V2I3 (May/Jun 2007)

Page 1




wellness resource guide

Your natural resource!

How to create a more natural environment

“PMS� problems in your mare? Try chasteberry

14 poisonous plants to avoid How to turn


manure into gold Regain rider

confidence May/June Display until June 18, 2007


6 steps

to picking the

perfect horse

$5.95 USA/Canada



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Call: 1-800-522-5537 today to order & get $10 off your horse’s first month supply! equine wellness

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features Click on this icon to visit featured links

16 6 steps to picking the perfect horse Photo: Mary Ann Simonds

Setting the stage for a great partnership



Composting turns manure to gold


Echoes of the wild

Expert advice on manure management

Creating a more natural environment for your horse

36 14 poisonous plants your horse shouldn’t eat

Photo: If Your Horse Could Talk

Check out our easy-to-follow chart


How to become a confident rider... again!


Does your mare have “PMS”?


Embracing the Elements: Part three


Getting centered


Understanding and overcoming your insecurities

Chasteberry may be able to help

The Elements of Chinese Medicine: is your horse “earth” or “metal”?

How Centered Riding helps you flow with your horse

66 3 basics for senior health

Keeping them happy and healthy in their golden years


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Home Sweet Home Tips for choosing a boarding facility

equine wellness


columns 12 Neighborhood news

Volume 2 Issue 3

Did you know?

24 Holistic veterinary advice

60 73

34 A natural performer


Horsemanship tip

55 Your health


Tail end

Talking with Dr. Chris King

Profile of a natural performer

Book reviews

with Anna Twinney

departments 8 Editorial 27 Product picks 41 Wellness resource guide 49 Heads up!

74 75 80 81

Classifieds Marketplace Events calender EWM bulletin board

our cover: You wouldn’t think this big beauty was 18 years old, but then Hansel, the equine friend of photographer Karen Patterson, receives the best of care. He gets 24-hour turnout in the spring, summer and fall (he now prefers his stall at night in winter), has spent most of his life barefoot, and is fed free choice hay/pasture and a senior formula.

Photo: Karen Patterson

At 17 hands, this personable Dutch warmblood/ thoroughbred gelding developed stringhalt after being kicked by another horse when he was two, but after several years of groundwork and training, Karen was able to start him to saddle at six years old. Today, he loves the trails and provides valuable leadership to Karen’s younger horses during training sessions.

Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2007. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: April, 2007

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Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Senior Editor: Lisa Ross-Williams Editor: Ann Brightman Graphic Designer: Stephanie Wright Graphic Designer: Yvonne Hollandy Cover Photography: Karen Patterson Columnists & Contributing Writers Nancy S. Faulconer Gloria Garland, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. & CH Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Tina Hutton Christine King, BVSc, MACVSc, MVETCLINSTUD Mary D. Midkiff Peter Moon Elaine Polny Mary Ann Simonds Susan Tenney, CMT Anna Twinney Norma Velda Valeria Wyckoff, ND Administration Publisher: redstone media group inc. President/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley Office Manager: Lesia Wright Information Services Director: Vaughan King Business Coordinator: Samantha Saxena Administrative Assistant: Joanne Rockwood Submissions: Please send all editorial material, advertising

material, photos and correspondence to Equine Wellness Magazine, 164 Hunter St. West, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9H 2L2. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. Email your articles to: submissions@equinewellnessmagazine.com. Advertising Sales Michelle L. Adaway – Equine National Sales Manager (502) 868-0979 michelle@redstonemediagroup.com Suzanne Pieper – Western Sales Representative (707) 331-0356 suzanne@redstonemediagroup.com Classified Advertising classified@redstonemediagroup.com subscribe: Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. $19.95 and 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 sales@equinewellnessmagazine.com.


Improving the lives of animals... one reader at a time.

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editorial Every horse is special

Learning the hard way Many years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Belize; I wanted to check out the rain forest herbs I had been studying while my better half had his heart set on some scuba diving. We both thought it would be a great idea to explore the beautiful scenery on horseback. I should have known it would be a less-than-relaxing tour when they told me the name of my horse: Diablo. Turned out that Diablo had only two speeds – walk and gallop. Everything was fine when we headed out, but as we got further afield and asked for a little more speed, Diablo took off like a shot. He headed straight into the jungle and found a lightly used trail that measured about eight inches across. Nothing I did slowed Diablo and I couldn’t turn him at that speed with the trees so close. I ducked low-lying branches and hung on as my legs rubbed against tree trunks. Finally the jungle cleared and Diablo came to a screeching halt, surprised, I think, to find me still on his back. I decided to dismount and the guide caught up with me a few minutes later. Not surprisingly, the experience left me shaken and vulnerable. As riders, most of us have taken our share of falls. But sometimes an experience can really shatter our confidence. If you’ve ever felt like that, Mary Midkiff has some sage advice on page 44. Oh, and one more word from the newly wise – be wary of horses named Diablo.

People often ask me what “breed” of horses I have. I always chuckle before going through the list: Rebel (Arab), Smokie (mustang), Bam Bam (quarter horse), Riley (unknown pony breed), Elvis (Percheron/paint), and Cooper (mini paint/ appaloosa). They run the gamut in color, age (3 to 19 years), size (18.5 hands to 32 inches), and certainly personalities. All are very special horses and each has taught me many things. I think the reason we have such an eclectic herd is because we were more drawn to “who they were” rather than “what they were”. For great tips on finding your own perfect equine partner (or two, or three) our article “Six steps to picking the perfect horse” (page 16) will help. That’s only the start of what this issue has to offer. I just celebrated my 40th birthday and realized that although I am getting wiser, I’m physically not the rider I was ten years ago. The fear of falling seems just a little closer to the surface and I know many of you feel the same way. We chose to feature two articles to help you with this issue: “Centered riding helps you flow with your horse” (page 62) and “How to become a confident rider again” (page 44). Of course, there’s lots more in this edition, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it all, cover to cover! Finally, we appreciate all the great letters that are coming in. It sounds as though Equine Wellness is really filling a gap for those of you looking for a better way to care for and relate to your horses. Keep those comments coming! Naturally,

Senior Editor Founder and Editor-in-chief

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mail bag

Dear Equine Wellness Magazine: Finally, a magazine that is exciting and easy to read! I am very much into holistic animal health and now know what to tell my sister to give me as a birthday present – a subscription to your magazine! Keep up the good work! Cynthia, via email Editor’s note: Thanks for writing! We look forward to welcoming you as a new subscriber in the near future. Many people buy Equine Wellness as a gift for a family member or friend. You can tell your sister that we even send out gift cards!

I have a small but varied herd of horses (including a young colt and a 22-year-old gelding) so I’m really enjoying your current issue of Equine Wellness. Babies and seniors do need quite different care and I’m always on the hunt for what I can do to keep my horses healthy and well adjusted. My vet is wonderful but he practices only conventional medicine so any preventative measures I can take are important to me. Thanks for a great publication. J.D., Massachusetts Editor’s note: We try to include something for everyone in each issue of Equine Wellness. We’re happy you’re finding it useful for your herd, and that you’re empowering yourself. Your horses will love you for it!

die really young and many have horrendous hooves, so why would we want to copy that? K. S., Ontario Editor’s note: You raise an interesting point. The concept of natural or integrative care doesn’t mean sticking your horse in a pasture and forgetting about him. Rather, it endeavors to work with the horse’s physiology and behavioral patterns, which have developed over the last several millennia, to prevent and resolve problems with as little invasive intervention as possible. Many of the problems we see in today’s horses could be prevented with a more species-appropriate diet (similar to what horses have thrived on for thousands of years), proper footing and with therapies that address the emotional as well as the physical side of equines.

Certainly, the philosophy of natural horsemanThe whole idea of natural horse care seems ship has taught us that we can achieve a better a bit of a crock to me. In the wild, horses and deeper relationship with our horses when we consider how they relate to their herd leaders (us) and their surroundings than when we use force and brutality. Finally, natural care doesn’t preclude us from including allopathic approaches when we need them. That’s the beauty of integrative medicine. It combines the best of both worlds. Above: Turnout within a herd helps keep horses in top condition and gives them a chance to socialize.

we want to hear from you! 10

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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: feedback@equinewellnessmagazine.com www.equinewellnessmagazine.com

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neighborhood news NSAIDS bad for colic? Veterinary researchers at North Carolina State University are questioning the use of NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Bute (phenylbutazone) and Banamine (flunixin meglumine) for colic. In addition to the common gastrointestinal side effects, it’s now recognized that NSAIDS inpede the repair of damaged tissue, such as the equine gut. Anthony Blikslager, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, an interim department head and associate professor of equine surgery at North Carolina State University, says that horses seem to recover faster with prostaglandin, a substance they make themselves. Synthetic prostaglandin can help the gut heal more quickly but NSAIDs can block it and slow down healing. Blikslager further warns, “Drugs like Bute and Banamine are not all bad, but they should be given by the veterinarian or after consultation with the veterinarian.They are one-time drugs; don’t just keep giving them to a horse in the same way that you shouldn’t keep taking Tylenol or ibuprofen for a severe headache or fever without seeing the doctor.”

