wellness Your natural resource!
PREMIERE ISSUE JULY/AUG. 2006
How to feed your horse naturally
Tips to get the itch out permanently
Holistic vet advice Natural solutions for making flies
buzz off Acupressure $5.95 USA/Canada
VOLUME 1 ISSUE 1
Display until Aug. 20, 2006
equine wellness www.EquineWellnessMagazine.com
Getting bugs to buzz off
Meet Linda Tellington-Jones
Tips to controlling flies naturally
Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more than a drop in the bucket
How to feed your horse the natural way
Getting the itch out
Essential Fatty Acids
Horse sense snacks
This teacher and innovator sports a soft touch
Beware sand colic A silent but deadly killer
Natural support for allergies and skin conditions
How you can use it to take action against colic
A rescue that speaks out for PMU horses
Why they are essential for your horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health
A healthy recipe your equines will love
columns 8 Neighbourhood news
20 Holistic veterinary advice
25 Product picks
37 Wellness resource guide
Talking with Dr. Joyce Harman
Did you know?
departments 6 Editorial
Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyrightÂŠ 2006. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: June, 2006
Our Cover: Blue Moon, a 14.2 H purebred Arabian, lives at Thornapple Farms in Walton, New York. The gelding, who was foaled in 1997 and started as a four-year-old, is fun, healthy, intelligent and enjoys spending time with the herd, according to his family.
Photo: ÂŠCarien Schippers
PREMIERE ISSUE Volume 1 Issue 1
Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Senior Editor: Lisa Ross-Williams Graphic Designer: Stephanie Wright Graphic Designer: Yvonne Hollandy ÂŠ
Photography: Carien Schippers ÂŠ David Lloyd
Columnists & Contributing Writers Cheyanne West Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS Catherine Bird Amy Snow Nancy Zidonis Jessica Lynn Anna Twinney Audi Donamor Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, DNS Melanie Sue Bowles Administration Publisher: redstone media group inc. President/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley Office Manager: Lesia Wright Information Services Director: Vaughan King Circulation Manager: Samantha Saxena Administrative Assistant: Joanne Rockwood Distribution and Marketing Director: Elyse Campbell Submissions: Please send all editorial material, advertising material, photos
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Canada is $24.95 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: www.equinewellnessmagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 US Mail: Equine Wellness Magazine, PMB 168, 8174 S. Holly St., Centennial, CO 80122 CDN Mail: Equine Wellness Magazine, 164 Hunter St. W., Peterborough, Ontario, Canada K9H 2L2 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. Dealer or Group Inquiries Welcome: Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call 1-866-764-1212 and ask for dealer magazine sales, fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail at email@example.com. Printed in Canada
Improving the lives of animals... one reader at a time.
EDITORIAL Change for the better! I love horses. All breeds, ages and personalities. Throughout the years, horses have taught me many things; empathy, unconditional love, empowerment, humility, integrity and the healing power of nature. My gift back to them: to educate their caretakers to a more natural approach to caring for their equine partners.
You have the power! Empowerment. It’s about learning with an open mind, thinking outside the box, and finding positive solutions. And it’s what we’ll help you achieve when you read the all-new Equine Wellness Magazine. For seven years now, we’ve published articles on holistic equine health care and natural horsemanship in Animal Wellness Magazine, the world’s leading natural magazine for animals. Equine Wellness reaches out with even more informative, comprehensive content that touches on the issues important to you and your horses. If you’ve been wondering about natural nutrition, alternative health care choices, and gentler horsemanship methods, you’ll find Equine Wellness an invaluable resource. Our articles will help you improve your horse’s quality of life and take your relationship to a new level of understanding. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions, as well as your ideas for future topics, so please feel free to contact us. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy this premiere issue. And remember, you do have the power!
From the first day I started to question “normal” horse care practices until today, almost nine years later, I strive to be a strong voice for the horse. It hasn’t always been easy, but in the past four or five years I’ve seen such an amazing shift toward looking at the horse in a more holistic way. This makes my heart soar as each day another horse benefits from his caretaker’s open mind and thirst for knowledge. I’ve had the honor to network with the world’s greatest experts in natural horse care and horsemanship, each of whom has invaluable pieces of the whole horse puzzle. But my greatest teachers are the horses and to them goes my deepest appreciation. When people ask me if I actually “walk my talk”, I point to our herd of six, ranging from Elvis, an 18-hand Percheron, to Cooper, a 36” mini with a big attitude. All are horses of health, spirit and life. I am honored to be part of Equine Wellness Magazine, which will empower you with knowledge. With knowledge comes the ability to make informed decisions about your horse’s care. In turn, you will influence others, changing many horse’s lives for the better. Naturally,
Yours in health,
Founder and Editor-in-chief
Address your letters to: Editor, Equine Wellness Magazine, and send to: US: PMB 168 8174 S. Holly St., Centennial, CO 80122 CAN: 164 Hunter St. West, Peterborough, ON K9H 2L2 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org www.equinewellnessmagazine.com
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Martha Olivo, a natural hoofcare educator and her mustang, Cisco, are making a cross country trek barefoot. Martha, a former farrier, and Cisco set out to prove that a horse can travel 3,000 miles, from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast on its own natural hooves. The two will make this nine-month journey at the rate of 20 miles per day, 100 miles per week. Martha even offers a half-day bare hoof informational seminar each Sunday of the journey. For more information, visit www.MarthaOlivo.com
First woman trainer in Japan’s Draft Horse Racing Although only about five feet tall, Ayuumi Tani, 39, has the auspicious title of being Japan’s first woman trainer in Ban-ei Keiba – draft horse races. These races feature Ban-ei horses, a native cross between a Percheron and a Bretan, pulling iron sleds weighing over 100 pounds down a 200 meter track with two large humps. Previously an all-male dominated sport, Ayuumi uses trust to build a relationship with these drafts and stresses that without the races, these horses would end up on the dinner table.
Photo: Scott Miller
Barehoofin’ it across America
And justice for all Justice prevailed recently when Rod Vilencia was finally reunited with the mare who had been stolen from him 12 years before. In 1993, Vilencia had reluctantly decided to sell his buckskin breeding stock paint mare but the buyer failed to pay him. Vilencia searched relentlessly for years for the mare but had no real leads until he spotted the buyer while searching on the internet. Ariel appeared on the website as a broodmare at the buyer’s new farm in Oregon. Vilencia consulted with Stolen Horse International and pursued the Rod Vilencia rejoices at his reunion with Ariel. lead legally, which ended in late April with a guilty plea to felony forgery. As part of the plea deal, the court ordered Shaunda Voyles to return not only Ariel but two of her offspring, Lena and Jesse. Voyles’ sentence included 15 days of work crew, 18 months probation, and repayment of money owed to the caregiver of the horses after they were taken. A civil case is still pending. Stolen Horse International is a non-profit organization that provides a comprehensive theft awareness program and offers educational seminars about prevention and recovery. www.netposse.com or 704-484-2165.
Do dewormers contribute to dewormer resistance? What many natural horse care advocates have been saying for years may finally be supported by a North Carolina State University study into drug resistance and the use of daily dewormers. Using Fecal Worm Egg Count (FWECRT), the researchers evaluated small strongyle resistance to a paste wormer (pyrantel pamoate) on horses already receiving a daily dewormer (pyrantel tartrate). This study, published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, concluded that “Daily administration of pyrantel tartrate (daily womer) was clearly inadequate for prophylactic control of strongyles on that farm. In addition, strongyles resistant to pyrantel pamoate were identified in seven of the nine horses tested.”
Report is no breath of fresh air for people or animals More than 150 million Americans still live in counties where they are exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution, according to the State of the Air 2006 report, conducted by the American Lung Association. The report ranks the cities and counties with the dirtiest air, and provides county-by-county report cards on the two most pervasive air pollutants: particle pollution (more commonly called “soot”) and ozone (more commonly called “smog”). It goes without saying that if the air quality is bad for humans, it’s also bad for our animal friends. Not surprisingly, Los Angeles/Long Beach/Riverside, California, New York/ Newark/Bridgeport, New York, and Pittsburg/Newcastle, Pennsylvania all topped the most-polluted cities lists. Counties in California, Utah, Oregon, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Texas also made it into the dubious most-polluted category. So where are the best places to live? As far as cities go, Cheyenne, Wyoming; Santa Fe/Espanola, New Mexico; Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Port St. Lucie/Fort Pierce, Florida are all good bets. Healthy counties include Billings, McKenzie and Mercer, North Dakota; Sandoval, New Mexico; Brewster, Texas; Pima, Arizona, and Elbert, Colorado. According to the study, bad air quality can reduce our lifespan by months or even years. To find out how things stand where you and your equine companions live, visit http://lungaction.org/reports/stateoftheair2006.html. equine wellness
Photo: Anne de Haas
Neighborhood news Tragedy in the line of duty Fifteen hundred local Toronto-area residents and law enforcement officers mourned the loss of police horse Brigadier at his funeral earlier this spring. The seven-year-old Belgian-cross gelding sustained massive traumatic injuries after he was deliberately struck by a van that police were trying to pull over. A few minutes later, an officer was forced to shoot the horse at the scene. Brigadier and his rider, Constable Keven Bradfield, were part of a police effort to reduce drugs and gun crime in the area. Bradfield, thrown from the horse during the incident, sustained broken ribs and injuries to his neck, back and leg. His emotional tribute to his equine partner at the funeral brought tears to everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eyes. The van driver was later caught and charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm and failing to remain at the scene of an accident, charges that horse lovers find completely inadequate. The Toronto Humane Society is circulating a petition calling for stiffer penalties for crimes against police service animals.
Impact of equine activities on youth research published The American Youth Horse Council has partnered with Pennsylvania State University to conduct research that quantifies what we already know: Kids + Horses = Magic. There have been few scientific studies conducted that measure the impact of horse activities on horsemanship and life skills development. AYHC and Penn State teamed up with the National High School Rodeo Association, 4-H, Pony Club and the American Quarter Horse Youth Association to conduct this important research. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;Impact of Equine Activities Surveyâ&#x20AC;? contained questions related to horsemanship skills, life skills and demographic characteristics. A sample of 982 youth between the ages of 12 and 18, active in the above youth equine organizations was Photo: Julie Elliot selected. The study found a significant positive relationship between total horsemanship skills development and life skills development. This information should be valuable for youth leaders when developing curriculum, planning activities, and seeking funding and resources. Visit www.ayhc.org
buzz off: Getting bugs to
Tips to controlling insects naturally
by Cheyanne West
Insect repellent with essential oils 8 oz witch hazel 1/ 2 tsp natural liquid shampoo 5 drops spruce oil 20 drops lavender oil 15 drops cedarwood oil 2 drops rue oil 5 drops garlic oil Shake well before each use. Place onto a mitt and wipe affected areas, avoiding the eyes.
Fly spray 2 cups water 1/ 2 cup cider vinegar 1/ 2 tsp myrrh oil 2 cups Avon Skin-So-Soft 1/ 4 tsp citronella oil Shake well before each use. Place onto a mitt and wipe affected areas, avoiding the eyes.
Tea tree oil spray 1 cup water 2 tbsp tea tree oil Shake well and spray affected areas. Avoid the eyes. 12 12
equine wellness equine wellness
is the season... fly season that is. Though most people look forward to summer, hardly anyone I know looks forward to those pesky airborne insects. In fact, we’ll pretty much do whatever it takes to keep these pests away from our barns and our equines. Unfortunately, for some horses, this means being sprayed with toxic pesticides. Even though studies have linked these substances to auto immune disorders, liver damage, eye, skin and respiratory irritation and even neurological issues, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) does not require testing of pesticide-based horse fly sprays for toxicity. While their labels do contain cautions such as “Avoid contact with skin, eyes or clothing”, many people still don’t make the connection between these warnings and the health implications for their horses. Bottom line: if it’s dangerous to humans, it makes sense that it’s dangerous to animals.
