V15I3 (Jun/Jul 2020)

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Equine Wellness


Dawn Cumby-Dallin


Rebecca Bloom

COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cathy Alinovi, DVM Hannah Arington Vanessa Benetti Di Sessa Stacy Bluhm, DVM Patricia Bona, DC Bill Bookout Taron Carruthers, BA Kin (Hons), DC, CAC Deanna Corby Theresa R. Cossclark Melanie Falls Annette Kaitinis Jerry Kent Melissa Milligan, DVM Wendy Murdoch Sandra Murphy Clay Nelson Tom Seay Amy Snow Madalyn Ward, DVM Nancy White 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

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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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

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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: May 2020.

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Brighter days are just around the corner! Like our cover star, we’re feeling full of energy and ready for what comes after COVID-19. One thing’s for sure — summer is here, and with it comes lush green grass, warm sunshine and long, leisurely rides atop our equine companions. We hope this “barn and farm” issue of Equine Wellness makes a good addition to your seasonal reading list!

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June/July 2020

6 Editorial 8 Neighborhood news 19 From the NASC 35 Product picks 36 Rider fitness 43 Business Profile — Nutrena

51 Heads up 57 Hoof health 59 Acupressure at-a-glance 63 Classifieds 64 Events 65 Marketplace 66 To the rescue

Features 10

7 tips for training

your young horse

He’s bright-eyed, bushytailed and full of curiosity — but he needs to be trained! Here are some valuable tips to help you shape your young horse into a well-rounded individual.


E co-friendly tips for revamping your horse barn

Does your barn need an upgrade? Unless there’s structural damage, you shouldn’t have any trouble revamping it in a few easy steps!


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E ATING WELL How to keep your horses hydrated


N ON-TOXIC LIVING Natural solutions for your horse’s allergies

You can lead a horse to water… but you can’t make him drink! Follow these tips and tricks to encourage your horses to stay hydrated.


IN FOCUS How to help your horse cope with dry weather

Your horse’s ability to tolerate dry weather is largely affected by her temperament type. Once you determine this, you can take steps to help her cope.


Horses react with allergies to many of the same irritants we do. Fortunately, there are a number of natural ways to defend against them!


H EALTH AND WELLNESS Natural dust control for horse caretakers

Dust control is an important part of maintaining the cleanliness of your barn, arenas and round pens — and the health of you and your horses!


REHAB Common areas of discomfort in horses

Many horses experience discomfort in the same places. Let’s take a closer look at those areas, as well as some prevention and rehabilitation techniques you can try.


P ERFECT PASTURE Can sheep improve your equine pasture?

Cross-grazing is a popular pasture management practice that many farm owners swear by. Before implementing it on your own farm, be sure to review these important considerations.


N EWSWORTHY Researchers investigate benefits of CBD oil for equine anxiety

Can CBD reduce stress and help manage obsessive compulsive behaviors in horses? Researchers at Tarleton State University are seeking an answer to this frequently-asked question.


N EED TO KNOW What to do if your horses escape


Myofascial release is an alternative therapy that’s being used more regularly to help horses with mobility issues. Find out how it works, and why you should consider trying it with your own equine companion.

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



G OLDEN YEARS Choosing the right retirement facility for your horse

H OLISTIC HEALING Feeding horses on stall rest

A horse’s diet during stall rest contributes in a big way to her recovery process. Gaining a better understanding of her nutritional needs will help you nourish her back to better health.


Learn to recognize the signs of Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD) so you can help your young horse before it’s too late.

B ARN AND FARM 7 essential tractor attachments for your horse farm

Let’s take a look at some of the most common tractor attachments used by equine farm owners, and why they’re beneficial.

A LTERNATIVE APPROACH How myofascial release can help your horse


S POTLIGHT Understanding Developmental Orthopedic Disease in your horse

Try as we may to keep our horses contained, accidents are inevitable. Here’s what to do if your equine companions escape.



G REAT OUTDOORS The ultimate guide to camping with horses — Part 2 You’re all packed and ready for your equine camping trip. Now let’s focus on some helpful tips for trail riding at your destination.

Weighing the pros and cons of various equine retirement facilities isn’t easy — but it’s incredibly important. Here are a few things to consider when making the decision.


N EWSWORTHY 10 tips to reduce flooding impacts on your horse farm Flooding is often inevitable in the spring. Follow these expert tips to lessen the impact it has on your land — and your horses.

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Going back to basics

during trying times Caring for horses is never easy. Between feeding, grooming, training, and keeping up with all the barn chores, the work is endless. But these days, horse caretakers are dreaming of the time when a full schedule was their biggest stressor. As COVID-19 continues to affect us, we’re all taking comfort in what we once considered “work”. Mucking stalls has become a soothing pastime that distracts us from worrying about our health. Lunging, brushing, and doling out hay make the long hours in quarantine seem much less tedious. In these trying times, our horses have become what they were when we first fell in love with them — a precious gift. Though unplanned, it’s fitting that the theme of this issue is “barn and farm”. As competitions are cancelled and non-essential products and services remain difficult to obtain, we’re all being forced — in the best way — to return to the basics of horsekeeping. As you spend more time at the barn, you may discover an urge to relearn some fundamentals, such as how to train a young horse, keep your herd hydrated, and reduce dust in your round pen and arena. In the following pages, you’ll find info on all these topics, and others. Since many of us have ample time on our hands these days, it can’t hurt to look beyond the basics, too. On page 40, you’ll find advice on revamping your barn — a good project to take on if you have the time and resources. And on page 46, you’ll find a helpful list of tractor attachments


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commonly used by equine farm owners. Something to invest in, perhaps, once this is all behind us. And on that note, let’s not lose sight of life after the pandemic. We’ve made sure to offer new knowledge that you can put into action once life returns to some semblance of normalcy. Flip to page 32 to read about the benefits of integrating sheep into your herd, or page 52 for some expert tips on camping with your horses. The COVID-19 situation has been dark and frightening. But like all tragic circumstances, it’s given us the opportunity to view our lives from a new perspective. It’s made us grateful for the things we may have taken for granted — like the chores, the inky smell of a new magazine, and the unwavering companionship of our horses. Hold on to this outlook as we enter a new season, and remember that only in the most trying of times are we able to fully appreciate what we have.


Emily Watson, Senior Content Editor

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NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS LARGEST-EVER STUDY ON MUSCLE DISEASE IN HORSES A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) recently launched a study investigating the genetic and management factors influencing muscle disease in horses. The scientists also want to determine if diet or exercise impact muscle disease expression.

Results from this study will help veterinarians, researchers, and horse caretakers develop treatment strategies to combat this widespread problem. Funded by Morris Animal Foundation, with support from private donors, this is the largest study to date on muscle disease in horses. “Muscle diseases are some of the most common health issues horses face, with more than 250,000 horses in the US afflicted each year,” says Molly McCue, DVM, MS, PhD, principal investigator for the study. Horses with muscle disease often exhibit muscle pain, stiffness, and a reluctance to move. The research team hopes to identify which specific .genetic mutations predispose a horse to muscle disease, as well as advance therapy options. Updates will be posted at facebook.com/UMNEquineGenetics/.

HORSES SLOW PERMAFROST THAWING Permafrost in the Arctic is thawing at a faster rate each year. As it melts, carbon that’s been trapped inside it for millions of years is being released in large amounts — a phenomenon that’s significantly harmful to the environment. According to a recent paper published by Scientific Reports, grazing animals in the Arctic can drastically slow this process, keeping 80% of the world’s permafrost intact until 2100. Ongoing experiments in Pleistocene Park, Siberia, show that grazers such as bison, reindeer and horses decrease the rate of permafrost warming. The Scientific Reports paper expanded on these findings, discovering that results would improve if more of these large herbivores were released into the area. Without them, snow insulates the permafrost even once the ambient temperature drops below freezing. The animals’ hooves interrupt this snowy layer, ensuring the permafrost stays cool. nature.com/articles/s41598-020-60938-y


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CARING FOR HORSES DURING A PANDEMIC According to several international health organizations, as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence at the time of this writing that horses can contract COVID-19. There are many different types of coronaviruses, including Equine Enteric Coronavirus (EEC); however, EEC and COVID-19 are not the same strain, therefore horse caretakers need not worry that their horses will fall victim to the virus during this particular pandemic. That said, there are a number of steps horse caretakers should take to ensure their horses are well cared for in times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic: tock up on extra supplies, medications, forage/feed S and other necessities for your animals. C heck with your essential needs providers (i.e. feed stores) to see if they are open and if they have methods of providing you with your needs (i.e. ordering online or by phone, putting your order outside the door of the store as you arrive, or other alternatives).

Write out care instructions for your animals in case a third party has to take over their care. Contact your friends and acquaintances (virtually) to ensure they have things in place and enough food for their own horses. Arrange a “supply swap” if necessary. Checklist courtesy of equineguelph.ca.

ANESTHESIOLOGIST DISCOVERS NEW WAY TO SEDATE HORSES Detomidine is a commonly-used sedative that is typically administered as a gel beneath the tongue. Though this method is pain-free, many horses resist it, spitting out the gel or stubbornly refusing the syringe altogether. Reza Seddighi, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVAA (an associate professor specializing in anesthesiology and pain management in the University of Tennessee’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences) has discovered an alternative way to sedate female horses — intravaginally.

Vaginal tissue is thin, permeable, and highly vascularized — similar to the mucosal membranes in the mouth — making it a fast and effective way of getting Detomidine into the bloodstream. Intravaginal administration also means that the sedative doesn’t have to pass through the gastrointesintal tract. Dr. Seddighi conducted a study to test this method of administration, which involved two treatment rounds. He and his team sedated and observed six mares for four hours, scoring them every 15 minutes for ataxia (incoordination), behavioral changes, appearance, muzzle-to-floor distance, and heart rate. They also had blood samples analyzed by the University of California, Davis, to see how the drug interacted in the body. The researchers confirmed that the drug takes effect most rapidly when given intravenously. Intravaginal administration, however, worked twice as fast as sublingual (beneath the tongue) administration. The results also showed that sedation was deeper and longer-lasting in the intravaginally-administered gel group than in the IV group. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31474339 Equine Wellness



tips 7training FOR


horse By Deanna Corby

He’s bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and full of curiosity — but he needs to be trained! Here are some valuable tips to help you shape your young horse into a well-rounded individual.

You’ve just bought a new young horse. You look at him, see nothing but potential, and are excited for your future together. At the same time, you might be a little anxious. You want to have a good relationship with this youngster, and you know the formative years are extremely important, so how do you get started?

ball and throw it in the trash. This is because you’re going to need to be flexible. Every horse is different, and young horses in particular operate on their own timelines.

Begin by writing down all your plans and timeframes on paper. Then, crumple the paper up in a tight little



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I’ve worked with countless young horses, including newborn foals, and have a few tips that might help.

If you haven’t worked with a young horse before, working closely with a

trainer is imperative. A green horse combined with a green rider is usually a recipe for disaster. Working with a young horse is a different ball game from working with a more mature, experienced horse. Whether the little chap is five months or five years old, he’ll be genuinely curious and naturally quite willing, so you don’t want to stifle that. You need to get your message across effectively, and with a clear communication system in place, if you want to have a successful future

3. REWARD THE SMALLEST EFFORT Similar to a toddler learning to dress himself and getting praise for putting his shirt on correctly, your horse is going to need the same encouragement. Don’t let small progressions go unnoticed. Make sure your little one knows he is on the right track, even if he hasn’t quite got the hang of the situation yet. Rewards will encourage him to keep trying for years to come. It’s so easy to get trapped in a cycle of only correcting your horse’s mistakes, but not acknowledging and praising him loudly and clearly when things are going well. A release of pressure, a short break, a treat, a kind rub and a gentle tone of voice are all great examples of rewards that will speak volumes to your young horse.

4 . KNOW THAT SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE You can’t rush when it comes to working with horses of any age. If you’re expecting to steam roll along, both of you will only end up frustrated with one another. Not only do you risk mentally exhausting your horse, you also risk wearing down his undeveloped body with too much work. Remember, there are no shortcuts to correct training. Time, patience and consistency are always the answer.

together. Having an experienced trainer guide you through this process will be money and time well spent.

2. START WITH GROUND WORK Even if your horse is old enough to be ridden, training should start on the ground. The moment you get near your horse in the pasture, you are training him. This can go in either a positive or negative direction. Everything — from how you lead him to how he

stands at the mounting block — will determine your relationship with your horse, both in and out of the saddle. It’s important to pay attention to little details concerning space and respect. My trainer once told me to “train every horse as if you are training him for a nine-year-old girl or a 90-yearold woman”. This means if your horse is encroaching on your space or moving his body recklessly into yours, it’s unacceptable and needs to be corrected.

5. FIND HUMOR, NOT FRUSTRATION A young horse, especially a foal, really doesn’t know any better. Other than what his dam and the herd taught him, he is a blank slate, so it’s up to you to show him what you want. If he makes a mistake, try to look at the situation with patience and humor. He will not always have the right answers to your questions, so you must help him learn, and that will take time. When you think of the whole training process as a way of trying to help the horse, Equine Wellness



Everything, from how you lead him to how he stands at the mounting block, will determine your relationship with your horse, both in and out of the saddle. rather than mistaking his resistance for disobedience, things will go much more smoothly.

6. EXPOSE HIM TO HANDLING SOONER, NOT LATER Don’t wait until you have a 1,500-pound giant on your hands before teaching your young horse manners and simple tasks. Handling his ears, working with his feet, teaching him to load on a trailer, be tied, and to stand still for fly spray are all excellent things to do with your impressionable equine friend. Explore new places by taking him for walks, or expose him to new objects like plastic bags, tarps and balls. Load him up in the trailer and go on a field trip 12

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for fun; this will help make your first competition or emergency situation more seamless. These experiences will build his confidence and make life much less overwhelming.

7. KEEP IT SHORT Drilling exercises over and over is never a good idea with horses, no matter what their age. You will want to keep your time together mentally stimulating rather than physically exhausting. If you push too hard for too long, mental and physical fatigue start to set in, and this could land you both in a bad place. Short consistent sessions are much better than long exhausting ones. Young horses tend to have a short

attention span, so less is often more. Try to accomplish just one simple goal each day, but don’t worry if you can’t quite achieve it. Save it for tomorrow and remember that training horses is a lifelong journey, not a sprint. Just remember, there is no one right way to train a horse, so do your best by continuing to educate yourself and be open to thinking outside the box. The best training foundation is built on trust, so teach your four-legged friend that when he is nervous or unsure, he can look to you for support. Anything worthwhile takes a long time to develop, and your journey with your horse is no exception.

Deanna Corby is a dressage trainer, competition judge and business coach for equestrian entrepreneurs. LevelUpEquestrian.com



By Sandra Murphy

You can lead a horse to water… but you can’t make him drink! Follow these tips and tricks to encourage your horses to stay hydrated. Keeping a horse hydrated is a concern for all seasons, but not all horses cooperate. The average amount consumed is five to ten gallons daily. Drinking too much may be a sign of Cushing’s disease, while not drinking enough can cause dehydration, impaction colic, or organ damage. Needless to say, taking steps to make sure your horses stay properly hydrated is extremely important!

SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION “The pinch test, pulling up a bit of your horse’s skin near the neck and seeing how quickly it smooths out again, two seconds or less, isn’t the best judge of dehydration,” says Dr. 14

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Jesslyn Bryk-Lucy, resident veterinarian and professor of equine studies at Centenary University in Hackettstown, New Jersey. “I check my horse’s gums. If they’re sticky to the touch or he’s panting, it’s time for a drink.”

