V16I4 (Nov/Dec/Jan 2021-22)

Page 1


Equine Wellness

November/December 2021/January 2022 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Emily Watson EDITOR: Ann Brightman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Alyssa Dow Web Design & Development: Lace Imson Digital Marketing Specialist: Carlos Reyes COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Hannah Arington Carla Bauchmueller Laura Boynton Julie Goodnight Carole Herder Lindsey Hunt Chris Kilham Jessica Lynn Erin Mullen Heidi Potter Jessica Putnam, BVMedSci(Hons), BVM BVS(Hons), MRCVS Heather Sansom, PhD Amy Snow Emma Williams Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden SUBSCRIPTIONS/ACCOUNTING: Donna Bailey 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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi.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 Marketing Associate: Mattias Wahl, (866) 764-1212 ext 226 Mattias@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

hour “ofNolife is wasted that is spent in the saddle.

— Winston Churchill


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: October 2021.

improving the lives of animals...one reader at a time. PROUD PARTNER OF

What better horse to represent our “whole body health” theme than this issue’s cover star! A handsome stallion with a twinkle in his eye, he’s the picture of joy and vitality — qualities we wish for all of you and your equine companions this holiday season!

Equine Wellness


CONTENTS November/December 2021/January 2022

Departments 6 Editorial 23 Product picks 27 Business profile — Kelcie's

34 Rider fitness 35 Holiday gift guide 36 From the NASC 44 Acupressure at-a-glance

45 Classifieds 45 Marketplace 46 Neighborhood news

Features 28


Nutritional support for injured equines

Is your horse injured? Here’s how to support her with nutrition throughout the recovery process.


H ow to build up your horse’s weak muscle zones

Could your horse benefit from some additional strength training? Here are a few easy ways to build up his weak muscle zones.



A NIMAL COMMUNICATION “How do I know my horse is happy?”

An animal communicator shares how you can determine if your horse is truly happy.


EATING WELL Cushing’s — the subtle signs your horse is trying to show you

One of the primary causes of Cushing’s is one that you can control. Listen to your horses and take steps to bring them back to a state of balance — naturally.

20 4

Equine Wellness


DIET AND NUTRITION Dos and don’ts for better horse feeding!


Follow these dos and don’ts to optimize the way you feed your horses.

QUINE THERAPY E What is “horse therapy” all about?



Expertrecommended ways to improve equine mobility

Understanding and selecting equine related services means knowing the difference between therapy, equine learning, and therapeutic riding.


L IFESTYLE Choosing the right bedding for your horse

It’s important to pay attention to your horse’s mobility, especially as he ages. Here’s some expert advice on how to keep him moving with ease throughout his lifespan.


Tips, contests and more! /EquineWellnessMagazine News, events, and tips! @ EquineWellness

Saying goodbye to a beloved animal is no small feat. Let’s take a look at what you might experience as you move through grief and recover from the loss.

42 38


How to develop your natural aids How you can rise to harmony in the training ring by creating connection and calmness with your natural aids.

Social Media


S AYING GOODBYE A few things to expect when grieving the loss of your horse

Let’s take a look at some bedding options that can help improve comfort and sleep patterns in your horses.

MOTIONAL WELL-BEING E Easing equine anxiety for better performance It’s the day of the show, and your horse is on his worst behavior. Could anxiety be the culprit? Let’s take a look at what you can do to help calm him down.


ELL-GROOMED W A weekly grooming checklist for your horse

Grooming your horse weekly doesn’t just keep him looking dapper — it enhances his health and well-being and offers a regular opportunity for bonding. Use this checklist to make sure you cover all the bases!


Tips, horse photos, and more! EquineWellness

Equine Wellness



An ounce of

prevention Health is a core value in many of our lives, especially nowadays. Whether we’re making time for exercise, researching ways to boost our immune systems, or cooking healthy meals for our families, we know that disease prevention is far better than costly medical treatments. On top of that, better physical health enhances mental and emotional well-being, which ultimately improves our quality of life. And the best part? All of this applies to our horses, too! So what exactly should we be doing to prevent “dis-ease” and promote wellness? In our modern (consumer-focused) world, the options are truly endless. Beyond eating right and staying active, humans and their animals have access to dozens of alternative therapies and thousands of natural products designed to promote health. Of course, we two-legged creatures also have boundless educational tools at our fingertips — and that’s where Equine Wellness comes in! The focus of this issue is “whole body health”, the perfect opportunity to focus on all the ways you can improve your horse’s lifestyle and prevent illness. Our two feature articles look at how to build up your riding buddy’s weak muscle zones (p. 12) and what to feed horses that are injured (p. 8). Flip to page 14 for some tips on keeping Cushing’s at bay, and then onto page 18 for some expert-recommended ways to improve equine mobility. On page 42 we break down all the health benefits of grooming, while page 28 looks at


Equine Wellness

different bedding options that can improve comfort and sleep patterns in your herd. On the emotional health front, Julie Goodnight shares her insights on easing equine anxiety for better performance (p. 20). On page 41, we learn from an animal communicator how to determine if your horse is truly happy — something every equestrian wants to know! And don’t worry — we didn’t forget about you, dear reader. Our Rider Fitness column this season attempts to solve crookedness in riders (p. 34), while our Equine Therapy feature (p. 24) dissects the different ways that horses can help us. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but 2022 is just around the corner! As we ring in the New Year, let’s embrace all the natural therapies, products and knowledge at our disposal — and keep ourselves and our four-legged family members as healthy as possible all year long! Happy reading and happiest of holidays,

Emily Watson, Senior Content Editor

Equine Wellness



Nutritional support for

injured equines By Jessica Putnam, BVMedSci(Hons), BVM BVS(Hons), MRCVS

Is your horse injured? Here’s how to support her with nutrition throughout the recovery process.


Equine Wellness

When a horse is injured or otherwise ill, her daily routine is likely to change, both in terms of turnout and exercise. The horse’s diet therefore needs to be adjusted to account for these changes, as well as to support her in her recovery. Feeding an injured horse requires striking a careful balance. Proper equine nutrition may be commonly considered important for optimal performance, but the role it plays in supporting healing must not be underestimated. Here are some important factors to consider when feeding an injured equine.

VITAL FIBER Even minor injuries can require a horse to be confined to her stable for rest and recuperation, so it’s vital that she has access to plenty of dietary fiber to support normal gut function. Microorganisms in a horse’s hind gut break down fiber to create an important source of slow-release energy. These microorganisms also support the immune system and aid recovery from any infections, particularly those within the digestive tract.

SUDDEN DIETARY CHANGES Although not ideal, it may sometimes be necessary to change an injured horse’s diet, such as drastically reducing her concentrate ration, should her workload become significantly reduced. This reduces the horse's risk of developing metabolic disorders, like asoturia (muscle damage), caused by starch overload from excessive cereal intake. A horse’s gut takes time to adjust to a significant change in diet, and any sudden alterations can result in a disrupted microorganism population, potentially contributing to colic, loose droppings, or even laminitis. Use the tips offered in this article to support your equine companion through this process and be sure to ask your vet for individualized recommendations.

REDUCING CONCENTRATES Any reduction in concentrate volume should be accompanied by an increase in forage. When a horse is resting for long periods of time, she may require some concentrate to maintain her overall condition depending upon her body condition. Consider introducing a high fiber cube gradually over four or five days after the original diet has been reduced.

FRESH, NUTRITIONAL PASTURE Given that the nutritional values of conserved forages like hay are generally lower than that of pasture, and that concentrate quantities must be reduced when a horse is in prolonged rest, her overall intake of nutrients can drop significantly. In these circumstances, a feed balancer can be ideal, as it provides horses with all the quality protein, vitamins and minerals they require for both maintenance and repair, but without the levels of energy that could create digestive and behavioral upsets.

Equine Wellness




MOTIVATING A FUSSY HORSE TO EAT When horses are stressed, anxious or depressed, they can quickly lose their appetites for feed, and tempting them to eat can be tricky. The following suggestions may assist you in encouraging an injured horse to eat: • Offer only small feeds at a time. • Try adding yummy succulents, such as carrots or apples, to make it more enjoyable (be aware that carrots and apples are very high in sugar if you are trying to reduce or limit calorie intake). • Garlic can be added to hide the taste and smell of any medicinal powders or supplements. • Adding warm water to their feed appeals to some horses. • Ensure that her feed bowl is in a comfortable position in relation to her injury. • Using concentrated sources of essential nutrients will reduce the amount of feed you need her to ingest.


Equine Wellness

When changing a horse’s diet quickly, introducing “digestive enhancers” like pre and post-biotics can be beneficial in aiding the microorganisms to adapt more easily to the changes. This, too, may reduce her risk of suffering unpleasant digestive upsets as she recovers.

HEALING FEED During convalescence, it is essential to provide adequate nutrition to aid soft tissue healing and maintain overall health. Amino acids, for example, are essential for soft tissue construction and repair, as they are the building blocks of protein. Some amino acids must be provided via the horse’s diet, as she cannot synthesize them on her own. Forages do not typically contain high enough quality proteins to supply sufficient essential amino acids, although alfalfa is a particularly good source of lysine. Again, it can be useful to introduce a feed balancer or amino acid supplement to ensure that the horse receives all the amino acids required to heal her injured tissues.

REDUCING CARBOHYDRATES When reducing carbohydrates is recommended, as in the case of azoturia or laminitis, oil can be an excellent alternative fat source of nonheating calories.


Inadequate sources of vitamin E can impair nerve, immune and muscle functions, which in turn may slow down healing. Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant that minimizes the damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress at a cellular level. Injured horses require higher levels of vitamin E to counteract the increased demands placed on their immune systems. Vitamin E is abundant in fresh green grass, but its potency declines quickly once the forage is harvested and dried, so it is best to supplement an injured horse’s diet with a source of highly absorbable vitamin E.

FINAL THOUGHTS When a horse is injured, she faces changes in diet and exercise that can place additional stress above and beyond the injury itself. It is important to fully support her in her recovery by introducing targeted nutrients to aid her in recovering faster and maintaining overall condition and well-being. Consult with your veterinarian for further guidance and support. Having ridden her first pony at the age of three, a continued love of horses sparked Jessica Putnam’s interest in becoming a vet, and she qualified from the Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Jess has worked in equine veterinary practices in Lancashire and North Yorkshire ever since, including undertaking 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 in her practice in North Yorkshire.