$8,500 reward offered in shooting deaths of wild horses After seven wild horses were found shot to death in Arizona, animal welfare agencies joined forces to offer an $8,500 reward to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the crime. The Tucson-based Animal Defense Council (ADC), Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), In Defense of Animals (IDA), the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs & Wild Burros (ISPMB), and other horse advocates say the bodies of six horses were recently discovered in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, near Pinedale, Arizona, while a seventh horse was observed limping with a wound in his side. In August, a young wild chestnut stallion also was found dead in the Pinedale area,

having been shot in the head. All evidence indicates that they were killed deliberately. To qualify for the reward, anyone with information about the person(s) responsible for this crime should call or email attorney Anthony Merrill of Bryan Cave LLP at (602) 364-7174 or anthony.merrill@bryancave.com. Concerned citizens who would like to contribute to the reward fund should send checks to the Animal Welfare Institute/Heber Wild Horse Reward Fund, P.O. Box 3650, Washington, DC 20027.

Texas takes a stand Four years after the legal battles started, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has ruled that two horse slaughterhouses in Texas, Beltex Corporation and Dallas Crown, Inc., can be prosecuted under Texas state law for slaughtering horses and selling the meat abroad for human consumption. The 5th Circuit ruled that Texas state law making it illegal to slaughter horses and sell or transfer horsemeat for human consumption is in effect and “survives the constitutional challenges raised by the slaughterhouses.”


equine wellness

Photo: Janine Shockey

“This ruling, while significant and just, is bittersweet because it hasn’t stopped horse slaughter yet,” says Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director of the Society for Animal Protective Legislation. “That end will come. I foresee an end to this brutal practice in Texas and elsewhere through the eventual enforcement of the Texas law and adoption of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act in the U.S. Congress.”

Some good to come from Barbaro’s tragedy After a valiant struggle, Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was euthanized in January but perhaps some good can come out of his tragic circumstances. Owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson have donated $3 million to endow a chair in the name of Barbaro’s veterinarian Dean W. Anderson at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Photo: Kathy Freeborn

The endowed chair is the cornerstone of a major new Penn Vet initiative to fight laminitis, which afflicted Barbaro. The laminitis initiative will foster training programs and studies for new treatments of equine diseases. “I am deeply honored by this generous and important gift,” said Richardson. “The Jacksons’ remarkable philanthropy will translate into better outcomes for injured and ill horses in the future.” Let’s hope so.

Making life safer for racehorses Meanwhile, in other racing news, a special committee is calling for the enforcement of a rule that will hopefully save the lives of racing Thoroughbreds. The committee on shoeing and hoof care is calling for enforcement of a 2006 rule which banned toe grabs with a height of greater than four millimeters on the front horseshoes of racehorses. Regular and high (or Quarter Horse) toe grabs, which have a 6.4 and 9.5 millimeter toe grab, respectively, make a Thoroughbred 16 times more likely to suffer a catastrophic injury while racing, according to research by Dr. Sue Stover of the University of California at Davis. The California rule will be proposed for adoption nationwide at the Association of Racing Commissioners International Model Rules Committee meeting this April. The rule states, “Toe grabs with a height greater than four millimeters worn on the front shoes of Thoroughbred horses while racing are prohibited.” equine wellness


Photo: AAEP

neighborhood news

New Orleans mounted patrol back in the saddle Still reeling after the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the Mounted Division of the New Orleans Police Department can now get back in the saddle. The division received a special donation of 20 saddles, bridles and other equine equipment during a special presentation recently. Donors from across the U.S. as well as the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation, the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association’s Equine Committee and Tucker Saddlery made the donation possible.

Left: Dr. Gary Norwood, representing the AAEP Foundation and LVMA Equine Committee, presents the donation of new tack to the New Orleans Police Department Mounted Division.


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neighborhood news University equine program combines Eastern and Western philosophy What can horses teach us about ourselves? Can they help us with trust, intimacy, boundary and self-esteem issues? The answers to these questions and more will be explored through a new extended studies equine program offered by Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. The university’s mission – to offer educational programs that cultivate awareness of the present moment – seems completely aligned with the principles of natural horsemanship. In fact, the program will be kicked off with a special evening on May 4 with “horse whisperer” Frank Bell, who will demonstrate techniques for building a trusting and safe relationship with your horse. Naropa course instructor Diane Kennedy, who is certified in Equine Assisted Therapy and is a registered riding instructor through NARHA, will delve into equine psychology, behavior and response as well as exploring what horses can teach us about ourselves, while horse professional Emily Johnson teaches about how to find a more harmonious relationship with your horse through groundwork. For more information, visit the extended studies page at www.naropa.edu.

Above: Frank Bell will launch a new equine program at the Naropa University.

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to picking the perfect horse by Mary Ann Simonds

Although Katie had her heart set on a mature paint mare, there was something about the big three-year-old bay gelding that touched her heart. That night, as she pondered the situation, she asked herself numerous questions about what was really important. When she awoke next morning, she knew the gelding was the perfect horse for her and quickly picked up the phone to make the arrangements.


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Why do you want a horse?

Photos: Mary Ann Simonds

As social mammals, both horses and humans seek to have friends and belong to groups. The relationships we share with our horses can last a lifetime and in many cases have more meaning than those we form with other humans. But finding the “perfect” horse is not always simple. After 25 years of collecting data on successful horse-human relationships, several factors that contribute to success have become obvious. Your answers to the following questions will help ensure a good match for a long-term relationship by identifying criteria by which to evaluate yourself and the horse you are seeking.

Identify your reasons for seeking an equine partner. Do you want a horse that can “do” certain things? One that is fully or partially trained? A friend with a good attitude but little training?

Although inexperienced people are usually not recommended to get a “green” horse, sometimes learning together can be a wonderful experience for both. If your top priority is a meaningful relationship with another creature, and you have a good understanding of equine behavior, are efficient at defining your space, and assertive enough to give clear social guidelines, then training your own horse may be


The best horse-human relationships are when the horse picks you, so pay attention to his subtle body language and energy. the best option. However, if you are more interested in socializing at the barn or being competitive in a defined discipline, and do not want to invest a lot of time in the relationship, then finding a

horse already trained may be best.

Why would a horse “want” you?

people who are interesting, entertaining and can protect them if some unsafe situation occurs.

What type of temperaments do you get along best with?

“like attracts like”. Quiet, calm people can certainly have a positive effect on “hot” horses, helping to settle them down, but for long-term friendship, a calm horse gets along well with the same type of person. Although pairing a high energy person with a high energy horse may not be the safest combination, these matches usually do well too, especially if they are competitors.

How comfortable are you around horses? Are you interesting or fun to be around? What qualities and amenities can you provide? Can you supply a safe expansive place with shelter, good food and water as well as friends to keep the horse company? Can you meet or exceed his basic needs? Loving horses is sometimes not enough. They want people who can make them feel safe. Horses enjoy being around

Do you feel comfortable with creatures that think for themselves and are confident about their actions? Or do you prefer shy, gentle beings that depend on others for guidance? Think about your own personality and how others would describe you. Because both horses and humans are social mammals, we match up best with similar temperaments. In other words,

Are you ever intimidated or afraid? What situation would make you feel unsafe, if any? equine wellness


The law of attraction For over 12 years, I brokered Sport Horses in California. Here is a case that went against the “norm”. A young girl’s parents and trainer indicated they were looking for an experienced hunter/jumper that could do the junior division. I showed them several nicely-“made” horses that the trainer liked, but the young girl had no interest. Then I showed them Willy, a big black Swedish Warm Blood who was only three years old and not broke at all. Something told me there was a connection. The girl fell in love with Willy and I volunteered to help her “start” him as he had a nice quiet disposition. Our first lesson to teach Willy how to “lead” and “lunge” was to take place the following week. As I drove into the barn, I was slightly surprised to see the young girl sitting bareback on her new horse. Both were relaxed and happy. Neither knew enough to be concerned about a green horse and an inexperienced young girl. But since horses are such energetic and emotional creatures, and the temperaments of both girl and horse were “laid back” and calm, they just seemed to “click”.


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If you feel unsafe around horses, the best match is usually a horse that likes to take care of people and is very confident of her own ability. It always surprises me when a horse that has been donated to a handicap riding program because of bad behavior ends up as the “best horse”. Why does this happen? Because the horse was smart and confident and didn’t tolerate bad trainers who tried to make her do something she did not want to do. The same horse excelled at being able to take care of humans who value her intelligence. Just because a horse has more training, this does not necessarily make him a better partner for a novice. Often, horses are trained to be “bomb proof” so as not to react to scary stimuli. But they can be time bombs waiting to happen. They will not look people in the eye and have turned their awareness inward in an attempt to not show fear. They continue to hide their fear until something comes along that tips them

over the edge – and then, without warning, they explode.


Always ensure the horse will look you in the eye. Horses who want to feel comfortable around people want to see who you are and what you are thinking. It is better to understand equine behavior and be prepared for reactions rather than assume a horse will never spook or do anything wrong.

What qualities are you seeking in the horse – conformation, gait, breed, color, education, experience? Prioritize these qualities from most to least important. You may not be able to find the perfect horse to meet your budget, so highlighting the top three qualities is helpful.

What physical limitations can you accept?

for many years, but may not be suitable for intensive cross-country jumping.