TRICKS TO GET HIM TO DRINK Mix it up “I offer one bucket with apple juice mixed in and one of plain water so the horse has a choice,” says Dr. Jesslyn. “Some horses like water icy cold, while others want tepid water in the winter.” Offer a variety to horses that are reluctant to drink, and be sure to clean the buckets often!

Keep it familiar When traveling, some horses refuse to drink “away water”, so bring “home water” along. Samantha Mirzaee, a horse caretaker in Ottawa, Canada, says, “When we take horses to events, we make frequent stops to offer water. We also carry an electrolyte supplement to mix in the water. It smells like oranges and encourages them to drink.” Hide it! “Wet food hides water in the feed,” says Dr. Jesslyn. “It reduces the dust in hay, too. I make it as soupy as my horses will eat it.” Beet pulp, a digestible fiber that can be added to feed, significantly lowers sugar and starches. Available as pellets or shredded, it can be fed dry or soaked in hot water for 30 minutes. Don’t soak

overnight as bacteria and mold can grow by morning. Timothy hay cubes, soaked for 15 minutes or up to two hours, are another option with the added benefit of slowing a fast eater. Keep it clean “An open trough can quickly fill with leaves, twigs, feathers, bird poop, and the bodies of thirsty bees, mice, or other small creatures, resulting in not only dirty water but possible botulism,” says Dr. Jesslyn. Locating the trough in a shady area cuts down on algae and moss in the summer. Change the water at least twice a week and scrub the trough regularly. During cold weather, move it to a sunnier spot. What about goldfish? Devan Catalano, a PhD in animal science at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, tested the theory that goldfish could be added to horse troughs to eat the algae. She surveyed those who had tried it, and presented her study results at the 2019 Equine Science Society Symposium in Asheville, North Carolina. She felt the type of trough (plastic or metal) had as much to do with water cleanliness as the goldfish did. She recommends metal, based on her results. A high mortality rate for the fish and the need to heat the water in winter, along with minimal results, led her to conclude the goldfish were not all that helpful.

Add some crunch Because horses like variety, some texture and flavor in the form of barley, sunflower and flax sprouts makes an appealing addition to dry feed. Horses enjoy the crunch, receive added moisture, and these ingredients can help reduce colic. Bobbing for apples Jodie Davis, in Woodstock, Georgia, taught her horses to bob for apples. “I’m not sure they drink much but they have fun!” she says. “It showed me a lot about my two. One pushed the apple down, bit, lifted it and chewed. My mare got frustrated so I helped. The next time she asked for help more quickly, adding to our bond.” When winter returns In cold weather, a plastic bottle that’s two-thirds full of water mixed with a cup or two of salt to keep it from freezing, leaves enough air in the bottle so it will float. While the water in the bucket may freeze over, horses soon learn to poke the bottle to break the surface ice so they can drink. Lining a large bucket with hay as insulation and inserting a slightly smaller bucket for water, also hinders freezing. Overall, making sure your horse gets a healthy amount of water will keep him properly hydrated. Paying close attention can also alert you to health problems more quickly. Most of all, it allows you to spend more time with your horse, a benefit for both of you.



Fruits and veggies add moisture — but not enough to make much difference in hydration — and they should be fed sparingly because of the sugar content. Don’t feed to overweight horses or ponies. Be sure to cut fruits into easily-chewed sizes to avoid choking. Louise Martin, a horse expert at Prime Stables in West Sussex, UK, offers these suggestions: • Pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into chunks, sweet and high in vitamin C • Pears, juicy and easily digested • Oranges, quartered or smaller, peel and all, high sugar content • Cucumbers, chopped, skin adds fiber too • Crunchy lettuce, especially if still wet from being washed • Grapes, seeded or seedless, off the stems • Apples, cut • Peaches, with pits removed • Watermelon, sweet and very wet, can be served fresh or frozen • Carrots, crunchy and easy to eat

Sandra Murphy lives in St Louis, Missouri. When she's not writing, she works as a pet sitter.

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By Madalyn Ward, DVM

WEATHER Your horse’s ability to tolerate dry weather is largely affected by her temperament type. Once you determine this, you can take steps to help her cope.

Have you ever wondered why different horses react differently to weather conditions? Traditional Chinese Medicine can help explain these differences through the concept of temperament typing. Horses fit into five main temperament types, each with a unique personality and response to diet and weather conditions, as well as management and training techniques. Body type, physical characteristics, health challenges, and personality are all considered when determining a horse’s underlying Five Element type. Knowing your horse’s constitutional type can help you make dietary and lifestyle choices for her that will best support her overall needs on an ongoing basis. If you are looking for a new horse, Five Element typing will aid you in selecting a horse that is well-suited for your lifestyle, the specific activity you wish to undertake with her, or a particular training style.

FIVE ELEMENT TYPING AND HEALTH The Five Elements in Traditional Chinese Medicine are Water, Fire, 16

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Wood, Metal and Earth. Each element has a connection to specific organs and energy pathways (meridians) in the body, as follows:



Kidney (KI) and Bladder (BL) Heart (HT) and Small Intestine (SI); the Pericardium (PC) and Triple Heater (TH)


Liver (LIV) and Gallbladder (GB)


Lung (LU) and Large Intestine (LI)


Spleen (SP) and Stomach (ST)

According to TCM tradition, when your horse exhibits health problems, they are likely to be related to the organs and meridians associated with her constitutional type. For example,

a Metal horse might have chronic respiratory troubles (lungs) and/or problems in the front legs (because that is where the path of the lung meridian and large intestine meridian runs).

DRY WEATHER CHALLENGES Excessive dry weather is a common stressor for horses. The Metal horse temperament is the one most challenged by dry conditions. The organs associated with the Metal element are the lungs and large intestine, and dry weather is a setup for a Metal horse to develop an impaction of the large intestine. To offset the element of dryness, you want to bring in foods and supplements that supply the element of dampness. Salt creates dampness in the body so making sure your horse has access to good quality, free choice salt is critical. Once the salt need is met, you may want to use additional electrolytes if you have a Metal horse in hard work. I do not recommend electrolytes for all horses during dry weather because




EARTH too much dampness can be harmful to some types. The Earth horse is especially challenged by excess dampness and may actually be healthier during dry weather.

TIPS AT A GLANCE 4M etal horses are most challenged by

Quality fat in the diet is another way to increase dampness in the body during dry conditions. While fat is good for a Metal horse by providing better lubrication for the intestinal tract, it may not be needed for an Earth type unless the manure appears dry. Additional quality fat can also help with dry hooves.


Along with dry weather comes dust. Dust can irritate delicate mucous membranes in the respiratory tract and lack of lubrication can affect the respiratory tract, skin, hooves and large intestine. Since the Metal horse temperament often has challenges with the lung and large intestine, the added insult of dust is extra detrimental. Another issue that often accompanies dryness is wind. While many horses act more jumpy in windy conditions, wind is most damaging to the Wood horse. Dry, windy conditions can cause the Wood horse to have itchy skin eruptions. Adding the element of dampness in the form of high quality fat, such as rice bran or fish oil, can offset this tendency. Dry heat is a challenge for the Fire horse. The organs associated with Fire are the heart and small intestine. Heat is most damaging. Dry hot temperatures may bring on enteritis in the Fire horse. Pre- and probiotics given on a daily basis will support a healthy gut microbiome to avoid enteritis colic in the Fire horse during hot dry weather.



dry weather. W ood horses are challenged by dry, windy weather. F ire horses struggle with dry, hot weather. E arth horses may have fewer health challenges during dry weather.

Here’s what you can do: • Make sure all horses drink enough water. • Consider adding electrolytes to the diet. Kelp is a natural source of salt and electrolyte minerals. Most horses like kelp and will eat it more readily than plain salt, but salt should always be available. • Keep an eye on your horse’s manure. If it looks dry, consider adding extra fat to the diet in the form of rice bran, fish oil, flax or chia seeds. Chia can be given on a regular basis for the hooves and coat but you can give extra to provide lubrication in the gut. • Add a combination of pre/probiotics, algae and enzymes for digestive support and to increase gut motility. The more you study horse temperament typing, the more you’ll start to recognize what your horses need to be healthy and happy as individuals. Use the chart on page 18 to figure out your own horse’s type, so you can give her what she needs to thrive all year long.

Madalyn Ward is trained in Veterinary Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Bowen Therapy, Network Chiropractic and Equine Osteopathy. Memberships include the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners and American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. She has authored three books, Holistic Horsekeeping, Horse Harmony, Understanding Horse Types and Temperaments and Horse Harmony Five Element Feeding Guide. Holistichorsekeeping.com, Horseharmony.com.

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Temperament types The following chart includes a brief description of each horse temperament:

The “perfect” show horse

Fire horses love to be the center of attention and they want to be adored. They make excellent hunters and dressage horses, as well as good pleasure horses. They need to be told they are loved. They enjoy grooming and bathing because it makes them beautiful.

The ultimate competitor

Wood horses love physical challenges and must be kept active or they will develop bad habits like kicking and biting. Wood horses make excellent jumpers, barrel racers and cutters so long as they understand the rules of the game. Don't try to subdue or overpower a Wood horse – reason with them instead.

The dependable lesson horse

Earth horses love two things: respect and food. They are solid citizens who want to be appreciated for the good work they do, and food treats often go a long way toward keeping them happy. They make perfect school horses and work well with children. They develop bad habits when their daily routine is upset.

The hard-working ranch horse

Metal horses enjoy order and control, and can stand up to some of the toughest working conditions. They do their jobs perfectly but otherwise desire very little interaction. They can be found in all disciplines and are often found in working-horse situations like ranching.

The Arab park horse

Water horses need safety and a trustworthy rider. They can be brilliant show horses but panic easily. They perform well in events that call for animation and excitement, and are motivated by cheering crowds. They need steady riders to help them through scary situations.






Equine Wellness





By Bill Bookout

When you shop health and nutritional supplements for your horse (and yourself), it is very important to pay close attention to product claims on packaging and marketing materials. Marketers understand they have very little time to capture your attention and compel you to buy — maybe a minute or two if you’re comparing products online, and mere seconds at the store shelf. They know the words they use can make or break the sale. Unfortunately, some brands take a “say anything” approach to selling that misleads consumers and casts a negative shadow on the entire supplement industry. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine regulates animal supplements. This agency follows the laws established in the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act regarding product claims; these laws are designed to protect consumers and animals. The good news is that most supplement companies understand and follow these rules and are careful to make credible claims allowed by law. Many of these suppliers are members of the National Animal Supplement Council and have access to succinct labeling guidance that helps them follow the law and avoid making errant or egregious claims.

Horse owners should keep a close eye out for suppliers that disregard the rules for claims. They are fairly easy to spot when you know what to look for: •W ords that state or imply the product will treat, prevent, cure or mitigate a disease Example: “Relieves dry skin, itching and allergies” • Use of any disease name or reference to a disease Example: “Protects against laminitis” • A ny reference to a chronic condition Example: “Combats chronic inflammation and osteoarthritis” •A ny stated or implied comparison to, or replacement for, pharmaceuticals Example: “Reduces the need for prescription pain medication” • D isease names disguised as product names Example: “Arthri-Stop” Keep in mind that product and brand marketing are an extension of the label, and are therefore subject to the same rules. Apply the same cautious scrutiny when visiting a product website as you do when looking at the product package. This applies also to internet advertising, social media posts, blogs, e-newsletters and YouTube channels, as well as more traditional advertising like radio, TV and print ads.

Allowable or “good” health product claims are typically simple and concise. They communicate that the product is helping to support normal structure and function of your horse’s body, rather than trying to correct an abnormal condition or disease. And perhaps most importantly, allowable claims don’t rely on absolutes or language that over-promises outcomes: • “Contains ingredients to support skin health” • “ Helps to promote normal hoof growth” • “ Helps to relieve occasional joint stiffness” • “ Supports normal respiratory health” Supplements are not magic bullets. If a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so trust your gut. Selecting products with the NASC Quality Seal will help ensure you are buying from suppliers that responsibly produce and market their products within the bounds of the law rather than preying on consumer vulnerabilities in the name of profit. 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.

Equine Wellness



Natural solutions

By Melanie Falls



Horses react with allergies to many of the same irritants we do. Fortunately, there are a number of natural ways to defend against them!


Equine Wellness

Allergies are a nuisance. Allergies are persistent. Allergies can’t be cured. So, what can we do about them when they afflict our horses? Read on to gain a better understanding of what allergies are, as well as a few natural solutions that may help ease the symptoms your horse is experiencing.

WHAT ARE ALLERGIES? Allergies are created by a substance that the body’s immune system detects incorrectly as a threat. It mounts a substantial attack on that threat, while producing lots of antibodies and releasing histamines and other substances. The attack is designed to help the body protect itself; however, because the allergen isn’t a true threat, the attack tends to cause more harm than good.

PREVENTION As far as allergies go, the old saying is true; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you can do anything and everything you can to help your horse avoid exposure to irritants, you’ll have a better chance at preventing reactions. Of course, the challenge is identifying the allergens. There are several options for testing; discuss with your veterinarian what the best options are in your area. Some solutions for preventing allergic reactions include using fly sheets

and other fly covers, topical salves to protect from insect bites, wetting down hay and living areas to reduce dust and mold spores, and removing certain feeds/medications from the equine diet.

NOT SO FAST While that all sounds fine and dandy, the reality is that we can’t enclose our horses in bubble wrap; there’s no way to keep them 100% protected from insects, dust, mold, pollen, etc. So what to do? Are steroids and antihistamines our only option? Several natural supplementation options are available to horse caretakers to help manage and reduce allergy symptoms. Recall that allergic reactions are marked by an over-responsive immune system and inflammation, so unsurprisingly, treatments generally fall into those two categories.

1. ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES Reducing inflammation will help tremendously with calming down the body’s allergic reaction and symptoms, including skin and lung irritation. Potent, natural antiinflammatories include: a) Omega-3s: Foods high in Omega-3s have been shown in clinical studies to reduce

What causes allergies in horses? In horses, allergies are most commonly caused by: Insect bites/saliva: The most common insect-driven allergies come from the saliva of Culicoides midges (sweet itch, summer itch, summer eczema). Other flies can sometimes create a similar reaction in horses, causing severe itching and hair loss, and sometimes a crusty oozing rash that results in secondary bacterial infections and other complications. Airborne irritants like pollen, mold, dust: Symptoms are very similar to human asthma — difficulty breathing, nasal discharge, coughing, lung sounds, elevated heart rate, and even weight loss. This reaction is commonly called heaves, or Recurrent Airway Obstruction (formerly Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Topicals and physical materials: Sometimes horses will develop hives in reaction to a particular material in a saddle pad or blanket, or to topical products like fly sprays, shampoos, and detanglers. Other potentially irritating items can include bedding and plants. Symptoms may include hives, itching, inflammation, and crusty skin. Food and medications: Horses are sometimes allergic to legumes such as alfalfa, beet pulp, buckwheat, oats and several other foods. This can show up as digestive upset, hives, or dermatitis.