EDITOR’S NOTE: choose your supplements wisely Nutritional supplements can offer vital support to horses during the healing process. The key is to choose products wisely to ensure they offer your equine companion exactly what she needs to recover as quickly as possible. Look for trusted, high quality brands such as SweetPro® — premium supplements created for fiber-digesting animals with ingredients that won’t disrupt their digestive systems. Visit sweetpro.com to learn more.



“How do I know my horse is By Lindsey Hunt


An animal communicator shares how you can determine if your horse is truly happy. This is a question I would say almost everyone asks me. We love our horses so much and we hope they are happy with us. We hold some fear in our hearts — that we have not done enough, shown up enough, bought enough treats, offered enough support, given enough hugs and kisses, etc. The majority of the time, our horses seem grateful to have us in their lives. After all, we’re the ones that bring the food! But how can we tell that they are truly happy? Here are some easy ways to recognize joy in your equine companions:



When horses feel comfortable, they nicker as a form of communication — it’s their way of saying hello to a friend and acknowledging their presence.



Horses are herd animals, meaning they like to have friends and people they trust around them. If your horse walks up to you at the fence line or sticks close by when you’re in their paddock, not only do they like you — they trust you!



Horses demonstrate their contentment and trust by following your cues on the ground or in saddle. Remember, they are

1,100 lb prey animals — they don’t have to do anything for you, they choose to!



My horse Airosa was very sensitive on her face, so she preferred to show her affection by wrapping her neck around me. Now Eragon seems to think he’s like a lap dog and tries to wrap his front legs around me to show his love — though I need to have boundaries about this or I will be on the ground with him on top of me! He also loves to play to show his affection — he pulls off my hat, unties my shoes laces and plays with my zippers!


Since all horses have unique personalities, they each have their own way of showing their happiness. Pay attention to their body language — is their energy open to you, or are they closed, guarded and ready to bolt? Any aggression, pinned ears or a swishing tail is indicative of unhappiness. If this is the case, work to learn what’s causing their agitation and take appropriate action.


Remember, horses are very keen assessors. They know your intention before you even set foot near them, so always be honest and trustworthy with them in order to form a bond of friendship. Lindsey Hunt has over 25 years of experience with horses in dressage, hunter, liberty and EAL. She is a professional animal communicator, advanced certified FEEL facilitator, Reiki master, spiritual mentor and writer. lindseyhunt.ca


Equine Wellness


How to build up your

horse’s weak muscle zones By Erin Mullen

Could your horse benefit from some additional strength training? Here are a few easy ways to build up his weak muscle zones. Let’s be honest – some horses can be a little lazy. They want to rest in the paddock, relax and eat their way through the day, and it’s hard to blame them! Even the most active horses don’t have goals (like we do) to reach peak physical condition, so building his weak muscle zones has to be a combined effort between the two of you! Fortunately, there are a variety of exercises that can make this easier.

TRY HILL WORK One of the best ways to improve and build muscle in your horse is to engage him in an activity that’s above his normal level of exertion. According to Dr. Nancy Mauer of Spruce Run Equine Vet Associates, hills are one of the best tools when increasing muscle 12

Equine Wellness

mass, especially in the chest and hind quarters. “Going up hills is one of the best things you can do to build muscle,” Dr. Mauer states. “It allows for the horse to exert himself just enough, especially if the pace is well controlled and the timing is appropriate. However, going down the hill, he needs to be sure not to travel too quickly. Depending on the horse and his own history of prior injury, it is important to make sure he travels at a speed that enables him to find and keep his footing at all times. Inducing a fall with an improper hill descent is extremely undesirable.”

USE CAVALETTI POLES Another way to improve muscle mass is to take him over cavaletti poles. They can be placed in a line so that he has to be aware of his leg motions and lift his hooves each time to clear the poles. According to Dr. Daniel Halden, an equine chiropractor based in Pennsylvania, spacing the poles the same distance as the horse is tall at his withers is best. This ensures that he continues to walk over the poles correctly, based on his size. “Cavaletti work specifically targets foot awareness,” says Dr. Halden. “The correct use and placement of all four feet and legs in proper coordination is a critical underpinning to building

strength, muscle mass and endurance.” These poles can be arranged in a variety of different ways to engage different muscles. For instance, try setting up a maze so your horse has to wind and weave to get through to the end. This type of cavaletti pattern requires him to bend and utilize muscles he may not typically need in his daily life.

EXPLORE DIFFERENT TERRAIN Different terrain options are also helpful for building muscle zones. Walking on grass is very different for your horse than walking on arena sand. On grass, he must navigate uneven footing and utilize muscles to stabilize himself. According to Dr. Halden, it’s useful to work the horse when the grass is both wet and dry as these are very different experiences. While on arena sand, he slightly sinks, thus each step he takes requires more effort. By taking him over a variety of safe, horse-friendly surfaces, he has to think about his motions and try harder to propel himself forward. Whenever possible, avoid rocks and concrete as these are hard on the hooves and joints.

This also develops the ‘core’ muscles, conditioning the whole animal for stamina and comfort.” It is evident then that a horse needs proper rider direction in order to utilize his vast muscle reservoir. “Conversely, a horse might be described as ‘heavy on the forehand’ or ‘flat’,” continues Dr. Mauer. “The second scenario does not paint a picture of grace or preparedness, and changes in direction or speed appear less fluid.” She adds that it is paramount for the rider to allow for days of rest to avoid overworking the horse.

ENCOURAGE REGULAR MOVEMENT Lastly, and probably most obviously, the horse was built to move. He was designed to run and cover great distances. While most of us do not encourage our horses to spend a great deal of time in motion, an appropriate amount of exercise above the level of a walk is going to be the most effective at building muscle. The horse needs to trot, canter, and if the rider is experienced and able, gallop. Allowing the horse to move at whatever level the rider is comfortable is always going to help him get stronger.

RIDE HIM RIGHT Correct rider and horse contact is important for muscle usage as well. “The horse benefits from ‘engaging’ or pushing off the hindquarters,” says Dr. Mauer. “You will hear a horse described as engaged, light in front, balanced, ready to go in any direction. When mounted, one can contain and direct their mount’s energy by applying their leg cues while an elastic contact on the mouth keeps the propulsion balanced.

There is a reason the world ran on horses for centuries! By incorporating some of the above ideas, you can increase your horse’s muscle mass and improve his ability to perform with strength and ease. Erin Mullen is a freelance writer and entrepreneur living in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. She recently graduated from Saint Vincent College and enjoys spending her free time in the outdoors with her boxers, Emma and Elsa.

Equine Wellness



Cushing’s – the subtle signs your horse is trying to show you By Jessica Lynn

One of the primary causes of Cushing’s is one you can control. Listen to your horse and take steps to bring them back to a state of balance — naturally.

Cushing’s has become the “dis-ease” of the past two decades. When I was growing up in the late 1950s and 60s, even in to the early 70s, we did not see any of the dis-eases of today in our herd. None of our horses got sick, none had laminitis, none foundered, none had skin conditions, all they received in the way of “chemicals” was a wormer once per year when the vet came and a tetanus shot if someone got a cut — that’s it! They had natural pasture 14

Equine Wellness

all year and were supplemented with alfalfa during the colder months with a scoop of whole oats.

LESS NATURAL = MORE PROBLEMS So, what changed? At some point, pharmaceutical companies and their marketing departments convinced everyone that horses needed to be given a paste wormer monthly. Add to that

the over-vaccination, an increase of GMO hay and Round Up Ready crops, chemical fly and grooming sprays, chemical-laden rubber and plastic feeding bowls, and suddenly you’ve got a lot of factors that compromise the horse’s immune health. Considering that they’re bombarded with so many chemicals, it’s no wonder our horses’ health is compromised. Even hay that isn’t sprayed while

it’s growing is coated with drying agents when it’s mowed before baling. This constant exposure to chemicals results in inflammation and a variety of new diseases including Cushing’s/PPID.

KNOW THE SIGNS OF PPID/CUSHING’S So what is a pre-Cushing’s or Cushing’s horse trying to “show you” and when can you start to see signs that things may be progressing to full-blown disease? Any of the signs below can be recognized in a horse as young as four or five years old: • Depression or lack of energy • Excessive drinking and urination (trying to rid themselves of the chemicals) • Non-specific hoof soreness (not laminitis or founder), most often in the spring and sometimes in the fall • Fatty deposits in odd places or loss of top line

• A swollen sheath in stallions and geldings — in summer, vets will often tell you it is a bug bite, but it can be one of the earliest signs of Cushing’s • Edema along the midline in a mare or sometimes a swollen udder • The beginning “cresty neck” — always a giveaway that the endocrine system is off balance and needs support • Winter coat growing in thicker or longer or in an irregular or unusual pattern (looks a bit “moth eaten” as it grows in) • Winter coat not shedding in the spring or partially shedding • A tendency for recurring infection in the hoof (hoof abscesses) or skin. Cushing's horses are also prone to repeated skin and organ infections. This is thought to be

WHAT IS “CUSHING’S”? Equine Cushing’s Disease, or Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), is an incurable disorder that affects the endocrine system in horses. More specifically, it is characterized by a dysfunction of the pituitary gland — a hormone-producing gland situated at the base of the brain. It can be caused by either an enlargement of the pituitary gland or a tumor that affects the gland. The gland sends signals to secrete excessive hormones, primarily cortisol, negatively impacting the body.

Equine Wellness


due to the excessive release of cortisol, which depresses the immune response, and the increased levels of blood sugar that create an ideal environment for bacterial growth. Overall body inflammation is another symptom.

WHAT CAN A CARETAKER DO? One of the most important things a horse caretaker can do is support the horse’s immune health with a variety of pre- and probiotics that are equinespecific and in the billions per scoop (not just the yeast cultures that some offer). When a horse’s immune health is supported, digestion improves for better nutrient absorption and a horse can better metabolize the sugars in his diet. In addition: • Stop feeding any grain made with any kind of soy or vegetable/plant protein (which is soy disguised). • Feed as natural a diet as possible, using some whole grains such as organic oats in small amounts (horses have safely consumed them for centuries). Add flax and chia for the Omega fatty acids that are missing if hay is harvested too soon. All of these can be added to soaked hay pellets. • Get your hay tested to find out what nutrients may be missing and then supplement those. Most often they will be vitamins C, E, zinc, copper and magnesium. • Test your water for toxins as well as for minerals. • Read the labels on anything you are considering feeding to your horse. If you cannot pronounce it do not feed it. • Supplement with organic iodine tested kelp to support the thyroid. • Feed a variety of hay, especially organic non-GMO hay if you can find it. • Use slow feeder hay nets so your horse can “graze” 24/7. • Get a blood titer test done on your horse before re-vaccinating to find out what his levels of immunity are. Don’t vaccinate unless necessary. 16

Equine Wellness

• Get fecal tests done and consider using an herbal wormer instead of a chemical wormer, which disrupts the microbial balance of the gut. • Give your horse milk thistle and dandelion leaf as an herbal detox several times per year for seven to ten days at a time. • Make sure your herd has clean, fresh water at all times. • Test for Cushing's/PPID only in midJune or mid-January for the most accurate numbers; not during spring and fall when insulin levels naturally

rise. And remember, for an accurate insulin test the horse must be fasted eight to 12 hours. Last but not least, work with an equine nutritionist or herbalist to help bring your horse’s body back to better balance. Yes, it will take time, but it took time to get it unhealthy as well. Your horse has to heal from the inside out, not just be “treated” with drugs to artificially bring their insulin levels down!

