V15I5 (Nov/Dec/Jan 2020-21)

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Equine Wellness


Dawn Cumby-Dallin


Jamie McClure

COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Marty Adams, PhD, PAS Hannah Arington Suzi Beber, Honoris causa Bill Bookout Dustin S. Coren, DVM Melanie Falls Janet Gordon Palm, DVM, CVCP Annette Kaitinis Liz Mitten Ryan Sandra Murphy Sherri Pennanen April Reeves Stephanie Sawtelle Amy Snow Victoria Stoncius Clair Thunes, MS, PhD Nancy Easter White Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Susan Smith SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES MANAGER:

Brittany Sillaots

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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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

DEALER OR GROUP INQUIRIES WELCOME Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call Libby at 1-866-764-1212 ext. 100 or fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail Libby@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. ADVERTISING SALES National Sales Manager/Editorial Associate: Kat Shaw 1-866-764-1212 ext. 315 KatShaw@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Business Development/Editorial Associate: Becky Starr, 1-866-764-1212 ext. 221 Becky@RedstoneMediaGroup.com CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $20.00 including taxes for five issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext. 115 US MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122 CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8


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

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Our cover star this issue is a young actress who horse lovers everywhere will recognize! Amber Marshall, the star of Heartland, poses with her equine co-worker Stormy (Spartan). Flip to page 40 for more stunning behind-the-scenes photos, plus an update on Amber’s life, and her secret to maintaining a healthy work-life balance!

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CONTENTS November/December/January 2020/2021

Departments 6 Editorial 8 Neighborhood news 19 Hoof health 25 Herb blurb 31 Product picks 37 From the NASC 45 Acupressure at-a-glance 49 Holiday Gift Guide 53 Heads up 62 Classifieds 63 Events 64 Marketplace 66 To the rescue

Features 10

E xploring the connection between equine behavior and emotional health Don’t ignore these common equine behaviors when you see them! More often than not, they indicate an underlying emotional state that can help you better understand your horse’s needs.




ARN AND FARM B 3 considerations for planning paddock shelters

Paddock shelters come in all shapes and sizes — so how’s a horse caretaker to choose? Consider these three important factors when weighing the options.


EATING WELL What not to feed your horse

We spend so much time researching what to feed our horses — but how about what not to feed them? Here’s a list of things that can harm your horses if ingested.

A mber Marshall

— the Heartland star opens up about life, love, and horses!

This young Canadian actress has managed to thrive on and off screen for the past 13 years. Her secret? Create a life you love!



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S EASONAL TIPS Tips for bad weather horse training

Training and riding your horse in bad weather means keeping some important considerations in mind.



Product customization — the latest trend for riders!

As we head into 2021, product customization for horse and rider is becoming more popular than ever before. Here’s what to watch for on the shelves of your tack supply store.

26 32

G OLDEN YEARS Nourish your senior horse with acupressure

Performing gentle acupressure sessions on your senior horse can help enhance his spirit, strength, and longevity.

REWIND Winter hoof care and horse health Winter often means changes to your horsekeeping practices. These changes can have both positive and negative effects on your horse’s hoof quality — and on his overall health and well-being.



EWSWORTHY N ASPCA advises horse caretakers to prepare for disaster

Amid the ongoing pandemic, making disaster plans for your horses is more important than ever.

A behind-thescenes look at this glamorous equine profession!


Invitation and reward: a kinder way to train your horse

Take a look at why an “invitation and reward” approach to training is kinder — and more effective — than one that involves pressure and release.


N ATURAL SUPPLEMENTS Top 10 minerals for horses

This list of minerals and their benefits will help you gain a better understanding of your horse’s nutritional needs.



I NFOGRAPHIC Horse actors


EALING MODALITIES H Hands-on methods to improve your horse's mobility Try these simple do-ityourself approaches to enhancing mobility in your equine companion.



E MOTIONAL WELL-BEING Recognizing and managing equine emotional states for a more harmonious vet appointment

When horses feel understood, they are more at ease with handling. This model will help you understand the emotional needs of your horses during his next vet appointment.


IFESTYLE L Travel checklists for horse caretakers Planning a trip with your horse? These checklists will ensure everything is accounted for before your departure!


N EWSWORTHY New bill would ban doping horses on race day

Animal welfare advocates have been calling for federal regulations that ban the dangerous practice of doping horses on race day. This fall, the proposed bill was approved.


ELL-GROOMED W Why you shouldn’t neglect winter grooming Remember — brushing your horse isn’t just important in the warmer months! Here’s why you should establish a regular winter grooming routine.

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

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Giving thanks 2020 has been a wild ride! Even we equestrians who are adept at handling a little unpredictability will be extra glad when the ball drops this New Year’s Eve. But as we enter the holiday season, let’s not forget to make time to practice gratitude. The greatest challenges always have a way of bestowing the most beautiful gifts — and this time of year always reminds me of that.

behavior and emotional well-being. When it comes to physical health, page 16 offers a list of ingredients to avoid feeding your horse, while pages 26 through 33 offer some great insight on improving mobility. To lighten things up, we sat down with Amber Marshall, the star of the hit show Heartland, to chat about her life on and off set. You can find her story on page 40!

One thing I’m always thankful for is the merry band of humans and animals in my life. Whether two- or four-legged, my family and friends are always there to lend their loving support during times of personal and global crisis — something we all relied on more heavily this year. Aside from that, it’s the simple pleasures for which I’m most grateful — my pup’s wagging tail, homemade ginger snaps, the sweet smell of the soil after it rains. If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s to never take these things for granted.

Spread throughout this issue, you’ll also find articles on bad weather training, winter hoof care, and some holiday travel tips to guide you during these unprecedented times. There’s some great newsworthy content, too — so you can get up to speed on the horse-related goings-on in the world — and a fun holiday recipe you can share with your herd.

And last but certainly not least, I’m grateful for my health — the most fragile gift of all. In the age of masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing, “health-consciousness” is something we’re all embracing more than ever before, and it’s inevitable that this new normal will impact the way we care for our equine friends. We kept this in mind while putting together this issue of Equine Wellness. As always, it’s packed full of content designed to help you improve your horse’s quality of life! We start off with a brilliant article by Stephanie Sawtelle (page 10) that explores the connection between equine


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I hope you enjoy the simple pleasure of flipping through these pages, dear readers, and that 2021 brings you nothing but health, joy, and abundance. From all of us here at Equine Wellness — we’re grateful for you!

Stay well,

Emily Watson, Senior Content Editor

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“This birth expands the opportunity for genetic rescue of endangered wild species,” says Ryan Phelan, executive director of Revive & Restore. “Advanced reproductive technologies, including cloning, can save species by allowing us to restore genetic diversity that would have otherwise been lost to time.”

Photo courtesy of Scott Stine Photography

On August 6, the world’s first successfully cloned Przewalski’s horse was born in Texas at the veterinary facility of a ViaGen Equine collaborator, Timber Creek Veterinary. The foal, named Kurt, born to a domestic surrogate mother, is a clone of a male Przewalski’s horse whose DNA was cryopreserved 40 years ago at the San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG) Frozen Zoo®. He represents the first time this species has been cloned, and scientists indicate it could provide an important model for future conservation efforts. Kurt will be moved to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to be integrated into a breeding herd of his species once he is older. As he matures and successfully breeds, he can provide a valuable infusion of genetic diversity to the Przewalski’s horse population. zoo.sandiegozoo.org

STUDY EXPLORES RISK FACTORS OF COLIC A recent retrospective study published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal determined that a horse’s ability to survive colic may depend largely on which intestine the condition originates in. Among horses with colic that originated in the large intestine, 74% survived, compared to only 36% of horses with disease in the small intestine. The study, conducted at the Atlantic Veterinary College Teaching Hospital in Charlottetown, PEI, looked

at medical records from 575 horses (Standardbreds, Quarterhorses, Warmbloods, and Thoroughbreds) from 2000 to 2015. Half the horses in the study were mares, and the remainder were geldings and stallions. The most common diagnosis in the study was impaction colic (18% of cases), followed by twisting and abnormal location of the large colon. Less than one-quarter of cases had no clear diagnosis. This latter group of horses were much more likely to survive their bouts of colic (83%). Other findings: • Horses with severe clinical signs of colic were less likely to survive, emphasizing the importance of arranging a thorough veterinary examination as soon as a horse presents signs. • Older horses and those displaying colic for more than 12 hours were less likely to survive. • E ighteen horses with stomach ulcers presented with signs of colic. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339934011_Clinical_ findings_diagnoses_and_outcomes_of_horses_presented_for_ colic_to_a_referral_hospital_in_ Atlantic_Canada_2000-2015


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20-MILE TRAIL RIDE RAISES AWARENESS FOR VETERAN SUICIDE As COVID brings to light the importance of opening discussions about mental health and the need for more available resources, BraveHearts — the largest program in the nation using equine assisted activities and therapies for veterans — embarked on its fourth annual “Trail to Zero” ride in Kentucky and Illinois. The 20-mile trail rides bring the epidemic of veteran suicide to the forefront of national conversation — 20 veterans and active service members are lost to suicide daily — and educates veterans and citizens about the benefits of equine-assisted services as an alternative approach to healing. The Kentucky ride took place on September 25 at the Kentucky Horse Park and Spy Coast Farm. The Illinois ride was held on October 11 in Bull Valley, Illinois and was broadcast as a virtual hourlong program with live and recorded elements. Visit https://pages.donately.com/bravehearts/campaign/ trailtozerohero to get involved. To learn more, visit trailtozero.org.

EQUINE-BASED PROGRAMS OFFER NUMEROUS BENEFITS FOR VETERANS New Jersey-based Centenary University recently graduated its tenth class of Operation Centaur, an equine-based program for veterans of all ages. Operation Centaur is an approved program through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH). It provides innovative and recreational services and is comprised of classroom and ground activities, riding, and learning more about the horse and human relationship. Like other equine-based programs for veterans across the US and Canada, these services are offered at no cost to the veteran, and no experience with horses is necessary. Service men and women at Operation Centaur have reported numerous benefits including increased selfesteem, self-worth, trust in others, and community integration. They have also experienced a decrease in depression, anxiety, PTSD attacks, and self-harm thoughts. centenaryuniversity.edu

Recent Operation Centaur graduate 1SGT Chris Jaeger, a veteran with 28 years of service and a 2006 graduate of Centenary University, rides Chandler at the University’s Equestrian Center.

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The connection between

equine behavior and emotional health

Don’t ignore these common equine behaviors when you see them! More often than not, they indicate an underlying emotional state that can help you better understand your horse’s needs. Horses are largely nonverbal communicators. As such, we can observe the behaviors or body language of our equine companions in order to get a glimpse into their emotional states, gain important information, and decide how to manage and interact with them while prioritizing their well-being. In this article, we’ll cover some common but often misunderstood or overlooked behaviors, describe what those behaviors might look like, and what our horses may be telling us by communicating that way.

LICKING AND CHEWING At times, we’ll observe our horses’ mouths moving as if they are licking or chewing. This is a separate behavior not associated with actual eating or grazing. “Licking and chewing” is commonly associated with submission, relaxation, thinking, or processing. However, the actual cause of this behavior is, more simply, a shift in the horse’s nervous system. 10

Equine Wellness

By Stephanie Sawtelle

When a horse experiences excitement, fear, stress, threat, confusion, or other arousal that is sufficient to activate the fight or flight response, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in. One consequence of the sympathetic nervous system being activated is the cessation of salivation. In other words, the horse’s mouth goes dry. Once the situation that caused the shift in the nervous system resolves, the horse’s parasympathetic responses return, and the horse shifts from “fight or flight” to “rest and restore”. In this state, saliva returns to the mouth, and in response we notice the horse licking and chewing as a reflex. When noticing licking and chewing, acknowledge that your horse is experiencing a physiological shift, and realize it can be helpful to ask yourself some questions in order to gain useful information.

In hindsight, can you identify the situation or catalyst that shifted the horse into “fight or flight” in the first place? This can be tricky, as it may not have manifested as an obvious spook or bolt. Sometimes, a horse who is simply intently focused (head up, ears pricked, but without escalating to a spook or bolt) while assessing a novelty in his environment or a new situation, will exhibit licking and chewing as he is given time to adapt, adjust, or explore at a comfortable pace. How long does it take to notice licking and chewing after the initial disturbance to the horse’s system? Observing this can give you insight into how slowly or quickly your horse shifts out of a “reactive” mode and into a “responsive” mode. This can have huge implications for safety and success during training sessions! Horses can best learn, focus, and respond while not in fight or flight mode, so patience and timing are important in these situations.

CALMING SIGNALS These are a group of behaviors somewhat new to equine training and management conversations. They include, but are not limited to, partly-closed eyes, turning away the head, licking and chewing, yawning, lowering the head, indirect or cautious approach, ears to the side especially with a tense face, and a “shut down”, flat, or frozen demeanor. It’s important to use discernment with calming signals, and to remember to observe the horse as a whole. For example, eyes partly closed with regular slow breathing, relaxed face and posture may denote a relaxed or even sleepy horse. However, eyes partly closed with shallow breathing, shut down demeanor, and followed by a turning away of the head could very well be a calming signal. Calming signals may be the horse’s way of communicating to us or their equine companions that they are feeling

The root of misbehavior is very often a management or wellness issue. Equine Wellness


overwhelmed, overstimulated, or uncomfortable. What should you do when you notice a calming signal? Responding to these behaviors in a timely manner with such things as releasing pressure, simplifying interactions, or pausing with the intention to resume in a modified way once the calming signals have ceased, can help avoid conflicts, dangerous situations, and reactive behavior from our horses.

The three F’s — meeting your horse’s needs Caring for and managing horses as individuals and herds can be incredibly nuanced. However, a great place to start when assessing the origin of behavior issues, and whether or not your horse’s needs are being met, is learning about the three F’s of equine wellness. These are Freedom, Friends, and Forage, and are foundational pieces of equine physical and emotional wellness.