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inflammation. Ground flax seed, flax seed oil, and camelina oil are good options for your horse. While clinical trials focused on the use of ground flax seed, flax’s cousin, the camelina plant, has an even higher dosage of Omega-3s per serving, plus naturallyoccurring vitamin E which makes the product easier to administer and more shelf-stable. Either add ground flax to your horse’s bucket or drizzle some flax and/or camelina oil on top of his feed. Most horses enjoy the taste. FLAX SEED

b) MSM: A common nutraceutical used in joint supplements, MSM has been shown to be a very effective anti-inflammatory. MSM’s antiinflammatory properties will block histamine receptivity in affected tissues, thereby reducing symptoms. MSM is commonly sold in feed supply stores; you can top-dress your horse’s feed with the powder.


a) Adaptogenic herbs: Adaptogenic herbs and substances include spirulina, ginseng and turmeric. These herbs are rich in minerals and vitamins and also have very strong anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, adaptogenic herbs can reverse the body’s reaction to stress (which is a powerful immunosuppressant), allowing the body to function longer and healthier. Feeding these herbs to your horse will help strengthen his overall immune system so it can avoid overreacting to irritants. You can often find these herbs in powdered form and can feed them alongside other supplements. b) Stinging nettles: Nettles are immune-supporting, as they target the health of the kidneys, which work to flush toxins from the body. Nettles also have some natural antihistamine compounds, which can provide additional relief from allergy symptoms. Horses generally enjoy the taste of dried nettle; you can chop down a good quantity of nettle, let it wilt for at least four hours, and then feed it alongside hay.


2. IMMUNE DEFENSE Since allergies are the result of an over-reactive immune system, strengthening this system so it can better identify what is a true threat is a good idea. 22

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c) Probiotics and prebiotics: The horse’s digestive system includes tissue function that drives much of his immune response. The healthier a horse’s digestive tract is, the less likely the immune system is to turn on itself. Probiotics are beneficial strains of bacteria in the digestive tract that reduce the presence of harmful bacteria and bolster the immune system. However, in order for them to stay alive, they need enzymes — otherwise known as prebiotics — as food. Once you have bolstered your horse’s


digestive system with probiotics, switch to a good source of prebiotics to keep his gut health flourishing. There are many good products on the market for horses — top dress his feed with these supplements to help ameliorate symptoms. Your best line of defense against any irritant is always to avoid it. But if this can’t be done, these natural remedies will help your horse get through his seasonal allergies!

Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate and equine bodyworker, having healed her own horse, 24-year-old Desario, with natural methods. She writes articles for various equine publications and online blogs and is the owner of Whole Equine, an online store featuring a large catalog of top quality all-natural horse care products including supplements, fly sprays, first aid, and much more. wholeequine.com, info@wholeequine.com, 844-946-5378

Equine Wellness



Dust control is an important part of maintaining the cleanliness of your barn, arenas and round pens — and the health of you and your horses!


DUST CONTROL DUST CONTROL for horse caretakers By Theresa R. Cossclark

Everyone is harmed by dust. Both outdoors and indoors, it puts people and horses at risk of respiratory illness. This means it’s vitally important to find natural ways to reduce dust in your barn, arena and other areas where you and your horse reside or work. Clean oxygen is the lifeblood of every cell in our bodies, and when that oxygen is filled with dust particles, it gravely affects our performance. Liken the respiratory system to a machine — as the machine collects dust, the filter gets clogged and reduces its ability to work efficiently. Logically, any type of respiratory blockage affects overall health. It’s well documented that respiratory 24

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illnesses weaken the immune system, scar lungs, hinder reproduction and hamper the ability to heal. While many respiratory illnesses are caused by bacteria or viruses, many are also caused by exposure to pollutants or irritants in the environment that directly affect oxygen consumption.

DEFINING DUST — POLLUTANT OR IRRITANT? Respiratory irritants include things like smoke, chemicals and dust, whereas pollutants are thought of as indoor particulate materials and allergens. We can mitigate their effects by controlling them, but first we must identify them. In the equine industry, dust is the number one irritant. Dust can be

composed of dirt, clay, hay fines, shavings, sawdust, mulch, mycotoxins, mold and/or dander. Depending on the individual human or horse, irritants and pollutants can affect just the respiratory system or may evolve into other complications. Unfortunately, no one is immune — young or old, strong or weak, healthy or not — so managing dust in your barn, arenas and round pens is crucial.

THE IMPORTANCE OF DUST CONTROL Regardless of where your farm is located or how it’s set up, there will always be respirable dust in the air you and your horses breathe. According to the Occupational Safety and Health

Administration (OSHA), “silica dust less than 10 µm is light enough and has enough surface area to stay airborne long enough to travel beyond occupational zones.” Fortunately, you can improve this inevitable problem with good barn-keeping tasks and natural dust control products.

DUST CONTROL DO’S AND DON’TS DO rinse mud or brush dirt from your tractor’s wheels before entering your arena

DON’T add new untreated footing to your dustcontrolled footing

DO brush your horse outside or near the wash rack and rinse the dirt down the drain

DO beat mud-crusted, dusty blankets outside, away from your barn and arenas

DON’T add old shavings, sawdust, wood chips or mulch to footing; aging wood products break down into dust particles

DON’T store hay in the same barn your horses live in — it is very combustible, and contains mold spores and dusty particles

DO send your horses outdoors while cleaning the barn/stalls, and wait 20 minutes before bringing them in so the dust can settle

DO wear, if possible, a N95 NIOSH mask when cleaning stalls or dragging the arena.

DUST CONTROL OPTIONS Water Water your arena thoroughly and let it soak overnight to keep footing moist longer. It is not uncommon to spend three hours putting down 20,000 gallons of water, since hitting the surface with a “light spray” leads to quick evaporation. This isn’t the most eco-friendly option, and many states are mandating the conservation of water. If it’s permitted in your state, you can harvest rainwater and use that — however, any strategies or products that reduce water use are beneficial to all. Salt Apply salt at 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet — it’s inexpensive, readily found, and prevents freezing. It should be refreshed every six months. Salt is corrosive to tractors, locks, hinges and anything metal when airborne. It also dries out saddles, horse hooves, soles, frogs, lower legs and leather boots, and should therefore be wiped off after exposure. A heavy rainstorm may wash it away or dissolve it if used outdoors, and the runoff isn’t good for plants. Continued on page 26. Equine Wellness


Photo courtesy of William Jones, Ph.D.

Detailed microscopic view of silica particles on a filter.

in less airborne dust. With semi-annual application of plant oil, less is needed each time, which reduces future costs. Over time, however, some oil may become rancid. Utilizing motor oil for controlling dust is an environmental hazard, very slippery and against the law nationwide.

Continued from page 25. Peat moss Peat moss has become quite popular as an arena footing. Though initially expensive to install, it has great longevity and is easy to maintain — just empty a bag here or there. It may become slippery if overwatered, and lose its stability. Calcium chloride Though this dust control option is inexpensive, it’s not recommended. It rusts all metal within a barn — shovels, tractors, picks, etc. — and can burn nostrils and hoof pads. It is also known to damage trees, bushes, grass and plants, and may cause scratches. Oil-based products There are two types — organic and petroleum. Palm oil, mineral oil and soybean oil coat fine dust particles, increasing their weight, which results

Wax coatings This option works very well, but it’s expensive. Similar in mode-ofoperation to oil-based products, it combines small particles with larger ones to weigh them down, resulting in less blowing dust. Subsequent applications take less product. ARENACLEAR™ This option is great for both outdoor and indoor arenas, as well as all types of organic footing and rubber/fabric mixes. One gallon treats a 100’ by 100’ area to 3” to 4” deep. It attracts dust and forms larger particles, which then become part of the footing material. It keeps footing damp longer and reduces the amount of water needed by at least 50%. Magnesium chloride This option cannot be used for outdoor arenas or round pens, since rain or snow will either wash it away or cause it to permeate into the footing. Magnesium chloride does not freeze, and pulls moisture from the air to reduce dust. A 100’ by 100’ arena may require two pallets or more to start, then will need to be maintained with


the white paper towel test After riding your horse in your arena or round pen, wipe your cheeks and forehead with a white paper towel. How much dust comes off? Now consider how much dust ended up in your lungs! 26

Equine Wellness

Wear a N95 NIOSH mask when working in a dusty environment.

one pallet every two to six months. Overtreatment could result in less-thanideal footing, making it either slippery or hard like concrete. All remaining bags should be stored indoors in an area that’s protected from moisture; be sure to rinse your spreader after use! Silicone gel and crystals Analyze a sample of your footing for correct pH levels, pollutants, salt or oil content before choosing a product. Upwards of 1,400 pounds may be needed for a 100’ by 100’ arena. Ensure the material does not become either overwatered or dry. Rehydrating the material can be challenging. On average, humans take 23,000 breaths per day, and adult horses take 14,000. Make them count by taking steps to eliminate dust on your farm! While participating in an equine event, Theresa (Teri) Cossclark had a serious reaction to the dust in an arena, warranting urgent medical care. She was subsequently diagnosed with asthma and COPD. Unwilling to stay away from her passion for horses, she began to research the topic and discovered that horses shared the same respiratory illnesses caused by dust, ammonia and pollutants. Teri is now dedicated to sharing how to control dust and other pollutants through education and by sharing her own line of natural products.


uses for therapeutic taping

Whether you work with high performance horses or retired seniors, therapeutic taping has numerous uses and benefits. By Vanessa Benetti Di Sessa, DVM, CKTI

These days, a wide range of adjunct therapies can help you achieve optimal mobility in your equine companions. Among these is elastic therapeutic taping, a technique that’s becoming increasingly popular for pain

management, edema control, muscle and joint support, and other specific equine needs. If applied properly, this low-impact intervention causes no stress to the horse. On the contrary, it provides a calming touch when the

animal is irritated and emotional due to physical discomfort. Below are just a few different ailments that can improve with the assistance of therapeutic taping:

Example 2: Edema

This competitive jumper presented restriction to perform lateral flexion of the neck. After chiropractic sessions, elastic therapeutic tape was applied proximal to distal to facilitate the brachiocephalic muscle. This classic taping technique eased the horse’s neck movement, and the increased mobility and comfort helped horse and rider coordinate their weight more efficiently.

This Quarter Horse stallion presented edema in the distal region of the left hind limb, probably caused by contusion. After physiotherapy, lymphatic drainage and cross-fan application of elastic therapeutic tape to continue the drainage process, the horse healed completely over the span of 12 weeks.

Example 3: Hypotrophy The same stallion later presented bilateral onset of hypotrophy in semitendinosus muscles. Therapeutic tape was applied to these muscles after chiropractic sessions, which helped extend the benefit of the treatment in between appointments.

Example 4: Back pain This barrel racing Quarter Horse mare experiences low back pain often related to a pelvic rotation. In addition to therapies such as equine massage and laser, elastic therapeutic tape is applied to help correct the thoracic lumbar fascia whenever she travels to competitions. This helps prevent low back pain caused by compensation during transportation.

All case photos courtesy of Vanessa Benetti Di Sessa, DVM, CKTI

Example 1: Limited mobility

As a horse caretaker, it’s important to equip yourself with as many tools as possible to help your horse in case of injury or mobility issues. Ask your vet how elastic therapeutic tape can be used on your own farm! Equine Wellness



Common areas of

DISCOMFORT Photo courtesy of Doug Burloak

in horses

By Taron Carruthers, BA Kin (Hons), DC, CAC

Many horses experience discomfort in the same places. Let’s take a closer look at those areas, as well as some prevention and rehabilitation techniques you can try.


Equine Wellness

Horses were not designed with humans in mind. Evolution did not take into account that we would domesticate, train, and ride these animals. So it’s no surprise that horses have a tendency to get body sore; we strap equipment on their bodies, place bits in their mouths, kick, pull, and ask them to perform incredible acts of athleticism, all with the added weight of a rider. This article outlines some common areas of discomfort that deserve special attention, so we can help our equine athletes stay comfortable while performing at their best. SACROILIAC JOINTS The equine sacroiliac joint is a complex joint located beneath the highest point of the rump in the croup area. This joint is the articular connection between the sacrum, the triangular bone just above the tail, and the pair of large fan-shaped bones on either side of the pelvis — the illium.

Normal sacropelvic movement follows a figure-eight pattern when you view the horse walking from behind. This is essential for proper biomechanics and healthy tension through the back and topline. Dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint is a common cause of discomfort and performance issues in horses, and is most commonly reported in those involved in dressage and show jumping. Sacroiliac joint pain is typically due to strain/sprain of the supporting ligaments and muscles that support and attach to the joint itself. Signs and symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction can include: • “Bunny hopping” in the hind end while cantering • Uneven stride length in the hind end • Squaring off of the toes/dragging hind toe(s) • Difficulty holding up a hind leg for the farrier • Difficulty picking up a canter lead and/or cross cantering • Uneven muscle development over the gluteal area • Reluctance to go forward under saddle • Tail held to one side Sacroiliac joint pain strategies • Pain management: Your veterinarian may prescribe shortterm anti-inflammatories and/or a trial of acupuncture.


•C hiropractic care: This will normalize muscle tension, and promote functional joint mechanics through the lumbar spine and pelvis. •M assage therapy: This will address muscular spasms and trigger points. •S tretching the hind legs: Horses with sacroiliac joint issues often have tight hamstrings. To stretch the hamstrings, gently pull the hind leg forward towards the back of the front leg (see Image 1). •K inesiology tape: Trained therapists can use this modality to support the sacroiliac joints, reduce pain and inflammation, and assist with gluteal muscle activation. •T urnout: Stall rest is typically not recommended for sacroiliac joint issues (unless advised by your veterinarian). Turnout in a small paddock with good footing is ideal — avoid deep mud, rocky terrain, and steep slopes. •H ind end strengthening: The goal of rehabilitation is to enhance the strength and endurance of the muscles surrounding and supporting the joint. Reverse walking, hill work, hacking, and Cavaletti are all excellent exercises to help achieve joint support. • Caution while riding: If your horse is still being ridden under saddle or is in the early stages of rehabilitation, avoid cantering, lateral work, and lunging until he is more comfortable

and has improved strength and activation in both the gluteals and supporting musculature. ILLIOPSOAS MUSCLE The illiopsoas muscle is comprised of the lilacus and psoas muscles. The psoas muscle attaches to the lumbar vertebrae and merges with the illiacus muscle in the pelvis, forming a common tendon that attaches to the femur. The primary function is to flex and rotate the hip, allowing the horse to bring the leg underneath the body. This muscle also provides dynamic stability to the thoracolumbar and lumbosacral junctions, and is vital for proper posture. Due to its anatomical location and function, the illiopsoas muscle is particularly vulnerable to injury. Indications that a horse may have a strained/injured illiopsoas muscle include: • Difficulty stepping under and rounding the back • Lacking impulsion from behind • Difficulty holding a hind limb for the farrier • Rigidity and pain in the low back • Compensatory tenderness in sacroiliac and gluteal areas • Sensitivity to being groomed in the lumbar area Clinically, an illiopsoas issue will often look like low back pain. This is because the muscle originates off the lumbar vertebrae, just behind where the saddle sits. Horses will often drop through the back and flinch when palpated in the lumbar area if their illiopsoas is tender. Unfortunately, this often overlooked muscle cannot be directly massaged or palpated. However, various techniques can help ease tension and restore balance to this hip flexor. Illiopsoas pain strategies •C hiropractic care: This will help optimize lumbopelvic biomechanics Equine Wellness






and normalize healthy tone in the muscle by stimulating receptors that control muscle tension. •M assage therapy: A session performed by a professional will ease muscle spasms and promote relaxation by addressing compensatory muscle tightness in the surrounding tissues. •A cupuncture: This modality assists with pain control, relaxes muscles and promotes healthy blood flow. •C ore strengthening: This helps diminish illiopsoas fatigue and subsequent tenderness. Exercises like pelvic tucks, backing up, pole work and riding the horse forward in a long and low frame can help strengthen the abdominals, and take the strain off a tired illiopsoas muscle. •S tretch it out: The illiopsoas muscle can be indirectly stretched by standing alongside the horse and applying pressure to the point of the hip (tuber coxae), as if to rotate the pelvis back and down (see Images 2 to 5). Hold this position for up to two minutes or to the horse’s tolerance. For better lengthening of the muscle, have someone mirror you on the opposite side to lengthen both illiopsoas muscles simultaneously. POLL/UPPER CERVICAL PAIN Discomfort and reactivity while being touched around the poll, or atlantooccipital joint, is extremely common in riding horses. Dysfunctional movement of the atlanto-occiptal joint in the upper neck can lead to pain, muscular tenderness, reduced range of motion, and even headaches. Not only is poll pain uncomfortable for the horse, but it typically comes with unpleasant behavioral changes and resistance felt by the rider while under saddle. Indications that a horse may be experiencing pain in the poll/upper cervical area include: • Being head-shy • Difficulty/reluctance when putting on and taking off halters and bridles


