequence or a 15-digit numerical sequence. It is then activated by a scanner that is passed over the area, and the radio waves put out by the scanner activate the chip. The chip transmits the identification number to the scanner, which displays the number on the screen.

THE IMPORTANCE OF REGISTRATION Once the microchip is implanted, you need to register with its manufacturer. Without registration, the microchip number is not linked to any useful data. It is important to keep your microchip contact information up to date should you move, change phone numbers, or if you purchase a horse who is already Below: Microchipping is inexpensive, minimally invasive, and can be performed in a matter of minutes by your veterinarian. Here, a veterinarian scans a horse’s microchip.

Photo courtesy of Microchip ID Systems, Inc.

and competition, they are quickly becoming the norm, with some states requiring that horses be microchipped.

Right: Closeup of a microchip.

Photo courtesy of the ASPCA.

It’s every horse caretaker’s worst nightmare. Your horse enjoys his last feeding of the day before settling contentedly into the barn for the evening. You return early next morning, only to discover that your beloved horse is nowhere to be found. No sign of a broken fence or an unlocked gate, leaving you unsure if he was stolen or broke out on his own. You feel helpless as days turn into weeks with no new answers or leads to explore. Finally, local authorities call to say they suspect a stolen horse discovered in a nearby field may be your missing horse, but they can’t be sure. Thankfully, your horse’s microchip removes any doubt, ensuring his safe return.

microchipped and is registered to the former caretaker. If the information is outdated or incorrect, it will be difficult for you to reconnect with your horse, especially during disasters. According to Microchip ID Systems, microchips helped safely reunite nearly 400 horses with their caretakers following Hurricane Katrina. Microchips have helped reunite countless horses with their people after times of disaster or other unforeseen events. It is a safe reliable way to provide permanent positive identification, and provides unmatched peace of mind to horse caretakers. In short, yes — you should microchip your horse! For more information, visit aspcapro.org/ resource/step-step-equine-microchipping.

Dr. Emily Weiss is the vice president of the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Equine Welfare department. Dr. Weiss, who has been with the ASPCA since 2005, has extensive experience working with zoos, shelters and equestrian facilities as a behaviorist and scientist. She has a strong understanding of the equine field, and has owned and trained horses most of her life.

How microchips IMPROVE EQUINE WELFARE In addition to helping reunite horses with their caretakers, microchips also serve as a safety net to prevent horses from falling through the cracks and ending up in bad situations. In 2018, the ASPCA partnered with the American Horse Council (AHC) to fund the development of a database of all registered equine microchips. With its new equine lookup tool, the AHC aims to provide a central informational source for the equine industry concerning microchipping, as well as promote the horse industry’s various safety net programs, which offer individuals the opportunity to attach their names to a horse’s registration should the animal ever be in need of a home. Horselookup.org allows horse caretakers, law enforcement, animal health officials and others to look up a horse using a microchip number, and quickly discover where the horse is registered. If a horse is enrolled in a safety net program, a special logo will appear with that animal’s search results, specifying the program and the contact information for that organization. This tool not only helps reunite horses with their people during catastrophes by centralizing microchip registration information, but it also permits individuals who have owned, cared for or admired a horse to sign up to help that horse should he ever become at risk. The creation of the equine microchip look-up tool is a vital step to reaching the ASPCA's goal of ensuring all equines have good welfare.

Equine Wellness



Understanding your horse’s

gastrointestinal tract By Justine Griesenauer, DVM

Have you ever wondered what happens after your horse takes a bite of hay? Gaining a better understanding of her gastrointestinal tract will help you optimize her health and minimize complications.

You pay the utmost attention to what goes into your horse. You pore over which grain is most appropriate, poll your barn mates to see what their horses are eating, read through too many supplement labels to count, and ask your vet her opinion at every appointment. But have you ever thought about what goes on inside your horse, within her gastrointestinal (GI) tract?

THE MOUTH Digestion begins in the oral cavity, aka the mouth. Adult horses have 36 to 44 teeth. At the front of their mouths are the incisors, designed for grasping hay and tearing grass blades. A strong tongue moves food from the incisors into the mouth, where the cheek teeth — premolars and molars — work to grind down the food. The average length of fibers in equine feces is just 3.7 mm, and no 44

Equine Wellness

significant decrease in food particle size occurs between the stomach and anus. In other words, chewing is the most important determinant in food particle size! In addition to highly-efficient teeth, horses produce up to 12 liters of saliva per day. Unlike other animals, horses produce saliva as a result of chewing only. Saliva acts as lubrication to help the food bolus (mass of chewed food) pass easily through the oral cavity and down the esophagus, and also contains enzymes to begin the chemical breakdown of food.

THE ESOPHAGUS After food is ground down into small particles in the mouth, it moves into the esophagus. The esophagus is a 50" to 60" muscular tube that extends from the pharynx, down the left side of the horse’s neck,

through the thoracic cavity (home of the lungs and heart), through the diaphragm, and into the stomach. Food moves down the esophagus via peristalsis — regular rhythmic muscular contractions that push food towards the stomach. A strong gastroesophageal sphincter is found at the junction of the esophagus and stomach. This is a strong muscular ring that prevents the retrograde (backward) movement of food — thus, the horse cannot vomit or belch.

THE STOMACH Once the gastroesophageal sphincter relaxes, food empties from the esophagus into the stomach. With an 8 liter to 15 liter (2 gallon to 4 gallon) capacity, the size of the stomach is relatively small compared to the rest of the horse’s digestive system — just 10% of the total capacity of the GI

tract! This small capacity means the horse’s stomach is best suited for small frequent meals. As the food sits in the stomach, hydrochloric acid and pepsin secreted by stomach cells contribute to the chemical breakdown of food. Retention time of food within the stomach is less than two hours. Typically, food moves through the stomach in about 12 minutes, which is why horses can graze for hours and hours during the day, and always seem to be asking for their next meal!

THE SMALL INTESTINE The relatively simple design of the stomach leads into the twists and turns of the small intestine. At 60' to 65' long, the small intestine is the primary site for digestion and absorption of sugar, starch, protein and fat. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), calcium and phosphorus are also absorbed in the small intestine. With a 64 liter (17 gallon) capacity, this maze of tissue makes up 30% of the total capacity of the GI tract. Food contents pass through all 65' of the small intestine in about 30 to 90 minutes. In fact, the typical transit time of feedstuff through the small intestine is one foot per minute.

Within the abdomen, the horse also has a pancreas and liver — all of which play supporting roles in the digestion of feed.