F reedom

The opportunity to move and behave naturally constitutes Freedom. Allow space and time for the horse to move at any gait, with access to important resources such as food, water, shelter, and herd mates.

F riends

An established and stable herd where horses can have physical contact and interactions with their friends is vital to their sense of well-being. It allows them to fulfill needs such as socializing, playing, mutual grooming, and sleeping under the watchful eye of a trusted herd mate.

F orage

A horse's physical and emotional health is dependent on continual access to good quality forage. Besides being

MISBEHAVIORS Granted, this is a huge category of behaviors, each with its own description and traditional solutions. But there are generalities to misbehaviors that are crucial to be aware of. First, it’s important to understand that a misbehavior is a human label. We are the ones who categorize behaviors as acceptable or unacceptable, and these are often categorized based on human values (safety, convenience, etc.). Biting, bolting, bucking, rearing, avoidance, cribbing, weaving, pawing, striking, spooking, and vocalizations are just some of the equine behaviors that may fall into the “misbehavior” category. Contrary to what some people may think, horses are not out to get us, pulling one over on us, or trying to dominate us. In reality, all equine behavior is communication and information related to the horse’s state of being. If we can see it as such, we have an opportunity to discern which of the horse’s needs aren’t being met that’s leading to the undesirable behavior. It can’t be stated enough that the root of misbehavior is very often a management or wellness issue. Addressing these behaviors solely as training issues is rarely a long term solution, and often the behavior (or some variation) will resurface at a later time. Many, if not all, of these misbehaviors have their origin in pain, anticipation of pain, discomfort, fear, or confusion. It’s also important to note that the vast majority of these misbehaviors start off as very subtle behaviors, such as calming signals! If we can learn to recognize the more subtle forms of communication from our horses, we can often prevent the difficult, challenging, and sometimes dangerous escalations that our horses must resort to when alerting us to what needs attention for them to feel safe and healthy. When it comes to equine behavior, stay curious, keep learning, and keep asking questions. An open mind, an ever-deepening awareness, and keen observational skills can make all the difference in our equine friends’ wellness!

crucial to digestive health, continuous foraging can prevent unwanted behaviors that stem from boredom. Be sure your horse does not have to compete with herd mates to access forage.


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

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BARN AND FARM By Nancy Easter White

considerations for planning

PADDOCK SHELTERS Paddock shelters come in all shapes and sizes — so how’s a horse caretaker to choose? Consider these three important factors when weighing the options.

Do horses really need paddock shelters? After all, they will often stand in weather that would have us running for cover, seemingly oblivious to any discomfort. You might plan and build the perfect run-in for your horses and find they almost never set foot in it. Nonetheless, it’s instinctive to want to provide cover for our equine dependents, and in many climates it’s extremely important. The following considerations will help you choose a paddock shelter that pleases your herd.


Location, Location, Location

The primary concern for run-in sheds is location. John Blackburn, founder of Blackburn Architects

Remember — the primary concern for horses is escape. If they can’t see out of a field structure to protect themselves, they are highly unlikely to use it. 14

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in Washington, DC, recommends placing a paddock shelter so the back is against your property’s typical winter wind pattern (usually north or northwest). “If you can, locate it on ‘higher’ ground; maybe on a hill or natural rise in the topography,” Blackburn notes. “As prey animals, horses will be more comfortable with an increased field of vision around them.” Situating the run-in on higher ground also allows you to easily see inside yourself, to check on the occupants without having to physically enter the space. There are a few additional

questions to consider. Where are the paddock shelters in relation to fence lines? Can two pastures share a double-sided shed? Answering these questions will help create highly versatile and budget-friendly sheds.


What size do you need?

How big should your paddock shelters be? To determine this, ask yourself how many horses will use

THE BENEFITS OF MINI-BARNS Want to take your run-in to the next level? The team at Blackburn Architects has designed run-ins to act as barns. They place them along the fence line with service through a back door that sits outside the paddock.

the shelter. Each horse should have about the size of a stall inside the structure to be comfortable — 12'x12' or larger. Because the dominant horse in the herd will often take over a space and push the others out, you can make run-ins too small, but rarely are they ever too large. Inside the shelter, swing gates can create the versatility of stalls for feeding, broodmare protection, or grooming.


Basic necessities

Another consideration is water access. Water troughs should be placed near the run-ins, but never so close that the dominant horse can push others away. Now, what about construction? In hot environments like Southern California or Florida, pasture sheds can have just a roof, offering overhead sun protection but little else. Alternatively, they can have two or three sides. The choice between two or three walls is up to you and your budget. An extended roof cantilevered over the front will offer sun and weather protection without

compromising a horse’s ability to see around the enclosure. While there is no need to make these sheds “fancy”, it’s nice to match the aesthetics — paint color, materials, etc. — with the rest of the farm. Blackburn recommends placing a slab under the building and using pressuretreated timbers along the base at the soil line. A pressure-treated frame, using 4'x4's or 6'x6's, especially near the ground, will help it last longer, and in the open environment of a field, off-gassing is not a concern. Screws are preferable to nails, for obvious reasons. And the floor can be dirt or stone dust. Rubber mats are not necessary and create another clean-up spot on the farm. Paddock shelters are probably the last structures you want to be worried about maintaining when so many other projects line up for attention at the barn. Some companies bring in economical pre-fab shelters on a flat-bed truck.

There is often room for hay and bedding storage on site, as well as equipment like muck rakes and a wheelbarrow. These small conveniences make cleaning and feeding so much more efficient.

If this is your preferred route, then consider creating a solid platform on a spot with good drainage. When thinking about paddock shelters, be sure to keep these considerations in mind. Ultimately, there are many “good” options — the key is to figure out what works for you and your herd! As with all aspects of farm planning, when you put a lot of thought into how a run-in will function, you will save yourself a lot of trouble and headaches over the lifetime of the facility.

A lifelong rider, Nancy Easter White works for equestrian master design firm, Blackburn Architects. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the Savannah College of Art & Design. Nancy is the author of The Majesty of Beaufort. She has written articles, white papers, and content for thousands of social media posts, blogs, and websites. Nancy loves being a part of designing healthy equestrian facilities that incorporate lots of natural light and ventilation.

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What to feed your horse By Marty Adams, PhD, PAS

We spend so much time researching what to feed our horses — but how about what not to feed them? Here’s a list of things that can harm your horses if ingested.

Did you know that dietary supplements, horse feeds, and forages may contain ingredients that are harmful to your horse? The risk is lowest for dietary supplements and commercially manufactured horse feeds, but increases for hay and pasture in which potentially harmful or toxic substances may be present. Here is a brief review of some common ingredients, plants, and other substances you should avoid feeding your horse. 16

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FEEDS AND SUPPLEMENTS — IT CAN’T HURT TO BE CAUTIOUS A tremendous number of dietary supplements are available for horses. And since there is no national organization that reviews or approves equine dietary supplements, some caution is advised. My recommendation is to purchase supplements from companies that have a quality assurance program and research-proven products. These supplements can usually be

safely given along with a commercial horse feed, if they’re provided at the recommended rates. The major concern is with dietary supplements that contain vitamins A and D. These are fat-soluble vitamins and are stored in the body tissues of the horse. Giving your horse a well-fortified feed along with a dietary supplement at higher than recommended rates of vitamins A and D could result in toxic levels over time, so carefully read and follow supplement directions.

Commercially manufactured horse feeds have a long history of safety. Harmful ingredients that could contaminate feed ingredients include mycotoxins and ionophores. • Mycotoxins are compounds that can develop in plants from molds that grow in them; they can have harmful effects on horses. Many companies have testing procedures for specific mycotoxins in feed ingredients delivered to their mills, as well as supplier agreements with those companies with specific quality parameters. Also, the Food and Drug Administration has guidelines for maximum allowable levels of certain mycotoxins in horse feeds. For the concerned horse caretaker, contact a feed representative or the feed company and ask about their procedures for ensuring safety from mycotoxin contamination in their manufactured horse feeds. • Ionophores are a class of antibiotics used as feed additives for cattle and poultry. They can cause harmful effects in horses eating ionophorecontaminated feed. Procedures to prevent ionophore contamination include computer-controlled sequencing of manufactured horse feeds, and medication-free feed mills. Check with your feed manufacturer and ask if they are HAACP (Hazard Analysis and

Critical Control Points) certified, which provides international human food and animal feed safety programs that provide training, testing. and inspection to reduce the risk of food safety hazards.

KEEPING FORAGE SAFE The most common way a horse can ingest harmful ingredients or toxic substances is through hay or pasture. Hay can contain mycotoxins as well as other harmful substances from insects, animals, and other plants. • Blister beetles: Poisoning occurs when horses eat alfalfa hay that contains these insects. Blister beetles contain a substance called cantharidin, which causes inflammation of the mouth, stomach, and intestines and may even result in death. Blister beetles with the greatest concentrations of cantharidin are found in the southern and western United States, so alfalfa hay purchased there has a higher risk of causing harmful symptoms. • Botulism: Round bales in contact with decayed plant or animal matter can be a source of botulism poisoning from the bacteria Clostridium botulin. Botulism is a highly fatal neurologic disease for the horse. There is an equine botulism vaccine and antitoxin available for prevention and treatment. • Foxtail: Mouth ulcers can occur when horses consume hay contaminated with the foxtail plant. Its prickly seed heads can

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less likely

Well-fed horses are to plants, which are consume typically not very palatable.


Buttercup Horse nettle Pokeweed Jimsonweed Poison hemlock

become embedded in the horse’s lips, tongue, and gums and can produce blister-like sores and severe ulcerations.

Locoweed Oleander TREES/SHRUBS Wild cherry Red maple Black walnut Japanese yew Rhododendrons Azaleas Branching ivy Evergreens, including privet hedges

Other common plants and weeds that are harmful to horses may grow in pastures or near fence lines. Additionally, leaves from certain trees or bushes can have toxic effects, and lightning strikes or trimming can result in branches and leaves falling into the pasture (see sidebar at left).

HOW TO KEEP YOUR HORSE SAFE So what can you do to prevent feeding harmful substances to your horse? First of all, carefully follow feeding directions for feeds and supplements, and avoid giving him supplements at higher than the recommended rates. Find a feed manufacturer that is HAACP-certified to assure maximum feed safety, and purchase hay from a dealer or source that has a reputation for good quality and safety. Daily inspection of your horse’s feed and hay are important; if the look or smell is different, or the hay is moldy or especially dusty, don’t feed it! Well-fed horses are less likely to consume toxic plants, which


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are typically not very palatable. Maintain your pasture with soil testing and fertilizer treatment at least every three years. Use herbicides to remove potentially harmful weeds from pasture. Local university extension agents and professional agronomists can provide information on fertilizer testing, weed identification, and pasture management. Observe your horses daily and walk the pasture on at least a weekly basis. Use the internet to find toxic plant guides, and observe your pasture, fence rows, areas around the barn, and exercise pens or arenas for toxic plants. Preventing horses from ingesting harmful substances isn’t always possible. But by heeding these guidelines, you can greatly reduce the risks!

Dr. Marty Adams is a technical services equine nutritionist for Cargill Animal Feed and Nutrition. Cargill owns and manufactures Nutrena Horse Feeds, including SafeChoice, ProForce, Empower, and Triumph brands, as well as Legends, ProElite, and Progressive Nutrition horse feeds and supplements. Dr. Adams was formerly equine nutritionist for Southern States Cooperative. He also served as an assistant/associate professor at Louisiana Tech University after graduate school, and was the equine nutritionist for Seminole Feed before taking the position at Southern States. Dr. Adams has two BS degrees from Missouri State University, MS and PhD degrees from the University of Missouri (Animal Science/ Equine Specialty) and an ARPAS Equine (American Registry of Professional Animal Science) certification.

By Annette Kaitinis

Rehabbing a laminitic horse



In the past, a severe case of laminitis meant the end of the road for a horse. The conventional treatment of confinement, reverse shoes and pads, drugs such as Bute, and specific commercial processed feed (usually high in sugar) have proven to be expensive and often unsuccessful. Today, we’ve learned that many laminitic horses can return to soundness if their caretakers follow a natural rehabbing treatment plan. This plan includes a proper natural barefoot trim, changes in diet, and placing horses in an environment that encourages movement.


BAREFOOT TRIM A proper barefoot trim by a barefoot farrier/trimmer is crucial, as a hoof that’s unencumbered by shoes is more adaptable to treatment. Depending on the circumstances, a horse may need to be trimmed every week, or every few weeks during an acute phase of laminitis. Once the horse is in the

recovery phase, a trimming cycle of around four weeks is optimal. DIET The nutritional requirements of a laminitic horse are higher and often very specific. Laminitic horses need a high fiber, low carb, and low sugar diet. They need 24/7 access to free choice, high quality grass hay, or low protein hay fed through small hole hay nets and placed in various areas around the paddock to encourage movement. Antioxidants need to be added to the diet with free choice minerals, and vitamin and mineral supplements. Essential fatty acids such as flax seeds and hemp oil can be included. Nutritional herbs with anti-inflammatory qualities will aid digestion, cleanse the body, and promote healthy circulation and tissue growth. These include aloe vera, chamomile, dandelion root, St Mary’s thistle seed, Echinacea, hawthorn, white willow bark, celery seed, devil’s claw, rose hip, and garlic. ENVIRONMENT Do not confine laminitic horses no matter how much pain they are in. Horses need to move and exercise to improve circulation and metabolize nutrients to their toxic and damaged hoof tissues. A laminitic horse should be kept in a stress-free environment with minimal grass and soft terrain, allowing freedom to roam and move.

A Paddock Paradise track system can help promote further movement. Metabolic horses with laminitis need exercise to regulate their blood sugar levels to assist in recovery. Once the hooves have regained a sound shape, the horse can transition slowly back to a small amount of grass each day for a few hours. If the grass is dry, the time can be gradually increased. BOOTS AND PADS So long as the hoof wall is not too distorted, you can use pads and boots to relieve pain and encourage movement in all stages of laminitis.