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• Leaning or heaviness on one rein • Inability to flex at the poll • Refusing fences • Irritability • Poor work ethic under saddle Poll pain strategies •R outine dental care: Poor dentition is very closely linked to cervical imbalances and atlanto-occipital and temporomandibular joint dysfunction and pain. •C hiropractic care: This will promote optimal biomechanics of the poll and jaw, and can correct alignment and mobility impairments before they progress. •M yofascial work: When administered to the muscles and fascia in the upper cervical spine, myofascial work will ease tension and help promote healthy range of motion. Flip to page 37 to learn more about myofascial release. •L imited use of high-leverage bits and training aids: These devices should only be used by experienced equestrians with a solid equitation foundation. •F eed off the ground: The anatomy of the cervical spine and poll is designed for constant and efficient foraging off the ground. Horses have stored elastic potential energy in the soft tissues and ligaments of the neck, allowing them to eat off the ground without significant muscular effort. Elevated hay nets and feed bins force the horse to extend the joints of the cervical spine and contract the extensor muscles of the neck. If humans were to eat in a similar fashion, they would be eating while staring up at the ceiling! •T ie wisely: Ensure proper safety protocols are in place when tying your horse (leather halters, breakaway ties, etc.). WITHERS/RIBS A very common area of discomfort in horses is throughout the withers, rib cage, and behind the elbow in the girth area. From an anatomical perspective, it is

Photo courtesy of Doug Burloak

important to understand that the withers are actually the spine itself, composed of the spinous processes of the third to eighth thoracic vertebrae, bridged laterally on either side by the shoulder blades. Poor saddle fit, trauma, improper use of equipment, muscle imbalances and poor equitation can all lead to discomfort in this area. Indications that your horse may be painful through the withers and ribs include: • Sensitivity/irritability while being touched or groomed • Pain and tenderness over the saddle area • “Girthiness” • White hairs/saddle sores on skin in the saddle area • Ear pinning and irritability while mounting • Inability/resistance with bending through the rib cage • Difficulty with flying lead changes • Difficulty with shoulder-in and turn on the forehand Withers/rib pain strategies • Ensure proper saddle fit: Pay attention to friction rubs (white hairs) and check for uneven sweat mark distribution on saddle pads to identify areas of concern. If your horse’s body shape/topline changes, have your saddle fit re-assessed.

It is recommended to have your saddle checked semi-annually by a professional to help prevent issues before they arise. • Use a mounting block: This decreases the amount of torquing through the spine as the rider hoists herself up, regardless of her size. •M ount your horse from both sides: Getting on from the left side may be correct etiquette from a horsemanship perspective, but mechanically this creates chronic repetitive strain and imbalance to the shoulders and wither area. •U se a wide girth with elastic ends: This decreases the amount of pressure over the sternum and allows for easier expansion of the rib cage with inhalation. •S tretch it out: Carrot stretches from side to side and between the front legs (bowing) help to decompress the wither area and cervical spine, and can keep the horse supple. Stretching the forelimbs forward, before and after doing the girth up, helps reduce pinching and elongates the latissimus dorsi muscle. •P ractice shouldering-in: This is a fabulous exercise to promote bending and suppleness through the rib cage and withers. Although this is not an exhaustive list, the sacroiliac joint, illiopsoas muscle, poll and wither area are very common and predictable regions of discomfort in riding horses. We ask a lot from our horses, and it is paramount that we be considerate of their physical well-being. Interprofessional collaboration between your horse’s veterinarian, chiropractor, farrier, and coach can provide a wellrounded basis of care, and keep your horse comfortable and pain-free from nose to tail.

Dr. Taron Carruthers is a COAC Certified Animal Chiropractor providing mobile chiropractic services throughout Central and Northern Ontario. As an avid equestrian and lifelong horse owner, she continues to be amazed at the value chiropractic care offers our equine athletes. In fact, her interest in chiropractic began when she had her senior horse adjusted by an animal chiropractor and found herself astounded by the results. Dr. Carruthers and her current horse, Weldon, have successfully competed in eventing, as well as in the 1.0m jumpers on the Ontario Trillium Hunter Jumper circuit.

Equine Wellness


PERFECT PASTURE Cross-grazing is a popular pasture management practice that many farm owners swear by. Before implementing it on your own farm, be sure to review these important considerations.

By Clay Nelson


Horses are picky eaters, with a habit of overgrazing their favorite pasture grasses while leaving less desirable forage to grow tall. From the perspective of overall pasture utilization, this is inefficient. Cross-grazing your pastures with compatible grazers, such as sheep, is an excellent solution to better overall pasture utilization. When properly implemented, it has the added benefits of providing chemicalfree weed and brush management, improving forage quality, and reducing parasite loads. Crossgrazing, however, is not a panacea to all your pasture management challenges, and comes with challenges that must be carefully considered.

WHAT IS CROSS-GRAZING? Cross-grazing is generally defined as a grazing management practice in which different species of animals share the 32

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same pasture, whether together or separately, within the same growing season. Co-grazing, in which different species are pastured together, and leader-follower grazing, in which one species follows the other in a rotational grazing system, are two types of crossgrazing practices.


rotational grazing at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, and is currently pursuing her PhD on novel types of parasite management in livestock. “The primary advantage of cross-grazing is more efficient use of your pasture forage,” says Cherrie. “Horses prefer grasses, and will selectively graze their favorite grass species first, whereas sheep prefer forbs and legumes.”

Efficient use of forage As research continues to point to the benefits of plant diversity for horse, soil and pasture health, taking advantage of differences in forage preference can increase the number of animals your pasture supports while still providing quality forage for your grazing animals. Cherrie Nolden has been cross-grazing horses with sheep on her Kansas and Wisconsin farms for 20+ years. An expert on these systems, she coteaches a short course on multi-species

Parasite control Another advantage of cross-grazing horses and sheep is improved parasite control (see sidebar on page 34). Parasites are host-specific, and most parasites that impact horses do not mature in sheep or other livestock, weakening the parasite’s life cycle. Cherrie, however, cautions that such benefits are sometimes overstated. “Even when cross-grazing, most horse owners do not have the available land to allow pastures sufficient rest

between same-species grazing periods to effectively break the parasite life cycle,” she says. “Cross-grazing still helps from a parasite dilution perspective, but it is not a cure-all.”

Non-toxic weed control Sheep, like goats, have the added benefit of providing chemical-free weed and brush management, providing equinedesirable pasture grasses a competitive advantage. Sheep in particular enjoy eating forbs and weedy vegetation that horses avoid, while goats select a higher percentage of their diet as woody vegetation (up to 89% from Cherrie's research). However, it is important to note that preferences for weeds versus grasses can vary in sheep, or even in the same sheep over time. Research shows that such preferences are influenced by many factors, including social learning, forage nutrient concentration, plant abundance, and even the microbes in the grazer’s gut. This is true in all social herbivores, including horses. Keeping different species together often results in them sampling what the other species is eating. That being said, sheep will still tend to eat more broadleaf plants, whereas horses will eat more grasses overall, resulting in better weed management in co-grazed pastures.

CHALLENGES Cost and equipment Implementing a cross-grazing system does not come

without certain challenges, not the least of which is the additional equipment, labor and management involved, as well as the knowledge required to care for different animals and their unique needs. For example, singlestrand electric may work for interior cross-fencing for horses, but it won’t contain sheep. In Cherrie’s experience, at least three strands of electric wire are needed. Cherrie particularly likes to use electrified net fencing to contain sheep, which have a reputation for being escape artists. A thick coat of wool makes for excellent insulation against electricity.

Bullying Visit any online chat board where the topic of cograzing horses and sheep is mentioned, and you will no doubt hear stories of horses biting, kicking, tossing or otherwise bullying sheep. Like many horse behaviors, such actions tend to be equine-specific. In Cherrie’s experience, horses bred and trained to herd cattle and other livestock often present the greatest risk. However, Cherrie also notes that how you manage horses and sheep together is equally important. “Horses should be introduced carefully to sheep. Start by having the horses and sheep share a fence line, or use a stock panel.” Cherrie also suggests using a nose bag to feed horses grain or supplements where sheep are present, as sheep will mob in Equine Wellness




Co-grazing – different species pastured together Leader-follower grazing — one species follows the other in a rotational grazing system

TAKE HALF, LEAVE HALF Cherrie believes that the most important parasite management tool for horse caretakers is to not allow your pasture forages to be overgrazed. The general rule of thumb is take half, leave half. “Parasites primarily live in the lower 4” to 6” of grasses,” states Cherrie. “By not grazing too short, you reduce the likelihood that horses or sheep will ingest the parasites.” Implementing a rotational or mob grazing approach reduces the likelihood of any type of forage getting overgrazed, and produces a healthier overall farm system relative to continuous grazing. Rest and recovery are key.

to eat any horse feed on the ground. “Not surprisingly,” notes Cherrie, “horses hate that.”

Space For effective cross-grazing, it is also critical to not overgraze the pastures. In general, one to four acres of pasture are needed per horse, though this number can vary substantially based on management, region, pasture production and the needs of the individual horse. A horse in training, lactating brood mares and younger horses generally require more pasture acreage than the backyard easy keeper. Cherrie notes the same is true for sheep, where the needs of all sheep are not identical. However, as a starting point, about five to six sheep require similar pasture acreage to that of a single horse.

HELPFUL TIPS Whether you decide to co-graze horses and sheep in the same pasture, or use a leader-follower system, depends on your specific goals. In general, if the forage needs of one species are greater than the other, Cherries suggests having that species graze first in a pasture, then rotating the other species in

behind it. Alternatively, if you have an easy-keeper horse that you don’t want grazing on higher digestible energy-dense clover, having sheep graze that pasture first can be an excellent strategy. If you like the idea of adding sheep or other livestock to your horse property, consider finding someone local who is experienced in caring for that particular animal, and who can serve as a mentor. Cherrie also suggests you purchase sheep that have been raised in a similar manner and environment to your farm. “If, for example, you plan to have your sheep primarily out on pasture, do not purchase your sheep from a feed lot or show barn where sheep aren’t kept on pasture,” she says. “They will not acclimate as well.” In the context of cross-grazing, Cherrie does not feel that a particular breed of sheep is better than the other. Instead, Cherrie encourages, “find the traits you like.” Though it will require a bit of extra work at the onset, implementing a cross-grazing system on your farm can offer many benefits to your pasture — and the health of your equine herd. Do your best to apply all the above considerations right off the bat to set yourself up for success! Clay Nelson specializes in the planning, design and management of sustainable equestrian facilities. He has designed equine properties across 14 states and counting. Learn more at SustainableStables.com.


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What we love: What we love:

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Equine Wellness



ZIP UP your front for


By Wendy Murdoch

Adding strength and stability to your torso by “zipping up your front” will result in better transitions and a smoother overall ride. Many riders are unaware of how much they shift their bodies forward

stabilizing your core as you go. Notice if there are areas where this feeling is not

and backward during up and down transitions. Weight shifts cause a horse to fall onto the forehand, stiffen, and brace his back and legs. A common cause of this problem is that the rider wants to offer a release of the reins; she usually also unconsciously moves her body forward and back, which makes the horse’s job difficult!

clear in your imagination, and spend a little time there “opening and closing” the zipper until you can easily see the slider going past this point.

BALANCE IS KEY Moving forward in “up” transitions puts more weight on the horse’s forehand. Moving back in “down” transitions hollows his back and stiffens his legs. A sudden collapse can cause him to stumble or trip. Therefore, it is important that the rider’s body does not follow the hands during transitions!

Continue closing the zipper all the way to the sternoclavicular notch — the place where your collarbones meet your sternum. You can feel a little groove where the three join together. Notice if you feel taller as you pull the zipper all the way to the top. You may feel your back and neck lengthen as your shoulders pull back. Practice doing this off your horse until you can “pull your zipper” without creating tension in your hips or shoulders, or without holding your breath.


When mounted at the walk, slowly begin to pull your zipper, watching for any changes in your horse. You may be surprised by how clearly he “hears” you! Some horses sense this as a halfhalt. When you are ready, begin to ride transitions, making sure to pull your zipper before each one. You may find you don’t need to pull it all the way to the top to keep from falling forward because your horse has become more sensitive to your aids.

Visualize a zipper beginning at your pubic bone (the place where the two halves of your pelvis meet in the front). Think of zipping it up slowly but firmly,

A stable torso results in better transitions. If you’re struggling to find that stability, zip it up!

Maintaining an upright balance in the saddle helps the horse because the rider’s weight remains centered, stable and predictable. The horse can then respond to the rider’s request to go forward or stop without being surprised by an unexpected weight shift. The following trick will help you remain upright with ease.


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The rider’s imaginary zipper begins just above the pubic bone. In this case, it is completely open.

The rider has pulled her zipper upward toward her head. It is halfway closed.

For strong stabilization, the rider has pulled the zipper all the way to the sternoclavicular notch. This creates a very strong, solid position.

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.

ALTERNATIVE APPROACH Myofascial release is an alternative therapy that’s being used more regularly to help horses with mobility issues. Find out how it works, and why you should consider trying it with your own equine companion.


myofascial release By Patricia Bona, D.C.

can help your horse The term “myofascial release” is becoming more and more prevalent in the context of massage, posture, fitness, and overall wellness for horses. This alternative therapy works to alleviate pain, restore function, and improve overall health and well-being by addressing the fascia and muscles. These two soft tissue systems are extremely integrated, hence the term “myofascial”. WHAT IS MYOFASCIAL RELEASE? Myofascial release (MFR) has a lot in common with other massage techniques, but it has a different way of approaching a body’s individual issues. It involves a slower, gentler technique for whole body integration. Facilitating the client’s own body awareness while releasing restrictions in the muscles and fascia (see sidebar on page 38) creates

far-reaching physical and emotional effects, and brings one to a deeper level of consciousness. “Intention” is a key word in this therapy, meaning that the practitioner should go into a session with a calm, mindful attitude and a goal of releasing tension in the tissue without forcing a desired outcome. HOW IT WORKS In order to perform any sort of massage, we need to make contact with the skin in one way or another. Myofascial release is no different — the layer of fascia lies just below the skin, and is the easiest for a practitioner to manipulate. The shape of the fascia cannot be quickly changed, as this tissue is incredibly strong. Myofascial release can, however, help to improve the health and fluid consistency of the

fascia on a local and global level to improve form and function of the body. The idea is that gentle directional pressure applied to restricted fascia helps improve the glide between the fascia, starting with the superficial layers. This releases any potential adhesions and moves the fascia to improve circulation and lymphatic drainage. The therapy also helps hydrate the space around the cells — fascial microtubules — which helps keep the body lubricated and prevents mobility issues. TRYING IT AT HOME Where to start Posture is the language of the body. If you observe your horse, where does he look “sticky” — rigid or less fluid? How is he responding or reacting as you groom him, tack him up or even Equine Wellness


A brief history of

myofascial release Ida Rolf, a biochemist whose greater interest was human function, is considered a pioneer of myofascial work. In the 1940s, she developed the system “Structural Integration”, which later became known as Rolfing. Similar to myofascial release, Rolfing takes a more holistic approach, looking at the whole body as opposed to specific problem areas. John Barnes is known as the father of modern day Myofascial Release. Both he and Rolf had the same goals, but Barnes developed his own highlysuccessful method — Myofascial Release Approach® — and has since trained over 100,000 therapists and physicians.



