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improving the lives of animals...one reader at a time. PROUD PARTNER OF
ON THE COVER
Our cover model appears to be giving us a glimpse into his soul through that big, brown eye. His alluring gaze is also serving a very important purpose. He’s keeping a watchful eye on the photographer in order to remain alert to any potential threats — a signal reinforced by the forward angle of his ears. Because horses rely so much on sight and hearing to feel secure, we need to keep their eyes and ears as healthy as possible! You’ll learn how to do that, and much more, in this issue.
CONTENTS August/September/October 2020
Departments 6 Editorial 8 Neighborhood news 13 From the NASC 23 Acupressure-at-a-glance 27 Product picks 33 Hoof health 49 Herb blurb 53 Business Profile — Rover's Pet
57 Heads up 59 To the rescue 63 Classifieds 64 Events 65 Marketplace
your horse’s eyes and ears
This in-depth guide will help you gain a better understanding of how your horse’s eyes and ears work, and what you can do to keep them healthy.
ATURAL HORSEMANSHIP N Working with horses that spook Does your equine companion seem to spook more than the average horse? Follow these steps to help him overcome fear.
HEALTHY HOOVES An easy and effective solution for managing thin hoof soles
How to identify thin hoof soles on a horse, and why pour-in pads are a solution worth trying.
N EED TO KNOW Contagious diseases — how to protect your horse A look at the most common contagious diseases that can affect horses, and what you can do to reduce your equine companion’s risk.
R ECIPE Carrot Cranberry Crunch
Bake a batch of these healthy, crunchy treats to share with your equine companions!
IDER WELLNESS R Overcoming fear after a riding accident
Coping with and moving past your fear after a riding accident isn’t easy. Get back on the horse by taking these important steps and safety precautions.
N ATURAL SUPPLEMENTS Why amino acids are important to your horse’s diet
Gaining a better understanding of the different amino acids and how they work will help you better plan your horse’s diet, and ultimately help him thrive!
Looking for some new grooming tools to add to your tack box? Check out this A–Z list of must-haves!
EALING MODALITIES H Assessing and working with your horse’s lumbar spine
Learn how gently palpating certain areas along your horse’s back can help promote mobility and reduce restriction in her lumbar spine.
Tips, contests and more! /EquineWellnessMagazine News, events, and tips! @ EquineWellness Tips, horse photos, and more! EquineWellness
B ARN AND FARM Tips for finding the perfect horse farm First time buying a horse farm? Here are expert tips to help you discover your dream property.
EARNING CURVE L 6 tips for teaching kids about horses
L IFESTYLE Creative ways to earn a living with your horses
Want to earn a living with your horses, but aren’t sure how? This article outlines a few creative ways that equestrians can turn their passion into a profit.
A LTERNATIVE APPROACHES Treadmill exercise and your horse Equine treadmills are increasingly found in therapy centers, research centers, and even some training facilities. Learn how the rehabilitating or conditioning horse could succeed with treadmill exercise.
W ELL GROOMED The ultimate A–Z of horse grooming tools
S POTLIGHT Adding solar energy to your farm
Solar energy can be a fantastic financial investment. The key is to seek the right information so you can get the most bang for your buck.
Horses make wonderful companions for kids — and vice versa! The key is to set them up for success by imparting some basic safety precautions and handling techniques.
N ON-TOXIC LIVING 10 uses for essential oils on your farm
When carefully selected, essential oils can offer numerous benefits to us and our horses. Use these DIY recipes to integrate these healing substances into your daily routine on the farm!
EWSWORTHY N New stem cell research may help repair cartilage in horses
Using an innovative stage of stem cell research called cryopreservation, a team of scientists is working to develop a new treatment for localized cartilage defects.
STOP, LOOK AND
During my yoga teacher training a few years ago, my fellow yogis and I were introduced to something called the “stop, look and listen” method. Great for relieving stress and anxiety, this mindfulness technique asks you to stop what you’re doing and focus on your breath, become more visually aware of your immediate surroundings, and tune into what you can hear — both in your external environment and within your own heart. The purpose is to get you out of your head where thoughts tend to spiral, and into the present moment where everything is, more often than not, under control. The “stop, look and listen” method has been particularly useful over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the state of the world caused my anxiety to rise. As I fell into the pattern of stopping, looking and listening on a more regular basis, I started to notice my animals mirroring this behavior. Our equine companions especially rely on their sight and hearing to ease their worry and bring themselves back to a state of safety. As prey animals, this behavior pattern — stopping, looking and listening — is instinctual to them. How very important it is, then, that we as equine caretakers do everything we can to keep their eyes and ears in good condition. In this issue of Equine Wellness, you’ll find a guide that’ll help you accomplish just that. Written by veterinarian Dr. Justine Griesenauer, this sixpage special feature (found on page 34) outlines everything you need to know about how your horse sees and hears, and what you can do to maintain the health of these two important sense organs.
Of course, you’ll also find plenty of other content from our four pillars in the pages that follow. On page 16, learn more about contagious diseases — a topic that’s on everyone’s minds these days — and how to protect your horse. Flip to page 14 for some expert advice on dealing with thin soles, and back to page 10 for Anna Twinney’s brilliant tips on helping horses that spook. On the human interest side, you’ll find content on shopping for horse-friendly real estate (page 50), how to earn a living with horses (page 40), and implementing solar energy on your farm (page 46). For those of you with children or grandchildren, trainer Jason Irwin’s article on page 54 about teaching kids to handle horses may come in handy, while our comprehensive list of grooming tools on page 28 is something every horseperson will appreciate. Take your time perusing this issue, and remember to take a few breaks to try the “stop, look and listen” method. You’ll quickly understand why horses rely so heavily on these senses to remain grounded and in control. And on a final note, as we continue adjusting to the new “normal” caused by COVID, don’t forget to use that sixth sense — common sense — to keep you and your animals safe! Stay well,
Emily Watson, Senior Content Editor
African horse sickness is a deadly disease that’s common in Morocco down to the middle of Africa. It has travelled from the African continent many times, most recently to Thailand. Texas A&M, a public research university, is surveilling and determining practices to prevent it from entering the United States. The disease is caused by a virus transmitted by certain Our equines will be at risk if African horse sickness insects. “There is a real risk that this foreign animal makes its way into Nor th America. disease could be introduced to the Western Hemisphere, The Texas A&M AgriLife faculty, various state and federal including North America, where we have insects that agencies, and the U.S. horse industry are monitoring the will likely serve as effective vectors of this virus,” says Pete situation, and taking steps to learn more about prevention. Teel, PhD, of the Texas A&M Department of Entomology, More information and updates can be found at College Station. “Diligent surveillance, detection, and agrilifetoday.tamu.edu/2020/06/23/african-horse-sicknessplanned responses at state and federal levels are essential, as on-texas-am-industry-radar/. is keeping an eye on what is happening globally.”
UNEVEN STIRRUPS CAN AFFECT HORSE’S MOVEMENT A research team led by biomechanics specialist Dr. Russell MacKechnie-Guire of Centaur Biomechanics found that induced rider asymmetry — such as riding with uneven stirrups — can have a significant effect on equine locomotion. According to Dr. MacKechnieGuire, these findings — which were published in
the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science — emphasise how important it is for riders to seek help from expert practitioners to resolve any asymmetries in their position in order to help improve equine health and performance. “Previously, we have shown the effect that equipment such as the saddle, bridle, girth, and roller can have on equine locomotion,” says Dr. MacKechnie-Guire. “From our studies and other published literature, horses develop a locomotor strategy to alleviate any discomfort caused by, for example, a saddle, bridle, or girth, etc., but also, a rider who maybe asymmetric. These locomotor compensation strategies can lead to asymmetries, which in turn can lead to asymmetric forces that could compromise equine health and performance. It is essential that we work as a team to help optimize the horse and rider combination.” sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0737080618301114
Rider markers were positioned over key anatomical landmarks. Data were collected with symmetrical stirrups, and then rider asymmetry was induced by means of shortening one stirrup by 5 cm.
Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter
RESEARCH UNIVERSITY MONITORS DEADLY HORSE DISEASE
COMBATTING PERSISTENT JOINT INFECTIONS IN HORSES A new therapy could fight persistent joint infections in horses, potentially saving them from years of pain. Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) lysate that, when teamed with antibiotics, can eradicate bacterial biofilms common in joint infections. The therapy could also be applied to other species, including humans and dogs. “This could really provide a more effective way of clearing a joint infection quickly so that the horse does not suffer long-term consequences of joint damage,” says Dr. Lauren Schnabel, Associate Professor of Equine Orthopedic Surgery at North Carolina State University, and a primary investigator of the study. To create their PRP lysate, the research team took blood from horses and isolated the platelets, which are known to aid in healing. They then
packed 50 times the number of platelets that would be found in an equal amount of blood into their product, and lysed the platelets to release antimicrobial peptides — proteins that attack bacteria. The team separated out the antimicrobial peptides, then after testing those against common bacteria, all the horses’ peptides were pooled together for one lysate product. Synovial fluid from the horses’ knees were collected with harmless taps, and the fluid was seeded with bacteria in the laboratory and allowed to grow biofilms. Finally, researchers tested three methods to attack the biofilms; antibiotics alone, lysate alone, and a combination of antibiotics and lysate. They found that antibiotics alone were completely ineffective. The lysate alone significantly decreased the bacterial load. The antibiotic and lysate combination, however, completely eradicated the biofilms and bacteria. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/ abs/10.1002/jor.24584
BC URGES DRIVERS TO LEAVE SPACE FOR ROADSIDE RIDERS The British Columbia Transportation Ministry recently released a bulletin reminding drivers to provide extra space for horses and others using rural roads. “Horses and their riders are recognized road users in the Motor Vehicle Act,” the ministry said. “However, drivers may not be expecting these travellers, or be aware that loud noises (like horns) or passing vehicles can startle horses.” They caution that drivers approaching horses should slow down before getting too close, give the horse and rider the width of one car, brake and accelerate gently, turn music down, and if a horse appears agitated, wait for the rider to get him under control before passing. The BC ministry sets a good example for drivers across North America, especially those in rural areas where roadside horseback riding is more common. To improve safety, they recommend reflective vests for riders, and high-visibility leg bands for horses. hcbc.ca
Horses from North Carolina State University's herd supplied blood for this study.
Working with horses that
By Anna Twinney
Does your equine companion seem to spook more than the average horse? Follow these steps to help him overcome fear.
“My mare lies down trembling when she gets frightened.” “My horse has jumped on top of me several times when he gets startled.” I have met hundreds of horses and their human companions, and statements like these are far too common. Dealing with horses that spook can be frustrating, difficult, and at times terrifying. Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to de-spook your riding companion.
START NOW If you have a horse with a tendency to spook, the perfect time to start preparing him for the many possibly frightening things he may come across is now. Too many people ignore their horses’ nervous natures in the hopes it will get better on its own, and don’t take the time to expose their horses to enough stimuli. 10
Even well-seasoned dressage horses, show jumpers, western pleasure horses, and general performance horses have been faced with barking dogs chasing them down the trail, plastic bags blowing in the wind, and those loud cars that seem to sneak up from behind to maximize their startling effect. The more prepared you and your horse are for these unexpected moments, the better you’ll be able to deal with them without the bolting, rearing, bucking, and other behaviors that can make horsemanship so dangerous.
Out to your horse is a unique experience. During this process, you communicate in the horse’s nonverbal language. By adopting the gestures and movements already familiar to him, you begin to create a trust-based partnership from the ground up. You’ll also be able to:
5 STEPS TO DE-SPOOKING
• Get an instant physical assessment of your horse’s abilities.
HOW “REACHING OUT” CAN HELP
• Discover immediate insights into your horse’s personality and character traits.
In the beginning, take the time to become better acquainted with your horse with a series of “getting to know you” exercises. In my courses, these often involve relaxation techniques, head-drops, and neck yielding. Introduce a pressure halter (an invaluable tool when introducing horses to new objects) and take the time to teach your horse pressure and release. This will prevent possible future conflicts.
One very effective tool I use when working with horses that spook is a tarpaulin or “tarp”. As many of you know, there is nothing like a tarp: the crackling sound, intimidating size, and odd unnatural feel scares most horses right out of their hooves! Using the tarp as a desensitizing tool can be quite challenging so I would not recommend that you just throw it on your horse. In an ideal situation, I always recommend that people first “Reach Out” to their horses in a round pen environment before they attempt to introduce any new stimuli. Reaching
• Determine conformation, personal limitations, and what is natural to his breed.
• Learn his likes, dislikes, needs, willingness, and levels of concentration and sensitivity. In short, it is an invaluable opportunity to create a relationship based on mutual understanding and respect in an environment that’s safe for both you and your horse.
Learning how to desensitize your horse to the things that scare him isn’t difficult as long as you take a methodical approach. Follow this five-step process toward de-spooking your horse:
When it feels right, let your horse explore the tarp. Horses are curious by nature and will usually want to examine new objects, cautiously smelling and feeling with their feet as they go. Horses also have limited depth perception (turn to page 34 to learn more about how horses see), so it’s important for them to examine the texture of the tarp and
Acknowledgement is very important when desensitizing your horse. Whether it comes in the form of a release of pressure, removal of direct pressure on the noseband, soothing and comforting words, or a rub on the forehead, acknowledging your horse’s tries and successes will help give him the confidence he needs while facing new challenges. You can use the rewards individually or all at once. Reward even the smallest tries — the desired response or standing still and calm. Don’t wait for the horse to get overwhelmed and run from you! If you stop before that moment, you eliminate flight, fight, or freeze and replace them with confidence and comfort.
realize their feet aren’t about to be swallowed up, as in water!
Once your horse becomes more comfortable with this new experience, approach the tarp from different angles, acknowledging his tries along the way. Horses process information separately from the right to left side of the brain, so they need to experience the whole tarp to create a complete picture.
Next, fold the tarp so it’s small enough to rub all over your horse. Rub his entire body, while gradually increasing the size of the tarp. This will give you an opportunity to discover how your horse feels about the tarp as it changes size and touches his body.
Finally, ask your horse to completely relax by lowering his head. Horses need to carry their heads
high to see far in the distance and negotiate their flight path. By taking away this primary form of defense, you’re asking for an enormous amount of trust. But thanks to the relaxation techniques you practiced in step one, he should understand your request even with additional stimulus. This is the perfect note to finish your lesson with. Once you and your horse have mastered the tarp, you can explore many other objects. Always remember the golden rule that horses are, by their very nature, flight animals,
and you’ll be able to approach despooking from a whole new perspective to help your horse overcome even his worst fears. More importantly, you’ll become the genuine leader of a trustbased herd of two!
Anna Twinney is an International Equine Linguist, Natural Horsewoman, Clinician, Animal Communicator, Holy-Fire Reiki Master, and the Founder of Reach Out to Horses. She is recognized around the world for her unique and highly effective trust-based, collaborative training methodologies, and has been featured on national and international TV, magazines, radio, podcasts and online platforms. For more than two decades Anna has brought her highly successful methods to thousands of people from all equine disciplines and walks of life. For more information, visit reachouttohorses.com.
SHOULD I GIVE MY HORSE SUPPLEMENTS?