Fortunately, there are far healthier alternatives for your horse.
Considering natural fly control Controlling flies and other insects is big business for many companies. So what’s their biggest challenge? To find something natural that will work in most every situation and every climate we encounter in this country. It’s true we now have many so-called natural products on the market that contain essential oils, or citronella and fragrant herbs. But unless you are able to spray your horse or barn area down several times per day, these products alone probably do not have the staying power you require. By combining good horse-keeping, non-toxic control and natural sprays, however, you can win the insect battle.
© Carien Schippers
down after feeding. It minimizes dust and insects and besides that, it offers a nice fresh smell to the end of the day.
Here are some simple tips to help control insects around the property.
Minimize standing water. This includes puddles in areas you don’t automatically think of such as an old spare tire or unused water buckets.
2. Keep your barn and surrounding area clean. Manure should be kept away from the barn location.
3. Keep the garbage cans and grain barrels covered.
4. Regularly scrub water buckets and water tanks to minimize algae. (I have a friend who keeps several large goldfish in her tank.) Remember, horses can go a couple days without food but they can’t go without clean water!
5. Use fans to keep the air moving but keep them high enough and out of reach of the horses or other barn animals. Fans discourage flies from the area as the airflow makes it difficult for them to fly around.
6. Keep barn aisles clean. I use
cup of Pinesol household cleaner in a plant water bucket and sprinkle the aisles
7. Use fly traps, strips and baits. These
Photo: Spalding Laboratories
Simple tips for controlling flies
Fly predators, such as this wasp, are an effective, horse-friendly way to combat flies.
forms of prevention are effective and less toxic to horses if handled correctly. Hang fly traps out of reach of any animals; I hang mine from a long arm plant hanger outside the barn. Remember to keep up with your fly traps so they don’t get filled up with dead insects and sit around. Change at least 2 to 3 times throughout the summer. Fly strips are also useful and I hang these outside the barn at the corners. Fly baits can come in a powder, pellet or in granular form and are sprinkled on the floor or other areas that attract flies. Though they may be considered “non-toxic”, caution should be used when handling these products, especially if you have small children or other animals around the barn.
8. Release some horse-friendly insects. Biological Fly Predators are nature’s original method of fly control. These tiny, stingless wasps parasitize the pest fly’s pupa (cocoon), thereby interrupting the next generation of flies. Once a month, the Fly Predators (shipped in the pupa stage) are sprinkled in moist areas. You’ll need approximately, 1000
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9. Grow strong-smelling plants. You
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(ERE S AN EXAMPLE OF THE AREAS WE COVER
10. Supplement your equineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s diet. Garlic is a great supplement when added to your horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s feed but not all horses are excited about eating it. Others canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seem to get enough. Some companies offer natural herbal combinations that supposedly ward off insects, but again these donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work on every horse. High concentrations of any herb or herbal combination should not be given over a long period of time anyway.
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My favorite supplement is diatomaceous earth and I have fed this product for years as a de-wormer and for insect control. Once passed through the system, the manure is not a good host for fly eggs. Use one rounded tablespoon of diatomaceous earth containing less than 3% silica in your horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s feed once a day and keep a bucket of it out in the pasture. I also throw handfuls of diatomaceous earth in the small pond on the property to help control mosquitos.
11. Apply essential oils. There are
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can cultivate certain plants around the barn that help repel flies. These include citronella-scented geraniums, rue, lavender, tansy, wormwood, onions and garlic. Onions are very effective in eliminating flying insects. An onion can be chopped up, placed in a small onion bag and hung in areas where you have a big problem. One bag covers a 12â&#x20AC;&#x2122; x 12â&#x20AC;&#x2122; area and works for two to three days.
many essential oils (lavender is a common one) that work well as an insect control but bear in mind youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need to apply these a couple of times per day. Recipes for these can be found in most essential oil books. Remember, when using essential oils, avoid getting them too close to the eyes.
12. Try tea tree. Tea tree oil (Melaluca) is very effective as a fly repellent. It can be used straight (caution should be used when determining the horses sensitivity to this oil) or diluted with another carrier oil such as light sunflower seed oil. This is another product I have used with success for years. You can purchase tea tree oil at health food stores, or online. Just dab it on or make a salve out of it by combining it with petroleum jelly. Whatever form of insect control you use, just remember that each horse has different sensitivities to different products. Avoid chemical build-up on your horse and in your horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s living area. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll both have a better summer for it!
Cheyanne West is the author of A Natural Path for Horses â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A Guide to Homeopathy and Other Alternative Therapies, as well as numerous other books on health care for animals.
For more information visit
Enjoy Summer Without Flies
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Water It’s more than a drop in the bucket By Lisa Ross-Williams
© Carien Schippers
Water is life. Without it both horse and human would perish. Approximately 68% of a horse’s
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body is water and this fluid is necessary for almost every bodily function. It helps regulate body temperature, tranports nutrients, assists with digestion and elimination, and much more.
By understanding some key points about water and hydration, horse guardians can ensure their equine partners stay hydrated and healthy throughout the year.
How much water? Although the average water intake for a mature horse is 10 to 12 gallons per day, in reality there are many factors which dictate how much a horse really needs. A horse’s size, environmental temperature and humidity, body temperature, activity level, and salt intake all play a role. Hard-working horses and lactating mares may require twice the normal amount. Whatever your horse’s specific needs, it’s extremely important to provide full access to fresh healthy water in a clean tank at all times.
Dehydration Dehydration is the loss of body fluids and can range from mild to serious. A loss of 12 to 15% of body water can be life-threatening and requires immediate veterinary intervention. Inadequate water consumption, fever, choke, long trailering trips, diarrhea, and over-exercise in hot weather can all contribute to dehydration. Signs of this condition include heart rate over 60 bpm, depression, weakness, capillary refill time over three seconds, dark urine, dry manure and sunken eyeballs. Pinch
the skin on the lower chest; if it stays tented or is slow to spring back, this is a sign of moderate to severe dehydration.
How to prevent dehydration Keep your water tanks clean. Heat, sunlight and organic material quickly contribute to algae and fungi in tanks. Loose white salt is great for cleaning and leaves no harmful residue behind. For tougher cases, lemon essential oil can be added to the salt. For large tanks, some people use goldfish to eat the algae but this may not work if you have mischievous horses. Make sure it’s safe. Although most drinking water sources are safe, some well water may contain high levels of selenium, arsenic, lead, iron or bacteria. If in doubt, have it tested. Never connect copper tubing to galvanized pipes as it could result in toxic levels of zinc. Don’t forget the salt. Sodium is critical in sustaining normal hydration. Offer free-choice loose white salt (sea salt is preferable) 24/7 and add a minimum of two tbsp per day in feed. In very hot and/or humid weather or with strenuous exercise, you can double this amount. Horses are NOT able to get their daily salt requirement from a salt block. Consider electrolytes. An electrolyte mix is not normally required for most
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idle horses but may be necessary for those who sweat in their daily activities. Use caution here since over-supplementing or dosing a dehydrated horse can overload the urinary system and kidneys.
Support for dehydration Dehydration can be a serious and possibly life-threatening condition. A veterinarian’s intervention is needed for moderate to severe cases. For mild cases, you can consider these natural options for support.
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Homeopathic China officinalis can help restore proper fluid balance. 30c potency three times a day for three days. Herbal dandelion extract is a natural electrolyte source. 5 ml of extract in equal amounts of water. Syringe into mouth. Molasses water (not recommended for IR horses) is high in calcium, magnesium and B vitamins. Use 1 tbsp molasses and 1 tbsp sea salt in 22 pints of water in a bucket. The take-home message is that many dehydration cases can be prevented by sound water management. Water is life, so be pro-active in ensuring your equine partner stays hydrated at all times of the year.
holistic veterinary advice
talking with dr. joyce harman Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS, graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She is certified in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic and has completed advanced training in homeopathy and herbal medicine. Her practice in Virginia uses 100% holistic medicine to treat all types of horses. Her publications include The Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book – the most complete source of information about English saddles – and The Western Saddle Book is on its way. www.harmanyequine.com. Send your questions to: Holistic veterinary advice. email: email@example.com Our veterinary columnists respond to questions in this column only. We regret we cannot respond to every question.
I recently purchased a 16-month-old paint colt and he has small round pustules all around his nose, muzzle and lips. I was told it was some kind of warts caused from eating wet hay and that they would go away. They look really nasty and he won’t let me touch his muzzle. What can I do to assist the healing process?
These are common in young horses and are probably caused by a virus, though are often triggered by vaccinations. Usually they will go away, but they can cause quite a bit of discomfort. In simple cases, homeopathic remedies can help clear these up. One of the most common remedies to use is Thuja Occ. in a 30C or 30X potency, usually six to eight tablets given by mouth for three days. If this does not clear up the problem, a consultation with a homeopathic veterinarian can lead to other possible remedies.
I recently purchased a 12-year-old quarter horse for my daughter. Midnight has severe mosquito allergies and is extremely needle shy. I am a veterinary technician and the doctor I work for recommended Banamine injections. Is there something more feasible I could give him without putting him through the trauma of giving injections?
Mosquito allergies will not respond to anti-inflammatories, though the horse may get a bit of relief from the shot. However, Banamine can be toxic if used frequently. Allergies are usually the most difficult condition to treat since
they are caused by an immune system that has become extremely overreactive. Treatment consists of supporting and balancing the immune system, not overstimulating it. The feeding of whole grains and removal of sweet feed is also critical to the management of allergies. One simple addition you can make to his diet is flax (either 10 oz per day of whole flax or 8 oz per day of naturally preserved, stabilized flax). Flax will help the immune system of the skin and will improve his health, but further workup with a holistic minded veterinarian will be the only way to resolve this condition.
I have a harness horse who has been diagnosed with hepatitis. The vet has treated the horse with some sort of medicine (I can’t quite remember what) and according to blood tests it has cleared. The horse had fantastic ability but now can hardly keep up. I have heard that once a liver is damaged it cannot be repaired. Can you clear this up for me and also offer some advice on what natural method I could use to help his liver be healthy again?
Actually, the good news is that the liver has the greatest ability of all the organs to regenerate. Many conventional drugs will treat the primary problem, but the liver will still have imbalances that need a more holistic approach. Also, for many horses, the use of antibiotics (a common part of many hepatitis treatments) can leave the health of the gut compromised, which leads to poor
digestion, poor immune system health and a lack of energy. A simple herb that helps heal the liver is milk thistle, and there are herbal companies that make combinations to support the liver, such as Hilton Herbs Purify. You may need to consult with a holistic veterinarian to get detailed help. Acupuncture, homeopathy and herbs all can help correct liver problems.
Where can equine vaccines without aluminum adjuvants or mercury-based preservatives be purchased? Would you recommend giving rabies and tetanus vaccines separately and not in combination with the encephalitis vaccines for those who still use these vaccines?
The best way to approach vaccination is to look at the risk of the disease versus any benefit or harm from the vaccine. Vaccination is a complex issue, which will require an entire article to properly discuss. Each vaccine company can give you information about the use of aluminum or mercury in their own products. Companies change their formulations and new types of vaccines are produced, so it may be best to check each year with the companies that supply your products. It is always best to separate out vaccinations from each other, and to give vaccines at appropriate times of the year for the disease. For example, Potomac horse fever is a seasonal disease from July to October. The vaccine is not very effective, so to
obtain the best results the time to give it is in May or early June, about the same time as the encephalitis vaccines. Other diseases do not have such a seasonal occurrence, such as rabies, so it can be given at any time during the year.