Three segments comprise this section of your horse’s gut. First, the duodenum, home to the enzymatic digestion of food. Then the jejunum, the longest and most mobile section of small intestine; here, enzymatic digestion continues and nutrients begin to be absorbed. Finally food reaches the ileum for further absorption of nutrients. The small intestine is attached to the body wall via a ligamentous attachment known as the mesentery. Within the mesentery are numerous vessels and nerves connecting to the intestines. The mesentery is attached to the small intestine along its entire length; but the mesentery itself has only one attachment to the abdomen, towards the spine — thus making it highly mobile and allowing the small intestine to move freely within the abdomen. Continued on page 46.

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Continued from page 45.

Spleen Jejunum



THE CECUM The first part of the hindgut is the cecum. The cecum is a 30 liter (8 gallon) muscular sac that is essentially a huge microbial fermentation vat. It is here that all the “good bugs” of the microbiome live and work, ensuring the horse can utilize the food he eats. Feed material spends about seven hours in the cecum undergoing the fermentation process.

THE LARGE INTESTINE Food then passes into the large colon, or large intestine. The major function of the large intestine is the absorption of water. Every day, about 100 liters (26 gallons) of water (for an 1,100 lb horse) is secreted into the small intestine during the digestive process. As feed material moves through the

The horse’s stomach is best suited for small frequent meals. large colon, much of this water is reabsorbed, forming semi-solid fecal material. While only 12' long, it has a 75 liter (20 gallon) capacity — about 65% of the total capacity of the GI tract. 46

Equine Wellness

Descending Colon Rectum

Bladder Pelvic Flexure


Duodenum Left Ventrical Colon


Left Dorsal Colon

As you might imagine, at this point, there is not much room left in the horse’s abdomen for the rest of the GI tract. Therefore, the large colon is folded onto itself to fit, resembling two horseshoes stacked on top of each other. From the cecum, the right ventral colon (on the floor of the right side of the abdomen) courses up towards your horse’s head. It then veers off to the left at the sternal flexure, becoming the left ventral colon (on the floor of the left side of the abdomen). The large colon then doubles back on itself in the pelvic region at a location called the pelvic flexure. Here, not only does the large colon change direction, but its diameter also narrows; this is a common site of impactions, or an accumulation of feed material obstructing the colon. From the pelvic flexure, the left dorsal colon (which sits near the spine, on top of the left ventral colon) courses towards the horse’s head again, and turns right at the diaphragmatic flexure (which is above the sternal flexure). The right dorsal colon (on top of the right ventral colon) leaves the diaphragmatic flexure and heads back

Photo courtesy of Dechra.

After food exits the ileum, it has reached an area of the horse’s GI tract known as the hindgut. The hindgut is where fermentation of feed material takes place, and contains the gut microbiome. Beneficial fungi, bacteria and protozoa comprise the microbiome, helping break down feed material so it can be absorbed and used for energy by your horse.


again towards her tail. The right dorsal colon turns left into the middle of the abdomen and becomes the shorter, narrower transverse colon.

THE SMALL COLON The transverse colon joins the small colon, which is the last segment of intestine before the rectum. It is in the small colon where fecal balls are made, and any remaining or excess water that wasn’t absorbed in the large colon gets absorbed here. Fecal balls pass into the rectum, then exit the body through the anus. Your horse’s digestive tract is both a unique and complicated factory, working around the clock to process and convert feed into usable nutrients and energy. By understanding her digestive tract, you’ll be better equipped to manage her nutrition, optimizing her health and wellness while minimizing complications. Dr. Justine Griesenauer is an equine veterinarian in Western Washington who takes a holistic approach to caring for horses. As a lifelong rider and horsewoman, she knows how important your horse is and this is reflected in her treatment. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.



Even if you’re feeding your horse a high quality forage-based diet, it is likely he could benefit from the addition of supplements to help optimize his nutrition, or to assist with an issue unrelated to diet. If supplementing has been on your mind but you’re not sure where to start, here are a few common supplements that tend to benefit most horses at some point in their lives: Joint: The key to helping your horse move comfortably throughout his life is in helping him maintain healthy joints and soft tissue. Daily joint supplements can be started early in life and may help stack the odds in your horse’s favor as he ages. Common ingredients include glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid to help lubricate and benefit the joints and maintain the health of soft tissue, along with methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and herbs such as boswellia, turmeric and yucca to help with age-related discomfort. Calming: Horses become tense or anxious for a variety of reasons, ranging from external factors to personality. Daily calming supplements help many horses

feel more settled and contain ingredients such as magnesium and thiamine (vitamin B1) to help support the nervous system, chamomile, valerian and l-tryptophan to help relieve restlessness, and inositol to help support a calm demeanor. Digestive: Support your horse’s complex digestive system with supplements containing ingredients such as probiotics to promote the production of good intestinal gut flora; prebiotics to feed these good bacteria; yeast cultures to assist the activity of good bacteria in the hindgut; and herbs such as ginger root, marshmallow root, aloe vera and slippery elm bark to coat and protect the stomach lining. Hoof health: Healthy and sound hooves are vitally important to your horse’s comfort and movement. Hoof health supplements contain ingredients including biotin to support hoof quality and strength, methionine and lysine to support the formation of keratin and collagen; and minerals such as zinc, copper and calcium, plus Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to help support weak and cracking hooves.

Skin and coat: Environmental forces such as cold weather or sun exposure can affect your horse’s skin and coat, as can a nutritional deficiency. Supplements for skin and coat generally address a nutritional need and contain Omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed oil or fish oil, vitamins such as vitamins A and E and biotin, and trace minerals such as silicon, zinc and copper. Finally, be sure to look for the NASC Quality Seal when buying equine supplements. This tells you the product comes from a responsible supplier that has passed a comprehensive facility audit and maintains ongoing compliance with NASC’s rigorous quality standards. Visit nasc.cc/members for a complete list of NASC member companies that have earned the Quality Seal.

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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equine diarrhea By Rachel Kelly

A number of factors can result in diarrhea in horses. Take a look at the most common causes, and some tips on how to deal with them.