Photo: Mary Ann Simonds

Depending on why you want a horse in your life, physical restrictions may or may not be an issue. If you are interested in doing healing or equine therapy and rehabilitation, then an injured race horse with a bowed tendon and a great attitude might be the perfect one for you to learn with and still have a sound partner to ride after therapy. There are no perfect horses, just as there are no perfect people. Physical handicaps can be the result of poor conformation, injury and/or stress, lack of proper conditioning, poor rider balance or bad training. Be careful not to take on a horse with too many problems, but don’t overlook a good horse who just needs some extra care. Work with your veterinarian to evaluate the candidate’s physical condition in light of what you want to do with the horse. A horse used for light trail riding could be a good, sound partner

Many conditions can be treated, but such things as wobbles, heart conditions, tumors and other serious conditions may make the horse unsafe for riding. Again, clearly identifying why you want a horse in your life can help you select the right one. Picking the “right horse” is like picking the right spouse. The difference is you have the opportunity to influence and help a horse improve through your understanding of equine culture, and your ability to become a better human

being, thus providing a firm foundation for friendship. You are picking a social partner who could end up being your best friend for life.



ecologist and holistic health educator, Mary Ann Simonds has been a voice for horses for over


years, and

has conducted hundreds of case studies using vibrational remedies, natural nutrition and magnetic field therapy.

She has a degree in Wildlife Biology and Range Management, a Masters in Holistic Studies and has served as wildlife expert on the U.S. Wild Horse and Burro Advisor Board. She writes, consults and gives clinics across the country. www.maryannsimonds.com

equine wellness


Photos: O2 Compost

Composting turns manure into gold by Peter Moon


hat goes in must come out. This means horse guardians face a daunting challenge when it comes to manure management. The volume of manure and spent bedding produced at every horse farm can become overwhelming, and results in offensive odors, flies, mud, dust, and an unsightly mess. It’s a universal dilemma.

A closer look at the problem “A 1,100-pound horse passes manure, on average, seven to ten times per day, adding up to a total daily output


equine wellness

of about fifty pounds,” writes Karen Hayes, DVM, author of How to be the Perfect Horsekeeper. “A small operation housing only ten horses accumulates almost seven tons of manure in just one month. And that’s just the manure. The muck pile also contains soiled,

urine-soaked and wasted stall bedding, which – depending on what type of bedding you use – can double or even triple the volume and weight of stuff that goes onto the pile.” The actual volume of manure and waste bedding isn’t the real problem. Unmanaged manure is a source of flies and offensive odors. It also results in mud (hoof problems) during the winter months, and ammonia and dust (respiratory problems) during the summer. It adversely impacts our horses’ health and our own. It degrades surface and ground water and harms aquatic life. This is why federal, state and local regulatory agencies are taking a much closer look at horse farms nationwide as a significant source of “Non-Point Source Pollution”.

Manure management options Alternatives to unmanaged manure piles generally include: 1. Off-site disposal 2. Direct land application 3. Composting Off-site disposal is a fee-for-service arrangement with a waste hauling company. It involves your having a dumpster or roll-off container situated in a main traffic area. These containers are seldom aesthetically pleasing, and detract from the overall look of the farm. Because waste hauling is typically a franchise business, you will pay the “going rate”, whatever that might be. And rates never go down. In short, off-site disposal can be time consuming and very expensive.

How it all piles up A recent study conducted by the American Horse Council estimates the total number of horses in the United States at roughly seven million. The volume of manure from this many horses would fill up the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California nearly 17 times per month or 200 times each year. Stacked vertically on a football field, from end zone to end zone and sideline to sideline, the pile


In some instances, a deal can be struck with a local farmer to take the manure waste for his own fields, but you are subject to the whims of the farmer; one phone call can suddenly leave you with no alternatives. In other words, you do not control your own destiny when you rely on others to resolve your problems. Direct land application has its appeal, especially in situations where few horses live on a large land base. However, even a healthy horse passes millions of potential pathogens in his manure – bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and parasites. As long as his body maintains a healthy balance between the pathogens and friendly beneficial organisms, the potential disease-causers (what we’ll call “nasties”) don’t make him sick, but they’re still there. “Once the manure and the nasties are on the ground, and the manure begins to accumulate, the nasties start to add up to numbers that could overwhelm even a healthy immune system,” warns

would stand 7.5 miles high – that’s higher than commercial airliners fly! Again, add to this the volume of waste bedding and you can see this is not a small issue.

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Education, not legislation As horse owners, it is our responsibility to properly manage the manure and waste bedding generated on our farms, and to protect our water resources and the health of our horses. Each of us impacts the world we live in – that is a given. It is up to us to choose whether our impact will be positive or negative. It’s a decision we need to make for ourselves before it’s made for us. And it’s not a matter of “if”, but “when”.

Dr Hayes in her book. “Your horse’s ability to resist disease was never designed to stand up to such a concentrated germ load….

into a clean, high-value product that can be effectively used around the farm or sold for profit while eliminating contamination of land and water resources.

“Horses in their natural environment wouldn’t dream of grazing within sniffing distance of a manure pile, and they never stay in one grazing area long enough for manure to accumulate and become a health problem for them. In that way, their natural lifestyle automatically protects them against excessive parasite exposure.

Horse manure compost is an excellent source of macro and micro-nutrients as well as stable organic matter, all of which support healthy plant growth. Compost also retains water extremely well, resulting in improved drought resistance and a longer growing season. The key is to make the composting process systematic and to eliminate pile turning, thereby saving time

“Compare that to modern horse facilities – even high-end ones with big, beautiful pastures – where horses are confined… With every passing year, the amount of parasite-infested land on the modern horse farm increases, and the amount of pristine land, free of manure, increasingly disappears.” Add to this the potential for degrading surface and ground water and it is easy to understand why regulators are beginning to take corrective action against the entire equine community.

Composting is a win/win option Composting converts raw horse manure


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As with wine, compost gets better with age. and money. The answer is to make composting a fully integrated, day to day activity – a part of the farm culture. In the old days, composting was accomplished using the PhD Method (piled higher and deeper). This was often a one to two-year process and did little to protect surface and ground water or eliminate weed seeds in the “final product”. Today, most people think composting involves turning piles to fluff the material and reintroduce

oxygen into the core. What they don’t understand is that the infused oxygen is consumed by the micro-organisms within 30 to 45 minutes, thereby yielding an anaerobic compost pile despite the expended time and effort.

Consider aerated composting With aerated composting, fresh air (i.e. oxygen) is introduced throughout the mix of materials using an electric blower. The oxygen stimulates the microorganisms and their by-product is heat.

In a properly operated compost system, pile temperatures are sufficient to pasteurize the raw material and the oxygen rich conditions within the core of the pile, eliminating offensive odors. High temperatures also destroy fly larvae and weed seeds. Finally, aeration greatly expedites the composting process and lends itself to a true flow-through process, thereby eliminating the “twoyear pile syndrome”. Again, all this takes place without having to turn the pile. Aerated Static Pile Composting utilizes an electric blower to induce airflow through the pile and thereby help the

pile “breathe”. A timer operates the blower which cycles on for three to four minutes and then turns off for 20 to 30 minutes. This system operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Within 21 to 30 days, the primary or “active” phase of composting is nearly complete. Following the active phase, the material transitions into a fungal driven process referred to as “curing”. Most of the textural change to the mix occurs during this phase, yielding a uniform, dark, soil-like product that smells nice and has “magical qualities” according to avid gardeners. The secret to proper horse manure management is composting; and the secret to composting is that it’s easy when you know what you’re doing.

Peter Moon

is recognized as a leader in

agricultural composting in the



and has set up horse manure

U.S. Canada. As a licensed civil engineer Washington State, he has permitted,

composting systems throughout the and in

designed and built numerous large scale compost facilities for municipalities and private owners. Peter’s business, O2Compost, is now focused on small on-farm compost systems with an emphasis on operator training. To learn more, visit www.o2compost.com.

equine wellness


holistic veterinary advice talking with dr. chris king Dr. Chris King is an Australian equine veterinarian with over 20 years of experience and advanced training in equine internal medicine and equine exercise physiology. She takes a wholistic approach to equine health and performance which emphasizes natural strategies for restoring and maintaining health and well-being. Her mobile practice, Anima – wholistic health & rehab for horses, is based in the Seattle area. www.animavet.com; e-mail: king@animavet.com; phone: 425-876-1179 Send your

questions to:

Holistic veterinary advice. email: info@equinewellnessmagazine.com Our veterinary We regret we cannot respond to every question.

columnists respond to questions in this column only.

Editor’s Note: This column is for information purposes only. It is not meant to replace veterinary care. Please consult your veterinarian before giving your horse any remedies.


My approximately 18-year-old quarter horse, Jack, coughs and has trouble breathing at times. When he’s in a full attack, he struggles to breathe. He gets winded easily at the canter all the time, but especially when his allergies are flaring up. This issue used to only happen in the spring but now it is almost year around - sometimes worse in the spring and fall and sometimes not so bad in summer and winter. The vet prescribed Tri Hist for when the allergies are bad. Jack hates this but is a little better when given it. We also tried garlic, which he hates even more. We wet his hay as well when he has flare-ups. What can be done to help Jack and prevent future attacks while making him more comfortable?