Fascia is a beautiful web-like network of collagen-based connective tissue that weaves through the entire body. It is what defines the shapes and function of muscles, muscle groups, organs and skin. These microtubules of fascia create muscle fibers, which create muscles, which create muscle groups — resulting in a network of interconnected fascial layers. Fascia is the framework of the body, including the skeletal system. 38

Equine Wellness

pet him? If you can’t tell by looking, try feeling. Notice where his skin or muscles are tight or restricted. A myofascial release practitioner can show you how to observe these subtle signs. What to do Myofascial release is often done directly on the skin with no massage oil. It is the contact friction and gentle slow transverse traction or push into the restricted areas that facilitate the release. The angle of approach is often between 30° to 45° to the tension, and improves the glides of the fascial network. Start by placing direct pressure on your horse’s skin in an area you would like to improve. Gently push and glide — think of pushing or squeezing toothpaste out of a tube. Is it dry and sticky? Is it pasty or more gel-like? Slow intentional feel and observation will guide your depth of pressure and time. If done properly, the fascia will begin to release. As it lets go, the water within the areas around the cells will

hydrate and “plump up” the fascial layer when you release your pressure. Once released, the “plumped” tissue will continue to self-lubricate through regular activity and movement. At the very least, this gentle bodywork session will act as a massage for your horse, improving blood flow to problem areas. When trying this therapy on your horse, you may find the hair to be too slick. If you wet your hands with water you should be able to attain the friction needed. Aim for a pressure of three or so pounds, and always work with safety and your horse’s tolerance in mind. Be in the moment, enjoy observing through all your senses, and pay attention to your horse’s conscious and subconscious body language responses. As humans, we are all too often disconnected from our bodies. Our horses, in contrast, are prey animals, so they are quite tuned into their bodies. Myofascial release is a great way to make them feel better on the outside, so they can feel better on the inside, and vice versa!


Researchers investigate

benefits of CBD oil for equine


Can CBD reduce stress and help manage obsessive compulsive behaviors in horses? Researchers at Tarleton State University are seeking an answer to this frequently-asked question. CBD has been a hot topic in the animal industry for a couple of years now, but it’s certainly not “old” news. Animal parents and equine caretakers around the world are asking questions about what products to buy, how cannabidiol works and, perhaps most commonly, what it can help with. When it comes to horses, these questions are currently much more difficult to answer, but research is underway. Among those investigating CBD oil for large animals is a team at Tarleton State University’s Equine Center. Their unique study is working to determine how CBD affects stress and anxiety in horses. “I have just been overwhelmed by the level of interest in this study,” says Dr. Kimberly Guay, who is overseeing the research. “By now, horse owners have all heard the hype about the potential benefits of CBD oil. Here at Tarleton, we are working to give them the reliable data that’s just not there yet.” Dr. Guay’s study seeks to quantify how CBD affects inflammation, stress and stereotypical negative

behaviors in horses. She and her team — student researchers from Tarleton’s equine science classes — are administering different kinds of CBD, such as oil or pellets, to horses participating in the trial. They then measure the physiological effects of the non-psychoactive substance on the horses’ heartrates and cortisol levels. They also observe the horses after dosing them with CBD to note its effect on any common obsessive compulsive behaviors common to horses that spend time in a stall or trailer, such as cribbing. “We are also tracking how long CBD stays in the horse’s system,” says Dr. Guay. “Many people who compete with their horses are interested in using CBD products to reduce stress and inflammation, but many event organizers are still working through their CBD restrictions for horses in competition.” Dr. Guay expects to publish the results of the study sometime in 2021. Stay tuned for an update in a later issue of Equine Wellness Magazine. Equine Wellness




REVAMPING Photos courtesy of Blackburn Architects


Does your barn need an upgrade? Unless there’s structural damage, you shouldn’t have any trouble revamping it in a few easy steps!

You can refresh your horse barn on a budget, adding healthy, eco-friendly details to revive worn out spaces. As a trainer recently told me when I complimented her orderly stable, “I like my barn to be a pleasure to enter every morning.” Then she added with a laugh, “I wish I could say the same about my house!” You don’t need to have a brand new space to create a peaceful haven. Here are some ideas for renovating a barn to add light, ventilation and important safety enhancements.

VENTING OPTIONS Installing proper ventilation will improve the feel of your barn and the health of your horses. For venting an existing barn, there are two options:


Equine Wellness


q Add Dutch doors along the interior and/or exterior walls w Add a vent along the bottom edge of a skylight (or ridge) Option 1: Dutch doors This option provides good access to ventilation for each stall and is a great method for controlling air flow. You have the option of leaving just the upper door open to reduce the flow, or open both upper and lower doors for maximum circulation. Of course, in order to open both doors on an interior stall wall, you’ll need to add a mesh panel to keep horses in! If Dutch doors aren’t within your budget, you can add low wall vents on each stall to bring in fresh air low to the floor — a good option for foals — and to vent odors caused by ammonia gases near the ground. The vents should be dampered for air control and screened to keep rodents from getting into stalls. Additionally, exterior Dutch doors provide an abundance of natural light, which reduces the need for electric lighting in the barn! Option 2: Vent This option allows for vertical ventilation of the barn using the Bernoulli Principle and the chimney effect (see diagram below). Though the existing barn may not have the best angle for prevailing breezes or roof slope, it will help nevertheless. If possible, add vents at the top of the wall at the roof eave. This permits year-round ventilation above the heads of the horses, but still ventilates the barn vertically using the techniques described above.

ADDING SKYLIGHTS Adding skylights to your barn can take it from “drab to fab” in no time at all. There are a variety of methods and materials that can be used to retrofit skylights into an existing roof. At Sagamore Farm in Maryland, a design by Blackburn Architects replaced the existing shingles with a new metal roof because the existing roof wasn’t salvageable. In more typical circumstances, where the existing shingles are salvageable, they can be removed along the ridge, and the sheathing or sub-roofing material can be cut out, leaving only the roof rafters. Please note that any roof work should be done by professionals! Continuous curbs should be built along the edge of the opening. Although a continuous skylight or curb is not necessary, it is aesthetically and functionally preferable. A skylight can then be placed on top of the curbs spanning one side of the aisle to the other. The curb can and should be vented. The size and amount of free area depends on the barn design, size and location. The skylight width does not have to span the full width of the aisle but somewhere between 8’ and 12’ should be adequate. The skylight can be either glass (costly, and should be safety glass) or some form of polycarbonate. Check your local building codes for requirements. Translucent — not clear — glazing reduces the visibility of dirt and filters light, which better serves the barn interior. It’s best not to let a strong band of sunlight hit a stalled horse for a long period of time. Painting the interior of the roof and the framing around the skylight a light color will improve reflectance. If a continuous skylight is not possible, then individual roof skylights can be installed over the center aisle. However, if they are not high on the roof and are not vented, they may not do much to increase the barn’s vertical ventilation. While these approaches to increasing light and ventilation in existing structures can work wonders, you should always contact a structural engineer before installing skylights to determine if the barn can take the modifications needed, or if any additional structural work needs to be done. Continued on page 42. Equine Wellness


Photos courtesy of Blackburn Architects


BEFORE Continued from page 41.

OTHER IDEAS In addition to adding skylights and vents, other “upgrades” add a lot of polish to an older horse barn. Here are some ideas: Add new stall fronts. Replacing old stall fronts with a stock bar grill system (see photo top right) can have a big impact on the look of your barn. However, keep in mind that stall fronts need to have proper bar spacing (maximum 2” to 2½” clear) and be sufficiently strong to not bend when kicked by a horse. Remove, relocate or cover any exposed electrical outlets. These should be covered to protect horses from sharp corners and edges. Verify that all outlets are GFI protected. A GFI or GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) protects from electric shocks caused by faults in electrical devices. All wiring should be run through metal conduit or replaced with BX cable. Check existing stall door latches. Also replace any exposed hold open hooks that can injure a horse. Replace any damaged wood, exposed wood edges or corners. Confirm that all nail heads on the interior of the barn — wherever they might come into contact with horses — are reset to eliminate exposed heads, or replace with wood screws. Replace old flooring. Replace existing grid flooring in hallways or covered stall areas. Level the floor and slope it in the direction of natural drainage away from the stalls. Lay a bed of crushed gravel, cover with stone dust, and compact as 42

Equine Wellness

required to reduce risk of erosion. If erosion is a problem, a pressure treated 2X4 could be set into the ground under the fence line and leveled with stone dust to prevent erosion. Clean and service existing ceiling mounted lights and fans. Box fans are an electrical hazard. Inspect rafters for structural soundness. As well, install a flat metal nailing plate (similar to those used in wood trusses) at each rafter to ensure they don’t separate. Don’t forget the wash stall. Lay down a 3/4” non-slip rubber mat on the floor of the wash stall, providing for drainage around the edge of the slab. If there is any slope to the slab, a gravel swale (shallow trench) provides sufficient drainage for water to drain away. Water should not accumulate and pool on the ground to create muddy conditions. Freshen up the paint! Keep in mind that low VOC paints make the same positive difference for equine respiratory health as they do for us. Your old barn probably isn’t a lost cause — it just needs some TLC. Use these tips to bring new life to your beloved structure, and never underestimate the transformative power of light, air circulation, and a fresh paint job! A lifelong rider, Nancy White works for equestrian master design firm Blackburn Architects. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the Savannah College of Art & Design. Nancy is the author of The Majesty of Beaufort. She has written articles, white papers and content for blogs, websites and all social media formats. Nancy loves designing healthy equestrian facilities that incorporate lots of natural light and ventilation.

Nutrena knows it’s what’s inside



that counts!

Backed by almost 100 years of knowledge and experience, Nutrena is the trusted food choice for dog, cat and horse caretakers. The quantity of pet food being produced today is astronomical. New companies are popping up regularly, competing for a spot on the alreadyfull shelves of retail and feed stores. But the quality of these brands is an entirely different story — many are lacking the nutritional integrity animals need to thrive, and few are taking steps to exceed industry and government standards. Among the small percentage of companies whose knowledge, experience and excellence stand out amid the noise is Nutrena. Nutrena is a brand of Cargill, Inc. — a name that’s been trusted by farmers and animal parents for nearly 100 years. During that time, quality has always been the company’s top priority. Since 1865 when William Wallace Cargill founded his first grain warehouse in Iowa, they’ve taken care to create and manufacture the best of the best. “We believe ‘what’s inside counts’,” says Russell Mueller, Equine Product Line Manager at Cargill Animal Nutrition. “Our motivation is

1865 William Wallace Cargill establishes a grain warehouse in Iowa

knowing that people rely on us to stand up to our exacting standards with each and every product we produce.” Today, Cargill is continuing to pave the way for other companies on the market. With the help of some of America’s leading universities, they’re conducting innovative research into the nutritional needs of animals. “Partnering with these institutions gives us access to the specialized expertise we need to develop Nutrena products that are uniquely suited for all types of animals at every stage of their lives,” says Russell. Indeed, every bag of their food works to support important health factors including immune strength, easy digestion and healthy mobility — something all farm owners want for their dogs and cats! Nutrena Loyall Life® pet food has two product lines to choose from. “Our Loyall Life Super Premium Pet food is a wholesome option that’s always free of by-products, corn, wheat, and soy,”

1922 The Nutrena brand is born

1921 The Miller-McConnell Grain Company is established in Kansas City, KS

1945 Nutrena becomes part of the Cargill family and doubles the size of Cargill’s feed business

1929 Nutrena introduces the first pellet mill in the United States, changing the way grains are milled

says Kelly Francis, Pet Product Line Manager at Cargill Animal Nutrition. “In addition, Loyall Life Super Premium Grain-Free Pet Food is a wholesome and grain free option — no corn, wheat, soy, or rice.” The brand also offers a variety of high quality protein options — always as the first ingredient — including chicken, lamb, salmon and beef. Unique recipes are available for puppies, adults, and large breed dogs, all at a competitive price point. According to Russell, health and happiness for animals go hand in hand. “Our feed sustains your animals and much of their health comes from the quality nutrition they’re being fed,” he says. “You already trust Nutrena for the horses you love. Now you can choose it for the dogs and cats you love, too!” And no matter which of their foods you choose to bring home, you can rest assured that it’s expertly-formulated with wholesome ingredients that will help nourish your animals from the inside out.


Nutrena continues to provide the animal feed industry with high quality, innovative products.

2005 Nutrena launches the first controlled starch equine feed, SafeChoice

Equine Wellness



What to do if your horses

ESCAPE Try as we may to keep our horses contained, accidents are inevitable. Here’s what to do if your equine companions escape.

By Hannah Arington

KEEP CALM If the horses are near busy roads, it may be necessary to contact local police or emergency response authorities to block traffic. The main goal should be to keep the horses as calm as possible. This means speedy movement such as running and shouting should be avoided. Calmly use a cell phone or ask someone nearby to call for assistance.

PICK A POINT OF SAFETY Next, quickly consider potential areas in which the horses can be contained. Is there an empty paddock, a riding arena, or a pasture that’s not in use? Open any gates that the horses might enter. Even if it’s not the ideal location, any decently fenced enclosure is much safer in the short term than having horses on the loose. Since escaped horses tend to wander 44

Equine Wellness

around in search of food, there’s a good chance they will pass back through a gate.

CIRCLE UP Once help has been called and a plan is in place, the horses should be quietly circled until handlers are on the side in which the horses must not travel. For example, people should line up to block access to any driveway or road that would exit the property. If the horses are not too agitated, they may show interest in food. One person can carefully lay out some type of encouragement (such as grain) inside the fenced area the horses are intended to enter. This person can try shaking a grain bucket to draw their attention.

the sheep retreat. The flight zone of an individual animal can vary significantly depending on temperament, training, and level of excitement at the time. Herd animals will instinctually move away from an approaching “predator”, and this instinct can be used to push horses towards a safe space. The flight zone concept means that approaching a loose horse from the correct position should elicit movement (Figure 1). Handlers can line up and place themselves directly opposite the area into which the horses are supposed to enter, then calmly step forward until the horses begin walking in that direction. It’s best to Figure 1

HERD YOUR HERD When horses cannot be enticed to enter a fenced area, then “herding” them into a safe environment becomes the next best option. To successfully herd animals, one must understand the concept of the animal’s flight zone. Picture a sheep dog that quietly approaches the flock. The sheep have a sort of “bubble” of personal space, also known as their “flight zone”. When the dog steps inside this bubble,

Figure Courtesy of NFACC

The gate was left open, the fence damaged, or perhaps a stall latch broken. Regardless of the cause, there are horses on the loose and a speedy solution is critical! Not only is capturing escaped horses an inconvenience for the handler — it’s also a time when equine safety is very much at risk.

Figure Courtesy of NFACC

Figure 2

Once the horses successfully enter a fenced area, the closest person should quickly and carefully close the gate. Keep in mind that highly agitated horses may try to rush the opening once they realize they are caught.


slowly approach the animals until they turn and begin walking away. Moving too rapidly into the flight zone may encourage running, bucking, or other behaviors that endanger the safety of both horses and handlers. Understanding the need to stay calm can be challenging for helpers who are not familiar with handling livestock animals; children especially can become too excited, move too quickly, and accidentally cause a dangerous situation.