FROM THE NASC
Pinpoint what you hope to accomplish before starting your horse on a supplement. By Bill Bookout
Many people who feel they benefit from taking supplements also want their horses to experience the same positive benefits. Horse caretakers are becoming more aware that supplements may support their equine through every stage of life, by bolstering good nutrition and helping with specific concerns as their horses age. In some cases, caretakers may start their horses on a supplement simply because another horse in the barn is having good results. However, supplements are not magic bullets, and your horse may have a different outcome than another on the same or similar product. The best approach to supplementation is to think of your horse’s health and wellness as three-dimensional, with many components — nutrition, exercise, routine veterinary care, visits from the farrier, and supplements — all working together to help create a long, healthy and active life. Consulting your veterinarian is a good idea if your horse has a diagnosed medical condition, as some supplements may contain ingredients not recommended for animals on certain medications.
Pinpointing your concerns will help you identify the specific improvement you would like to see in your horse’s health, performance or appearance. Is his coat dull? Does he seem anxious in the stall? Is he stiff when you warm him up? This assessment will also help you choose the best product for the job, as many supplements target very specific results. Another reason to consider a supplement is that you want to be proactive. For example, if your young horse is about to begin a strenuous training program, it can be wise to add a joint supplement to help support him as his exercise routine ramps up. Or you may start your performance horse on a digestive support supplement to help him through the stresses of competition season. There are many scenarios in which proactively adding a supplement could benefit your horse. However, supplements cannot take the place of quality nutrition or a safe and enriching environment in which your horse has daily opportunities to graze, socialize and practice natural horse behaviors.
Be sure to look for the NASC Quality Seal when buying supplements for your horse. This tells you the product comes from a responsible supplier that has passed a comprehensive facility audit and maintains ongoing compliance with NASC’s rigorous quality standards. Visit nasc.cc/members for a complete list of NASC member companies that have earned the Quality Seal.
ARE YOU A COMPETITOR? If so, it is important to know whether a supplement you are considering contains an ingredient forbidden by the governing body you compete under, such as FEI, USEF or AQHA. Don’t simply trust claims by supplement suppliers that their preparation is permissible for use during competition. Instead, research the ingredients, learn both the common names and plant origins of herbs in the supplement, and consult the banned substances list for your organization to help ensure your horse does not fail a drug test at a sanctioned event.
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.
An easy and effective solution for managing
thin hoof soles By Tab Pigg
How to identify thin hoof soles on a horse, and why pour-in pads are a solution worth trying.
Being aware of a horse’s sole thickness is vital to maintaining his hoof health. Whether his soles are thin due to overtrimming, genetic predisposition, age or environmental factors, it’s important that hoof care professionals examine the conditions he’s in because they directly impact sole health. Having thin soles is similar to having thin fingernails; it makes the horse’s feet more vulnerable to injury or blisters. Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to help manage and regain sole thickness.
HOW TO IDENTIFY THIN HOOF SOLES Lameness is a key sign of thin soles. Horses are often uncomfortable when 14
walking, especially on hard, abrasive surfaces, and some develop sole bruising. When these symptoms are prevalent, it’s important to examine the soles. Are they soft and flexible when touched? Has the horse been exposed to changing conditions, such as wet-to-dry? Here are some potential causes of thin soles: • Changing environments — a wet environment weakens the sole, and when the sole is moist, abrasion from rough surfaces wears it down quickly. • Genetic predisposition — some horses, like Thoroughbreds, naturally have thin soles, so it’s important that
hoof care professionals are aware of this and avoid over-trimming during routine visits and shoeing. This is especially crucial for racehorses, because their extremely active lifestyle can cause more wear on their already thin soles. • Over-trimming — hoof care professionals should be aware of whether a horse has thick or thin soles, and what conditions he resides in. This helps determine how much to trim and what padding is needed for the horse to remain comfortable and healthy. •A ge — as a horse gets older, especially when he’s around the age
of eight or nine, hoof growth slows down, and it becomes difficult for sole thickness to keep up with the wear and tear of ground surfaces.
MANAGING SOLES WITH POUR-IN PADS To regain and maintain sole thickness, pour-in pads can be a helpful way to protect the remaining sole and allow more to grow. When the soles are sealed off with pour-in pad material, they have a better chance of retaining thickness and re-growing. Along with allowing the sole to grow back, pour-in pads also act as a “fake sole”, preventing abrasive ground surfaces from wearing down the horse’s actual
sole. Pour-in pads protect the soles when they wear thin, similar to how a glove could protect the fingers in the absence of fingernails. Soles protect a horse’s hoof cavities, so it’s vital that they are maintained
and examined thoroughly to determine a sole-maintaining regimen. If soles are not examined, trimmed or maintained properly, it can cause lameness, affecting the horse’s ability to do many daily activities. With consistent, proper trimming and treatment, a horse will maintain healthy sole thickness. Talk with a farrier or veterinarian about your horse’s soles, and how pour-in pad materials can be helpful for gaining and maintaining sole thickness.
Tab Pigg is a Certified Journeyman Farrier and Farrier-at-Large for Vettec Inc., a manufacturer of innovative sole support products for horses. In his role at Vettec, Tab leads hands-on clinics throughout the US to teach shoeing and forging techniques to equine owners, farrier and veterinarians. He also visits veterinary and farrier schools exchanging information about hoof anatomy and shoeing and continually deepening his knowledge base. Tab shares his expertise via a popular video and blog series “Two Minutes with Tab” on Vettec.com where he addresses questions and shoeing predicaments from the equine community. Tab began his career shoeing horses in 1983; in 2000, he became the president of the Texas Professional Farriers Association.
SELECTING A POUR-IN PAD MATERIAL Depending on the moisture in a horse’s environment, different pour-in pad materials can be beneficial. Look for one that’s soft enough that it will not irritate the sensitive area if the horse is lame. Ideally, it should be a fast-setting material that bonds directly to the sole and frog, and improves the depth of the sole. A high quality pour-in pad should stay bonded to the feet for two to three weeks when applied properly, even when used on equine athletes.
NEED TO KNOW
CONTAGIOUS DISEASES â&#x20AC;&#x201C; HOW TO PROTECT YOUR HORSE By Angelique Barbara, MS, DC
A look at the most common contagious diseases that can affect horses, and what you can do to reduce your equine companion’s risk. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, contagious diseases are on people’s minds more than ever before. With social distancing, frequent handwashing and disinfecting becoming the new norm, you may be wondering about the likelihood of your horse contracting a contagious disease, and how to prevent spread if there’s an outbreak at your barn. WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CONTAGIOUS DISEASES SEEN IN HORSES? The most common horse-tohorse outbreaks seen in barns are coronavirus, influenza, and strangles (caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus equi). Coronavirus Coronaviruses are RNA viruses that belong to the Coronavirdea family. Corona means “crown” in Latin, and describes the crown-like appearance of the club-shaped viral spike peplomers (proteins) that surround the virion when viewed with an electron microscope. There are a number of different coronaviruses that can cause GI and respiratory disease in horses. At the time of this writing, there is no evidence that COVID-19 (the strain causing the current pandemic in humans) can be passed to horses. The most common signs of coronavirus
infection in horses are lack of appetite, fever and lethargy, with loose stool and colic being less common symptoms. To prevent your horse from coming down with coronavirus if there’s an outbreak at your barn, it is important to isolate infected horses. These types of viruses can be killed using disinfectants such as rubbing alcohol, povidone iodine and hydrogen peroxide. Sterilizing the stall, tack and equipment that was exposed to an infected horse can aid in stopping the spread. Workers can also decrease the spread of the virus by disinfecting their hands and clothing after handling an infected horse. Influenza This is the most common cause of respiratory disease in horses around the world. The equine influenza virus has a short incubation period of 48 hours. The majority of horses who are infected (60% to 90%) will show symptoms such as nasal discharge, coughing, fever, and sometimes weight loss. The mortality rate is normally low, at less than 1%. Infected horses will most often self-resolve in one to two weeks. Similar to coronavirus prevention, you should isolate infected horses and sterilize the area and equipment. Unlike coronavirus, there is a vaccine for equine influenza. Strangles This disease is caused by a grampositive bacteria called Streptococcus equi, and is easily recognized by purulent nasal discharge and swollen lymph nodes (which may rupture). Strangles is highly contagious and spread by horse-to-horse contact, or by contact with feeders, stalls and objects exposed to the discharge. Infected and exposed horses should be isolated for three weeks, and strict sanitization protocols employed for any equipment used on infected horses. Caretakers Equine Wellness
A HOLISTIC VIEW OF
What makes some horses more susceptible to disease than others? When I was working on my graduate thesis on clostridial diseases in production animals, I discovered that stress had a huge impact on the expression of symptoms following inoculation. Stress causes a release of hormones that are known to suppress the immune response, making the body more susceptible to disease. Stress can come in many different forms, including crowded living conditions, chronic pain, poor nutrition, lack of socialization with other horses, exposure to toxins (in the environment, medications, vaccines, food, etc.), anxiety around moving to a new barn, and many more. The best way to limit stress is to provide your horse with a natural lifestyle, by turning him out daily for a long as possible with other horses, providing him with high quality hay/grass all day, and limiting time in the stall. You can also decrease the stress of training and riding by ensuring your tack fits the horse properly, using less invasive training methods, and providing your horse with proper bodywork, farrier, dental and veterinary care. Horses that tend to be more high-strung and become stressed easily may benefit from calming supplements and essential oils. 18
must use extreme caution to prevent spread to non-infected horses. A vaccine is available for equine strangles. SUPPORTING YOUR HORSE’S IMMUNE SYSTEM Be sure to consult your veterinarian to determine the best ways to prevent infectious disease in your own horse. • One of the best methods of preventing contagious diseases in your horse is to boost her immune system by introducing beneficial supplements and foods into her diet. Supplements such as vitamins A, E and C, Omega-3 fatty acids, garlic and turmeric can help optimize the horse’s ability to fight off disease. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can have a negative impact on her immune function, so it is important to give your horse a balanced diet. • Providing your horse with bodywork sessions (e.g. massage, chiropractic, acupuncture and acupressure) is a fantastic way to increase her immune function while also relieving pain. Both chiropractic and massage have been shown in peer-reviewed studies to increase white blood cell production (cells that fight off pathogens) and decrease cortisol
levels (stress hormone that suppresses the immune system). • Take to your veterinarian about titer testing to determine if vaccines are warranted. This helps decrease the risk of over-vaccination, which can cause unnecessary stress on your horse’s immune system. A healthy immune system is the best defense against disease! Dr. Angelique Barbara holds a BS in Veterinary Science and a MS in Veterinary Pathobiology from the University of Arizona, as well as a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic, Florida Campus. Her allopathic and holistic background gives her a unique prospective on animal health. Dr. Barbara is the founder of Holistic Animal Studies and teaches animal bodywork courses for professionals and owners (HolisticAnimalStudies.org).
Carrot Cranberry Crunch By Dr. Suzi Beber, Honouris Causa
Bake a batch of these healthy, crunchy treats to share with your equine companions! PREP TIME: 15 MIN.
Try to use organic ingredients whenever possible.
INGREDIENTS • 2 cups carrot pureé • ½ teaspoon sea salt • ½ cup fresh or dried cranberries • 2 cups oatmeal • 2 cups oat flakes • ¼ cup organic hemp oil, or other pure oil of choice
INSTRUCTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 325°F. 2. Pureé carrots in a food processor or blender. Add sea salt and cranberries and combine well. Add oatmeal and oat flakes, and make sure all ingredients are thoroughly blended. 3. Add ¼ cup oil and distribute well through mix. Turn out onto a cookie/baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Score with a knife into treat-sized pieces (1" x 3"). Drizzle with a bit of oil just before placing tray in the oven. 4. Place tray in pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then turn down the oven to 200°F, and continue baking for one hour. Turn off oven and leave treats to cool completely, even overnight. Then break along score lines, and store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.
Ingredient tip: Hemp seed oil contains Omegas 3, 6, and 9, and has a wonderful flavor and aroma. Use an oil that’s cold pressed from live, viable hemp seed grown sustainably without the use of herbicides or pesticides.
Ingredient tip: When using dried cranberries, try to choose those that are unsulphured and have no sugar added.
RIDER WELLNESS Coping with and moving past your fear after a riding accident isn’t easy. Get back on the horse by taking these important steps and safety precautions.
RIDING ACCIDENT As equestrians, we’re guaranteed to experience some overwhelming fearfilled moments. We’re also likely to get hurt — in one way or another — over the course of our riding careers. Horse experts are just as prone to injuries and setbacks as intermediate and beginner riders. No amount of training or desensitizing can fully control a horse or rider’s reactions. In some cases, a fall (or near fall) from a bolt, spook, buck, or rear, or an injury during groundwork from behaviors like kicking or biting, can be enough to deter a rider from getting back on the horse. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to overcome that fear!
FOCUS ON SAFETY The rewards of caring for and riding horses usually outweigh the inevitable 20
risks. But it’s still important not to overlook precautionary measures that help prevent injuries and accidents. Whether you’ve been in an accident in the past or not, taking the following steps will provide you with peace of mind, and make your ride much less fear-filled. Before the ride: • Learn the ways your horse communicates to you when she’s nervous, unhappy, or in pain. Her body language will tell you everything you need to know. • Pay attention to subtle cues when grooming — a horse with discomfort in her neck, back, or hips, for instance, won’t be able to manage a rider without problems.
By Laura Boynton
• Check your tack. If any leather or material is cracked or weak — replace it. Make sure pads, saddles, cinches/ girths, and bits have the proper fit — a horse with a tight bit or a poor-fitting saddle may put up a fight if it means ending her discomfort. • Inspect your arena surroundings for possible dangers, from noise to unsafe terrain and footing. • Walk with your horse around the area you’ll be riding in so she can get a good look around. Lunge a fresh energetic horse before mounting up. • Invest in an equestrian torsoprotecting safety vest that protects your neck, shoulders, ribcage, and back from impact.
• Make sure your helmet is fitted correctly and has passed inspections from SEI and ASTM. • Wear comfortable boots to avoid being stepped on, with a ½” to 1” heel to prevent your foot from slipping through stirrups. During the ride: • Avoid riding alone, even if you have a cell phone. • Ride a horse that’s suitable for your skill level. A green horse with a green rider is asking for trouble. • This seems like a no brainer, but try to stay on your horse! Most injuries happen when a rider falls off, so hang on as best you can if your horse spooks or bolts. Just in case, learn the emergency dismount and the one-rein stop — bringing your horse’s nose to your knee while keeping yourself balanced in the saddle.
CONSULT WITH A SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST When fear takes the reins and keeps you out of the saddle, a sports psychologist may be just what the doctor ordered. Christina Wessel, M.S.,
CMPC, a sports psychology consult at Champion’s Advantage, LLC, in McKinney, Texas, points out that sports psychology is very individualized. “We all have different strengths and weaknesses, as well as differing reactions to situations,” she says. “Some riders are naturally more resilient, while others need to be taught resiliency.”
strategy. “Your posture and facial expressions are not just a reflection of how you feel but can actually change the way you feel,” says Wessel. “If you present yourself with a great big smile and sit/walk/stand/ride in a confident posture, your emotions will begin to match.”