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These are called aural plaques. There is not much known about the actual cause of these, but they respond poorly to conventional and natural treatment. In many cases they will never bother your horse, however, some aural plaques are extremely painful. I have found that these are more likely to respond to homeopathic medicines since they are inflamed and active, while the ones that are not sore are inactive. You will need to find a veterinary homeopath to prescribe a specific remedy for your horse, as there are several remedies that can work. More detail about the case would be needed to figure out the correct one.
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We have a youngster who has a problem with ulcers already. Considering all the factors that trigger ulcers, what might be an effective treatment program? The first thing to do is examine management practices that can contribute to ulcers. Horses need turn out time, preferably with grass to eat and company to play with, especially for a youngster. Feed that is high in sugar (sweet feed) or too high in protein (depends on the breed and metabolism as to how much they need) can contribute. Horses need roughage to eat, with just enough grain to keep their weight normal. Many young horses are overfed, and need little more protein than an adult horse. They should have free choice minerals without salt added (one source is Rush Creek Mineral by Advanced Biological Concepts), and salt available separately. Once the management is right, you do not want to feed antacid products, as they will stop the proper metabolism of minerals such as calcium. Herbal digestive aids are better, and probiotics and sometimes papaya concentrates can be helpful. A holistic veterinarian can tailor a program to your horse.
I have a mare that is so aggressive when her heat cycle comes that I can’t get within two feet of her or she runs right at me, kicking and biting. I am a vet tech and I have given her Banamine but I want a natural way to ease her mind. Your mare becomes aggressive due to pain during her cycle, for which Banamine might give her a bit of relief, but long term use is toxic. There are a number of western herbal products on the market that can help relieve some of the muscle spasms or cramps as well as balance her hormones. However, it sounds like she is severely affected and potentially dangerous, so it is important to be careful. You may need to consult with a veterinary herbalist, acupuncturist or homeopath for more
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I have a 26-year-old horse that would rather be eating his hay than his Equine Senior and I’m worried because he’s always been thin. He used to eat his grain without a problem and I worm on schedule. Could he need a change? First, have his teeth checked by either a veterinarian who likes to do teeth or by a reputable horse dentist. As horses age, their teeth often need extra attention. I would also have your veterinarian do a complete physical and check his blood, since there are many conditions that can cause an older horse to be thin or off his feed. These include liver or kidney disease, diabetes, poor digestion and various forms of cancers, each with a different treatment plan.
I have an 18-year-old quarter gelding with persistent, inconsistent diarrhea. There are no other symptoms, no loss of weight, no dehydration. This doesn’t seem to be related to feed, grazing, weather, etc. He is a mellow, rather lazy guy who doesn’t get upset with much. We’ve tried worming, probiotics, bran, treating for sand, etc. The vet is at a loss and he’s suggested Strongid C2X along with aspirin daily. I’m not comfortable with this. It doesn’t seem to affect the horse. Do you have any more natural suggestions?
A horse with chronic diarrhea like this may have some damage to his intestinal wall from past parasite damage, or may have poor intestinal flora. Most of the probiotics products on the market contain few active ingredients by the time you purchase them. I like to use a combination of fermented probiotics such as Pro Bi by Advanced Biological Concepts and a horse-specific bacterial supplement such as Hilton Herbs Digest Plus. Digestive enzymes are also often indicated. Another product that may be helpful is Succeed from Freedom Health, a new product on the market. If these products are not helpful, Chinese herbs or acupuncture usually work very well. Check the listing for a holistic veterinarian in your area.
I have a molly mule companion who is happy, healthy and has the barefoot trim. She had been a bit trippy in the front right leg. I’ve been told by a chiropractor that the ligament is sore. He suggested that I use DMSO and alcohol to heal it by blistering. I was not comfortable with that suggestion, but tried it for two days, which created a dangerous mule. I decided that there have to be other ways and put her on a very good joint, ligament, and cartilage supplement that also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components. When I take my other horse out, the mule will pace back and forth for the whole time, and I wonder if this is re-injuring the ligament. Any suggestions or help to understand this will be appreciated.
I am glad you are choosing not to blister the leg; there
are many good ways to heal an injured ligament. To really see how much damage is present, it can be good to have your veterinarian do an ultrasound evaluation of the injury. You can then see if there is significant damage that may be aggravated by the pacing. If that is the case, you will need to find a way to prevent some of the pacing if possible, perhaps by putting the mule in a stall, or using some relaxing herbal formulas. You can give a homeopathic remedy such as Ruta Grav in a 30C or X potency, 6 to 8 pellets twice a day for a week or so, to help heal the leg. You may need to continue giving the remedy a few times a week for several more weeks, if the injury is more severe. Arnica ointment can be placed on the leg topically. The worse the injury is, the longer it will need treatment; hence the value of the ultrasound.
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Making hay by Lisa Ross-Williams
Feeding your horse the natural way
We’ve all heard the old adage, “You are what you eat”. But does that apply to our horses? In fact, equine nutrition plays a crucial role if you want a happy, healthy horse. Unfortunately, it’s still lacking for far too many. Many horses have had their fundamental eating habits changed either because of lack of knowledge or human convenience. By getting back to a more natural feeding program, you can give your horse a new lease on life and allow her to reach her full potential.
Infrequent feeding is unhealthy A horse’s digestive system needs small quantities of food numerous times daily. This is because his relatively small stomach can hold only one to four gallons of food at a time. This food moves into the gut track very quickly so the horse feels hungry again about an hour after eating. Infrequent feeding
can unbalance his intestinal bacteria, resulting in stomach disturbances, diarrhea, and colic. It can also contribute to gastic ulcer disease, estimated to afflict 60% to 90% of mature horses. Ulcers occur when stomach tissue is damaged by digestive acids. Because a horse is meant to graze on an almost continual basis, his stomach constantly produces digestive acid for the breakdown of food. When there is food in the stomach, the acid is properly absorbed and neutralized. Allowing your horse free access to pasture or grass hay, while cutting down
on grain and concentrated processed feeds, lowers his risk of developing ulcer disease. It also re-establishes a more natural feeding pattern and wakes up his foraging instinct.
What is a natural diet for horses? There’s more to feeding a horse than offering free-choice hay, as not all hay is created equal when it comes to equine health. Different types of grass hay, such as Bermuda, Timothy, Orchard, Brome and Rye, along with small amounts of alfalfa or grain hay, give your horse a variety of textures, tastes and nutrients. When feeding your horse on a freechoice basis, grass hays should comprise the main course, with legume hays like alfalfa serving as a condiment only. One reason for this is that alfalfa can contain 50% more calories and protein
per pound than grass hay. People often make the mistake of feeding alfalfa hay in the same quantities as grass hay, or worse yet, as the only feed. No horse needs this much protein or calories. In addition, alfalfa has a high calcium to phosphorus ratio -- often 4:1 and higher. The ratio for a healthy horse is 2:1.
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Furthermore, a University of California study confirms that too much alfalfa may lead to a higher risk of enteroliths. These rock-hard mineral deposits, also known as stones, build up in the stomach or intestine and can cause colic and death. The study revealed that horses suffering from stones had a higher pH concentrate in their colons, and more alfalfa in their diets.
You should also consider the types of hay and pasture your horse eats, as some are naturally higher in sugars than others. Cool
Ingredients which contribute to high levels of starch and sugar in feeds include grains and molasses. These can wreck havoc on a horse’s glucose levels. The surge of glucose causes a quick release of insulin and a rush of adrenaline, which results in fatigue lasting several hours. With insulin resistance, the easy-keepers cannot tolerate these up and down levels and eventually their bodies stop processing the glucose properly. Instead of high sugar/starch feedstuffs, try alternatives such as rice bran, wheat bran and beet pulp.
Traditionally in the past, horses have been fed high starch/sugar diets, but recent research shows this practice has detrimental effects. While a low starch/sugar diet is extremely important for easy-keeper breeds, a “better safe than sorry” approach may be appropriate for most horses.
Photo: Suzanne Sturgill
Detrimental sugar and starch
Too much grain can also cause health disorders. In the wild, a horse finds grain in only small scattered amounts, often when winter is approaching and the horse needs more calories. It is neither natural nor healthy for a horse to consume large amounts of this highly concentrated foodstuff, which can cause vices, colic, ulcers and high insulin levels if overfed.
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season grasses such as Timothy, Brome, Orchard and Fescue are normally higher than warm season varities such as Bermuda and native prairie grasses. Grain hays fall into the dangerous category while alfalfa can have low to moderate sugar levels. Stressed plants (often affected by drought), nutrient imbalance and temperature changes cause higher sugar levels as well.
one contained the specific minerals his body craved.
The importance of mineral balance
The safest time to graze horses at risk for glucose imbalances is from 3 am to 10 am and on cloudy days.
Left to their own devices, horses are incredibly intuitive about what their bodies need. I once witnessed an amazing gray use his powerful natural hooves to dig into a bank on the range. Inch by inch he worked until he uncovered what he was looking for -- a reddish rock that he began to lick. Although there were many other rocks around, that particular
Horses need a correct balance of minerals for energy production, fluid balance, normal growth, bone formation, healing, and the proper functioning of
cells. Imbalances can cause a variety of disorders including skin and hoof conditions, allergies, poor stress tolerance, low immune reserves and intestinal problems. Stress, environmental toxins, unbalanced feeding programs and genetic patterns
can all contribute to mineral imbalances. A Hair Mineral Analysis, when done by a qualified practitioner, is a very effective tool for pinpointing mineral imbalances. From a sample of your horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mane, an HMA can reveal mineral excesses, deficiencies, key ratios, and levels of toxic substances such as aluminum, lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. These imbalances can the be corrected through proper supplementation.
The facts on flax Adding ground flaxseed to a horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s diet can strengthen the immune system, enhance mineral absorption, help chronic inflammatory conditions, improve hair, skin and hoof conditions, and may even alleviate allergies. Flax can help prevent sand colic because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a soluble fiber source that forms a gel to trap, suspend
Fresh fruit & veggies
and carry sand out of the body. It’s also high in Omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient lacking in most horses that are fed only hay instead of pasture.
Variety is the spice of life Horses rarely choose to eat only hay or grass and in fact derive needed nutrients from a variety of natural plant materials. They will nibble on leaves, bark and seeds, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Providing branches from a variety of trees not only lets your horse nibble leaves and bark for nutrients, but also gives him a chance to use his teeth naturally, helping to wear down sharp edges. You can offer many types of trees, although you may wish to start with fruit, citrus and pines. Check with your local county extension office about whether or not a particular tree might be poisonous, and also ensure the tree is free of large thorns and pesticides. Natural logs with bark can be obtained from specialized lumber yards, often free of charge from their scrap pile. Be sure to use only natural logs and branches, and avoid lumber or wood that splinters or has been treated. Horses will also enjoy fresh vegetable scraps along with edible flowers and leaves. Many will even like the tangy taste of citrus fruit. You can sprout bird seed and offer that as a treat, or try the sprouted seed mixes available in grocery stores. Organic carrots grown in your own garden will always be a hit!
On the level How you feed your horse is as important as what and how often you feed him. Because humans don’t want to eat off the ground, we assume horses don’t either, so we install chest-level hay racks
Common foods that add variety
and mangers. However, a horse is built to chew and swallow with his head at ground level. Eating with his head raised leads to improperly chewed food, decreased saliva, and uneven tooth wear, and also increases the possibility of choking or partial obstruction. Respiratory problems can occur because foreign particles are easily inhaled, causing irritation and possible infection. If you are wary of ground level feeding because you’re concerned about sand colic, use rubber mats or tire feeders, and supplement with flax seed.