Assuming the confined area is safe, allow the horses a few moments of quiet in order to decompress. Equines that have been running loose tend to be on high alert, snorting and spooking at anything unusual. This behavior should decrease after a few minutes, allowing handlers to approach and halter the animals (see sidebar at right). Although catching escaped horses can seem overwhelming, rest assured that most situations are resolved quickly and safely. Luckily, with a little planning and a thorough understanding of the equine flight zone, handlers and horses alike are able to return safely home.



To avoid being kicked or knocked over, only approach horses from the side, never directly in front or behind, as these areas may fall within their blind spots (Figure 2). Most horses will move away from a hand placed directly on the nose or forehead, so it’s best to begin by placing one hand on the neck or shoulder. Be aware that at any moment the horse could move suddenly. To avoid injury, ensure that no lead rope or halter is wrapped around your arms. Slowly raise the halter and put it in place. Avoid placing your hands near the horse’s eye or ears. Even normally docile equines may flinch away from a movement that is too sudden or too close to the face.

Hannah Arington grew up at her family’s horse farm in Nebraska. She graduated in 2017 with an Animal Science degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and took a job in the animal pharmaceutical industry. Her free time is spent trail riding and jumping her two horses, reading the latest equine research, and spoiling her dogs.

Equine Wellness




Let’s take a look at some of the most common tractor attachments used by equine farm owners, and why they’re beneficial.


tractor attachments for your horse farm By Jerry Kent

I like to think of compact tractors as the multi-tool pocket knife for horse farms. They’re small, they’re easy to use, and they can do just about anything you need. But no pocket knife is complete without the blades, screwdriver, corkscrew, and other tools that fold out of the handle. In the same way, a compact tractor needs the right attachments to move materials, maintain the grounds, and do the work of operating the farm. There are a lot of tractor attachments to choose from — ranging from the versatile to the highly specialized. But in my opinion, there are seven that are absolutely essential.

the size of your farm, and therefore how hard it has to work. It also depends on who will be operating it.


1. Loader If this list was limited to just one attachment, the loader would be it. The loader is the most versatile and hardest-

Before we discuss attachments, let’s talk about the tractor itself. The tractor that’s right for your farm depends on 46

Equine Wellness

On my farm, I have a KIOTI NX6010. At 60 horsepower, it’s strong enough to handle heavy loads and large implements. It also has a hydrostatic drive, making it easy for even novice operators to use. If you have a smaller farm, you might consider a tractor with horsepower closer to 20–40. With that in mind, here are the seven essential attachments for your horse farm:

working attachment you can have. And if it has a skid steer-compatible quickattach mounting system, you can attach the bucket in seconds. From hauling feed and hay to cleaning out the barn, the loader is a go-to attachment. I use mine almost every day. 2. Reverse tiller One thing we all want to avoid is having our horses sustain hoof and ligament damage. That means keeping the footing safe in arenas, runs and paddocks. I use the reverse tiller for this, as it pulls against the tractor to soften cohesive soils like clay or dirt. However, if you live in an area with sandy soils, you may just need a groomer to do the same job.

1 2 3 4 5

3. Rotary cutter/mower It’s important to maintain your pastures, and that means keeping them mowed down so the horses can graze more easily. A mower also helps to knock down any manure and keep it from piling up. 4. Precision seeder Another part of maintaining pastures is repairing bare patches that horses create during wet winters and hot summers. A precision seeder makes it easy to reseed those areas in the spring and fall to keep the pastures full. 5. Grading scraper It’s not always about the horses. You also have to think about the tires and suspension of your cars. Since many horse farms, like mine, have gravel driveways and dirt access roads, a grading scraper is a handy tool for smoothing out the potholes and ruts that seem to come up every year. 6. Post-hole digger This attachment can make quick work of


Other attachments to consider While the attachments listed in this article are what I’d consider essential, there are others you may want to contemplate buying or renting, depending on your specific needs. • If you have particularly rocky ground in your pastures, a rock picker or rake will be an important tool for keeping your horses safe. • A groomer helps maintain soft, sure footing in arenas, runs and paddocks, and can be used in place of a tiller for sandy soils. • A universal skid steer attachment offers an added level of versatility, allowing you to connect your tractor to just about any skid steer implement.

the otherwise backbreaking task of fixing and building fences — especially if you have hard or rocky ground. 7. Bale spear or hay grapple Another daily job on the horse farm is moving hay around — out of the field and to the stalls and pastures. Which of these


attachments you choose depends on how the hay comes to your farm, in round or square bales. The equipment you have needs to work just as hard as you do. Today’s compact tractors, along with the essential attachments, can do just about everything that needs to be done on your farm.

Jerry Kent is a territory manager for KIOTI Tractor in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Kent also owns and runs a small horse and cattle ranch. KIOTI supplies equipment to the American and Canadian markets and offers a full line of compact tractors, utility vehicle and zero turn mowers for residential and commercial use.

Equine Wellness




STALL REST By Cathy Alinovi, DVM

A horse’s diet during stall rest contributes in a big way to her recovery process. Gaining a better understanding of her nutritional needs will help you nourish her back to better health. 48

Equine Wellness

If your horse is on stall rest, her recovery depends a lot on the nutrition she’s getting. Because horses are herbivores, they are somewhat limited in the foods they can eat. But although we can’t feed them meat protein to directly build muscles and repair tissues, many other foods — perhaps more than we realize — can help them heal. The first step is recognizing that whole grains, such as oats or corn, are not the same whole grains of 50 years ago; and that today’s hay is also not the same as it once was. This will help introduce the idea that horses — especially those on stall rest — need the best nutrients possible for healing.

THE ROLE OF THE CECUM First, let’s talk about a horse’s intestinal tract, then we’ll discuss some foods to help healing. The cecum, located in the right flank, is a critical part of the equine intestinal tract. The cecum comes after the small intestine and before the large intestine, and provides horses with the majority of their nutrition via fermentative digestion — it’s like a giant kombucha vat that uses natural bacteria to digest forage (hay and grass) to provide the horse with nutrients. Just like good kombucha, the right “bugs” at the right pH mean better cecal function. Good “bugs” are equinespecific probiotics; good pH comes from a diet of grass, hay, and whole foods while avoiding concentrates and grains. These latter feeds cause the pH to become too acidic, thereby destroying the good probiotics and upsetting the health of the cecum. An unhealthy cecum leads to an unhealthy intestine, which delays healing and prolongs stall rest. Hence, it is critical for horses on stall rest to consume the right diet.

REACH FOR HIGH QUALITY INGREDIENTS It is common to read ingredients on bags of horsefeed/ concentrate and see words like “byproducts” and “middlings”. It would be reasonable to assume these ingredients are simply the fibrous outer coating of whole grains. Instead, they are of low quality, may contain mold, may be GMOs, and contain pesticides and other poisons. More often than not, commonly-available highproduction horse feed is a waste product of the human food supply.

Don’t forget

THE WATER! A discussion about food is only complete when it includes considerations regarding water. It is very common to use an industrial green or black hose to fill water buckets or tanks. The water container is often located a long distance away from the water spigot, thus hoses help us do our watering tasks faster and more easily. Water hoses are expensive and break easily, thus it is common to use inexpensive garden hoses to deliver water. But be warned — these inexpensive industrial water hoses contain and carry contaminants from the spigot to the water bucket. Logically, these contaminants are not in the horse’s best interest. Instead, hand-carrying buckets from the spigot will be beneficial for your equines companions, and good exercise for you! You should also evaluate your water source. City water is loaded with pollutants and chemicals. While purified water initially seems quite pricey, think of how much money is spent on horses undergoing surgery or recovering from injury. The cost of surgery puts into perspective the importance of high quality water if that will ensure the surgery is successful and help the patient heal more quickly.

While the equine cecum can convert plant matter into nutrition, horses still need high quality ingredients, especially when healing from surgery or an injury. The equine species is renowned for having a massive intestinal system. This system is intimately associated with 80% of the equine immune system, just like any other mammalian species. A good immune system helps fight off infection, and therefore promotes healing. Ideally, recovering horses would be allowed to graze on fresh pasture as long as movement could be restricted. Nothing beats fresh grass when it comes to nutrient quality. But for horses on stall rest, the next best option is to feed great hay, then top dress with fresh vegetables and fruits. Also, there are some phenomenal horse products made from non-GMO whole foods, as well as hay balancers. In either case, a little bit of research will tell you if these are quality products with nutritious ingredients. Continued on page 50. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 49.

WHY STALL REST? Sometimes horses are in stall rest under medical orders; sometimes it’s a decision made by the caretaker or trainer based on changes in performance. Good reasons for stall rest include a wound that you don’t want developing proud flesh; post-surgical healing of a fracture or torn muscle/tendon; and observation. Reasons for stall rest that are worthy of reconsideration include lameness, decreased performance and perception of ring sourness. The downside of stall rest is that the muscles aren’t receiving stimulation. Muscle movement blocks pain locally before the signal enters the spinal cord. So for horses that are “taking a rest” due to lameness or decreased performance, another option would be chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy and/ or body work. These modalities will help decrease the pain response and may find or correct the reason for the lameness/ performance issue. Horses who like to perform don’t become ring sour. What is perceived as “ring sourness” is often a sign of pain or something else wrong; horses who enjoy performing may hide their pain but not be able to perform to their normal standard. These horses will benefit from a qualified body worker.


Equine Wellness

SELECTING FOODS FOR HEALING Fresh, natural, whole foods for overall health. Provides building blocks for the body to heal.


high-carbohydrate concentrated feeds. Hot grains DON’Ts Over-processed, that are imbalanced. Here are some great foods and a short list of some of their healing properties:

Alfalfa hay

Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), uveitis (eye inflammation), laminitis


Diarrhea, anorexia, indigestion, edema, thirst


Polyuria, constipation, sore throat, degenerative heart diseases


Red eyes, diuresis, cancer

Brussels sprouts

Anorexia, colic, intestinal spasm


Cough, gastrointestinal spasm and colic, ulcer pain, constipation


Cough, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, anorexia


Vomiting, anorexia


Heaves, dry cough, thirst, indigestion, constipation

Pumpkin Quinoa Sorghum

Edema, GI parasites, hypertension Fatigue, weak digestion, loose bowels Diarrhea, dysentery


Bloody nose, constipation, ulcers, hypertension


Restlessness, diarrhea

Swiss chard Wild rice

Dysentery, skin lesions, gastrointestinal conditions Anorexia, weight loss

If your horse is on stall rest, take some time to plan her diet with the help of your veterinarian. A few simple changes may drastically reduce her recovery time, and improve her overall wellness to boot! Dr. Cathy Alinovi is a veterinarian, pet lover, frequent media guest and nationally-celebrated author. She is quickly gaining national recognition for her integrative approach to animal health. After graduating from veterinary school, she quickly realized that conventional medicine did not meet enough of her patients’needs, and became certified in numerous alternative modalities. Dr Cathy treats 80% of what walks in the door, not with expensive prescriptions, but with adequate nutrition. She is owner/veterinarian of Healthy PAWsibilities, and the author of the Kindle ebooks, Dinner PAWsible and Healthy PAWsibilities.

GROOMING MUST-HAVES HANDS-ON GROOMING Top-ranked and multi-award-winning HandsOn is thrilled to announce a new line of high-performance grooming gloves. These lightweight gloves make grooming, bathing and de-shedding your horse a breeze, just like the originals! The new gloves will feature a monochromatic look, with scrubbing nodules across the fingers and palms that match the color of the gloves.

HELP FOR DAMAGED SKIN AND HOOVES Mega-Tek Rebuilder from EQyss helps strengthen and repair dry damaged coats, skin, and cracked and brittle hooves. This tropical-scented formula binds protein to the skin and coat, returning elasticity and restoring strength. It’s excellent for use on bare spots such as blanket rubs, skin conditions, injuries and bed sores, and helps restore hoof health by strengthening soft hoof walls, and revitalizing cracks. Massage into skin and coat or frog, sole, and hoof walls as needed. Great for horses, ponies, mares and foals. EQyssPet.com


WIPE HIM CLEAN! No more horsing around with time consuming grooming thanks to Equi-wipes! These hand towel-sized pre-moistened grooming wipes are made with a proprietary herbal blend. Loved by riders and perfect for show competitions, these wipes are ideal for sensitive skin, for adding shine, and for tack cleaning. The biodegradable wipes are especially handy in the winter when it is too cold to bathe, and can be used as cooling towels in the summer. Equi-wipes.com

THE ULTIMATE GROOMING TOOL Want to improve your horse’s grooming experience? The award-winning StripHair Gentle Groomer allows you to remove loose hair, dirt and dander while massaging his muscles and improving circulation. Use this multi-purpose tool to warm him up before exercise, slick away water during bathtime, and strengthen your bond. Bonus: it’s also great for safely cleaning saddle pads and blankets! StripHair.com


A BRUSH THAT WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME Enhance your grooming routine with The Original Magic Brush. This multi-use tool is nearly indestructible, and is great for lifting hair from car seats, furniture, and saddle pads — as well as your horse! Tough enough for caked-on mud and sweat, yet gentle enough for sensitive areas. It can also be used when bathing as a curry, and then as a water/sweat scraper. If it gets dirty, just toss it in the washing machine!

Take your grooming sessions to the next level by incorporating massage techniques! Massage can help decrease post workout pain by mobilizing lactic acid from the muscles. It also helps improve range of motion and decreases your horse's risk of soft tissue injuries. Enroll today, complete at your pace! Use coupon code WELLNESS for 20% off! HolisticAnimalStudies.org/equine-massage-for-owners.html


Equine Wellness



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

camping with horses

By Tom Seay

You’re all packed and ready for your equine camping trip. Now let’s focus on some helpful tips for trail riding at your destination.

Among the questions I’m most frequently asked are those concerning camping with horses and long-distance trail rides. In the first part of this article, we offered some suggestions on preparing for your trip. The second part will focus on some common practices to follow while on the trail. Some may sound unusual, but take our word for it — they’ll help you better enjoy your riding experience.

1. SADDLING UP After riding many thousands of miles, I have learned (often by trial and error) some routines about saddling up. This one is what I call my “saddle pad secret”: 52

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Have you ever had a small grain of sand in your shoe? Even if it is hard to find and see, it drives you crazy. You wonder how such a small thing can make it uncomfortable to walk — but it does! The “saddle pad secret” involves this concept. Just after I brush my horse down and before I saddle up, I turn over my saddle pad so the bottom side is facing up, then close my eyes and run my hand over it. Almost every time, I will find a small bit of sediment, a small ball of cloth material, or a piece of hay. Imagine the aggravation caused by a bit of sand in your shoe and realize that your horse is feeling the same thing under the saddle pad. When you’re on a long-distance ride, something like this

can turn a perfect day into one with an uncomfortable horse. Give my secret a try and you will certainly improve your trip and the comfort of your horse.

2. PICKING YOUR RIDING BUDDIES When camping and riding in a group setting, I always saddle up early to avoid being rushed — then I look for Mr. and Mrs. Perfect. They’re the couple that saddled early, are often dressed similarly, and are sitting on their dead-broke horses under a shade tree waiting for the ride. These are the folks you want to ride near throughout the day. Forget the guy with the new two-year-old stallion he wants to “try

out” on the trail — ride next to Mr. and Mrs. Perfect. Their horses are calm, which lessens the risk of your own horse being startled or spooked. Chances are they have ridden the trail before and know interesting information about the area you’re in. If nothing else, they’re usually great people to become friends with, not just for this ride, but maybe for a lifetime.