CONCLUSION When treating laminitis naturally, it is important that each case be approached individually. With natural management and treatment, a laminitic horse should shed and regrow a new hoof wall. The pedal bone (coffin bone) will reinstall back into the hoof capsule and the sole will repair. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your horse has laminitis — the earlier you can apply a natural treatment plan, the better chance of full recovery! 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.

Equine Wellness



By April Reeves




Training and riding your horse in the winter means keeping some important considerations in mind.

Winter training is a reality for many of us, and not everyone has access to a heated arena. But don’t fret — in snowy, icy climates where the temperature drops into the subzero range, there are still ways to continue your horse’s education and exercise routine.

FOOTING CONDITIONS Check outdoor spaces before use It’s difficult to judge what lies under snow, so be sure to check outdoor areas thoroughly before using them, and be wary on trails. Hard-packed uneven snow that’s been freshly covered spells trouble. Scraping snow from a riding area is a good idea, as long as you have space to pile it. Snow piles can harden 20

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Watch out for mud

severe damage (radial nerve paralysis), whereas north-south splits can cause extensive tendon/ligament damage, big vet bills, and a long recovery. Splitting hind legs can cause muscle and hip injuries.

In cold, wet regions such as northern coastlines, mud is a big concern for leg injuries. If you can, designate multiple training areas and use them on a rotational basis so they don’t become too rutted. If possible, skip training on really wet days.

Horses can also slip and fall on ice. This can lead to a number of issues, from minor bruising to possible fracture (shoulder/hip). Regardless of what injuries are sustained, a heavy horse hitting the frozen ground hurts!

Keep an eye out for black ice

Protect his hooves

Training your horse on icy ground can lead to leg splitting — when the horse’s legs separate too far in a certain direction. In the front legs, east-west splits can cause mild to

Landing too hard on solid ground can result in hoof bruising or fractures (coffin bone). Hoof boots can help prevent this, and pour-in pads are becoming increasingly popular. Consult

into icy mounds that stay all winter — especially in freeze-thaw conditions — so be sure not to scrape them into high-traffic areas like paddocks.

with your farrier to determine which option is best for you and your horse. To protect your horse from getting snowballs, trim regularly. It helps keep snow from packing into hard balls that cause slight to severe rotation, depending on how and where you ride. Snowballing is a serious issue that can result in ringbone.

YOUR HORSE’S CONDITION Aim for longer rides If you normally ride for 45 minutes in good weather, do your best to double it in cold weather. The colder the temperature, the longer your horse will take to warm up. Start by lunging him, and then proceed to a slow walk once you’re in the saddle. If you want to increase the intensity, wait until the latter half of your ride.

Adjust your speed Winter is a good time to review numerous walk exercises. It’s still good exercise, and allows you to ride in slightly colder temperatures without fear of damaging lungs. Use this time to improve gaits and aids, perfect turns, and practice short transitions, bending and more. You can also focus more on in-hand work, as it challenges a horse mentally

and provides a high level of fitness, balance, and cadence without the high sweat factor. In-hand training switches to more of a mental exercise than a physical “workout”, and can offer a level of connection and obedience often missed under saddle.

Try interval training Instead of working a horse hard and long, shorten your sessions and go for an “interval” style of training. This involves pushing the horse for short bursts, then moving slowly for longer periods. This style of training has its merits in any weather.

To sweat or not to sweat? Sweating a horse in the winter should be kept to a minimum unless your grooming is done in a reasonably warm facility. The horse must be completely dry before returning to the outside. Clipped horses dry faster but are more exposed to cold, so if you go for a long walk you may choose to use a special blanket for kidney warmth — it fits behind the saddle to the hip.

Try to dry the coat out fully after exercising your horse, but be careful not to groom all the dirt and natural oils out, as this provides protection!

Stick close to home Most people won’t trailer horses in temperatures colder than 14°F (-10°C). If your new training regime consists of a lot of hauling, take the time to cool properly and bring appropriate blankets. Try not to haul horses in stock trailers in the winter.

Watch for warning signs Winding a horse at any time is questionable, but in freezing temperatures cold can damage lung tissue. Horses that shiver after a ride or during trailering also need special attention. Implementing a safe winter exercise routine will ensure your horse hits the ground running once spring returns! By taking a few extra precautions, making warm-ups a priority, and using the opportunity to learn additional skills, you can make winter training a huge success.

Adjust your grooming routine Horses have special post-workout grooming requirements in the winter. Their coats consist of a shorter downlike insulating hair layer that utilizes dust and dirt particles to increase heat.

April Reeves began teaching in 1971. Today, she owns Horseman’s Park Alberta where she teaches clinics and private lessons to students in western Canada. She also lectures, writes, shows and breeds warmbloods and quarter horses. She is a multi-discipline rider and CHA Level 3 instructor for English, Western, and Jumping.

Equine Wellness



As we head into 2021, product customization for horse and rider is becoming more popular than ever before. Here’s what to watch for on the shelves of your tack supply store.

By Victoria Stoncius

PRODUCT CUSTOMIZATION – the latest trend for riders! As a tack shop owner, I have the opportunity to see many products before they become available to the public. Some trends do very well, while others quietly fade away. One trend recently predominating in the marketplace is product customization to suit every horse and rider. Let’s take a look at some of the hottest items available, and why they’re all the rage! 22

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STIRRUP IRONS Stirrup irons are an essential piece of riding equipment. Recently, we have begun to see many new designs and colors appear in the market space. Function and design Stirrup iron designs have evolved to allow riders with injuries or disabilities to ride nearly pain-free.

These designs help bring a rider peace of mind, whether they’re clearing a jumping course or out on a hack with friends. • Wide, textured/cheese grater foot beds are great for extra support, security, and stability. • Jointed/flex irons help riders who need the flexibility for their ankles or knees. • Angled foot beds help riders keep their heels down, have a quiet leg, help with body position, and reduce stress on joints. • Offset/adjustable eye stirrup irons reduce the amount of twisting and fighting the rider may experience with their leathers and iron. It may also help some riders when mounting their horses. • Safety stirrups can give the rider peace of mind, and prevent dangerous situations from occurring. Aesthetics Stirrup irons used to be utilitarian — plain functional silver irons. Today, colors and materials provide endless possibilities to customize your style. Stirrup irons can be made from stainless steel, brass, aluminum, carbon fiber, or plastic. It is now also common for stirrup irons to be anodized or plated with aurigan, rose gold, or other flashy coatings. On top of the new colors and materials, we have also seen stirrup irons that feature a “rearing horse” or Swarovski crystals on the outside branch.

BRIDLES When you think of buying a new bridle, two things come to mind: comfort and design. These features are now more of a focus than ever! 1. Comfort (padding, noseband type, etc.) Increasing demand for more comfortable bridles has been occurring ever since the popular “Micklem” style became available. Bridle manufacturers are now offering bridles with comfort crank cavessons, micklem variation nosebands, and a mix of regular cavessons and figure eights.

to the abundant choices of leather colors, buckle materials, and browband styles available today. Other fun design features include:

Many bridle designs now also provide nerve and pressure point relief through wider and thicker padded crown pieces, buckle guards, and anatomic cut-outs — especially for the ears.

•C olored padding on your bridle other than traditional white

All these designs have the horse’s comfort in mind to provide the best riding experience possible for both horse and rider.

• Curved leather browbands

2. Design (color, bling, etc.) Matching your bridle to your tack and riding outfit is a fun way to customize your look in the arena or show ring. This can be easily accomplished thanks

•S warovski crystals in the browband and noseband

• Chain browbands with crystals • Gunmetal or brass buckles • Bridle charms •B iothane or synthetic materials instead of leather.

BREECHES AND JODHPURS Long gone are the days of stuffy and uncomfortable riding breeches and jodhpurs. They are still required for certain types of showing, but there are now many other “relaxed” options available. In your local tack shop, you might have noticed that the variety of breeches/jodhpurs has increased. Specifically, you will find more styles of riding tights. Riding tights are great in the summertime for hot weather, and allow the rider freedom of Equine Wellness


OTHER MUST-HAVE PRODUCTS Tech Venice Sloped Security Stirrup Irons

Karlslund Icelandic Breeches

Kieffer Sue Snaff le Bridle

Magic Brushes Waldhausen Wembley Vaulting Surcingle Catago Faux Fur Dressage Boots movement due to their stretchy nature. Tights can not only be worn at the barn, but they create an athletic look which works well in any setting. Silicone grip has become increasingly popular for all riding age groups. Some styles have cute little silicone horses or logos as grip, while others have more aggressive silicone designed to really keep you in the saddle. These breeches are great for offering more security in the saddle, and can also double as a fashion statement!

THERAPEUTIC EQUIPMENT Therapeutic equipment can be a very useful tool for the horse and rider. Athletic injuries or weaknesses need to be addressed and attended to properly. Over the last number of years, an increasing number of brands are producing therapeutic products such as saddle pads, boots, 24

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blankets, crown covers, tail wraps, and other products designed to improve a horse and rider’s physical wellness. Regardless of the type of therapeutic product, they all have a common goal: • Increase circulation • Ease muscle tension and stiffness • Aid in injury prevention • Reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Woof Wear Mud Fever Turnout Boots Common types of therapeutic products range from light therapy, ceramic or copper fibers woven in materials, and cooling and heating products, to other therapies that promote FIR (far infared waves). Given the wide variety of these products that are now available, it’s easier than ever to find options that suit the needs of you and your horse. Just keep in mind that all therapeutic equipment has a time and place and should not replace the opinion of a professional such as a vet or farrier. After overcoming the challenges of 2020, we all deserve some new riding gear. Whether you’re looking to treat yourself, or shopping for holiday gifts for the horse lovers in your life, embrace the trend of product customization as we head into the New Year!

Victoria Stoncius is the owner of Eaglewood Equestrian Supplies. She has a very extensive horse background, riding and training horses in disciplines including Gaited, Western Pleasure, Hunter, and Dressage. Victoria also holds a FEIF Trainer/Instructor Level 1 for Icelandic Horses, and has competed at the Icelandic Horse World Championships for Team Canada in 2009, 2013, 2015, and 2019 in various European countries.


Bilberry By Melanie Falls

(Vaccinium myrtillus)

Bilberry is a very tasty cousin of the blueberry. It can improve your horse’s eyesight, and also provide awesome antioxidant support for his overall immune health.

The bilberry is a very hardy small shrub that’s closely related to the blueberry. Both the berries and leaves can be used for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support in both humans and horses. Compounds called anthocyanosides found in the plant strengthen blood vessels, increase blood flow and oxygen to the eye, and help the retina adjust between light and dark. Additionally, the berry is high in vitamins C and A, both very efficient antioxidants that help reduce inflammation in the body. Vitamin C also assists in the production of collagen, which helps strengthen soft tissues and blood vessels. The berries of this plant can be eaten directly, and the dried leaves and berries may be made into a tea. Bilberry jam is very popular

in Europe, with a taste somewhat similar to huckleberry.

Common uses for the horse Bilberry is a common ingredient in herbal eye support supplements for horses. Because the equine retina is particularly sensitive to oxidative stress, this antioxidant-rich plant is popular for keeping equine eye health in top shape. Horses prone to uveitis, squamous cell carcinoma, and other common eye diseases are sometimes recommended to be supplemented with bilberry. Additionally, as a horse ages, she is exposed to more oxidative stress and could benefit from the antioxidant boost provided by the vitamin A and C content in bilberry. You can dry the leaves and berries and top dress on horse feed, or brew a tea to mix into the feed.

Home grown Bilberry grows well in North America. The shrub prefers welldrained, acidic soil, and should only be watered when the soil is dry. It prefers to be pruned after harvest time. If your region is cold, plant bilberry in full sun; if hot, plant in the shade. The berries are ready to harvest in late summer when they are darkest in color; they only ripen on the bush, so do not harvest early.

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, info@wholeequine.com).

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Hands-on methods to improve your horse's mobility By Dustin S. Coren, DVM

Try thes your equine companion. e si m bility in o ple do-i m g n i c n t-yourself approaches to enha

As specialists in equine performance medicine, we have observed — case after case and in all disciplines — a critical factor that significantly influences a horse’s mobility. That factor is how dedicated the caretaker/ rider/trainer is to making and maintaining improvement. No matter how many specialists are involved (sports medicine vets, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, etc.), the best outcome always relies on a dedicated caregiver taking an active daily role. In this article, we will discuss approaches you can add to your repertoire to maintain your horse’s suppleness, enhance her 26

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mobility, and ultimately increase performance and athletic longevity.

ASSESS YOUR HORSE’S IMMOBILITY Use your senses When attempting to increase mobility in a horse, it is first essential to understand what is restricted. We very often hear complaints that are general in nature: “My horse does not bend in one direction”; “My horse bulges out through the turn”; “My horse does not engage her hind end”. When considering biomechanics, any one of these complaints can have a

multitude of underlying origins and compensatory factors. Often, what we see from the ground or feel in the tack is the sum of a vast equation. Use palpation Ultimately, any pain or excess tension in any tissue will negatively impact a horse’s mobility. To get to the root of a given issue, it is invaluable for any horse person to practice palpation; not only to localize discomfort and restriction, but also to assess how your horse is progressing through therapy. Whether applying liniment or implementing stretching, kinesiology taping, or fascial massage, palpation is your guide.

