V16I2 (May/Jun/Jul 2021)

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Equine Wellness

May/June/July 2021 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Emily Watson EDITOR: Ann Brightman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Alyssa Dow SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin GRAPHIC DESIGN INTERN: Ethan Vorstenbosch Web Design & Development: Lace Imson Digital Marketing Specialist: Cole McCall Digital Marketing Specialist: Jamie McClure COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Marty Adams, PhD, PAS Hannah Arington Carla Bauchmueller JayaMae Gregory Sarah Griffiths, DCH Liv Gude Carole Herder Sara Jordan-Heintz Jason Irwin Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD Julie Anne Lee, DCH, RCHom Rick McBay Sandra Murphy Jessica Putnam, BVMedSci(Hons), BVM BVS(Hons), MRCVS Amy Snow L.A. Sokolowski Anna Twinney Monique Warren Judi Whipple Emma Williams 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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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 Multimedia & Editorial Associate: Shannon Bellamy, (866) 764-1212 ext 401 shannon@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 four 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

ON THE COVER PHOTO BY: Tamara L. Sanchez

Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.


Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published four times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2021. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: April 2021.

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Equine Wellness


CONTENTS May/June/July 2021



6 Editorial 10 Rider


11 From the NASC 27 Product picks 37 Seasonal musthaves

41 Product profile — Cavallo

44 Acupressure at-a-glance

45 Classifieds 45 Marketplace

Features 32

A chieve success in the show ring with Animal Communication Animal Communication helped address the cause of this horse’s anxiety and helped him and his rider thrive.





There are several herbs that can be utilized as a natural way to boost your horse’s immunity, and many of them also offer additional health benefits!

EATING WELL Nutrigenomics: the future of feeding horses Did you know that what your horse eats effects his genes? With a better understanding of nutrigenomics, we can be better equipped to meet the nutritional needs of our equine companions.

C aring for your

horse on the road Learn how the stress of travel affects your horse physically and mentally and what to do to keep him comfortable.

OLISTIC HEALTH H Herbs for equine immunity


H EALTHY HOOVES Preventing heel bulb injuries in horses What are heel bulb injuries and how can you protect your horse from this common issue?


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Teaching your horse to side pass


There are many benefits to teaching your horse how to side pass effectively. This guide will help you master the move!


IET AND NUTRITION D A speciesappropriate approach to equine gut disease


IFESTYLE L What to pack for a horse show

ON-TOXIC LIVING N Natural bug control for horses Want to ditch the bugs and the chemicals this season? Give these natural bug control options a try!


N EED TO KNOW EOTRH: the equine dental syndrome you’ve probably never heard of EOTRH is a relatively new disease that impacts the teeth of horses. Here’s what we know so far.



Tips for when your horse comes home from the trainer

Getting your horse show ready doesn’t have to involve harsh shampoos and shine sprays. Check out these professional grooming tips for getting the perfect look, naturally.

This comprehensive checklist will help ensure you don’t forget anything important when you’re packing for your next horse show.

Making sure your horse has a more species-appropriate lifestyle can decrease her risk of developing equine gut disease.


R EWIND Natural grooming tips for a show ready horse


B ARN AND FARM How to improve ventilation in your arena Better ventilation in your arena means better health for you and your horses. Here are some popular ventilation solutions to consider.


AFETY FIRST S Reassessing your barn and paddock for equine health Are your barn and paddock set up to promote the health and safety of your horses? Performing a semi-annual assessment of these space can help ensure this is the case.


E MOTIONAL WELL-BEING Adding a donkey to your equine herd As long as their unique needs are met, donkeys and horses can coexist peacefully — and even help each other thrive!


EWSWORTHY N The Virtual Tevis Cup Riders and non-riders from across the globe united in 2020 to participate in the firstever Virtual Tevis Cup endurance event.

Sending your horse to a trainer is a great way to break him safely and effectively, or teach him some advanced skills. Here’s what to expect upon his return!

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

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Hoping FOR THE best As we approach the second show season of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are at a loss about what to expect. In a normal year, we’d be ramping up our training and eagerly marking our calendars in preparation for all the upcoming events. This year, all we can do is embrace this helpful adage: hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The good news is, we’re getting pretty good at living with the unknowns. So no matter what happens in the show world this season, we’re ready! To preserve my own sanity during this turbulent time, it helps me to remember that the journey is more important than the destination. In other words, shows or no shows, all that time you’re putting into training is time well spent. Not only are you cultivating a deeper bond with your horse, you’re also shaping him into a well-rounded, competition-ready individual regardless of what the next few years may bring. At the end of the day, it’s not about the shows — it’s about showing up. Since the theme of this issue is “training and performance”, we thought we’d hope for the best by integrating some show-related content into the following pages. The comprehensive packing checklist on page 28 will help ensure you don’t forget anything at your next event, while our feature article on page 42 offers some tips for caring for your horse on the road. As far as horsemanship goes, Jason Irwin advises what to do (and


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not do) when your horse comes home from the trainer (page 24), and Judi Whipple teaches us how to side pass in her article on page 28. Health is always a focus in Equine Wellness, and this issue is no different. On page 8 you’ll find a list of herbs that can boost your horse’s immunity, and page 22 reveals some must-read info about a newly discovered dental syndrome that all horse caretakers should be aware of. Pick up some suggestions for reassessing the safety of your barn and paddock on page 30, and flip to page 20 for some natural insect repellent options. After all, while the status of competition season remains unknown, bug season is something we can always count on! Wishing you well as you forge ahead into spring and better riding weather. Regardless of what’s happening around us, it’s always exciting to know you’ll be spending more time with your horse outdoors! Stay well,

Emily Watson, Senior Content Editor

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Herbs for equine immunity Several herbs can be utilized as a natural way to boost your horse’s immunity, and many also offer additional health benefits! By Jessica Putnam, BVMedSci(Hons), BVM BVS(Hons), MRCVS

Herbal remedies have been around for many thousands of years and continue to be used widely in both human and animal medicine. The use of herbal extracts from plant sources (leaves, roots or flowers) is deemed an “alternative” medicine; however, when used carefully, they may be a useful adjunct to other pharmacological (drug) therapy. Care must be taken to avoid reactions between some herbs and common drugs used for our equine patients. It is important to note that reliable scientific research into the effectiveness and safety of herbal medicines/ supplements is limited, especially in equine species. Evidence to support the use of herbs is often anecdotal, or based on single studies, and therefore any conclusions about their use should be interpreted with caution. Here is an overview of some herbs with evidence to support their use for optimising equine immunity; however, the herbs listed may also have other wider health benefits. Antioxidants, 8

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for instance, reduce stress on immune cells — herbs with antioxidant effects include ginseng, ginger, garlic, flaxseed, echinacea, evening primrose, lavender, rose hip, aloe vera, cranberry, yucca and milk thistle.


In addition to the antioxidant properties outlined above, ginseng can also stimulate lymphocyte function. Lymphocytes are white blood cells which produce antibodies to fight infection by attacking invading bacteria, viruses and toxins. Lymphocytes can also destroy unhealthy or abnormal cells which, for example, have been taken over by a virus or become cancerous. It should be noted that there are limited equine-specific studies published on the benefits of ginseng, and research is largely taken from human and laboratory animal studies. One equine study, however, demonstrated an increased antibody response to vaccination when ginseng was fed at 35mg per kg bodyweight

for two weeks prior to and two weeks after equine herpesvirus-1 vaccination. Care should be taken using ginseng in horses that are already receiving non-steroidal anti-inflammatories e.g. phenylbutazone (“bute”) as they can react with each other.


Ginger contains substances that regulate energy balance within cells, and therefore promote normal cell functioning — in particular, immune cells involved in identifying and destroying cancerous cells. Ginger also has antioxidant effects. Ginger should be used cautiously in horses or ponies who are prone to gastric ulcers due to the potentially caustic effect of ginger on the gastrointestinal tract.


Garlic contains the components allicin and ajoene which have been shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antifungal and antiparasitic properties — hence garlic’s role in supporting the

immune system. It also has antioxidants and other immunomodulating effects. Despite its health benefits, garlic should not be fed ad libitum nor to excess in equine species, as it may cause adverse effects on their red blood cells resulting in anemia.


Rose hip powder fed at 210 grams daily can increase the level of serum vitamin C, which is a known antioxidant and can therefore indirectly support immune system function.


Although flaxseed is known to have antioxidant benefits, its use in horses receiving anti-ulcer supplementation or anti-ulcer medication should be avoided, as these horses may be at an increased risk of flaxseed-induced cyanide poisoning. This is due to the stomach’s reduced ability to inactivate potentially toxic cyanide enzymes which may be present in the seeds.


This herb has been shown to effectively stimulate the equine immune system in a number of different ways. Echinacea stimulates cell-signalling molecules which allow for a co-ordinated immune response. This includes stimulating the signalling pathways which allow white blood cells to leave the bloodstream and enter any affected tissues. Echinacea improves the ability of these neutrophils to consume and destroy foreign particles, therefore improving a horse’s defence against opportunistic pathogens. Echinacea also improves lymphocyte function. Echinacea should be fed at a dose of 1000mg per day for at least five to six weeks and is most useful if fed in the early stages of illness or infection.


A WORD OF WARNING FOR COMPETITORS Herbal medicines are tested to assured medicine standards to ensure their quality, whereas herbs sold as herbal supplements do not have to undergo the same testing and therefore their quality may vary. Care must be taken when feeding herbal extracts to horses who are competing under competition rules, such as Fédération Equestre Internationale, as detection time and withdrawal periods for many herbal supplements or herbal medications is unknown.

Aloe vera is another herb with antioxidant properties, but it must not be fed to pregnant mares as it may stimulate contraction of the uterus and increase the risk of losing a foal.


Cranberry is rich in vitamin C, and therefore another useful antioxidant.


Yucca has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and as well as antioxidant benefits, has the potential to increase antibody levels as it contains high levels of a component called saponins.


Milk thistle is most commonly known in the equine world for its antiinflammatory benefits for horses with liver disease; however, its antioxidant properties will also help to support a healthy immune system.


The essential oil of primrose contains essential fatty acids which are converted into hormones by cell enzymes. These hormones have important roles across many body systems, including maintaining immune system function. Primrose oil also contains several potent antioxidants.


Lavender may have some antibacterial effect when used topically, e.g. on the skin. It is also believed to have some antioxidant properties. Studies into the effect of lavender in horses are limited.

Jessica Putnam rode her first pony at the age of three. Her continuing love for horses sparked her interest in becoming a vet. She graduated from the Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Jess has worked in equine veterinary practices in Lancashire and North Yorkshire ever since, including an internship at Rainbow Equine Hospital. She enjoys all aspects of her role in clinical practice, including ambulatory and hospital work, and also has a passion for client communication and education — she regularly runs owner education workshops at her practice in North Yorkshire.

Equine Wellness



breathwork Using

By Carla Bauchmueller


This simple exercise will teach you how to build a deeper connection with your horse through abdominal breathwork. As a rider, you are on a journey to become more confident, balanced and connected to your horse. After working with thousands of riders all over the world over the last 30 years, I have seen that most riders never think about the power of breath in connecting with their horses. By not engaging in conscious breathwork, they miss out on an opportunity to deepen the bond they share with their equine companions.