3. LEADING AND TYING A longer than normal lead line can make such a difference when you’re camping with horses. This handy tool is not just for you and your horse. A longer rope means that if you have to lead another horse (with or without a rider), you have the space to keep that horse at a safe distance from your own. I’ve had to use a lead rope as spare reins, and a short one just does not work. When you stop for a lunch break, trying to tie a short lead line around a large tree can leave your horse in a very uncomfortable position and unable to move. Finally, that extra-long lead line allows your horse to graze during a break. Again, a short rope just does not work for this, so have a rope made or buy a longer one to make your next camping experience safer and more comfortable.

getting into camp, but removing the tack right away allows the horse to cool off much quicker. Once everything is removed, let him eat and drink. If a stall or paddock is not available and you use a high-line to tie your horse, I recommend the line to be at least 7’ off the ground. I use the Quick Draw Tie Line, which is quick and easy to set up. Please note that a horse has to lower his head to cough. This is a particular issue if your campsite is in a dusty area. Make sure the lead rope is long enough that your horse can get his head down to cough, but short enough that he cannot get his legs tangled in the rope or lie down to roll. Camping and long-distance trail riding with horses is a rewarding experience that you’ll remember for years to come — as long as you do it right! If you have questions, contact me at tseay10@aol.com.

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




Bring some red tape — Keep other riders from getting too close to your horse by tying that red ribbon in your horse’s tail — a universal warning to “stay back”! Even if your horse doesn’t tend to kick, this is a great extra safety measure that may make your ride a lot safer. Leave a bribe — Every night before packing it in, I put some grain in my trailer with the door open. If the horse gets loose while I’m sleeping, the first place he goes is in the trailer! Tie with a quick release knot — Learn how to tie a “quick release” knot so it is fast and easy to release your horse in an emergency. Trying to cut a rope in an emergency is a recipe for disaster.

4. FINISHING STRONG We spend a great deal of time getting ready for a ride, but what we do when it’s over is just as important. Before I leave on my ride in the morning, I take a few moments to fill the water bucket and hay bag for my horse. It only takes a few moments, but two things happen. First, it gives you a minute to rest easy when you get back, knowing that your horse will be already taken care of; and second, the horse will see you do this and look forward to returning after the ride. After you get back from a long ride, remove the tack and brush your horse down. Some riders leave their horses cinched up for a period of time after Equine Wellness




Developmental Orthopedic Disease in your horse

By Melissa Milligan, DVM, MS, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Learn to recognize the signs of Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD) so you can help your young horse before it’s too late. Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD) is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of conditions in the juvenile horse. All these conditions involve cartilage, bone, or soft tissue (joint capsule, tendon, or ligament) in some way. Some issues are apparent at birth, while others only occur in older growing horses. The cause of DOD is multi-factorial, and as such, horses can have more than one condition at the same time.

COMMON CAUSES OF DOD Rapid growth is one of the most common reasons for a foal to develop DOD. This can be due to excessively high dietary protein, either from grain or alfalfa hay. Feeding a ration with a nutritional imbalance of calcium and phosphorus will also lead to certain types of DOD. Some horses have a genetic predisposition for developing DOD, and the combination of a predisposed horse and an improper diet increases the risk. Pain cannot be over-emphasized as a contributing factor in horses with DOD. Foals that grow too fast have tendons and ligaments that grow slower than their bones. Therefore, the tendons and ligaments are shorter than the bones, and as they stretch, significant pain results. Rapid growth can also lead to inflammation of the 54

Equine Wellness

growth plates (epiphysitis), which is also painful and may prevent the weanling from walking correctly or even getting up and down properly. Painful horses that do not walk correctly and don’t fully bear weight on their legs will begin to contract their tendons and ligaments, leading to the deformities discussed below.

A LOOK AT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DOD The most common conditions under the DOD umbrella in foals less than six months of age are angular limb deformities and flexural limb deformities. Angular limb deformities Foals can be born with an angular deformity, or one can develop as the foal grows. One or both legs may be affected, and to differing degrees. The leg can angle outward, known as a valgus deformity; or inward, known as a varus deformity (Figure 1). The prognosis depends on the severity of the deformity, what joint is involved, the underlying cause, and the age of the foal at the time of veterinary examination. The most frequently-affected joint and direction of deformity is a carpal valgus, or outward angulation of the “knee” of the forelimb. These angulations will often self-correct during the first 30 to 60 days of the foal’s life, especially if his feet are

trimmed properly during this time and the foal is confined to a stall. Exercise is detrimental to a foal with an angular deformity. The bones are not in the correct alignment, and the pressure from exercise can permanently deform the foal’s soft bones so the limb cannot straighten. Deformities of the carpus can be treated surgically up to six months of age with a good chance of obtaining a straight limb. However, if the pastern or fetlock (ankle) joints are involved, it is critical that the foal be examined by three to four weeks of age. Surgical intervention is recommended at a much earlier age for deformities in this region, because after six to eight weeks of age, they become permanent. This variation is caused by the different rates of growth plate closure in the lower part of the limb versus the upper limb. Flexural limb deformities Flexural limb deformities such as a club foot (Figure 2) can be congenital (the foal is born with it) or they can develop over time if the foal grows too fast. In addition to the causes mentioned above, positioning within the uterus during pregnancy is also thought to contribute to some congenital flexural deformities. Treatment for congenital deformities may be conservative, with supportive care to assist with nursing, exercise

Figure 1: Valgus and varus deformities

restriction, splinting, oxytetracycline administration, and pain management. If the deformity is severe enough at birth to prevent the foal from standing and nursing, colostrum must be milked from the mare and fed to the foal to avoid failure of passive transfer (see sidebar on 56). Continuous nutritional support will be required until the deformity is treated and the foal can stand unassisted. Oxytetracycline helps to relax the tendon fibers in neonatal foals, and must be administered intravenously very carefully to avoid damage to the vein and to the kidneys. Stretching of the tendons and ligaments is painful, and lack of pain management leads to a vicious circle of continuing contraction. Proper trimming of the

Figure 2: Club foot

foot, and in some cases application of glue-on shoes, is also vital to success. If conservative therapy does not resolve the deformity, surgery is performed to transect the inferior check ligament. This will not affect soundness or athletic performance, but if proper postoperative bandaging is not performed, an unsightly scar may develop. Developmental flexural deformities occur as weanlings and yearlings enter rapid growth spurts, and most often involve the fetlock (Figure 3). These deformities, if caught early and treated properly, can be resolved successfully without surgery. However, if they are allowed to progress beyond a few days, it is much more difficult to straighten the limb, and surgery is often required. Conservative therapy

Figure 3: Flexural deformity of the fetlock

Equine Wellness


The importance of passive transfer

Normally, foals receive all their protection against disease from antibodies in the mother’s colostrum. If foals fail to nurse, or fail to absorb these antibodies because they are already sick, or the colostrum is of poor quality, this “passive transfer” of antibodies fails and foals will become sick. Colostrum is only produced for the first 24 to 36 hours after birth, and foals can only absorb it during the first 12 to 24 hours of life.

includes decreasing the caloric intake while still providing a balanced diet, pain management, and bandaging and splinting. Improper splinting will lead to pressure sores, and must be done under strict veterinary supervision to be successful. If surgery is required to treat flexural deformities, it may involve cutting the inferior check ligament or, if the deformity is severe, the superficial digital flexor tendon may require transection. If so, the athletic potential of the horse may be jeopardized, pending the response to rehabilitation. Epiphysitis Epiphysitis is also extremely common in weanlings and yearlings, and is often a precursor to flexural limb deformities at the fetlock due to its painful nature. It is typically seen in youngsters that grow rapidly secondary to a high-protein diet. Treatment, therefore, requires that caloric intake be decreased until the inflammation in the growth plate subsides. Pain management is a vital component, because pain will lead to the deformities described above. Too much exercise in these horses causes fatigue and over-stretching of the tendons or ligaments, leading to pain as well as a

Figure 4: OCD lesion in the hock.


Equine Wellness

vicious cycle that, unless broken with proper therapy, results in deformity. Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) As foals reach the six-month mark, signs of osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) may occur. OCD is a failure of the joint surface to form properly, resulting in a fragment of cartilage and bone that is separate from the normally smooth surface (Figure 4). This fragment leads to joint inflammation, which increases joint fluid production. The excess fluid makes the joint swell, which is the first sign of OCD. Hocks are the most common joint affected, and lameness is rare. Stifles and fetlocks are the next most common sites; lameness is common with OCD in these locations. However, OCD can occur in any joint, including the elbow, shoulder, and neck. As soon as swelling in a joint is noted, x-rays should be taken to confirm the presence of OCD. Hock and fetlock OCD surgery should be done as soon as possible after diagnosis, as it involves a three-month healing period postoperatively. Stifle surgery is delayed until ten months of age, since bone in this location will continue to grow and change until that time. The recovery time is much longer at six to 12 months. Proper post-operative bandaging is critical to success in hocks and fetlocks. These locations are easily contaminated by manure if the bandages slip, and this will lead to an infection. Infected joints are always more expensive to treat than the original surgery, and can be lifethreatening if not treated aggressively.

The prognosis for soundness is very good for hocks with OCD. The sooner the fragment is removed, the less likely the hock will remain swollen after surgery. Stifle OCD often has a less favorable prognosis for soundness, and the prognosis for fetlock OCD depends on the location of the fragment and the horse’s age at the time of surgery. Your surgeon will give you a more specific prognosis for each horse when the x-rays are evaluated prior to surgery.

IN SUMMARY Foals, weanlings, and yearlings with most types of DOD can be successfully treated with a good outcome. Early detection and proper management of the entire horse during treatment (such as making sure the foal with a deformity can stand and nurse) will lead to complete resolution in a majority of cases. Post-operative bandaging and care as directed by your surgical center will result in a good outcome for hock and fetlock OCD surgery. If you have a young horse with DOD, or are having trouble with post-operative care following surgery, contact your veterinarian or surgeon immediately. He or she can assist you in achieving a sound horse with minimal to no cosmetic blemishes.

Dr. Melissa Milligan grew up in northeast Iowa and attended Iowa State University, graduating from veterinary medical school in 2002. She practiced in Oklahoma and Kansas for five years, and completed her equine surgery residency at Kansas State University in 2007. Dr. Milligan joined the staff at the Equine Specialty Hospital in Burton, Ohio, and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in February 2008. After seven years with the Equine Specialty Hospital, she and her husband Jeff purchased the business from her partners.


Shoes just about to be removed.

A barefoot horse after shoes were removed showing compromised hoof wall.

Sole of hoof just after shoes being removed.



Thinking of switching your horse to barefoot this season? Here’s what you should expect during the transition. By Annette Kaitinis

Horse caretakers often have difficulty keeping shoes on their horse. There are numerous reasons why: hoof wall damage, quarter cracks, underrun heels, and the list goes on. The obvious solution is to simply remove the shoes and allow your horse to go barefoot, as nature intended. But where do you start? What challenges will you face with your horse going barefoot? This article will assist you in moving forward on your horse’s barefoot journey, and will let you know what to expect along the way.

BE PREPARED FOR CHANGE Going barefoot isn’t just about removing shoes — it’s a holistic approach to horse health. For some horses it may be easy, for others it will involve a longer rehab period. Your horse will be tender over hard terrain and needs time to adjust. Hoof boots will provide protection in the interim until his adapts to a new natural lifestyle. Your horse’s hooves will be contracted, and his heels will

likely be underrun from years of wearing iron nailed to the end of his hooves. The whole hoof structure has been compromised and needs to start functioning again without steel protection. Over the next six months, the hooves will change shape. The frog will be better able to perform its vital functions, which include digital cushion stimulation, blood circulation and shock absorption for the hoof capsule. The sole will also be able to start callusing as a result of ground contact. Over time, internal tissues will start to rebuild, and the hoof wall will grow and strengthen. Most horses will successfully transition to barefoot. There is a stack of information online, along with social media groups dedicated to natural hoof care. So many equine caretakers have taken this leap of faith, and are happy to help others who want to do the same. It takes time and effort, but you will get there in the end. Don’t ever give up — your horse will benefit, and so will your pocket!

Ways to support your horse during the transition Barefoot trims — Schedule regular barefoot trims to ensure the heel is kept low, the toe is short, the walls are bevelled and the hooves are balanced. The hoof shouldn’t be trimmed flat, in order to avoid peripheral loading, and flare should be removed to stop hoof wall distortion. Diet — What goes into the horse, grows out! A horse needs to forage 24/7 and eat non-processed food. A good quality raw forage diet is a must with constant access to hay and free choice mineral salts. Movement — Walk your horse over rough terrain for a minimum of ten minutes each day and, if possible, keep him in an environment that imitates a wild horse’s natural environment. It will be uncomfortable for him initially, and he may struggle over rough terrain, but don’t confine him. Annette Kaitinis is one of the co-founders and directors of the hoof boot company Scoot Boot. Based in Tasmania, Australia, she is passionate about improving the welfare of horses worldwide and expanding the mindset of equine caretakers. She aspires to provide support for making informed decisions about going barefoot and maintaining your horse's comfort and health.

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Chart courtesy of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure


By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis

acupressure session for


Help your senior horse cope with the uncomfortable side effects of aging with this gentle acupressure session. “The ole gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.” True, but who is? Age takes its toll on all of us, including our beloved horses. We tend to think of them as fit and active, but one day they suddenly look older. The hollow above the eye seems deeper, muscles look less toned and full, whiskers sprout on the muzzle, and the gait appears stiff — and then we remember ten years have passed. These seniors have become our dear old friends, and we want to do everything we can to extend their lives. Acupressure is one way to help your older horse deal with the aging process more comfortably.

SENIOR HORSES NEED TO KEEP MOVING The equine body is designed to move, and seniors are no exception. However, many older horses are reluctant to keep moving because they are in pain. Arthritis is common. Joints, tendons and ligaments can be sore due to inflammation and degeneration. Unfortunately, once the body slows down, the potential for disease goes up. Hence, techniques to reduce pain and promote movement are paramount.

LIFESTYLE AND ACUPRESSURE To help avoid pain, you can support your senior horse by maintaining a

healthy lifestyle. This could mean turnout with other horses, lowstress trail riding or training in the arena, basic dental and physical healthcare, and attention to diet. Horses need consistent physical activity for a healthy digestive process. Body movement enhances nutrient absorption, which in turn nourishes muscles, joints, and soft tissues so they maintain strength and flexibility. Adding an acupressure session to your grooming routine can greatly increase your senior horse’s comfort level and capacity for exercise. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used for thousands of years to stave off the painful effects of arthritis, gastrointestinal issues, and other conditions associated with aging.

Signs of

aging Each horse is unique in how he or she ages. It depends on lifelong circumstances, breeding, mental attitude and individual constitution. Here are some common indicators:

4Vision deteriorates 4Muscle tone and strength decrease 4Posture appears more sway-backed 4Lower lip droops and is less flexible 4Emotional “flatness” and loss of spirit 4Loss of teeth and dental issues 4Dehydration occurs more frequently 4 Kidney and bladder conditions occur more often

4 Reduced appetite signals potential nutrient absorption problems

Specific acupressure points are known to help maintain tendon, ligament and joint flexibility, enhance the digestive process, and support the horse’s spirit. During your grooming routine, you can stimulate four key acupressure points (see chart) on both sides of your senior horse. When performed regularly, this session will help her stay as healthy as she can be and may even extend her longevity.