Zucchini and other squash Citrus Melons Alfalfa & bean sprouts Pumpkin Avocados Bananas Various seeds and nuts
Although equine nutrition is a complex subject that should be geared towards the needs of the individual horse, implementing a natural feeding program will go a long way towards ensuring a happy, healthy life.
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This teacher and innovator sports a soft touch By Dana Cox A gifted healer, instructor, and equestrian, Linda Tellington-Jones is an extraordinary pioneer in the field of animal health and well-being. In her competitive years, she won top awards in every riding discipline she pursued, while researching more humane and natural methods for training, feeding and treating horses. Along the way, she developed the “Tellington T-touch”, a hands-on form of circular healing massage that anyone can learn and practice. She has authored ten books for companion animals, which have been translated into multiple languages. There are now more than 1,000 certified Tellington T-Touch practitioners around the world. DC: Let’s start at the beginning. Do you remember your early teachings about animals? LT-J: One of the first pictures I have of me with an animal is at 18 months. I’m standing with my aunt beside a baby bear that my grandfather had rescued. I have my little fingers curved right at the base of his ear and it looks like I’m doing “touches”.
Photos: Lothar Lenz plus Kosmos, Germany
We moved to my grandparents’ farm when I was six to help during the war. I remember so clearly my father bringing abandoned duck eggs in from the hay field and we hatched them under the cat in the kitchen. My grandfather had a rabbit that he had raised who used to thump up the stairs every morning and jump up on his bed. My mother’s mother always said you should never kill spiders because they’d leave behind their families. Later, as a nine-year-old, I can recall my mother rescuing a mouse that had fallen in an open molasses jar and washing him off (if you can imagine!). This is how I was raised. DC: You must have had horses in your blood too. LT-J: My father’s father bred wonderful
work horses. My mother’s father was an American jockey and a racehorse trainer. In 1902, he was invited to race in Moscow for an Austrian Count. He enjoyed Russia so much that he stayed for four years and worked as a trainer in the stable of Czar Nicholas II. He said he never raced a horse unless it “told” him it was feeling fit enough to win. He also said that every horse in his stable was “rubbed” with short little strokes all over the body for 30 minutes a day by the groom. DC: Who inspired your incredible pioneering spirit? LT-J: My primary influence in those days was my husband, Wentworth, who was 20 years older than I. He was an inventor and an engineer. In the ’60s, we used to gather seaweed because we had a place right on the water and we dried it and free fed it to our horses. We had a clinical research program to find creative and natural ways of feeding and training horses. We had a newsletter going. We did a lot of writing for horse magazines. In the horse world, it’s a big deal to keep secrets. But Went’s interest was in sharing information. That was a natural thing for me also but I was inspired by his desire to make a difference in the world. DC: Before T-Team and T-Touch you studied the Feldenkrais method? LT-J: I started the Feldenkrais training in 1975. On the second day of this four-summer course, Dr. Feldenkrais
made a statement that absolutely changed my way of thinking. He said that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s possible for a human to learn in one experience using gentle non-habitual movements, instead of through repetition learning or patterning. I thought â&#x20AC;&#x153;I can adapt this to horsesâ&#x20AC;?. I went out that day and I chose a 16 hh Arabian broodmare who was hard to catch and I started exploring ways to move her body in a way she couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t, moving her head in circles and her ears and legs. I had done work on legs for years but I never thought about it in terms of activating neural pathways to the brain, which would activate unused brain cells and enhance their ability to learn. After one session, that mare, who had been
horses and dogs in ways they would not move themselves. I did a five-week research study, taking 20 horses people had given up on. I took five â&#x20AC;&#x153;averageâ&#x20AC;? horse people â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not show people. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s when we came up with these non-habitual movements that were very successful. Seventeen of the horses came around completely but if I had been able to use the Feldenkrais method on these horses, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m certain the other three would have come around. But that would have taken years to teach and I wanted something that people could easily learn. So I kept thinking, how can I improve this? DC: Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how Tellington T-Touch came to be? LT-J: Yes. I was working on a really sensitive mare that would bite and kick and when I put my hands on her, the mare got very quiet. Her owner asked what I was doing. I just intuitively said â&#x20AC;&#x153;just put your hands on the skin and push it in a circleâ&#x20AC;?. When I said it I thought to myself â&#x20AC;&#x153;what
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Linda works some T-Touch magic on her equine friends. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With every circle, my intention is to release fear on the celluar level,â&#x20AC;? she explains.
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so difficult to catch, came to her owner that night. When he put her in the stall, instead of her diving for her food as she usually did, she just stood there with her head close to him as though she wanted him to work on her ears.
is that aboutâ&#x20AC;? but I trust my intuition because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the way most of this work with the touch has come to me and so she put her hand on the horse and the mare got as quiet for her as she got for me.
DC: Where did you go from there?
DC: What conditions respond well to T-Touch and what would a short session include?
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LT-J: I developed what we now call our confidence building exercises â&#x20AC;&#x201C; moving
LT-J: Horses who are fearful respond really well. Through groundwork and
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the T-Touch circular work, the horse really learns to trust. This helps overcome the flight reflex and develops a sense of wanting to work and cooperation. For a short session, I would suggest doing some T-Touch on the ears, and then working from the mid-line under the belly to the flanks. Just three minutes per side and you’ll notice your horse getting more supple and athletic. DC: When you’re making the circles, what are you communicating?
doing T-Touch on horses. The work actually caused an awakened brain state in the people, activating brain waves in both hemispheres. It’s a great stress reducer for both the horse and for you. DC: How do you think our relationship with the animals is changing? LT-J: I grew up riding the threshing machines that were pulled by horses. I rode a horse to school instead of taking a bus. Our dogs and horses
LT-J: While I’m working, I’m mentally telling the animal “Remember your
Left: An accomplished rider, Linda puts a German warmblood stallion through his paces. Above: Linda demonstrates her horsemanship skills with three of her students in Kansas City in 1969.
perfection”. I very much believe Deepak Chopra’s writings about how important our intentions are. So that’s my intention – with every circle on the body, it’s releasing fear on the cellular level and leaving room for a new level of confidence and life-force. So it’s very gentle. In some cases, the pressure is as light as you would use on your eyelid.
were working animals who helped us survive. Now animals are here for our survival in another way. They’re our connection to nature for so many people. So few people get out into nature. I love that concept that since the fall of Man in the Garden of Eden, animals are our connection to God through nature. We need them for our spiritual survival but also for our physical and emotional health.
DC: Having done some basic T-Touch work on my animals, I find I also feel better after a session. Is that possible?
DC: Agreed! After everything, what’s left for you to accomplish?
LT-J: Absolutely. We’ve done two different studies on people who were
LT-J: (laughing) Oh, I’ve just started! And I’m so grateful. For me, it’s all a gift from the animals.
Beware of sand colic, a silent but deadly killer
The signs were becoming more obvious. The chronic diarrhea, unexplained weight loss and more frequent mild colics were taking their toll on the big draft gelding. Thankfully, his new caretaker recognized the signs of sand colic, took appropriate action and prevented what might have been an agonizing death.
By recognizing the signs, understanding why sand colic happens and what can be done to prevent and treat it, horse guardians in at-risk regions can avert this horrible condition from becoming a death sentence.
Sand – a passive enemy Sand colic occurs when a horse ingests sand but doesn’t pass it through his system. Instead, the sand builds up in the intestinal system, cecum, or large colon. If not alleviated, this can result in death due to an intestinal rupture or large colon displacement.
Signs of sand issues The accumulation of sand can take months. In fact, by the time a horse has ingested enough to show signs of sand colic, he already has accumulated between 30 to 80 pounds of it in his gut. If you can’t completely prevent
it, it’s important to catch it as early as possible. During the initial stages, chronic loose stools or diarrhea are seen, progressing over time to frequent
HINT High at-risk regions in the US include the Southwest, Nebraska, and all coastal areas. Hay grown in a sandy region and shipped to your state may also pose a problem.
mild colics and unexplained weight loss. If the situation is not corrected, impaction occurs and signs may include pain, loss of appetite, hard manure covered in sticky mucus or no manure at all. Veterinary intervention is required at this stage.
Why some and not others? Sand colic doesn’t happen just because
a horse eats off sandy ground. If this were the case, the wild horses in the Southwest or Nebraska would be dying in droves. Instead it goes back to horses who are consuming excess amounts of sand or the amount they’re ingesting is not being moved through normal peristaltic movement.
Common contributors to unnatural sand accumulation: Not enough exercise. Frequent exercise through 24/7 turnout and riding results in proper gut movement and allows sand to pass. Mineral deficiency. Horses lacking the necessary minerals may eat sand and soil in an attempt to supplement what their body needs. Dental issues. Without proper dental care, sharp points and hooks can develop which damage the cheeks and tongue. Horses have been known to eat sand and rocks in an attempt to break off these points. Not enough fiber and infrequent feeding. Horses are meant to eat a high fiber equine wellness
Sand in a bottle Being proactive in horse care is important and this simple test can help you gauge your horse’s sand moving ability. Using a small glass jar, add 5-6 fecal balls, fill half with water and shake or stir until dissolved. Wait 10-15 minutes and observe the amount of sand in the bottom. More than a tablespoon may indicate a need for lifestyle changes to decrease sand ingestion. If you do this on a frequent basis, you can determine a baseline amount and measure future samples against this.
(hay or grass) diet frequently throughout their day which has amazing sand carrying results. Failure to allow this hinders the horse’s natural ability to remove sand.
Over-grazed pastures. Pasture grasses can become too short when over-grazed, causing horses to pull up the plants, roots and all. Supplement with hay when this is the case.
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Chronic scroungers. There are always those horses that must get every last scrap of food. A rubber mat placed under his dish and hay can go a long way.
Feedstuffs for prevention
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Stress and boredom. Horses are very oral animals and fixations with eating foreign objects can arise when bored or worried.
In addition to proper lifestyle, there are two substances you can feed that are beneficial in preventing sand accumulation. Flaxseed has great sand moving abilities with the added benefit of supplying essential fatty acids. Once it enters the digestive track it turns gel-like, trapping and carrying sand out of the system. Feed 1⁄2 to 1 cup of ground flax per day. Psyllium, made from the fleawort seed, turns gelatinous when ingested, collecting sand and lubricating its passage. Feed for one week a month in at-risk areas.
Natural support options If you suspect your horse has accumulated sand you can consider these beneficial natural support options: Homeopathic silicea is beneficial in many suppurative processes, including sand accumulation. If you’re inexperienced with homeopathy, consult a professional for dosing suggestions. Offer herbs which soothe and lubricate the gut. A handful of dried chamomile flowers per day for up to three months is beneficial. If experienced in herb use for horses or upon the advice of an equine herbalist, try a blend of mucilangius and carminative herbs. These might include peppermint, marshmallow root, slippery elm bark and milk thistle. Aloe vera juice made for internal use is great for hydrating the bowels and protecting the gut lining. Not for use in pregnant mares. Although sand colic can be a life-threatening condition, it is preventable. By ensuring correct feeding and care practices while being aware of the signs of sand build-up, you will avert this too common problem before it strikes your equine partner.