Subconscious vs. conscious breathing Breathing continues subconsciously as long as you live. But you can also bring awareness to your breath, and there are many ways to use conscious breathing in riding — to calm yourself and your horse, to increase energy, to release tension, etc.

Using breathwork to connect with your horse One of the main challenges riders face is that when they start to feel anxious, they hold their breath. This interrupts their connection to the horse and makes both of them feel less safe. In order to feel safer, connect more deeply, and ride more intuitively, try 10

Equine Wellness

this exercise. You can follow along in your living room — doing a “dry run” allows you to get a feel for breathing in your own body first. You can then do the exact same exercise in the saddle next time you ride.


Sit tall in a chair without leaning on the backrest.


Practice chest breathing by placing one hand on your sternum. Breathe into this area of your torso for a few inhales and exhales. What do you feel? Chances are, your center of gravity has moved up. You are probably bracing your back and getting tense. The connection of your seat bones to the chair is less tangible. If you are in this position in the saddle, you will feel disconnected from the saddle and your horse. Tension and anxiety will start creeping in.


Practice abdominal breathing by placing your hand on your abdomen, the area underneath your belly button. When breathing, let your

belly gently expand and then drop back in. Take a few breaths like this. Take a minute to feel into your body. You probably feel you are relaxing and softening your back. Your seat bones reconnect to the chair. You feel calmer. When you practice abdominal breathing in the saddle, you will feel that your seat bones are connecting with the saddle and your horse again. From now on, you can use abdominal breathing as soon as you feel tension rising in you or your horse. It will have a calming effect on both of you. Building awareness through breathing is an important step in your journey to become a more intuitive, balanced and connected rider. To dive deeper into the power of body awareness in riding, visit TheIntuitiveRider.com to take a free, twominute quiz.

A horse lover and rider all her life, Carla Bauchmueller studied firsthand in world renowned programs such as Sally Swift’s Centered Riding® and The Classical German Training System. What deepens Carla's teachings and sets her apart is her level of expertise in meditation, personal development and mindfulness training. This unique combination and expertise led her to create The Intuitive Rider. In live and online programs, she helps riders from all over the world to be more balanced, safer and more connected in the saddle, and also deeply work on the emotional and mental side of being a horse person.


TARGETED DIGESTIVE SUPPLEMENTS CAN HELP WITH DIGESTIVE CHANGES IN OLDER HORSES Pay attention to diet form and digestive supplements to help keep your senior horse’s belly happy. By Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD

With advances in preventative health care over the last 50 years, the ole gray mare is not only older, but she’s also healthier. However, age inevitably takes a toll, including on the digestive system. Targeted digestive supplements can help.

some minerals as they aged but later studies have disproven this. It is now believed those early findings were due to parasite damage since the work was done before the appearance of effective over-the-counter dewormers.

Senior horses may face several challenges in digesting their food. Natural wear and over-aggressive dentistry can lead to loss of the enamel ridges on the horse's teeth. The angle of the chewing surface (Curve of Spee) also changes, reducing the chewing force. Although not investigated in horses, aging can result in decrease in stomach acid production and pancreatic digestive enzyme activity. Older horses also often have reduced numbers and diversity of microorganisms in their intestinal tracts.

Support from digestive enzymes can help with small intestinal absorption of nutrients to assist in weight and muscle maintenance. Bacterial and yeast fermentation products are rich sources of digestive enzymes as well as growth factors for beneficial organisms.

When chewing is an issue, switching the diet to one based on hay cubes/pellets and/or a complete feed, fed thoroughly moistened or even as a "soup," is highly beneficial. Adding psyllium to every meal improves ease of swallowing and is also prebiotic. You can leave hay available to keep the horse busy unless choke is a problem, but don't count on it to supply significant calories. Older research suggested horses needed special levels of protein and

Research has shown older horses can be as effective at fermenting food in their hind gut as their younger counterparts are. However, we also know the number and diversity of organisms is reduced, making the older horse more sensitive to changes, including in hay. The best probiotics are a blend of bacterial strains and yeast. The number of live organisms is extremely important. One colony forming unit (CFU) = one live organism. You need to think in terms of tens of billions of CFUs to have an effect. Fermentative organisms also benefit from a supply of easily fermented soluble fiber. Psyllium is ideal for this, as are food choices containing

soy hulls and beet pulp. Flaxseed contains good levels of soluble fiber. Deworming is also an issue. Older horses are often more susceptible to parasites and can even harbor worms not normally seen in adults, like roundworms. They should be dewormed at least twice a year with ivermectin or moxidectin, with one of those containing praziquantel for tapeworms. Do fresh fecal checks for parasite eggs at least twice a year on this schedule, three months after deworming. If parasites are not well controlled, a more frequent deworming schedule will be needed. The senior horse may need special attention to diet form and digestive supplements, but there's no reason they can’t remain in good flesh. If you see a dramatic weight loss, especially if sudden, consult your veterinarian.

Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, has been an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and is a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via the integration of research and real-life clinical experience. Preventing laminitis is the ultimate goal. ecirhorse.org

Equine Wellness



Nutrigenomics: THE FUTURE OF FEEDING HORSES By Marty Adams, PhD, PAS

W Did you know that what your horse eats affects his genes? With a better understanding of nutrigenomics, we can be better equipped to meet the nutritional needs of our equine companions. 12

Equine Wellness

e have come a long way with how we feed horses. It started by providing horses some land to graze and supplementing their diets with grains or concentrates and other feedstuffs. Equine nutrition has become much more sophisticated since then. Now we can select specific forages for pasture and hay production and follow soil nutrient and harvesting recommendations to provide optimal hay and pasture. We also have a large variety of feeds and supplements to select from to meet our horses’ nutrient requirements. Following is a discussion on nutrigenomics — what it is, how it’s possible, examples of how nutrients can interact with the horse’s health, and how nutrigenomics can affect the future of feeding horses.

DEFINING NUTRIGENOMICS Nutrigenomics is the scientific study of how nutrients can interact, directly or indirectly, with an animal’s genome. This interaction influences how genes

are expressed, which can affect health, disease and performance. Genes are chains of DNA found in the nucleus of each cell of the horse’s body. These genes serve as blueprints and their DNA is copied to make specific mRNA which are used as templates to make specific proteins. These specific proteins are chains of amino acids that are used by the cell to make structural components (i.e. tendons, ligaments, muscles) and functional components (e.g. enzymes that digest nutrients and regulate metabolism of nutrients to produce energy). The term “gene expression” refers to how genes produce proteins. Specific genes can be turned on (upregulation) or turned off (downregulation). Genes that are upregulated produce more of a specific mRNA and downregulated genes produce less of a specific mRNA. In other words, one or more genes can make a key to “turn on” or “turn off” a metabolic sequence. This key starts at

the cell’s genetic material or DNA and goes to the assembly plant in the cell, which is the ribosome. The ribosome then makes more or less of what that key tells it to, and that results in the metabolic sequence that causes the “expression” of that gene.

TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES MAKE NUTRIGENOMICS POSSIBLE Nutrigenomics is now possible due to advances in genetic technology. One new discovery is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR allows a small sample of DNA to be taken and quickly reproduced into millions of copies that can be studied. The entire equine genome has been identified using PCR and was made public knowledge in 2007. Another genetic advance is a DNA or gene “chip”. A gene chip is specific genetic material that has been taken from a DNA string and then replicated

many times by PCR and placed in a microarray structure. The chip is a small plate of glass in a plastic case about the size of a postage stamp. On the surface of the gene chip are thousands of DNA sequences made of specific genes. A researcher obtains a DNA sample, chops it into small pieces, dyes it and places it in with the original DNA material in the chip. Replication of DNA material continues for a specific amount of time and then a scan of the chip is used to measure the amount of sample DNA that binds to the original DNA. The bound or complementary DNA in the gene chip can then be measured and show what genes have been upregulated or downregulated.

USING NUTRIGENOMICS TO IMPROVE HORSE HEALTH Following is an example of how a nutrigenomics experiment could be performed. Two groups of horses are selected and fed diets that vary in a

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certain nutrient amount or dietary condition. Gene chips are made with genes from tissue thought to be influenced by this dietary nutrient or condition. DNA samples from each horse’s tissue are added to gene chips from both groups. The chips are scanned and the results are used to determine if genes from the sampled tissue from either group of horses is expressed differently due to the nutrient amount or dietary condition. We know that nutrients can interact with genetic expression to impact a horse’s health. For example, Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP) is a genetic disease that causes symptoms including muscle spasms, trembling and weakness in affected horses. HYPP is the result of a mutation that causes changes in the expression of a gene that transports sodium in and out of skeletal muscle. This sodium transport mechanism uses sodium to regulate potassium, which is known as the sodium-potassium pump. In the presence of high dietary potassium in horses with the defective gene, the sodium transport fails to activate, and potassium levels increase greatly above normal and symptoms of potassium toxicity occur. Another example of a genetic expression impacting the horse’s normal health is Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy Type 1 or PSSM1. PSSM1 can cause episodes of muscle weakness, stiffness, pain and muscle damage after exercise, and is also known as “tying up” or exertional rhabdomyolysis. PSSM1 is caused by a mutation in the glycogen synthase gene.


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This mutation causes muscle cells in the horse to continually produce glycogen from blood glucose. When blood glucose is readily available, it results in an excessive amount of muscle glycogen stored in an abnormal form that can’t be readily mobilized during exercise. This lack of available glucose to fuel the muscle cells causes symptoms of PSSM1. High levels of dietary nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) or starch and sugars can induce or increase the incidence of PSSM1. The treatment for PSSM1 is a low NSC, high-fat diet; a low NSC concentrate and low NSC hay may be required as well.

MORE STUDIES ARE NEEDED Nutrigenomics is still in the early stages with only a few studies done in the horse and not many performed with other animals and humans. Some recent areas of investigation include 1) a low-calorie diet with obese humans and the effect on oxidative stress and inflammation-related genes; 2) osteochondrosis-related gene expression of equine leukocytes in the joints of foals; and 3) the effect of high dietary selenium supplementation on gene expression in sheep. The goal of equine nutrigenomics is to tailor a horse’s diet based on their genetic information, so they grow in a healthy state and avoid developmental and metabolic issues. Unfortunately, this goal hasn’t been realized yet, and there are several areas that need further research for success to be achieved:


First and foremost, a better understanding of genes is needed. While we know the entire genome of the horse, or all the genes and their sequences that make up the entire horse, there is not much information on what each gene is or does.


A second limitation is the difficulty in obtaining enough sample sizes from many target tissues because of the necessity of euthanizing horses to do so. So currently, mainly skeletal muscle and white blood cells are used for nutrigenomic research.


ther limitations include O a lack of horses with data on specific dietary needs, and lack of funding for research on equine nutrigenomics.