REFRAME YOUR THOUGHTS
After a fall or scare, setting weekly goals and having an action plan are always a must in order to take steps in the right direction — and any step in the right direction is a victory and should be celebrated. Whether you are recovering from an injury or from a scare, without these goals, you’ll find excuses to stay out of the saddle and maybe even out of the barn completely.
Wessel explains that everything starts with a thought. “Learning to replace any negative or harmful thoughts with positive and helpful thoughts is called reframing,” says Wessel. “If you keep feeding the fear or replaying the fall in your mind, you won’t be able to move forward.” As humans, we tend to magnify the one thing that went wrong and forget about everything we did right or to the best of our ability. Wessel adds that an easy way to start reframing is to keep a list of three good things that you and your horse did after every ride. “Over time, you’ll see that picking out the good in each performance becomes easier and easier.”
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT The saying “fake it till you make it” is a very real and scientifically proven
CREATE AN ACTION PLAN
UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT YOUR FEAR Dr. Janet Edgette is an equestrian sports psychologist and child and adolescent psychologist practicing in Philadelphia. She was a successful competitor as a Junior in the Equitation, Jr. Hunter and Jr. Jumper divisions, and again as an adult, training with George Morris, in the Amateur Owner Jumper division. Dr. Edgette shares that as far as she’s concerned a rider’s fear is real — it’s
Reflect and reevaluate When you’re recovering from a riding accident, it’s imperative that you take an honest look at your horse and riding progress. Getting expert advice is smart and crucial if your horse is demonstrating bad behavior, or if you feel your skills aren’t strong enough to stay safe while riding. Assess these factors, and don’t be ashamed about asking for help from a trainer and/or riding instructor. Ask your veterinarian to do an exam to rule out medical issues that could be causing your horse to behave dangerously. A horse who is dealing with stomach ulcers, severe joint pain, lameness, or a painful mouth or teeth, for instance, isn’t safe to ride. Most horses will try to end the pain by unloading the rider and ending the ride early.
not a debatable issue. “What it feels like to her or him is what it is,” she says. “It doesn’t matter whether the trainer, barn buddy, college professor, mother, or grandpa thinks it’s overreacting, overprotective, or overindulgent.” Riders shouldn’t get into a screaming match with their riding fear, or ignore its presence either, Dr. Edgette says. “Instead, treat the fear as a clue that something in your riding is amiss. You can also help yourself with your fear by doing things that make you feel more secure in the saddle. Riders do not get over their anxiety by riding while anxious; it only makes it worse. Be upfront about how you feel, because trying to convince yourself you’re not anxious is like trying to give yourself a surprise party. When recovering from a fall, the key is in accepting your anxiety and discomfort as part of the price to be paid in the riding business.” Dr. Edgette asks riders to take some time to consider what part of the incident was the most anxietyprovoking. “Was it the loss of control, fear of injury, feeling of embarrassment, worry for your horse? If you can isolate the worst aspect, then the problem won’t diffuse into a general avoidance of all things to do with riding. Understand that you don’t have to like how you’re feeling in order
to ride. Instead of trying to make the anxiety disappear – focus on making it manageable and tolerable.”
LEAN ON OTHERS Talking with someone who can relate, having supervision when riding, and seeking professional help will give you the accountability to face any fear you experience after a riding accident. Starting over is sometimes the safest way to regain lost confidence. Go back to ground work and reestablish a trusting bond with your horse, then have a friend walk your horse while you ride. It may seem like a pathetic attempt to get back in the saddle, but it’s effective and these tiny positive steps will build a stronger foundation. Eventually, you’ll feel comfortable enough to loosen the reins, and slowly work into the place you were at before the scare. Growing as riders means overcoming the fear we feel after an accident. By taking it slow, prioritizing safety, and seeking help when needed, we can prove that what doesn’t kill us and our horses only makes us stronger. Laura Boynton's steadfast love for animals started as a young child and continues to be a big part of her life today. After working as a veterinary technician for over 15 years, she now spends her days at an equine boarding, instructional, training and show facility in Traverse City, Michigan, where she was born and raised. She has a breeding program at home with her future husband, where they work together to pair AQHA show pleasure bloodlines with their handsome foundation stud. Laura enjoys showing in all-around classes with her AQHA horses.
ACUPRESSURE-AT-A-GLANCE By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis
SUPPORT YOUR HORSE’S EYE HEALTH WITH ACUPRESSURE
A horse’s vision is paramount to her sense of security. Here’s how regular acupressure sessions to enhance liver function can also support her eye health. As a prey animal, the horse’s survival and sense of security is highly dependent on the acuity of her vision. A horse’s vision is capable of detecting peripheral movement in low light due to the lateral position of the eyes, the large size of the eyes, and the elongated shape of the pupils. Evolution does not make mistakes. The horse would not have survived the ages without being able to see while grazing, resting, and being alert to any movement from early dawn to late dusk. The position of a horse’s eyes allows her to see where it counts for her protection and survival. EYE INJURIES AND DISEASE Unfortunately, equine eye injuries and diseases are only too common. Certain objects in the horse’s environment (tree branches, hooks on stable walls, dust, excessive sun, ill-fitting fly masks, etc.) can lead to eye injuries such as corneal laceration. Uveitis, corneal ulcers, glaucoma, cataracts, squamous cell carcinoma, and neurological
impairment are some of the ocular diseases horses can experience. Physical signs of eye issues are redness, squinting, tearing, discoloration, cloudiness, and head shaking. Changes in behavior and performance can also indicate eye problems. If your horse begins to spook or shy more frequently, is reluctant to move, becomes clumsy, or possibly hurts herself more often, it may indicate vision problems. IMMEDIATE VETERINARY INTERVENTION All eye injuries and diseases are serious and require immediate veterinary attention. When you observe any physical changes in your horse’s eyes, or any performance or behavior changes that indicate difficulty seeing, contact your holistic veterinarian and follow any recommendations. TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE Eye health and visual acuity are associated with Liver function in
Chinese medicine. When eye disease or vision issues are present, we turn to supporting the harmonious flow of energy, blood, and other vital substances to the Liver to restore or maintain eye health. The relationship between Liver function and eye problems can be readily seen when a horse or human is jaundiced, and the white of the eye (sclera) appears yellow. An acupressure session to enhance the horse’s Liver function will, in turn, promote her ability to heal from eye surgery or injury, and reinforce veterinary care being given for ocular disease. The acupressure points presented in the accompanying chart are specifically selected to balance the Liver, and can also be used to generally support your horse’s vision, and avoid eye issues. 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, animalacupressure.com, email@example.com
ACUPOINTS FOR SUPPORTING EYE HEALTH LI 4 — Found below the head of the medial splint bone GB 1 — Found at the lateral canthus of the eye Liv 2 — F ound on the medial aspect of the hind leg below the fetlock joint Liv 3 — F ound on the medial aspect of the cannon bone at the level of the medial splint bone
AMINO ACIDS are important to your horse’s diet Russell K. Mueller, M.S. PAS
Gaining a better understanding of the different amino acids and how they work will help you better plan your horse’s diet, and ultimately help him thrive!
Has a horse ever turned your head? You see the shiny coat, and maybe he has dapples that glisten in the sun. His back looks strong and solid and there’s a gleam in his eye. Maybe he’s born with these qualities; or maybe they’re due to hours of impeccable grooming practices and years of training. All these factors are involved, but many horse caretakers don’t realize that nutrition also plays a part! Most people could probably rattle off the protein levels, fat content, and perhaps even the basic minerals included in their horse feeds — but what about amino acids? There probably isn’t a more important nutrient than amino acids for making horses look and feel their best.
WHAT ARE AMINO ACIDS? Amino acids are organic compounds, including nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, that combine to form proteins. When proteins are digested or broken down, amino acids are left. Protein and amino acids are often referred to as “the building blocks of life”. There are two basic categories of amino acids: essential and nonessential. Essential amino acids must be provided in the diet, as horses cannot create them on their own in the digestive tract, where the nonessential amino acids are made. These key amino acids
are needed in specific amounts and ratios in order to properly maintain the structure of the horse’s body. The horse requires ten essential amino acids: • Phenylalanine • Valine • Threonine • Tryptophan • Isoleucine • Methionine • Histidine • Arginine • Leucine • Lysine
There are also “limiting amino acids”. If a horse runs out of this type of amino acid, he can’t utilize any of the remaining amino acids present in the feed. If the horse has enough of the first most-limiting amino acid, but then runs out of the second mostlimiting amino acid, he can’t use the remaining amount of the third mostlimiting, and so on. Liebig’s Barrel (see image at right) is a model that illustrates this concept. In horses, the first three most-limiting amino acids are lysine, methionine and threonine. Increasingly, these three amino acids are listed on the guaranteed analysis of horse feed tags, as they are an indication of the quality of the protein sources and the balanced nature of the feed. Generally speaking, if these three amino acids are present in sufficient quantities, the ingredients used also provide the remaining amino acids in sufficient quantities.
Let’s dig deeper and take a look at how amino acids work specifically in horses.
AMINO ACIDS BUILD STRONG HORSES If your horse is on a diet calculated to have adequate “crude protein”,
but essential amino acids are not present, he simply cannot use the protein to build and maintain muscle, hair, hoof and skin, and you will see changes in his appearance, such as loss of muscle mass, rough hair, and unhealthy hooves. Continued on page 26.
EXERCISE MUST BE BALANCED WITH SUFFICIENT
While exercise will certainly alter existing muscles, building new muscles is a different story. Amino acids must be present in sufficient quantities and balanced with adequate calories to rebuild or augment muscle tissue. In fact, if a horse is worked hard but his diet lacks sufficient amino acids, existing muscle mass can shrink. This can be a slippery slope in some situations, and as muscle atrophy sets in, the belief is that the horse needs to work even harder when in fact the fuel is not there in the form of nutrition to help support and repair tissue that is broken down with exercise. Just like human athletes, equine athletes need more essential amino acids than maintenance horses in order to maximize the effects of training and allow them to look and feel their best. Certain exercises thought to improve topline include hill work, backing exercises, and those that encourage the horse to collect and arc the body. These exercises can help condition his muscles, but only if the diet is supporting the muscles through proper nutrition. Before you put your horse into a conditioning program, be sure his diet is in balance and you’ll be much happier with the results. 26
Continued from page 25. Virtually every structure of the horse is built from amino acids. A horse’s hair and hooves are made up of 95% amino acids. Muscle, the engine that powers your horse, is 73% amino acids. Bone, the all-important structure that supports your weight and your horse’s, and needs to develop correctly and strongly from birth, is built from 30% amino acids. In short, a horse is made from amino acids, which is why those with the best amino acid intake look great and perform to their highest potential.
A KEY TOPLINE CONTRIBUTOR For the horse’s topline health (the area that runs from the withers to the hindquarters), amino acids are the name of the game. Ensuring the right input of amino acids through proper nutrition will go a long way to growing larger muscles and impacting overall body composition. If you are looking for a feed that may help your horse’s topline, be sure to read the guaranteed analysis on the feed tag. The amino acid levels should be called out and guaranteed.
If the amino acids are included in specific amounts and ratios, they help support the horse’s structure, specifically the topline. Looking for guaranteed amino acids on feed tags is a good starting point, but you then need to let the horse tell you if the feed is working by regularly evaluating and noting changes in his topline condition. Using a topline evaluation score (TES) is an effective way to measure if your horse is getting the nutrition he needs. Visit horsefeedblog.com/2016/10/ identifying-evaluating-your-horsestopline/ for more information. Amino acids are a key component to the horse’s overall health and wellness. Be sure to review your feeding program to make sure your own horse is getting everything needed to live his best life.
Russell Mueller has been in the equine nutrition field for over 20 years, and is currently the Equine Category Lead at Cargill Animal Health & Nutrition. He holds a BS in Animal Science from Kansas State, an M.S. in Equine Nutrition from Oklahoma State and has certifications from the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) as well as the Equine Science Society. He is a lifetime member of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and has conducted equine nutrition seminars all over the U.S.
Product Picks Get the same therapy used by pros
Did you know you can get the same laser therapy for your own horse as is used by elite trainers, athletes, and organizations like the Santa Barbara Polo Academy? Pegasus Laser Therapy is trusted by equestrians worldwide to provide fast relief from pain and swelling, help injuries heal faster, and support performance. Speak with your veterinarian to see if they offer Pegasus Laser Therapy. pegasustherapy.com
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Help her gut thrive
Animal health depends on a thriving population of beneficial gut microbes. Factors such as stress, diet changes, chemical wormers, vaccinations, and antibiotics will cause an animal's gut to become an unfriendly environment and forces microbes to go dormant. Dyna Pro is a specialty prebiotic supplement that creates the ideal conditions for good microbes to come out of dormancy, multiply, and thrive. It’ll help your horse optimally utilize her food and supplements, resulting in a healthy, vibrant animal! animalandhumannutrition101.com
A boost of vitamin E Help your horse reach peak performance with a boost of vitamin E! Health E contains 5,800IU per 15cc scoop, with all eight forms of alpha tocopherol. This doctorrecommended product is fat soluble, shelf stable for up to two years, and ester stabilized so it can be kept in a hot or cold tack box. Touted as the most powerful vitamin E supplement for horses, it’s effective and more economical than competing brands. equinemedsurg.com
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This laser therapy system produces accurate outcomes that can be easily saved.
Support for feet and joints
AntiFlam™ reduces discomfort in the feet and throughout the horse’s body. It contains a blend of five botanical antiinflammatory herbs fortified with methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) to synergistically help relieve joint discomfort associated with osteoarthritis. Available in 4L and 1L containers, this herbal formulation is indicated as an adjuvant for inflammatory conditions such as degenerative joint disease, dropped sole/foot, laminitis, navicular and ringbone. OmegaAlpha.com
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WELL GROOMED By Emily Watson
of horse grooming tools There are hundreds of grooming tools available to equestrians. But what are they called, and what do they do? Read on to learn more about the wide selection of brushes, combs and other gizmos that line the shelves of your tack supply store.
Aluminum sweat scraper — Perfect for post-exercise and after bathtime, sweat scrapers remove excess moisture from your horse to help her dry and cool off quicker. Plastic and rubber variations also work, but aluminum typically offers a higher level of sturdiness and durability.
Blade — A favorite during shedding season, shedding blades help remove horses’ thick winter coats by dragging out the thick undercoat.
Curry comb — One of the most popular grooming tools for horses, a curry comb is a flat brush (often made of rubber or plastic) with short teeth that help loosen hair and dirt from the coat. It’s a gentle tool that most horses enjoy!
Dandy brush — Also called hard brushes, these have long, stiff bristles that are great for “flicking” dust and loose dirt off the surface of a horse’s coat. Dandy brushes are helpful to use following the curry comb, once any stuck-on debris has been loosened.
Egg knife — Ever heard of botflies? These pests lay their eggs on horse’s legs, underbellies, and throats, typically in the late summer. An egg knife is a handy 28
Looking for some new grooming tools to add to your tack box? Check out this A–Z list of must-haves!
way to remove these eggs, thereby killing the unhatched flies.
Face brush — Similar to a dandy brush, face brushes are smaller with softer bristles, making them ideal for grooming the sensitive parts of a horse such as the face and around the jawline.