Wellness Resource Guide Inside this issue: • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Holistic Healthcare • Integrative Vets • Natural Product Manufacturers & Distributors • Natural Product Retailers • Schools & Training • Shelters & Rescues View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: www.equinewellnessmagazine.com Barefoot Hoof Trimming CALIFORNIA
Jolly Roger Holman Professional Farrier/Natural Hoof Care Templeton, CA USA Phone: (805) 227-4835 Specializing in natural trims and BLM Wild Mustangs
Dr. Sugarshooze Farrier Services & Natural Hoof Care Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235 Email: email@example.com
Back To Basics Natural Hoof Care Services Carolyn Myre AANHCP Hoof Care Practitioner Ottawa, ON Canada Phone: (613) 262-9474 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.b2bhoofcare.com
Grand Adventures Ranch Sonoita, AZ USA Toll Free: (800) 797-8274 Phone: (520) 455-0202 Website: www.grandadventuresranch.com
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G & G Farrier Service London, TX USA Phone: (325) 265-4250 27 years exp. as Farrier and I promote Natural hoof care. I am a feild instructor and clinician for AANHCP in Texas
Natural Hoofcare Services Anne Buteau, AANHCP Certified Practitioner Shipman, VA USA Phone: (434) 263-4946 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Have faith in the healing powers of nature
Holistic Healthcare ARIZONA
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Elemental Accupressure Grass Valley, CA USA Phone: (530) 273-8191 Email: email@example.com Website: www.elementalacupressure.com
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Holistic Animal Care Stephanie Chalmers, DVM, CVH Santa Rosa, CA USA Phone: (707) 538-4643
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Clayton Veterinary Associates Judy L Morgan DVM, CVCP, CVA Clayton, NJ USA Phone: (856) 881-7470 Email: email@example.com Website: www.claytonvetnj.com
Harmany Equine Clinic, Ltd. Dr. Joyce Harman Flint Hill, VA USA Phone: (540) 229-1855 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.harmanyequine.com
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Holistic Animal Centre Scottsdale, AZ USA Phone: (480) 609-1147 Website: www.holisticanimalcenter.com
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Natural Product Retailers
Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS) Campbellville, ON Canada Phone: (905) 854-6099 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.digitalwave.ca/osas
Hope for Horses Equine Rescue, Inc. Blue Ridge, TX USA Phone: (972) 734-6218 Email: email@example.com
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Photo: Lisa England
Getting the itch out
Natural support for allergies and skin conditions by Catherine Bird
Zelda, an eight-year-old Arabian, had a beautiful coat when Barbara acquired the mare late in the fall. However, as summer arrived and temperatures began to rise, Zelda broke out in hives. The poor horse itched so badly she rubbed herself raw. Barbara suspected Zelda’s skin problems were due to allergies but when she phoned her local practitioner about getting help, she could almost hear him cringing on the other end of the line. “I knew then that I had my work cut out for me,” she said. While more horses than ever before suffer from allergies, there is no one shot cure that takes care of the problem. Each case is so individual and what works on one horse may have no benefit to the next. As you consider the information I have to offer here, please remember that if one approach
does not work for you, do not give up on your horse. Allergies and skin conditions are multi-layered and, although it may appear your approach is not working sometimes, your horse’s body may just be peeling away at an invisible layer, enabling your next level of treatment to be more effective.
What is an allergy? The Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary defines an allergy as “an acquired hypersensitivity to a substance (allergen) that does not normally cause a reaction. It is essentially a disorder of the immune system resulting in an antibody-antigen reaction; manifestations most commonly involve the respiratory tract or the skin.” An allergen can include pollen, dust, feathers, drugs, insect bites and feedstuffs, so your first priority is to eliminate what you suspect may be causing your horse’s allergy. If the allergens cannot be avoided, your veterinarian may suggest antihistamines or corticosteroids. These can provide temporary relief, but in the long term you do need to address your horse’s
immune and elimination systems. Natural therapies can help you with this process.
Herbs for the inside and outside Your horse’s first line of defence is the liver, so any protocol should include supporting this gland. If you believe there is a toxicity or poison present in the body, you’ll want to help the liver detoxify using my two favorite herbs, milk thistle (Silybum marianum) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)*. Milk thistle seed helps cleanse the liver, assists with the regeneration of liver cells and protects these cells against the action of liver poisons. Add rosemary in the next phase of treatment as it is a complete herbal antioxidant, a secondary liver cleanser and also hepatoprotective. The powdered forms of these herbs are commonly used. From a naturopathic perspective, most skin issues reflect an inhibition or dysfunction of one of the other major elimination organs. Look at the liver first, but also consider the kidneys, digestive system and respiratory tract. If there are breathing difficulties or the presence of catarrh, your horse could benefit from supporting his immune system. My preferred species is Echinacea angustifolia in either its powdered root or liquid extract form. I find I can give these forms long term effectively, whereas the dried leaf does not seem to maintain its potency or efficacy as well and is better suited to short term use. As your horse’s body begins to detoxify with the liver herbs, Echinacea can fight off secondary infections and help your horse rebuild her immune defences to the allergens. In addition, since Echinacea is traditionally used as a blood cleanser and purifier, it supports the milk thistle and rosemary. These three really make a great team. *Rosemary should not be given to pregnant mares.
Internal systems are interconnected Any issues with the lungs lead us to the digestive system. If your horse has a runny nose or gluggy ears in response to the allergens, it could indicate an internal
reaction to feedstuffs. My favourite herb to address this with is marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) and I prefer the powdered herb in this situation. In severe cases, paste your horse with one or two tablespoons of herb mixed with water before feeding (use a syringe) or, in milder cases, simply mix it into a wet feed. By addressing the gut in this way, you will soothe the mucosal layer
Another indicator that your horse’s stomach may need assistance is if the flies aggregate around his eyes. In Chinese medicine, the eyes are closely linked to the stomach. of the digestive tract, which in turn will alleviate the clinical symptoms – the dry and pruritic skin conditions.
Could it be his kidneys? If your horse’s urine is irregular, his sweat patterns vary, or your horse has sensitive ears, you may find his allergic conditions respond well to flushing the kidneys. A gentle yet very potent approach to this is adding some freshly picked parsley (Petroselinum crispum) – a nice handful each day – to his feed for about a month. You can use the dried leaf as well; in this case usually one or two heaped tablespoons are sufficient. Parsley also calms the nervous system and serves as a carminative (relieves gas) and digestive tonic, supporting the use of marshmallow root. You may observe as I work through the
body’s elimination processes, that the herbs I select overlap in their functions across each of these body systems. So, as you assist your horse through the various stages of his “line of cure”, your emphasis may shift between any of these systems. You can vary and substitute herbs to further individualize your approach; any bitters including burdock or dandelion root will replace my liver suggestions; immune support such as astragalus or olive leaf could continue on from Echinacea; slippery elm or plantain could address the gut, and mullein or elecampane may help the respiratory tract. Dandelion leaf serves as an easy substitute for parsley.
The emotional toll If your horse has suffered from a chronic allergy condition, you may also need to address the nervous system. Allergies can really wear on the soul, and after a while most horses become agitated and short-tempered by the constant physical irritation. Again, parsley may assist here as it can be very calming to several body systems. You could also use any of the
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calming herbs such as sweet flag, lemon balm or chamomile for the same purpose.
Creams, oils and rinses
essential oil very effective in healing the skin, has anti fungal and anti bacterial properties and works well with the other two essential oils.
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is antipruritic (anti itch), and when applied to a very small section ‘neat’ or diluted into a carrier such as aloe vera gel, this essential oil will take the itch out of most skin irritations. It is safely combined with lavender (Lavendula officinalis) which is cytophylactic (able to stimulate new cells) so the skin repairs quickly. Manuka (Leptospermum scoparlum), another
Once your horse’s body has begun the process of elimination, you can take the next step by supporting her nutritionally. Rosehips (Rosa canina), an inexpensive additive to any feed, is high in flavonoids which nourish the skin and assists our previous herbs with addressing mild infections and soothing gastric inflammation. Clivers or cleavers (Galium aparine) contains high amounts of silica to support the skin, and is a very effective
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lymphatic cleanser and remedy for skin eruptions, especially where associated with tissue oedema.
Essential oils and aromatherapy
Topically, you have a wide selection of herbs and essential oils to choose from. I usually recommend calendula (Calendula officinalis), sometimes known as pot marigold, which is an effective local tissue healer when applied in a cream, balm or infused oil to itchy skin. You can also administer it internally to help the body’s inflammatory response come back into balance. Other herbs include aloe vera gel and a rinse made from chamomile flowers.
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If you are having difficulty in deciding what approach to take with your horse, offer her a selection of essential oils to give you some insights as to where to start your protocol.
We often think of massage when we talk about aromatherapy, but essential oils can help with allergies and skin problems too. If you are having difficulty in deciding what approach to take with your horse, offer her a selection of essential oils to give you some insights as to where to start your protocol. At the same time, this approach will stimulate and tune up her endocrine system to help rebalance some of the issues that may be underlying the allergic conditions. My first essential oil of choice is carrot seed (Daucus carota). The scent is an immune stimulator and can indicate if your horse’s digestive system needs addressing. If she shows an intense interest in the scent, your horse can safely lick this one from your hand. This can have a catalytic affect throughout the body to help trigger the liver into action. A horse that goes
for this scent may have sluggish digestion, be burdened with worms or need support from liver herbs. This essential oil’s action is so strong, that I check too see if the horse is still attracted to the scent 24 hours later. Often the initial scent and taste will be enough for the body to adjust and restore its own homeostasis.
Addressing your own emotions with Bach flowers and tissue salts It’s possible that irritating issues in your own life may be contributing energetically to your horse’s condition. Clearing these emotions will most certainly help you but may also help your horse to heal. To this end, I like to include simple flower essences such as the Bach flower essence, Crabapple. To support this approach, I also include the use of biochemic tissue salts. Kali Sulph (Potassium Sulphate) is a skin nutrient, and is well supported by Silica. If there is a nervous component I may include Kali Phos (Potassium Phosphate), or if my focus herbally is that of cleansing the body, Calc Sulph (Calcium Sulphate).
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There are 12 tissue salts in this therapy that follow basic homeopathic principles
Add carrot seed essential oil to your calendula cream to give it that little extra range of healing. If I suspect the horse needs further detoxification, I will offer her the scent of juniperberry (Juniperus communis). Juniper will indicate the need to cleanse; it supports the elimination of any toxic build-up and indicates if the horse needs assistance with liver herbs.
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issues. An experienced homeopath could certainly guide you here. As Barbara discovered when she started working with Zelda, addressing allergies and skin conditions takes a personal approach. Depending on your horse’s condition, it can be simple or be multi-layered. When it’s multi-layered, the key to your success is patience and a keen observance so you know when the next layer of the issue is available for healing. Hopefully, I’ve provided some direction to follow if your horse is unfortunate enough to be inflicted with allergies or skin conditions.
Catherine Bird, author of A Healthy Horse the Natural Way (Lyons Press), is based in Australia where she has led the application of natural equine therapies for over a decade.
Her experience with
herbs, aromatherapy, body work and kinesiology is spread throughout many equestrian disciplines.