In the future we may be able to determine a horse’s genetic information and evaluate which genes dietary conditions and nutrients influence. This will allow nutritionists to develop feeds and supplements with different amounts and forms of nutrients (i.e. organic versus inorganic), feed additives (i.e. prebiotics, probiotics, antioxidants) and dietary recommendations (e.g. reduced calorie, low NSC, low potassium) that veterinarians and caretakers can utilize to provide better feeding results for horses. 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. He was formerly the equine nutritionist and horse feed manager for Southern States Cooperative. Dr. Adams also served as an assistant/associate professor at Louisiana Tech University after graduate school, and then was the equine nutritionist for Seminole Feed before taking the position at Southern States. Dr. Adams has two B.S. degrees from Missouri State University, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Missouri (Animal Science/Equine Specialty) and an ARPAS Equine (American Registry of Professional Animal Science) certification.



What are heel bulb injuries and how can you protect your horse from this common issue?



By Carole Herder Heel bulb injuries are common among horses. This area of soft tissue in the hoof is prone to damage from kicks, entanglement with wire fencing, stab wounds from protruding objects, and countless other hazards. Any lacerations or cuts should be treated seriously, as infection can become life threatening. Let’s take a closer look at heel bulb injuries and what you can do to prevent them.

A peek inside the bulbs Located at the back of the hoof, heel bulbs are areas of soft horn tissue with a cushion of connective tissue on the interior side that provides the bulbs with springiness and flexibility. This delicate, pliable horn contains a large amount of water and sweat glands, and is extremely sensitive to external damage. Stress on heel bulbs can even be caused by the hard plastic of certain hoof boots, bell boots or other equipment. Needless to say, it’s essential to understand the delicate nature of this area in order to protect it from harm.

Underrun heels — a contributing factor to heel bulb injuries In a properly functioning hoof, the frog’s collateral grooves extend past the heels outside the curves of the bulbs. If they are within the curves there is a contraction, often accompanied by underrun heels. With this condition, the heel distorts inward and under the hoof, rather than slanting outward toward the back. Contrast this to a healthy hoof, where the heel is on an angle away from the toe, constructing a larger weight-bearing platform, thereby better accommodating the horse’s weight. Unfortunately, underrun heels are a common disorder, and any heel pain forces the horse to change his gait by creating an unnatural toe first landing. The appearance of a contracted, underrun hoof is so typical that it’s often considered the norm. The hoof looks long and narrow, particularly towards the back half. The heels look

like they pinch together (squeezing the bulbs and frog), and curve in like hooks towards the frog, creating a v-shape instead of a straight line. The collateral grooves on either side of the frog are not in a clear line and fall within the heel curve. As a result, inflamed and excessive soft bulb tissue protrudes out from the heel area. These areas require protection until the issue is resolved.

Babying those bulbs In order to prevent heel bulb injuries, work toward re-establishing proper hoof form, correct function, and good quality blood circulation. Movement, hydration, appropriate trimming, hoof protection, adequate nutrition and inclusion in a herd environment can provide your horse with both the physical and emotional elements to expedite healing. Soft padding will provide comfort and protection while working to improve the situation. Some hoof boots provide appropriate padding to this delicate area.

Carole Herder is the author of the #1 International Bestseller There Are No Horseshoes in Heaven and the newly released Hoofprints on The Journey. Carole has been involved in horse health since 1993. Her company, Cavallo Horse & Rider Inc., develops, manufactures and distributes horse products in 26 countries worldwide. Carole designed and developed Cavallo Hoof Boots and Total Comfort System Saddle Pads. Providing comfort for horses is Carole's passion. She presents training around the world on the benefits of keeping horses in their natural state. Ms. Herder is the honored recipient of the Royal Bank of Canada Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She is a trailblazer and a proud member of the Womens' Presidents Organization, supporting female entrepreneurs in every industry.

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There are many benefits to teaching your horse how to side pass effectively. This guide will help you master the move!


By Judi Whipple


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Whenever my husband happens in on a student's lesson while I am teaching lateral work, he likes to tease them about not being able to travel in a straight line. Traveling sideways in any form results from refining the rider's aids. Sideways movement is good physical therapy for the horse, and allows horse and rider to safely maneuver through traffic, gates, trails, and random obstacles along the way. Training becomes a means of communication and partnership. Here is a clear method to teach your horse how to side pass.

BEFORE YOU START The most important prerequisite for learning something new is relaxation. Nervousness creates stiffness, which triggers the flight or fight instinct. It is essential to begin each training session with easy familiar work. Try something that helps the horse move, breathe, and relax, such as a lunging.

GROUNDWORK It is helpful to start training the horse’s response to the aids from the ground. The two most important areas for cueing the side pass are the shoulders, and the point on the ribs just behind where the girth is placed. For the shoulders, start with light pressure from your hand and ask for the shoulder to move away. Make sure to get an equal response on both sides (one aid, one answer). Awaken the horse’s awareness to the leg cue behind the girth by pressing your thumb, or the butt end of the whip, against the horse's side about where your leg pressure would be. Begin to shape the movement by rewarding small responses to this pressure.

Once there is a clear movement away from light pressure at these two points, train the horse to move them together. Position her nose to the wall and hold the whip straight, like a sword, parallel to the side that you want her to move away from. She’ll learn to move away as you move into her.

MOUNTED TRAINING After establishing relaxation and response to the cues, review the aids for stop and go. Yes, traveling forward and straight is a prerequisite to moving sideways. To succeed, the rider must have a clear separation of aids, and the understanding of how they frame the horse. The hands and reins frame and control the shoulders. The legs frame and control the hindquarters, and the weight of the seat acts as an editor. These aids are like doors — legs and reins are the side doors. Shifting the weight of the seat can close or open the back door, and encourage the horse to shift right, or left, much as the weight of a backpack would cause us to shift our shoulders evenly under it. The closed hands to bit is the front door. Pay attention to the hipelbow connection, as the control of the shoulder is lost when the elbow is placed too far forward.

BREAKING IT DOWN THROUGH EXERCISES Teach the horse to move her shoulders by “riding a broken line” (see Diagram 1 on page 18). Beginning in a corner of the arena, apply gentle pressure to the horse’s neck to cue the shoulders away from the wall. It helps to slightly open the inside rein toward the desired direction. When the horse has moved away from the wall and toward the center of the arena, put both reins

Rider aids for side pass to the right Reins — Slightly open the right rein, and place the left rein against the horse’s neck to close the “door” to left movement. Legs — Lighten the pressure of the right leg and close the left leg against the horse’s rib cage. Apply stronger pressure with the lower left leg on that side. The upper left leg pressure helps shift the horse's weight to the right, the lower left leg cues the left hind to step to the right. Seat — Be sure that your seat bones are straight down to close the back door. Shift more weight to the right to encourage the horse to step under that weight. At first, the horse may not move the shoulders and hindquarters evenly. Be patient — you may even need to go back and review from the ground.


Turn on the forehand This 180° turn is a key step to all lateral work. It requires a clear understanding of framing the horse with rider aids and emphasizes moving the haunches away from leg pressure.

q Halt parallel to the fence, or arena wall. w If your right leg is closest to the wall, then the horse will be moving the hindquarters away from that leg and around the stationary left front hoof.

e Apply right lower leg pressure to cue the hindquarters over; the reins close the movement through the “front door”, and the left rein and leg keep that side door shut. Once the horse understands the aids for the turn on the forehand, proceed to leg yields along the wall, and quarter line to wall leg yields, which begin the process of sideways movement and solidify the rein and leg cues.

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DIAGRAM 1: BROKEN LINES (one steeper than other) Groundwork shoulder cue to move the whole body sideways.

back toward the next corner. This exercise gives your horse a chance to practice responding to the framing of the rein aids.

When performing the “riding in a broken line” exercise, ride as if you’re going to make a straight line to the opposite wall, but instead “break” the line and head back to the same wall.

DIAGRAM 2: RIDER AIDS FOR THE TURN ON THE FOREHAND (180° from lower leg pressure behind the girth on the right side)

Legs are once again even

The next step is to teach the horse to hold the shoulders and move the haunch. This can be taught by an exercise called “turn on the forehand” (see sidebar on page 17). The next exercise is to teach the horse to hold the haunch and move the forehand. Practice the ability to direct the inside front leg. From the halt, create a direct line from your inside hand to the bit on the same side, open the rein slightly away from the horse's neck and wait for the horse to move her inside front leg a step to the inside. Praise greatly. This begins the understanding of moving the shoulders around the stationary hindquarter.


DIAGRAM 3: RIDER AIDS FOR SIDE PASS Left rein closes against the neck

Dominant aid: Left lower back applying pressure which includes the heel

Right rein slightly open

Highten right leg and shift seat slightly to the right

*When first teaching ask for only a few steps.


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When there is an understanding of both the holding and moving in response to rider aids then it is time to put it all together for an actual side pass. Use the arena wall or a fence to help the horse understand that no forward movement is desired. Use the left leg (emphasize the lower leg and heel) to direct the haunch over, and both reins to frame and direct the shoulders, for a side pass to the right.

Remember, your seat is an editor, so be sure to shift your weight into your right stirrup to help your horse understand that you are wanting her to step under your weight and move to the right. When the horse is confident side passing both ways while facing the wall, you can begin to teach the side pass over a pole. Place a pole about five feet away from the wall (parallel to it) for the horse to step over with her front feet only. Only ask for a few steps at first. There is no timeframe for success — every horse is different. Remember to offer lots of reward for even the smallest effort. Always keep a strong intent and visualization of the successful movement in your mind. From there, the horse usually understands and can begin performing this movement anywhere. The side pass is more than just a flashy movement. It is a way to safely maneuver gates and trail obstacles, and most importantly, to step away from danger. Judi Whipple has been working in various aspects of the horse industry since 1970. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with an Associates Degree in Sociology. She currently owns and operates Breckenridge Farm in Barre, VT. Judi has been instructing for over 40 years and was named one of The American Riding Instructors Association's (ARIA) “Top 50 Instructors” in 2007. Her trick minis have performed for schools and nursing homes, and she now holds monthly trick performances on her farm, featuring tricks that her students and their horses have recently learned. Follow Judi on Facebook, her animals on Instagram @ notaponypepperoni, and Breckenridge Farm on Twitter.

A species-appropriate approach to equine gut disease By Julie Anne Lee, DCH, RCHom & Sarah Griffiths, DCH

Making sure your horse has a more speciesappropriate lifestyle can decrease her risk of developing equine gut disease. Equine gut disease has reached epidemic proportions in domestic horses. Studies suggest that 80% to 90% of performance horses have ulcers, which can also increase risk for colic. The consensus is that species-related stress plays a primary role in damaging the mucosal layer of the GI tract, the “home” of the microbiome. Researchers have identified tangible connections between gut disease and the following: a b c d

L ack of turnout and social interaction S udden changes in routine/housing L ong periods without eating D iets that do not resemble natural forage

The more we synthesize a horse's living environment and diet, the higher the risk for gut disease. We need to go back to nature in order to prevent disease and heal the gut.

Turnout Turnout naturally increases movement, promoting healthy gut motility and blood circulation. This increases nutrition and oxygen to the cells and creates a healthy vascular environment throughout the entire body. Turnout also allows your horse access to dirt! Healthy soil contains thousands of microbes that contribute to a functional microbiome.