This problem is commonly called heaves. It’s similar to asthma in humans, in that the individual is hypersensitive and hyper-reactive to particles in the air that are inhaled into the lungs. The keys to helping these horses are to (1) ensure good air quality, and (2) address the over-reactive immune response. Both are equally important.


equine wellness

If you’re okay with wetting his hay and it’s working for him, keep doing it – not just when he’s having an episode, but all the time. And don’t just wet it; soak it so it’s wet all the way through. For many people and horses it works better to stop feeding baled hay altogether and switch to hay pellets, cubes, or chaff (chopped forage). The goal is to limit the quantity of particles the horse inhales, and these processed forms of hay generally have less dust, fungal spores, and other potential airway irritants and allergens than baled hay. Other sources of airborne irritants/ allergens include stall bedding (e.g. straw, dirt, sawdust or really powdery shavings), manure, urine, hay stored in the barn (i.e. in the same air space as the horse), and plain old dust kicked up by cross ventilation. That’s why most horses with heaves do better when kept at pasture, with a run-in shelter, rather than in a barn. As for the over-reactive immune response, I’ve been having good results with a combination of antioxidants,

herbs, and homeopathy. Some interesting research shows that supplemental antioxidants can significantly improve airway reactivity in people with asthma and horses with heaves. The herbs I use are chosen mostly for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The homeopathic remedies are selected based on the individual horse’s needs. I tailor the whole regimen for the individual patient, so I can’t be more specific without knowing more about Jack. But this should give you some ideas to get started. These horses can absolutely be helped, even at Jack’s age and advanced stage of disease.


I recently purchased an eight-month-old starving filly. I did not want or need another horse, but I couldn’t leave her to die. She was very skinny and her eyes were already almost dead; there was no hope in them. She has gained quickly and in two months is nice and plump. I saw this filly before she was weaned and

she was nice and fat then, but she was weaned before she was four months old and never gained in height or weight after weaning. She is now ten months old and is the size of a three or four-month-old foal. My question is, at what point will a foal be stunted for life? Does she have a chance of reaching her full potential in height?


Trying to make good feeding decisions with bad information?

There are many different reasons for stunted growth in horses. The most common are severe malnutrition and severe parasitism (worms), which often go handin-hand. Weaning stress sets many weanlings back for a short time, but most resume their former rate of growth fairly quickly if managed properly. Less common causes, in descending order, include chronic stress, chronic intestinal damage, chronic infections, congenital heart disease, congenital immune system defects (which lead to chronic or recurrent infections), and dwarfism (deficiency of growth hormone production, which is extremely rare in horses). The fact that she has gained weight is encouraging and makes severe congenital problems less likely. If her endocrine (hormonal) system is normal and she has no other problems, then she should start to grow now she’s being fed adequately. At ten months of age, there is still a lot of growth potential in her developing skeleton, even though some of her growth plates will have already closed. She may reach a normal height for her breed and parentage, but she probably won’t catch up entirely. Her growth was severely inhibited during a critical stage of development. But as long as she develops normally from here (in terms of body proportions), her diminutive stature shouldn’t be a problem. What you’ll need to avoid at this point, though, is developmental orthopedic disease (DOD). It’s a group of musculoskeletal diseases in growing horses that includes physitis/epiphysitis, contracted tendons, crooked limbs, and disorders of joint development (osteochondrosis). The key to avoiding DOD is providing sufficient calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals for a moderate rate of growth, while keeping starchy and sugary foods to a minimum (e.g. grains in any form, molasses, sweet treats). High-grain diets are one of the prime factors in DOD.

Let’s make it simple. You are what you eat. Our horses are what we feed them. Junk in, junk out. If you and your horse are ready for something better than “processed grain by-products” you may be ready for the cleanest, purest, highest quality nutrition on planet earth. *Certified Organic Premium Quality Food. The best food Earth has to offer. Man and his science can’t come close. Not “feed” food. Real food. 15 grains, seeds, plants and vegetables, each carefully selected for the nutrition your horse needs everyday for a lifetime of great health and maximum performance. We pioneered the use of *COF for horses over a decade ago and after years of research and development the Next Generation of *COF for horses is now available. It is not sold in stores. You can buy it direct at wholesale pricing. Don’t let the name fool you. It may be “Great nutrition made fun” but it’s the food that has changed the way smart people feed their horses, naturally.

The description of “nice and plump” troubles me, as plump to me means fat, and that’s not healthy at any age. I’m pleased to hear she’s gained weight, but being overweight can set her up for all sorts of equine wellness



Gastric Health

Used by Veterinarians



Gastric ulcer before treatment with Gastromin.

The ulcer is healed after being treated with Gastromin.

A good solution without any side effects when the horse has indications of stomach problems! Neutralizes the gastric acid, heals the inflamed mucus membrane and gastric ulcer! ALL NATURAL AND PREVENTATIVE

problems, both now and as an adult. If you can no longer feel her ribs easily, then I recommend you scale back the calories, especially grain-based feeds. What you should be aiming for is lean: well covered but not too well padded. (In dress sizes, that’s about a 6).


My 16-year-old paint was diagnosed with a deep flexor tendon injury. He is sound at the walk, though he rolls his foot from outside to inside when he walks. He is lame at the trot, yet appears sound at the canter when running in the paddock. I’ve tried many treatments including chiropractic, herbal supplements, and injections into the hoof and yet he remains unsound. He’s currently “retired”. Is there any hope for him?


There’s always hope. But I think what’s needed here is an accurate diagnosis. You don’t mention how long ago he injured the tendon but I’m assuming it’s been quite some time and you feel he should be sound by now if the tendon injury was the only problem. If there has been sufficient time for the tendon injury to heal, then there may be more going on here than anyone initially thought. The way he’s landing and loading that foot needs closer scrutiny. Landing on the lateral side (outside) of the hoof and then rolling onto the medial side (inside) can be the result of poor conformation or improper trimming/shoeing. But it can also develop in a perfectly shaped and properly trimmed foot if the horse is trying to off-load the medial side of the limb because of pain or dysfunction. My recommendation is to start from scratch with a thorough lameness workup, including whatever diagnostic tests the vet advises (e.g. nerve blocks, x-rays, ultrasound). That’s an important step because treatment and prognosis will depend on which structures are involved (tendon, ligament, joint, bone, hoof). Sorry I can’t be more help. I’ll be happy to take another run at it once we know exactly what is going on.

Gastromin is sold in three different sizes:

352 528-6655


www.SwedishHorsePower.com 26

equine wellness

Dear Readers: The brand names recommended in this column are suggestions only. There are other brands with similar formulas. As with any product, it’s important to buy a brand you can trust.

product picks Currying gets creative

Gut feeling Poor feeding practices and the improper use of antibiotics, steroids and other drugs contribute to gastric ulcers in horses. A horse in the beginning stages may not show signs of illness, but later symptoms can range from low appetite and poor performance to colic and muscle problems. Gastromin from Swedish Horse Power is a combination of vitamins and minerals in lactose powder that neutralizes gastric acid, heals ulcers, and supports good GI health. Studies show that 99.5% of horses with ulcer symptoms improved after just a few days of treatment. 2 lbs – $109.95 – 3-month supply per horse 6 lbs – $274.95 – 6-month supply per horse 12 lbs – $499.95 – 1-year supply per horse www.swedishhorsepower.com

There are curry brushes and there are curry brushes. Rapid Scrub saves you time by allowing you to bathe and groom your horse at the same time. Made from durable rubber, the brush includes a curry/scrubber and a sponge held in place by a top cover. The product is designed to dispense soap and water as you’re currying your equine friend. The soft rubber fingers on the scrubber effectively penetrate the hair, enabling you to get right down to the skin for a thorough cleaning. $12 for one www.rapidscrub.com

That time of the month? Does your mare get a bit temperamental at times? She may be suffering from PMS. Women know that herbs can be a very effective and gentle way to deal with hormonal tension and mood swings, and the same is true for horses. Moody Mare from Wendals Herbs contains a calming combination of alfalfa, basil, chamomile, dandelion, goldenrod, marigold, rosemary and vervain. Just two to three scoops a day helps your horse overcome that monthly tension and moodiness. 2.2 lbs - $39.99 5.5 lbs - $92.19 11 lbs - $180.59 www.wendalsusa.com

Music to your ears Rippling with power and grace, horses awaken the creative muse in many artists. That’s certainly the case with Mary Ann Kennedy, a Grammy nominated hit songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee, who composes music celebrating the horse. A natural horsemanship student as well as a musician, Mary Ann has produced two CDs, “The Road Less Traveled” and the recently released “Hoofbeats, Heartbeats & Wings”. Portions of proceeds are donated to various animal protection organizations. $20 each CD www.maryannkennedy.com equine wellness



Echoes of the by Lisa Ross-Williams

Creating a more natural environment for your horse

A small herd of wooly-coated horses looks up alertly from their watering hole. A moment later, a ghostly gray lifts his head and stares intently over the hill. With a toss of his head and a loud whinny, he blazes over the hill with the rest following. They thunder over the uneven rocky ground, nimbly navigating trees, shrubs and fallen logs. The object of their excitement is a woman who stands with arms outstretched in joy. Each horse gets a carrot and a scratch on the withers; each hopes it’s his or her time to play. Today, the woman holds the rope halter toward the gray, who enthusiastically sticks his head in while she gently ties the knot. The rest of the herd watches with knowing interest and approval. The gray seems to dance with the woman as she communicates her wishes from the ground. There are no whips to make him obedient. Instead, through communication and respect, the gray follows her cues and navigates logs, jumps and hills, obviously enjoying every moment. 28

equine wellness

This horse paradise seems a far cry from the usual equine/human relationship, but it’s easier to achieve than you might think. By designing an environment for your horse that’s as close as possible to what his wild counterpart would experience, you too can create a natural paradise for your equine partner. All it takes is the desire to allow him to be what he is – a horse – and to understand some basic concepts about equine nature and behavior.