She shares her
knowledge through clinics and the
and each may be employed at various stages throughout dealing with allergies and skin
Equine Aromatherapy Correspondence Course. www.happyhorses.com.au
Acupressure helps you take action against colic
by Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Unpredictable and seemingly so difficult to prevent, colic is the most dreaded, fartoo-common occurrence in a horse’s life. You know how the scenario goes: in the morning when you fed your horse, he seemed absolutely fine. By mid-day, he was agitatedly kicking his flank and curling his lip. Instantaneously you felt that awful rush of panic and sense of helplessness. But here’s where you can change the scenario.
minutes (but no longer so that he doesn’t tire). While you are waiting, you can offer your horse an acupressure session to help begin to relieve his discomfort
At that very moment, you can tell yourself that you are not helpless. In fact, there is something you can do while you wait for your holistic veterinarian to arrive! Instead of wringing your hands, you can use them to stimulate specific acupressure points – points that can help relieve your horse’s discomfort. Acupressure is safe, non-invasive, always available, and has proven to be rather effective with colic.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Often, during a bout of colic, a vet will suggest walking your horse for about 15
Meridians are energy pathways or channels that run through a horse’s
From the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view, colic results when some form of energetic blockage causes an imbalance in the body. The blockage can be related to an actual physical blockage, such as an impaction or torsion, which in turn causes an energetic blockage, or to an imbalance along the meridian and organ system.
Acupressure point work techniques
•Begin point work using the direct-thumb technique. Place the ball of your thumb on the acupoint at a 90o angle to your horse’s body. Apply about 1 to 2 pounds of pressure; when you feel resistance, let up on the point slightly and then apply pressure again.
•Keep both hands on your horse. One hand does the point work while the other feels the reactions such as muscle spasms, twitches and other releases. The hand not performing the Point Work also serves to soothe your horse and provide an energy connection.
•Point work is generally performed from front to rear and top to bottom of the horse. •Breathe out while moving into the acupoint; breathe in when letting up on the point. •Use partial body weight; this ensures a smoothness of motion and protects your thumbs 44
and wrists from stress.
entire body. There are specific points, or pools of energy, along these pathways that can help maintain the harmonious flow of energy through the meridian channel system. These points are called “acupoints.” Outwardly, these blockages manifest themselves through any number of clinical symptoms. In fact, the indicators of colic vary so widely that it can be difficult to determine what is actually happening to your horse. Since there are so many different types of colic, we have selected acupoints that address the three most common forms of this condition. The acupoints in the charts accompanying this article have shown to resolve many a colic before it becomes severe.
Impaction colic A TCM practitioner would consider a simple impaction colic (i.e. colic that does not normally require surgery), where there is less peristaltic (involuntary contraction) movement and a pale, dry tongue, as evidence of a dry Large Intestine pattern. This pattern of imbalance indicates a deficiency of fluids in the large intestine. In eastern medicine, the intent would be to work acupoints
(On vental midline)
Acupoints for Impaction colic Point
Guan Yuan Shu
Located 3 inches lateral to the ventral border of the spinous process of the lumbar vertebrae, between the sixth lumbar and the first sacral vertebrae.
3 Yin Meeting
Found 3 inches above the medial malleolus, caudal to the tibal border, on the medial aspect of the hind leg, 5 inches posterior to sapheous vein.
Gate to the original Chi
Located 3 inches caudal to the umbilicus.
to restore the fluid balance in the intestines and strengthen Yin along the Large Intestine meridian.
Used by Veterinarians
BECAUSE IT WORKS
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a spasmodic colic is called BI 20
LI 20 St 25
Acupoints for Spasmodic colic Point
Located 3 inches lateral to the dorsal midline, at the last intercostal
Large intestine’s hollow
Located 3 inches lateral to the dorsal midline, between the fifth and sixth lumbar vertebrae, at the cranial edge of the wings of the ilium.
Found just next to the nostril.
Located 1.5-2 inches lateral to the umbilicus.
“Large Intestine Cold.” A horse suffering from this type of pattern usually experiences sudden painful abdominal spasms and increased peristaltic movement, while also exhibiting a pale tongue and cold limbs. Often, this condition results from consuming too much cold food or fluid and/or excessive exposure to external cold.
Flatulent colic Flatulent, or gas colic is characterized by extreme abdominal pain. Other indicators of flatulent colic include excessive production of
Gastric ulcer before treatment with Gastromin.
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Common signs of colic
â&#x20AC;˘Off his feed and/or water â&#x20AC;˘Lying down more frequently than usual â&#x20AC;˘Rolling more frequently than usual â&#x20AC;˘Pawing the ground excessively â&#x20AC;˘Standing as if to urinate â&#x20AC;˘Kicking or biting his abdomen â&#x20AC;˘Unable to defecate or urinate â&#x20AC;˘Turning his head to his flank â&#x20AC;˘Curling his upper lip â&#x20AC;˘Little or no gut sounds â&#x20AC;˘Extreme gut sounds â&#x20AC;˘Sweating heavily â&#x20AC;˘Seeming lethargic â&#x20AC;˘Standing quietly and/or possibly rigidly.
Suggestions often cited are: feed on a regular time schedule have clean water available feed free-choice grass hay rather St 25 than grain wait to feed after exercise Liv 3 provide a consistent exercise regime allow for as much turnout or cupoints for latulent colic Point Traditional Name Location pasture time as possible Located 3 inches lateral to the dorsal midline, between BI 27 Small intestineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hollow conduct acupressure the foramina of the first and second sacral vertebrae. maintenance sessions Found on the craniomedial aspect of the cannon bone, Liv 3 Great thoroughfare make dietary and exercise at the level of the head of the medial splint bone. changes slowly over time Located 1.5-2 inches lateral of the umbilicus. St 25 Heavenly pillar By following natural horse care practices, you can greatly reduce the chance of colic striking. But if intestinal gas, white coated tongue, and an absence of manure. it does happen, remember there is something you can do -- apply In TCM terms, this type of colic is a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Small Intestine Pattern.â&#x20AC;? acupressure techniques. Your intent to help is powerful in itself. This pattern can be caused by a number of things such as cribbing, a change in feed, a change in routine, unusual or excessive intake of cold food or water. Emotional stress factors Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of Equine such as frustration, boredom from confinement, and anger can Acupressure: A Working Manual; The Well-Connected Dog: A Guide also result in flatulent colic. to Canine Acupressure, and Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure.
â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘
Prevention of colic Horses have sensitive digestive systems so it may be impossible to totally prevent colic. However, you can reduce the incidence of it.
They own Tallgrass Publishers, which offers Meridian Charts for dogs, cats and horses, as well as â&#x20AC;&#x153;Introducing Equine Acupressure,â&#x20AC;? a 50-minute training video. They also provide training courses worldwide. For further information, visit www.animalacupressure.com or call 888-841-7211.
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Equine Voices speaks out for PMU horses
By Dana Cox When the trailer door opened and the four foals emerged, they must have sensed they’d landed a new lease on life. Their journey could easily have ended at the slaughterhouse, not the ranch in Arizona where they now played and roamed about freely. But Karen Pomroy, a business graduate who had worked in sales and marketing, decided it was time to take a stand. Karen volunteered at a horse sanctuary in California for four years before leaving corporate life behind to buy a 10-acre ranch in Green Valley, Arizona. “That’s where I learned about the Premarin issue,” says Karen. Premarin (PMU), an estrogen-based hormone replacement therapy developed in the 1940s, is made from pregnant mare’s urine. Most women don’t know about the controversial operation behind the manufacturing of the product or the health problems, including breast cancer, that studies have associated with the drug.
The original four who started it all. From far left: Spanky, Deuce, Gullivar and Bella.
“They certainly don’t know that 90% of the babies go to slaughter, and the mares when they’re done with them,” explains Karen sadly. Karen went online and found a farmer who had lost his contract with Premarin manufacturer Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (declining Premarin sales have forced a number of farmers out of business). A family member of the farmer was trying to place the foals before they were sent to slaughter. “She told me there was this one baby who was big and ugly and no one wanted him,” recalls
Karen Harkson shares a moment with Lightening, who was born at the ranch and later adopted out with her mother.
Karen. “He was definitely going to go to slaughter because he was part Clydesdale and he would gain a lot by the pound. I said, well, I’ll take him, and one foal ended up being four. From there, one thing led to another and here we are.” Karen established Equine Voices to save PMU horses in August of 2004 and received her non-profit status just six months later. A self-described health nut, she knew she wanted the rescued horses at her ranch to benefit from as natural a lifestyle as possible. “I learned about herbs and equine massage and the natural modalities at Return to Freedom horse sanctuary and that opened up the door to caring for my own animals with natural care.” Karen’s approach helps address some of the unique issues that come with rescuing PMU mares. The horses can be 16 or
Gullivar, all grown up and healthy, has fun with some visiting children.
Little Miss encourages her baby, Joy, as she takes her first steps. Karen resuced the pregnant Little Miss, a former PMU mare, from a Texas auction, where she was on her way to slaughter.
“The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that women treated with Premarin (estrogens derived from horse urine, Wyeth) alone were 39% more likely to have a stroke during a 7-year follow-up period in the Women’s Health Initiative, compared to women treated with placebo. The Women’s Health Initiative had already shown that estrogens combined with progesterone increased the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, and potentially fatal blood clots.” – Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
17 years old by the time they arrive at her ranch, and they’ve been constantly pregnant since the age of two or three, hooked up to urine collection tubes in their stalls for about ten months of the year. “The PMU horses are different than any other domesticated horses or mustangs because of the way they’ve been treated,” explains Karen. “They’ve suffered years of abuse in a pee-line. Most of the people who care for them don’t treat them well. They make them stand on concrete for days at a time. When they trim their feet, they use a tilt table, and they withhold water because they want the urine to be concentrated. A lot of the PMU mares have been traumatized around the head and sometimes it takes months to get a halter on them.”
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Karen and her dedicated group of volunteers work gently and slowly to build up the mares’ trust. Though Karen says a few may only ever be suitable for companion animals, many do go on to become wonderful pleasure and competition horses, showing in everything from dressage to eventing. When the horses are ready, Karen puts them up for adoption. She carefully screens applicants and charges only what she pays for the horses. “It costs me over $1000 a horse to get them out of slaughter and down here. When I adopt a horse out, the adoption fee goes into a special account so I can rescue another horse. We’re responsible for 49 Photos: Rick McCallum, Southern Arizona Photography
We train individuals to professional standards through a classroom and hands on practical approach using a variety of modalities. We use techniques and therapies including sports massage, myofascial release, craniosacral, and so much more! We have four equine progressive certification levels and offer over 30 courses in modular format by leading specialists and veterinarians in their respective fields. Courses are held in several USA locations (California and Virginia). Internationally they are presented in the UK, Australia (NSW, QLD and WA), New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa and Canada (Alberta and Ontario).
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Equine Voices’ volunteers shower love and attention on the horses while helping with day-to-day operations.
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horses right now through our ranch here and affiliate ranches. My hay bill alone is $4000 a month.” That number is about to grow, since nine of the mares came to the ranch pregnant (as well as with a foal at their side). To raise additional funds for feed and healthcare, Karen runs a sponsorship program ($50 a month to sponsor a horse) and natural horsemanship clinics, and has even hosted a series of holistic classes covering everything from equine nutrition and saddle fit, to barefoot hoofcare and animal communication. Her clinics are usually sold out in advance, and she’s sometimes surprised at who shows up. “I have a lot of skeptics come but when they see the results, which happen almost immediately, they start to believe there’s something to this, working with horses in their own language and stuff. I had one cowboy who’s been doing natural training and he said he tried to get his friends to come but they’re old school. But maybe they’ll see him doing something with his horse and they’ll be more open minded down the road.” In the meantime, Karen is working to create awareness about the PMU horses and the alternative hormone replacement therapies and treatments women can use. Her website offers information and suggestions so women can feel empowered about their own health and wellbeing.
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She dreams of owning more land so she can rescue more horses. “If I can save 125 horses in a year, imagine what I could do with 100 acres!” She looks forward to a day when PMU farms are a distant memory and horses are safe from slaughterhouses. “The only way this is going to end is if slaughter ends. So I do what I can everyday in the meantime.