Species-appropriate diet Starchy, extruded feeds are high in hydrolysable carbohydrates which easily convert to sugar. These feed concentrates are associated with equine diseases including ulcers and gastric pH and microbiome imbalance. Avoid them at all costs. A diet of organic forage as the base is fundamental for gut health in horses. Manage your fields without chemicals. Nourish the soil. Source out low-sugar organic hay. Frequent feedings are also important for ulcer repair. This lays the foundation for healthy gut mucosa.

Pre and probiotics All stable-kept horses should have access to probiotics. If you can’t get them out on well-managed grass and dirt, they need to get their daily dose of microbes from somewhere else. It’s also important to provide a high quality prebiotic such as larch (not a sugar-based one). If you can, add species-specific probiotic strains instead of solely using human strains. New emerging science shows that there are microbes specifically suited to each animal species. Customizing the microbial community offers unique immune-modulative effects.

Why probiotics don’t always work Not all probiotics are equal. It’s important to use several (over ten) strains to prevent mono-cultures in the gut which can cause further health complications. Secondly, in order for probiotics to benefit your horse, the GI mucosal layer has to be healthy. Guthealing foods should include: Mucilage — This plant substance is highly effective at assisting in gut repair. Great sources for equines include soaked marshmallow root, chia and ground fenugreek seed. Herbs — Herbs help to settle the GI system and work as fantastic prebiotics. Choosing the right herbs for your horse might require help from an equine herbalist but consider aloe vera juice, slippery elm bark, peppermint and chamomile. L-glutamine — If there is even the remote possibility that you suspect ulcers in your horse, L-glutamine is a must. It’s well-recognized for aiding in repair of the gut mucosal lining.

Sarah Griffiths, DCH is a homeopath and animal nutrition specialist. She has a 20-year clinical and educational background working with wild and domestic animal species. Julie Anne Lee, DCH, has spent her life learning and teaching veterinarians and the public how to provide healthy, holistic care to all animals. Adored Beast Apothecary is the culmination of her decades of experience, which included opening the first licensed holistic veterinary hospital in Canada.

To read more on this topic, visit: equinewellnessmagazine.com/species-appropriate-equine-gut. Equine Wellness




bug control for horses

Want to ditch the bugs and the chemicals this season? Give these natural bug control options a try!

By Sara Jordan-Heintz Every equine enthusiast knows flies and other pests frequently bother horses. But some bug repellents that contain harsh chemicals are detrimental to the animal’s health and happiness. Fortunately it’s easier than ever to switch to a more natural bug control regime, and in many cases it’s no less effective.

GOING THE NATURAL ROUTE Meghan Lalonde and her fiancée Lisa Vaccaro own and operate Free Spirit Farm in Freehold, New Jersey. They offer horseback riding, boarding and training. “I’ve been working with horses for six to seven years,” says Meghan. “I started going down the rabbit hole of what works and what doesn’t work for natural bug control. We keep the natural aspect in mind because we’re dealing with a wide range of horses that might be sensitive to some chemicals.”

HOMEMADE NATURAL BUG SPRAYS Meghan and Lisa make their own organic bug sprays that contain 20

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essential oils including cedarwood, cinnamon, citronella, clove, lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass, neem, peppermint, rosemary, thyme or Greek oregano. “The key is finding something the flies don’t like the smell of,” says Lisa. “I have seen adverse reactions to heavy applications of chemical sprays, but not to the natural sprays we make,” says Meghan. The only downside to using essential oils, she says, is that they wear off faster. To help ward off pests and attract pollinators, the couple also plants some of these herbs around their farm. Being located in central New Jersey, just down the road from an old cranberry bog, Meghan and Lisa deal with high numbers of ticks, flies and mosquitoes on their farm. Because of the tick population, they often use a store-bought spray that contains pyrethrum — a natural insecticide made from a dried flower. “It smells like a lemony perfume and contains a coat conditioner in the form of lanolin, and I’ve watched it go to work of flies season after season,” says Meghan.

Lisa adds that neem is starting to show up in a lot of commercial fly sprays. “I’ve bought some to experiment with this coming summer,” she says. Flies tend to gather around a horse’s face, abdomen, legs or areas with skin abrasions. Meghan applies her essential oil sprays to these areas using a terry cloth. Making sure to apply the solution evenly, she then brushes the horse down. “The sprays lose their effect after 24 hours, especially with sweating,” she explains. “So with trail activity, you might want to apply it several times a day. In the past decade, there have been some promising studies by the US National Library of Medicine that show the effectiveness of lemongrass oil in repelling stable flies and lemon eucalyptus repelling mosquitoes within the first day of application. After the first day the effectiveness dropped dramatically.”

SLOW BUG REPRODUCTION RATES Climate variances depending on where horse caretakers and breeders live will require you to study what types of

FLY MASKS ALSO HELP! Fly masks are designed to cover exposed areas of a horse’s face such as the eyes, jaw, ears and muzzle, to guard against painful bites. While this isn’t an effective solution for the rest of the horse’s body, keeping bugs off his face is a big part of the battle.

pests are prevalent in your area. For Meghan and Lisa, bug control is a two-pronged approach: prevent or slow the breeding, and repel them. “People have to identify what kind of flies they’re being bothered by so they know how to get to them,” says Lisa. “Personally, I use fly predators around manure composts and where any seeds might get spilled and spoil.” Fly predators are beneficial bugs (larvae) that control flies naturally. They’re small, do not bite or sting, and do not develop into pests. Their life cycle is spent near or on manure. “They look like dark pieces of rice in a bag of shavings that you can sprinkle around the farm,” says Meghan. “The predators themselves stay within 30 feet of where they’re sprinkled. They go to work in the background, while I’m spraying the horses.”

Lisa notes that flies multiply so quickly that they will find your horse despite your best efforts. “The more you can get them at the source and prevent their numbers from growing, the easier it is to then back that up with your sprays,” she says. Ditch the chemicals and the bugs this season by trying these natural bug control options on your herd. Like Meghan and Lisa, you might have to experiment to see what works best on your farm, but it’ll be well worth it.

Sara Jordan-Heintz is a newspaper and magazine journalist. Her articles have appeared in Antique Trader, Farm Collector and Discover Vintage America, among other publications. She is a recipient of the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award. Her work is regularly published through the USA Today Network. She is the author of the classic cinema book “Going Hollywood: Midwesterners in Movieland.” She lives in Iowa with her husband Andy Heintz and their tuxedo cat Madeline.

Natural bug repellent recipe 2 cups water 2 cups vinegar 3 teaspoons castile soap 10 drops of each essential oil — citronella, lemon eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender ¼ cup witch hazel 2 teaspoons coconut oil (optional) Directions Combine water, vinegar, witch hazel and castile soap, then add in 10 drops of each essential oil. You can add in a few teaspoons of coconut oil for a little extra conditioning and shine. Give it all a little shake, funnel into your favorite spray bottle and apply generously to yourself and your equine friend.

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the equine dental syndrome you’ve probably never heard of

EOTRH is a relatively new disease that impacts the teeth of horses. Here’s what we know so far. By L.A. Sokolowski If you haven’t heard of EOTRH, you aren’t alone. This destructive dental syndrome, clinically known as Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis, has been affecting horses for a long time, but is now recognized with greater frequency and accurately diagnosed.

DEFINING EOTRH Typically recognized in horses over 15 years old, EOTRH is characterized by internal and external tooth resorption (loss of the tooth) and destruction. Excessive cemental deposition is also a primary factor in this disease, and the roots of the teeth eventually become enlarged — a condition known as hypercementosis. Infection, abscesses and fractures are also frequently seen with this condition. 22

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The tooth degeneration that happens in horses with EOTRH leads to painful fractures and tooth loss, and can express itself through weight loss and difficulty eating, as well as performance and behavioral issues including head shyness and resistance to bend during work.

WHAT’S THE CAUSE? Older age is a risk factor but moderateto-severe radiographic changes have also been identified in middle-aged horses (11 to 13 years). Horses that are diagnosed with EOTRH usually have signs of periodontal disease as well. Radiography is necessary for diagnosis and treatment planning, and in many cases extraction of all diseased teeth is a

reasonable and effective treatment (see sidebar at right).

GAINING A BETTER UNDERSTANDING According to a white paper titled Associated Risk Factors of EOTRH and Hypercementosis, “the painful disease involving equine incisors and canines does not have a single detriment but occurs as the result of cumulative impact of several risk factors: trauma caused by excessive dentistry, periodontal disease, feed type, genetics, and hormonal conditions such as Cushing’s and laminitis.” In another white paper and video, Update on EOTRH, Leah E. Limone,



A - Normal incisors. B - Incisors affected by both hypercementosis and tooth resorption. C - Radiographs of the incisors pictured in Image B.

DVM, of Northeast Equine Veterinary Dental Services in Massachusetts, states that “EOTRH is a relatively recently described disorder of unknown etiology affecting the teeth of older

horses. The condition was first described as an uncommon disorder of canine and incisor teeth and subsequently described histologically and given a descriptive name.”

L.A. Sokolowski is an award-winning, multi-platform journalist and image consultant based in New York. She has covered various topics including equestrian sport, welfare, lifestyle and culture at its highest international levels since 1992. She is the 2017 recipient of the American Horse Publications Chris Brune Spirit Award for her contributions to the horse industry; winner of the 2016 Syracuse Press Club Sportswriting Award; and five-time winner of AHP Media Awards since 2008 for excellence in freelance equestrian journalism. Connect with L.A. on IG or LinkedIn @LA_Sokolowski, Twitter @LAtheEquinista, and FB @latheequinista.

A 22-year-old mare named CZ was diagnosed with EOTRH when she was taken to the vet to have a broken tooth extracted. “Two veterinarians and an equine dentist never diagnosed her because we never took x-rays,” says CZ’s caretaker, Jennie. “It wasn’t until I hauled her in to get the tooth pulled that she was x-rayed, and we saw how her incisors were compromised. They all had to come out.” Jennie admits she carries a lot of guilt over the late diagnosis. It’s likely CZ was in pain for years before anyone realized what was going on in her mouth. “From my understanding, checking for EOTRH has only come to the fore recently, so not all equine veterinarians or dentists are up to speed about it,” she says. Fortunately, CZ got to keep her molars — but all her incisors were extracted. “For the first month of healing, I fed her soaked hay cubes in a big feed tub and rinsed her mouth out a few times a day — lots of free showers for me. She could graze on longer grass that she didn’t have to bite off.”

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Tips for when your horse comes home from the trainer Sending your horse to a trainer is a great way to start him safely and effectively, or teach him some advanced skills. Here’s what to expect upon his return! By Jason Irwin

Your horse just came home from the trainer — now what? Whether your horse was away being started under saddle, was having problems or issues worked on, or was getting some advanced training, here are some tips to help you and your horse get off on the right foot now that he’s home.