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I’ve only had to deal with diarrhea in my horses once in the last 20 years. It was after Cody, my Thoroughbred, broke into the orchard and feasted on apples all through the night. Knowing the cause of the diarrhea was a big help, and with the support of some herbs, it cleared up in a few days. In my clinic, I see equine diarrhea on a more regular basis. It typically occurs when a feed change happens too quickly, or when the spring grass is coming in. This type of diarrhea normally passes in a few days with the correct management. But sometimes, equine diarrhea isn’t as simple as that, and getting to the bottom of it can be hard work. A horse’s manure should consist of well-formed balls with no runniness or watery discharge. The microbial balance in the gut helps keep the pH in the correct range, and when there’s an issue with

this balance, the manure changes. In short, diarrhea is a symptom of an issue in the gut.

chamomile, meadowsweet, lemon balm, red raspberry leaf and nettles. Sometimes just adding one of these herbs will help.



Let’s look at some of the causes of diarrhea and determine some effective courses of action. Keep in mind that if diarrhea lasts more than two weeks, it’s classed as chronic and your vet should be contacted.



All new feed should be introduced slowly. Horses going out on new grass should be turned out for short periods daily (one hour to begin with), gradually building up to full turnout. When not on grass, keep horses on hay. To help their digestion cope better you can add sprouted seeds for enzyme efficacy, which in turn helps break down proteins, carbohydrates and lipids and adds in vast amounts of antioxidants. Live yeast can help as well, as can herbs in dried or liquid form (herbal tea or tincture). Dried herbs can be simply added to feed, while herbal teas can be used to dampen down feed. I recommend fennel seed, peppermint,


Some horses struggle with stress from things like traveling or lack of equine company. This can often result in stress-related diarrhea. For horses that might need some support when on the road or leaving friends, herbs like lemon balm, hops, oats and skullcap can really help. Some horses who worry or are anxious can stay on an herbal remedy for a few weeks. Use herbs such as passion flower, lemon balm, lime flowers, oat seed and vervain that nourish the nervous system and restore balance. Also, remember that horses need regular turnout and friends to thrive.



A number of substances are toxic to horses — yew, oleander, rat poison, plants that have been sprayed with herbicides, rotting hay, red maple and ragwort, to name a few. Depending on your horse’s age,

DIY herbal diarrhea paste

A very simple diarrhea paste can be made from chamomile tea, slippery elm powder and meadowsweet powder. Mix the herbs together and add in enough water to form a paste. Feed daily for one to four days.

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Left: Activated charcoal can be used to help bind ingested toxins. Right: Feed your horse psyllium husks occasionally if you live in an area known for sand issues.

as well as what and how much he’s ingested, you may need to call a vet. When in doubt, call. Using activated charcoal or bentonite clay can help bind toxins, while milk thistle seed powder can support the liver.



Some antibiotics can induce diarrhea. Probiotics can be variable in how well they work, so keep in mind the CFU (colony forming units of good bacteria) when buying one. The higher the better. Brewer’s yeast can also be helpful. Turn to page 30 for more information on caring for your horse after a round of antibiotics.



Weight loss accompanied by diarrhea can be a sign of parasites. Keeping good records of your deworming program, proper pasture management, and taking fecal counts when needed will contribute to good parasite control.



The horse’s digestive system is sensitive to change, so all new foods need to be introduced slowly. If you suspect a food allergy, remove feed immediately. Herbs and foods to help with sensitivity include soaked hemp seeds, whole soaked oats, chia seeds, live enzymes from sprouted seeds, slippery elm, marshmallow root and chamomile.



Some geographical areas are known for sand issues. If you live in one of these areas, you can help your horse by feeding a commercial sand remover, or psyllium husks, on and off. You may need to need to look at your horse’s environment and make changes accordingly. For instance, try adding in extra hay nets or using rubber mats at feed stations. Slow feeders can also be helpful in these situations.



Older horses can get bouts of diarrhea due to poorly-functioning digestive systems. Sprouted seeds can help seniors digest better. If the horse has dental issues, sprouted seeds can be mashed up or blended into a smoothie to help with absorption. One of my favorite “old timer” smoothies is a combination of cold chamomile tea, sprouted seeds, meadowsweet powder, ginger powder and slippery elm powder. Add to a blender and feed to your older horse to help heal his gut and improve digestion.



Herbs to help with digestive infection include garlic, thyme, Echinacea, cinnamon, calendula and goldenseal. If you suspect infection, speak with your vet before using herbs. Diarrhea doesn’t just happen for no reason. As caretakers for our horses, we need to do what we can to help them adjust to the environments we create for them!

Rachel Kelly is a qualified master medical herbalist and equine herbalist. She graduated from the Irish school of master herbalists and then specialised in horses. Rachel runs a busy equine clinic in Kildare, Ireland, where she uses whole foods and herbs to cleanse, nourish and support horses. She places huge emphasis on what horses are eating, and has led the way on feeding whole foods to horses with a collection of books on sprouted seeds for optimum nutrition. Rachel’s blog can be found at equineherbalist.ie where she has an archive of great information on all things natural and herbal for your horse. She lives with her family, including her two horses Cody and Smurf.


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HEMP FOR MOBILITY Comfort Quik with Hemp CBJ complex is the only multi-herbal/ vitamin/mineral product with hemp that horses can legally race and show on. Made with USDA certified organic hemp seed oil and high protein hemp powder, it also helps older horses with ringbone or navicular. Free veterinary consults are part of the program. equinemedsurg.com

PRE- AND PROBIOTICS FOR A HEATHY GUT Horse health depends on a thriving population of beneficial gut microbes. Factors such as stress, diet changes, chemical wormers, vaccinations and antibiotics lead to an unfriendly gut environment and will force microbes to go dormant. Dyna Pro, a specialty product by Dynamite, creates the ideal conditions for good microbes to come out of dormancy, multiply and thrive so your horse gets optimal use of his food and supplements. The result is a healthy vibrant horse. animalandhumannutrition101.com

AVOID IRON OVERLOAD Hay Harmony™ provides the nutritional tools horses need to metabolize the high iron content from hay and pasture. Iron overload is very common, yet often overlooked, and can contribute to a wide range of health issues, including insulin resistance, Cushing’s disease, weak immunity, infections, allergies, poor hoof health and more. yuccitup.com

THC-FREE CBD YOU CAN TRUST Champion’s Relief EQUINE from Rover’s Pet is an organic CBD oil containing 3,000 mg of CBD. Blended with MCT oil for enhanced bioavailability, it contains zero THC, safely supporting healthy joints and immune systems while helping to relieve discomfort caused by fatigued muscles, stiff joints and arthritis. roverspet.com