Jessica Lynn is the owner of Earth Song Ranch, as a life-long equestrian and professional animal nutritionist, homeopath, herbalist, dowser, and animal intuitive, she is rarely separated from her passion and her work. Earth Song Ranch is an herbal feed additive, pre/probiotic & supplement manufacturer based in Southern California, using herbal blends, pre & probiotics and digestive enzymes for immune health for horses. Jessica has been involved in alternative health care, herbs, homeopathy, osteopathy and nutrition for animals and humans for over 5 decades. Contact Jessica via e-mail at jessica@earthsongranch.com Her web site is: www.earthsongranch.com

Photo courtesy of Hay Optimizer


Follow these DOs and DON’Ts for better horse feeding

Want to optimize the way you feed your horses? Follow these dos and don’ts!

Feeding horses is easy, right? Just toss them a bale of hay when needed and offer grain and supplements when the vet recommends it! Hold your horses…it’s not all that simple. There are a few important dos and don’ts to consider when it comes to nourishing your herd. Let’s take a look!

DO think like a horse Unlike humans who eat three meals a day, horses evolved to graze small amounts of forage all day and all night. Make sure your herd has 24/7 access to good quality hay or pasture!

DON’T offer unrestricted free choice hay Offering unrestricted free choice hay might seem like the most natural option, but that’s not the case. This style of feeding almost always results in overeating, obesity and chronic health problems. And, horses are picky eaters and may waste a lot of good quality hay while searching for the best bites. Soiled hay is a mess to clean up, in addition to being a waste of money.

DO try slow feeding Over the past decade, a lot of horse caretakers have recognized the benefits of slow feeding. Hay nets are the most common option, but there are a number of alternatives that work just as well — if not better! Take slow feeding containers, for instance. Unlike hay nets which are time-consuming to fill, drop hay, and can result in an unnatural eating position if they’re hung too high, slow feeding containers can hold large amounts of hay, reduce waste, and allow horses to eat together with their heads lowered as nature intended!

DON’T feed the same amount of forage all the time The amount of forage that horses need to eat varies significantly with the weather. Hay digestion creates body heat. In extremely cold weather, horses may need to double their intake of hay in order to maintain their body condition. Horses may get hay bellies in the winter because they are processing more hay to keep themselves warm. But don’t worry about them — hay bellies are not

fat and disappear rapidly when the weather warms up.

DO get in the habit of checking hay quality If hay is improperly baled or stored, or left to sit for too long, its quality may be questionable. Always check for dust or mold before feeding to prevent respiratory issues, digestive upset, or worse! If possible, get your hay tested to really know its nutritional value and what, if anything, needs to be supplemented.

DON’T feed by volume When feeding commercial grains and supplements, be sure to read the feeding instructions! Rather than portioning your horses’ feed using a scoop, use a scale to accurately weigh how much you’re giving them. Because feed varies in texture (pellets, nuggets, loose grain, etc.), measuring by volume using a measuring scoop or other such vessel can lead to over- or underfeeding. The same applies to hay. The weight and size of bales and flakes of hay can vary significantly. Equine Wellness




equine mobility By Hannah Arington

It’s important to pay attention to your horse’s mobility, especially as he ages. Here’s some expert advice on how to keep him moving with ease throughout his lifespan.

One of the most common challenges faced by equestrians is how to keep their beloved horses limber, strong and comfortable, regardless of age, breed, or activity level.

Whether your companion is an elite performance horse or a retired pasture companion, this professional advice will come in handy!

MOBILITY LOSS Dr. Amy Cook of Nebraska Equine Veterinary Clinic in Omaha, Nebraska explains that “various types of arthritic conditions, osteochondral developmental lesions as well as injuries” may contribute to equine mobility issues. Conditions vary widely depending on a horse’s age and type of performance. “In younger horses we can see juvenile arthritis and OCD lesions,” says Dr. Cook. “In older stock-type horses, we are often dealing with arthritic conditions such as navicular disease and fusion of the distal hock joints.”

HOOF CARE “Treating lameness and/or mobility issues may start with something as simple as improving mechanics associated with the foot via shoeing changes,” says Dr. Cook. “Proper year-round hoof care is very important.” John Weber of Weber Farriery elaborates on the topic of hoof health. “Utilizing anatomical farriery to keep feet balanced helps maintain a full range of movement,” he says. “Trimming for correct loading and landing encourages proper mechanics, range of motion, and stride. It’s essential to trim to match the angle of the horse’s coffin bone (P3) instead of trimming for aesthetics alone.”


Equine Wellness

HOLISTIC VETERINARY MEDICINE Dr. Diane Simmons of Holistic Veterinary Practice in Ralston, Nebraska points out the need for proper training, fitness, nutrition, and routine healthcare to maintain equine mobility. “Both acupuncture and chiropractic care can be very beneficial, especially to horses doing repetitive activities that may cause the body to get more constricted and off balance,” she says. While some problems require multiple treatments, Dr. Simmons finds that “with a chiropractic adjustment, many muscular restrictions decrease immediately.” She points out that “if the horse is always needing the same chiropractic treatments over a short period of time, then more questions need to be addressed.” These may include an evaluation of the horse’s lifestyle, how they are being worked, and the surfaces that they are exercising on. Dr. Simmons points out that along with chiropractic care, acupuncture “can be very helpful to decrease inflammation and pain while relaxing the body.” Dr. Simmons believes that the best way to improve mobility is to consider the individuality of each horse. "Listen to the horse, beginning with an intense visual observation of the animal and his gaits, then make a treatment plan."


medication IS NECESSARY

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as phenylbutazone (Bute), flunixin meglumine (Banamine), and Firocoxib (Equioxx) may be prescribed to treat lameness. However, these medications come with certain risks. Dr. Cook explains that Bute and Banamine have “potential for development of gastrointestinal (GI) ulceration with extended use.” Since Equioxx is “cox selective” this helps “minimize potential for GI ulceration”. "For certain conditions, we may choose to utilize a bis-phosphonate drug to try and decrease bone remodeling and associated pain," says Dr. Cook. Risks linked to these drugs include "mild colic at time of administration." Additionally, these drugs are "not to be used in horses less than four years of age, or those on NSAIDS. Bis-phosphonates can also cause kidney damage in horses with underlying kidney issues. Popular injectable joint therapies such as Adequan or Legend “may be implemented to help with overall joint health,” adds Dr. Cook.

MASSAGE Equine massage can “assist in improving a horse’s mobility by using various methods and depths of pressure to manipulate the soft tissues of the body” details Christine Walker of Walker Equine Therapies in Omaha, Nebraska. She adds that massage “enables the vascular system to encourage proper blood flow and lymphatic movement. Increased blood flow to an area of tension and pain flushes the system with healthy nutrients and lymph.” Ultimately, this activates the “parasympathetic nervous system, allowing the horse to relax and release tension” which may be inhibiting freedom of movement.

Although dealing with equine soundness and mobility issues can be perplexing, take heart in the variety of experts who can assist you! Under veterinary direction, many horses are able to experience remarkable improvements thanks to a variety of options including: hoof care changes,

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

Equine Wellness






It’s the day of the show, and your horse is on his worst behavior. Could anxiety be the culprit? Let’s take a look at what you can do to help calm him down. The start of a horsemanship clinic is sometimes a chaotic affair. Even the most docile horse can become overwhelmed with anxiety and temporarily forget how to act. With multiple horses in an unfamiliar arena, plus their caretakers (mostly excited and a bit anxious themselves), the energy can be frenetic. So what can you do to help ease your equine companion’s anxiety?

PINPOINT THE CAUSE AND INTERVENE Temperament plays a big role in a horse’s level of anxiety. Some horses are flightier than others and worry more. As prey animals, horses can be stoic (instinctively hiding their stress and pain), while others wear emotions on their sleeves. It's important to 20

Equine Wellness

identify the source of a horse’s anxiety, because it will inform your strategy for managing it. Research on the prevalence of gastric ulcers in horses has revealed how much stress and anxiety exists in horses of all ages. Common sources of anxiety include hidden pain, separation anxiety, unfamiliar settings, isolation, confusion (when the horse does not understand what’s being asked of him), or all of the above. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that pain is more often than not the root cause of many issues that can easily masquerade as training problems. When we talk about easing equine anxiety, we must remove stressors where we can and always rule out physical problems first. When in doubt, check it out.

A horse that displays overt signs of anxiety and acts out is a very unhappy horse. Intervention will help teach the horse how to cope with his anxiety and can remind him how good it feels to relax and seek out calmness.

MASTER THE CHAOS WITHIN Treat the horse’s emotionality as a mental health issue, not a training issue. Criticizing, correcting, or applying more pressure to an anxious horse usually exacerbates his anxiety. Before any meaningful training or performance can occur, the horse must return to a calm and thinking state of mind. Putting the horse in a relaxed posture, cueing him to breathe and offering

reassurance teaches him to let go of his fear and helps him manage his emotions. The anxious horse feels miserable, so once he’s coaxed to relax, he’ll remember how much better it feels to be in that state. With practice, the horse learns calmdown cues and soon begins seeking out that relaxed, safe feeling. Even for the most flighty, nervous horse, this can become a reflex in just a few training sessions, and he will learn to go to his “happy place” without cues from the handler.