Important considerations It is highly recommended that do-it-yourself bodywork techniques,

When learning to palpate, be mindful of your contact and avoid making it offensive. Introduce what you are doing slowly, so you do not confuse, startle, or cause the horse anxiety. Before worrying about interpreting what you feel through your fingertips, focus on an approach that builds trust and respect. Though horses are robust creatures capable of withstanding significant pressure applied by the human hand, palpation should be introduced in a manner that does not elicit a negative reaction. All contact should begin lightly while maintaining positive and soothing verbal communication. Avoid poking with the tip of one finger; rather, use the tips of several fingers to gently contact an area and then slowly increase the downward pressure. A relaxed muscle should have a medium density if well-toned, and should deform under pressure without any sudden contraction. Flinching or tensing can be due to surprise, so all reactions should be verified through repetition with the same style of contact. Moving away from pressure, either locally or globally, is a sign of acute or active pain. Extreme firmness without

including basic stretches, be introduced slowly to avoid causing pain and resistance, especially for tight horses. Do not attempt a stretch you feel your horse would be violently opposed to, or that you are not strong enough to achieve — the risks far outweigh the reward.

notable discomfort is an indicator of chronic misuse and tension.

human fitness activity also applies to the horse.

As you learn your horse’s body from a fingertip perspective, subtle changes will begin to stand out. While interpreting these observations takes time to understand, the training of your own sensitivity is an invaluable tool that will serve you and your horse for the long term. And if you happen to already enlist the services of a bodywork specialist, it is highly advisable that you ask them to demonstrate to you the areas that feel tight, sore, or abnormal so you can gain from their experience.

The neck and back Easiest to begin with are the neck and barrel stretches commonly referred to as “carrot stretches”. The name refers to the best method of incentivizing your horse to participate in a series of motions that can be physically difficult and uncomfortable to achieve, but ultimately worthwhile to his health. While the carrot is ideal for protecting your fingers from getting chomped, due to its length, any treat your horse is particularly fond of will serve the purpose.


It may sound overly basic, but there is no getting around it — all athletes need to stretch! And the sport horse is most definitely an athlete. His body is comprised of all the same muscles, bones, and connective tissues as our own, so it should be easy to see that this essential component of every

Application of Kinesio tape for mid neck tension.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Cole.

Demonstration of proper fingertip contact for palpation of the topline.

When asking your horse to perform bends to the various locations in this stretching regimen, the most important element is not whether he reaches the desired location with his lips, but how he gets there. Horses are notorious cheaters, and when it comes to pain versus treat drive, they may not be able to resist the desire for sugary snacks and will

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Once you have felt for rigid and inflamed tissue via palpation, and engaged your horse’s body in the various motions covered in this article, patterns of restriction will become evident. For some horses, you will see global tension with stiffness equal in every direction, or a general resistance to participate. For others, you will observe asymmetry in the horse’s form, willingness, and/or range

find the path of least resistance or briefest discomfort. This runs entirely counter to the principles of good stretching. Think of any part of your own body you have stretched when tight or sore; the goal is never to fling, bounce, or contort to an arbitrary location. When asked to “touch your toes” as a low back and hamstring stretch, it clearly does not count if you bend your knees, nor is it beneficial to you if you throw all your effort into one rapid plunge, graze your toes, and fly back up to vertical.

of motion when comparing the anatomy of one side of the body to the other. Combining these results with the assessments of your horse’s body work professionals will highlight specific areas of increased myofascial tension (the combined system of the muscles and their associated connective tissues). It is now time to use these results as a roadmap for directing the application of myofascial therapy (including manipulation/massage, Kinesio tape, liniment rubs, ice/ heat/magnetic treatments) to aid in reducing tension, relieving pain, and ultimately restoring lost suppleness. In time, this will lead to the preservation of bone and joint health by reducing traumatic concussion resulting from inelasticity. At the simplest level, myofascial therapy begins by interacting with areas that are tight or painful as well as their immediate upstream and downstream connections within the body. To address a variety of performance-robbing issues, manipulation is used with different strokes (varying in frequency, direction, and intensity) applied with hands, tools, or even a curry brush.


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A stretch should be taken slowly along the proper anatomical path to the point of tension, and then leaned into for several seconds to elicit lengthening of the restricted tissues before slowly returning to neutral. In the case of stretching a horse’s neck and back, common mistakes include allowing the horse to rotate at the poll rather than bend through the cervical spine, or frantically lunge through the motion to get the treat and rapidly return. For each bending position of the carrot stretch (to the wither, to the shoulder, to the knee, to the chest, and to the stifle) watch for the location along the bend at which your horse begins to struggle Proper head position for lateral carrot stretch.

and deviate from the proper path. Return him to this point and hold for several seconds, ask him to increase the bend a slight degree further, then release. Over time, these incremental gains will add up to a significant increase in mobility. The most important areas to address with stretching for ultimate horse mobility can be simplified to the neck, the shoulder/wither, the back, and the hind limbs. The low back and pelvis This next technique deals primarily with engagement of the topline rather than its ability to bend laterally. By asking your horse to lift her topline and flex her pelvis, you are achieving numerous benefits, such as opening the intervertebral spaces of the thoracic and lumbar spine, strengthening the core muscles of the lower abdomen and hind limbs, and stretching the topline epaxial muscles. We refer to this technique as the “butt tuck”, and it is achieved by tracing with light to deep pressure from alongside the horse’s sacrum (croup) toward the hip joint in the belly of the gluteal muscle. Both sides must be contacted Improper neck bend with poll compensation.

Bottom left photo courtesy of Katie Bogaert. Bottom right photo courtesy of Sarah Cole.

Enhance his mobility: beyond stretching

Demonstration of fascial blading technique for back pain.

simultaneously, though it may require different levels of pressure applied by each hand to direct the horse to engage her hind end squarely with equal effort from both hind limbs. If your horse is flexing to one side rather than engaging the spine upward, increase pressure with the hand that the haunches are moving toward, and/ or reposition the stance of the hind limbs until both are extending equally upward. When done slowly and held at the peak of contraction, this motion becomes an isometric exercise that both enhances the suppleness of the low back and strengthens the core.  The shoulder and hind limbs While mobilizing these two areas is of immense structural benefit, it must be approached with extreme caution. Even horses that are willing and responsive to these stretches can pose serious risks to your safety. Due to the advanced nature of these techniques, it is advised that you seek more in-depth training and/or direct supervision before attempting them. By incorporating these techniques, with minimal introduction, dedicated caretakers could easily equip themselves with a powerful toolset to extend and enhance the benefits of any bodywork provided to their horses. Understanding where restrictions in mobility are rooted within your horse’s body opens up a wide realm of treatment options, and close monitoring focuses your efforts on those that have the greatest positive effect.  Visit equalign.com for further info and courses.

Dr. Dustin Coren is the co-founder of Equalign, an integrative sports medicine practice specializing in equine and equestrian alignment and education. He received his BS in cellular biology from Cornell University in 2006, and his DVM from the University of Illinois in 2013. Dr. Coren further pursued his career in integrative medicine, completing the basic and advanced equine acupuncture courses at the Chi Institute. He currently operates an ambulatory performance and wellness practice and is working to establish an equine rehabilitation center in central New York.

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Product Picks Durable doors for your barn

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your senior horse with

ACUPRESSURE Performing gentle acupressure sessions on your senior horse can help enhance his spirit, strength, and longevity.

By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis The more time that passes, the dearer our senior horses become. We share many good times and a few hardships with these equines, growing closer to them through each new experience. So when their beautiful bones become more visible, the hairs around their muzzle turn gray, and they develop a hitch in their step — it’s not easy for us to watch. But while a senior horse often loses his status in a herd, and might not be able to sail over jumps with as much ease, he can still thrive well into his golden years! As long as he’s still here, there are steps you can take to maximize his quality of life — including acupressure. 32

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SUPPORTING HIS SPIRIT The more you can support your senior horse during this period of his life, the longer you will have him to love. Chinese medicine offers caring, gentle methods of nourishing your senior horse’s spirit, strength, and longevity. By promoting the harmonious flow of chi, blood, and other vital substances within the horse’s body, you can help him through these latter years in comfort. Specific acupressure points, called “acupoints”, address and enhance the spirit as your aging horse adjusts to his changing status within the herd. Helping our horses

live healthfully and comfortably as they age is the goal, and there are acupoints to help accomplish this. According to Chinese medicine, emotions impact the horse’s entire being. The ancient Chinese saying, “The spirit is housed in the heart and revealed in the eyes,” couldn’t be truer for horses. When we see a horse with dull, absent-looking eyes, we know he is suffering. An aging horse is bound to lose status in the herd, and is bound to experience a wide variety of emotions during the adjustment period — from fear and anxiety to resignation and

LI 4 Found below and medial to the head of the medial splint bone. Ht 7 Found on the caudolateral aspect of accessory carpal bone. Liv 3 On the craniodistal aspect of the cannon bone at the level of the head of the medial splint bone. Bai Hui On the dorsal midline at the lumbosacral space.

St 36 Found one finger-breadth lateral to the tibial crest on the lateral side of the tibia. Sp 6 Located 3" above the tip of the medial malleolus, caudal to the tibial border, about ½" in back of the saphenous vein. Sp 21 At the level of the shoulder joint in the 10th intercostal space. CV 12 Found on the ventral midline halfway between the diploid process and the umbilicus.

withdrawal. Offer your senior an acupressure session that can help calm and nourish his spirit, and clear his mind. (See Nourishing Spirit Acupressure chart above left.) STRENGTHENING MUSCLES Muscle tone and mass decrease with age; that’s the way it is. However, there are acupoints that enhance the circulation of energy and nourishing blood to the horse’s muscles, helping to sustain and build strength even as he ages. Two actions must occur to accomplish this. First, the horse’s digestive system must be able to break down the ingested forage into bioavailable nutrients; and second, the horse’s vascular system must be able to circulate nutrient-rich blood to the muscles. When stimulated, the acupoints indicated in the Nourishing Muscles Acupressure chart (above right) help strengthen muscles and sustain muscle tone, while also supporting digestion and blood circulation. EQUINE LONGEVITY Living a long time is one thing. Living a long time in good health is another. We all wish for our senior horses to live long and well. Chinese medicine is known for its attention to longevity. Ancient Chinese doctors knew that longevity is dependent on a robust flow of life-promoting energy (chi), blood, and the circulation and balance of all the vital substances needed to nourish the body. This is a tall order, but acupoints known to enhance longevity have been used for thousands of years. (See Acupressure for Equine Longevity Chart bottom right.)

Lu 9 Found in the middle of the medial aspect of the foreleg between the first and second row of carpal bones. Ht 7 Found on the caudolateral aspect of accessory carpal bone. Ki 3 Found in depression between the medial malleolus of the tibia and the calcanea tuber, at the skinniest part of the hock. Ki 27 Located between the sternum and the first rib, 2" lateral to the ventral midl.

Between current conventional medicine and ancient Chinese medicine, we have the opportunity to enjoy our senior horses longer than ever before. These elders have nourished our lives, so it feels good to offer them acupressure sessions that help them feel their best. In many ways, our caring nourishes us both. Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of ACU-HORSE: A Guide to Equine Acupressure, ACUDOG: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and ACU-CAT: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Resources offering books, manuals, DVDs, apps, meridian charts (303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com).

Equine Wellness


REWIND Winter will soon be here, and with it comes snow, mud and cold. All these factors pose challenges to good hoof care and your horse’s general wellbeing. But even more challenging is the additional stall confinement many horses experience during inclement weather. Many barns and owners limit winter turnout because of ice, snow, or cold temperatures, and that poses a different set of concerns for your horse’s feet and overall health.


Winter HOOF CARE and horse health By Sherri Pennanen

Horses accustomed to ample turnout do what they do best when outside — they graze and move freely over the paddock or pasture. If you were to count the number of steps your horse takes in an eight- or ten-hour day outside, it would probably surprise you. The bigger the area for turnout, the more steps he will take. Horses in the wild can cover many miles in a single day. Most domestic horses live in smaller areas and have planted pastures and supplied hay. But they will still follow their instincts and move around as freely as the area permits. Once confined to a stall for hours at a time, however, this nomadic tendency is squelched and the horse is left to stand in one place for long periods. The potential effects of this immobility can be staggering. You may notice swelling in his legs. You may also notice that the natural wear you typically see on his hooves is not taking place. And too much stall time can cause other problems as well.

The onset of winter often means changes to your horsekeeping practices. These changes can have both positive and negative effects on your horse’s hoof quality — and on his overall health and well-being. 34

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Meanwhile, those dark damp areas in barn corners become breeding Stalls that are not thoroughly cleaned grounds for worms. Many people generate additional hazards for a don’t deworm frequently when their horse’s feet, as well as his general horses are inside because they think health and well-being. Standing they won’t be in damp bedding outside gathering promotes thrush parasites. But in and abscess Our horses are fact, the worms formation as well are growing built to be as other maladies. close by. Bedding that all-weather contains manure machines. When or urine can take Mental tolerance we tamper, they a toll on hoof wall is another integrity and lead consideration in lose some of to an invasion of the stall-bound their talents, bacteria into the horse. Bored natural defenses, hoof structures. horses can be and abilities. Little moisture is destructive. available for the They can chew, hooves when the rub, paw, and horse is kept inside, so they soak up roughhouse trying to escape. They all the moisture they can — and if may take to weaving or eating that moisture is in the form of urine, furnishings. They may crib and the result is surely less than optimal. wind suck. Escape tactics can also Indoor arenas are also generally dry, be mastered when the motivation so there is no help to be had there. to relieve boredom is high.

Continued on page 36.

Winter TRIMMING is necessary You may have heard that hooves don’t grow as much in the winter so trims are not important. But remember that good hoof balance is always “in season”, so regular appointments with the farrier are still essential. Hoof growth is constant, and while the rate varies from time to time for many reasons, hooves don’t just stop growing. The more the horse moves, the more his hooves will grow. Your farrier can also check for any signs of thrush or abscessing, and can detect any problems that may be developing from too much stall time. Balanced barefoot trims also limit “snowballs” from building up in your horse’s feet, and help him enjoy the winter the way a good pair of boots helps you. The snow (and yes, even winter mud) can provide essential moisture for the hoof, and regular turnout where he can move freely is the best option.

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Photos courtesy of Chelsea Farace.