Aluminum sweat scraper
Grooming stone — Made of a soft, woven fiberglass, or pumice stone, these stones or “blocks” are a great way to remove dried mud, dirt or shedding hair from a horse’s neck and torso. They create a natural shine, and can even be used to remove botfly eggs as an alternative to an egg knife.
Hoof pick — Every tack box needs a hoof pick! Used to remove debris from the sole and around the sensitive frog of the hoof,
these tools typically have a curved pick on one side and rough bristles on the other.
go-to. These handy tools are available in bright colors, and sometimes with reflective strips for safety purposes.
Long-tooth paddle brush
Polishing spray — Add the perfect
— These tools look just like human hairbrushes, and are used to tame and detangle horses’ manes and tails. Though not ideal for tough knots, the long teeth of these tools are great for smoothing out thick, dense hair.
finishing touch to your well-groomed horse with a polishing spray. These spritzes give a horse’s coat a brilliant gleam, and help prevent staining. Be sure to look for a brand made with natural ingredients.
Mitts — Grooming gloves or “mitts”
Rub rags — These woven cotton
have become quite popular in recent years. Easy-to-use and effective (as long as you invest in a quality brand), these rubber or soft plastic tools slide directly onto your hand, making grooming an even more connected experience between you and your horse.
cloths are specifically designed to remove dust from a horse’s coat, and leave it looking smooth and polished.
Neoprene tail wrap — Ideal for the days leading up to a competition, tail wraps and bags serve to protect groomed and braided tails from dirt and tangles. Neoprene seems to be the most popular fabric choice among horse caretakers, but Lycra is another
Soft brush — Otherwise known as a body brush, this tool is often a go-to for equestrians who want to do one last “primp” of their equine partner before heading into the show ring. It has shorter bristles than a dandy brush, and works to bring out the natural shine of a horse’s coat.
your horse’s mane and tail. It’s important to use them carefully, however, to avoid pulling the roots and ripping the strands. These metal or plastic combs are available with or without handles, so you can buy one that suits your preference.
Washcloths — A simple and inexpensive tool to add to your grooming kit, basic washcloths come in handy for wiping around your horse’s eyes and ears (turn to page 34 for more tips on caring for your horse’s eyes and ears). Simply dampen them with warm water and use them to loosen up any dirt or debris around these sensitive areas. Not every horse caretaker needs all the grooming tools on this list. But if you decide to give some of them a try, you might just discover a new favorite!
Tail and mane comb — These wide-tooth combs are necessary for removing the tangles from
The importance of
gentle grooming The variety of available grooming tools means making your horse look good has never been easier. But making sure he feels good during grooming should also be a priority. Whenever possible, avoid using brushes made of metal. The sharp edges can scratch the skin and damage the hair follicles, making grooming an uncomfortable experience that your horse will eventually learn to dread. In order to deepen your bond and ensure your horse looks forward to your grooming sessions, opt for gentler tools — like those made of soft plastic or rubber. They work just as well, and they’re much more pleasant!
ASSESSING AND WORKING WITH YOUR HORSE’S S By Susan
Learn how gently palpating certain areas along your horse’s back can help promote mobility and reduce restriction in her lumbar spine.
It’s very common for horses to experience some hind limb soreness that can be traced to the lumbar spine. The hindquarters translate movement from the hind legs up through the pelvis to the spine. Ideally, that movement should travel freely, but if there is any contraction or restriction along that spinal column, it can cause a shortened or irregular stride and other noticeable challenges. Performing some basic lumbar work can help prevent these challenges, and significantly improve any existing issues.
GETTING STARTED The work presented here is guided by principles that make healing very simple. Using a technique called Ortho30
Bionomy ® — a non-force, osteopathicderived modality addressing the central nervous system — you can employ the body’s self-corrective response.
PERFORM A VISUAL INSPECTION
leg under herself in that disengagement? Is it sticky? Is she twirling on the supporting leg? Take note of what you see because you’re going to check it again afterwards. But try not to get too attached to what
With a visual inspection, see if the lumbars form a natural curve, are flat, or raised. Do they make a smooth transition at the thoracolumbar joint and the lumbosacral joint?
MOVEMENT ASSESSMENT Walk the horse forward a few steps, then ask her to disengage the hindquarters, circling towards you to the left, then again to the right. How fluidly can the horse cross her inside
Hind leg rotation to determine range of motion.
you see; rather, simply put your observations in your mental toolbox as you are putting together a holistic picture of your observations, palpations and the horse’s responses to techniques.
PALPATION To begin, use your fingertips or the pads of your fingers to gently palpate the area along the lumbar spine (see diagram at right). In Ortho-Bionomy, the lateral edge of the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebra is used as an indicator point for the lumbar techniques. Horses generally have six lumbar vertebrae. The sixth lumbar connects to the sacrum, which doesn’t have twisting rotation like the lumbars. At the sixth lumbar, flexion and extension increase into the lumbosacral junction. It’s important to note that while there is less overall movement in the lumbar spine, its movement and relationship to the rest of the topline is pivotal. The relationship between parts of the spine that move a great deal, and those that don’t move much, provides an opportunity for discord in the joints. Palpate the area around the transverse processes to get a sense of the connection between the lumbar and hind leg. Identify the tender, tight or atrophied areas.
A top view of the lumbars.
Lumbar 1 is located by finding the last rib-head where it connects to the spine, then moving your hand backward (caudal). From there, feel for Lumbar 2 longitudinally about two inches from the first.
1. On the opposite side from the affected vertebra, place your hand on or just under the point of the hip and apply light pressure toward the affected lumbar. Place your fingertips lightly on the affected lumbar to feel for a response. This is a very dense area so you may not feel a lot of response.
2. Hold the lumbar position until the horse readjusts or releases. A release may include yawning, sneezing, licking and chewing. 3. Recheck the point. 4. Next, take each hind limb and rotate it in a circle both clockwise and counter-clockwise, without force. You may feel a glitchy area, where the horse doesn’t want to rotate through. Don’t force it. Instead, back your movement out of that glitchy area and compress up towards the lumbars. Let the horse bring her leg down naturally and gently. If there is Equine Wellness
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY HORSE NEEDS LUMBAR WORK? Movement of the lumbar spine involves flexion and extension with some twisting rotation and lateral flexion. An illfitting saddle or some spinal misalignment can cause pain in that immediate region. The horse may indicate she has pain in the lumbars by shrinking from touch in the gluteal muscles or around the edges of the sacrum. Even if your horse is sore on the forehand or somewhere else in the body, lumbar work can relieve tension in the entire spine and even shoulders.
more than one glitchy area, do the same with the others. 5. If the horse is resistant to lifting her legs in any of these techniques, repeat Steps 1, 2 and 3.
Lumbar 6 is located on the spine between the two points of the hip. At Lumbar 6, flexion and extension increase into the lumbosacral junction.
On the opposite side from the affected vertebra, place your hand on or just under the point of the hip and apply light pressure toward the affected lumbar.
6. Recheck by disengaging the hindquarters and/or by lifting the hinds and rotating them again to see if the glitchy areas are still there. If there is still some restriction, repeat the techniques once more. Booking an appointment with your veterinarian should always be the first course of action if your horse displays any discomfort. However, regularly performing this gentle technique on your horse will help work through any minor restrictions in her lumbar spine so she can feel — and perform at — her best!
More on OrthoBionomy® Developed in 1976 by Canadian osteopath and martial arts instructor, Arthur Lincoln Pauls, Ortho-Bionomy is a gentle form of bodywork that uses non-force techniques to encourage the body into self-correction. The modality is built on the principles that an individual’s body can change through natural and invited movement, as well as comfortable positioning. An Ortho-Bionomy practitioner strives to meet the individual as he is, exaggerating preferred postures and always moving in the direction of comfort. 32
Lumbars in relation to the sacrum.
Susan Smith lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, grandchild and horses. Years of endurance riding and love for the horse led her to study bodywork and ultimately teach it to those who wish to help their own horses. She is a Registered Instructor and Advanced Practitioner of Ortho-Bionomy® and Equine Ortho-Bionomy®. She is also a Certified Practitioner of Acupressure (through Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute), and Certified Practitioner of Equine Positional Release. Susan practices and teaches courses nationally and online in Equine Ortho-Bionomy through her Equine Body BalanceTM business and Ortho-Bionomy® for humans (susansmithsantafe.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-501-2478).
Does your horse really have
Your horse has been diagnosed with navicular…but Shoes are often the cause of underrun heels in horses.
could it be something else? Understanding what caudal heel pain looks like will help you determine what’s actually going on.
By Annette Kaitinis Your horse is showing symptoms of navicular and your vet has confirmed the diagnosis. But this condition is frequently misdiagnosed, as x-rays are often not clear enough for proper evaluation. Your horse may actually have caudal heel pain — a general inflammation of the corium that results in a horse landing toe first, the same symptoms displayed with navicular.
WHAT CAUSES CAUDAL HEEL PAIN? The horse’s hoof has to land heel first, because the rear third of the hoof is the suspension system for the foot. Generally, caudal heel pain is due to incorrect hoof form in the heel area. It it usually either the result of a combination of weight-bearing bars and/or underrun crushed heels. A horse with caudal heel pain will be lame with a shortened stride. He will land toe first at a walk and trot instead of landing heel first. Your horse may have difficulties traversing down a hill or show an unwillingness to work on a particular lead. When a hoof starts landing toe first, the correct hoof mechanism is compromised and pathologies start occurring within
the hoof capsule. The longer treatment is delayed, the more serious the condition becomes. Pathologies include contracted heels, atrophy to the digital cushion, and impeded circulation throughout the hoof capsule which then extends to issues throughout the skeletal structures such as shoulder and back misalignment.
TREATING CAUDAL HEEL PAIN Experts will usually diagnose navicular and advise the use of therapeutic shoeing, bar shoes, egg shoes, antiinflammatory medications, and worst of all, nerve cutting – all of which only manage the problem but do not treat the underlying cause. It is understandable but unfortunate that equine caretakers accept the advice of these equine experts who seem to ignore proven alternative methods of treatment. The alternative treatment is to transition your horse to barefoot. Proper barefoot trimming will restore correct movement and allow the hoof to start functioning again. The first step in correcting the hoof form is to check the bar height. Bars are an extension of the heels and have an important role of supporting the heels,
so the bars should never be dug out as some have previously done. The bars should be lowered with a hoof knife and trimmed back to ensure they are not overlaid or high enough to have initial weight bearing. The heels need trimming to get the correct angles so they are not compressing the sensitive sole and hence bruising the corium. This cannot be achieved with wedges or similar tools. Generally the heels need to be taken back to sole level to allow them to grow back in the correct form. Galloping and jumping should be avoided in the initial stages of rehab to protect the tendons from the extra stress that will be applied to them. Your trimmer/farrier will be the one to guide you through the rehab process with a management plan. The sooner the problems are identified and rehab is commenced, the better the outcome.
Annette Kaitinis is one of the co-founders and directors of the hoof boot company Scootboots.com. Based in Tasmania, Australia, she is passionate about improving the welfare of horses worldwide and expanding the mindset of equine owners. She aspires to provide support for making informed decisions about going barefoot and maintaining your horse's comfort and health.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR HORSE’S
eyes &ears By Justine Griesenauer, DVM
This in-depth guide will help you gain a better understanding of how your horse’s eyes and ears work, and what you can do to keep them healthy.
It’s a lovely day, perfect for a trail ride. You and a friend load up your horses and tack, and head to your favorite trailhead. You start quietly making your way down the trail, when suddenly your horse freezes. Her head rises, ears erect, and her gaze is directed into the trees on your left. You scan the thicket, don’t see any cause for concern, and encourage her to go forward. She refuses, feet firmly planted. Your friend’s horse does the same. Again you try to see what your mare is seeing, but can’t make out anything. Then you hear some rustling, and a black bear emerges from the forest up ahead. You and your friend are stunned, but the horses knew what was coming. How were they able to detect that you weren’t alone on the trail, when you couldn’t see or hear anything? Your horse’s ability to identify a potential threat among the trees is due to a finely tuned sensory system that has evolved over millennia to help her survive. Among all the senses, a horse’s vision is one of the most developed and complex. Playing a supporting role to the horse’s vision is his hearing. In this article, we will explore the anatomy of your horse’s eyes and ears, learn how they see and hear, and discuss how to keep them in tiptop shape.
THE EYES Anatomy Let’s begin with some basic anatomy of the eye. A horse’s eyes are laterally placed on his head, meaning they’re on the sides of the head rather than on the front, as they are with us. The cornea is the outer surface of the eye, the first structure that light passes through. While physically strong, the cornea is quite thin — the middle portion is only 1 mm to 1.5 mm thick (this is why corneal scratches/ulcers are so common in our equine friends!). A fibrous layer called the sclera coats the entire eye (except over the cornea), serving as an attachment point for ocular muscles; the sclera can be seen as the “whites of the eye.” The colored part of the eye is known as the iris; while it gives our horses’ eyes their beautiful appearance, it also serves to control the amount of light entering the
eye. Muscles within the iris dilate or constrict the pupil, depending on the amount of light present. The ciliary body is the structure behind the iris that produces aqueous humor (clear fluid that supports eye health) and helps focus the lens. Speaking of the lens, this structure sits behind the iris and acts to further focus light rays on the retina. At the back of the eye are several key structures. One is the horse’s optic nerve, a bundle of nerve fibers responsible for carrying visual messages to the brain. Another is the retina, which is responsible for converting light energy into chemical energy, creating the electrical signal that gets sent from the eye to the brain in order for your horse to see. Between the retina and the sclera is the choroid, which serves as the primary blood supply to the eye. The iris, ciliary body, and choroid are collectively called the uvea; together, these structures function to produce and drain aqueous humor, provide nutrition to the eye, and create the immune response within the eye. Uveitis is a disease in which this structure is affected/inflamed. How your horse sees What are the steps involved in seeing? First, light from the outside world enters the eye and is focused on the retina, with the help of the cornea and lens. Then, the retina interacts with particles of light (light photons), changing light energy into chemical energy and then into electrical energy. Billions of photons interact with more than 100 million photoreceptors (structures responsive to light) in each eye every second! The electrical energy becomes electrical signals. These electrical signals are divided into several categories — brightness of an object, motion, location, etc. — before being transmitted to the brain. This categorization of information prevents a sensory information overload. Once they reach the brain, the signals are sent to specific areas of the brain and then processed into useful information for the horse. Relevant portions of the newly formed image are selected for further attention and action. The horse’s brain also compares this new sensory input Equine Wellness
Horses have a number of extraordinary ocular adaptations that have evolved over time. They have one of the largest eyes of land-dwelling vertebrates, thus allowing more light to enter the eye. The equine pupil can dilate six times larger than a human’s, and three to three-and-a-half times larger than a cat or dog’s. Thanks to the location and horizontally-elongated shape of the pupil, the horse takes in a much broader view of the horizon than you or I do — like a panorama photograph. At the back of the eye, a tapetum lucidum allows your horse to see and function fairly well in dim lighting, while also giving his eye that strange green/yellow tint you sometimes catch in low light.