At home in a herd Horses are herd animals, so being separated from others of their kind will cause them stress and anxiety. Being part of a herd, even if it’s only one other horse, imparts a sense of safety and is a strong instinctual drive. Horses have evolved and survived because of this

Many people believe that if horses are turned out together, they will hurt each other, but this isn’t the case. Horses need to be together, to touch and play with one another. Although they will play games of dominance to determine the hierarchy of the herd, actual contact is minimal, at least by horse standards. Often, when a horse is termed “unsociable”, it is due to lack of socialization skills with other equines. If horses were truly antisocial creatures, why would their feral cousins choose to establish herds? It’s because they have an instinctual need for preservation, comfort and companionship. Socializing, either physically or through

communication, takes place constantly within the herd. Nuzzling, scratching, lipping, or just standing close helps establish strong bonds. Also, because horses love to play, a good round of rearing and biting will raise their

Photos: Kenny Williams/If Your Horse Could Talk

herd concept; a wild horse that became separated from his herd often perished, so a life of solitary confinement goes against the grain of equine nature.

spirits and strengthen their bodies. Horses can only learn proper equine behavior by being with other horses and watching their body language. It isn’t something humans can teach them.

A stimulating environment is key to equine well being Ideally, we need 100 acres for our horses to roam on. This is rarely possible in the real world, but even a small property can offer your equine companion a natural environment. First and foremost, a natural living area should provide your horse with enough room to be in almost continuous motion except during rest and sleep. Horses are built to move, and in the wild will cover a total of ten to fifteen miles a day. When not able to exercise, body circulation is hindered, causing problems in the legs and feet. When a horse moves, blood from the lower legs is pumped back through the body to the heart by the hooves, tendons and muscles. In order to have strong, healthy feet and legs, therefore, a horse needs constant freedom of movement. This activity also stretches equine wellness


and strengthens the muscles and joints and promotes healthy gut function, helping to cut down on the risk of impaction colic.

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Unfortunately, many horses are confined to small pens or, even worse, box stalls. Not only does this hinder the horse physically, but it also affects his mental well being. Horses are very perceptive and curious, so standing in a stall day and night becomes boring and unsettling. Having nothing else to do, a confined horse turns to “vices” such as cribbing, pawing and pacing to relieve his boredom, and eventually these behaviors become habitual. Once the horse is liberated from his jail, however, many of these vices disappear. Give your horse as much room as possible and don’t be afraid to include uneven ground – hills, rocks, fallen logs, shrubs and trees. It is human nature to assume that what we find comfortable is also good for the horse. We therefore think we should level the ground and remove rocks and other “dangers”. This means the horse has nothing left to do but mindlessly wander between his feed and water areas. How can this be physically or mentally stimulating? A more challenging environment is easily created. Obstacles can often be obtained for free in the form of large rocks, or branches from trees and shrubs. You can acquire logs from specialized lumberyards, often for free from their scrap pile – just don’t use wood that splinters or has been treated with chemicals. Native plants, many of which have excellent beneficial properties, can also be added, while trees and shrubs of various heights and sizes are ideal for horses to scratch against. If you find it difficult to add these elements to your property, toys can be


equine wellness

used to stimulate your horse’s mind. There are numerous horse toys on the market, though homemade alternatives work just as well: balls, orange traffic

cones, plastic garbage cans or barrels will stimulate most horses. By creating a natural and challenging environment, and giving your horse a chance to run and play, he learns how to use his body. This learning is paramount both for his sake and his rider’s, since finding his balance and knowing how to move his feet independently around obstacles is not necessarily inborn. Only by practice and trial and error does a horse learn to be handy with his body. And in order to learn, there must be a challenge.

Adapting naturally to seasonal changes As the seasons change, a lot of people feel they need to help their horses adjust to the switch. In the summer, many horses are kept in a climate-controlled barn. In the winter, blankets and heaters are used. Again, what we consider comfortable is not necessarily what is healthy for horses. In fact, the best protection a horse can have is a natural hair coat. Horses don’t normally seek closed-in shelters. They are naturally able to deal with seasonal changes because their coats provide insulation against both heat and cold. They can also actually raise, lower, or turn their coat hairs to warm or cool themselves. Blanketing

equine wellness


COLD THERAPY benefits your horse by PREVENTING... Veterinarians state the most effective and certainly least costly method of physical therapy for the equine athlete is routinely applying cold therapy to the horse’s leg following schooling, a cross country run or a show event. Inflammation is a normal event after physical exercise. This inflammation is like a small brush fire which, if not snuffed out quickly, will rage into a major blaze and become more difficult to control.


Tendon Wraps (2) with First+Ice®


Ice horse cold therapy can aid in recovery after orthopedic surgery as well as help reduce: • pain • swelling • inflammation • muscle damage • heat in other tissue

offers cold/heat technologies that are innovative, non-invasive and designed to help prevent and treat horse leg injuries.

Tendon Wraps (2) with First+Ice®

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stays cold up to 2hrs configures to the cannon bone, hocks, hooves provides compression re-usable can be used for cold and heat therapy

not only interferes with this process but may also cause the horse to overheat and sweat, even in cold weather. This is because the legs, belly, and head are not covered and are exposed to the cold air. In order to keep these areas from getting chilled, the whole body warms up, which causes sweating under the blanket. Furthermore, blanketing interferes with the horse’s ability to grow a proper winter coat. In short, blanketing and indoor climate control take away a horse’s natural defense against the elements. Another common practice that interferes with a horse’s ability to protect himself is to clip his ear hairs and whiskers, and trim his mane and tail. This might make the horse look tidier, but we are in fact taking away more of his natural defenses. Clipping ear hairs allows dirt, foreign matter and insects to enter the ear canal. Many types of gnats often feed in the inner ear, causing a horse to violently shake his head and sometimes work himself into a frenzy. Trimming the mane and tail limits a

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E QU I NE E QU I LI BR I U M Ageless Wisdom for the Contemporary Horse Solving problems through

Healing Arts & Equine Sciences Van Harding




equine wellness

horse’s ability to combat flying insects, while clipping the whiskers takes away his ability to sense his surroundings. All the above practices are relatively simple to apply. First, give your horse a companion to play with and learn from, even if it means adopting a retired or senior horse. Secondly, give the horses room to roam on natural terrain - even a small paddock, round pen or arena equipped with toys is better than a box stall. Finally, allow your equine friend to adapt to environmental changes without hindrance. Just think naturally and the changes will come easily.

natural environments Special advertising feature

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dermalustre® Professional Skin & Coat Treatment. Containing no waxes or silicone, dermalustre absorbs into the applied area providing deep conditioning and treatment. This promotes healthy skin, mane, tail and coat. It quickly repairs damage to manes & tails caused from horses rubbing and relieves dry flaky itchy skin. Visit our web site www.naturesgroom.com or call 1-866-772-8822

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Photos: Kirk Lander

profile a natural performer

The trend toward natural and integrative equine care is catching on across the world, but can it apply to performance and working horses? Of course! In this column, Equine Wellness highlights performance horses from various fields and disciplines who are living a natural life.


equine wellness

The horse:

Halim El Mokhtar (Halim) Age: 11 years Breed/Ancestry:


Arabian/ Egyptian blood lines; great grandfather El Mokhtar

Physical description:

15.2 hand jet black stallion

Discipline: Endurance competition Owner/Guardian: Kirt Lander of Lake Havasu, Arizona


Gina Lander How they got together:

Tell us more:

After his beloved half Arab Pinto gelding had a bad experience with cancer, Kirt wanted nothing more to do with pink skin and was specifically was looking for a black horse. “After much searching,” explains Kirt, “I found Halim in Georgia through the internet and bought him sight unseen except for photos and video. The fact that his great grandfather El Mokhtar starred in the movie ‘The Black Stallion Returns’ made him even more interesting.

“Halim was his dam’s first foal but was rejected by her and had to be bottle fed – an extreme case of imprinting for sure. He is super comfortable with most everything around him and would certainly come inside the house and watch TV. He also has become quite the gentleman on the endurance trail and will even put his head in a water trough next to a strange mare. Most people don’t realize he is a stallion.”

Awards and accomplishments:

“My wife and I turned to more natural ways, including going barefoot, after taking back a mare we sold. The mare had foundered in the care of her new owners and this set us off on our path of providing a more natural ‘Lifeway’ for our horses which led to a new career in natural hoof care.”

1,960 endurance competition miles with six top ten finishes. Winner of the nationally awarded American Endurance Ride Conference Jim Jones Stallion Award in 2005 with rider Gina Lander.

Natural care principles: “Halim is never shod. He receives free choice Bermuda hay and supplemental vitamins and minerals depending on his workload. He is not regularly vaccinated, is wormed only as needed and receives regular dental care by an equine dental specialist. He lives in a good size turnout 24/7 with sandy gravel footing, next to half a dozen mares with a low hot wire in between so he can nuzzle and socialize to help keep him happy.”