MAINTAIN MOMENTUM The first important point to consider is that your horse has likely been ridden a lot lately at the trainer’s so he’s tuned up, in good shape, and hopefully in a good frame of mind. Therefore, when your horse comes home you’re going to need to continue to work with him and ride him. If you don’t, then all the things he’s doing so well are going to slide back, and you’re going to lose a lot of what you just paid for. It’s a real mistake to think that just because your horse was at the trainer’s, that means he’s now fully trained and you don’t have to do any more work with him. Probably 24

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the single thing that irritates trainers the most is when a client gets a horse home from training and doesn’t work with him for six months, then hops on one day and is annoyed with the trainer and/or horse when the horse doesn’t handle perfectly. Horses are not like a computer where once a program is downloaded it is there permanently. On the contrary, a horse’s training needs to be maintained, so if you don’t keep up the work that your trainer started a lot of that training will have been in vain.

BE PATIENT WHILE YOU GET BACK IN SYNC Another important point is that your horse is now in sync with the trainer — not you. Even if your horse had already been trained to ride, and you rode him before, he’s not going to feel the

same after his time with the trainer. He’s likely going to have buttons that he didn’t have before and he’s going to be more responsive than you remember him being. You now need some time to get the feel of your horse again, and he needs time to get the feel of you again. If your horse was being started under saddle, then chances are he’s only used to the feel of the trainer, so it will take that horse even more time to get used to you. It’s very important to work with your horse to get the feel of him, but don’t play with all the bells and whistles right away. In other words, you need to

If you’re running into some little problems or are getting stuck in certain areas, contact the trainer for help sooner rather than later. Very often if you’re running into some small issues, your trainer can help you through those problems without much fuss. However, if you keep going and those little problems become bigger ones it’s going to be a lot harder to get you both back on the right track.

ride your horse easy in the beginning to get a feel for what he knows. You might have watched your horse doing some pretty cool maneuvers at the trainer’s and it’s temping to put him through his paces and test everything out. However, keep in mind that the horse and trainer were used to each other and they built up to that training. No matter how good of a rider you are, there are going to be differences between the way you ride and the way the trainer rode. Chances are your legs are going to touch the horse in a different way than the trainer’s; you probably use your upper body differently; you cue with the reins slightly different; and any number of other little variations that add up to make a big difference. Don’t plan to step on and pick up where the trainer left off. Start back a few steps from where your trainer was with the horse and rebuild the connection. Ride your horse consistently for the first week after he gets home without asking for very much. After that time you’ll be

more in sync and then more can be asked of the horse without running the risk of causing confusion.

LOCATION MATTERS Another quick thing to discuss is where you ride your horse. If you’ve ridden your horse all over creation and he just went away for a little fine tuning then this isn’t as big of a deal. However, if your horse has just been started under saddle or had a lot of problem solving work done, then where you start riding can be important. If either of those describe your horse, start in a round pen or small arena for the first little while — even if the trainer has had the horse out of the round pen for some time now. Riding in a confined area with not many distractions will keep your horse’s focus more on you and reduce the likelihood that he’ll be spooked by something. Another reason for this is that if things start to go downhill there’s a lot less chance of getting into

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trouble in the confined area than there is in a big pasture or going down a trail through the woods. Get the feel of your young horse in the pen and then when you’re comfortable together head out into the world from there.

DON’T RESIST THE CHANGES One last point — realize that this is a new chapter of your horse’s life and your own. A lot of folks tend to think of and work with their horses based on what they were in the past. Your horse has likely turned a page in his training, and you need to as well. For instance, if your horse used to be a little bit spooky and your trainer fixed the issue, it’s a bad idea to ride your horse acting as if you’re always expecting him to spook. If you focus too much on past experiences your horse is going to feel this and may revert to what he was like before. Use these tips when your horse comes home from the trainer to ensure a smooth transition. Remember to put in some extra time and effort once he gets home, be consistent, and have some fun.

When your horse comes home, ride in a roundpen or arena for the first few days so you can get the feel of him without worrying about outside distractions.

Jason Irwin, along with his wife Bronwyn, operate Jason & Bronwyn Irwin Horsemanship. They teach clinics, provide training materials, and demonstrate at some of the biggest horse expos in the world. Jason is also part of the family business Northstar Livestock which specializes in raising big blue roan quarter horses.

When you're comfortable riding your horse in a confined area, you can then ride across fields or down trails. 26

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Product Picks Increase airflow in your arena

Need more fresh air and natural light in your barn? The choice is clear — Clear VU sliding panel systems. These aluminium frame panels with clear acrylic inserts provide an easy way to increase air flow through your riding arena, providing a comfortable environment for horses, riders and spectators.

What we love:

This all-encompassing pack makes it easy to support your horse’s health during deworming.


What we love:

Full moon parasite cocktail for horses

Even when closed and sealed in cold weather, you still receive the benefit of natural light through the panel.

Soothe his gut

Help your horse recover with Equine Gut Soothe, the first equine-specific probiotic backed by science. This proprietary blend of herbs and pre- and probiotics soothes and replenishes the lining of the gut, combats pathogens and supports immune health. With 10 billion CFU wide-spectrum probiotics, it features a 14-strain probiotic blend, an equinespecific probiotic, plus N-acetyl glucosamine, slippery elm bark and more. Formulated by Adored Beast Apothecary’s Founder, Julie Anne Lee DCH.


Dynamite recommends giving horses this parasite pack around the time of the full moon. Comprised of Herbal Tonic, Excel 1lb (digestion catalyst), Miracle Clay Powder 1lb (detoxifier), and Dyna Pro 16oz (prebiotic), this cocktail supports the entire process of deworming. For a 1,000lb horse, combine: • 2 oz Herbal Tonic

• 1 tsp Excel

• 1 oz (dry) Clay

• A squirt of Dyna-Pro

Mix into well-soaked grass hay pellets and feed once a day for one week over the full moon. Start three days before and end three days after, so both waxing and waning phases are covered along with the actual full moon.


What we love:

Phospholipids from sunflower lecithin help horses absorb the active ingredients.

Expert-recommended joint formula

What we love:

These products are 100% natural and human grade.

Recommended by Steve Lantvit (Sure in the Saddle, RFD TV) as the “optimal hip and joint product for horses,” Joint Aid contains six active ingredients that help maintain joints, cartilage, and connective tissue structure and function. Both liquid and pellet formulas feature a natural peppermint (derived from organic peppermint oil) for a flavor that horses love, and are manufactured at Grizzly’s NASC-certified facility in Washington State.


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horse show

What to pack for a By Emma Williams

This comprehensive checklist will help ensure you don’t forget anything important when you’re packing for your next horse show. You’re off to a horse show? How exciting! There are a lot of things to remember when packing for an event, and the last thing you want is to forget something


important. This list is designed to cover anything and everything you may need!

For the horse

Grooming gloves Curry comb Variety of body brushes — hard, soft and finishing brush, etc. Mane/tail brush and comb Hoof picks (with brushes attached) Hoof dressings Shine enhancer Detangler Step stool Fly repellents Bucket Touch-up clippers Scissors Elastics Shampoo and conditioner Sponges and washcloths Towels for drying off Sweat scraper

Tack cleaning Glycerin soap Conditioner Washcloths and double-sided sponge Toothbrush Metal polish

Saddle Girth and girth covers Saddle pads Bridle Ear bonnets Number for bridle or saddle pad Scrim sheet Shipping boots Everyday halter and shipping halter Standing bandages and wraps Lunge line Lunge whip Bell boots Extra tack (stirrups, bridle, halter) Feed bin Water buckets Grain meals and supplements Hay nets and hay

For the rider Show shirt Stock tie Show jacket and breeches/pants Schooling polos/tops Schooling breeches Safety vest Helmet Hair accessories — barrettes, hair nets, bobby pins, hair spray, etc Small mirror

Belt Boots Gloves Rain gear

Miscellaneous items Boot shine kit Safety pins Lint roller Sewing kit Sunscreen Garment bags Cooler Water Snacks First aid kit Folding chairs Kleenex Camera Pop up tent Laundry bag Paper towels and wet wipes Trash bags Duct tape Zip ties Saddle racks Manure forks Broom Extension cords Flashlights Fans

Emma Williams is a professional writer and pet parent who has written for big publishers including Canadian Dogs Annual, The Telegraph, Home Beautiful and Marriage.com. She enjoys sharing her knowledge on pet health, lifestyle topics and animal behavior. 28

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Photo courtesy of Canarm

How to improve ventilation in your arena


By Rick McBay

Better ventilation in your arena means better health for you and your horses. Here are some popular ventilation solutions to consider.

Equine facilities have always presented a unique set of challenges to agricultural ventilation designers. In the riding arena, you are dealing with very low animal density possibly combined with human occupants during events.

VENTILATION SOLUTIONS FOR ARENAS Sliding panel systems For riding arenas, natural ventilation systems have increased in popularity over the years. These systems have the advantage of moving large volumes of fresh air throughout the arena with little or no power consumption and, more importantly, without increasing the noise level which can distract or startle the horses. This noise issue is the main reason that sliding panel systems are recommended over the sidewall curtains that are commonly used in dairy facilities. The fabric of curtain systems will flap in the wind, creating intermittent noises. Current sliding panel wall systems are a good choice since they allow for continuous ventilation openings on the sidewalls that can be opened and closed as required. These types of systems are made up of rigid panels so they can be

operated with little or no noise even in windy conditions. The panels typically used for riding arena applications are made with either polycarbonate or clear acrylic panels mounted to the frame, which allows for the transmission of a large amount of natural light even when closed. Sliding panel wall systems can be operated with a hand crank winch or with an electric drive motor that is activated with a switch.

very slowly, typically around 60 RPM, making little noise, which is perfect for equine applications. Since these fans can operate in reverse and at a variable speed, many operators run them in cold weather at approximately 20% speed in reverse. This moves the air upward and recirculates the available heat throughout the arena, which maximizes the available heat and helps control condensation on the interior surfaces.

HVLS ceiling fans

The stable area, typically designed with solid wall box stalls that restrict air movement, deals with high humidity conditions created by wash down areas. This presents another set of ventilation challenges. For tips and solutions, visit equinewellnessmagazine.com/ventilationequine-facility.

Since arenas typically aren’t insulated, heat transmission from the roof steel can create issues with interior temperatures in the summer. If any wind is present, the open sidewalls will provide enough air exchange and velocity to keep the interior conditions comfortable. On days with high temperatures, high humidity and still conditions, you can experience higher than desired temperatures inside the facility. One popular product that is effective in dealing with these issues is the High Volume Low Speed (HVLS) ceiling fan. These fans were originally designed for use in large factories, but they have also been used in riding arenas for several years. HVLS fans have a large diameter — up to 24 feet — and move large volumes of air at a high velocity. The fans themselves move

As with any new facility, while in the initial design phase, it is imperative that you consider all the pros and cons when selecting the ventilation system. Making an informed choice will ensure that you create the best possible environment for you, your employees, your visitors and your horses. Rick McBay is the Natural Ventilation Specialist for Faromor, a Canarm company. For the past 40 years he has been working with producers in all livestock sectors to provide them with equipment and ventilation solutions. During the last 25 years, Rick has been directly involved with the design and development of natural ventilation systems currently being used worldwide.

Equine Wellness




Animal communication helped address the cause of this horse’s anxiety and helped him and his rider thrive.