4 Gait appears stiffer due to tendon, ligament, joint, and bone issues

4 Coat lacks luster with increased dryness, patchiness, and graying

Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of ACU-HORSE: A Guide to Equine Acupressure, ACU-DOG: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and ACU-CAT: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Resources offering books, manuals, DVDs, apps, meridian charts. Contact: 303-681-3030, animalacupressureresources.com, tallgrass@ animalacupressure.com

Equine Wellness



Choosing the right


for your horse

Weighing the pros and cons of various equine retirement facilities isn’t easy — but it’s incredibly important. Here are a few things to consider when making the decision.

With the advancement of good health care and feed, horses are living longer than ever. But finding a good retirement facility for your aging horse can be difficult. The older horse often requires more management both in food and care, and simply turning him out to pasture is generally not the best option for your retired friend. This article outlines a few of the most important factors to consider when choosing somewhere for your horse to live out his final years.

FEEDING CONSIDERATIONS Many horse caretakers find it challenging to keep weight on their older horses. This is often because elderly horses eat and digest food differently than the young. They eat much more slowly, become more particular about what they’re 60

Equine Wellness

fed, have chewing challenges due to worn and/or missing teeth, and may require pelleted dry feeds to be wetted down to ease chewing and help decrease the risk of choke and colic from poorly masticated food. In addition, the digestive tract of an elderly horse often isn’t as efficient at processing and absorbing nutrients, so care must be taken to make

sure he is eating the right food to maximize digestion efforts. Also, if your horse needs daily medications, double check that the facility you are considering is willing to make sure he gets those meds each day.

WATER Water is an important aspect of the older horse’s life. Ideally, water sources should be clean and readily accessible so the horse doesn’t have to cover a large distance or navigate difficult terrain. During the colder months, older horses also shouldn’t be required to break ice to get a drink. Geriatrics can be prone to impactiontype colics and an easily-accessible water source can help minimize these intestinal problems.


your own involvement

HOUSING An individual pen with shelter for at least part of the day is ideal. This assures that feed can be eaten as slowly as desired without the older horse having to compete for food. For many aged horses, a large percentage of their daily calories should come from a pelleted-type ration. It also isn’t uncommon for older horses to take breaks from eating; it may take them several hours to finish a feeding. An independent pen assures your horse is getting the correct amount of feed, and makes it easy to determine if meds are being consumed and if eating habits have changed. It also gives barn staff a chance to give your horse a daily onceover to make sure all is okay.

When choosing a retirement facility, think about how much time you will be able to spend visiting and caring for your horse. If you aren’t able to visit your retiree much, it’s best to make sure the facility staff will be able to provide the care your horse still needs. These services may include scheduling regular maintenance farrier appointments and veterinary care, grooming (especially in the spring when all that winter hair starts to shed), fly spray application in the summer, and blanketing in the winter. Changing facilities can be stressful for your horse, so be sure you are clear about what your horse needs and if those needs can be met before moving him in.

the one being left out in the weather because a more dominant horse doesn’t want to share the space.

EXERCISE/TURNOUT Just like senior humans, older horses usually have a bit of stiffness and arthritis. If possible, provide daily turnout in an area where your retired horse can walk around and get a bit of exercise each day. When evaluating the turnout area, take into consideration your horse’s particular needs. A lush pasture for grazing may not be ideal if your horse has feed restrictions due to a medical condition like insulin resistance, and difficult terrain like steep hills and irrigation ditches can be difficult for elderly horses to navigate.

Turnout mates should be considered too, but some younger horses can be a bit rambunctious and play too roughly with the older ones. In general, older horses make the best companions for each other.


Some sort of shelter from the elements will make your old friend more comfortable as well. Elderly horses don’t tolerate heat and cold as well as they did when they were younger. If a shelter is shared with others horses, make sure your older equine isn’t

This may be the last home your retired horse has, so taking the time to choose the right retirement facility will alleviate a lot of stress for you and make sure your horse’s remaining years are golden.

Stacy Bluhm is a graduate of the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has been an equine ambulatory general practitioner for the last 17 years. Her equine exclusive practice includes upper level show horses to the backyard rescued companion. She and her husband, Thom, operate a small farm and equine retirement facility in the Longmont, Colorado area.

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9 tips

to reduce

flooding impacts on your horse farm

Flooded farmland — Tekamah, Nebraska, 2011 For over three months in 2011, Burt County had more acreage inundated by floodwater than any other county in Nebraska. In 2019, some stations along the Missouri River reported that the river crested four feet higher than 2011 levels. There was no advance notice, so no precautions could be taken.

Flooding is often inevitable in the spring. Follow these expert tips to lessen the impact it has on your land — and your horses. In the spring of 2019, severe flooding caused devastation for farmers across the Midwest. In preparation for another wet season, The American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America are spreading the word about how land owners can lessen the effects of flooding and make recovery easier. “Flooding is a stressful — and oftentimes dangerous — situation that can leave you feeling helpless,” says John Wilson, CCA. “Sometimes it happens overnight, other times you have some advance warning, but usually there is nothing you can do to prevent it.” However, according to John, there ae a number of steps you can follow to reduce the negative impacts of a flood on your farm:

q If possible, store what’s valuable on higher ground if your farm or acreage is susceptible to flooding. This could include equipment, tack, forage supplies, and emergency feed reserves. Never use any feed 62

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source that has come in contact with floodwater. w Consider how you will supply clean water to your horses. If your well has been contaminated with flood water, test it to make sure it is safe before using it for livestock or human consumption. e Have an evacuation plan and be ready to implement it if flooding is likely, imminent, or occurring — but always remember that your safety comes first! r Microchip, brand, and/or take good images of identifying characteristics of your horses to make identification easier if they are displaced due to flooding. t If pastures are flooded, drylot your horses and feed them there until the soil in your pastures dries out. If this is not possible, cross-fence to isolate a small portion of a pasture that you will sacrifice and reseed later, while protecting the balance of the pasture from damage caused by hooves “punching out” plants, injuring grass stands, reducing productivity, and creating a rough soil surface. y Carefully check pastures that have been flooded for debris

that could cause injury, and remove it before returning horses to the pastures. M u ake sure vaccinations are current, including for tetanus and mosquito-borne diseases such as Eastern, Western and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis (EEE, WEE and VEE) viruses as well as West Nile virus (WNV). i If horses have to stand in mud or water for extended periods, carefully monitor for and be ready to treat hoof and lower leg problems, such as thrush or scratches. o Thoroughly wash horses that have been exposed to flood water to remove any toxic residues, debris, or microorganisms that may have been in the water. Also, this is an excellent opportunity to check closer for any other injuries that may have occurred. For more equine flood recovery information, go to the EDEN (Extension Disaster Education Network) website at eden.lsu.edu. For information about how to prepare a horse disaster kit and first aid kit, visit eden.lsu.edu/media/3301/ howtoprepareforequinedisasters.pdf.

Photo courtesy of John Wilson


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, this is why we are committed to providing the very best all-natural holistic products for your animals and take great pride in helping provide a healthy lifestyle and sense of well being. Products ranging from digestive care and pain relief to joint care, breath freshener, flea and insect control and much more. For more information or questions: (877) 774-0594; info@theholistichorse.com; www.theholistichorse.com WHOLE EQUINE – Is your online resource for natural horse care products and equipment. We are proud to offer an array of natural horse care products, including supplements, first aid, cleaning, equipment and other items that help horses reach their optimal physical and mental health. (884) 946-5378; info@wholeequine.com; www.wholeequine.com

HORSE CARE EQUI-LIBRIA – Integrated Performance Bodywork is very effective since the horse actively participates in their treatment, thereby maximizing its benefit. A preliminary assessment of key areas starts the session, but then the horse guides the treatment with physical displays and indications of where they need the attention. Effective for all disciplines. For more information: (647) 633-2113; www.equi-libria.com HARMANY EQUINE CLINIC, LTD – Bringing holistic healing to horses from all walks of life, backyard retirees to Olympic competitors since 1990. Over the years Dr. Joyce Harman has observed and adapted to the changing needs of our horses and clients. Twenty-plus years ago, no one had heard of Lyme disease or Insulin Resistance, yet today that makes up a large part of this clinical practice. Small animal services are available as well. (540) 364-4077; muzzles@harmanyequine.com; www.harmanyequine.com

CLASSIFIEDS RETAILERS & DISTRIBUTORS WANTED THE PERFECT HORSE™ — Organic Blue Green Algae is the single most nutrient dense food on the planet with naturallyoccurring 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; ales@e3liveforhorses. com; www.The-Perfect-Horse.com

SCHOOLS & TRAINING EQUINE ACUPRESSURE FOR HEALTH & PERFORMANCE Learn to assess & resolve your horse’s issues – Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute training programs, Books, DVDs, Meridian Charts, & Apps. www.animalacupressure.com; tallgrass@animalacupressure.com EQUISSAGE – Since 1991, our Equine Sports Massage Therapy Certification program has certified over 20,000 students from every state and over 20 countries in Equine Sports Massage Therapy. And since 2000, we have certified Equine and Canine Sports Massage Therapists from across the country and worldwide through our home study programs. Equissage is an Approved Provider with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage Bodyworkers (NCBTMB) to offer 50 hours of Continuing Education units through any of our programs. To view available courses, please visit our website. (800) 843-0224; info@equissage.com; www.equissage.com

TACK SHOPS EAGLEWOOD EQUESTRIAN SUPPLIES — Located in the GTA, our showroom is open by appointment only. Please contact us to make an appointment. In addition to our location, we also travel to horse shows and events across Ontario. We hand pick high quality products which are available for English disciplines (Dressage, Hunter, Jumper, Endurance, Trekking, and Gaited), and are starting to branch into Western discipline products. (416) 708-1898; www.eaglewoodequestrian.ca

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

Equine Wellness


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

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-10 freestyle finals. This event will award $25,000 in cash and prizes. Preliminary classes are free to attend and all adult competing mustangs will be available for adoption after the event. For more information: (888) 695-0888 www.extrememustangmakeover.com

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course

June 26–28, 2020 — San Diego, CA 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


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Be sure to visit event websites for updates regarding COVID-19. system. While this class is optional, it benefits students with greater energetic awareness and provides a well-rounded experience. *The Level 1 Small Animal Class is a prerequisite. *This class is required to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner. The Early Registration Tuition Price ends on May 31, 2020. For more information: Linda Olenick (858) 735-7124 sandiego@healingtouchforanimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com

Beyond Horse Massage Weekend Seminar

June 27–28, 2020 — Sharon, VT Beyond Horse Massage has the uncanny ability to make horses blink, yawn, and stretch. These are welcomed signs that horses are releasing physical tension that can cause stiffness, pain, and reduced performance. The Masterson Method is an integrated, multi-modality method of equine massage that allows the horse to release deep, accumulated pain and tension. With this method, you’ll open doors to improved health and performance while enhancing communication and your relationship with your horse.

or petting exotic animals in the petting zoo! And don't forget about the endless shopping in The Marketplace, the Artisans' Gallery, and the Swap Meet! For more information: breyerwebstore@reevesintl.com www.breyerhorses.com

Centered Riding Open Clinic July 11–12, 2020 — Gray, ME

Equestrians of all levels and disciplines are invited to discover how the Centered Riding basics of Soft Eyes, Breathing, Balance and Centering combine to create safer, more enjoyable rides. Morning workshops include exploration of the CR basics through interactive exercises with a “human” horse partner. These educational, fun, enlightening sessions bring about great awareness and make an application under saddle much easier. The afternoons are spent with participants riding small groups. This clinic is sure to inspire seasoned competitors, walk/trot pleasure riders and gaited horse lovers, bringing them to the next level. “The four basics plus grounding are simple and powerful. Combined with ‘aware’ and ‘allow’, they are a positive influence on life as well as for riding” — Sally Swift

For more information: (641) 472-1312 seminars@mastersonmethod.com https://mastersonmethod.com

For more information: Megan Orr (207) 657-3274 meganhgb@gmail.com www.heidipotter.com

BreyerFest 2019

Western States Horse Expo

Come out to the Kentucky Horse Park to honor the 70th anniversary of Breyer and 31 years of Breyerfest!

Come join the fun! You will find many demonstrations, lectures, and competitions, and enjoy shopping! Find saddles, horse sales, trailers, trucks – it’s all here in sunny California!

July 10–12, 2020 — Lexington, KY

BreyerFest offers workshops, free seminars and many Hands-OnHobby demos that bring together all areas of the model horse world. Spend the day meeting horses, taking pony rides, painting your very own Stablemates® model

July 16–19, 2020 — Sacramento, CA

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

EVENTS EQ100: Equinology® Equine Body Worker Certification Course

no complementary equine care and science background will find themselves up to speed with the other professional participants.

from across the world. More than 2,000 horses compete for over $1 million in awards during this sevenday event.

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 skills. The course is taught in such a comprehensive, logical layered format, that those with little or

For more information: (707) 377-4313 equinologyoffice@gmail.com www.equinology.com

For more information: (502) 367-5300 horse.show@kyvenues.com https://wchorseshow.com/

August 18–26, 2020 — Glenwood, MD

World’s Championship Horse Show

August 22–29, 2020 — Louisville, KY The world’s richest and most prestigious Saddlebred horse show attracts spectators and competitors


Email your event to info@equinewellnessmagazine.com


ADVERTISE HERE! 1.866. 764.1212

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BEAUTY’S HAVEN FARM AND EQUINE RESCUE, INC. Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code BH to Beauty’s Haven Farm and Equine Rescue, Inc.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2006 LOCATION: Morriston, Florida Baby Girl Before

TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: “We primarily help horses of all sizes and breeds that have been abandoned, abused, starved, and/or neglected,” says the rescue’s co-owner and president, Theresa Batchelor. “We also help other animals such as cows, cats, dogs, birds, goats, sheep and squirrels.”

NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: Beauty’s Haven Farm and Equine Rescue (BHFER) has about eight regular volunteers, and others who help when they can.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: BHFER operates from donations from the public,

Baby Girl After

fundraisers, and grants. Various fundraisers throughout the year include an annual trail ride, open house, 50/50 raffles, and silent auctions. “Calendars and other merchandise are offered for donations,” says Theresa. “We set up tables at various events, enter contests, and we have a horse sponsorship program.”

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: In November 2019, Theresa received a call about a gelding and two mares that had been abandoned. BHFER was already over capacity, so they reached out to friends and found a home for the two younger horses, Rascal and Zoomer. “The third was a 30-year-old mare named Bria,” says Theresa. “She was thin, lame and unkempt, pinned her ears a lot, and was grouchy at times.” All three of the horses had full physicals, dental checkups, and their feet were trimmed. Bria

Theresa and the team had concerns about separating Bria from Rascal and Zoomer. But after observing them for a few days, they felt it was best. “Bria has Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Disease (DSLD), a crippling disease that progressively gets worse,” says Theresa. Rascal and Zoomer went to their new home, where they’re currently thriving. Bria settled in well, but they began to suspect she had more going on than DSLD. She often tried to kick when her sides were touched — an indicator of many things including ulcers and ovarian tumors. “We dove deeper into her lameness issue and learned from x- rays that she had foundered in the past,” says Theresa. “She had rotation in both front feet and very thin soles.”


The BHFER care team works tirelessly to give as many equines as possible the opportunity to start their lives over again, without worry and fear. Many miracles have happened at the rescue. Beauty's Haven is where life begins again!


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Bria's diet and supplements were adjusted, and she often wears a Benefab scrim sheet and Quickwraps that help make her feel more at ease and improve her mobility. She receives Reiki, and wears Soft Ride boots 24/7. “We opted to give her time and let her tell us how she feels about sticking around,” says Theresa. “We are pleased to say that we have seen a significant improvement in her, physically and mentally.”

Find BHFER online: facebook.com/bhfer


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Equine Wellness