with previous images, looking especially for any changes to the image, and comparing this new information with input from the other eye and senses. Once this entire process is completed, only the information pertinent to the horse’s current situation — such as navigating a jump course or loading in the trailer — is privileged enough to make it to the level of conscious attention. So, unlike a photo from a camera which captures every detail of a scene, the horse’s brain picks out only the most important or relevant details. Why? Because as a prey animal, those are the details beneficial to his survival. This sounds like quite the process, right? A ton of information travels along the vision “highways” and must be sorted through for only the most pertinent information. While each aspect of vision is critical to the horse, the most important among these is his ability to identify an object (say, a mountain lion) from its surroundings (dense woodland) — this ability is key to survival for this prey animal. When a horse looks out over the horizon, the visual fields of both eyes combine to give him a 350° view. This means that our horses have an almost complete visual sphere around themselves — save for a few small blind spots. These blind spots are located at the forehead, directly underneath the nose, and directly behind the horse. Horses have slightly diminished visual acuity, or the ability to see detail. In people, visual acuity is described by the familiar 20/20 — meaning that if you have 20/20 vision, you can see objects normally and clearly at 20 feet. Horses have a visual acuity that ranges from 20/30 to 20/60, so a horse must be at 20 feet to see what a person with 20/20 vision can see at 60 feet. If only they made prescription glasses for horses! 36
A study performed in 2009 showed that horses were capable of discriminating between shapes at light levels approximating those of moonlight, starlight on a moonless night, or under cloud cover at night. The study also demonstrated that even when horses lost their ability to make visual discriminations because conditions were so dark, they could still navigate well enough to locate a feed bowl in a stall without bumping into things. This is how wild horses can navigate rocky, uneven, and potentially hazardous terrain in the dead of night with relative ease and little injury. You know those weird, brown, wavy-looking things in your horse’s eyes, near his pupil? Those are the corpora nigra; they are located on both the upper and lower aspects of the pupil. Acting essentially as a hat brim or visor, these structures decrease the amount of light entering the eye in exceptionally bright circumstances, thus helping decrease glare and improve vision. Basically, built-in sunglasses! A common question I get asked is: do horses see color? Yes, but not in the same way we do. Horses have dichromatic color vision, meaning they have two types of cones (light receptor cells in the eye). People have trichromatic color vision (three types of cones). What this means is that horses see in only two hues — believed to be colors similar to blue and yellow. A horse’s perception of color is also much less vivid than a human’s — instead of seeing the bright, rich colors of that new blanket you just bought, your horse sees washed-out pastel or sepia tones. Because a horse’s food source is stationary — except while it’s being transported by you or her caretaker — and doesn’t need to be chased or captured, the ability to perceive a wide range of hues doesn’t offer much advantage in the way of survival for the horse.
THE EARS Anatomy The equine ear is divided into three different sections: outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.
• The outer ear is also known as the pinna (or pinnae, plural), and is what we externally see as the horse’s ear. The majority of the pinna is cartilage, covered by skin and hair. To help capture and direct soundwaves through the ear, the pinna is funnelshaped, like a little satellite dish. Pinnae are mobile and can move independently of each other to locate or capture a sound. In fact, horses have ten different muscles surrounding their ears, while we humans only have three! The outer ear is the start or opening of a long ear canal that ends in the ear drum, or tympanic membrane — this is a thin membrane that picks up soundwaves and begins the process of hearing. Because this ear canal is so long, and many horses are not fond of ear manipulation, veterinarians don’t routinely examine your horse’s ears with an otoscope, like your dog or cat’s vet might.
• The middle ear begins on the inner side of the tympanic membrane. It is an air-filled cavity, and contains the three smallest bones in the body — the malleus, incus, and stapes, collectively called the ossicles. The eustachian tube is also found within the middle ear, and is a small tube connecting this area of the ear with the back of the nasal cavity, allowing air to enter the middle ear. •T he inner ear is a complex maze of fluid-filled channels. These channels are lined with thousands of sensory cells, which are responsible for triggering the nerve involved in hearing and balance. Also within the inner ear is the cochlea, or “organ” of hearing. How your horse hears As mentioned above, the pinnae act as funnels, bringing sound waves to the tympanic membrane. Sound waves
Reach for the repellent In addition to a fly mask, you can also use fly repellant around the horse’s eyes. Use either a roll-on repellent, or fly spray applied on a cloth, and apply under the eye only — products applied above the eye can mix with sweat and may drip down into the eye, causing irritation.
cause the tympanic membrane to vibrate. These vibrations are transmitted through the middle ear via movement of the ossicles. This movement of the ossicles in turn creates movement of the cochlea in the inner ear. As the cochlea moves, it creates back and forth movement of the hair-like cilia of the sensory cells in the inner ear. Movement of the hair cells mediates the transformation of sound into action potentials which are then sent to the brain, and interpreted as a specific sound. Horses hear sounds over a wider range of frequencies than humans do. The typical human range of frequencies is 20 to 20,000 Hertz. A horse can hear frequencies within the 55 to 33,500 Hertz range. While our equine companions might have superior hearing compared to us, they are beat out by our other four-legged companions, dogs. Dogs can hear frequencies as high as 45,000 Hertz, sometimes even higher. Overall, a horse’s hearing is not nearly as well-developed as his vision. Because a horse can see so well, he really only uses his hearing to help pinpoint a sound in order to be able to turn and look at where it is coming from. The ears help direct their gaze.
CARING FOR THE EYES AND EARS What is the best way to care for such intricate and important structures? Let’s start with the eyes.
EYE CARE Use a fly mask First, I recommend using a fly mask during the warmer months (which may be year round, depending on where you live). Fly masks serve a dual purpose in protecting your horse’s eyes from the sun and from insects. 38
Check for hazards Carefully analyze your horse’s environment — stall, runin shed, pasture, etc. — and remove or modify any objects that he could potentially injure an eye on. Sharp objects, hardware, bucket clips, and more are all potential hazards. Due to the large size and lateral position on the head, horses’ eyes are more prone to corneal abrasions (which can lead to corneal ulcers) and ocular trauma. And, as we learned above, the cornea is not very thick — so it doesn’t take much to damage it! Wipe them down When grooming, if needed, gently use a soft cloth dampened with water to clean up any discharge, dirt, or debris near the eyes. Avoid using any chemicals or products around the eye, as they may cause harm if they get in the eye. Leave the hair I recommend leaving the hairs around your horse’s eyes alone. These hairs are whiskers that act as tactile sensors, aiding the horse in gathering more sensory information about his environment. While the whiskers themselves have no nerves, the follicles they grow from are very innervated, and send signals to the brain about the information they are receiving. In some countries, such as Germany, shaving the whiskers around the eyes, and muzzle, is now outlawed. Check in with any organizations/associations you show with for further rules/regulations around this practice.
Check with a vet And lastly, do not put anything into your horse’s eyes without direct instruction from your veterinarian. When thinking about equine eye health, I encourage you to look for the following signs, and if noted, contact your veterinarian. Any abnormality of the eye should be considered an emergency. • Excessive tearing • Squinting or holding one/both eyes closed • Obvious trauma to the eyelid — laceration, presence of foreign body, bleeding, etc. • Swollen eyelids (upper, lower, or both) • Yellow or green discharge • Sudden change in appearance of the eye — swollen, cloudy, sunken, etc. • Any growths or masses around the eye/on the eyelids • Redness of the eye or the tissues surrounding the eye
EAR CARE Luckily, ear problems in horses are infrequent, but ears still require the same care and diligence you give the rest of your horse. Many of the same care recommendations for the eyes also apply to the ears. Fly masks with ears are excellent at keeping most biting insects out of your horse’s ears. Use fly spray, applied on a cloth and then wiped in/around the ear, or a lotion/cream with fly repellant in it. Avoid vigorously cleaning the ears (anything more than rubbing with a damp cloth) or applying any type of liquid into the ears (unless your veterinarian has directed you to do so). You do not want to accidentally introduce fluid down into the ear. Consider leaving the hairs on the inside of your horse’s ears alone — these hairs function as a barrier to keep dirt and insects from getting further down into the ear canal. Clipping the ears can also be a stressful procedure to perform if your horse is head-shy.
COMMON PROBLEMS AFFECTING THE EYES
EYES • Corneal ulcers • Uveitis • Trauma/foreign bodies • Cancer, specifically squamous cell carcinoma • Sarcoids • Glaucoma
EARS • Sarcoids • Aural plaques • External parasites, including flies and ticks • Trauma Contact your veterinarian if you notice any abnormalities with your horse’s eyes or ears.
Keep an eye out for these signs, and if you notice any of them, contact your veterinarian for further direction: • Excessive headshaking • Discharge from the horse’s ears (blood or fluid) • Repeatedly rubbing his ears on something The eyes and ears play a vital role in not only your horse’s day-to-day life, but in his ability to fulfil his part as your companion and riding partner. Now that you know more about the anatomy, function, and care of equine eyes and ears, you can include these structures in your holistic health plan.
Dr. Justine Griesenauer is an equine veterinarian in Western Washington who takes a holistic approach to caring for horses. As a lifelong rider and horsewoman, she knows how important your horse is and this is reflected in her treatment. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
CREATIVE WAYS TO EARN A LIVING WITH YOUR HORSES By Nanette Levin
Want to earn a living with your horses, but arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sure how? This article outlines a few creative ways that equestrians can turn their passion into a profit.
Equine Wellnessa Wellness
Most people think of the traditional equine disciplines when envisioning a career with horses. But competing, boarding, training and teaching lessons aren’t the only options. In fact, most successful horse barns make the majority of their profit from other areas.
CONSIDERATIONS TO GET YOU STARTED Equestrians often dream of earning riches from opening their private barns to boarders. Few, however, factor in actual costs when setting prices. Hay, grain, and bedding are obvious, but things like electricity, labor, repairs, insurance, water, farm equipment, and fuel costs are not. “One of the keys is to think of it as a business,” says Callie Rae King, owner of Honey Brook Stables and CRK Training. “A lot of people get into boarding and doing lessons or training and they do it as hobbyists.” But things like marketing, budgeting, insurance considerations, and planning for growth by calculating your hours as costs are key issues to address if plans include creating a profitable entity. It’s important to understand your goals, expenses and anticipated income from the onset. Two of the areas King notes as critical for professional operations is differentiation and bringing in help. “Before launching your business, it’s important to ask yourself: what am I offering that’s different than the other ten businesses in the area?” says King. “Make note of what you pride yourself on, and communicate that to your boarders. Understand the atmosphere you want to create.”
Another important consideration is what you’d like to pay yourself. “How much time are you putting in?” asks King. “If you ever want to operate truly as a business, where you have any capability to take time off or pursue other things, you have to work your own salary into the budget.” Once you have a number in mind, figure out how much you’ll have to bring in to cover your salary, as well as expenses. “Hiring people is another big learning curve,” King says. “Starting that learning process as early as possible, getting used to working with people, giving feedback and having tough conversations with employees — I think all of that is really important.” This type of forethought enabled King to move to California while staff operates her Pennsylvania farm without her — all before the age of 30.
MULTIPLE REVENUE SOURCES HELP WITH SOLVENCY There’s a lot of fixed overhead with horse farms. Economic conditions affect horse sales, boarder demand, and other income streams. Rising variable costs such as feed, bedding, and fuel can quickly put a profitable business in the red. Smart equestrian facility owners diversify their income streams to hedge against fluctuations. While large operations traditionally rely on horse sales, shipping, showing, training and other add-ons to make their business profitable, there are a lot of easy ways smaller barns can reduce risk and increase revenue: Factor extra costs into your boarding fee — Things like
trailering, holding horses for the blacksmith, turnout, and veterinary care all cost time and money. Factor these into your board price or share a document detailing these additional costs with boarders upfront.
Offer additional services — Can you offer conditioning training or exercise services? If you have good trails or land with hills, this can be popular with both boarders and ship-ins competing in vigorous sports such as racing, endurance riding or eventing. It’s also something you can offer to boarders who can’t get out to the farm regularly.
Grooming services appeal to both boarders and equestrians in your community. Charges for braiding manes and tails are generally in the
CAREERS WITH HORSES There are many jobs that people don’t ordinarily think of when considering equine vocations. • L.A. Pomeroy is an award-winning photojournalist, publicist, internet radio cohost, and equinista specializing in equestrian culture/lifestyle, fashion/design and art/ collectibles. She’s covered everything from local personalities to the Olympics. • Christy Landwehr is the Chief Executive Officer of Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA), a not-for-profit that certifies equine professionals and also accredits equestrian facilities. She’s also a Master Level Riding Instructor and Equine Facility Manager. • Linda Hauck is an entrepreneur who went from prototype to international player in less than two years with her innovative product, Spursuader, and later, Tapestry Girth. She travels the world promoting her products to horse enthusiasts and counts Olympic competitors among her clients. • Denny Emerson, the only rider to have ever won both a gold medal in eventing and a Tevis buckle in endurance, leveraged his success to build horse businesses in Vermont and North Carolina. He continues to ride and serve as a clinician and trainer — at age 79. He’s also the author of How Good Writers Get Good (Trafalgar Square) and a contributor to Turning Challenging Horses into Willing Partners (BookConductors; Horse Sense and Cents series). • Callie Rae King leveraged her knowledge gained from her stable business customer service and marketing efforts to create online video courses. These started off as value-added tutorials for riding students. She now has ten different courses with a variety of instructors under her CRK Training umbrella, which is generating more income than her farm business. All these equestrians have discovered how to make a living sharing their passion for horses without being tied to a farm all year round.
$50 to $100 range, and pulling manes for $15 to $35 is reasonable. If you’re in a cooler climate and talented with clippers, most charge $100 or more per horse for this service. Sell your manure — Good rich compost is in demand these days. Horse manure cures in three to six months. Selling it to community gardeners also eliminates the cost of hauling it away. Consider an appointment-only self-serve approach to save time, money, and headaches. If you have a tractor with a bucket, you can offer pickup truck quantities with an added loading fee. Establish good pasture management practices — Pastures are most productive and nutritious with rotational grazing. Good fields can reduce feed costs substantially. If you also want to offer pasture board, ensure you have adequate run-in shelter space and ample, daily clean water. There are additional costs for hay and grain when pastures are poor, so be sure to factor this into your fees. Differentiating, planning ahead, diversifying, and a little creativity all allow horse lovers to fuel their passion while avoiding the risk of burnout.
Nanette Levin has spent decades striving to “keep the horse in the conversation”. During 30 years of training client horses and 20 managing a 117-acre equine facility in upstate New York, she’s shared what can be accomplished when you listen to what the horse is trying to tell you. Discover free information at HorseSenseAndCents.com. Find her books at Amazon in print, Kindle and Audible formats. Her audio titles are listed (and linked to) at https://bit.ly/HorseSenseBooks.