Stress at an event is pretty common — to an extent. At a recent show, a seasoned eventing family noticed that their horse crossed the line from a healthy to an unhealthy amount of stress. Apparently, out of nowhere, their usually stoic, beloved bay gelding, Savior, was suddenly very spooky. As a senior eventer, Savior had offered a solid foundation for his young rider to gain all the experience she could wish for on her way to becoming a talented student trainer. But gradually, he began to change. He became animated, highly sensitive and riddled with tension throughout his body. Savior’s ability to listen and align with his 30

Equine Wellness

rider was overridden by pure reaction. Standing still was no longer an option as he found himself in a state of extreme, inconsolable stress.

PAYING ATTENTION Knowing that horses “speak” through behavior and energetic exchange, Savior’s family were not the type of people to simply push through or reprimand him for acting in a way they didn’t like. Intuitively, they knew he had his reasons, and he was doing his best to act them out using non-verbal stress signals (see sidebar). Instead of punishment, they explored the origins of his behavioral

changes. They tried several remedies, but nothing seemed to work. Fearful for the safety of both horse and rider, they had no choice but to withdraw from the competition.

ASKING FOR HELP Concerned competing may have burnt him out, Savior’s family knew it was time to give him a voice. Instead of speculating about the underlying cause, they came to me for help. My clients were no strangers to seeking solutions through training techniques and an abundance of bodywork. And as an equine behaviorist and natural horsewoman, I certainly could have suggested seeking answers through training. But to save time, money and energy it made sense to put my Animal Communication skills to good use and go straight to the horse’s mouth.

SEEKING ANSWERS THROUGH COMMUNICATION I knew with Savior’s insiders’ standpoint and my independent professional outside perspective, we would get to the bottom of his behavioral changes. Despite sensing something was wrong at the time of the event, it remained to be seen if this was a matter of: • A former memory • Post-traumatic stress • Anticipation • Fear, worry or concern • Dietary deficiencies or changes • Sudden sensory overload • Ill-fitting tack • Lack of exposure or confidence • Change in circumstances • Incorrect or ineffective training • Strong energy at the show • Show sourness • Rider influence or error • Acute or chronic pain Since I had already done several sessions and built a trusting rapport with Savior in the past, our connection was almost instant. Distance was not a detriment, as this language has no barriers or boundaries. He communicated through telepathic means, from one mind to another. Through clear moving images and emotions, he immediately honed in on the event, bringing forward an associative memory specific to the horse show in question. It was all about the location. Rarely influenced by his past, he had found himself unable to move through this deep-rooted

EQUINE STRESS SIGNALS • Unusual behavior patterns such as rearing, striking, biting, bucking, bolting, balking, spooking, head-shyness, body slamming, bullying, pawing, pacing and blindly acting out • High head carriage with a wide eye • Heightened sense of awareness and heavy breathing • Body tension and tightness • Excessive bowel movements and possibility of diarrhea • Refusal to lead or load • Potential sucking or biting the bit • Distress calls and sounds • Refusal of food and water • Trust, respect and partnership lost

issue. He didn’t want to give up on his rider but neither could he forget his past experience in that location. He diligently went through the circumstances with me and I was able to engage in a comprehensive “dialogue” with him. Not only was he heard, he was understood.

A JOURNEY TO HEALING The detailed description of the events of that day and the discussion that followed brought with it instant and achievable solutions. Instead of punishment, limitation, stress or fear, the communication brought answers and a stronger bond. Savior was up for the challenge and excited about dedicating himself to helping his rider be the best she could be. He had never once failed his family, ceased to amaze them or stopped supporting their dreams. And in turn, his human companion aspired to learn his language and open her mind and heart to his. Together, they both received the most incredible gift of true partnership. The Founder of Reach Out to Horses, Anna Twinney is blazing the trail for the next generation of horse whisperers. It started with a singular goal to create harmony between horses and humans by giving a voice to the voiceless. As an internationally acclaimed, equine behaviorist, animal linguist, mentor, advocate, energy healer, entrepreneur, public speaker, educator, author, trainer, coach, philanthropist, wife and mother, she has shared her methodologies in every corner of the globe.

Equine Wellness





By Hannah Arington

Are your barn and paddock set up to promote the health and safety of your horses? Performing a semi-annual assessment of these spaces can help ensure this is the case. Caring for horses is so rewarding, but it can become frustrating when reality fails to align with the common expression “healthy as a horse”. While it seems that horses will always find a way to acquire bumps, bruises, hoof abscesses and the like, there are a number of simple ways to improve the health and safety of barn and paddock environments.

FIRST, CHECK FOR HAZARDS Detect barnyard issues early by examining every stall and fence line. Depending on the material of construction, different risks can 32

Equine Wellness

be uncovered and repaired before harm occurs. Wooden stalls or fences may have loose boards, exposed nails, or sharp, splintered wood. Stalls and fences of metal construction often devvelop rust and deteriorate as they age, creating weakened or sharp portions. Support beams or fence posts will need to be repaired more frequently to prevent dangerous gaps, especially where horses lean against them. Nails or bolts holding fencing together can also break or loosen over time and must be replaced. In the case of portable fencing (typically

secured with a chain and loop), certain horses develop a habit of loosening or unfastening the chains with their mouths. In this instance, a backup wire or chain might be worth adding. Water buckets, feed tubs, and hay feeders also suffer from wear and tear that can lead to injury. Broken containers, cracked plastic, and sharp or deteriorated metal should all be removed or covered up as soon as possible.

of commercially available mudmanagement options. Some minor dirt work to increase drainage might have a big impact, as could decreasing the number of horses within an area so that wet ground receives less activity. Pay special attention to sharp surfaces on feeders and buckets which are likely to be near the horse’s face and eyes.

Designating specific corrals (sometimes called “sacrifice paddocks”) for turnout during the wet winter months helps preserve Also worth noting is the danger posed pasture health and productivity. by narrow stall fronts, doorways, or Allowing pastures a rest period during gates. If at all possible, allow plenty the dormant season, or at any time of width in these areas. Tight spaces that grasses have been consumed to increase the risk of abrasions, especially less than three to four inches in height, to the hip area, as horses bend their may also be beneficial. Whereas high bodies to navigate a walkway. Moreover, quality grass pasture a startled horse in is a good source of an enclosed space Tight spaces vitamin E and betacan inadvertently increase the risk carotene, overgrazing injure their handler. diminishes both the of abrasions, nutritional quality While halters, especially to the amount of perhaps, don’t hip area, as horses and forage available. seem like an

bend their bodies

obvious danger, Also to be to navigate a unattended horses considered is the may become walkway. texture and depth of injured by catching surfaces where horses are exercised. a halter strap on common surfaces Hard, unyielding ground may have a such as gates, water troughs, or feed negative impact on joint health, while buckets. Consider removing halters overly deep, sticky ground increases when the horse is not being handled the risk of soft tissue injury. Although or invest in a halter designed to break brand new footing may not be in the if force is applied. budget, many arenas can be improved dramatically by experimenting with CONSIDER THE GROUND different drag depths or styles of harrowing equipment. Likewise, The surfaces on which horses live footing additives may aid in improving and work can impact their hoof, arena texture and controlling dust. musculoskeletal, and nutritional health. Whether horses are turned out in a grassy field or a dirt paddock, high traffic areas are likely to form mud, which may contribute to hoof issues or leg injuries during turnout. Whereas some mud is unavoidable, walkways and areas near gates can be built up using rock, sand, or a variety

HANDY UPGRADES Think about adding a user-friendly slow feeder or net to reduce waste and slow down hay consumption! Perhaps spread out hay and grain servings to increase natural foraging behaviors. It may save time to replace ground

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.

feeders with buckets that fasten directly to the stall or fence, especially for horses prone to spills or who are fond of relocating their feed tubs. An added benefit is that grain meals can be fed from outside the fence, reducing the possibility of caretakers being kicked or knocked down by an excitable horse. Another easy and inexpensive way to promote health is to provide constant access to supplemental salt. This can be accomplished by purchasing a block, or by providing a feeder with loose salt (often called “stock salt”) crumbles. While some horses prefer loose salt, others consume adequate amounts by licking a hard block. Whichever form is provided, salt will encourage hydration and allow horses to freely replenish sodium, one of the body’s most important electrolytes!

If these tips seem daunting, perhaps ask a trusted friend to lend a hand. A new set of eyes can be priceless when it comes to finding hidden dangers and evaluating improvements around the barn. After all, at the end of the day, few things are as rewarding as providing lucky equines with a safe environment for truly exceptional care!

Although brand new footing may not be in the budget, many arenas can be improved dramatically by experimenting with different drag depths or styles of harrowing equipment. Equine Wellness



Getting your horse show ready doesn’t have to involve harsh shampoos and shine sprays. Check out these professional grooming tips for getting the perfect look, naturally.



It’s time to get your horse ready for the show ring! Grooming in a more natural way is really about addressing the basic needs of the horse, and going from there. It also means grooming your horse from the inside out as well as the outside in.

FROM THE INSIDE OUT Horses need a healthy, balanced diet that matches their exercise routine. High quality forage alone is not enough if they do not have access to quality pasture, salt and water. •P asture contains plenty of vitamin

E in that moisture-rich grass. It also ensures your horse eats as he was designed to — small amounts


Equine Wellness

over long periods, with his head lowered. Being on pasture creates an environment for true relaxation, bonding with herd mates, and just generally “being a horse”. •S alt is a trace mineral required by all

living creatures in order to survive. It can be provided by a block or in the horse’s rations. Either way, for your horse to be groomed from the inside, you need it!

•F resh water is also a must-have — it

keeps the horse hydrated, which is crucial to digestion. Another upside to changing his water daily is that you can measure how much he drinks, and thus be able to tell if something is amiss.

• Supplementation may be necessary

for some horses, depending on their forage and pasture routines. For example, most horses are missing necessary Omega fatty acids. And no pasture means no vitamin E. Selecting quality supplements and additives creates that “bloom” no amount of elbow grease can generate. It’s best to consult with an expert in equine nutrition to make sure your horse has what he needs. Remember, supplementation varies with your horse’s weight, lifestyle, exercise routine, forage and pasture, and even what region of the world you are living in.

GETTING THAT “BLOOM” As a professional groom, I know “bloom” is what we strive for with each horse. Bloom means a shiny coat, a sparkle in the eye, and a generally upbeat attitude — perhaps even a bit of naughtiness sprinkled in for good measure. Grooming naturally means finding that bloom naturally, with simple tools and lots of hard work. You can’t buy a real bloom in a bottle. So how do you go about grooming from the outside in? And what does that really mean? It means paying attention to the outside of the horse, and in doing so, strengthening your relationship with him. The best way to groom from the outside in is to use your hands. I love to use both hands when I curry my horses, for a few reasons. You can feel for any unusual lumps or bumps, it’s easier to move your horse around, and you can look for any tension or soreness. By being in direct contact with the horse, you may also get a millisecond warning before a spook.

GET CURRYING The curry comb is responsible for so many critical things, and not just getting the dust up out of the coat. When done properly to your horse’s liking, it can be a great massage for him, and a tool to get to that “sweet spot” most horses seem to have. There are many different styles of curry combs, so choose one with the flexibility your horse enjoys. • I love to use a jelly scrubber — the kind with two types of

nubs — on the lower legs, face and ears. It’s so flexible you can fold it like a taco to get into smaller areas.