GET PHYSICAL A horse’s emotional state is closely tied to his posture. The level of the horse’s head is like a needle on a pressure gauge. In other words, a horse with his head up, back arched and stiff, is prepared for fight or flight. If he has his nose to the ground, back rounded and tail relaxed, he’s totally

calm and compliant. Any change in elevation in between those two extremes indicates the horse is either tensing or relaxing. When teaching a horse to relax, my first goal is always to get him in a relaxed posture with his nose to the ground. By using light pressure from the halter at the poll, then releasing it immediately when the head starts to lower, the horse will quickly learn a cue to lower the head. Then I cue him to take a deep breath by taking one myself. Horses will mimic the posture and breathing of others. I exaggerate my body language and breathing to exude calmness (shoulders rounded, energy low, averted eyes, deep sighs). I’ll stroke and soothe the horse as he settles, praising him and making sure he feels safe. Everything I am asking the horse to do is easy and feels good, so he responds quickly.

Equine Wellness



• Punishing anxiety-based behaviors. When a horse is punished for being afraid, he loses all confidence, becomes afraid of being afraid, and then becomes trapped in his fear — which is very difficult to fix. Instead, replace the anxious behaviors with more desirable ones, known as replacement training. (Learn more about replacement training at JulieGoodnight.com/Academy). • Allowing an anxious horse to look around and search frantically for an exit. This kind of panicky behavior escalates quickly. Instead, ask the horse to lower his head. Then take a deep breath and keep his nose in front of his chest. I teach my horses to focus on me or focus on nothing — it puts them in a very Zen place.


Equine Wellness

Photos cour

• Getting too emotional. Decades ago, one of my mentors taught me that emotionality has no place in the training of horses. Horses instinctively adopt the emotions of others, so when someone handling a horse is emotional it instantly makes the anxious horse worse. Instead, learn to exude your inner calm despite your emotions. Be steady as a rock. Horses find great comfort in this.

an Fische tesy of Meg


Horses can act out their anxiety in many frightening ways — shying, bolting, flat-out refusal, or sheer panic. When a trained horse is not responding properly, people often get angry, frustrated, or scared. It’s easy to make mistakes that escalate the horse’s anxiety, so it’s best to avoid these pitfalls:

Remember — no horse wants to feel anxious!

ENGAGEMENT AND CONNECTION Once the horse has returned to a calm state, it’s time to engage his mind. Give him simple cues, wait for the appropriate response, and then release and praise him. This builds the horse’s confidence, eases his anxiety, and reminds him how good it feels to be praised. Just like humans, when you praise a horse for a job well done, he’ll want more praise. To engage the horse’s mind and get his focus back on me, I’ll give the easiest commands that I’m sure the horse knows: go, stop, turn right, turn left,

slow down, speed up. All I want is for the horse to engage with me — to listen, think, and respond like he’s trained to do. This almost always has a calming effect on the horse as he starts thinking and finds comfort in doing what he knows how to do. When your horse is anxious, it’s not the time to ask for the hard stuff or teach him something new. It is the time to remind him that he knows how to act and respond. Most importantly, I want to use this time to re-establish my connection with the horse. With the right techniques, anxious horses can turn around quickly and dramatically — and perform at their best!

Julie Goodnight is best known as the producer and host of the popular TV show, Horse Master, airing weekly on RFD-TV for 11 years. Her clear and humorous teaching style, enlightening insights on horses, and live horse-training demonstrations inspire and educate horse owners around the world. Julie’s techniques are grounded in natural horsemanship, classical riding, and a deep understanding of horse behavior. She travels the globe teaching riders, training horses, and entertaining audiences at major horse events. She offers online education, training videos, tack and training tools at JulieGoodnight.com.

Product Picks Feed for your senior The Daily Dose Equine Performance Senior is a non-GMO feed that is made for the horse that has trouble chewing. It features a ground, non-dusty product made of yummy roasted oats and barley, 25% hay for extra fiber, and 15% fat for weight gain. This formula contains no wheat or corn but lots of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and digestive enzymes for the health of your senior horse. The non-GMO ingredients eliminate herbicide contamination.


What we love:

All Daily Dose Equine™ LLC feeds are minimally processed to retain full integrity of the original ingredients.

What we love:

Yucc’ It Up! also carries a line of nutritional support products for riders.

Supplements to support whole body health For supplements that support whole body function and performance in your horse, consider Yucc' It Up!® Signature Nuggets. They feature yucca schidigera, along with certified organic superfoods, medicinal spices, wildcrafted herbs and pure essential oils. These ingredients work synergistically to support a normal inflammatory response, gently detox, provide whole body support (joints, digestion, circulation, etc.), and more.


Get him back to pasture Does your horse have sore feet, a cresty neck, and a history of founder? Is he painful on hard ground and unable to be on pasture? HEIRO is a proprietary herbal blend containing fenugreek, ocean kelp, blue-green spirulina algae, cinnamon, ginger, willow, peppermint, milk thistle, alfalfa, vitamin E concentrate, and magnesium oxide mineral. This combination of organicals makes horses more comfortable and helps them get back on grass pasture.


What we love:

A “subscription” option is available at checkout, so you’ll never run out!

What we love:

They’re corrosionresistant and made with Canadian steel!

Secure and stylish If you’re looking for a secure but stylish overhead door for a farm building, look no further than Steel-Craft Door Products, a leading manufacturer of commercial overhead doors. For example, the Therm-O-Door line sets the industry standard in overhead commercial and agricultural garage doors and is made of steel in two thicknesses — 13/8” (R-value 13) and 1¾” (R-value 16).


Equine Wellness



What is

“horse therapy” all about? By Heather Sansom, PhD

Public awareness of “horse therapy” is on the rise, and that's exciting news for many horse caretakers and enthusiasts. For one thing, it increases the relevance and accessibility of horses to the general population. For another, horse facilities can add a service that helps pay for the hay. And, let’s face it, most of us would freely call horses our “therapy”. So what is it all about?

THREE TYPES OF HORSE THERAPY Equine assisted activities can be divided between three main types: equine assisted or facilitated learning (EAL), equine assisted therapy (EAT), and therapeutic riding. In the first two, riding is not generally done (it is also excluded from professional liability insurance for EAL and EAT), whereas therapeutic riding is mainly about the riding. There are some other important differences as well. Even though all three can have therapeutic value for a participant, equine therapy is distinguished by involving a credentialed mental health therapist. 24

Equine Wellness

Understanding and selecting equine related services means knowing the difference between therapy, equine learning, and therapeutic riding. EQUINE ASSISTED THERAPY (EAT) In North America, the most common three mental health professions would be psychologists, psychotherapists, and social workers with training in psychotherapy. EAT sessions explore serious problems such as couples’ conflicts, mental health conditions such as PTSD or anxiety disorder, or significant developmental disorders such as autism. The purpose of the session is to relieve symptoms or improve function in life or relationships. They should only be conducted by a credentialed mental health professional. Credentialed therapists also need specific training for working with specific issues, such as autism and PTSD, in addition to their degrees and credentials.

Typically, horse therapy sessions would involve the mental health professional, plus a helper who has had special training in managing the horse safely in the interaction. More rarely, a mental health professional who is also trained and credentialed for equestrian instruction might conduct the session without an extra helper. Therapists with no training or knowledge of horses and safety around horses should not facilitate equine therapy sessions since they do not know how to ensure that their suggested activities keep the client and horse safe (including emotionally).

EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING (EAL) EAL can also work with a person’s inner life, but does so from the perspective of personal self-development and growth, rather than therapy intervention for mental health problems. Comparing equine learning to equine therapy is similar to comparing therapeutic recreation or life coaching to psychotherapy. There is some overlap, since EAL can help improve self-confidence or self-esteem. However, EAL providers are not trained mental health professionals, so they cannot facilitate significant improvements in mental health or interpersonal relationships.

the therapy line, and in first aid and basic mental health responsiveness such as Mental Health First Aid, so they can keep clients safe and refer them appropriately without crossing professional boundaries of scope.

In most states and provinces, laws prevent EAL providers from addressing client mental health concerns without authorized credentialing in mental health. Due to power imbalance, the EAL professional cannot even offer clients the same advice on mental health that they might offer friends in their personal lives. The service user may be vulnerable, and trusts the service provider to operate within scope, and to put the client’s best interests first. Practicing out of scope prioritizes the provider’s business over client safety and needs. This is the main reason why mental health is a regulated profession, and only a select range of people with doctoral degrees can actually call themselves “Dr.” in professional service settings. EAL practitioners ideally also have training in how to not cross

Personal Growth and Self Development

Mental Health Therapy Treatment

THERAPEUTIC RIDING Therapeutic riding mostly involves riding instructors who are specially trained to teach riding to people with significant physical or cognitive disabilities. Some are also trained to do therapeutic riding for mental health conditions. However, the training is about using the riding as therapeutic recreation with physical, cognitive, and emotional rehabilitative value — without crossing the lines of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, or psychotherapy intervention (unless such a credentialed professional is also present and co-facilitating).

Developmental Disability Treatment

Physical Disability Treatment

Mounted Riding Instruction

Insurance Coverage

Equine Learning






Unmounted, personal development/ therapeutic recreation

Equine Therapy






Unmounted, mental health service

Therapeutic Riding






Mounted, therapeutic recreation

Equine Wellness


be aware of or always adhere to the limits of their training or insurance; examples would be including riding in a session or attempting to resolve PTSD. It can get confusing when an EAL service markets itself as horse therapy, since there are no restrictions on the term “therapy”. A credentialed professional in any of the three equine therapeutic areas will be able to show you proof of training, certification, and insurance that covers the activities they are doing with you. The chart on the previous page is a summary of the scope of practice and insurance for each.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT AVENUE It is very helpful to know what the scope of practice is for the program you are considering in order to be assured of psychological and physical safety. Therapeutic riding and mental health professions are held to high safety training standards and are accountable to governing bodies for ethical conduct. EAL is not, which means that EAL providers may not


Equine Wellness

With a more comprehensive understanding of these three avenues of horse therapy, you’ll be better equipped to choose the right path for you!

Heather Sansom is a Certified Equestrian Canada and Centered Riding Level 2 Coach, Rider Fitness Specialist, Recreation Therapist, and Registered Psychotherapist. She is trained in equine assisted learning and therapy.

Healthy pumpkin spice horse treats check all the boxes!


Kelcie’s pulled out all the stops to ensure that their oneof-a-kind pumpkin spice horse treats are a cut above!

Husband and wife horse enthusiasts Kevin Nairne and Mary Elizabeth Kent had two of the key ingredients required to start a successful horse treat company — knowledge and passion. With her extensive experience in show jumping and his background in corporate sales, they identified an opportunity to introduce a high quality treat. “Together we decided to develop a horse treat made from all-natural, healthy ingredients,” says Kevin. “We wanted it to be safe for competition, easy to handle, and most importantly — with a taste and texture horses would love!” They set out to do their research — and didn’t cut a single corner. Kevin and Mary Elizabeth learned more about the market, and picked the brains of many knowledgeable horse caretakers, including Olympic and World Equestrian Games Show Jumping Gold Medallist Laura Kraut, who happens to be Mary Elizabeth’s sister!