How StripHair® Gentle Groomer can help chronic back pain in horses
By Rebecca Bloom
Behavior issues in horses could be a sign of chronic back pain, which can lead to a variety of other medical issues. Learn how the StripHair® Gentle Groomer can help. Does your horse object to having his girth tightened? Is he no longer picking up his feet for cleaning? Does he refuse to jump, or sidestep away from you when you try to mount? It may seem your horse is just misbehaving, but back pain could be the root of the problem. In fact, the most common symptom of chronic back pain in horses is behavior problems, although many equine caretakers aren’t aware of this. Chronic back pain must be treated, because when it’s overlooked, a horse will be at risk for many other types of injury due to compensation. Soreness can occur anywhere, including:
Right underneath the saddle — often due to a saddle fitting issue
Lumbar region of the back — a result of conformation and muscle weakness in that area, or from carrying tension under saddle
Lumbosacral junction and the sacroiliac joint — which can arise from injury, weakness, or poor riding.
Regular use of modalities such as laser therapy, acupuncture, and massage can be highly effective in keeping your horse pain-free. However, these modalities may not always be easily accessible due to location or finances. A great alternative is therapeutic grooming using the StripHair® Gentle Groomer, which has been proven to be exceptionally effective.
The importance of a therapeutic grooming routine Therapeutic grooming is a practice that’s safe, effective, and easy to incorporate into your routine. By using The Gentle Groomer®, your horse will receive the benefits of massage therapy alongside routine removal of hair and debris. The Gentle Groomer stimulates the tissue on a therapeutic level, increasing circulation, blood flow, and nutrients (see image at bottom right). When a horse’s muscles are warmed up prior to work, he will experience improved mobility and a reduced risk of injury. After work, a massage with this grooming tool will aid muscle recovery. For soft tissue injury, massage can reduce swelling, relieve soreness, and speed healing. Moving The Gentle Groomer over target areas can more effectively stimulate the horse’s muscles, and increase circulation to a far greater degree, than simply using your hand. When gliding it over the horse’s body, you should feel the muscles relaxing; you may be able to identify hidden areas of pain. The Gentle Groomer is perfect for massaging large muscle groups, reducing swelling in leg tendons and ligaments, and effectively increasing blood flow to the coronary band, which is essential for healthy hoof growth. A horse with chronic back pain can reap the benefits of massage through a simple daily grooming routine with The Gentle Groomer, by helping keep his muscles happy and healthy!
CAN RESULT IN THE FOLLOWING BEHAVIORAL ISSUES: •R esistance to bridle, saddle and/or girth •R eluctance to engage hind legs • Tension/nerves • Spooking or bolting • Rearing or bucking • Head tossing • Heaviness in the hand •P roblems picking up or holding a particular canter lead • Reluctance to go forward •M oving with short, choppy strides •L eaning or bracing against one or both reins •G eneral decline in performance or attitude Thermal Imaging shows increased bloodflow (shown in white) where The Gentle Groomer is used.
Equine treadmills are increasingly found in therapy centers, research centers, and even some training facilities. Learn how the rehabilitating or conditioning horse could succeed with treadmill exercise.
By Lisa Skylis
prepare for competitions” — but all are high-level competitors from a wide variety of disciplines, including barrel racing, dressage, and endurance. For those focused on rehabilitation, the most common injuries successfully treated at the Center are bowed tendons, degenerative joint disease, laminitis, and degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis.
BENEFITS OF TREADMILL EXERCISE Some of the benefits of incorporating a treadmill into a horse’s exercise routine include the following:
When creating a horse’s conditioning or rehabilitation program, the real challenge is balancing improvement and injury. In other words, the goal is to regain the horse’s strength and athleticism without overworking his body and causing more damage. The key to this balancing act is consistent and controlled exercise. Particularly when compared to riding work, treadmill exercise offers both a regulated environment and a significantly reduced load.
WHAT HORSES CAN BENEFIT, AND HOW? I spoke to Dr. Alberto Rullan from the Equine Performance Innovative 44
Center in Ocala, Florida to learn more about the use of treadmill exercise in their program. Since its founding in 2017, the center has been offering a wide range of treatment options for horses, including their very popular Ferro Aquatics AquaPacer, or water treadmill. Enclosed on all sides with transparent windows, the aqua treadmill offers a low-impact yet high-resistance workout suitable for a rehabilitation or conditioning program. As for the aqua treadmill’s clients, Dr. Rullan describes them as “an even mix of rehabilitation after an injury, and conditioning to
• It gives the ability to control the incline, speed, and overall intensity of the workout. • “Cross-training”, or supplementing a training regimen with treadmill exercise, increases a horse’s stamina and endurance. • Treadmill exercise allows for the isolation and conditioning of specific muscle groups. • It offers the ability to monitor more closely and make gait adjustments faster because the horse is stationary. • It promotes correct posture and a balanced gait when exercising.
WHILE IT’S NOT AN OVERNIGHT CURE, THE OF TREADMILL EXERCISE MAKE THEMSELVES APPARENT WITHIN
• Treadmill exercise doesn’t rely on the weather’s cooperation and is available year-round. • It allows for a smooth and cushioned training surface, with shock absorption. While it’s not an overnight cure, the benefits of treadmill exercise make themselves apparent within a matter of weeks. Dr. Rullan confirms that after ten sessions of about 20 minutes of exercise, he notices considerable improvement in his equine clients. That said, each horse’s progress is specific to both his level of physical fitness and his diagnosis. “Another factor that will influence timeframes is if the horse has already been exercised on a treadmill,” he adds. “It is important to remember that horses performing this exercise for the first time might require between two and three sessions of adaptation.”
All photos courtesy of Hudson Aquatic Systems, LLC.
Like most new technologies, the use of equine treadmills is sometimes met with skepticism from equestrians. Many horse owners and trainers are reluctant to try the intimidating treadmill and, at first glance, the machine can seem dangerous. In the owner’s mind, the last thing her recovering equine athlete needs is to
a matter of weeks
further injure himself while exercising on the treadmill. In 2010, a group of Australian researchers set out to analyze and report the potential injuries treadmill exercise could cause a horse. Their study found that of the 2,258 horses who participated in high-speed treadmill exercise, only 5.4% sustained injury, and most were minor injuries. In general, the team concluded that when compared to typical overground exercise, horses that participated in treadmill exercise were not at increased risk of injury. Fortunately, facilities with equine treadmills have taken steps to ensure the horses’ safety while exercising on the treadmill. At his center, Dr. Rullan’s safety protocol includes padded walls around the treadmill, a padded safety rope at the front and back of the horse, and an emergency stop option. “Every time we run the machine there are two operators,” he explains. “One in the front holding the horse and the other in the back.” It seems their safety protocols must be working, because they’ve never had an injury happen on their equine treadmill.
There are various types of horse treadmills including standard treadmills often found in rehab centers, hydro-treadmills (pictured here), and smaller machines that are more affordable for equine caretakers.
FROM SKEPTIC TO SUCCESS STORY Just like their humans, many horses are suspicious of the equine treadmill at first and need time to acclimate. Patience is key, Dr. Rullan emphasizes, and he usually begins by walking the horse around and then through the water treadmill several times. After this, he slowly introduces the sounds of the machine to the horse by turning it on and tapping the surrounding walls of the aqua treadmill chamber. Over time, Dr. Rullan and his team are able to acclimate their equine clients to treadmill exercise. “They seem to appreciate each second we spend with them, knowing they are on the road to recovery,” he says. Addressing the skeptics of equine treadmill exercise, Dr. Rullan asserts that there’s never a negative outcome when it comes to treadmill therapy. As the field of equine conditioning and rehabilitation continues to grow, the popularity of equine treadmills steadily increases alongside it. With the benefits far outweighing any possible risks, equine treadmills are a safe option for controlled exercise. Whether your horse is recovering from an injury or building strength, talk to your veterinarian about treadmill exercise as a treatment option. The author wishes to thank Dr. Alberto Rullan from the Equine Performance Innovative Center for allowing her to interview him, and his assistant, Bentley, for helping to coordinate.
Lisa Skylis graduated in 2018 from Michigan State University with a degree in Animal Science and went on to pursue professional freelance writing. Focused on the equine industry, she has written about everything from to mounted cowboy shooting, to holistic arthritis care, to farm-friendly recycling. When she’s not writing, Lisa can be found doting on the horses at her local therapeutic equestrian barn or entertaining her mischievous golden retriever, Roy. Freelance inquiries can be sent to email@example.com.
By Sheldon Stutzman
Solar energy can be a fantastic financial investment. The key is to seek the right information so you can get the most bang for your buck.
olar energy is a “green” idea that thousands of farms across America have already put into place. Not only is it an environmentally-friendly way to sustain a farm — it can also lower costs in the long run. The sun is a tremendous (and free) source of energy, but capturing that energy and putting it to use in powering our farms, homes and businesses takes technology, equipment and financial resources. Let’s chat briefly about how solar works on the farm and how it may help increase profitability and sustainability, and fit nicely into your overall goals.
SOLAR 101 Photons (light particles) from the sun strike the solar panels, knocking electrons free from atoms. When electrons move, a current is created, and when this happens thousands of times per second within a solar panel, it creates energy to power your farm, home or business. The same energy that grows our corn, beans, and vegetables can power your farm. Pretty incredible! Solar panels generate DC (direct current) which needs to be converted to AC (alternating current) to match what your utility is delivering to your
farm. This is done with an inverter. The inverter is “the brain” of the system, and matches the frequency, Hertz, and wattage of the utility power being delivered to you; during the day, if your solar array produces more energy than is needed at your farm, the excess energy begins to flow back to your utility. The flow of energy is measured in kWhs (kilowatt hours). When your solar energy system is installed, your local utility will provide a bi-directional meter that is now capable of measuring the flow of power in either direction. During
the day, you may be exporting excess power; overnight, the utility is delivering power back to you. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s essentially a one to one trade of kWhs. It is important to note that this process is known as net metering, and that the rules for net metering can vary by state and or even by utility. Make sure you fully understand those rules before making a commitment to going solar. Not understanding them could prove to be costly down the road. Your solar energy contractor should be able to fully explain this to you, specific to your utility.
WHERE CAN I INSTALL SOLAR PANELS? Typically, there are two options. The most common installation method is a roof mount. Many farms have large machine sheds or animal confinement buildings that keep the rain and snow off equipment and livestock, but roofs can further be utilized to generate clean renewable energy without building another structure or taking up good tillable ground. The second installation method is a ground mount. This is a great solution in the event that a roof is not in the best location for sunshine and/
or conditions. Some farms have a corner of land that may not be ideal for farming and/or a pasture area for animals that could be utilized. Typical ground mount arrays can provide some shade areas for animals. This is not a good idea for goats, cattle or horses, however, since these animals like to rub, chew, and otherwise investigate everything around them. There are some solutions for elevating the panels with a higher structure, but this adds extra expense and may make the project cost prohibitive. Continued on page 48. Equine Wellness
INCENTIVES for investing in solar energy The largest incentive available to those who invest in solar energy is the Federal Investment Tax Credit. If your system is installed in 2020, the investment is eligible for a 26% Federal Tax credit. That means 26 cents of every dollar invested in solar energy reduces your tax liability dollar for dollar. In addition, business and farms may be eligible to depreciate the solar energy investment and further reduce tax liability. We recommend talking to your tax advisor to make sure you can utilize these incentives. The tax incentives alone create a very front-loaded return, meaning 50% to 60% or more of the investment comes back to you in the first year or two if there is enough tax liability to utilize alongside the energy cost savings. It is important to note, however, that the tax credit is declining. In 2021, the credit will step down to 22%, and in 2022 it drops to 10% for businesses and zero for residential systems. Your farm may also be eligible for a USDA REAP Grant. The USDA Renewable Energy for America Program provides grants to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to help fund energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy projects. This is a refundable grant and can cover up to 25% of the total installation cost. Some states also provide a variety of incentives for going solar, so be sure to do some research to see what’s available in your area!
Above: A 237.6 kW ground mount system powering a poultry farm. Right: A 65.7 kW rooftop array on a hay storage building.
Continued from page 47. Ground mount arrays can provide an ideal vegetation or wildflower area for bees and butterflies, to help pollinate crops and reduce the mowing and maintenance around them.
HOW CAN SOLAR SAVE MY FARM MONEY? Energy as we know it today costs money, and for many years we have been trained to just pay our monthly electric bill without questioning it. Those costs are driven by market, fuel, and labor costs as well as government mandates. Maintaining our electric grid is expensive, and as improvements are made to further secure our nation’s electricity supply and delivery system, what we pay for that energy will inevitably go up. Have you thought about what your electricity might cost in ten years? As your solar system generates electricity every day, it replaces some or most of the kWhs you would normally be buying from the utility. If your typical farm usage is 10,000 kWhs a month, your solar system may produce
enough to reduce that to 500 kWhs, so now you are only purchasing 500 kWhs from the utility with the rest coming from the sun and your solar array. Most farms can recoup their solar energy investment in less than ten years with a significant portion of the investment returning in the first year or two with current incentives (see sidebar at left).
HOW DO I KNOW IF SOLAR IS RIGHT FOR MY FARM? If your farm uses electricity; if you are profitable and paying taxes; if you are looking to diversify your investment portfolio and turn a cost of doing business into a return; and you like the idea of powering your farm with free fuel… solar energy is likely a great investment for you. Finding the right partner for this journey is important. Do your homework and investigate a few solar installation companies before signing a contract. This is a long-term partnership, and you want a reliable company that can stand behind their work.
Sheldon Stutzman is a NABCEP certified PV Technical Sales Professional with over eight years of experience as a Solar Consultant at Paradise Energy. Working from the Sugarcreek, OH branch, Sheldon has guided hundreds of Ohio businesses, farmers, and homeowners through the process of installing a solar energy system. ParadiseEnergySolutions.com
Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) By Melanie Falls
Does your horse have weepy, crusty eyes? Eyebright might be just the natural fix you’re looking for.
Eyebright is a very efficient herb — during flowering season, you can use all parts of the plant for its medicinal properties. This annual grasslands herb is typically used for suppressing mucus production around the eyes, ears, and sinuses, and can be helpful for treating allergies. Scientific studies regarding the medicinal use of eyebright have focused on its effectiveness in treating conjunctivitis, or pinkeye. Eyebright can be prepared as tea or tincture to be used in an eye compress, or can also be dried and digested internally. Its medicinal attributes include tannins, aucubin, and quercetin, which each provide
anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antihistamine properties. Additionally, the herb contains vitamins A, some Bs, C and E as well as zinc, selenium, and copper — all of which provide nutritional support for eye health.
Common uses for horses Eyebright is most commonly used for horses with persistent eye irritation (weeping, stinging, light sensitivity), but can also be used to calm sinus congestion and allergic reactions. Note that eye irritations can be symptoms of serious underlying conditions, such as uveitis and corneal ulcers, so you will want to discuss these issues with your veterinarian before using eyebright to treat them. You can make an eye compress by gently boiling, then simmering a ½ teaspoon of dried herb in a ½ cup of water. Apply after cooling, making sure to sterilize your compress material. You can also pour the same tea on your horse’s feed to help clear eye issues and
allergic irritations from the inside out. If you prefer not to make a tea, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of dried herb in his feed twice a day.
Home grown Eyebright is an annual herb native to the grassy meadows of Europe. It prefers to be grown in poor, welldrained soils with full sun and cool temperatures. If you want to grow your own, you will need to plant the herb with grasses, as this herb attaches itself to the stems and roots of grasses to obtain needed minerals. Sow the seeds in the fall to allow for 90 days of chilling, to trigger growth in spring. Continue to allow undisturbed growth through late summer, when the plant flowers and is ready to harvest.