• I use the traditional oval-shaped curry for my horse’s body. • Sometimes I’ll bust out the so-called pimple mitt to go over

everything for some added shine. All three curry combs are super to use in the wash stall on shampoo day (which I really like to limit, since shampoos can strip the coat of its natural oils).

Equine Wellness


The most important job of the curry is to bring up and distribute your horse’s natural oils (yes, these are the same oils you have lovingly created with a wellbalanced diet). Frequent curry sessions, infrequent stripping of oils with harsh shampoos, and high-quality finishing brushes all nourish these oils. Now that you have curried and massaged your horse until your elbow is about to fall off, it’s time for the next brush. I prefer to use natural bristle brushes only. The cost is higher, but the quality is amazing and the bristles definitely do the job well. After the curry, a nice natural bristled hard brush with longer bristles can easily flick off dust, dander and hair. Follow up with a softer brush with dense short bristles to lay the hairs down and create an almost waterproof seal.

HEAD TO TOE That’s the hair coat taken care of; now let’s address the mane, tail and hooves. These are all affected by genetics, nutrition and environment, so their quality and strength is a direct reflection of those factors. There are a few schools of thought on mane and tail care — not everything works for everyone. 36

Equine Wellness

e Then you have the tail bag method,

correct moisture level is also critical, so work with your farrier to add or remove moisture as needed. This will also vary according to the climate you live in. Sometimes in the spring with rain and wet grass you will not need to do anything, compared to a hot and dry summer/fall. If you want to add some polish to your grooming routine, a nice natural hoof oil for creating shine is olive oil — it’s great to use just before you enter the show ring.

r Most grooms use a combination

Now you have a great routine for a naturally groomed horse. Start with the basics of good nutrition, add some elbow grease, use high quality grooming tools, and pay attention to any changes. You will end up with that “wow” factor in no time!

q The first is the “leave it alone”

scenario. A brush never touches the mane and tail, and you only pick out any shavings with your fingers.

w The other camp suggests you keep

the tail so conditioned, oily and slick that nothing can ever possibly get tangled in it. This method does require some brushing. in which the tail is always contained in a bag, either with or without conditioner. If you choose to use a tail bag, please be sure to check it every single day and do not attach it anywhere near the tail bone. of the above methods, using detanglers as needed and doing a lot of picking by hand, followed by a brush when needed.

The best way to naturally care for your horse’s hooves is to pay attention! Check growth, the medial/lateral balance, the heels, sole, collateral grooves and so on. Maintaining the Liv Gude is the visionary behind the Professional Equine Grooms website, which she launched after her Facebook page of the same name started to grow overnight. After many years of grooming full and part-time for several Olympians, Liv saw the need to bring Professional Grooms of all disciplines together in a supportive, informative community in an effort to acknowledge them as skilled individuals, deserving of all the rights and respect that other professionals earn. Liv now works full time on Pro Equine Grooms, and enjoys Miguel, her Grand Prix Dressage horse, and her hunter, Comet. proequinegrooms.com


spring REAP THE BENEFITS OF KELP Icelandic Organic Kelp from The Holistic Horse is all natural and the very finest available. Offering amazing health benefits for your horse and other animals, this product is hand harvested from the cleanest kelp beds on earth and contains over 60 trace minerals and vitamins. It boosts the immune system and provides healthy metabolic function, plus aids in digestion and promotes efficient feed utilization. It’s a wonderful product no animal should be without! Order yours today!

BRING A CAVALETTI CLINIC TO YOUR BARN Erika Jansson (aka the Cavaletti lady) brings the Cavaletti clinic right to your barn! Great for all breeds, disciplines and levels, this clinic is fun and beneficial for everyone. Erika’s passion for respectful and eager communication between horse and rider led her to create the Cavaletti clinic series, which has become a favorite among riders in all disciplines across the US, Canada and Europe.

theholistichorse.com info@theholistichorse.com 877-774-0594


SUPPLEMENT YOUR HORSE’S FORAGE Vermont Blend Forage Balancer & Hoof Supplement is specifically formulated to fill the nutritional gaps in your horse’s forage. This one-of-a-kind supplement provides: • High levels of minerals to balance forage and support optimum hoof health • Amino acids for topline and muscle support •P rebiotic for digestive health

WHERE ARE YOU ON YOUR RIDING JOURNEY? For 30 years, Carla Bauchmueller has helped riders around the world to feel safe, balanced and deeply connected to their horses. Take the quiz at quiz.theintuitiverider.com to discover where you are on your riding journey, and get some great free training tips with it!

It’s also low in sugar and starch, making it safe for metabolic horses. It contains everything your horses need, and nothing they don't — no added iron, fillers or inactive ingredients. customequinenutrition.com

AFTER 22 YEARS, WE EMBARK ON A NEW JOURNEY... As part of our ongoing commitment to providing excellent education to our readers, we are now consolidating all content from our publications Animal Wellness, Equine Wellness, and IVC Journal onto one easy-to-use platform! The Animal Wellness Academy provides the most reliable and trustworthy equine and pet information available, all in one convenient location 24/7/365. Learn more and register today for FREE! animalwellnessacademy.org Equine Wellness



Adding a

donkey to your equine herd As long as their unique needs are met, donkeys and horses can coexist peacefully — and even help each other thrive! By Sandra Murphy

Like most creatures, humans included, horses can get lonely, bored, and anxious. It’s comforting to know a friend is nearby. For some horses, the answer might be a donkey. “Both horses and donkeys need company,” says Lucy Robinson, who has integrated donkeys into her own equine herd. “Although different, they make good companions and will look out for each other.”

THE PERFECT BODYGUARDS When a horse is put in a threatening situation, he’s likely to flee and then reassess the situation. Knowing a donkey will fight to protect the herd, horses become less skittish. Donkeys 38

Equine Wellness

bray loudly, show their teeth, stomp, and will kick at predators such as wild dogs, coyotes or wolves. Their ability to kick to the side as well as the rear gives donkeys a six-foot semi-circle of reach, making them excellent bodyguards.

Tip Given their kicking abilities, it’s best never to approach donkeys too quietly. It’s a matter of debate whether to let pets or working dogs be around donkeys — most will recognize a familiar dog, but it may desensitize them to predators.

POTENTIAL BEHAVIOR ISSUES Some horses may initially look at donkeys as strange creatures to be feared. A careful introduction can lead to a strong friendship. “Our donkey has been here a year now,” says Brenda Findley, Co-Owner and Designer of Findley Feather Farm in southern Illinois. “We first introduced him to our horse from different sides of the pasture. After about an hour we put them in the same pasture with plenty of room for them to run. Our donkey has taught our horse better manners, to be less skittish, and he encourages the horse to play which keeps them both active.”

Donkeys bray loudly, show their teeth, stomp, and will kick at predators such as wild dogs, coyotes or wolves.

The stereotype that donkeys are stubborn is true — but they’re also curious, intelligent, and thoughtful creatures. Given their wary nature, it can take them time to decide about new situations. A 2013 study by The Donkey Sanctuary found they learn and problem-solve as quickly as dolphins and dogs.

Tip Good and bad experiences will affect donkeys for a long time. Use a lot of positive reinforcement to encourage and nurture their best behavior.

CARE AND FEEDING Historically, donkeys came from areas with limited grass, so their diet is different from that of a horse. Highfiber roughage, like late-cut grass hay and edible straws like barley or wheat, are good for donkeys. Carrots, apples, bananas, pears, and turnips can be occasional treats. If he chews on barnwood or fence posts, it’s a sign he needs more roughage.

Avoid potatoes, onions, leeks, garlic, stoned fruits, grain, anything sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, or rodenticides, and limit access to lush grass. Because donkeys have a tendency to put on weight quickly, it’s also important not to overfeed them. If he gains too much weight, restricting food or a sudden change in diet could lead to hyperlipemia, a life-threatening disease that causes donkeys to use stored body fat, resulting in organ failure. For weight management, work with a veterinarian.


KEEPING EVERYONE HAPPY – give the donkey a job In Shelbina, Missouri, Laura Schwieter, owner of Schwieter Land and Livestock, bought ten donkeys to help train young colts. “When you first put a lead on a colt, he’ll often pull back,” says Laura. “Tugging him along can be painful for the trainer, especially if the colt panics. Instead, we saddle the donkey and attach him to the colt’s lead. Donkeys are patient, so the colt will give in before the donkey will. Then when we walk the colt, he’s become used to the idea.”

A donkey's mouth structure and hooves differ from a horse's. Hire an equine dentist and a farrier, each with specific training to work with donkeys. With their long ears and fuzzy coats, donkeys are undeniably cute. But they’re also great bodyguards and horse trainers (see sidebar), and can make lifelong companions for your equine herd! Sandra Murphy lives in St. Louis, Missouri. When she's not writing, she works as a pet sitter.

A LONG-TERM COMMITMENT While the life expectancy of a horse is between 25 and 30 years, donkeys can live to well over 40 years, and even 60 isn’t that uncommon. If you get a young donkey, this can mean a lifelong commitment, so don’t make an impulse purchase!

Equine Wellness



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Female-owned hoof boot company,

Cavallos are distributed in 25 countries. Hundreds of thousands of horses are benefiting from the comfort and protection provided to their hoofs.

is changing horses’ lives one foot at a time

On a stunning property in Roberts Creek, British Columbia, Carole Herder owns and cares for her beloved fleet of horses and dogs. But that’s not the only thing this Canadian horse enthusiast is responsible for. From the same location, alongside her partner, Greg Giles, and a team of superstar employees, she also operates her successful business — Cavallo Horse & Rider Inc.

causing the difficulty, particularly as we saddle and ride our horses. She designed and developed Total Comfort System Saddle Pads to correct uneven saddles, rider imbalance and overall sore backs. Soon, her belief in caring for horses naturally drew her attention to the hoof. Carole immersed herself in the study of hoof care and went on to design and develop Cavallo Hoof Boots in 2006.

A life-changing idea is born

Around this time, Greg Giles joined the Cavallo team and became the CEO. His history and years of experience in design, production, and the footwear business taught him that exceptionally high quality is imperative to longevity and customer satisfaction. Greg provides his wealth of sourcing, manufacturing, commerce, and marketing skills to continually expand the Cavallo Hoof Boots range and enrich the brand.