Continued from page 35. Even if you often ride or in the snow. Horses enjoy the routinely work with your horse cooler temperatures. We have during the winter, his constant all seen pictures of playful horses desire to move and graze and dodging and diving in the snow roll is put on hold when poor with the wind in their manes weather takes away his outdoor and tails. Horses rarely require play. This can result the blankets in weight gain, and we so love to not in a good way. adorn them Bedding that His muscle tone and with, and as topline can suffer. we have talked contains He may develop about in other manure or more fat, but the articles, blankets urine can take lack of work will can actually a toll on hoof make him sluggish make a horse and he will sport feel colder. Our wall integrity less muscle. His horses are built and lead to metabolism will to be all-weather an invasion change and he machines. When may even be more we tamper, of bacteria prone to maladies they lose some into the hoof like colic because of their talents, structures. his GI tract is not natural defenses, accustomed to so and abilities. much time spent If you are searching for the standing still. Think how perfect boarding facility, don’t you would feel if you were forget to ask about winter confined to a small powder turnout. If all else fails, snowy room all day! playtimes on a lead line are just BEATING THE what the doctor ordered for stallWINTER BLUES bound horses. The more your So what is a horse owner to horse can move and run and play do? Ask for turnout! Take your during the winter, the better horse for long snowy walks and — not just for his feet, but for his rides — let him play and roll overall health and happiness.

Sherri Pennanen of Better Be Barefoot is a veteran natural trim farrier serving western New York and southern Ontario. She offers balanced barefoot trims, lameness evaluations, and holistic/rehabilitation services on her farm (betterbebarefoot.com).


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Sometimes hay just isn’t enough. Here’s how equine supplements can help horses get the nutrients they need to thrive.

By Clair Thunes, MS, PhD

The majority of the horse’s digestive tract is dedicated to the microbial fermentation of forage. Therefore, the majority of his daily feed intake should consist of forage. Forage comes in many forms, from pasture to hay pellets to hydroponic fodder. At some point during the year, regardless of where you live, you will likely have to supplement your horse’s diet with a forage source other than pasture. Traditionally, this supplemental forage is in the form of hay. Hay is thought of as a bulk commodity, and is commonly regarded as low in nutritional value. The truth is that good quality hay can provide a horse with the majority of his nutritional needs. Many horses can derive adequate calories and protein from hay, as well as many of their macro-mineral needs (calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and potassium). Keep in mind that hay is not perfect, trace mineral levels can be low (especially copper, zinc, and in some geographic areas, selenium), and the balance of minerals in the hay may not be optimal for the horse’s needs.

While good green hay provides more than adequate levels of vitamin A precursors, the sun drying process necessary to remove moisture will destroy much of the vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids that are typically abundant in fresh grass. For these reasons, even a horse that is seemingly doing well on hay alone should be given a source of additional trace minerals, Omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E. Other nutrients, especially nutraceuticals, may be necessary for horses with greater needs. It is important to note that many supplement products contain a laundry list of minerals and other nutrients, but often in insignificant quantities. The product you choose should be formulated to provide what is generally lacking or out of balance in a forage/hay ration. Look for products that provide at least 50% of the National Research Council (NRC) guidelines for copper and zinc (i.e. 50 mg of copper and 200 mg of zinc for a 1,100 pound horse) and 100%

of the guidelines for vitamin E (500 IU). Note again that these amounts are for a 1,100 pound horse that is not in work, and that your horse’s nutritional needs increase with his work level. You may consider consulting with a qualified equine nutritionist if you’re concerned about getting your horse’s ration right. Finally, be sure to look for the NASC Quality Seal on products you are considering. This tells you the product comes from a responsible supplier that has passed a comprehensive third-party facility audit, and maintains ongoing compliance with NASC’s rigorous quality standards, which includes passing random independent product testing to ensure products meet label claims. Visit nasc.cc/members for a complete list of NASC member companies that have earned the Quality Seal.

Dr. Clair Thunes is an independent equine nutritionist and owner of Summit Equine Nutrition LLC, where she provides nutrition consultation, in-depth dietary evaluation, and equine diet reformulation for a range of clients, including breeders and performance horse owners. She is available for both in-person and remote consultation, and can be contacted through her website at summit-equine.com.

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With so many of us facing new challenges and uncertainties as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, it’s hard to fathom the idea of having to also endure a natural disaster. Sadly, many people across the country have had to face that reality already, whether impacted by the unrelenting 38

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wildfires on the West Coast, derechos in the Midwest, or Hurricane Laura in the Gulf Coast. In these trying times, it’s more important than ever for horse caretakers to ensure they’re prepared if disaster strikes. Disaster relief is

By Dr. Emily Weiss, Vice President of ASPCA Equine Welfare

going to look different during a public health crisis of this magnitude, so taking the time to make a plan for your family — including your horses and other animals — can be lifesaving. aspca.org

The ASPCA advises horse caretakers to take the following steps to keep equines and other animals safe if disaster strikes:





Given potential shortages of resources, consider teaming up with other horse

First responder capabilities may be more limited as agencies

caretakers in your area to pool your

practice COVID-19 safety protocols, so it’s more important

resources, including sharing

than ever to keep your animals with you or an emergency

trailer space and hay.

caregiver if you are forced to evacuate. In advance, identify

Be sure to share your

the name and contact of a caregiver outside your immediate

evacuation plans with

area who is willing to take in your animals in an emergency.

your neighbors and

Boarding facilities may be an option as well.

practice driving that route in advance.



To minimize evacuation time, gather the items below into an emergency kit for your horse: Contact information for yourself and a confirmed emergency caretaker At least seven to ten days’ worth of feed and medications Feeding and care instructions, including food quantity, approved treats, and medication dosages, if necessary, along with clearly labeled food and medicine containers Tack checklist



Microchip your horse as a permanent form of identification — if that’s not an option, identify your horse in some other way. In an emergency, you can place an ID clip or braid a luggage tag in his mane

Paperwork proving ownership of your horse

or tail, or paint your phone number on his

(branding papers, microchip registration, photos)

side with non-toxic paint.

Veterinary records, including a current Coggins Equine first aid kit

Ensure your trailer is road ready and practice loading. Evacuate as soon as

While masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer should

possible as it may take additional time

also be included in personal go-bags, it’s a good

to load your horses, other animals, and

idea to ensure your horses’ emergency kit has

supplies. Remember, there’s no such

those items as well.

thing as preparing too early!

Equine Wellness




Equine Wellness

Amber Marshall By Emily Watson

The Heartland star opens up about life, love, and horses! This young Canadian actress has managed to thrive on and off screen for the past 13 years. Her secret? Create a life you love!

As any Heartland fan can attest — time flies when you’re having fun! Amber Marshall, the star of this beloved show, couldn’t agree more. Having recently celebrated 13 years of playing the role of Amy Fleming, and seven years of marriage to her real-life cowboy, the budding teenage actress we once knew is all grown up. And she’s loving every minute of the life she’s built for herself! To celebrate this year’s milestones, we sat down with Amber to reminisce on the past, and learn more about her current life both on and off set.

A FOCUS ON FAMILY Since Heartland first aired in 2007, this Canadian family drama TV series has become a favorite of horse lovers around the globe. Its success can largely be attributed to the cast, a fun-loving group that Amber is proud to be a part of. Having landed the role of Amy at the young age of 19, Amber has spent nearly half her life on the show, so her co-workers

feel like family! “My time on Heartland has been incredible so far, and I think that is one of the main reasons years go by with such speed,” she says. “I feel as though I blink, and another year has flashed by.” Over the years, Amber’s big happy on-screen family has grown even bigger! Amy is now a mom, which has given Amber the opportunity to act alongside children — an experience she says has been deeply gratifying. “We are so lucky to have found the Spencer girls,” she says. “These incredible twins make our interactions on screen so real and enjoyable and I cannot imagine not having them involved! Ruby and Emmanuella Spencer share the role of Amy’s daughter Lyndy, and both are equally excited and involved in the stories.” According to Amber, acting with kids is similar to working with horses — both require patience and are equally as rewarding! “There is a very natural and

Opposite: Amy (Amber Marshall) with Spartan (Stormy) on set during Season 13.

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innocent energy that accompanies children and animals,” she says. “They are always present and in the moment. Acting with kids and animals forces you to adapt to the situation, and in turn, become more open as an actor. You essentially are no longer acting, but living in the moment with these improv players who continually steer you off track in the most natural and fluid way.”

SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE Though Amber has seen Amy through a great deal of character development over the years, one thing has remained the same — her love of horses. It’s a reflection of Amber’s off-screen life as well. The Alberta-based actress has always managed to make plenty of time to spend with her herd when she’s not working, a passion she claims will always be a top priority. She and her husband, Shawn, have five horses of their own, and much of Amber’s free time is spent with them. It’s no wonder that she appears so natural with horses on the show.

“I was very glad to have had a good working foundation with horses coming onto Heartland,” says Amber. “I was also lucky to have done both English and Western disciplines prior to the show, as my character seemed to do it all and do it well.” For Amber, the biggest challenge wasn’t learning to ride the horses, but learning to adapt to their reactions while filming. “Horses don’t read the scripts, but they do react to the situation they are in,” she says. The crew spends a lot of time properly setting up each scene so it feels natural for the equine actors, and Amber carves out time to get to know each of the horses she acts with. From top to bottom: Amy (Amber Marshall) with Jack (Shaun Johnston) on horseback in Season 13 of Heartland; Amy (Amber Marshall) with Spartan (Stormy) in Season 13 of Heartland; Amy (Amber Marshall) with Ty (Graham Wardle) on horseback in Season 13 of Heartland.


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Photos courtesy of CBC.

Amber often brings her dogs, Remi and Breezy, to work with her, so they have no shortage of cuddles from the cast and crew!

Hundreds of horses have graced the set of Heartland, and many have played different roles. Each horse is vetted and deemed “set safe”, which makes the filming process much safer and less stressful for all involved. “Stormy will always have my heart,” says Amber, when asked if any favorite horses come to mind. “He has played the role of Spartan for 14 years now, and he and I have both put in a lot of long days and nights working together.”

The cast rehearses on camera a few times, then begins shooting the scene. Each scene take three to five hours depending on length and complexity, which makes for long days. Though some people like to unwind after work by scrolling through social media, reading a book, or watching television, Amber heads to the barn. In addition to their five horses, Amber and Shawn have four cows, three cats, two dogs, an alpaca, several chickens, turkeys and ducks, and a couple of rabbits. One of Amber’s favorite pastimes after a long day is to sit back and watch her animals interact with one another. “When set up to live a natural life with outdoor space and companionship, they seem to thrive,” she says.

Amy (Amber Marshall) with Spartan (Stormy) in Season 13 of Heartland.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE Over the past decade-and-a-half, Amber has become an expert at maintaining a healthy work-life balance. She has a busy schedule, but somehow always manages to find time for her family — four-legged members included. “On a typical day, I wake up at 5am, brush my teeth, splash water on my face, and head out to the barnyard to check

r’s Ambe ORSE



CREATE THE ENVIRONMENT THAT BEST SUITS YOUR HORSE. “I find a lot of horse caretakers want their horses to fit into the lifestyle that suits them best, and then they wonder why their horses are irritable or unpredictable. Get to know your horse and choose a routine that works best for him!”

on the animals,” she says. “I grab breakfast, get dressed in Amy’s wardrobe, then head to the hair and makeup trailer. We usually complete six to eight scenes, and before filming each we do a blocking — which involves the cast (horses and human) and the crew going through the scene step by step and figuring out the movements, actions, props, and locations of the actors and camera.”

Fortunately, just as she’s done for her animals, Amber has created a life for herself that she loves — and that makes every day enjoyable. With Season 14 of Heartland scheduled to air in early 2021, Amber plans to continue full steam ahead. But she isn’t counting the years, or even the seasons. She’s counting the moments, the memories, and the humans and animals that have made it all worthwhile.

After 13 years of working on set with horses, Amber has picked up a thing or two about training! Here are a few of her top tips:


TRY NEW THINGS OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE. “How will you know if your horse loves to jump if you never try it? Or maybe your horse would love splashing around in the river. You never know until you experience these things together.”


MEET HIS NEEDS. “Always remember you and your horse are a team — and to be a good team member, sometimes compromises must be made. Even though your horse may not talk, he’ll speak loudly if you choose to listen.”

Whether for a television series, a tourism or clothing commercial, an action movie or Western, horse actors are in demand. But despite what we see on our screens, a lot of work and planning goes into working on set with equines. Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look.

s r o t c A e s r o H

Jesse Thomson is the animal coordinator for Heartland. “Moving cameras, sound booms, weather conditions, or an actor’s costume of armor or fur, are things horses have to work around. They have their limits. We adapt. A happy horse will do anything for you.”


k at this -scenes loo e h -t d in h e n! Ab ine professio u q e s u ro o glam


“We have a veterinary specialist and two wranglers on hand to make sure safety comes first,” says Patrick Ball, creator/director for Horse Camp TV. “On the set, horses are treated better than I am!”

To get a horse to run across a field, another horse he knows is encouraged to run alongside him off camera. When a rider is gazing over the land, a trainer is out of sight holding the horse. Riding slowly through town? A trainer is in the lead.




Makeup for horses can make wounds and scars look real, but no animal is hurt.

REGULAR BREAKS Between scenes, horses go to their trailers for a drink and a snack.

Sandra Murphy lives in St Louis, Missouri. When she's not writing, she works as a pet sitter. 44

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Photos courtesy of Alex Cox.

“Muzzle flashes, smoke, and gunfire are added digitally these days,” says Alex Cox, director of Tombstone Rashomon. “The animal coordinator, camera crew, director, and actors all work together to create the most genuine scenes. For the film, I had the actor stagger and fall, and a trainer signal the horse to come. On the screen, you’ll see the horse in the middle of a gun battle and the man shot and killed.”