IT’S NOT JUST A TREAT, IT’S A HEALTH PRODUCT! After gathering the data they needed, Kevin and Mary Elizabeth agreed on 15 all-natural healthy ingredients. Because of its digestive qualities, pumpkin was chosen as the main ingredient, and bananas, turmeric and anise were added to increase the palatability. “Our goal was to be different from the rest of the market,” says Kevin. “There are many different types of treats available which claim to be healthy, however they often have molasses as a main constituent. This creates a high amount of sugar which is not good for the horse.” They also factored in the ideal size and aroma. They wanted the treat to be hard so it wouldn’t crumble in the pocket, with a unique, bite-sized shape to promote chewing and increase saliva production — essential for buffering the stomach to support healthy digestion. “We tested the product extensively with our own horses and those in other barns,” says Kevin. “The feedback from the tests were amazing — the horses

adored the treat and were asking for more. We also identified that fussy eaters were also eating Kelcie's and because of the low sugar content, they are also safe for horses with Cushing’s.” The recipe took a full year to complete, and was officially launched — with great success — in June 2019 at the Upperville Horse Show in Middleburg, VA.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Kevin and Mary Elizabeth are excited about what the future holds for their growing company. “Over the last two years, our sales have increased as equestrians have become aware of the benefits Kelcie's Treats provide to their horses,” says Kevin. Mary Elizabeth and I set out to develop the ultimate horse treat for the happy, healthy horse. We’re proud to say that we’ve achieved that goal — and there are thousands of horses and owners across the continent who agree with us!” Ready to try Kelcie’s Treats? Head to kelcies.com or visit your local feed store!

Who’s Kelcie?

Kevin and Mary Elizabeth decided to name their company after their beloved dog, Kelcie. “She’s a Norgi – Norwich Terrier/Corgi cross,” says Kevin. “We thought the name worked well as Kelcie's Cookies. We later dropped “cookie” in favor of horse treats and the Kelcie's Horse Treats brand was created.” Equine Wellness



Choosing the right

bedding for your horse By Laura Boynton

Let’s take a look at some bedding options that can help improve comfort and sleep patterns in your horse.

In most cases, the healthiest option for horses is to spend 24/7 outdoors with access to shelter that they can use as they please. After all, it's how they were born to live! But when that's not possible, there are steps we can take to ensure they’re as comfortable as possible in their stalls. It’s easy to stay stuck in old patterns when it comes to making bedding choices, but times have changed and new options are readily accessible. By doing some research, caretakers can increase comfort, improve the composting process, save time and money, and see fewer health problems for both horses


Equine Wellness

and humans. In fact, taking a more in-depth look into the many varieties of bedding could change the way that stall mucking is done and enhance the quality of life for horses who spend any amount of time in a stall!

RUBBER STALL MATS Using stall mats will not only add comfort to a stall floor but also provide enough cushioning to better support a horse’s movements and make standing, getting up and lying down less stressful. Ideally, additional

bedding should be used on top of rubber mats, as mats alone can make for a dangerous slippery surface. That said, using mats keeps bedding waste to a minimum and makes cleaning stalls simpler as manure and soiled bedding is easier to scoop up.

many are toxic to horses. Black walnut wood, for instance, can trigger laminitis in a very short time. Using 100% cedar wood in a stall isn’t recommended, since the oil in the wood can cause allergic skin reactions and pull moisture from a horse’s hoof. Chipped landscaping material from tree trimming services is also not recommended, especially when it comes to species used in landscaping (such as black walnut, black locust, parts of oak trees, horse chestnut, etc.).


WOOD SAWDUST AND SHAVINGS Sawdust is a more finely processed wood bedding compared to thicker shavings and wood chips. The traditional and safer woods used are typically from pine and fir. Finer sawdust covers more surface area than shavings and heavier wood trimmings, but finer also means dustier. To avoid horse and human respiratory problems and potential fire hazards, a good ventilation system and cleaning routine is needed when using loose wood bedding. Be sure to check with a veterinarian or other knowledgeable resource on wood bedding materials as

Other types of wood products can make excellent bedding materials. Absorbent low dust forming pellets are gaining popularity. Made of kilndried wood (usually fir, alder and pine), the fine material is compressed into a small hard pellet that expands back to sawdust once in contact with water. Mucking a stall with wood pellet bedding will feel more like cleaning a cat’s litter box as the texture is quite similar. Pellets are usually sold by the bag which makes transporting and storage easy. Some brands contain natural zeolite additives to help with odor control and reduce ammonia in the stall and in the air. Zeolite products are also a good addition to a compost pile Equine Wellness


as they slowly release nitrogen back into the soil. Wood-stove pellets may be cheaper than pelleted bedding and are usually sold at feed stores, as well as some grocery stores and home improvement centers. When buying wood-stove pellets, be sure they contain 100% wood product, with no glue or chemical additives.


and stored correctly. A bale of straw needs to be checked as closely as hay for signs of moisture and mold. While straw is less palatable than hay, horses will consume it; eating straw can lead to problems such as impaction colic or mouth irritation from the barbed seeds left on the plant from harvesting. Respiratory issues can develop and problems with ammonia accumulation in the barn are greater due to straw’s poor absorbency.

clean-up. Sand is popular for outside shelters and stalls but it isn’t the safest choice due to the fact that horses will inhale and ingest sand particles when eating off of the ground, causing a high risk of sand colic and impaction as they pick through hay and grain that drops or spills.



With a strong devoted equine following due to its high absorbency and softness, peat moss adds many benefits to compost piles, gardens and pastures. Drawbacks of this very fine organic material is the dust it creates in drier and windier climates. Some horse caretakers find the dark, dirty look of peat bedding unsatisfactory, while others may have to pay a large shipping fee to obtain this material depending on their location.


Paper has several properties that provide a completely dust- and foreign object-free bedding choice for horses and caretakers who have allergies or respiratory problems. Unfortunately, is not widely available and can be messy to handle. Paper bedding is usually made from unused newspaper stock cut or torn into strips that won’t cut skin. Shredded paper composts are one of the most compostable options in bedding.


One of the newest alternative bedding products is an experimental agricultural product being grown in the southeastern US, with agricultural roots that trace back 4,000 years through Africa and India to ancient Egypt. Kenaf, which is related to cotton and okra, is a fastgrowing fibrous plant that has many uses, including making paper. When grown, the stem core is suitable as animal bedding, resembling spongy kitty litter or cereal. It’s reported to be highly absorbent, dustless, non-allergenic and extremely biodegradable.

BEDDING IS AN INDIVIDUAL CHOICE Here are a few things to consider when choosing bedding for your horse: TIME — Horses confined to a stall

Wheat or oat straw is used as a barrier to protect the stall floor from manure and urine. It takes a deep, thick bed of straw to maintain a clean, dry barrier — however, straw can be less dusty than wood bedding if it’s harvested 30

Equine Wellness

will require more bedding in order to absorb urine than horses who have ample turnout time. STORAGE — Storing bedding material

Having a horse under sand in hot dry climates makes sense as urine and moisture drains well with easy

is a major consideration for caretakers short on space, whereas those with extra room with easy access for delivery trucks can buy in bulk.

Equine Wellness


DUST AND MOLD — Horses and

caretakers with respiratory issues such as allergies or asthma will need an absorbent bedding with low dust, mold and foreign object counts. The bedding’s ability to reduce ammonia in the space should also be considered. WASTE MANAGEMENT — Many

caretakers prefer bedding that breaks down faster and more completely. If depositing waste straight to the land, the big concern is the amount of carbon produced, which all bedding creates. Too much carbon dumped onto pastures will rob soils of nitrogen, turning pasture plants yellow. AVAILABILITY — Investigate bedding

types and sources available locally. Take the time to do your homework and shop around and ask questions. WEATHER — Different climates can

bring different hardships to bedding choices. Knowing what works best in your area, and understanding the challenges of the changing seasons ahead of time, will make for smooth transitions. COST — Many products are more

expensive pound for pound, but if they’re highly absorbent then less is used. Buying in bulk usually saves money.

DON’T USE OLD HAY! Even though it may be tempting, old wet or dry hay should not be used as bedding. Horses will eat the hay that is around them, even if it’s spoiled. Hay starts to ferment quickly when wet, resulting in mold, odor, dust, parasites and insects that can lead to lung damage and GI upset.

THE NUISANCES OF BEDDING AND STALL ENVIRONMENTS No matter what the preferred bedding choice is, horse caretakers have an important job when it comes to their horses’ daily living conditions. Dr. Rohn Hendricks, DVM, has owned Complete Mobile Equine Veterinary Services since 1999 in Waxahachie, Texas and shares that biting mites, lice and insects that live in or around bedding aren’t an easy problem to fix. “Just like fleas on a dog, owners have to break the cycle and treat the horse and its environment.,” he says. “Depending on the severity of symptoms the horse is exhibiting, a veterinarian should be called to assess any skin problems spurred on by bedding and other environmental situations. Allergies, reactions and irritants can cause more than just itching; secondary skin infections can leave horses with open, bleeding, raw irritated skin or trap bacteria under forming scabs. I sometimes use a product called Apoquel; it breaks the itch cycle with long-lasting relief that targets the specific proteins causing the problem. “Using a quality insect spray can help keep the horse protected and more comfortable,” Dr. Hendricks continues. “Skin issues may take an antibiotic treatment, antihistamines and steroids to provide real relief. The plan for treatment will obviously depend on the allergen and allergy testing is the best way to uncover the unknowns.”

THE STALL TEST One simple test that Dr. Hendricks suggests is to put a fan in a dirty stall. Stand, sit and lie down in the

stall, paying attention to what you feel, see, smell and breathe in. “The position of the breeze the fan creates will only be felt when you’re in its direct path,” says Dr. Hendricks. That same breeze will only be felt by your horse when he stands. “You usually won’t breathe in much bedding dust when standing up, or smell strong fecal or urine aromas.” “Next, sit down and move the bedding like a horse would. Usually the breeze fades and may not be felt at this level and bedding dust will land on your clothing and skin. There’s a good chance you will smell fecal waste and urine too. The potent ammonia smell from urine-soaked spots with no airflow may make your nose sting. As well, dust from the bedding may come in direct contact with your eyes, nose and mouth, making it hard to take a deeper breath and possibly even irritating your airways. This is what your horse experiences day after day and if stall conditions aren’t kept clean with proper ventilation, the outcome could quickly turn into serious health issues.”