Advice: “There is nothing that a properly trimmed and cared for barefooted horse cannot accomplish except for maybe a 60-foot slide as in reining competition.”

equine wellness



poisonous plants

your horse

shouldn’t eat by Lisa Ross-Williams

Michelle and Pete had found their perfect dream horse property. As they walked their new acreage, they noticed many plants they didn’t recognize. Knowing some could be a danger to their horses, they took photos and visited their county extension office to identify them. 36

equine wellness

Why would your horse consume toxic plants?

You can prevent most poisonings

Although more selective than cattle and sheep, horses are still at risk for ingesting toxic plants. “Some poisonous plants are palatable to horses, and exposed horses readily eat them,” says Bryan Stegelmeier, DVM, PhD Veterinary Pathologist of the USDA/ARS Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory. “Others may be eaten by some animals even though they are unpalatable to the rest of the herd.”

• Ensure your horse has adequate pasture and/or free-choice grass hay – hungry horses are more apt to eat toxic forage.

So why do some horses seem to prefer poisonous plants? “Since individual horses may actively seek and eat toxic plants, it has been suggested they become addicted to certain ones,” says Dr. Stegelmeier. “There is little experimental support for addiction, but individual horses do develop strong feed preferences. Such animals certainly pose greater risk of being poisoned.” The veterinary pathologist explains that the risk may be even greater with stored feed and in herd situations. “As a rule, both preferences and palatability are different when poisonous plants are dried and included in stored feed. Most horses readily accept toxic plants that are included in hay or processed feed. In a herd, competition for food can enhance poisoning as animals hurry to eat what they can or fight to keep lesser status animals from eating.” How can we be proactive and protect our equine partners, without living in constant fear? Learn what plants in your area are toxic to horses (see table for the most common 14), the signs of poisoning they cause, how to decrease the chances your herd will consume them, and finally, what to do if you suspect a problem.

• Provide additional supplementation to meet their vitamin and mineral needs. • Supply a fresh, clean water source. • Identify poisonous plants in your area. An excellent resource is the county extension office. • Use caution when introducing new or young horses to different environments. • Closely inspect hay prior to feeding it.

What if you suspect poisoning? • Call your veterinarian immediately and follow his instructions. • Identify, or better yet, obtain a sample of the suspect plant; treatment depends on what it is. • Keep your horse calm.

Luckily, horses don’t normally eat toxic plants because Mother Nature has given most of them a bad taste. We certainly Valuable resources don’t need to live Local County Extension Office in constant fear, • but we do need to USDA/ARS Poisonous Plant educate ourselves Research Laboratory, so we can head off www.ars.usda.gov potential problems, • and deal with those FDA Poisonous Plant Database, that happen. www.cfsan.fda.gov • Canadian Poisonous Plants Continued on next Information System, page... www.cbif.gc.ca/pls/pp equine wellness


Common toxic plants Common name

Botanical name



Toxin action/danger


Black locust

Robinia psedoacacia

Widespread throughout North America, commonly in clay soils

Deciduous tree or shrub with thick furrowed bark, multiple oval compound leaves, white fragrant flowers

Depressant; rarely fatal

Weakness, loss of appetite, irregular pulse and breathing, diarrhea

Black nightshade

Solanum nigrum – other species are also toxic

Throughout the U.S. and some parts of Canada

Annual plant with branched stems up to 3’ high, flower with five white petals, berries ¼” round; first green then turning black

Contains several toxins but rarely fatal; quick recovery if ingestion stopped

Weakness, progressive paralysis, colic, diarrhea, salivation

Bracken fern

Pteridium aquilinum

Widespread throughout North America

Perennial with showy fern leaves from base, 1.5’ to 5’ tall

Thiaminase toxin which causes thiamine deficiency over 1 to 2 months

Loss of weight, progressive un-coordination, muscle twitching

Castor bean

Ricinus communis

Warm regions of the U.S.

Tree or bush up to 15’, bold foliage with pointed leaflets, often red in color

Gastrointestinal toxin, often fatal with just .01% of body weight in seed

Bloody diarrhea, convulsions, death


Xanthium strumarium

Widespread throughout the U.S.

Annual bush with large leaves, cream colored flowers developing burrs when dry

Liver damage from seedlings and seeds; 0.3% of body weight in seeds

Weakness, convulsions, abnormal eye movements, labored breathing


Equisetum spp – various species

Widespread in North America; moist areas

Herbaceous perennial with hollow, jointed, tubular stems

Thiaminase toxin which causes thiamine deficiency

Loss of weight, progressive un-coordination, muscle twitching


Datura spp – various species

Widespread in North America

Annual up to 6’ tall, large leaves with toothed edges, large white flowers

Depressant, 0.5% of seeds can contaminate hay

Sweating, excessive thirst, colic, muscle twitching, respiratory distress


Conium maculatum

Throughout North America

Biennial or perennial with delicate parsley-like leaves, white flowers on small erect clusters

Depressant and nervous system toxin; 0.25% of body weight

Trembling, salivation, un-coordination, paralysis


Cicuta douglasii

Throughout North America in moist areas

Biennial or perennial with delicate leaves from thick tubers, small white flowers in umbrella clusters

Convulsant; extremely toxic, .01% of body weight is fatal

Violent twitching, colic, convulsions, death within one hour


Asclepias spp – various species

Widespread throughout the U.S.

Perennial with various appearance depending on species, greenish-white flowers on umbrella clusters, white sap

Cardiac glycosides, dangerous but rarely eaten

Depression, unsteady gait, difficulty breathing, spasmodic colic


equine wellness

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equine wellness


Common toxic plants (continued) Common name

Botanical name



Toxin action/danger



Nerium oleander

Warm U.S. climates from East to West coast

Ornamental shrub from 3’ to 20’ tall, narrow leaves, flowers in white, red, pink or yellow in clusters

Cardiac glycosides affect heart, muscle and nerve function; extremely toxic

Colic, sweating, weakness, salivation, paralysis, coma

White snakeroot

Eupatorium rugusum

Throughout the U.S. and some parts of Canada in moist areas

Erect plants, 1’ to 5’ tall with oval serrated leaves similar to nettle plants; white, tubular flowers

Cardiovascular toxin 1% or more of body weight consumed over a 1 to 3 week period

Un-coordination, muscle tremors and weakness, sweating

Yellow star thistle

Centauria solstitalis

Eastern, Western and Southern U.S.

Branching annual with finely haired leaves, yellow flowers with stiff spinney bracts

Neurological toxin, large amounts over 30 to 90 days

Twitching of lips, involuntary chewing motions, difficulty eating and drinking


Taxus spp – various species

Throughout North America

Ornamental evergreen shrub or small tree with narrow leaves, inconspicuous flowers, bright red or yellow fruit

Cardiac glycosides; 0.5% of body weight is often fatal, often from trimmings

Colic, difficulty breathing, trembling, bloody diarrhea, collapse

Toxic Plants photo credits: Jennifer Anderson @ USDA-NRCS Plants Database Tony Knight, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University USDA/RRS Poisonous Plant Research Lab Robert H. Mohlenbrack @ USDA-NRCS Plants Database Anthony Knight @ USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Other plant categories you need to know about 1.

Selenium-accumulating plants are found in high-selenium regions such as North and South Dakota, Utah, Montana, Colorado and Wyoming. These can poison horses if consumed, and include wheatgrass, barley, wheat, and some species of milk vetch.


equine wellness


Nitrate-accumulating plants may contain more than 1.5% nitrate taken up through the soil, and can be lethal. Common plants are oat hay, Sudan grass, sorghum, Johnson grass and some weeds such as Russian thistle, pigweed and nightshades.


Plants such as false dandelion (Hypochoeris radicata) and wild winter pea (Lathyrus linsutus) have been linked to stringhalt, an abnormal gait condition that causes high stepping of the rear legs.

Wellness Resource Guide


Wellness Resource Guide Inside this issue:

• Acupuncture • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Communicators • Holistic Healthcare • Integrative Vets • Natural Product Manufacturers & Distributors • Schools & Training View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: www.equinewellnessmagazine.com Acupuncture ONTARIO

Equimass Anthony Paton. CEMT Campbellford, ON Canada Phone: (705) 924-9289 Acupuncture and massage therapy

Barefoot Hoof Trimming ARIZONA

JT’s Natural Hoof Care AANHCP Certified Practitioner & Instructor Scottsdale, AZ USA Phone: (480) 560-9413 Email: jonatom3h@yahoo.com


Hoof Help Tracy Browne, AANHCP, PT Greenwood, CA USA Phone: (530) 885-5847 Email: tracy@hoofhelp.com Website: www.hoofhelp.com Serving Sacramento and the Gold Country


Yvonne Moorhouse Hoof Care Practitioner, AANHCP, PT Marengo, IL USA Phone: (815) 923-6950 Email: y.moorhouse@att.net


Jeff Farmer, AANHCP, CP 927 Abe Chapel Rd. Como, MS USA Phone: (662) 526-0821 Email: hooffixer@msn.com Also serving West Tennessee & East Arkansas


Better Be Barefoot Sherri Pennanen Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 434-0146 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com Natural balance trimming, rehabilitation, and education centre.

Amy Sheehy - Natural Hoof Care Professional IIEP Certified Equine Podiatrist Pine Plains, NY USA Phone: (845) 235-4530 Email: hoofgal@naturestrim.com Website: www.naturestrim.com Specializing in natural trimming and rehabilitation of all hoof problems.