VET-RECOMMENDED GUT HEALTH SOLUTION Omega Alpha’s equine product RegenerEQ™ has been reviewed and recommended by veterinarians, including internal medical specialist Dr. Meg Miller Turpin. Its active components include growth factors, immunestimulating peptides, anti-inflammatory cytokines and other inflammatory-resolving biological compounds. This oneof-a-kind supplement is used to promote gut health, a key component for the success of the competitive equine athlete. OmegaAlpha.com

SUPPORT FOR HIS JOINTS Take a moment to carefully watch your horse’s movements. Is he hesitating to move out, or moving more stiffly? Grizzly’s Joint Aid for Horses’ unique blend of joint support ingredients provides visible results in as little as two weeks, with money-back results in four weeks. grizzlypetproducts.com/grizzly-joint-aid-for-horses

GIVE HIS GRAIN A BOOST With less than 10% starch and sugar, Stabul Nuggets are a nutritional and healthy treat for all horses. They can be fed to any horse that’s prone to EPSM, Equine Metabolic Syndrome, IR/Cushing’s disease or laminitis, as well as colic and founder issues. Available in a variety of flavors — including banana, fenugreek (maple), pina colada, strawberry, peppermint and peanut — making them a great addition to your picky horse’s diet! shop.nuzufeed.com Equine Wellness



o t e d i u g e t a The ultim

camping with horses

By Tom Seay

Want to embark on that camping trip you’ve always dreamed of? Proper planning can help ensure a smooth, safe experience for you and your horses.

Over the last 40 or so years of camping with horses, I have welcomed many suggestions from seasoned travelers and learned from many of my own mistakes. While there is no magic list of items to carry or things to do, we thought we would share with you many of the steps we take to ensure the most successful long-distance riding and camping trips possible. In the first part of this article, we’ll look at the first (and most important) stage of the camping experience — preparation! 52

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1. PREPARE THE TRAILER Whether we’re heading out overnight or for a few weeks, we always do what my wife calls the “redneck thing” by parking our trailer as close to the house as we can. This makes it easier to load clothing, personal items, towels and food from inside the home. It also gives us a way to check the plugs, adapters, water hoses, heating and air conditioning systems, and the generator.

2. DO A MAINTENANCE CHECK Parking the trailer close to the house also reminds us to do an initial check of the tires (including the spare), lights and brakes. Wiring connection problems seem to happen for no reason, so this gives us a chance to fix them before we head out. To be safe, you can also take your trailer to an inspection station or tire dealership to have your tires checked for air pressure. They should be filled equally to make your ride smooth.

3. GET YOUR PAPERWORK IN ORDER Check your driver’s license, insurance and registration. These documents seem to have a way of going into hiding, so we use a clearly labelled envelope to keep them all in one place. We also make and carry copies of each document. Although copies aren’t valid substitutes, it’s nice to have something to show an officer if you get stopped and can’t locate your originals.

4. DEAL WITH MEDICATION MATTERS Before leaving on your camping trip, have any prescriptions written for 90 days instead of 30. This will ensure you don’t run out mid-trip, and will reduce trips to the pharmacy. Print out a list of any medication you or your travel companions are currently taking, and memorize them. Often, doctors cannot treat you in an emergency if they do not know what might conflict with your medications.

5. FILL YOUR PROPANE TANKS Don’t forget to check the propane tanks! We never exchange tanks. There is a reason most places do exchanges for one fixed price, say $19.99 — because they’re never full! If you doubt this, take the “full” tank you just exchanged to a propane dealer to top off. Prepare yourself

for a shock. We always have our tanks filled at a propane dealer. Typically, they check the valve, manufacturing date and overall safety of the tank. We also carry a third spare tank for emergencies, and always keep it turned off to avoid slow leaks. That way, one tank is always full.

6. WEIGH YOUR RIG I always pull through the local feed store co-op or truck stop to weigh the entire rig before leaving on a trip. It costs nothing, and you’ll get a printout of the gross weight of your truck with the trailer. If a police officer questions your need for a CDL (commercial driver’s license because of weight), you can show the printout. Being stopped for a long period of time on a hot day with your horses under heat stress should — and can — be avoided.

7. CALL AHEAD Call the campground you are going to visit. Double check to ensure you have a reservation, and get the personal cell phone of who is in charge, if possible. If you arrive after hours or in the dark, you will be glad you did. Ask if there are special driving directions (GPS devices are great, but they aren’t always the most reliable), and double check to make sure the campground allows horses.

8. SET OUT EARLY! Plan to leave early for your trip. This allows for longer breakfast or lunch breaks, and will help ensure you arrive at your destination in the daylight. We try to arrive at least an hour or two before dark.

9. TAKE EXTRA FOOD AND FUEL I take three extra days of hay for my horses and food for our own needs. If plans go awry due to a mechanical issue, bad weather, etc., you might end up stranded somewhere. Having extra food in these situations is crucial. We also never let the fuel drop to less than half a tank.

10. CARRY CASH Many people assume you don’t need extra money when you’re camping — but chances are, you will! Carry enough cash to buy fuel to get back home, and pack a roll of quarters for doing laundry at the campground. I also strongly recommend getting an extra credit card with a small limit — $300 maximum. This will come in handy if you’re in a pinch. Preparing for a camping trip takes time, but it’ll save you a lot of hassle down the road. Watch for Part 2 of this article in our next issue, where we’ll offer our best tips for the actual camping experience!

Tom Seay, recognized as America's foremost outfitter and trail guide, has had horses since he was five years old. He and his wife Pat were professional horseback vacation outfitters in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains for 19 years. Tom produces and hosts the national television show, Best of America by Horseback, as seen on RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel. On each episode, Tom takes his national television audience to beautiful and historic locations around the country by horseback. He is recognized for planning, organizing and successfully leading two transcontinental trail rides — one in 1995 from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, and another from Mexico to Canada. andorafarm.com

Equine Wellness




pollinators ON YOUR FARM By Denise Ellsworth

Bees and other pollinators offer numerous benefits to your farm’s ecosystem. They’re likely already living there, but here are a number of steps you can take to help them thrive.

Who’s buzzing on your farm? Chances are, if it has some natural areas, fence rows or garden-type plantings, it’s home to possibly hundreds of species of wild bees (beyond the non-native honey bee), as well as butterflies, moths, beetles and hummingbirds. All these pollinators are visiting flowers for food, then incidentally moving pollen from plant to plant, thus ensuring the plant’s production of seeds and fruit.

vegetables but also foods like coffee and chocolate. In addition to their role on farms and gardens, pollinators are essential to the survival of native plants by transferring pollen and allowing plants to produce seeds. Pollinators are vital to the food web by ensuring the production of seeds and fruits eaten by countless animals in nature. And of course, all these pollinators are food for birds, mammals and other wildlife.