Carole founded the company in 1993, but her involvement with horses began many years earlier. Through study, observation, and her first horse’s death, she discovered she was not alone in having a horse with painful hoof-related issues. Her sharp focus led her to ask: “Why should horses be bothered with foot problems when they have survived on the planet for over 50 million years? Doesn’t all that time imply they are sturdy, resilient and well-designed?” After seeing so many teenage horses destined to develop ailments such as laminitis, navicular disease, ringbone, splints and arthritis, Carole became committed to finding a solution. Initially, she concluded that domestication was

Perfecting the product Carole wanted to ensure that everyone could easily use Cavallos, and she succeeded in doing just that — Cavallo Boots are a favorite among riders and horse caretakers of all ages. But Carole’s greatest joy is knowing that her life’s work serves to change the world for horses. Through education and by

offering a solid product, she pulls horses out of terminal prognoses and hopeless lameness and directs them to the natural comfort and security that Cavallo Hoof Boots provide. Cavallo Hoof Boots offer safety and protection to horses’ unshod hoofs. They enable you to ride over any terrain, at any speed. A horse and rider can move through water, mud, and bogs without risk of losing a boot or damaging a hoof. Even a horse’s hoof bulbs are protected with soft, pliable, padded leather. They are easy to size and simple to place on the hoof, with no special trims, tools or gadgets required. Both Greg and Carole are passionate about their work and their lives. They have surrounded themselves with a powerful team of like-minded, avid experts, all dedicated to developing and delivering innovative products of excellent quality. From the start, the Cavallo mission has been to provide comfort, protection, safety, security, and support to improve the lives of horses worldwide — and that’s exactly what they’ve managed to accomplish.

cavallo-inc.com Equine Wellness



Whether it's to a show, a campground or an indoor arena when the weather is inclement, many of us transport our horses. Learn how the stress of travel affects your horse physically and mentally and what to do to keep him comfortable.

Considering a horse's natural instincts, transport is inherently stressful. Transport impairs every natural survival instinct your horse has: sight, sound, smell and flight. While many load willingly, horses are stoic by nature and don’t always exhibit outward signs of stress. Add lack of forage to this equation and you've just exposed your horse to two of the most common causes of gastric (stomach) ulcers. Ulcers can develop in as little as 24 hours and recur just as quickly. Thankfully, you can be proactive by reducing travel stress and providing forage (in the form of hay, pasture or soaked hay pellets) during three key intervals: 1) prior to departing, 2) during transport and 3) once you arrive at your destination. If you’ve been instructed to withhold feed due to a medical condition, by all means do so! But in most cases, this simple solution can keep your horse healthy on the road.

FEEDING TIPS While it has become common knowledge to never exercise your horse on an empty stomach, to the best of my knowledge, little has been published about the adverse effects of transporting on an empty stomach. It's important to remember that horses, donkeys 42

Equine Wellness

and mules produce gastric acid continuously in preparation for constant uptake (think natural grazing behavior). Chewing and swallowing activate saliva production (an alkaline substance), which buffers gastric acid by increasing the pH of the stomach. Providing forage prior to departing, during transport and once you arrive at your destination keeps gastric acid at bay and eases stress. Just be sure to avoid any changes in the type of feed your horse gets normally. You want to reduce digestive upset, not add to it.

WHY FEEDING FORAGE PRIOR TO DEPARTURE IS BENEFICIAL The equine stomach can empty in 20 minutes to two hours depending on the type of feed and rate of consumption. Loading with an empty stomach allows accumulated gastric acid (unbuffered due to lack of saliva from chewing) to slosh and bathe its lining. The fiber that forage provides creates a mat of sorts, which prevents acid from splashing in the stomach.


Continued chewing and swallowing help to:

Transport is an extended isometric exercise for your horse, requiring your equine friend to constantly balance by engaging the abdominal muscles. Contraction of the abdominal muscles forces acidic gastric juices up into the non-glandular (upper) region of the equine stomach, where it can induce ulcer formation or exacerbate existing ulcers.

1. Maintain a lower (more alkaline) pH. 2. Renew a protective layer of fiber to prevent the splashing of acids. 3. Redirect your horse's attention to food.

HYDRATION TIPS To help keep your horse hydrated during transport, drench your hay with water and let it drain prior to loading into your trailer hay bag. Take water from home and offer it along the way (horses that are reluctant to drink water may be even more reluctant to do so if the water tastes different).

Chewing on forage while in transit benefits your horse by: 1. Producing saliva, which buffers the gastric acid. 2. Relaxing the jaw. Tension in the jaw can radiate throughout your horse's body when standing still. Consider the implications of balancing with a clenched jaw while acid splashes around in your stomach.

If you can’t take water with you, start adding something to flavor the water at home in a separate bucket (to experiment with your horse's preferred flavor) such as herbal tea leaves or diced ginger. Once you discover your horse's favorite flavor, take it with you to mask the taste of unfamiliar water sources.

THE TAKEAWAY Understanding your horse's natural survival instincts allows you to incorporate measures to minimize the physical and mental stress of transport. Being empathetic to your horse's needs helps to ensure a happier, healthier companion on the road and at home.

3. Reducing mental stress by redirecting attention to food.

WHY FORAGE CONSUMPTION HELPS AFTER UNLOADING Stress persists upon arrival because your horse's survival instincts are engaged and at a high level. Whether tied outside your trailer, placed in a corral or stall in a strange environment or put into exercise immediately, your horse is experiencing many stressors.

Monique Warren invented the Hay Pillow® slow feeder and is the owner of Hay Pillow Inc. Warren has been an equine guardian for over 40 years and resides in Southern California. Equine nutrition and horses’ feet are her passions. Warren frequently contributes equine articles to a variety of publications.

Beyond offering forage, there are a number of other steps you can take to reduce your horse’s stress while traveling:

• Provide clean shavings on the floor for traction. Mist with a spray nozzle to minimize dust inhalation.

• Buddy up and take a familiar companion in the trailer.

• Ensure maximum ventilation.

• Ensure your horse trailer shocks provide the smoothest ride possible. Use caution when applying brakes and making turns.

•P rovide forage to last the duration of your trip — you may need a slow feed net or bag to accomplish this.

• If you tie your horse, ensure the lead rope has enough length to allow your horse to balance.

• Stop at least every three to four hours to offer water and give your horses a break from balancing themselves.

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ATTENTION! How to keep your horse’s focus during training sessions

Offering this brief acupressure session will help your horse focus and enjoy his training sessions with you. By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Horses are hardwired to be constantly vigilant. Every ounce of their sensory perception is focused on their environment to detect any potential peril. This is how and why horses have survived for thousands of years. An errant plastic bag snagged on a tree flapping in the breeze could be a ferocious wildcat ready to pounce. To a horse the bag presents imminent danger. Given your horse’s proclivity for hypervigilance and your desire to keep him focused during training, how best can you work together?

consistently change your routine. The main objective is to create a relationship with your horse where there’s mutual respect and trust. We have to understand that most horses are constantly checking out their environment for potential danger, and anything sudden or unknown can appear perilous. As humans, we are simply not as reactive to our environment. It takes practice to think and feel like a horse.


Acupressure is a great resource to complement equine behaviorists’ and trainers’ recommendations for building your horse’s attention span. Acupressure points, also called “acupoints,” can reinforce a sense of trust, calm, and mutual respect while also building the horse’s confidence.

Equine behaviorists and trainers can offer valuable recommendations for gaining and maintaining your horse’s attention and focus during a training session. Even the most spooky or busy-minded horse usually responds to disciplined groundwork. The general purpose of groundwork is to gain the horse’s respect. Make the groundwork interesting and gradually more challenging. Other suggestions are, while under saddle, to select exercises that require the horse to think, and to 44

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Acupoints and locations In Chinese medicine the first two acupoints known to help the horse with gaining trust and calm are called Heart 7 (Ht 7) and Pericardium 7 (Pe 7). They are both located on the foreleg. These two acupoints can be held simultaneously

because they are located just above the carpus (wrist). Ht 7 is on the lateral side, or outside, where you feel an indent. Pe 7 is located on the exact opposite side, medial side, or inside, of the horse’s leg. Place the soft tip of your thumb on one side and your forefinger on the other side and press gently. Repeat this on the other foreleg. The next acupoint is known to strengthen the horse’s sense of confidence and balance, thus making him less apt to bolt at environmental triggers. Conception Vessel 12 (CV 12) is known as the “Sea of Power”. CV 12 located on the ventral midline between the end of the sternum and the horse’s umbilicus — right in the middle of the horse’s belly. Scratch that point. Offering this brief acupressure session two or three times per week as an adjunct to the trainer’s suggestions will help your horse focus and enjoy his training sessions with you. 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. and consulting services. Contact: 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com

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Equine Wellness



The Virtual

By JayaMae Gregory

TEVIS CUP Riders and non-riders from across the globe united in 2020 to participate in the first-ever Virtual Tevis Cup endurance event.

Both young and old participated in the 2020 Virtual Tevis Cup, including five-year-old Nora Robinson (pictured left), who was the youngest riding finisher, and Peggy Hansen, 97 years young (pictured right), who walked all 100 miles to earn the title of oldest non-riding finisher.

2020 was a year for the history books. Many of us spent more time at home, less time traveling, and invented new ways to socialize, work out, and play. For us equestrians, many of our beloved horse events were canceled. For endurance riders across the world, it was the first time those running the prestigious 100-Mile One-Day Tevis Cup (also known as the Western States Trail Ride) ever voted to cancel the event. But what was born out of the cancellation of the ride, which normally occurs on the historic Western States Trail running from Tahoe, California to Auburn, California, was the Virtual Tevis Cup, open to not just riders, but anyone who wanted to get outside and move — and had the aspirations to complete 100 miles in 100 days. There were two divisions: riding and non-riding. Riding competitors had to complete the 100 miles on the same horse, non-riding competitors could walk, hike, run, crawl, skip, boogey, bike, or… pretty much anything else to complete their miles. The kick-off date was the same as when the traditional Tevis Cup Ride was supposed to occur: August 1, 2020. A whopping 1,639 participants registered for the event, with 1,271 participants completing the 100 miles by the extended cut-off date (which was allowed past the original 100 days due to the wildfires across the western United States, causing poor outside air quality). Of those who finished, there were 1,063 riders and 208 non-riders. There were 18 countries represented, including Canada, Germany, Norway, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and even India. As participants reached milestones on their journeys all over the globe, they could see where they would be if they were


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on the historic Western States Trail. For example, once a rider or runner hit 36 miles, he or she would virtually be at Robinson Flat, the first one-hour hold on the Tevis Cup trail. The youngest non-riding participant to finish the Virtual Tevis Cup was Rose BezRoya, who was only four years old. The youngest riding participant was only one year older, five-year-old Nora Robinson, who finished on top of an equine her mother led her on. The oldest riding finisher was 83-year-old Wendy Fowler, but equally as impressive was the oldest non-riding finisher, 97-year-old Peggy Hansen, who walked all 100 miles. Peggy’s family reported that she would walk from her house to the horse arena every day, completing four-tenths of a mile before breakfast, two-tenths after breakfast and finishing the last one or two trips later in the day. Peggy kept this up until she fell at 66 miles, which required a stay in the hospital. Remarkably, she continued after healing, although she had to start with short distances each day and gradually increase her walking. Fifteen days after her accident she was back to walking a mile or more, finally finishing all 100 miles! Peggy Hansen certainly displayed the attitude of the Tevis Cup Ride well: To Finish is To Win! Interested in participating in the Virtual Tevis Cup this year? It kicks off July 24, 2021! Find out more at teviscup.org or by visiting the Tevis Cup Virtual Ride Facebook page.

JayaMae Gregory is a passionate equestrian from Northern California, where she lives with her husband, a house full of children, and a barn full of horses. She completed the 100-Mile One- Day Tevis Cup Ride on her beloved Missouri Fox Trotter mare in 2014 and 2019. She currently serves as a volunteer on the Tevis Board of Governors and works part time as a Registered Nurse.