WORKING WITH HUMAN ACTORS Actor Eric Schumacher portrayed Doc Holliday in Tombstone Rashomon, and Wyatt Earp for Fox TV's Legends and Lies, the Real West, both with his co-star, Elvis the Horse. “I didn’t have any riding experience and Elvis knew it,” Eric says. “He kept me safe. In one scene, Doc’s riding drunk, swaying in the saddle, singing at the top of his lungs. I know I gave Elvis confusing signals. He kept going, although he did give me a couple of ‘Seriously, dude? Pay attention!’ looks. Glad he tolerated me — he’s a pro and made me look good.” “Working with well-trained horses is a privilege — and great fun,” adds Alex.

“Horses haven’t read the script,” says Jesse. “When a loose herd is cued to go left, they might just go right. We never force a behavior. When natural habits come out, cool stuff happens.”

STUNT DOUBLES? Believe it or not, horses have doubles too! Action horses are hired to run and act in conjunction with human stunt doubles, while the primary equine actors are used for the less physical scenes. Stunt horses are rotated so no horse is overworked.

From bottom left to right: Photos 1-3 courtesy of Patrick Ball Media. Photos 4-5 courtesy of Alex Cox.

By Sandra M


By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis


USE TUI NA TO COMBAT THE EFFECTS OF DAMP WINTER WEATHER ON YOUR HORSE When the weather turns cold and the snow starts to fly, responsible horse caretakers do everything they can to provide adequate shelter for their herds. But during the winter months, it can be a challenge to prevent that damp chill from taking hold of even the hardiest of horses. When Jack Frost does strike, Tui Na offers an enjoyable way to warm up your equine companions. TUI NA In Chinese medicine terms, a horse that is wet and chilled is exhibiting what’s aptly referred to as an “Invasion of Wind Damp Cold”. Tui Na (pronounced “Tway Naah”) is an ancient form of Chinese acupressuremassage that offers techniques to help these horses warm up. Two Tui Na techniques are helpful in this case: 1. Tui Fa When performed rhythmically and repetitively, Tui Fa has a warming affect along the Bladder meridian — one of many energetic channels just beneath the horse’s skin. The

Bladder meridian is located about a hand’s width off the horse’s spine. You may need a mounting block to get high enough to perform Tui Fa along the Bladder meridian. Practitioners often use a sheet on the horse’s back with this technique so that the coat is not disturbed, and to ensure that pressing forward and gliding back can be performed smoothly and rhythmically. Begin just past the withers. Using the heel of your hand, press gently yet firmly with intent and “push” toward the hindquarters as far as you can reach. Next, allow your hand to glide back along the Bladder meridian. Repeat pushing toward the hindquarters and gliding back toward the withers for two to three minutes, as smoothly and rhythmically as possible and at a comfortable speed. Repeat this procedure on the opposite side of the horse. Tui Fa effectively warms the horse’s entire body.

Cold, damp weather is inevitable in some parts of North America — but cold, damp horses don’t have to be! Keep your equine companions warm this winter with Tui Na.

“Soo Fa”) involves the use of both hands to rub vigorously down the horse’s legs. Place one hand on the medial side (inside) of the leg and the other hand on the lateral side (outside). Starting on the upper part of the leg, progress down, rubbing one hand forward and the other hand back, alternately. Continue alternately rubbing back and forth with one hand forward and the other going back. Feel the friction and warmth of this rubbing technique as you slowly work your way down the horse’s leg. Repeat this process three times on each leg. Be as consistent and rhythmic as you can.

It’s a rare horse that doesn’t absolutely love these Tui Na warming techniques. Every muscle and every joint in his body will benefit from being warmed in the midst of the winter.

2. Cou Fa This second technique warms the horse’s limbs. Cou Fa (pronounced

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, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com

Equine Wellness



By Liz Mitten Ryan

INVITATION and REWARD: a kinder way to train your horse

Take a look at why an “invitation and reward” approach to training is kinder — and more effective — than one that involves pressure and release.


Equine Wellness

I learned the “invitation and reward” approach to training from the lead mare in my herd of 16 horses. When she walks through the herd, it is as if the water parts. She kindly and softly focuses on any body part that’s in her way, using clear intent. Through observing these gentle but effective movements, I’ve learned how to incorporate them into my own work with horses.

IN THE BEGINNING At the beginning of a training session, I start with nothing but a halter and loose lead. I ask my horse to move her hind end by walking out to one side of her and focusing on the part I want her to move. Sometimes I need to gently swing the rope towards her hind end, or even touch her lightly with

the end of the rein. When she takes a step with that hind foot, I walk off, accepting that she is following me in the same curve I create with my movement. Because horses prefer to move in curves (look at any horse path to see this) she will usually not pull back but happily follow me as the leader. After a few steps, I stop and reward her verbally. I say “gooood” and also carry a waist-worn money belt with either some black oil sunflower seeds or baby carrots.

REWARD, DON’T BRIBE Next, I continue to walk ahead with a loose lead line so I am not pulling the horse but teaching her to follow at liberty. By doing this, I maintain the lead mare position, and the horse will eventually see me this way just through my body language. It is important to ask

your horse first with words and body language, and not reward until after she does what you ask. You don’t want to bribe her to follow a carrot, but instead reward after she has done the exercise.

HAVE A NON-VERBAL CONVERSATION Try to look at the whole exercise like a first date. Spend time walking and talking, asking simple things

The problem with

PRESSURE AND RELEASE TRAINING Pressure and release training puts you in the place of the dominant mare who uses hierarchy and punishment for the safety of the herd, but to the advantage of the higher ups. She pushes, shoves, nips, and kicks other herd members into submission. The herd respects the dominant mare but does not love her as they do the lead mare. The lead mare is the “grandmother” spirit — kind, generous, and loving to all the herd members. She asks softly and they all willingly respond. She looks after their needs, taking them to food, water, and comfort.

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Additional LIBERTY


• Enjoy the experience, as you would spending time with a friend. It is a mutually beneficial exercise. • It is not about making your horse do something. If it isn’t working, end on a positive note and try again another day. • Praise and reward. Make it fun for your horse. She understands everything you say (and the pictures in your mind).

with a loose lead while traveling in curves and de-sticking her hind end with only your focus.

• Be precise and only praise exactly when your horse does what you ask. When you ask for “whoa”, show her precisely with your body language that “whoa” means “whoa”.

You can also incorporate various fun exercises for your horse to enjoy throughout the session. Some horses like using their mouths, some their feet, and some both.

• When riding, stop to let your horse graze occasionally. You will notice if horses are at all stressed, and a grazing break will soothe them.


I have colored cones and hula hoops that are fun to use. We start by walking toward the objects with me slightly ahead so that the horse is constantly perceiving me as lead mare. I notice what my horse prefers and might ask her to touch a cone with her nose or pick it up. Not only does this add some variety to your sessions, it also works to de-sensitize your horse to things she might be fearful of.

TAKE WHAT SHE OFFERS Another great activity is to ask your horse to step both her front feet into a hula hoop on the ground. When I do this, I always reward my horse for offering any sort of response. Some horses will get creative and pick up the hula hoop in their teeth or even throw it over their heads. Epona, one of my mares, picks up the cones and puts them in a hula hoop, or she’ll pick up two hula hoops at a time. She can also spell her name using foam 48

Equine Wellness

letters. Whatever a horse offers, take it and offer praise. The purpose of the exercise is for you both to enjoy an interaction that is about invitation and reward. This is how we treat our friends or family, and is definitely preferred by horses or pets over stern commands and harsh discipline.

LIBERTY PLAY TO RIDING After having your horse follow you on a loose lead for a while, you can take it off and she will do the same at liberty. You have become her friend and lead mare, and she enjoys being with you. All this translates into riding. When I start a young horse, I first teach her on the ground as described and give her verbal cues like “walk-on”, “whoa”, “back”, “good”, etc. This way, when I first get on her back, she not only looks to me as a trusted friend and leader, but I can direct her from her back with the same commands. I take all this invitation and reward training to the place where I eventually ride at liberty, or at the very most with a rope halter and clip-on leather reins. When your horse trusts you as a friend and leader, it is all you will ever need. Liz Mitten Ryan has channelled six books from her herd, all on Amazon and the equinisityretreats.com website, which also has links to videos and Herd Film, showing “Invitation and Reward” in action.

Say goodbye to dust in 2021 A gift of ARENACLEAR™ Dust Control covers it all! It safeguards you and your horses’ health by controlling unhealthy dust outdoors and indoors on all types of footing combos: sand, dirt, and fabrics. Plus, it holds up to 300% more water! Spend more quality time with your horses and less time watering. One gallon covers a 10,000 square foot arena and a quart covers a 50’ round pen. ArenaClear.com

Holiday Gift Guide

Digestive balance in a tasty peppermint flavor! Empower Digestive Balance is for horses that demonstrate signs of digestive upset including ulcers or stress from training, showing, shipping and frequent changes in environment. It’s a top-dress supplement with marine-sourced calcite that supports gastric health and helps maintain a normal gut pH. Treat your horses for the holidays with the tasty peppermint flavor they all love! NutrenaWorld.com

A mystery surprise for horse lovers Eaglewood Mystery Boxes and Bags are a fun surprise that you can purchase for yourself or a friend. The products inside are geared towards horse enthusiasts, and total a minimum retail value of your choice! Personalize your box by selecting the horse gender and theme color. Small Grab Bags contain different types of treats and gift items, while larger Mystery Boxes can contain gift items, halters, saddle pads, grooming supplies, horse health items, and other tack products! EaglewoodEquestrian.ca

Assist his off-season recovery

Give the gift of optimal wellness and knowledge

There’s a reason many professional riders are such big fans of Nutrena’s ProForce Feeds. They know choosing high quality nutrition is one of the biggest ways to give their horses a leg up in the arena. ProForce is the only feed on the market with Rebound Technology™, which helps your horse recover faster, so you can keep winning. Fuel the win…with ProForce. NutrenaWorld.com

If you’re passionate about horses, chances are you love dogs and cats too. A digital or print subscription to Animal Wellness Magazine is a gift that gives all year long! It features articles on integrative health, wellness and lifestyle — all designed to help your animal companion live a long, happy life. Hoping to land yourself on the “nice list”? When you subscribe, you can select a rescue from our Ambassador program and give them 25% of the proceeds. AnimalWellnessMagazine.com/subscribe

Combat stress — with sound! RelaxoPet PRO Horse is a natural way to relieve anxiety and stress in horses. Its integrated noisemotion system detects stressors and uses subliminal sounds and vibrations to help keep the horse calm. The sounds are absorbed by the whole body so even horses that are hard of hearing can benefit. The RelaxoPet PRO Horse works in the stable, stable lanes or in non-animal environments. En.RelaxoPet.com

Equine Wellness



10 TOP

By Dr. Suzi Beber, Honoris causa

minerals FOR HORSES


Macro? Trace? What’s the difference when it comes to minerals for our horses? Simply put, macro minerals are needed in large amounts, while trace minerals are needed in small amounts. Macro minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulphur. Meanwhile iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, and selenium round out the list of trace minerals. Let’s turn a spotlight on a few of the minerals our horses need to be healthy and happy.

CALCIUM Most of a horse’s calcium is found in the bones and teeth. This mineral plays a critical role in the integrity of the skeleton and is also essential to neuromuscular function, including muscle contraction, along with enzyme regulation and blood clotting. Calcium is found in alfalfa, clover, Timothy grass, orchard grass, and Lucerne.


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PHOSPHORUS Partnered with calcium, phosphorus is integral to bone growth and skeletal health. It aids in the process of energy transfer, and DNA and RNA synthesis. Simply put, it turns chemical energy into mechanical energy for our horses. Phosphorus is found in oats, corn, and soybean meal.

MAGNESIUM Nerve and muscle function top the list when it comes to the benefits of magnesium. It activates enzymes, plays a role in muscle contractions, helps maintain electrolyte balance, and has a calming effect. If your horse is deficient in magnesium, she may be nervous or more wary, and may even experience muscle tremors. Magnesium is beneficial to obese horses and those that are predisposed to grass induced laminitis. Many soils are acidic and clay-based, and therefore low in magnesium, so magnesium oxide is a supplement to consider for your horse. It’s also nice to know that your horse will not absorb magnesium if there is no deficiency. Try chia seeds, shelled pumpkin seeds, almonds, and quinoa.

SODIUM AND CHLORIDE Sodium and chloride go “hoof in hoof.” No one can survive without salt. According to Dr. Carol Shwetz, DVM, a horse’s behavior issues are the best sign of a salt deficiency! All horses need a salt supplement. If your horse is not getting enough, you may notice him becoming fatigued; muscle weakness may become apparent, and overall, your horse’s performance will be impacted. Sodium influences the degree of hydration. It also supports a horse’s central nervous system and helps transport glucose across cell membranes. It is important for muscle contractions and even protein digestion. Chloride is crucial to the digestive system and produces hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Like sodium, chloride influences the nervous system and the muscles. Sodium can be found in Lucerne and clover.

IRON When it comes to oxygen use through a horse’s body, iron is the critical mineral. Iron is needed for the synthesis of hemoglobin, and also has an impact on the immune system and metabolism. Most

pastures contain iron in the forage, soil, or both. Lucerne, teff hay and Rhodes grass hay also contain this mineral.

amount of histamine in a horse’s body. Most commercial horse feeds are formulated with sufficient zinc to meet a horse’s needs.


COPPER Copper is considered an important co-factor for essential metabolic pathways in the horse’s body. Without copper, horses cannot utilize iron efficiently. Copper plays an important role in the development of connective tissue and supports a healthy immune system. You may be surprised to learn that copper also helps lower the amount of histamine in a horse’s body, thereby reducing allergy symptoms. Forages contain quite low levels of copper, so consider a visit with your nutritionist to discuss whether a copper supplement is needed.

A critical trace mineral, iodine is essential when it comes to the production of hormones related to the thyroid — which are important to bone and brain development, and metabolism. Foods that contain iodine include alfalfa, algae, and kelp.