Melanie Falls is a holistic health advocate and a certified 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 top quality all-natural horse care products including supplements, fly sprays, first aid, and much more (wholeequine.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
BARN & FARM
Tips for finding the Investing in an equestrian property is perhaps one of the most expensive purchases in a lifetime and will require due diligence to find the right fit. Follow these expert tips to find the perfect horse farm!
BEGIN WITH THE BASICS Allen Kershaw breeds and races thoroughbreds and is an experienced realtor with the horse farm experts at Justice Real Estate in Lexington, Kentucky. “The property basics for a healthy home for horses include land, barns, and water supply,” Kershaw says. “Consider soil quality, which is
very important [for grazing], to sustain a horse population.” “Start with a pasture free of poisonous plants,” says Tammi Escalle, a Principal Agent with Redfin outside Seattle, who stabled her own horses on Washington State’s beautiful Whidbey Island. “Provide safe fencing for horses, made of vinyl, wood, metal, hot wire or hot rope,” she adds, cautioning against barbed wire. “Enough room is essential for regular turn-out, or riding trails, or an arena, to provide horses with adequate exercise space.”
As an island resident, Escalle focuses on how farm buyers will source enough food and water for their horses, locally and affordably. She always requests well inspections that include gallons per minute (gpm). “For a horse property, you want 12 gpm or more depending on how many horses will be on the property. If you’re using public water, you may need a special water permit to run the amount of water needed.” Lori DePucci, an equestrian and leading horse farm realtor with Harry Norman in North Atlanta, Georgia, offers additional advice about water on the farm. “You’ll
First time buying a horse farm? Here are expert tips to help you discover your dream property.
horse farm By Michele Deppe
want water lines and a no-freeze faucet located close to your pastures to fill water troughs easily,” she says. “If possible, to limit mud, place the water troughs at the lower end of the pasture fence line.” DePucci advises against buying inexpensive flood plain farms. “Horses can get thrush and other hoof ailments if standing in wet pastures. Also, flood plain is not a good real estate investment. You cannot build on it; therefore, appraisers usually only give about 25% to 50% value per acre.” Buying inexpensive wooded acres is an option, DePucci says, but
developing a pasture can take several seasons. “You will need to check with the city/county for their land disturbance (clearing) policies as some areas restrict the removal of trees or have an acreage limit.” To safely build up pastures, she says, “You will experience root holes for several years as the underground [tree] roots decay. Be prepared to walk your new pastures regularly for the first few years to fill holes. Overseed and fertilize your fields in spring or fall, or both. Lime as much as you can and often. Spray weeds in the pastures in June or July, if needed.”
Kershaw says the barn should be in good condition and safe, with proper, healthy ventilation. Escalle agrees and performs a thorough walk-through of a property with the prospective buyers, “Identify that there is nothing that could cause punctures or cuts to horses, and no boards that need replacing,” she says. “Any concrete areas should be smooth. If there isn’t a barn, evaluate whether there is room to build one, or at least a lean-to for shade from the sun and sides to shelter from wind and rain.” DePucci strongly recommends hiring a licensed electrician to inspect the barn. Continued on page 52. Equine Wellness
A NOTE ABOUT FINANCIALS “Real estate investment is all about location,” says DePucci. “If you are buying your home for having horses, location is a key factor based on the need to commute to work, schools, etc. The closer you are to a populated area and a good school district, the better your investment. Farther out in a rural area, you should be able to get more property for your money.” Most lenders will offer conventional loans for a home on ten acres or less for a hobby farm. “There must be comparable sales in the area to support the value and transaction,” DePucci says. “Typically, lenders require the house to be considered 70% of the value of the property. For larger training facilities, farm loans and small business loans are available, and usually require historical proof of established equestrian business income.”
Continued from page 51. Ideally, all wiring should be placed in conduit, and outdoor rated fixtures should be installed. “In more populated areas, the municipalities have special set back regulations to keep barns with livestock farther away from property lines,” DePucci says. “If you intend to build a barn, this is also important to verify.” She suggests a detailed conversation with your insurance agent. “You’ll need structure coverage for your home and barn, as well as a liability policy. If you intend to have boarders, this may put you in an entirely different insurance policy.”
FINDING THE RIGHT PROPERTY FOR YOUR NEEDS Deciding how much acreage you need is important. “I usually recommend no more than one horse per acre,” says Barb Gould Uskup, a realtor with Carolina Real Estate Company in Aiken, South Carolina, and a polo player who used to compete on the international show jumping circuit. 52
“Also keep in mind that a healthy pasture and paddock need to be cleaned or dragged regularly. The topography is also a consideration. Some disciplines prefer a level property, (for example, where a flat dressage arena is wanted), whereas others who trail ride or fox hunt may enjoy a bit of elevation.” The ideal distance between your home and the barn varies, according to Uskup. “If horses are closer, it’s easier to care for them in inclement weather and to hear or see if anything is happening at the barn, such as horses getting loose or becoming cast in the stall. The downside of being too close is the possibility of odor or fly issues for the residence. I’ve had clients who prefer to be close, and others who prefer a good bit of distance. “A workable barn permits for good horse husbandry, allowing for dry, secure areas for hay, feed, and necessary equipment,” Uskup adds.
“If you’re getting a little older or have physical limitations, make sure the area is walkable and accessible for you (for example, can you reach items in the tack room?). An infrastructure to support healthy horse care, with competent vets, farriers, and good help when you need it, is essential. This is one of the reasons I live where I do. Aiken is the most horse-friendly community I have ever encountered.” Searching for the right property for you and your herd can be a lengthy process, but don’t lose faith! Take the time you need to ask the right questions, view a number of different options, and make sure a listing checks all the boxes before making an offer. By keeping all the above tips in mind, you’re sure to find a beautiful horse farm to call home.
Michele Deppe is a rider and writer based in the upstate region of South Carolina.
WHY ROVER’S PET HAS BECOME A TRUSTED NAME IN CBD FOR DOGS, CATS AND HORSES These days, more and more equine caretakers are reaching for CBD as a way to promote the health of their dogs, cats and horses. But how do you know which companies to trust, and what exactly determines quality? These are the questions Mark and RaChelle Lobre faced when their beloved dog, Ozzy, was diagnosed with cancer. They decided to pursue CBD as a way to make Ozzy comfortable during his final days, and tried a few different brands, but none delivered the promised results, even though the prices were high. Discouraged by the available options, the Lobres decided to develop their own CBD product for animals.
A DEDICATION TO RESEARCH Mark and RaChelle first spent two years going over three decades of research from top veterinary universities, in order to learn everything they could about CBD and how it works to heal animals. This measured approach served them well, and resulted in the launch of Rover’s Pet, a company offering superior quality CBD oil and treats. “There are so many myths surrounding CBD, due to products that came out too soon,” says RaChelle. “The research on what is safe for pets and horses was not
done, and the ones who are suffering are the animals.”
EDUCATION, QUALITY AND TRANSPARENCY Because of these myths, a big part of the company’s mission is to educate consumers. It’s important to Mark and RaChelle that animal caretakers such as themselves understand the risks associated with buying low quality CBD, so they devote a lot of resources to spreading the word. Meanwhile, they manufacture their own CBD oil and treats using innovative nanotechnology, which removes all traces of THC from the formula, leaving only the beneficial cannabidiol (CBD) intact. Because CBD is not psychoactive like THC, the result is products that are safe and effective for animals. Dedicated to transparency, Rover’s Pet posts all their purity tests online for customers to see. “Our oils are thirdparty, lab tested, and come from a certified organic farm,” says RaChelle. “The freeze-dried duck nibs contain no corn, no wheat, no soy or chemicals — just fresh USDA protein and quality CBD oils.” Rover’s Pet also believes in operating on a “seed to sale” system, which means their CBD comes directly
from the grower, bypassing distributors who may dilute the oil for profit. All these quality assurance measures give customers peace of mind that they’re investing in the right products for their animals.
CHAMPION’S RELIEF Rover’s Pet released their organicallygrown equine CBD oil, Champion’s Relief, in 2018, and have since received an influx of positive reviews. This 3,000 mg oil contains no THC, and may offer pain relief, reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and soothe anxiety in horses. It has also been shown to be effective for treating sore joints and muscles, making it ideal for seniors and performance horses. It’s available in a 4 oz bottle with a syringe for easy administration. As the CBD market becomes even more crowded, consumers need to invest their money in a company they can trust. Rover’s Pet is proud to fulfil that need, and to continue using research and education as a way to keep animals safe, happy and healthy. “Helping people understand and obtain knowledge from someone who cares about their beautiful animals is why we created Rover’s Pet.”
R O V E R S P E T. C O M Equine Wellness
FOR TEACHING KIDS ABOUT HORSES By Jason Irwin
Horses make wonderful companions for kids â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and vice versa! The key is to set them up for success by imparting some basic safety precautions and handling techniques.
As a clinician, teaching kids to handle and train their own horses can be a lot of fun. And no offense to the adults, but sometimes it’s easier! Most kids who are passionate about horses are usually eager to learn and willing to give almost anything a whirl. This bravery around horses lets them advance their riding and horsemanship faster. Teaching kids is sort of like working with young horses; they’re a fairly blank slate and are naturally curious. In addition, kids usually don’t come with the bad habits that are so easy for riders to develop over time. Creating a fun and educational horsemanship program, and enlisting the help of a qualified coach, will help set the foundation for a youngster’s future with horses. There are many factors to consider when it comes to coaching kids, but here are six of what I consider the most important tips:
KIDS AND HORSES SAFE BY TEACHING #1 . KEEP THE ONE REIN STOP
This is always the number one priority! The first thing we teach a young rider when they get into the saddle (or any beginner rider for that matter) is the one rein stop. This is when the rider pulls one rein and the horse bends his head and neck around to the side. The horse’s nose should be able to touch the rider’s boot, and the horse should come to a complete stop. This needs to be taught and practised regularly on both sides at the walk, the trot, and eventually the lope. The one rein stop is basically like the emergency brake on your car. It’s the go-to move if things get out of control, whether the horse spooks, runs off, a rein breaks, etc. A horse can easily run through bridle pressure if a person is pulling on both reins to stop, especially because kids aren’t as strong. However, a horse that’s been taught the one rein stop is usually pretty easy to get under control if there is a problem. When a young rider knows they can stop a horse quickly and easily, it instills confidence and allows them to feel safe in the saddle.
KIDS DEVELOP CONFIDENCE ON A HORSE #2 . HELP The better rider a person becomes, the more confident they become.
They feel in control, and more equipped to handle whatever situation arises. To develop skill, a kid needs to be constantly advancing without skipping steps in their horsemanship education. For instance, if a youth is comfortable trotting the horse but not loping, go to a roundpen to work on the lope where there isn’t anywhere to go and the horse can’t pick up much speed. Have the youngster lope halfway around the pen and then come back to a walk; then walk a few laps; then lope another half. Gradually have the rider lope the horse a bit longer over time. Once they’re good in the pen, they can work on the lope in a bigger area like an arena. Another way to build a kid’s confidence is to have him or her teach the horse to cross obstacles. Pick easy obstacles to begin with, such as wooden rails. Advance to crossing a folded tarp, then unfold it to make the obstacle bigger. This is a good way to practice for the unknown while in a fairly predictable environment. Continued on page 56.
of Bronwyn Irwin Photo courtesy
Continued from page 55.
THINGS INTERESTING #3 . KEEP As a coach/clinician, there is a balancing act between teaching
kids the parts of horsemanship they need to know versus the parts they want to know. If most kids had their way, they would probably want to jump six-foot fences or race around barrels on their second lesson. Obviously they need a good riding foundation before they get to that stage. However, they also need to have some fun and enjoy riding or they won’t stick with it. I recommend planning a lesson where you start with warm-up exercises; move onto the more technical parts of riding and training; then lean toward the fun things they enjoy at the end of the lesson. This is a great way to leave things on a good note and have young riders looking forward to next time. The stereotypical cranky riding coach who is always yelling “heels down!” might be okay at developing a proper rider, but it isn’t going to matter if the kid doesn’t enjoy what they’re doing and doesn’t want to stick with riding. People ride because it’s fun, and it’s a mistake to forget that.
POSSIBLE, IT’S BEST IF A KID CAN WORK #5 . IFWITH AND RIDE DIFFERENT HORSES
It’s very common to see riders of all ages who look pretty good on their own personal horse, but awkward on any other. When a person is young, it’s much easier for them to get an overall feel for horses, so take advantage of that. The more horses a kid can work with and ride (providing the horses are safe) the better they will become. They will easily develop a feel for horses, and that’s very hard to pick up later in life.
I hope this gives you some ideas when it comes to teaching kids about horses. Keep it safe and keep it fun!
ATTAINABLE #4 . SET GOALS
Most kids probably won’t be too interested in hearing that if they practice hard, it’s going to pay off in five or ten years. They need to have goals they feel they can reach in the near future. Practicing and training for even the smallest show gives a youngster something to strive for. However, showing isn’t mandatory. Setting small training goals and having mini-competitions can do the same thing. Set up a small obstacle course and time or score the kids as they complete it. Then see if they can shave off a few seconds the next time through. This type of practice also helps reveal where their strengths are and what they need to work on.
THEM EXPERIMENT #6 . LET Although it might be tempting to keep everything very structured, kids need a chance to try different things with their horses and horsemanship. Trying a variety of equine events, riding with friends, performing their skills to music, and just having time to play around with their horses will help them develop passion, which, after all, is why we’re all in this in the first place.
Jason Irwin, along with his wife Bronwyn, operate Jason & Bronwyn Irwin Horsemanship. They teach clinics, provide training materials, and demonstrate at some of the biggest horse expos in the world. Jason is also part of the family business Northstar Livestock which specializes in raising big blue roan quarter horses.
A TASTY WAY TO KEEP BUGS AWAY Buggzo is an easy-to-feed, tasty pellet made of garlic and apple cider vinegar. Your horses will love it and it’ll work to deter pesky insects! No messy liquids and powders. Try Buggzo today for a tasty way to keep bugs away!
PRODUCTS TO TRY THIS SEASON
MUST-TRY SUPPLEMENT FOR DIGESTIVE BALANCE Intestinal and gastric discomfort in horses is often caused by stressful situations such as rigorous training, competing, shipping, frequent changes in environment, and even drastic changes in weather. For horse caretakers seeking nutritional support to reduce gut pain and discomfort, Nutrena® has added Empower ® Digestive Balance supplement to their Empower lineup. NutrenaWorld.com/empower-supplements
HIGH QUALITY HOOF BOOTS
ID FOR YOUR EQUINE COMPANION
Scoot Boots are a lightweight, high performance hoof boot offering an easy-on/easy-off secure fit with excellent drainage. Designed by a farrier for the barefoot horse, they excel across all riding disciplines. They have also proven to be dependable rehab and transition boots. ScootBoots.com
Designed with identification, safety, visibility and durability in mind, the Fetlock ID Band can help someone contact you with minimal effort in the event you and your equine companion are separated. This can happen during emergencies, evacuations, traveling, camping, or any type of equine activity. Why not be prepared? EquestriSafe.com
TRUSTED SEA MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS E3Live FOR HORSES and E3AFA FOR HORSES with Crystalloid Electrolyte Sea Minerals have been shown to encourage the regeneration of damaged hoof tissues, strengthen the immune system, act as an anti-inflammatory, enhance energy, vitality and endurance, and improve attention, alertness and brain function.