Pollinators such as honey bees, bumble bees and monarch butterflies have gained attention in recent years due to concerns about declining populations. Fortunately, everyone who manages land of any scale — from a community garden plot to large expanses of farmland — can take steps to support these and other pollinators.

Bees are considered the most important pollinators because they are uniquely adapted to gather and transport pollen. Bees rely on flowers for pollen to feed their young, so they actively seek out and visit flowers. Bees also forage for food close to their nesting sites, a practice called central place foraging. This makes nesting habitat on the farm especially important; bees nesting close by can easily visit crops like canola, berries or apples in need of pollination services.

Why are pollinators important? Pollinators are essential to the food we eat, including most fruits and 54

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Pollinators, bees in particular, are currently facing many threats, such as lack of forage (flowers for food), pests, pathogens, pesticides, invasive plants, climate change and lack of suitable nesting sites. Farmers and land managers can play an important role in pollinator conservation by providing plants and nesting sites and by adapting some management practices to protect pollinators.

1 Grow more flowers Trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants can all provide food and nesting habitat for pollinators. An abundance of different flowers that bloom across the growing year, from early spring through late fall, will appeal to a variety of pollinators. Different

Pollinators, bees in particular, are currently facing many threats, such as lack of forage (flowers for food), pests, pathogens, pesticides, invasive plants, climate change and lack of suitable nesting sites.

species of bees, butterflies and other pollinators are active at different times of the year. Early-blooming trees such as maples, willows and redbuds, and late-season perennials like asters and goldenrod, provide important food at especially critical times.

Photos courtesy of Denise Ellsworth.

By including many different flower sizes, colors and shapes, many different pollinators will be attracted to the farm. For example, red tubular flowers with a nectar reward tend to attract hummingbirds. Daisylike flowers that provide nectar and pollen in shallow flowers are often visited by bees and flies with shorter mouthparts. Grouping plants together in the garden or in fence rows helps pollinators find and feed on desirable flowers while expending less energy in search of plants. Some cultivars and hybrids — such as roses with “double” petals or purple coneflowers with tufted petals and muted colors — may not offer the pollen and nectar rewards that “straight species” do, since the quality and quantity of nectar and pollen are sometimes lost during breeding. Plants bred with “double” flower petals are often inaccessible to pollinators who may use the now-covered yellow anthers as a way to locate the flower. Include lessrefined plants along with horticultural selections to offer broad pollinator appeal. By watching flowers in the garden and

taking note of any flower visitors, observers can learn which ones are most attractive to pollinators. Consider adding more locally native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants in fence rows, along field borders and in other locations on the farm. Locally native plants offer nectar, pollen and other nutrients in quantities that native pollinators need.

2 Provide nesting sites Brush piles, dead standing trees and clumping grasses all provide important nesting and overwintering habitat for bees and butterflies. Cavity-nesting bees make their nests in the pith of twigs like elderberry or sumac, or in abandoned beetle burrows in dead trees. Artificial nesting sites can be made or purchased to encourage cavity-nesting bees. These structures require routine maintenance to prevent the build-up of bee pathogens and parasites. Solitary ground-nesting bees usually nest in sandy, well-drained soils on south-facing slopes, or sometimes on

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unpaved farm roads or paths. Solitary bees are very docile and rarely sting, in contrast to social groundnesting wasps like yellow jackets. They are usually active for a few short weeks each year.

• Provide water. A clean safe water source helps thirsty pollinators, especially in the heat of summer. If a pond or stream isn’t available, a shallow bowl or birdbath in the garden can provide sufficient water. A few sticks placed in the bowl will offer a place for bees and other insects to land and perch, thus preventing insect drowning. Alternatively, a muddy puddle may be visited by pollinators like butterflies and mason bees.

Bumble bees prefer to nest in pre-existing cavities such as old rodent nests or cavities in rock walls or cliffs, both above and below ground. They will also nest under clumps of bunch grasses or in forgotten bales of hay or straw. Large bumble bees flying in early spring are queens in search of nesting sites. Protect sites from disturbance where bumble bees might be nesting.

• Limit pesticide use. Pesticides can have negative effects on bees and other insects, killing them outright or affecting behavior or longevity. Insecticides and fungicides can act together to weaken bees’ immune systems. Use an integrated pest management approach with multiple strategies to reduce pest damage while minimizing chemical pesticide use.

By selecting pollinator-friendly plants and following a few easy management practices (see sidebar at left), your farm can come alive with bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

By watching flowers in the garden and taking note of any flower visitors, observers can learn which ones are most attractive to pollinators.

• Be “weed-wise”. Many plants frequently considered weeds will provide food for pollinators, including dandelions, milkweed, goldenrod and clover. Consider tolerating weeds with benefits to pollinators. On the other hand, many invasive weeds outcompete native plants important to pollinators, so learn which weeds are invasive and eliminate them from your farm.

Learn more For more information on supporting pollinators on your farm, visit the following websites: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, xerces.org Pollinator Partnership, pollinator.org The Ohio State University Bee Lab, beelab.osu.edu 56

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Denise Ellsworth directs the honey bee and native pollinator education program through the Ohio State University Department of Entomology on the Wooster campus. In this outreach position, she supports and teaches beekeepers, farmers, gardeners and others across the state through a variety of workshops, webinars, written materials and electronic resources. In addition to chasing bees, Denise enjoys gardening, yoga, photography and hiking the towpath trail along the Tuscarawas river with her husband and dogs. Beelab.osu.edu

Photos courtesy of Denise Ellsworth.