MAKING A STALL A HOME Every horse deserves a comfy stall to feel pampered and spoiled in. Weighing the factors that make for safe and relaxing stall conditions can get complicated for caretakers, but making the horse’s comfort and overall health a priority will guarantee a secure and pleasant space — for them and for you!

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


Equine Wellness


Why this pre-loaded, pain-free injection device for horses is safer to use, too! This innovative, easy-to-use device can be administered almost anywhere on your horse’s body.

Every horse will need a needle at some point in his life. No matter the reason, emotional and physical difficulties accompany painful injections with common syringes — syringes that really haven’t changed that much in nearly 170 years. Imagine if there was a way to administer medication in a less invasive way? Soon, there will be. PKA SoftTouch Inc. has been working on an innovative pain-free injection device that will deliver virtually pain-free injections to humans and animals. The company is advancing towards veterinary clinical trials and the device is expected to be on the market later this year.

Old technology vs. PKA SoftTouch Using a traditional syringe is a multistep process that isn’t particularly pleasant to administer or receive. First, the correct dosage must be pulled from the vial of medication. Then the person administering the injection must find an area with loose skin on the animal. After pulling that section of skin between their Figure 1

The needle in a traditional syringe penetrates into the nerves, causing pain.

fingers, they insert the needle, taking care to not inject it through their own skin and into their fingers. Next, the plunger is pulled back slightly; if blood is seen, the needle must be removed and re-inserted. Finally, once the injection process is finished, the animal must be checked to ensure there is no blood or medication leaking from the injection site. Sound complicated? That’s because it is. Now imagine a process that allows the veterinarian — or you, the horse caretaker — to pet the horse with one hand while giving him an injection he doesn’t even notice with the other hand. That would never happen with a traditional syringe!

How to use the PKA SoftTouch alternative q Remove the prefilled device from the sterile package.

w Detach the safety cap. e Place the device against any area

where there’s skin, like a rump that’s being rubbed.

r Press the plunger — the medication is delivered painlessly in 1 to 1.5

Figure 2

The PKA SoftTouch needle penetrates only 1.5 mm into the dermal layer and is virtually pain-free.

seconds while your horse continues to enjoy his scratches.

t Replace the safety cap and toss the

device in any trash receptacle — no sharps disposal required!

Why is PKA SoftTouch pain-free? How does the PKA SoftTouch work without causing pain? Unlike a traditional needle that reaches the nerves (Figure 1), this microneedle penetrates only 1.5 mm into the skin layer (Figure 2) and injects the medication into what’s called the “interstitial fluid”, so it causes no pain. In addition, the drug reaches its therapeutic level twice as fast as when injected by a syringe (Figure 3). After the injection, the needle automatically retracts back inside the device, and with a pull of the plunger, locks safely in place.

PKA Softtouch is currently running an “Equity Crowdfunding Campaign”, which will allow the company to raise funds in order to move forward with their veterinary clinical trials. Investors also get shares and become part owners in the program. To learn more, visit the equity campaign page at https://frontfundr.com/company/pka or the company website at pkasofttouch.com. Figure 3

Because the needle releases the medication into the interstitual fluid, it reaches its therapeutic level twice as fast.

Equine Wellness



3 steps

balanced and symmetrical seat to a

By Carla Bauchmueller

Image 1

Are your crooked? Here’s how to find a balanced and symmetrical seat in the saddle so you can ride with more success and comfort. Only very few people are truly symmetrical. Most people are slightly “bent” to one side. When you are symmetrical, you can distribute your weight evenly in the saddle and stay centered while on horseback. As a result, you will feel safer and more relaxed as you won’t have to subconsciously fight against your own body. You will also be able to coordinate the right and left sides of your body better, and your horse will be happier as he will be able to move more freely and stay balanced himself! Ready to combat your crookedness? Here’s how to get started:

1. Become aware

The biggest issue with crookedness is that we usually aren’t aware of it. We don’t feel crooked, and we don’t have a sense for where “straight” actually is. It’s only when you become aware of your crookedness that you can start changing it. Stand in front of a mirror, close your eyes and relax. Then open your eyes and observe yourself to find out where you are crooked.

2. Shift your body

After understanding where you’re crooked, playfully start shifting your 34

Equine Wellness

body parts — your “building blocks” — to a more symmetrical seat. Shift your weight from side to side, push your pelvis from one side to the other, move your rib cage, your shoulders, your head, until you get a more symmetrical image in the mirror. Now close your eyes and feel into it — it will seem strange at first. This will be a lifelong process, so be patient with yourself.

3. Practice in the saddle

Practice the same exercise in the saddle. If possible, hang a mirror outside or in the arena, or ask a friend to take a photo or video of you so that you can compare the outer image with the inner image. Need some help fixing your crookedness? Email a photo of yourself on a chair or in the saddle to Carla@TheIntuitiveRider.com and receive personalized advice!

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.

Image 2

In Image 1, you can see the crookedness: • more weight on the left seat bone — sitting in a saddle, this rider would probably sit slightly off to the left and shift the saddle to the left. • spine bent to the right • rib cage shifted to the left • right shoulder lower than the left • head leaning to the right Remember — individual body parts are like building blocks. If one shifts, the others will have to compensate. In Image 2, the rider has straightened out: • the weight is evenly distributed on both seat bones • pelvis is straight. • rib cage is centered • spine is straight • head is balanced on the spine The building blocks have found their alignment!

Give your horse the gift of comfort this season… and watch the joy follow! There’s a reason Cavallo’s Trek Hoof Boot is the top choice for horses and riders worldwide. Trek will take you from the trailer, straight on to the trail! Tough, breathable, and userfriendly. Your perfect boot for riding, transport, hoof rehab, asphalt, gravel and more! cavallo-inc.com/productcategory/hoof-boot/trek-hoof-boots/

Ho-ho-holistic holidays! Gift your horses with better health! Earth Song Ranch has been designing and manufacturing natural horse supplements since 1998 — and they make the perfect gift for your equine companions. Their probiotics, digestive enzymes, herbal mixes, herbal wormers, and herbal blends for Cushing’s, ulcers, and EPM support are hand blended and packaged fresh the day they are shipped, and contain no unnecessary fillers, artificial, GMO, or other non-essential ingredients! earthsongranch.com

Holiday Gift Guide

Supplement your horse’s forage Vermont Blend Forage Balancer & Hoof Supplement is specifically formulated to fill the nutritional gaps in your horse’s forage by providing minerals, amino acids and prebiotics. 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, soy, or inactive ingredients. customequinenutrition.com

Argan oil waterless shampoo E3 Argan Oil Shampoo Waterless Spray is a great way to get your horses clean and shiny quickly and help repair damaged or tangled hair. Natural argan oil paired with nano-encapsulated vitamins cleans your horse's mane and coat while maintaining a healthy luster. corroshop.com

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

Equine Wellness



Ashwagandha By Chris Kilham, Medicine Hunter



Support balanced behavior and overall well-being with a centuries-old botanical.

change. For the horse, stress comes from many sources: among the most egregious (in a horse’s mind) are unfamiliar noises and objects, transportation, social isolation, and changes to routine or exercise regimen. A horse’s stress or anxiety may manifest in a number of ways, including shaking, stall walking, kicking, biting, spooking or bolting. Horse caretakers know all too well that by nature the horse is a highly sensitive and emotional being that readily responds to many forms of environmental stimulation and 36

Equine Wellness

Stress not only modifies equine behavior, it also can change various physiological responses in the animal, including changes in heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate and hormone expression. Ongoing

exposure to stress can result in behavior challenges, gastrointestinal distress and decreased immune response which could impair the body’s innate ability to defend itself against pathogens and infections. Herbs of all types have been used in animal husbandry for millennia and the field of veterinary herbalism is both advanced and widely accepted. The botanical Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a woody shrub deriving from India, Africa and the Mediterranean, the root of which has been used as a health-promoting agent for over 4,000 years. Ashwagandha root is rich in a class of compounds known as withanolides, and also contains alkaloids, various fatty acids, sterols, chlorogenic acids, and many dozens of other compounds.

study animals ate a normal diet, and the Ashwagandha groups also consumed 2.5, 5 or 10 grams of Ashwagandha root extract daily. Under veterinary supervision, the study animals were subjected to exercise-induced stress, separation-induced stress and noise-induced stress at specific intervals over the course of 21 days.

In humans, Ashwagandha root and its extract acts as an adaptogen, promoting nonspecific resistance to stress. Additionally, Ashwagandha has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic properties and may help to improve relaxation and sleep, enhance reproductive health, support various parameters of cardiovascular function, and act as an immunomodulator. Historical folk use of Ashwagandha with horses suggests the same effects noted in humans may translate to the equine population as well. A study was designed to evaluate the clinical efficacy of Ashwagandha root extract as an adaptogen against various types of stress in horses. It assessed the immunomodulatory activity of Ashwagandha root extract against different types of stress in horses. It also studied the effect of Ashwagandha root extract on antioxidant and hematological parameters at varying doses on horses exposed to different types of stress.1

Analysis results of analysis showed among the Ashwagandha groups: • A slight but insignificant weight gain • A statistically significant reduction in serum cortisol, a primary stress biomarker • Higher levels of serotonin, the key hormone that stabilizes mood and feelings of well-being • Reduced levels of norepinephrine, a naturally occurring chemical in the body that acts a stress hormone • Reduced Interleukin-6 concentration, demonstrating reduced inflammation.

stressful situations. All the biomarkers assessed improved directly relative to the amount of Ashwagandha extract consumed daily, while outcomes for the placebo group remained unchanged. 1

P riyanka G, Anil Kumar B, Lakshman M, Manvitha V and Kala Kumar B (2020) Adaptogenic and Immunomodulatory Activity of Ashwagandha Root Extract: An Experimental Study in an Equine Model. Front. Vet. Sci. 7:541112. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.541112

Ashwagandha root extract demonstrated great value in modulating stress responses in horses exposed to

A total of 24 horses were divided into four groups, one placebo group and three groups consuming Ashwagandha root extract. All the

Chris Kilham is an author, educator and world traveler who has conducted medicinal plant research and sustainable botanical sourcing in over 45 countries. He has appeared as a guest expert on numerous radio and television programs, speaking about topics including medicine hunting, traditional botanical medicine and sustainability. Chris has authored 14 books on medicinal plants, natural products and yoga, including The Five Tibetans: Five Dynamic Exercises for Health, Energy, and Personal Power, which has been translated into 27 languages. He is the founder of Medicine Hunter, Inc., and collaborates with companies, including KSM-66 Ashwagandha, to develop and popularize traditional plant-based food and supplement products into market success.