Every product in the StripHair Horse Bundle has been custom designed to be long-lasting and perform many functions — like the award-winning StripHair Gentle Groomer 6-in-1 Tool, which grooms, sheds, shines, shampoos and massages. This woman-owned company is on a mission to provide purposeful, quality, made-in-theUS products for animals. Satisfaction guaranteed! StripHair.com
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TO THE RESCUE
RAINBOW MEADOWS EQUINE RANCH Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code
RMER to Rainbow Meadows Equine Ranch. YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2005 LOCATION: Junction City, KS TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: “We are a non-discriminatory rescue!” says Karen Everhart, MEd, Rainbow Meadows Executive Director and Co-founder. “We take in any breed.”
NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: Rainbow Meadows has one employee, a full-time volunteer Executive Director, a part-time business manager, and 20 regular volunteers, including board members.
FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: “We generally host an annual Gala event,” says Karen. “Unfortunately, with COVID, we were unable to do so this year. As a result, we will host an Open House once COVID restrictions are relaxed in our state.” In the meantime, the rescue is always accepting donations through their website. FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: One tale stands out in Karen’s mind. “This case exhibits the importance of rescues partnering with law enforcement to ensure the safety and welfare of neglected horses,” she says. When the rescue was contacted to assist in a legal seizure of two horses, they agreed. But on the day they’d arranged for transport, Karen and her team received a call alerting them that there were four equines, not two. “As we headed to the location where the horses were confined, we received another call telling us that 11 horses had been removed from the target location and they were all in bad condition,” says Karen. “We had 23 horses in our rescue and the idea of an increase of nearly 50% was overwhelming. But how could we say no?” The rescue team arrived at the location to assist with processing the horses. “Imagine our shock when we arrived and found 19 horses,” says Karen. “All with body conditions of one. They were all walking skeletons.”
All photos courtesy of Fizzypop Design & Photography
Despite their reservations about nearly doubling their rescue population in one day, Rainbow Meadows didn’t walk away. They knew if they didn’t take these horses in, there was a good chance the animals would be hauled to auction — which likely meant slaughter. From top to bottom: Once a horse is a part of the Rainbow Herd they are safe forever; The herd at Rainbow Meadows running free on its vast pastures; Rainbow Meadows doesn’t discriminate. They help horses of every breed, color and size.
Find Rainbow Meadows online: facebook.com/RainbowMeadows rainbowmeadowsranch.com
It took three trips to move all the horses to the ranch. The team provided unlimited hay and appropriate concentrates, and began treating for severe lice infestation. “Within a few days, we called in our vet because we suspected some of the mares were pregnant,” says Karen. “We were right. Four of the mares were between eight and nine months in foal. Our 19 rescued horses were now 23!” In the span of a few days, the Rainbow Meadows population had doubled. The team was overwhelmed but determined, and worked diligently to ensure all the horses survived. “Within 12 weeks we had four new foals,” says Karen. “We named the babies Justice, Freedom, Liberty, and Hope to reflect the fact that this group of horses would never face hunger or mistreatment again. That was rescue done right!”
ON YOUR FARM
When carefully selected, essential oils can offer numerous benefits to us and our horses. Use these DIY recipes to integrate these healing substances into your daily routine on the farm!
Essential oils are health-promoting substances. They repair, oxygenate, and act as defenders against pests, germs, and infections. These compounds (terpenes, ketones, phenols, esters, etc.) extracted from plants and trees are not only capable of healing themselves — they’re also able to heal humans and animals by supporting our physical, mental, and emotional health. So how can you take advantage of these incredible benefits? Read on for some DIY essential oil recipes that can be easily made and stored for use around your farm.
1. Fly spray 2 ounces olive oil or neem oil (does not have the best smell) 1 cup white vinegar Epsom salt water — 1 cup Epsom salt to 1 gallon of water 2 teaspoons garlic powder 6 drops black pepper essential oil 6 drops citronella essential oil
By Diana Wanamaker
2. Wound salve 1 cup Bentonite clay 20 drops lavender essential oil Combine clay and essential oil. Apply liberally to minor wounds to promote the healing process.
Combine the olive or neem oil, vinegar, Epsom salt water and garlic powder. Divide into one ounce spray bottles and add essential oils.
3. Tick spray
Alternative recipe: Substitute the garlic powder for garlicinfused water. Remove the oil from the recipe.
2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
Take fresh organic garlic cloves and place them in a glass container with distilled water — one liter with one head of garlic. Let it sit for several days.
3 drops Palo Santo essential oil
1 cup distilled water 2 cups distilled white vinegar 2 tablespoons vegetable or almond oil 4 drops peppermint essential oil 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil 4 drops citronella essential oil 3 drops cedarwood essential oil 3 drops thyme essential oil Combine all ingredients in a large spray bottle. Spray onto your horse’s body — focusing on the legs and underbelly — every four hours during turnout.
HOW TO CHOOSE QUALITY ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THERAPEUTIC USE The quality of essential oils and how to safely use them for horses are the two top criteria for having a successful experience. Each essential oil has many individual constituents. Since every plant and tree offers a different set of constituents, so too does the oil that runs through them. This cannot be replicated by chemists. The beginning of its life from a seed, the soil it is grown in, and the air and water that nourishes its life are all factors that determine an essential oil’s purity. Carefully extracting and distilling it, at the correct time of harvest, and at the correct temperature, is what preserves the constituents of each plant. When these processes are altered in any way, the purity of the oils will no longer produce the desired results and in some cases can be extremely toxic.
4. Colic rub 1 tablespoon carrier oil 2 to 4 drops peppermint OR fennel essential oil Combine and apply directly to the horse’s belly button. Note: It is important to be in contact with your veterinarian during a colic. This rub should be used only at your vet’s discretion as a form of complementary support.
5. Proud flesh prevention 1 ounce distilled water 6 drops tea tree essential oil 6 drops clove essential oil 6 drops rosemary essential oil In a spray bottle, combine water and essential oils. Spray on your horse’s legs twice daily.
Continued on page 62.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying essential oils: • The genus and species name of plant should be listed on the bottle. •T he oils should be bottled in dark glass. • Low-cost oils below market value are low quality products for fragrance purposes rather than therapeutic use. • B uy from a reputable company. • Oils should be low pressure steam distilled. • Third party lab test results should be available to the public. If they aren’t available on the company’s website, call them directly to inquire. • The company should control the farming of the plants from seed to bottle.
• The soil in which the plants are grown should meet USDA organic guidelines. • The oils should contain no synthetic ingredients. • E ssential oils should not feel oily or greasy when applied to your skin. • The company should be able to tell you that they have safely used their oils with animals. •T he company should also be able to tell you how to safely use essential oils for animals and people. • You should be able to easily contact the essential oil representative and ask questions prior to a purchase. Equine Wellness
Continued from page 61.
6. Calming blend
10. Muscle rub
1 ounce distilled water
¼ cup grape seed oil
Lavender essential oil
¼ cup wheat germ oil
Frankincense essential oil
¼ cup sweet almond oil
Cedarwood essential oil
¼ cup olive oil
Valerian essential oil
8. After-bite spray
5 drops wintergreen essential oil
Roman chamomile essential oil
1 ounce distilled water
5 drops peppermint essential oil
Vetiver essential oil
6 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops oregano essential oil
Jasmine essential oil
6 drops chamomile essential oil
5 drops eucalyptus globulus essential oil
Choose three essential oils and add six drops of each to distilled water in a spray bottle. Spritz on your horse’s neck and chest 15 to 20 minutes prior to a stressful event.
7. Grooming and detangler spray
4 drops basil essential oil
5 drops elemi essential oil Add ingredients to spray bottle and shake well. Spray directly on bug bites, or spray gauze pad and place on larger bites.
9. Hoof conditioner 1 cup fractionated coconut oil
2 tablespoons fractionated coconut oil
2 tablespoons sweet almond oil
2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin
4 drops lavender essential oil
1 teaspoon witch hazel 2 cups distilled water (approx.) 6 drops ylang ylang essential oil 6 drops rosemary essential oil 6 drops sandalwood essential oil Add all ingredients to a spray bottle. Spritz onto the horse’s mane, tail, or body prior to grooming.
Diana Wanamaker is a writer, natural health educator, and consultant with a special interest in essential oils. Also an animal communicator, she has been offering a deeper connection between pets and their people for over 13 years. Diana has spent the past two decades studying and utilizing a variety of home remedies from natural sources, and providing guidance and natural health solutions that have helped many save on vet bills and restore their animals to optimum health (peacockpetcafe.com; email@example.com). 62
4 drops frankincense essential oil
Combine ingredients and stir well. Rub into your horse’s hooves.
5 drops vetiver essential oil 5 drops lemongrass essential oil 5 drops thyme essential oil Add all ingredients to an eightounce pump bottle. Shake well and massage onto horse’s sore muscles.
EMAIL YOUR CLASSIFIEDS TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com NATURAL PRODUCTS
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SCHOOLS & TRAINING
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) 9465378; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; www.harmanyequine.com 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 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; firstname.lastname@example.org 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; email@example.com; www.equissage.com HOLISTIC ANIMAL STUDIES — We offer online courses in Canine, Feline and Equine Massage, kinesiology taping, craniosacral therapy, Reiki and body alignment. Our courses are approved through numerous National and International Organizations ensuring that you will be provided with the highest quality learning experience. All of our courses are online, have no deadlines and no time limitations! Register now and start learning one of these amazing techniques from any location today! www.holisticanimalstudies.org/
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 handpick high-quality products that 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
EVENTS Overview of TCM — Equine or Small Animal Online Course
This overview covers the basic underlying concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): Yin/Yang Theory concerning the animal body and assessment of conditions; Meridian Theory and the meridian system; The Five-Element Theory; the internal organ systems, zang-fu organs relating to the body; and how the vital substances function within the body. This course provides an understanding of how the Chinese perceived the living body and offers tools for assessment and session work. This course is required for the Practitioner Certificate Program. A Certificate of Completion for 20 LUs is available upon completion of the online quizzes following each of the eight units, and a two-part final examination. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org www.animalacupressure.com
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 email@example.com www.rmsaam.com
Be sure to visit event websites for updates regarding COVID-19. World’s Championship Horse Show August 20–30, 2020 — Louisville, KY
The world’s richest and most prestigious Saddlebred horse show attracts spectators and competitors from across the world. More than 2,000 horses compete for over $1 million in awards during this seven-day event. For more information: (502) 367-5300 firstname.lastname@example.org www.kystatefair.org/wchs/index.html
Deepening the Bond & Centered Riding
August 29–30, 2020 — Bolton, CT Horse Speak® and Centered Riding collide to create this educational, inspirational, fun clinic! Participants will deepen their understanding of themselves and their equine partners. This work leads to improved trust and safer, more respectful, enjoyable relationships. Through classroom learning, in-hand exercises and mounted application participants will learn what their horse is saying and how best to support them. For more information: Heidi Nottelman (860) 779-7816 email@example.com https://heidipotter.com/event/deepeningthe-bond-centered-riding-clinic/
Beyond Horse Massage Weekend Seminar September 19–20, 2020 — Sebeka, MN
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. For more information: (641) 472-1312 firstname.lastname@example.org https://mastersonmethod.com
Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course September 25–27, 2020 — Knoxville, TN
Introduction to Healing Touch: Friday / 6:00pm – 10:00pm Learn the fundamentals of energy therapy theories and techniques. Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9:00am – 6:00pm Work hands-on with dogs and learn the first 12 techniques of the Healing Touch for Animals® curriculum. Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9:00am – 6:00pm Work hands-on with horses and experience a large animal's energy system. While this class is optional, it benefits students with greater energetic awareness and provides a well-rounded experience. *The Level 1 Small Animal Class is a prerequisite. *This class is required to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner. The Early Registration Tuition Price ends on August 30, 2020. For more information: Pamela Stanner (865) 617-6745 email@example.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com
EVENTS EQ75: Equine Massage & Bodywork for Owners & Trainers October 9–11, 2020 — Woodbine, MD
This three-day course will teach you how to properly work on your horse using Equinology’s guide to equine massage and bodywork. You will receive personalized instruction from experienced professionals utilizing a unique blend of equine sports massage, soft tissue release and stretching. The class is presented with loads of hands-on practical experience supplemented by video clips,
multimedia presentations and bone specimens. Correct body mechanics and safe bodywork techniques are strongly emphasized throughout. For more information: (707) 377-4313 firstname.lastname@example.org www.equinology.com
on a variety of different disciplines at the largest indoor equine trade show in Canada! Explore the best selection of equine products and services available from bits to boots and tack to trailers. For more information: email@example.com https://chilliwack.maneeventexpo.com/
The Mane Event: Chilliwack October 23–25, 2020 — Chilliwack, BC
Some of North America's top clinicians provide quality information
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EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Wellness
New stem cell research may help repair cartilage in horses Cartilage defects are a common issue in horses, especially those who perform at the competitive level. New stem cell research has the potential to lengthen many horses’ careers, and may even help treat similar issues in human patients. The ground-breaking research involves cryopreservation (or vitrification), the process of cooling and storing cells, tissues, or organs at very low temperatures to maintain their viability. Dr. Thomas Koch, a researcher at Ontario Veterinary College, is using cryopreservation to preserve cartilage chips for long-term storage. The chips are created by using blood from the equine umbilical cord, and are then cryopreserved and stored for use at a later date. The goal is to reduce the need for harvesting stem cells for cartilage repair from equine patients at the time the cells are needed, which 66
would mean much faster treatment and — ideally — better outcomes. Funding from Ontario Equestrian has allowed Dr. Koch and his team to complete the first step of this ongoing research project, which involved testing whether or not equine cartilage stem cells from cadavers could be vitrified. “We are very excited to have received this support,” says Dr. Koch. “The preliminary study will allow for future funding sources from both equine specific and human medicine.” The Ontario Veterinary College is also working with a world-renowed cartilage vitrification specialist, Dr. Jomha Nadr, and his team at the University of Alberta in Edmonton to establish a new vitrification protocol. The next step is to clinically evaluate whether cryopreserved cartilage chips can effectively repair focal cartilage
Using a process called cryopreservation, researchers are working on a new stem cell treatment for localized cartilage defects in horses.
defects in research horses. Once fully implemented, this therapy would provide a safe and fairly simple treatment for horses, as well as an opportunity for a Canadian biotechnology business to bank and globally distribute vitrified cartilage tissue. The future of regenerative therapies offers numerous potential applications, from delaying the onset of joint diseases such as osteoarthritis to treating bacterial infections. According to Dr. Koch, this specific research project has a great deal of long-term potential, and may help both horses and humans through the development of novel off-the-shelf cell-based therapies for damaged joint cartilage. Visit youtube.com/watch?time_ continue=1&v=RZ10MG5rb4&feature=emb_logo to learn more about this research project.