Emma Everly, AANHCP, CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.com AANHCP Certified Practitioner


Serendales Farm Equine Hoofcare Services Brian & Virginia Knox Campbellford, ON Canada Phone: (705) 653-5989 Email: serendales@accel.net Website: www.serendalesmorgans.com Barefoot Horse Canada.com Anne Riddell, AANHCP, Hoof Care Practitioner Penetang, ON Canada Phone: (705) 533-2900 Email: ariddell@xplornet.com Website: www.barefoothorsecanada.com Natural barefoot trimming, booting & natural horsecare services.


ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (514) 899-1535 Email: abchoofcare@msn.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com Certified hoofcare Professional Training, Rehabilitation, Education & Clinics


Horsense - Hoof/Horse care that makes sense Cori Brennan, AANHCP, PT Sharon, SC USA Toll Free: (704) 517-8321 Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: brombie1@yahoo.com Natural barefoot trimming serving the Carolinas

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Barefoot Hoof Trimming - Integrative Vets

Wellness Resource Guide




RevitaVet Therapeutic Systems Phoenix, AZ USA Phone: (602) 971-4353 Website: www.revitavet.com Terri’s Gentle Touch Therapies Scottsdale, AZ USA Phone: (480) 495-3312 Cranial Sacral, Reiki, Flower Essences, Essential Oils, Moxibustion, cellular repattering


Maureen Gould Stanwood, WA USA Phone: (360) 629-5153 Email: maureen@forthehorse.net Website: www.forthehorse.net


Triangle P Hoofcare Chad Bembenek Rio, WI USA Phone: (920) 992-6415 Email: trianglepenterprises@centurytel.net Website: www.trianglephoofcare.com

Grand Adventures Ranch Kay Aubrey-Chimene Sonoita, AZ USA Toll Free: (800) 797-8274 Phone: (520) 455-0202 Email: kay@grandadventuresranch.com Website: www.grandadventuresranch.com


Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Cottonwood, AZ USA Phone: (928) 274-4100 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com

Animal Herbery Greenwich, CT USA Phone: (203) 302-1991 Email: info@animalherbery.com Website: www.animalherbery.com


Equine Essence Inc. Apex, NC USA Phone: (919) 362-5487 Email: anne@equine-essence.com Website: www.equine-essence.com

Communicators ARIZONA



Equine massage. Experiential self-growth workshops. Regional Advisor for GaWaNi PonyBoy


International animal intuitive offers nationwide consultations in animal communication and energy healing



Integrative Vets

!" ! " !



Dr. Caroline Goulard DVM CVA Aliso Viejo, CA USA Phone: (949) 836-3772 Email: c.goulard@cox.net Website: www.carolinegoularddvm.com

" # ! !

$$$ % !" Claudia Hehr Animal Communicator To truly know and understand animals. Toronto, ON Canada Phone: (705) 434-4679 Website: www.claudiahehr.com

Acupuncture, Chinese herbals, Tui-na


Animal communication, worldwide, workshops, books

Holistic Healthcare ALBERTA

The Horse Mechanic Howard Jesse Serving the Lethbridge, Calgary area Phone: (403) 795-1850 Website: www.thehorsemechanic.com Natural balancing of horses with proper trimming of hooves, toothcare, BioScan & Bicom 2000


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Equine Wellness Resource Guide

Promote your holistic business inexpensively to a targeted market! 866-764-1212 wrg@equinewellnessmagazine.com

Advertise your business in the Wellness Resource Guide 1-866-764-1212

Integrative Vets - Schools & Training


Manufacturers & Distributors



Equinatural Blue Ridge, TX USA Phone: (972) 752-5598 Email: equinatural@equinatural.com Website: www.equinatural.com

Schools & Training WASHINGTON


Evelyne Neall


ARICP Certified Instructor Dressage Jumping Rehabilitation

May the horse be with you PO Box 456 Woodacre, CA 94973

Phone: (415) 454-8519 Pager: (415) 258-7173


Young Living Essential Oils Yorkville, IL USA Phone: (630) 730-6608 Email: ybimbalanced@gmail.com Website: www.youngliving.com/ybimbalanced

Wanted Acupressure Acupuncture Barefoot Hoof Trimmers

Wellness Resource Guide

Natural Products -

Promote your natural care business Inexpensively to

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Holistic Healthcare Integrative Veterinarians Natural Product Retailers Manufacturers & Distributors

Our readers are looking for quality natural services and turn to Equine Wellness as the leading source for wellness information. If you provide a natural service or product, you are eligible to advertise in the WRG.

Schools & Training TT Practitioners

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For advertising information: email wrg@equinewellnessmagazine.com or call (866) 764-1212

equine wellness


How to become a

confident rider... again! by Mary D. Midkiff

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

to do about it, anyone with the desire can once again enjoy the gift of riding.

Let’s face it – riding is risky business. It takes courage, desire, coordination and balance just to mount a horse, much less direct him through his paces. It’s no wonder riders can easily lose confidence when something goes wrong.

Insecurity is not only tied up with a fear of getting injured but can involve the need to look good and in control. We certainly don’t want to fall off and get injured, but we also don’t want to experience a loss of power in front of others, suggesting we have lost control of our horse and the situation.

Every rider, whether novice or advanced, has occasionally experienced fear, instability, self doubt, lack of trust and insecurity when around and/or riding horses. We know horses are dangerous due to their size, weight, and natural instincts of flight or fight and selfpreservation. They can be unpredictable and accidents can happen. Sometimes


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an incident with a horse leaves us more experienced and better prepared. Other times, it may shake our confidence and capabilities. Feeling insecure while riding can limit your effectiveness, send mixed messages to your horse, and be exhausting. This lack of confidence can infuse your daily life with a sense of unease, and restrict you in the riding you so love and want to pursue. It can even make you think twice about riding at all. It doesn’t have to be this way. By understanding why we lose confidence and what

Where does lack of confidence come from?

When an incident occurs, it usually comes as a surprise, something you’ve never experienced before. From then on, you may fear it happening again. When a rider comes to me with confidence issues, I assess her and her situation.

Take back your power!



Amazingly effective for people with post trauma stress disorder. It integrates elements from many effective psychotherapies in structured protocols designed to maximize treatment effects. Contact Dr. Margo Nacey in Berthoud, Colorado at 970-443-5467 or visit www.emdr.com or www.emdr-therapy.com.


Body movement techniques

•Alexander Technique – Therapists teach simple exercises to improve balance, posture, and coordination. They use gentle hands-on and verbal guidance to change bad habits that are causing discomfort and pain. www.alexandertechnique.com •Feldenkrais Method – Teaches you to become more aware of personal habits of movement and how to improve body motion. Instructors verbally guide you and do not use any hands-on techniques. This method is designed to alleviate pain, reduce stress, and enhance self-image. When people have any discomfort, they tend to hold their bodies in altered positions in order to protect the offending area. These become habit and often lead to other aggravating symptoms. www.feldenkraisresources.com

I try to find out what happened to sway her trust in herself and her horse, and ask her if she ever really felt genuinely confident on a horse to begin with. Many times there’s an insecurity associated with riding that makes it impossible for her to be confident on a horse’s back.


A sense of fear, multiplied by replaying the incident in your mind, keeps you powerless and insecure. Today, most people learn to ride in an urban setting, with supervised lessons once a week on school horses. Depending on the quality of the instructor and his or her awareness of the beginner’s

•Trager Approach – A form of movement re-education consisting of a series of gentle, passive movements, along with rotation and traction of limbs to relieve muscular tightness without pain. www.trager.com •Tai Chi Ch'uan – A non-combative, gentle martial art that developed in China and Japan. It is a system of physical and mental training used for achieving understanding of self, expressed through physical movement and self defense. Tai chi is used as part of a quest for improved spiritual and physical health. www.thetaichisite.com


Sports psychologists specializing in equestrian activities

Heads Up! Practical Sports Psychology for Riders, Their Families and Their Trainers by Dr. Janet Edgette, www.headsupsport.com Dr. Alan Goldberg, www.competitivedge.com Dr. Margot Nacey, 970-443-5467


Specialty books

Fitness, Performance and the Female Equestrian (Howell Book House) by Mary D. Midkiff, www.womenandhorses.com The Dynamic Rider System. The Total Exercise and Biomechanical Solution (Integrating the Pilates Method) Inserts 1 and 2 by Mary D. Midkiff and Maggie Parker, www.womenandhorses.com equine wellness


Holistic Horsekeeping

How to have a Healthy, Happy Horse from Stable to Stadium. by Madalyn Ward, DVM

In this book, released August 2006, Dr. Ward shares her 25+ years of experience of what does and does not work for the horse. www.yourhorsebook.com A multifaceted website offering a free bi-monthly newsletter, information packed articles, an online store containing books, videos and home study courses, an online forum and resource section. www.holistichorsekeeping.com


We offer fantastic rates on all your insurance needs: • Complete horse mortality plans lowest rates ever! • Comprehensive farm package • Liability insurance for all horse people • Homeowner’s & Tenant packages • Auto, truck & trailer insurance • Accident insurance for equestrians

1-800-36-36-HEP • www.hep.ca 28 Victoria St., Box 578, Aurora, ON L4G 3L6


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The carefree days when children learned to ride on their grandfather’s big old draft horse have become few and far between. So have the days when kids grew up jumping on the family pony with a halter and rope and galloping bareback across open fields. These youngsters learned naturally to feel free and confident, even at full speed. They developed balance and coordination by just doing it. needs, this environment may not nurture security in a new rider. She may start losing confidence early on when a horse or pony does not match her level of learning, or if the saddle does not fit her body and throws her off balance. She can also acquire a sense of insecurity if she does not have a fitness program that supports her riding, if she’s taught to grip with her knees and sit in a posture that doesn’t work, or if the basic alignment of her spine and pelvis compromises her safety and puts her at risk. The first time she feels precarious, loses her balance and is unseated or falls, a seed of fear may be planted. This seed will grow over time as additional incidents reinforce that lack of confidence, producing a timid or fearful rider that horses detect and react to accordingly.