Additional ways to protect and encourage pollinators


ASSOCIATIONS Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association — CBHA Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: info@cdnbha.ca Website: www.cdnbha.ca Association for the Advancement of Natural Hoof Care Practices — AANHCP Lompoc, CA USA Phone: (805) 735-8480 Email: info@aanhcp.net Website: www.aanhcp.net Pacific Hoof Care Practioners — PHCP Ventura, CA USA Email: sossity@wildheartshoofcare.com Website: www.pacifichoofcare.org Equine Science Academy — ESA Catawissa, MO USA Phone: (636) 274-3401 Email: info@equinesciencesacademy.com Website: www.equinesciencesacademy.com

BAREFOOT HOOF TRIMMING Anne Riddell — AHA Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net Website: www.barefoothorsecanada.com Barefoot Hoofcare Specialist Kate Romanenko Woodville ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Natural Horse, Natural Hoof Sarah Graves Boone, CO USA Phone: (719) 557-0052 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com Cynthia Niemela — Barefoot Hoof Trimming Minneapolis, MN USA Phone: (612) 481-3036 Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com Better Be Barefoot Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 432-2218 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com

Jeannean Mercuri — The Hoof Fairy, LLC Long Island, NY USA Phone: (631) 434-5032 Email: neanpiggy@me.com Website: www.neanpiggy.com, PHCP Mentor & Clinician, AHA Certified Member, Area Served. Natural Barefoot Trimming Emma Everly, AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.com The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: thevethosp@aol.com Horsense Natural Hoof Care Cori Brennan Sharon, SC USA Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: brombie1@yahoo.com Kel Manning, CP, Field Instructor, NTW Clinician Knoxville, TN USA Phone: (865) 765-9632 Email: naturalhoofcare@me.com Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Icicle Equine Services Katie Garrett Leavenworth, WA USA Phone: (425) 422-4799 Email: Kegarrett88@yahoo.com

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

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

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Equine Wellness 57 Equine Wellness 57

DIET & NUTRITION Monitoring your horse’s weight is an important part of an overall management plan. Body condition scoring, while subjective, is an excellent tool for assessing overall fatness or lack thereof. More objective measurements, such as those taken with a weight tape or measuring tape, help give a general idea of the horse’s body weight. When body condition score and weight estimates are combined, you have the basis for tailoring a diet specific to your individual horse’s needs.

Body condition The Henneke Body Condition Scoring System is a scale from 1–9 that evaluates fat cover and condition. A score of 1–2 is an emaciated horse (a veterinary emergency), 3–4 is considered thin, 5–6 is ideal, and 7–9 is considered obese (Henneke, et al, 1983; Dugdale, et al, 2012). There are six areas on the horse’s body that are evaluated for fat (see chart opposite): the loin, ribs, tail head, withers, neck and shoulders.

Ways to weigh In addition to keeping tabs on a horse’s body condition, it is also important to monitor his weight. A weight tape, placed around the horse’s barrel, directly behind the shoulders as he stands square, is an easy way to estimate weight (Photo 1). Measuring is important — you’ll often see changes in a measurement before noticing them visually. Weigh regularly — for example, on the first day of every month, or each time the horse’s hooves get trimmed. Keep a log so you can track weight fluctuations and adjust the diet accordingly.

Best practices for monitoring a horse’s weight

A second way to estimate weight will require a soft tailor’s tape, about 100" to 120" long. Step one is to measure the horse’s barrel, or heart girth (HG) in inches, in the same manner as described above using the weight tape (Photo 2). Step two is to measure body length (BL) from the point of his shoulder to the point of his rump in inches (Photo 3). Plug the measurements into the equation that corresponds to your horse’s age:

By Nettie Liburt, PhD, PAS

Worried your horse is too heavy or thin? Here are a few easy ways to keep track of his weight to ensure he stays in good shape all year round. 58

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• Horses over two years: (HG x HG x BL) / 330 = estimated body weight in pounds • Yearlings: (HG x HG x BL) / 301 = estimated body weight in pounds


• Weanlings: (HG x HG x BL) / 280 = estimated body weight in pounds


General diet considerations for weight management


Although each horse should be fed as an individual, the need for forage is universal. Forage should make up no less than 50% of the entire diet, and ideally more (70% to 100%, depending on the horse’s needs). For horses with dental concerns, substitutes like soaked hay cubes, chopped forage and soaked beet pulp often work well to provide necessary fiber for gut health. Some horses maintain their weight very well on forage alone. In this case, a ration balancer is recommended to ensure the horse receives vitamins, minerals and amino acids that may be absent in the forage source. Horses that have trouble keeping weight with forage alone typically require a moderate to high fat grain concentrate (6% to 14% crude fat), or a fat supplement, depending on their individual needs. Fat will help provide more calories with less grain. Overweight horses may need




Areas of the horse’s body evaluated for fatness, according to the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System.

to have their forage intake restricted to 1.5% to 2% of their ideal body weight (for example, 15 lb to 20 lb/day for a horse that should weigh 1,000 lb). Even horses on a restricted diet should receive a ration balancer, as essential daily nutrients are still needed.

structural carbohydrates. Soaked hay, a high-fat, low-sugar and starch grain ration plus an additional fat supplement (if needed) often suit metabolic horses well. Metabolic horses that need to lose weight often do well on moderate quality forage and a ration balancer.

For horses with metabolic concerns such as Equine Cushing’s Syndrome or Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS), and that need to gain weight, a diet high in fat and fiber, and low in sugar and starch (also known as non-structural carbohydrates) is ideal. Select a grain concentrate with no more than 12% to 14% non-structural carbohydrates that contains 8% to 14% fat. If you are unsure of the non-structural carbohydrate content, contact the manufacturer. Pasture may need to be limited with a grazing muzzle, or opt to turn the horse out on a dry lot. Hay may need to be soaked to reduce dietary non-


Dugdale, A., Grove-White, D., Curtis, G., Harris, P., Argo, C. 2012. Body condition scoring as a predictor of body fat in horses and ponies. The Veterinary Journal. 194(2): 173-178.



eXtension.org, Winter Care for Horses. https://articles.extension.org/pages/25673/winter-care-for-horses

Weighing and body condition scoring your horse regularly will allow you to know what’s normal, and note any changes throughout the year. Schedule a check-up with your veterinarian at least once a year. If you’re not sure whether your horse needs to gain or lose weight, contact a qualified equine nutritionist or ask your vet for help. An equine nutritionist can assist in recommending a diet that ensures vitamin, mineral, protein and calorie needs are met. With proper weight monitoring and management, you’ll set your horse up to thrive!

Henneke, D.R., Potter, G.D., Kreider, J.L., Yeates, B.F. 1983. Relationship between condition score, physical measurements and body fat percentage in mares. Equine Veterinary Journal. 15(4):371-372. National Research Council 2007. Nutrient Requirements for Horses, 6th Edition. National Academies Press, Washington, DC.