Equine Wellness




natural aids By Heidi J. Potter

How you can rise to harmony in the training ring by creating connection and calmness with your natural aids.

Horse people are inundated with tools of every size, shape, color, and use to help achieve our goals. But we are all born with almost everything we need to create a harmonious connection with our horses, both in the saddle and on the ground. As we explore our natural aids, let’s bear in mind the wise words of the late Miss Sally Swift, the founder of Centered Riding© — “Whisper, don’t shout. It works better.”

trusting relationships. From the moment horses see us, they are sizing us up. They are reading and decoding our body language, sensing the energy we emit, and determining our overall well-being. You cannot fool the horse. Congruency is essential. Use this exercise below to help ensure that you are bringing your best self to every interaction with your equine friend.


your toes and feeling the ground beneath your feet. 2. Close your eyes to increase your awareness of the world around you. 3. Take five calming breaths, releasing tension upon every exhale. 4. Listen to the sounds. Feel the warmth of the sun, or the coolness of the breeze. 5. Become truly present in the moment and open your heart to your horse.

“Whispering” is only possible when we begin every interaction by mindfully using the tools we were born with. These include our hands, seat, weight, and legs — natural aids that should always be used prior to any artificial aids such as whips, spurs, reins, and bits. But there are other more subtle natural aids that you can also tap into, even before you bring your physical body into the equation.

AWARENESS OF SELF It all begins here. Awareness of our emotional, mental, and physical state is one of the primary keys to creating 38

Equine Wellness

1. Stand or sit comfortably, spreading

Now smile and approach him like he is your long lost friend.

AWARENESS OF THE HORSE Horses only know how to live in the present moment. As prey animals,

their brains are hardwired for survival. All that matters to them is how it “feels”. When you show up, everything in his world changes. Then it is your turn to size him up — emotionally, mentally, and physically. Does he seem content? Is he concerned about anything? Is he distracted? How is he moving? Knowing how to assess him and answer his questions, in his language, is imperative.

COMMUNICATION — LEARNING THE TRUE LANGUAGE OF THE HORSE You have taken care of yourself and assessed the horse, but can you answer his questions? Do you know his language? Enter “Horse Speak®” — the kinesthetic language system of the horse created by Sharon Wilsie. Learn the meaning behind the horse’s gestures, postures, and signals, and most importantly, how to respond back to them in their own language. Horse Speak is the easiest, safest, most comprehensive and enlightening educational platform ever created for learning the true language of the horse. (Visit heidipotter.com and click on “Horse Speak” for more information.)

THE BASICS OF CENTERED RIDING Mastering the basics of Centered Riding is an essential component of applying your natural aids, whether you are on the ground or in the saddle.

BREATHING Your breath is your most important tool, enabling you to release tension and access all the other basics. Exhaling audibly in the presence of your horse sends a clear message of relaxation. (Horses breathe shallowly and/or hold their breath just like we do when feeling anxious, frightened or are in pain.) You

will be amazed how often they take a deep breath or sigh upon hearing yours.

CENTERING Your center lies beneath and behind your navel. Remembering to initiate everything you do from your center provides clarity, improves balance, and makes grounding possible. Turning from your center and allowing your body to follow its lead offers you a chance to steer your horse without the use of reins.

BALANCE We’ve already addressed your emotional and mental

CLIPCLOPS Use the acronym “clipclops” to remind you of what’s important when working with your horse! C= Connection: Energetic, emotional and mental connection opens the door for physical connection L= Leadership: Clear, consistent equine-based leadership builds trust and confidence I= Intention and Imagery: Send intention from your center with images and feelings for clarity P= Pride: Support and praise every “try” to help instill pride in both horse and human C= Congruency: Bring your honest self to the horse and create a harmonious relationship L= Lightness: Keep things light and playful. It’s all about enjoying the journey! O= Objective: Set clear, reasonable goals and finish on a positive note P= Protection: You are your horse’s keeper. Show him that you have his back…always! S= Safety: Stay present, remain aware and listen when he shows concerns

Equine Wellness


“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.” — Lao Tsu

“There are three physical elements that are critical to ending conflict. They are breathing, relaxation and posture.” — Kyoshi Patrick Donanhue

balance. Here we consider your physical balance, the best gift you can give your horse while in the saddle. Try to keep yourself vertically aligned using the “ears, shoulders, hips and ankles” rule (flip to page 34 for more tips on finding a symmetrical seat). The fit of the saddle for you and your horse plays a key role in your ability to ride balanced. Request the help of a professional to assess your saddle fit if you are unsure.

SOFT EYES Achieve a soft gaze by relaxing and expanding your peripheral vision. Harder, more focused eyes happen when we are in our thinking brains, thus creating tension throughout our entire body. Breathe, relax, look around and use your peripheries to activate your soft eyes. Breathing enables you to have soft eyes and become centered. Being centered allows you to find balance. If you have hard eyes or are out of balance (physically, mentally, or emotionally), you will struggle to access your diaphragm for deep breathing. Taking the time needed to find relaxation, softness, clarity, and balance sets you and your horse up for success!

ENERGY Studies done by the HeartMath Institute revealed that human energy can be detected up to several feet away from our bodies in all directions. Our heightened energy can quickly bring a horse’s energy up. Likewise, when we relax, soften our center, and aim it away or downward, it can help quiet the horse. This brings us full circle, helping us to becoming aware of and be in control of our emotional and mental state.

INTENTION AND IMAGERY Setting an intention and using imagery creates congruency, which we know is so important to the horse. 40

Equine Wellness

Intention becomes very clear when you invite the horse to do the task with you as opposed to doing it to the horse. Adding imagery is a game changer whether you are approaching or leading your horse, playing with obstacles, loading a horse into a trailer, or riding a Dressage test. These two natural aids combined are essential to your success. Horses think in pictures. The horse will get the message if you send your intention out from your center while also sending him an image of what your desired outcome looks and feels like. This step may be the one that amazes you most! Our visions and dreams for what we and our horses can accomplish together are often possible with nothing but our naked self — although clothes may be best for the comfort of all present! Enjoy your climb to success, as it is all about the journey, for both of you. Heidi Potter is an internationally known and respected Trainer, Certified Centered Riding© Clinician, CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) Master Instructor/Clinician and Accredited Horse Agility Trainer. She teaches a wide variety of training and riding clinics at her Southern Vermont facility, The New England Center for Horsemanship, and abroad. Author of Open Heart, Open Mind — A Pathway to Rediscovering Horsemanship, Heidi shares the value of mindfulness, understanding and compassion towards horses, thus offering her readers great depth in how best to create a lasting bond with their equine partners. Visit heidipotter.com to order your copy, view a schedule of upcoming events, and learn about hosting your own.



Saying goodbye to a beloved horse is no small feat. Let’s take a look at what you might experience as you move through grief and recover from the loss. The excitement of bringing a new horse home is uncontainable. You feel breathless when he steps off the trailer, wide-eyed, observing his new home. You have big plans! You decide on a color scheme and purchase some new tack. His first farrier visit is arranged, you measure for new hoof boots, and watch him eat from a brand new bucket. Beaming with elation on your first ride, you feel your life together begin and wonder how you ever lived without him. But time passes, as it always does. These pleasant years go by, and suddenly there is an illness, an accident or a monumental life change and you, most sadly, lose your horse.


Everyone handles grief differently. For some, it’s easy to move on to another horse, while for others the loss is overwhelming. Some never get over it completely. Being aware of where you are on your journey can help you feel more comfortable along the way. Here are four things you may experience:


Physical symptoms of grief are the most obvious and require the greatest amount of energy. For a while, you may experience crying, uncontrollable laughter, headaches, difficulty sleeping, lack of motivation and explosive outbursts. There may be fear and increased anxiety which causes frequent sighing and tightness in your chest or stomach.


Evasion and a desire to isolate may hit next. You circumvent the barn, and numb disbelief takes over. You can’t help but wonder — why this horse? You long for the days when his stall didn’t stand empty.


The acute stage of grief offers subtle nagging thoughts. There is a preoccupation and a sense of emptiness, and a lack of motivation, confidence and trust may lead to self-blame. You may begin to ask yourself if you could have prevented your horse’s death. Resentment towards other horses or their caretakers may arise.


Rest assured, your usual vitality will eventually return. This final stage can be profound. You will regain your ability to plan and organize, go back to the barn, and reconnect or form new relationships. You may consider getting another horse, and will regain your trust and openness to joy. You’ll feel lighter in spirit and will have the desire to focus on more than just your grief.


No matter how hard you try to avoid feelings of grief by evasion or distraction, they will eventually break through. The dam often breaks at inconvenient times, so better to control it. Set aside a few minutes each day to sit with grief. You could even set a timer, say for ten minutes. When the bell rings, go and do something else — something you love. Manage the grieving time, rather than allowing it to control you. Selfmanagement and awareness of the process will deliver you through your sadness and straight through to the other side. Carole Herder is the author of #1 bestselling books There Are No Horseshoes in Heaven and Hoofprints on The Journey. Her company, Cavallo, manufactures and distributes Cavallo Hoof Boots and Saddle Pads to 26 countries worldwide, and all Cavallo products are designed and developed by Carole. She's an honored recipient of the BCBusiness Women Innovator Award, Royal Bank of Canada Woman Entrepreneur Award, a member of the Women Presidents' Organization and a certified Chopra University Yoga Instructor and Ayurvedic Teacher.


Why you shouldn’t skip a

grooming session! Regular grooming doesn’t just keep your horse looking dapper — it enhances his health and well-being, has been shown to have a calming effect, offers a regular opportunity for bonding, and so much more.

By Emma Williams and Jessica Putnam, BVMedSci (Hons), BVM, BVS(Hons), MRCVS

Regular grooming is an essential component of caring for your horse. Most of us know that the three primary steps are brushing his coat, combing his mane and tail,

and taking care of his feet. But do you know the many benefits of these steps, and how you can make the most out of your grooming sessions?

Massage (curry)

Begin with a rubber curry comb. Rub your horse all over in circular motions, being gentle around any injuries or where there is little muscle or fat (avoid the lower limbs). This helps loosen any dirt and dead skin and remove old hair. It also stimulates blood flow, relaxes your horse’s muscles and enhances shine by ultimately helping to make the hair lay flat.