Numbers don’t lie
30,000 – The number of horses slaughtered in the U.S. alone in the first four months of this year. The number goes up if you factor in Canada and Mexico
For Horse Owners, Trainers, & the Hoof Care Novice
14% – The increase in horses slaughtered over the same period in 2005.
What you can do:
For Do-It-Yourselfers, Barefoot Trimmers, & Professional Farriers
For Professional Farriers & Veterinarians
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Support HR503 – the American Horse Slaughter •Prevention Act. Write to President George Bush at
email@example.com or go to www.house.gov to find your representative.
Write to the president of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and •boycott their products. Write to the Secretary Gale Norton, Department of the •Interior, exsec.ios.doi.gov
“Screaming To Be Heard: Hormone Connections Women Suspect and Doctors still Ignore”; Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. 1995. M. Evans and Company . New York. “The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed On Women: Exploding the Estrogen Myth”; Barbara Seaman. 2003. Hyperion, New York
Heads up! Help for hernias
Conventional treatment for equine hernias typically involves surgery, but you may be able to avoid this invasive procedure with the CM Heal Hernia Belt. This patented device, along with a recommended exercise program, can help your equine heal up naturally from umbilical hernias. If your equine friend has already undergone abdominal surgery, the Hernia Belt can double as a post surgical pressure bandage. Available for foals to adults, with girths measuring 35” to 98”. $225 -$495 www.cmequineproducts.com
Why laminitis keeps happening
Laminitis is not just a hoof problem triggered by too much grain or grass. It is actually caused by a metabolic dysfunction similar to diabetes. When this dysfunction is triggered, a chain of events begins that result in laminae separation. Repeated episodes occur because the metabolic problem lives on. The sensitivity to laminitic triggers varies according to the potency of the trigger and the metabolic issue. That is why Dr. Joseph Thomas’ research has led him to develop a Laminitis Intervention Program. This program consists of proven treatments of different herbal solutions that can stop the progression of laminitis at any phase. For more information on the Laminitis Intervention Program, visit www.forloveofthehorse.com or call 866-537-7336.
You never know what’s around the next corner. That’s why it’s always better to be prepared with a first-aid kit that includes a natural anti-bacterial product. Tea-Pro® Equine Wound Spray utilizes Nature’s foremost healing remedies, including tea tree oil, comfrey, myrrh, aloe vera, and goldenseal. It’s perfect for open wounds, lacerations, cuts, mouth sores, puncture wounds, abscesses and other skin injuries. The liquid spray goes on fast, lightly covering the wound so that the body can start to repair it. 16 oz spray bottle $18.99 www.healing-tree.com
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Photo: Jessica Lynn
Essential fatty acids by Jessica Lynn
why they are essential for your horse’s health
Everywhere you turn these days, people are talking about essential fatty acids or EFAs. Flax-based cereals jump out at us from the television screen, and cod liver oil – a monthly staple when my mother was a child – is making a comeback, albeit in a flavored form, thank goodness.
Common benefits of essential fatty acids
So what about our equine friends? Do they need to worry about these all important fats? The simple answer is “yes”. But before I explain why, let me backtrack a bit.
•Healthy skin, coat and hooves •Helps to stabilize sugar and carbohydrates, reducing glucose spikes •Supports immune system function •Builds healthy joints and suppresses inflammation •Advocated for insulin resistant and EPSM horses •May help prevent laminitis
For animals and people there are basically three forms of foods – proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Proteins are made up of amino acids, carbohydrates are derived from sugars and starches and fats come from either vegetables or “seeds”, or animal sources such as tuna, mackerel, butter or lard. Although some fats are good for our horses, others are not. Animal fats fall into the second category (not surprising since horses are herbivores) and other fats, depending on processing, may actually cause an inflammatory response in some horses.
A horse’s body, like a human’s, can make a number of EFAs. But they can’t synthesize Omega 3 and 6 and must acquire them in their diet. Many people think that horses don’t eat “fats” in nature so it’s unnatural to supplement their diets. Remember, though, that horses in the wild or on healthy pasture do eat “seeds”, which contain natural EFAs. Whole unprocessed oats or other grains provide another natural source of these important fatty acids. Unfortunately, most horses are kept in “un-natural” environments. They can’t forage in natural pastures filled with variety, and instead eat diets of stored hays and overly processed feed stuffs. This processing, coupled with extended storage, destroys the essential enzymes along with any naturally occurring EFAs. Please note: Horses who are metabolically challenged such as “easy keepers” or insulin resistant horses who are or have been laminitic, shouldn’t have the grain
in their diet, be turned out in lush pastures, or have high sugar hay without risking another bout of their particular disorder. They do need to be supplemented with the EFAs to support the various biological processes in their bodies with either high quality oil, ground flax seed, sunflower seeds, etc.
The benefits of EFAs Many biological processes in the horse’s body need EFAs. In fact, they are essential for the production of hormones, as well as absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K. How do they work? They are components of very important regulatory substances called prostaglandins, which are responsible for transporting oxygen to the tissues, controlling inflammation, synthesizing hormones and maintaining cellular tissues. Fatty acids provide a dense source of calories, supplying a sustained source of energy for horses in heavy training, showing or competing. This is of particular importance as EFA supplementation is also a “calming” energy source since it helps to stabilize blood sugar and prevent sugar related mood swings. Diets high in fats and oils have also been advocated for horses who may have Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (EPSM), Insulin Resistance (IR), equine eczema and ulcerative colitis. For laminitic horses, a study performed at the University of Georgia shows that supplementing with Omega 3 may help to inhibit the occurrence of laminitis. It has also been shown to support hoof growth. For the metabolically challenged horse, supplementing with EFAs helps reduce glycemic responses and insulin release when fats or oils are top dressed as part of a high fiber, low carb diet. The fat slows gastric emptying and starch digestibility so that it stabilizes the sugar and carbs, resulting in no sugar spikes. However, the fat or oil given to these horses needs to be very high quality and naturally processed. EFAs also assist in producing anti-inflammatory substances in the body, which are necessary for proper immune function, collagen formation, and the prevention of some arthritic conditions. In fact, some studies show that supplementation of EFAs will enhance the integrity of joint and connective tissues, as well as bone density.
Quality EFA sources Omega 3 is a fragile compound, extremely sensitive to light, heat, and oxygen, and you won’t find it readily available in commercial feeds or supplements. You will more often see “Omega 6” listed on commercial horse feed bags. Unfortunately, manufacturers usually derive Omega 6 from highly processed corn, soy or other inexpensive oils, which can set up a “catabolic” or internal muscle wasting, injury
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prone state for the horse. It may in fact exacerbate muscle wasting conditions in EPSM horses. Since some oils are not as stable as, let’s say butter, many manufacturers will hydrogenate (or process) them which can result in toxic residue being left behind. The heat process can also damage some of the biological usefulness and reduce the amount of naturally occurring vitamin E. To ensure you’re feeding a quality oil, look for un-processed, cold pressed and natural oils. Many feed stores now carry un-processed EFA-rich oils for your horse, as do several of the online equine nutritional companies. As well, you can find feedstuffs which contain both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These would include flax, sunflower, safflower, sesame and hemp. Flax contains the highest concentrations of Omega 3 (Alpha Linolenic acid), which is lacking in horses
Do not confuse “Essential Fatty Acid” oils with supermarket products such as corn or vegetable oils, which are over processed and very toxic, as well as inflammatory to a horse’s system. For an oil to contain EFAs, it must be fresh and un-refined (non-hydrogenated).
fed only hay, while sunflower, hemp and soy contain the highest amounts of Omega 6 (Linoleic Acid). Coconut oil contains Omega 7 (Palmitoleic Acid).
Your horse’s unique
Take home message
Feeding EFA-rich unprocessed (unrefined) oils or quality seeds can add a pleasant aroma and taste to your horse’s feed, while providing the amino acids he needs to sustain energy and utilize certain vitamins (including B, E, and K). You’ll notice a wonderful new luster in your horse’s coat, and by slowing the metabolism of his feed stuffs, you may even help prevent some types of colic and laminitis.
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Jessica Lynn is a writer and the owner of Earth Song Ranch, a licensed natural feed and supplement manufacturer based
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Horse sense snacks you can make yourself by Audi Donamor
In the mood to make something special for your equine friends? Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a fun, simple recipe thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s loaded with quality nutrients and tastes great. Your horses will love you for it!
Carrot and apple crunch* Ingredients 1 cup rolled oats and 1 cup of barley flakes 2 cups oat bran 1 cup fresh flax seed 4 large carrots, finely grated or pureĂŠd 1 cup unsulphured black strap molasses 1 cup applesauce or small apple chunks If the whole grains are not available, this recipe can be made with whole grain flour, or 2 cups of sweet feed. Try to use organic products whenever possible.
Instructions Preheat oven to 300oF. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix molasses, carrots, and apple sauce in one bowl. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Slowly combine the molasses mixture with the dry ingredients. Add only enough molasses so that you have a thick dough to work with. The dough should pull away from the sides of your mixing bowl. Using a tablespoon, drop batter onto a cookie sheet and flatten slightly. If you want to make energy bars, simply sprinkle flour on a piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough, and score in the sizes you would
like. Transfer the parchment paper to your cookie sheet, and away you go. Bake for about one hour. Check for burning around the edges. After one hour, turn the oven down to 175 oF, and bake the biscuits for two more hours. Turn oven off and let the biscuits dry out completely. Store in an air tight container or zip-lock bag. You can easily double this recipe and freeze the dough. *Not appropriate for Insulin Resistant horses
What makes this recipe so good? Oh, those oats! Oats are often referred to as a nutritive food or a strength giving cereal. They have a higher proportion of fat and protein than most other grains, as well as a high silicon content, which makes them good for bones and connective tissues. Oats are soothing to the digestive and nervous systems. They are low in starch and high in mineral content, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. They are rich in vitamin B and a very good source of iron. Oats help to cleanse the intestines of impurities.
Bountiful barley Juliette de Bairacli Levy, author of The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable, first published in 1952, refers to barley as the first cereal. Barley is rich in protein, the B vitamins, fiber, and all
minerals, especially iron. It is generally considered to be a nutritive food and nerve tonic. Barley stimulates the appetite, aids with digestive disorders, and is also reported to help prevent tooth decay and hair loss. It is rich in the antacid magnesium, and is recognized as being the most alkaline of the cereals. It is an excellent blood cleanser and blood cooler during the hot weather.
Mare Magic Helps to influence a quiet disposition in your mares and geldings. It also helps support a healthy reproductive system in mares.
Flax packs a punch Flax seeds are considered one of the original health foods, going all the way back to the Roman Empire and the work of Hippocrates. Flax seeds are packed with nutrients. They are the best plant based source of Omega-3 fatty acid, and a good source of Omega-6. They also contain calcium, carotene, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and zinc, along with both soluble fiber and insoluble
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Did you know?
by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Genetics determine all physical and chemical characteristics of your horse, including the hoof. Genetics affect the hoof in two ways: physically and nutritionally. The horse inherits the maximum size, strength and thickness of the hoof wall and soles. He also inherits the manner in which nutrients consumed are absorbed and utilized. This explains why different horses under the same feeding and management program have varying hoof health. Proper nutrition and management will allow your horse to build the best hoof that his or her genes will allow. All equine tissues need most if not all the nutrients required by mammals. Genetics determine overall body requirements as well as those for the individual class of tissues such as dermal (hoof, hair, skin), bone, muscle, etc. You can tailor a diet to address the requirements of the individual horse that also meets the proper balance for the individual tissue (hoof). This allows the horse and the horse’s hoof to reach its full genetic potential.