Dr. Nettie Liburt is the Senior Equine Nutrition Manager at Mars Horsecare US/BUCKEYE® Nutrition, where she helps develop new products, trains associates in equine nutrition, and works with the company’s UK-based team at the WALTHAM ® Centre for Pet Nutrition on developing and implementing research protocols. She holds a Master’s and PhD in Animal Science (Equine Nutrition and Exercise Physiology) from Rutgers University. Dr. Liburt is a member of the Equine Science Society, a registered Professional Animal Scientist (PAS), and has an Appendix gelding named “ET” that she occasionally competes in the hunter divisions.

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A beginner’s guide to

PROTEIN AND AMINO ACIDS FOR HORSES By Nicole Sicely, Custom Equine Nutrition, LLC

This overview of protein and amino acids will help you better understand these vital nutrients and how they affect your horse’s overall health.

Protein makes up approximately 15% of total body mass. After water, it is the most abundant substance in your horse’s body. When he consumes protein, it’s broken down into individual amino acids and absorbed into his bloodstream. These amino acids can then be used to build different protein chains for the body, forming enzymes, cell structures, muscle protein, connective tissue, hooves, hair and more. Let’s take a closer look.

CRUDE PROTEIN Crude protein is the term you see listed on a hay analysis or guaranteed analysis. If you walk into a feed store and ask for a horse grain, the salesperson might say something like, “Sure, I have a 10% and a 14%, which would you like?” Don’t be fooled — this is a trick question. 60

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The percentage, which refers to the amount of crude protein in the feed, doesn’t matter as much as the amount that needs to be fed. In other words, a higher percentage doesn’t necessarily mean your horse will receive more protein. For example, if you feed a ration balancer that is 30% protein with a 1 lb feed rate, your horse is getting 130 grams. Compare that to 22 lbs of hay with 5% protein — that provides 499 grams. Let’s compare some protein numbers:

Your average 1,100 lb horse in light work needs 699 grams of crude protein per day. According to Dairy One, the average amount of protein in grass hay is between 7% and 14%. As you can see from the chart below, hay will meet the daily crude protein requirements for most horses at maintenance or light work. What about concentrates? The chart at top right compares various

Pounds of hay (2% of body weight)

Percentage of protein

Grams of protein provided

22 lb


499 g

22 lb


798 g

22 lb


998 g

22 lb


1,197 g


Pounds per day

Percentage of protein

Grams of protein provided


6 lb


378 g

Ration balancer

1 lb


130 g

Low starch

6 lb


348 g


6 lb


378 g

concentrates using the manufacturer’s recommended feed rate for a 1,100 lb horse in light work.

AMINO ACIDS Meeting crude protein requirements is only part of ensuring your horse has adequate protein. He also needs adequate amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 21 primary amino acids, which are broken down into two main categories: nonessential (dispensable) and essential (indispensable). Non-essential amino acids can be manufactured by the



horse. Essential amino acids need to be provided through the diet. Think of amino acids like individual letters of the alphabet. You need to put those letters together to build a word, or in this case, a protein chain. Let’s say your horse needs to build some muscle. He pulls the specific letters from his amino acid alphabet to form the protein chain: M U S C L E. But what happens if he has run out of the “U” amino acid? Then his protein chain would look like this: M S C L E. Without the “U”, the protein chain for muscle cannot be formed. Your horse will pull the most important protein chains — the ones he needs for survival — from his amino acid alphabet first. Areas such as topline and hooves come afterwards. If there are not enough amino acids left over, he cannot form these protein chains. These missing amino acids are called “limiting amino acids” because the amount a horse has limits the amount of protein that can be made. The most limiting amino acids for your horse are lysine, methionine and threonine (see sidebar on page 62).

DO YOU NEED TO SUPPLEMENT? Horses at maintenance or in light work will likely receive all the protein they need from hay and concentrates. Seniors, horses in heavy exercise, broodmares, and growing foals may benefit from extra protein. If your horse falls into any of those categories or shows signs of protein deficiency, supplement extra protein for a few months to see if you notice a difference. Examples of protein deficiency are poor hoof quality, lack of topline (possibly along with a potbelly appearance), weight loss, low energy and poor coat quality.

Another great analogy is Liebig’s Law of Minimum. Take a look at Liebig’s Equine Wellness


THE IMPORTANCE OF READING LABELS A lot of supplement and feed companies have jumped on the “topline” and amino acid bandwagon, yet their products contain miniscule amounts of amino acids. Some even claim to have miraculous results, yet the ingredient levels are clearly too low to back up their claims, and they carry a high price tag. If the amounts per serving are not listed on the label, call the company directly. Ask them how many grams per serving of amino acids are present to ensure you are paying for something that will truly fill your horse’s amino acid alphabet.

LIMITING AMINO ACIDS — HOW MUCH DOES YOUR HORSE NEED? Lysine is the most important limiting amino acid. It is the only one the NRC has a minimum requirement for. The current requirement for a 1,100 lb horse in light work is 30 g per day. Since there are no set requirements for methionine and threonine, one can look at the ratios of amino acids in the horse’s muscles — 100% lysine, 61% threonine and 27% methionine. Based on these numbers, a safe guess for supplementation is 2.5 g to 5 g of methionine and 2 g to 4 g for threonine, but talk to your vet to determine an appropriate dosage for your horse.


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barrel (below) to see how protein chains are limited by the amino acid in shortest supply.

PROTEIN SOURCES Feeding a variety of protein sources is key to ensuring your horse has an adequate supply in his amino acid alphabet. Each protein source has different amino acids that your horse will break down and re-use. Examples of various protein sources include grass, hay, legumes, grain, flax, wheat middlings, split peas and chia seeds. Adding protein to a diet can also add calories. This can be tricky for easy keepers who need protein but not the calories. For these horses, a protein supplement is best. Whey protein isolate is a high quality protein source; 1 oz (28 g) will provide approximately 25 g of protein. This can be combined with flax or chia to add to the amino acid alphabet without the extra calories. As you can see, providing your horse with adequate protein can go much further than a number listed on a feed tag. Your horse will receive more protein from quality forage than concentrates. If he needs additional protein, feeding a variety of sources will help ensure his amino acid alphabet is complete.





If you fill Liebig's Barrel with water, lysine will be the first area the water will leak from, making it the first limiting amino acid.