Remove any stubborn dirt (flicking)

If your horse is particularly dirty, use a mud brush (dandy brush) to flick out any packed-on mud clumps. You can also perform this flicking by using a medium bristle brush if you are grooming a particularly sensitive or fine-skinned horse. Flick with hard, short strokes to remove any mud near the skin, eliminate dander and distribute skin oils. Always start from the neck and move towards the rump in a flicking motion, working in the same direction as the hair growth. You can brush your horse’s face, too, using smaller, softer brushes. Gently brushing your horse’s face stimulates relaxation!


Equine Wellness

Don’t skip the tail!

It is essential to regularly brush out a horse’s tail to keep it beautifully shiny and healthy, while also promoting its growth. Using a comb, begin from the bottom of the tail and gradually work your way up, being extra gentle when working out any tangles. You can use a detangler or tail conditioner if there are tricky mats and tangles. Just like human heads, horse tails typically lose a certain number of hairs each day (approximately five to ten). If you go too long without brushing your horse’s tail, these loose hairs will accumulate, leading to knots that tug on the base of the tail and ultimately result in more hair loss. So regular brushing will keep her tail thick and luscious!

Grooming the mane

Even the most challenging of horse manes can look more neat, attractive and healthy with some regular grooming. Firstly, gently brush and comb out any knots. Then, focus on removing any debris using a stiff brush or comb, followed by trimming off any matted or split hairs. If you want to further tame your horse’s mane, you can try using a little beeswax pomade, which helps to make it smoother. Brushing her mane has the same effects as brushing her tail — it keeps knots to a minimum and maintains thickness!

Take care of his hooves

A lot can happen to a horse’s feet between grooming, and it’s essential to keep them clean and healthy. Be sure to check for stones, wounds, abscesses (in the sole) and thrush of the frogs. Also, while picking his feet, assess the shape of the hoof walls. If his hooves are cracked or dry, it may be necessary to use a hoof moisturiser to improve their condition. Using a lanolin-based conditioner on his hooves once a week can help keep them protected and in good, healthy condition.

Treat skin issues and apply a coat conditioner

When grooming your horse, be sure to include any necessary additional care should he develop any skin conditions, the most common of which is called rain rot (bacterial dermatitis). Rain rot causes a horse’s hair to grow brittle and form tufts, then fall out, often leaving areas of skin inflammation where the hair has been lost. If this occurs, use a medicated shampoo and after thoroughly drying the area, apply a topical skin healing cream. Consult a vet if the problem persists. Some horses naturally have hair that is dry and breaks easily, and using a spray-on conditioner is a great way to solve this issue. It keeps your horse’s coat shiny and bright, and leaves them feeling much more comfortable.

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.

Having ridden her first pony at the age of three, a continued love of horses sparked Jessica Putnam's interest in becoming a vet, and she qualified from the Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Jess has worked in equine veterinary practices in Lancashire and North Yorkshire ever since.

Equine Wellness





By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

Shifting how you care for your horse from season to season is important. Here’s how to support your herd during autumn months.

Every horse knows when the seasonal shift from late summer to autumn arrives. They know it in their bones. The sweet smell of yellowing grasses fades, the warmth of daylight gets chipped away by the chill of evening and the crisp early morning. Nothing really has changed since ancient times when it comes to the cyclical passage of the seasons. When horses are allowed to follow their natural, primal patterns of life, adapting to seasonal change is intrinsic to them because their very survival is dependent on it.

Today it is more difficult to provide our horses with the environment they need to follow their ancestral imperatives for physical and emotional survival. We try to meet their need for a natural existence with good quality feed, exercise, mental stimulation, turnout with other horses, grooming, and holistic healthcare — but often we fall short.


There is strong evidence, seen over thousands of years, that acupressure supports the horse’s ability to adapt to seasonal change. Though we do our best, we cannot fully restore our horses’ capacity to follow their ancestral process of adapting to autumn and preparing for the frigid season that follows. Offering an acupressure session two times per week that focuses on nourishing the horse’s body will in turn give him a sense of well-being. The acupressure points selected in the chart below are known to enhance digestion and circulation of nutrient-rich blood to nourish the horse’s bones, soft tissues, and internal organs. Contributing acupressure to your equine healthcare routine also adds a special ingredient: your horse will know you care!


Ancient Chinese civilization would not have survived if it were not for the Taoists (Chinese philosophers) conscientiously and consistently exploring and observing how life is best lived for humans and animals. Horses were part of military protection and agrarian society, thus their horses’ health and well-being were essential to survival. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on Taoist thought and is the medicine of survival. Chinese medicine provides the “playbook” for leading a long and healthy life by following the rules of adapting to seasonal shifts. The interesting thing is that horses know the rules without ever studying the playbook!


As autumn reigns, horses know it is time to slow down, rest, and consume more grass hay to protect them from the deep cold of winter. They know that forage will become scarce in the days ahead, so now is the time to bulk up and nourish their bodies. 44

Equine Wellness



St 36

Found one finger-breadth lateral to the tibial crest on the lateral side of the tibia.

Sp 3

Located on the distal end of the medial splint bone.

Bl 20

Found 3 cun lateral to the dorsal midline in the last (17th) intercostal space.

CV 12

On the ventral midline halfway between the diploid process and the umbilicus

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, Apps, meridian charts, DVDs, online training, and consulting services. Contact: animalacupressure.com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com

MARKETPLACE TO PLACE AN AD, CALL: 1-866-764-1212 ext 315

CLASSIFIEDS EMAIL YOUR CLASSIFIEDS TO: info@EquineWellnessMagazine.com NATURAL PRODUCTS ADORED BEAST APOTHECARY — After decades of accumulating experience in the trenches of holistic healthcare by founder Julie Anne Lee, DCH, we have developed a line of products created with the highest-quality ingredients to meet the needs of your adored beast. We stand behind our products 100% and are committed to delivering only the best for your pet. www.adoredbeast.com THE HOLISTIC HORSE — We understand how important optimal health is, which is why we are committed to providing the very best all-natural holistic products for your animals and take great pride in helping provide a healthy lifestyle and sense of well being. Products ranging from digestive care and pain relief to joint care, breath freshener, flea and insect control, and much more. For more information or questions: (877) 774-0594; info@theholistichorse.com; www.theholistichorse.com



CANARM AG SYSTEMS — Canarm’s Agricultural Division provides agricultural professionals around the world with quality livestock stabling and ventilation products. Our products specialize in keeping your animals comfortable, cool, and healthy while helping you maximize your bottom line. We serve the dairy, swine, poultry, equine, horticultural, and farm store markets. (800) 260-5314; agsales@canarm.ca; www.canarm.com CUSTOM EQUINE NUTRITION - We are a family-run business that started in 2016 helping horse owners achieve peace of mind knowing their horses' diet is optimal, and that they are spending their feed dollars wisely through nutritional information that is backed by science, not opinion. www.customequinenutrition.com

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

SCHOOLS & TRAINING ASSOCIATIONS MORRIS ANIMAL FOUNDATION — We are a global leader in supporting studies to find solutions to serious health threats to animals. Since our founding, we’ve invested more than $136 million in 2,780+ studies that have improved the health and quality of life for dogs, cats, horses, and wildlife around the world. We believe animals make the world a better place. Animals are our family members, our companions, and our inspiration. Whether we work on staff, serve as board members, or volunteer as scientific advisors, each of us strives every day to make the world a brighter place for animals — and those who love them. www.morrisanimalfoundation.org NATIONAL ANIMAL SUPPLEMENT COUNCIL (NASC) — The National Animal Supplement Council is a nonprofit industry group dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of companion animals and horses throughout the U.S. When you see the NASC Quality Seal on a product, you can trust it comes from a reputable company that has successfully passed an independent quality audit. Look for the Quality Seal wherever you purchase animal supplements. https://nasc.cc/

EQUINE ACUPRESSURE FOR HEALTH & PERFORMANCE — Learn to assess & resolve your horse’s issues – Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute training programs, Books, DVDs, Meridian Charts, & Apps. www.animalacupressure.com; tallgrass@animalacupressure.com HOLISTIC ANIMAL STUDIES — We offer online courses in Canine, Feline, and Equine Massage, kinesiology taping, craniosacral therapy, Reiki, and body alignment. Our courses are approved through numerous National and International Organizations ensuring that you will be provided with the highest quality learning experience. All of our courses are online, have no deadlines and no time limitations! Register now and start learning one of these amazing techniques from any location today! www.holisticanimalstudies.org/

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

Equine Wellness



ONLINE EDUCATION FOR HORSE LOVERS EQUINE GUELPH CELEBRATES 19 YEARS OF ONLINE STUDIES Horse-related outings are still sparse but there is a perfect way to increase your equine savvy, connect socially with peers, guest speakers, expert instructors and stay physically distant! Equine Guelph has been a pioneer in the development of evidence-based, award-winning online education for almost 20 years. The very first course, Management of the Equine Environment, was offered in May 2002, and it remains a top choice for students embarking on their journey into the online learning community. Fast forward to 2021 to discover there are now four electives to choose from in the six-course Science Certificate: Growth & Development, Equine Behavior, Exercise Physiology and Equine Genetics. The four core courses remain: Management of the Equine Environment, Health & Disease Prevention, Equine Nutrition, and Functional Anatomy. Three certificate programs and a diploma program later, Equine Guelph boasts students from over 40 different countries! Over 500 students a year range from high-school graduates looking for horse training tips to veterinarians looking to round out their knowledge of equine behavior. Based at the University of Guelph, Equine Guelph’s courses are updated with the latest scientific information from research advancements and are continually senate-reviewed. The time is now for elevating your equine knowledge with online learning! Visit EquineGuelph.ca. 46

Equine Wellness

ACCESS COURSES AND CERTIFICATIONS FROM LEADING VETERINARY AND INDUSTRY EXPERTS Whether you work with animals every day, or you just adore your own furry companion, AW ACADEMY offers top-quality education from the most innovative and experienced professionals in the industry. This new learning platform, launched by the publishers of Animal Wellness, Equine Wellness and Innovative Veterinary Care Journal, was built on over 22 years of experience — and it’s being updated every single day! “AW ACADEMY is the next evolution in delivering on our wellness mission,” says Group Publisher-CEO Tim Hockley. “Our approach is simple: provide the information and tools you need to make informed decisions for your animal’s health, and with AW ACADEMY, those resources are now more abundant and accessible than ever.” Join the community of like-minded animal lovers at animalwellnessacademy.org.