SULPHUR Sulphur is a part of collagen. Together, they support our horses’ joint health and help maintain healthy hooves, skin, and coat. Forage is the primary source of this important mineral. Continued on page 52.

ZINC When it comes to supporting the immune system, zinc plays an important role. It also helps wounds heal and is known to offset infections and even bolster stress tolerance. Like copper, zinc also helps lower the

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 51.


INGREDIENTS 2 cups white chia, ground 1 cup freeze-dried cranberries, crushed to powder, or whole cranberry seed powder ½ cup raw carob powder 2 tablespoons bull kelp powder 2 cups filtered water

INSTRUCTIONS Choose organic ingredients whenever possible, and combine them all in a mediumsized mixing bowl. If you would like a simple raw treat that can be easily frozen and thawed just before you head out to the stables, use a cup or teaspoon to create ideally-sized truffles. Top with a fresh or freeze-dried cranberry and freeze on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Once frozen, transfer the treats to a freezerfriendly container or Ziploc bag. For an easy-bake treat, line a Pyrex dish or cookie sheet with parchment paper. Press in mixture, then score lightly with a sharp knife. Pop into a cold oven. Turn oven to 350°F on the convection setting. When your oven reaches temperature, turn down to 300°F and bake for one hour. Remove from the oven, cool completely, and store in the fridge or freezer. This recipe can easily be doubled.

Bull Kelp

contains calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium.


contain copper and manganese.


contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.


contains calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and zinc.


Equine Wellness

Suzi Beber has been successfully creating special needs diets for companion animals for over two decades. She is the founder of the University of Guelph’s Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund and Smiling Blue Skies® Fund for Innovative Research, and is the proud recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She was also was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College.


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

REDUCE BACK SORENESS IN EQUINE ATHLETES Joint and back pain tend to be worse during the colder months. Help your horse feel his very best before and during every ride! Benefab® understands the important parallel between pain and behavior, and this was the driving force behind Rejuvenate SmartScrim — an acupuncture-inspired sheet clinically proven to reduce back soreness in equine athletes. It features far-infrared therapy with medical-grade magnets that lie over key acupuncture points for a targeted therapy — addressing the back, shoulders, and hind end. BenefabProducts.com


KEEP HIM COMFORTABLE IN THE STALL ComfortStall Sealed Orthopedic Flooring is an ideal surface for horses stalled indoors this winter. The top layer of soft but durable rubber is sealed to the walls, preventing urine from seeping underneath and causing dangerous ammonia accumulation. The cushion prompts tiny muscle movements while standing and encourages deep beneficial sleep while lying down. Haygain.ca

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

EQUINE BODYWORK COURSES — ONLINE! Expand your knowledge this winter! Holistic Animal Studies features courses for horse owners and professionals in massage, craniosacral therapy, kinesiology taping, Reiki, cold laser therapy, and body alignment. Start any time and work at your own pace. Use the coupon code WELLNESS for 20% off all course enrolments! HolisticAnimalStudies.org

HERBS FOR IMMUNITY The cold winter months can present challenges for our horses. Vyrex is an herbal formula designed to help support and strengthen the equine immune system, vital for fighting and healing disease. This product is one of 11 signature herbal formulas by The Holistic Horse, and contains the finest certified organic herbs. Their herbal formulas are handcrafted and mixed fresh upon order to ensure maximum freshness and quality. TheHolisticHorse.com

Equine Wellness



By Janet Gordon Palm, DVM, CVCP

Recognizing and managing


for a more harmonious vet appointment When horses feel understood, they are more at ease with handling. This model will help you understand the emotional needs of your horse during his next vet appointment. Natural horsemanship is a global movement that is revolutionizing the equine industry. Many excellent clinicians have contributed to this noble cause. Pat and Linda Parelli have pioneered the long overdue awareness that horses perform more efficiently when a willing partnership is developed from “love, language, and leadership in equal doses”, 54

Equine Wellness

rather than from dominance and forced submission. Learning how horses communicate through body language, and understanding their point of view, enhances the humananimal bond as well as the veterinary treatment experience. The Parellis recognized that horses have very distinct personality traits

that cause them to react differently to stimuli. Motivating each individual involves understanding the primary needs of each personality. Personalities vary due to innate or genetic characteristics, learned behaviors, environmental stimuli, and spirit levels. In conjunction with psychologist Patrick Handley, PhD, the Parellis developed Horsenality™

and Humanality™, a personality assessment for horses and their riders, and their emotional states.1,2,3,4

Horsenality™/ AnEmotionality™ The primary need of an animal at any given moment can vary, depending on whether they are a prey or predator species, and in a confident/rational (left brain) state or an insecure/emotional (right brain) one. Extroversion and introversion of either state will add another layer to the personality (see sidebar at right). Low, medium, or high spirit levels will exacerbate particular personality traits, acting as a “volume control”. The equine species is generally considered a prey species, but even within that grouping, there can be differing levels of confidence, as well as emotional and securityrelated responses. These emotional states are dynamic and can change in an instant, depending on environmental stimuli.

I have extrapolated this model to include other species as well, and termed it AnEmotionality. 5,6 Those who are familiar with Traditional Chinese Medicine will see similarities between this model and the Five Elements Theory of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wind. The tendency to be an introvert or extrovert, as well as right- or left-brained, affects learning and attention span. Although a horse may possess one or two primary traits, different situations and environments can allow other traits to show up. It is not surprising that the veterinary environment can bring out previously unseen behaviors. Addressing the primary needs of each personality will help manage the emotions and result in a more productive outcome.

Understanding your horse’s personality RBE horses (Safety): These horses are not motivated by treats

DEFINITIONS Right Brain: Unconfident, fearful, insecure, searching for safety and leadership, avoids eye contact. Left Brain: Confident, dominant, brave, looking to challenge your leadership or place in the herd order, makes own rules if none are perceived. Introvert: Inactive, conserves energy, needs to think before reacting or fleeing. Extrovert: Active, energetic, needs to move feet or react before thinking. Right Brain Extrovert (RBE): The sky is falling!! Needs focus; primary need is safety. Right Brain Introvert (RBI): Slow down, give them time to think, and be gentle; primary need is comfort. Left Brain Extrovert (LBE): Life’s a game! Play with me! Primary need is play! Left Brain Introvert (LBI): What’s in it for me? Primary need is incentive.

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HIERARCHY OF NEEDS Horses have primary needs that must be met in order to ensure their survival. These needs are safety, comfort, food and play. The motivation for a horse depends on his emotional state that day. A horse that is fearful may not be inclined to accept a treat reward until he feels safe


or comfortable. A confident horse is not worried about


safety, so will be motivated by food or play.

until they can be encouraged to access left-brain thinking. Decreasing pressure by incorporating approach-and-retreat (with lots of retreat), and little to no eye contact, is beneficial. A high-energy extroverted horse will need to move his feet so as not to feel trapped. Allowing this to occur within limits by directing where the horse is moving allows him to release stress while also respecting your leadership.

Repetition and patterns work well with unconfident right-brain horses. Falling into a routine of movement can be comforting. If anxiety is high, interrupting the pattern by redirecting movement can also be beneficial. For some anxious horses, it may be helpful to approach the evaluation in stages. RBI horses (Comfort): They appear calm and quiet, but can explode unpredictably. In life, they can be the silent sufferers who hate conflict, become catatonic, hide,

and allow their stress cortisol levels to wreak havoc. These horses appreciate slow, gentle veterinary exams with lots of approach-andretreat, even with eye contact. Postponing the hands-on portion of the exam can allow time for the horse to relax. Use this time to ask your vet any questions you may have. Since he’s being ignored during the discussion, your horse may become curious and offer the vet his eye. This is his permission for your vet to proceed with the exam. LBE horses (Play): Such horses are playful, energetic and naughty! Think of the mouthy and pushy horse who won’t leave you alone. These are the “in your pocket” animals. They are outgoing, very treat-motivated, love to run, and have a difficult time staying still. If they are unable to move their feet, they will move their mouths. These horses are very easily trained, since it is easy to motivate them. They tend to get bored easily and will need you to be more interesting than their surroundings. LBI horses (Incentive): Horses that are stubborn, argumentative, and refuse to budge fall into this


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category. They can also be bullies. These horses often refuse to come when called, unless treats are involved, and may also turn their butts to you in disrespect. They have a tendency to get angry when things don’t go their way. Or they may refuse to move forward under saddle. These animals can usually be motivated with treat rewards. Try to

make your idea become their idea, and avoid the argument.

In summary Veterinary exams can be stressful. Horses don’t understand that our intentions for preventative health and maintenance are for their own wellbeing. Understanding your horse’s state of mind, identifying what motivates

him, and attending to his primary needs results in a more positive experience for him and the practitioner. Janet Gordon Palm (KSU ‘81) is a practicing integrative veterinarian. Through the years, her multi-species practice has evolved due to her discovery of ways to activate the body’s inherent pharmacy. This inspired her pursuit of LLLT, VOM, craniosacral and osteopathy through her business, Animobility Integrative Veterinary Services. A Parelli Natural Horsemanship student, Dr. Palm uses concepts of respecting body language in all species she works with, resulting in an enhanced veterinary experience for all.

Copyright © 2007 Parelli Natural Horse•Man•Ship


Equine Wellness



s t s i l k c e Trave l ch FOR HORSE CARETAKERS By Hannah Arington

Planning a trip with your horse? These checklists will ensure everything is accounted for before your departure! Owning horses and taking a stress-free vacation often do not go hand-in-hand. Trailering across the country requires a great deal of packing and preparation to keep treasured equines safe, hydrated, and well-fed throughout the journey. You must also prepare for unexpected truck and trailer issues, and any veterinary concerns! Even if your horses are not part of the travel plans, leaving their day-to-day needs in someone else’s hands can also be a nerve-racking experience. Finding a qualified house and horse sitter is key, but even with the best help mishaps still occur from time to time! In other words, preparedness is key, whether you’re traveling with or without your equine companions. That’s where these handy lists can help! You might not need all the items on each list, but they’ll help ensure you don’t forget anything important. Look over the “Equine Travel Checklist” to prepare for unforeseen challenges on the road, and review our “Horse Sitter Checklist” to leave a trusted friend or family member with everything they need to keep your horses happy at home!


Equine Wellness

Equine Travel Checklist STABLE SUPPLIES:


❑H ealth papers/ Coggins Test

❑ Hay

❑A ntiseptic cream

❑M icrochip information and equine registration papers (if needed)

❑ Hay bags

❑ Bandages

❑ Extra buckets

❑V et wrap

❑ Bucket hooks/hangers

❑M edical tape

❑ Grain/supplements

❑ Scissors

❑ Salt lick

❑ Thermometer

❑T ruck and trailer registration

❑ Electrolyte paste or packets

❑P roof of vehicle and trailer insurance

❑ Pocket knife

❑ Anti-inflammatory medication

❑ Towels

❑ Syringes

❑ Equine insurance documents (if applicable)

❑ Fly masks/sheet

❑S aline for eye wash or wound irrigation


❑ Mounting block or step stool


❑E mergency contact list (including veterinarians along route)

❑ Saddle and fittings ❑S addle cover and pads ❑L eather cleaner ❑ Bridles ❑E xtra reins ❑H alters/ lead ropes ❑L unge line and crop ❑L eather hole punch ❑S pare leather for repairs

❑ Hose and spray nozzle ❑ Muck bucket or wheelbarrow ❑ Pitchforks ❑ Shovel ❑ Broom

❑ Liniment ❑ Poultice ❑H oof tester and rasp/nippers ❑H oof packing and/or boots ❑S pare blanket

❑ Shavings


❑ Stall fan

❑D uct and electrical tape

❑ Extension cord

❑F lashlight with spare batteries

❑ Bungee cords ❑ Trash bags

❑S pare tire, jack, and lug wrench


❑S pare chain to secure gate or stall door

❑ Helmet

❑ Extra wire or rope

❑T ire changing ramp

❑E xtra riding boots

❑ Metal snaps or carabiner clips

❑A utomotive tool kit


❑S pare bulbs and fuses for trailer

❑ Hoof pick and brush

❑ WD-40

❑ Sponge

❑J umper cables

❑ Sweat scraper

❑T ire chocks

❑ Curry comb ❑ Soft bristle brushes

❑E mergency cones, road flares, and reflective vest

❑ Mane/tail brush

❑F ire extinguisher

❑ Shampoo/conditioner/ detangling solution

❑M ap and GPS

❑ Chaps ❑R ain coat ❑R ain boots ❑E xtra gloves ❑S unscreen and SPF lip balm ❑H at or sun visor ❑L awn chairs ❑C ooler with water bottles ❑N on-perishable snacks

❑T ire pressure gauge

❑C ell phone car charger

❑ Insect spray

Equine Wellness


Horse Sitter Checklist

❑L eave detailed written instructions regarding each animal. ❑C all or text when departing and returning to town.

❑T ape a list of emergency contacts (veterinarian, farrier, and a trusted neighbor) to the barn wall where it cannot be misplaced. ❑P rint out a photo of each horse and label it with his/her name. For multiple horses, this makes identification much easier! Detailed photos are also crucial for identifying an escaped or stolen animal. ❑S ign a veterinary consent form (if you will be out of reach by phone) and/or call the veterinarian and authorize the caretaker to make emergency medical decisions. ❑A rrange for emergency transportation to the veterinarian.

❑L abel all supplements and medications with the horse’s name and dosing instructions ❑E xplain any behavioral issues or medical conditions to the sitter. ❑P rovide lock combinations or keys (also show location of spares). ❑P repare an emergency medical kit with bandages and a thermometer. ❑ Set out extra halters and lead ropes. ❑E xamine fences and check stalls for safety.

❑T rack down fence repair tools (including wire/pliers) and leave in an easily accessible location. ❑S how caretaker the location of the electrical panel and water shutoff. ❑P rovide contact information for an electrician and plumber.

❑ Stock up on hay, grain, and supplements.