Nicole Sicely is an independent equine nutritionist who owns Custom Equine Nutrition, LLC. Her passion for equine nutrition started in 2002 the day her Tennessee Walker gelding, Chance, was diagnosed with PPID (Cushing’s Disease). Nicole formulated the forage balancer Vermont Blend, which is recommended by veterinarians and farriers across the U.S. She resides in Vermont with her husband, two kids and three horses. customequinenutrition.com

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 these make up a large part of this clinical practice. Small animal services are available as well. (540) 364-4077; muzzles@harmanyequine.com; www.harmanyequine.com

CLASSIFIEDS 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

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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

Equine Affaire

April 2–5, 2020 — Columbus, OH Equine Affaire’s legendary educational program forms the cornerstone of this event. Soak up information and advice at more than 230 clinics, seminars, and demonstrations on a wide variety of equestrian sports and horse training, management, health, and business topics. Enjoy one-stop shopping at Equine Affaire’s huge trade show with more than 475 of the nation's leading equine-related retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and organizations. For more information: (740) 845-0085 info@equineaffaire.com www.equineaffaire.com

Midwest Horse Fair

April 17–19, 2020 — Madison, WI The Midwest Horse Fair ® is one of the top 3-day horse fairs in America. Hundreds of clinics, seminars and educational events are presented by some of the top horse professionals from around the country. Over 500 vendor booths offer shopping opportunities with something for everyone. For more information: (920) 623-5515 info@midwesthorsefair.com www.midwesthorsefair.com


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The Mane Event: Red Deer

April 24–26, 2020 — Red Deer, AB Some of North America's top clinicians provide quality information on a variety of different disciplines at the largest indoor equine trade show in Canada! Explore the best selection of equine products and services available from bits to boots and tack to trailers. For more information: info@maneeventexpo.com www.red-deer.maneeventexpo.com

Kentucky Derby

April 25–May 2, 2020 — Louisville, KY With a crowd of more than 150,000 people, unparalleled history and tradition and its unique spectacle, the Kentucky Derby is unlike any other sporting event! Every year, on the first Saturday in May, thousands of guests gather to create lifelong memories with their friends and family. For more information: (502) 636-4400 www.kentuckyderby.com

Western States Horse Expo

May 7–10, 2020 — Sacramento, CA Come join the fun! You will find many demonstrations, lectures and competitions, as well as plenty of shopping! Find saddles, horse sales, trailers, trucks — it’s all here in sunny California!

skills. The course is taught in such a comprehensive, logical layered format, that those with little or no complementary equine care and science background will find themselves up to speed with the other professional participants. For more information: (707) 377-4313 equinologyoffice@gmail.com www.equinology.com

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course

May 29–31, 2020 — Edmonton, AB Introduction to Healing Touch: Friday / 6:00pm – 10:00pm Learn the fundamentals of energy therapy theories and techniques. 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.

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

*This class is required in order to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner.

EQ100: Equinology® Equine Body Worker Certification Course

The Early Registration Tuition Price ends on May 3, 2020.

May 12–20, 2020 — Northern California The course is specifically designed for students wishing to pursue a career in this field, but is also regularly attended by veterinarians, physical therapists, human massage therapists, equine massage therapists, trainers, barn managers and chiropractors who would like to enhance their

For more information: Michele Keehn | (780) 217-8146 edmonton@healingtouchforanimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com

Centered Riding for the Western Dressage Rider June 6, 2020 — Guilford, VT

Experience how the fun sport of Western Dressage can improve

EVENTS the overall fitness, soundness and obedience of all horses, from your pleasure trail horse to your competition partner. This clinic supports classical dressage progression beginning with rhythm and relaxation. Better balance, improved suppleness and clear communication all lead to longer, healthier riding futures. Through the application of the Centered Riding Basics (Soft Eyes, Centering, Breathing and Balance) riders will improve comfort, confidence and clarity. This clinic has something for every horse and the rider. All levels and

breeds of horses, including Gaited breeds, and all levels and disciplines of riders are welcome. For more information: (802) 380-3268 www.heidipotter.com

Extreme Mustang Makeover

June 25–27, 2020 — Lexington, KY This wild horse training competition will offer two divisions. Youth (ages 8–17) can compete with a mustang they adopt in-hand and adults (ages 18 and over) will ride their assigned mustang in preliminary classes to compete for a spot in the


top-ten freestyle finals. This event will award $25,000 in cash and prizes. Preliminary classes are free to attend and all adult competing mustangs will be available for adoption after the event. For more information: (888) 695-0888 www.extrememustangmakeover.com

Email your event to info@equinewellnessmagazine.com


ADVERTISE HERE! 1.866. 764.1212

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BERGEN COUNTY HORSE RESCUE Photos courtesy of Anne Barretta.

Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code BCHR to Bergen County Horse Rescue.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2016 LOCATION: Mahwah, NJ TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: “Currently we are at full capacity with 19 rescue horses and four boarders,” says Anne Barretta, the rescue’s Communications Director. “We also house three goats.” NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: BCHR is run by a group of 25 to 30 dedicated volunteers. This team is led by the rescue’s president, Erin Giannios, and an executive board of six volunteers who do everything from feeding, mucking, grooming and training to writing grant proposals, developing marketing content, and organizing special fundraising events.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: BCHR has a large online presence

Photo courtesy of Ida Astute.

that helps them raise the funds they need to provide optimal care for their animals. They also host three signature fundraising events each year — an Easter egg hunt, a Halloween costume walk, and a Holidays & Horses event generally held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. “Our Hoof Prints Gift Shop is also an integral component of all fundraising initiatives,” says Anne. Located in the corner of a small barn on the rescue’s property, Hoof Prints features unique equestrian-themed gifts for horses, children and adults.

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: “We have so many wonderful stories about rescues, coincidences, good fortune and animal love!” says Anne. But one in particular stands out. “In the fall of 2018, we received an SOS from the Believe Equine Rescue in North Carolina. Hurricane Florence was headed their way and they were in need of supplies.”

Photo courtesy of Ida Astute.

The BCHR team sent down a truckload of blankets, feed, hay and other necessities, as well as a monetary donation which was used to purchase sandbags to keep floodwaters away from the stables. But despite their best efforts, the rescue sustained damage, and they were forced to adopt out one of their horses as quickly as possible.

Find BCHR online: facebook.com/MahrapoFarm

“Our sweet Koda arrived at BCHR on a late September day,” says Anne. “After a very long drive, he walked off the trailer and into our hearts. Prior to arriving at the Believe Equine Rescue, Koda had landed at one of the most notorious kill pens in Texas. Now he has a forever home with us!”

bergencountyhorserescue.org instagram.com/bergen_county_horse_rescue


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From top to bottom: Vegas, Dusty and Panda looking guilty; Luna at the gate; Zoe and Konrad; Sunny the border collie chasing Ben; best friends Friendly and Emsy; Phoenix.

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