Dr. Frank Gravlee graduated from
Auburn University School of Medicine and practiced veterinary medicine for several years before attending graduate school at
MIT. During a three-year residency in
nutritional pathology he received a masters degree in nutritional biochemistry and intermediary metabolism. In
1973, he founded Life Data Labs to determine equine nutritional deficiencies through laboratory testing, and developed individualized feeding programs to correct the deficiencies he discovered. ten years of research, he launched
fiber called lignans, which has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Flax seeds support cardiovascular health, the digestive system, and the immune system.
phosphorus, chlorine, sodium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, iron, Molasses is easier to flourine, and silicon, plus many trace work with if you heat it slightly in the microwave minerals. Apples are before using. Alternatively, powerhouses of antioxidant activity. Why lightly baste a measuring red? Red fruits and cup with oil and then pour Make sure you purchase vegetables contain spethe molasses into the fresh flax seeds, as they cific phytochemicals, go rancid very quickly. measuring cup. When you specifically lycopene and anthocyanins, that add it to the rest of your ingredients, you will avoid are being studied for their health-promoting a sticky mess. properties. Apples, and especially apple peels, have been found to have a potent Carrots help antioxidant activity that scavenges free more than eyes radicals, inhibiting the growth of cancer Carrots contain betacarotene, vitamin cells. The antioxidant activity of one B complex, vitamins C, D, E, and K, apple is equivalent to about 1500 mg of and iron, as well as calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C. Red Delicious, Northern Spy sodium, potassium, magnesium, man- and Ida Red have more potent diseaseganese, sulphur, copper and iodine. fighting antioxidants reflected in their Carrots are valuable as a digestive aid, higher levels of polyphenol activity. a glandular tonic, and as a skin cleanser and eye conditioner.
Unsulphured blackstrap molasses is slow good Molasses has a long history going back as far as 1493, when Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane to the West Indies. Until the late 19th century, molasses was the most popular sweetener, due in part because it was more affordable than refined sugar. Molasses contains calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and vitamin B6. Always look for blackstrap molasses that is unsulphured, and store it in a tightly sealed container in the fridge or a cool dry place. Opened containers of blackstrap molasses have a shelf life of approximately six months.
“A” is for apple. . . and antioxidant Red apples contain vitamin C, potassium,
Sweet, sweet feed Sweet feed is just that. You can buy it or make your own mix. Traditionally, 10 to 20 per cent sweet feed was added to regular grains, to make them more palatable. Commercial sweet feeds are usually corn based or oat based, and then other grains like wheat and barley are added to the mix. The addition of molasses makes the regular grain blend a sweet treat. The trick to purchasing sweet feed is to make sure that you are not seeing a mound of molasses. Read labels carefully, and always check for the manufacturing date.
Audi Donamor has been successfully creating special needs diets for animals for ten years.
BOOKreviews Horses Talking: How to share healing messages with the horses in your life Title:
Margrit Coates, a world authority on animal healing, offers intuitive insights to understanding horses on the deepest level. Horses Talking suggests we are all capable of communication – mind to mind and soul to soul – and when we open ourselves to this, we can hear the powerful and profound messages that horses have to offer. Horses are constantly offering us messages, explains Coates, and understanding them forms part of the healing journey that our life is about. These important messages regarding human spiritual awakening can help us with many issues in our lives, including our relationships with others. The book includes how-to sections as well as comments from various horse professionals on the messages that horses have brought to them. A great resource for helping you develop a closer bond with your equine companion. Publisher: Trafalgar Square Publishing
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horsemanship top tips Tip #23 – Eye contact
What does eye contact mean to your horse? by Anna Twinney
Our eyes are the windows to our souls -- to our true feelings and emotions. We can control our mouth and our smile, but not our eyes. Eye contact is probably the single most non-verbal message we convey. With horses, eye contact is crucial. In fact you can use your eyes in a number of different ways very effectively. Placing your eyes on your horse’s eyes can be a form of reprimand, for example. You can also use your eyes to ask for your horse’s attention, control his speed or merely read his mood. Through the proper use of your eyes you can cause a horse to walk, trot, canter, follow you, leave you, change direction, back up and stand. You can combine eye contact with your other body gestures too, each of which makes up a complete language. Anna Twinney is an internationally respected Equine Specialist, Natural Horsemanship Clinician, Animal Communicator and Intuitive Healer. She has recently launched the DVD series Reach Out to Natural Horsemanship and conducts clinics in Europe, Australia, Canada & the USA. www.reachouttohorses.com
EVENTS CALENDAR Saturday, July 8-9 – Waialua, Hawaii (island of Oahu)
Monday, August 7-10 – Tilley Farms, Bath, England
The Horse’s Hoof: Healthy Hoof Clinic Learn all about healthy hooves, for every horse owner and hoof care provider. Barefoot farrier James Welz & wife Yvonne (editor of The Horse’s Hoof Magazine) will share what they’ve learned over this past decade. This unique clinic is compatible with ALL styles and methods of hoofcare, and will provide information for both the novice and the experienced alike. http://thehorseshoof.com/THHclinics.html • 1-877-594-3365
5-Elements, Meridians & Specific Conditions I & II Sarah Fisher • 01 761 471182 • www.tilleyfarm.co.uk
Saturday, July 29-30 – Tunica, Mississippi Saturday, August 19-20 – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Chris Cox announces 2006 Horsemanship Tour presented by TR3Rake.com Enjoy demonstrations that reveal proven methods for interacting with horses. Learn step-by-step techniques that will build your confidence and increase your horse training skills. Enjoy demonstrations on how to work with problem horses - covering issues such as bucking, rearing and kicking. For more information contact: Danny DeVore • 940-327-8113
Tuesday, August 1-6 – Lexington, Virginia CN North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships Young equestrians come from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean Islands to the Virginia Horse Center to compete for team and individual Championships in three Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage, and eventing. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities available! www.youngriders.org • firstname.lastname@example.org • 540-348-1152
Post your event online at:
Monday, August 12-13 – Larkspur, Colorado Equine Acupressure & Aromatherapy Fee: $325 • 888-841-7211
Saturday, August 12-13 – Tilley Farms, Bath, England Indicators and Assessment Sarah Fisher • 01 761 471182 • www.tilleyfarm.co.uk
Saturday, August 12-19 – Euer Valley, California “Ride the California Sierra Nevada Mountains” Trail riding and horse camping event This 7-day package includes campsite with corral, trail maps, last 4-nights have catered suppers, nighty campfires, daily demonstrations, hot showers at the Wash House, bathrooms, Rider’s Packet with side trip information and more! Reservations are required and the number is limited. $450 per attendee and is required by July 7, 2006. Bonnie Davis • email@example.com 510-657-5239 • www.twohorseenterprises.com, click on ‘Ride’
Saturday, August 19-20 – Laramie, Wyoming Intuitive Communication with Animals and Nature This is a hands-on workshop where you will learn animal communication by doing it through participating in simple verifiable exercises. You will have the undeniable experience of communicating intuitively with your own and other animals. In the second day you will learn techniques for increasing your speed, accuracy, and confidence. Learn how to trust the information you receive from your own animals and discover more about your partnership with them. On the second day we
will also experiment with communicating with wildlife and nature. Fee $270. Marta Williams, author of Learning Their Language and Beyond Words. www.martawilliams.com • 707-987-1092
Sunday, September 10 – Delaware, Ohio All Horse Parade Unique, ALL non-motorized parade of horse drawn vehicles, riding units! Over 550 horses, mules and donkeys, representing over 26 breeds, carriages, wagons of all types, and lots of riding units! For more information: AllHorseParade@juno.com
Friday, September 15-17 – Vancouver, Washington Wild Horse and Burro Expo There will be a few horses available for adoption. We are also hosting a silent auction with lots of items to bid on and don’t miss Saturday evening “Dancin’ in the Dirt” featuring the NW’s own country & western recording artist. Mary Ann Simonds • 360-573-1958 www.mystichorse.com or www.livinglegendsmagazine.com
Friday, September 29-October 1 – Grand Junction, Colorado Friday, October 6-8 – Durango, Colorado Rocky Mountain Horse Expo We offer a generous stock of something for everyone! We offer a great menu of educational seminars featuring the most current information on equine care, veterinary and behavioral sciences, feeding, training, ranch management and even an education program for school children! Additionally, in Durango, we will team up with the Durango Cowboy Gathering and the Motorless Parade to provide a full weekend of fun, night and day! www.rockymountainhorseexpo.com • 303-292-4981
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THE CRANIO CONNECTION - Offering Craniosacral Work and the Tellington TTouch Method for horses and companion animals, to help your animal achieve optimal health through physical and emotional balance. Tracy Vroom, www.cranioconnection.com, email@example.com 917-913-1676.
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Ranger to the rescue by Melanie Sue Bowles
t’s usually clear why a horse finds his way to our sanctuary -- abuse, neglect or injury lead him to our door. Or maybe he’s old and no one else wants him. But every once in awhile a horse comes to us that others would say “doesn’t really need to be here”. Ranger was one of those horses. For although he had been abandoned, confiscated by law enforcement, and subsequently placed in our custody, he was just ten years old, fit and healthy, with no physical or emotional issues. We could adopt him out or let him live out his life here at Proud Spirit. We chose the latter. Maybe he didn’t need us, but shortly after he arrived we would learn how very much we needed him. In 2004, six babies arrived at the sanctuary. They all seemed a little lost, with poor social skills and no equine role model to offer discipline and nurturing. Most of the adults in our herd would run them off. But Ranger took
them under his wing. He was gentle and kind, but he backed up the rules with a nip on the shoulder or a kick to the rump, and the babies always clustered around him. He helped them become balanced and secure. But that was only the first inkling of Ranger’s powerful intuition. Rosie and Cracker were two closely bonded mares who Ranger never even looked at. The two mares stayed to themselves, shunning the entire herd. Cracker was 15 years older than Rosie and most likely, we would lose her first. We worried about how Rosie would cope. That heartbreaking day came this spring. Rosie was beside Cracker when she passed, but she never made a spectacle. She just stood quietly, her head hanging low. They were down in a valley where the herd rarely went. I allowed Rosie time to grieve there in the last place she saw her beloved companion. For four days I continued to check on her, standing close for at least an hour each time, not talking, just gently rubbing her neck. On the fifth day I made her come up to a paddock near the house. Another week passed and we let Rosie back out, thinking
Melanie and Ranger
she’d integrate into the herd. But when I opened the gate she stood for just a moment, and then with pounding hooves, ran back to her vigil. I saw her crest the hill, then angle towards the valley. I swallowed a lump of sadness and made a mental note to check on her later. That afternoon I scanned the herd, hoping Rosie was with them. She wasn’t. I continued to the crest of the hill and easily found her down in the valley. But something remarkable had happened and she wasn’t alone. Ranger had left the herd and was standing beside her. We watched throughout that day and the next as Ranger gently eased Rosie further away from the place where Cracker had died until she was back in the security of the herd. When a visitor points at the big paint gelding and wants to know, “Why is he here?” I answer, “That’s Ranger. He’s here because we need him.” And I always look out over the pastures at the horses and add, “All of us.”
Melanie Bowles is the founder of Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary, a 320-acre award-winning facility in Mena, Arkansas, where more than 150 horses have come to live out their lives in peace and
She is also the author of The Horses of Proud Spirit, a profoundly moving book about her experiences, dignity.
available at book stores and through www.amazon.com.
For more info,
If you have a heartwarming or humorous equine story you’d like to share, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
From “Essential for All of Us“, an original watercolor by Jan Royce Conant
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