❑D escribe any persons/vehicles that are allowed on the premises.

❑L eave a pocket knife or scissors nearby for opening hay bales.

❑M ake sure all small animals such as cats and dogs are wearing ID tags. ❑C heck fire extinguishers and replace if necessary.

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


Equine Wellness

❑ Provide a flashlight with extra batteries. ❑A sk for updates! Let the caretaker know how often you’d like them to check in.


New bill would ban doping horses on race day Animal welfare advocates have been calling for federal regulations that ban the dangerous practice of doping horses on race day. This fall, the proposed bill was approved.

On September 9, 2020, the U.S.

saddled up to charge ahead with

“This vote is a major step forward

House Energy and Commerce

this effort to reform American

for our bipartisan drive to bring

Committee passed H.R. 1754, the

horse racing,” says Marty Irby,

greater safety and integrity to the

Horseracing Integrity and Safety

executive director at Animal Wellness

sport of horse racing,” says Rep.

Act (HISA), which is now poised

Action, who testified on the issue

Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.

to advance to the House floor

before Congress in January. “The

following a bipartisan vote of 46

Horseracing Integrity and Safety

The patchwork of regulations

to five. The HISA includes a ban on

Act will put the welfare of the horses

across the country’s 38 racing

race-day doping, the establishment

at the center of the enterprise, and

jurisdictions has undermined the

of a uniform national standard

will create a level playing field for

public’s confidence in horseracing,

for rules and regulations for U.S.

owners, trainers, breeders, and the

threatened the integrity of

horseracing that would be overseen

betting public by ending doping in

competition, and endangered

by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency

the sport.”

the human and equine athletes.

(USADA). This landmark legislation

Enactment of the HISA — a bill

would directly address the safety

According to Senator Martha McSally,

that’s now supported by all three

and welfare of racehorses, and the

R-Ariz., the misuse of potentially

Triple Crown racetracks — will

integrity of the sport itself, through

dangerous substances to boost

address these problems head

better anti-doping measures and

performance harms horses and has

on while helping to enhance

racetrack safety standards.

led to numerous injuries and deaths.

the public’s interest in this very

In fact, the doping of American

important industry.

“We applaud long-time anti-doping

racehorses has been the subject

leaders Paul Tonko and Andy Barr,

of Congressional attention over the

and Senators McSally, McConnell,

past five years, with hundreds of


Gillibrand, and Feinstein, who’ve

horses dying on racetracks weekly.


Equine Wellness


CLASSIFIEDS NATURAL PRODUCTS EQUIMEDIC – The world leader in Equine First Aid is committed to the safety and well-being of your equine partner. Choose from a variety of complete kits, or design your own. All refill, restocking, and other optional products are available on our website. (866) 211-1269; equimed@equimedic.com; www.equimedic.com THE HOLISTIC HORSE — We understand how important optimal health is, this is why we are committed to providing the very best all-natural holistic products for your animals and take great pride in helping provide a healthy lifestyle and sense of well-being. Products ranging from digestive care and pain relief to joint care, breath freshener, flea and insect control and much more. For more information or questions: (877) 774-0594; info@theholistichorse.com; www.theholistichorse.com WHOLE EQUINE — Your online resource for natural horse care products and equipment. We are proud to offer an array of natural horse care products, including supplements, first aid, cleaning, equipment and other items that help horses reach their optimal physical and mental health. (884) 946-5378; info@wholeequine.com; www.wholeequine.com

HORSE CARE EQUI-LIBRIA — Integrated Performance Bodywork is very effective since the horse actively participates in their treatment, thereby maximizing its benefit. A preliminary assessment of key areas starts the session, but then the horse guides the treatment with physical displays and indications of where they need the attention. Effective for all disciplines. For more information: (647) 633-2113; www.equi-libria.com HARMANY EQUINE CLINIC, LTD — Bringing holistic healing to horses from all walks of life, backyard retirees to Olympic competitors since 1990. Over the years Dr. Joyce Harman has observed and adapted to the changing needs of our horses and clients. Twenty-plus years ago, no one had heard of Lyme disease or Insulin Resistance, yet today that makes up a large part of this clinical practice. Small animal services are available as well. (540) 364-4077; muzzles@harmanyequine.com; www.harmanyequine.com HOMEOPATHY FOR HORSES — Animals, and horses, in particular, are very responsive to homeopathic treatment because of their natural connection to subtle energies. Susan L. Guran studied and trained with Drs. Paul Herscu and Amy Rothenberg at the New England School of Homeopathy and is continuously involved in specialized and clinical training, as well as volunteer work, to gain experience with a vast array of cases. Through a natural evolution of her methods, she now uses direct intuitive communication to offer greater support to the animals and their owners. www.homeopathyhorse.com


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EMAIL YOUR CLASSIFIEDS TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com RETAILERS & DISTRIBUTORS WANTED THE PERFECT HORSE™ — Organic Blue-Green Algae is the single most nutrient-dense food on the planet with naturallyoccurring vitamins, minerals, and amino acids; all are provided in The Perfect Horse (E3Live® FOR HORSES) Our product sells itself; others make claims, we guarantee results. Join a winning team at (877) 357-7187; sales@e3liveforhorses.com; www.The-Perfect-Horse.com

SCHOOLS & TRAINING EQUINE ACUPRESSURE FOR HEALTH & PERFORMANCE — Learn to assess and resolve your horse’s issues — Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute training programs, Books, DVDs, Meridian Charts, and Apps. www.animalacupressure.com; tallgrass@animalacupressure.com EQUISSAGE — Since 1991, our Equine Sports Massage Therapy Certification program has certified over 20,000 students from every state and over 20 countries in Equine Sports Massage Therapy. And since 2000, we have certified Equine and Canine Sports Massage Therapists from across the country and worldwide through our home study programs. Equissage is an Approved Provider with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage Bodyworkers (NCBTMB) to offer 50 hours of Continuing Education units through any of our programs. To view available courses, please visit our website. (800) 843-0224; info@equissage.com; www.equissage.com HOLISTIC ANIMAL STUDIES BY ANGEL'S ANIMALS, LLC — Offering online courses in small and large animal massage, craniosacral therapy, kinesiology taping, body alignment, Reiki, cold laser therapy and more for professionals and animal owners. Our program is approved through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworkers (NCBTMB) and the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork (IAAMB). Start any time and work at your own pace. Learn more at www.HolisticAnimalStudies.org. Use the coupon code WELLNESS for 20% off all course enrollments!

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

Equine Wellness



Be sure to visit event websites for updates regarding COVID-19. Equine Massage Correspondence Program

Equine Affaire

Desert Classic Horse Show

This is a non-certificate program for animal caretakers 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.

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

The Desert Classic Show is the third largest show in Region VII and has a reputation for being one of the most exhibitor-friendly shows in the nation. We invite you to bring your horses and enjoy the experience.

On-Demand — Online Course

For more information: (303) 660-9390 information@rmsaam.com www.rmsaam.com

Farnam AQHA World Championship Show November 2–21, 2020 — Oklahoma City, OK

American Quarter Horse owners and exhibitors will not want to miss this amazing event! It features exhibitors from around the world who must qualify for the event by earning a number of points to compete in each of the classes representing halter, English and Western disciplines. More than $2.5 million in awards and prizes are up for grabs at this year’s event. The show will feature a variety of new events and activities in and out of the arena for competitors, friends, family and spectators. For more information: (806) 376-4811 www.aqha.com

The Royal Winter Fair November 10–14, 2020 — Toronto, ON

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian competition in the world. This is a Canadian event where international breeders, growers, and exhibitors are declared champions and where hundreds of thousands of attendees come to learn, compete, shop and have a great time with friends and family. For more information: (416) 263-3400 info@royalfair.org www.royalfair.org

November 12–15, 2020 — West Springfield, MA

Enjoy one-stop shopping at Equine Affaire’s huge trade show with more than 475 of the nation's leading equine-related retailers, manufacturers, service providers and organizations. For more information: (740) 845-0085 info@equineaffaire.com www.equineaffaire.com

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course November 13–15, 2020 — Denver, CO

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. For more information: Darla Dayer (314) 566-4559 denver@healingtouchforanimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com

December 3–6, 2020 — Scottsdale, AZ

Sit in the comfortable, climatecontrolled Equidome and watch classes in English Pleasure, Hunter Pleasure, Western Pleasure, Halter and the ever-popular Native Costume Class, where the horses and riders show in authentic Arabian costume. For more information: www.desertclassicshow.com

HITS Ocala Winter Circuit

December 9, 2020 – March 28, 2021 — Ocala, FL The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit offers exhibitors 10 consecutive weeks of shows with two additional weeks of USEF-Rated shows — the Ocala Holiday Series — in mid-December. The extensive range of classes, offering over $4 million in prize money and abundant show opportunities, make HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida, a prime winter destination. The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit culminates each March with the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix. For more information: www.hitsshows.com/ocala/hits-ocalawinter-circuit

EQ900: Equinology Anatomy Discovery Workshop January 8–14, 2021 — Penngrove, CA

Anyone in the equine health care profession — whether you use your hands, tools, or machines — will find this is a great opportunity to expand and enhance skills. This course is very useful for the trainer or rider because analytical skills are honed after understanding the structure of the horse, improving your riding and teaching skills.

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EVENTS Continued from page 63. This seven-day course is taught in increments in a study group format with a hands-on approach. This course is run three days on, one day off for self-study and finishes with another three days on. Using bones, models, visuals, books, handouts, reference material and live horses, students will work in teams of two, building the muscles on the Equiken® models at a comfortable pace, researching each muscle as the building progresses. Become familiar with various published books, publications and internet resources during the course, thus enabling you to research anatomy more effectively.


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

Winter Equestrian Festival January 6 – April 4, 2021 — Palm Beach, FL

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

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Equine Wellness

February 11–21, 2021 — Scottsdale, AZ In its 63rd year, this Arabian show has set the pace in the Arabian horse world. This show has grown from 50 horses to nearly 2400 horses over the years and brings top owners, trainers, and breeders from all over the world to compete for a chance to win. For more information: (480) 515-1500 info@scottsdaleshow.com www.scottsdaleshow.com Email your event to info@equinewellnessmagazine.com


ADVERTISE HERE! 1.866. 764.1212

Scottsdale Annual Arabian Horse Show



WINTER GROOMING Remember — brushing your horse isn’t just important in the warmer months! Here’s why you should establish a regular winter grooming routine.

Many people fall into the pattern of only grooming their horses during shedding and show season. But it’s important to keep in mind that grooming offers very important benefits during the cold months, too! Here are a couple of benefits that winter grooming can offer your equine companion:


Better circulation for stall-bound horses

It’s not uncommon for horses to be stall-bound for a few months during the off-season due to bad weather, injury, or illness. During this time, it’s important to take steps to increase their circulation, which ultimately promotes healing and decreases the risk of inflammation and other health issues. When done right, grooming is one of the best and least invasive ways to accomplish this. The act of being brushed is similar to getting a massage. It increases blood flow, relaxes large muscle groups, and helps release tightness in the connective tissues. For horses with limited mobility, these are crucial components of recovery.


Removal of mud, snow, and ice

Ice and mud buildup on your horse’s feet and legs shouldn’t be ignored. Over time, it’ll start to irritate his skin and potentially even lead to infection. The best way to prevent this from happening is to maintain a regular grooming schedule all season long. When the snow starts to fly, diligently remove those dirty ice chunks from his coat on a daily basis.

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THE HORSE RESCUE AND SANCTUARY AT DO OVER ACRES Equine Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code HRDA to The HORSE Rescue and Sanctuary at Do Over Acres.

YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2012 LOCATION: Spencerport, NY TYPES OF ANIMALS THEY WORK WITH: “We take in trained and/or rehomed quarter horses, Arabians, thoroughbreds, Morgans, Tennessee walkers, mules, donkeys and many grade horses,” says Marial Ophardt, Owner Operator at HRDA. “They come from neglect and hoarding situations; owners who suddenly passed away or were unable to care for them anymore; and many other scenarios.” NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: There are no paid staff members. “We have had as many as 15 volunteers, but survived with as few as six,” says Marial.

FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: HRDA is always adding to their fundraiser events list. They have hosted open houses, holiday parties, euchre tournaments, meat raffles, garage sales and bottle drives. “This past spring we had a plant sale that we hope to make an annual event,” says Marial. “We are blessed to have several artist friends who have donated their work to raise funds for the rescue. This year has proved difficult because in-person fundraisers were not possible, but we do have a virtual Halloween parade coming up that should be fantastic!”

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: According to Marial, each and every horse they’ve welcomed into their rescue has stolen their hearts. “We have been fortunate to find homes for 50 horses since we started,” she says. “Six have been put to rest with a loving circle of volunteers to send them off.”

Find The HORSE Rescue and Sanctuary at Do Over Acres online: ushorsewelfare.org


Equine Wellness

Photos courtesy of Kristen Ophardt

From top to bottom: Jody and Walker enjoy a nice sunny day wandering the pastures; a pregnant mare taken in by the rescue had the most beautiful baby; Santa comes to visit for the annual Christmas get together.

A few stories in particular stand out in Marial’s mind. There’s the tale of an abused donkey who, once terrified of people, is now the official Farm Greeter. Or the pair of mules that have been a team for over 30 years; Marial and her team promised to keep them together. Then there’s the abandoned injured thoroughbred that healed during his time at the rescue, and won the hearts of two volunteers at the same time. “They adopted her to make sure she would stay healthy,” says Marial. “But the story that makes us all smile is about the aged stallion we promised to give a forever home to,” Marial adds. “He was gifted last Christmas to our 72-year-old volunteer who always wanted his own horse! We had a party and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the stallion placed his head on his new owner’s chest and contently nuzzled him. It is amazing when the line between ‘who rescued who’ is blurred and we are left guessing — was it really the human rescuing the horse, or the horse rescuing the human?”

Equine Wellness



Equine Wellness