Build a plan of action

Shaking a deep-seated fear is not easy. The mental, emotional and physical sensations related to fear can become powerful, unconscious and involuntary. Even the thought of getting on a horse may trigger a host of negative sensations and responses. But with a strong desire and the right assistance, it is possible to change these responses and regain your control and confidence.

•Hypnosis and self-hypnosis

My approach to helping riders back to full capacity usually involves several steps.


Take care of yourself. Find a therapist who can work out an individualized approach for you. Examples include: •Sports psychiatrists and psychologists who specialize in anxiety and fear-related issues •Aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage, cranial sacral and body work

•Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

2. 3.

Begin a fitness program designed to support riding activities. With the help of a professional, evaluate the horse for suitability and safety.


Learn how to make a positive

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Pulsating electro-magnetic field therapy

shift in a horse’s nervous system through massage, acupressure, aromatherapy, nutrition, supplements, detoxification and ground work.

Magsan is a new and revolutionary pulsating electro magnetic field (PEMF) therapy device, designed to help with various pathologies and to restore physiologic activity of tissues.

Ensure proper saddle fit for rider and horse.

made in Germany For more information:

MagSan Vet offers a treatment blanket for back problems and upper extremity disorders and different treatment wraps for tendon, joint or neck problems.


A handheld monitor lets you chose from six treatment programs depending on the nature of the problem.

(877) 794-7735 mail@swissvet.com

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5. 6.

Make sure the horse is as comfortable and pain-free as possible with joint support, regular dental exams, chiropractic treatments and hoof care.


Learn to ride with correct alignment, body biomechanics, core strength and an ability to release and relax the limbs.


Master techniques that will help control the horse in crisis situations on the ground and under saddle. Once we have executed a plan of this type, our rider will gradually regain full confidence because she has created a trusting partnership with a solid, safe foundation. Rider and horse can then learn, grow, compete and have fun together. If another incident occurs to test her confidence, she will have an understanding of why it happened as well as the tools to deal with it. A confident rider has an emotional security that comes from a firm belief in her powers, abilities and capacities, and a solid sense of trust in her horse. You can be that rider!

Q&a Mary D. Midkiff

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Women & Horses

fitness and performance



is the

creator and founder of

as a pioneer in the horse industry.

She Louisville, Kentucky and is the author of She Flies Without Wings: How Horses Touch a Woman’s Soul, Fitness, Performance and The Female Equestrian and The Dynamic Rider System. Mary is a professional instructor, clinician, trainer and rider. She specializes in a lives in

holistic approach to conditioning and training horses by providing techniques and resources for the female equestrian. www.womenandhorses.com or call


Heads up! Wrap it up Whether you’re on the trail or in competition, accidents can happen and leg injuries are a consideration. Mackinnon can help with their easy-to-use cold therapy Leg Wraps. Each reusable wrap features pockets into which you insert two specially designed First+Ice cold packs. Wrapped around the horse’s lower leg, it helps reduce swelling and fight tissue injury and scarring in a damaged tendon. Replacement cold packs are available. www.mackinnonicehorse.com

e w

Fresh as a daisy Ammonia odor in the barn can do harm to your horse’s respiratory system. The conventional solution is lime, but this can crack his hooves and sting his eyes (and yours). Sweet PDZ is a safe, non-toxic alternative. Composed entirely of a natural mineral called zeolite, this product effectively absorbs moisture, ammonia and other gases from the barn for later removal to the compost pile. Available in both powder and granular form. www.sweetpdz.com

Christopher Reeve Foundation awards grant to promote therapeutic riding The Christopher Reeve Foundation (CRF) recently awarded a $5,000 Quality of Life grant to the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, Inc. (NARHA). The donation will help the NARHA develop The Parental and Professional Information Resource Guide. “This guide will help parents understand the outstanding benefits that therapeutic riding offers and find the correct program for their child,” says Sheila Kemper Dietrich, NARHA Executive Director. “It will also assist professionals in recommending the right programs to their clients.” Since 1999, when the Quality of Life program was conceived by the late Dana Reeve as a way for the CRF to help improve the day-today health and well being of those living with paralysis, 1,163 grants totaling $9,220,980 have been awarded.

Check this out: The National Horse Council estimates that one in every 35 Americans is involved in some way with horses. The 7.1 million horse owners nationally contribute over $100 billion to the U.S Gross Domestic Product.

Electrolytes for equines A new image Is your horse’s coat not as glossy and richly-hued as it should be? Why not give him a beauty treatment with Dark Horse Nu-Image from Select the Best? Formulated from nutrients for coat and skin health, such as EFAs, amino acids, B vitamins, and color-enhancing paprika and kelp, this supplement brings out your equine’s natural coloring, promotes a rich dark shine on brown, bay and black horses, and brings his mane and tail back to life. All it takes is one scoop a day. www.selectthebest.com

Proper hydration is essential to your horse, especially if he’s a performance animal. Horsetech’s Quench! is a complete electrolyte supplement formulated for horses that work or compete. Free of fillers and sugars, it offers quick and efficient re-hydration by providing just the right proportions of sodium, potassium, chloride, sulfate, magnesium, calcium and trace minerals. Just mix 20 grams into a gallon of fresh, clean water. www.horsetech.com equine wellness


Does your mare have by Gloria Garland, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. & CH


Chasteberry may be able to help


equine wellness

“Mares, can’t understand them...just too unpredictable... give me a gelding any day!” These are some of the typical frustrated comments from people dealing with their mares’ hormonal dances. These horses may be sweet as can be one day and a grumpy, ear-pinning Wicked Witch of the West the next. Chinese herbs may offer just the help needed for those mare-ish mood swings. Chinese herbal therapy has a long history

Man Jing Zi – a hormone balancer The Chinese herb Man Jing Zi (Fructus Viticus), also known as Vitex, Chastetree Berry, or Chasteberry, has

ria Garland

Chinese herbs can be used effectively to treat diseases, symptoms or conditions that are usually treated by drugs and pharmaceuticals. One of the major benefits of Chinese herbal therapy is that when used correctly, it has very few of the negative side effects associated with drugs.*

Modern research shows Man Jing Zi to be effective for a number of conditions, including infertility and problematic or absent heat cycles (anestrus). There is evidence that it also reduces the size of uterine fibroids, pituitary cysts and tumors. Photo: Glo

The written history of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Chinese herbs dates back at least 2,000 years. One of the earliest herbal reference books, The Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Materia Medica, dates from the Han dynasty and lists 364 substances, many of which are still being used in modern formulations. We’re consequently benefiting from several thousand years of field trials, knowledge and experience. TCM continues to grow and evolve as we explore new areas of science. Science, in turn, deepens our understanding of how herbs work. Many volumes of pharmacological data now exist to support the use of herbs in modern medical settings.

been used for centuries in both Asia and Europe as a woman’s tonic and hormonal balancer.

Whole Horse Herbs™ Chinese herbal formulas for horses Custom blended & individualized herbal formulas to meet your horse’s unique needs

One of the ways Man Jing Zi works is by stimulating the pituitary gland to raise levels of the hormone progesterone. It’s similar to using synthetic hormone therapies. Progesterone, considered by many to be the calming hormone, enables the body to prepare for and maintain a pregnancy. Many of our mares’ behavioral problems are associated with low progesterone levels in relation to high levels of

Classic herbal formulas: • Movement & Flexibility • Performance & Show • Increased endurance • EPM & ERU support • Immunity support • Calming & Focus Veterinarian tested & recommended. Endorsed by performance horse trainers and owners


www.wholehorse.com equine wellness


Photo: Gloria Garland

In size and appearance, Man Jing Zi resembles a small, smooth peppercorn with a tiny flower on one end. The berry is used medicinally; it’s dark gray/black in color with a slight peppery fragrance and flavor. Good quality Man Jing Zi berries are firm and smooth. You should be able to scrape the skin off with firm fingernail pressure, revealing a light gray interior. Avoid extremely hard, shriveled, dusty, powdery or moldy-smelling berries. The berries can be stored and sealed in a dry, cool place for up to a year. Man Jing Zi is available as whole berries, or in a powder or liquid extract. I strongly recommend the use of preservative-free herbs.

estrogen. The hormone estrogen rises sharply just prior to ovulation and is associated with a sense of vitality and well-being. It is this sudden estrogen spike every 21 days that signals fertility and the ability to conceive. It also brings on aggressive, unsocial, mare-ish behaviors, or what so many mare owners call equine PMS.

How much to use: Four to eight grams of powdered herb or one to two tablespoons per day is adequate for the average 1,000 pound horse. Whole berries can be ground as needed in a coffee grinder and fed in sweet feed, grain or in well soaked beet pulp. Most horses readily accept this new addition to their diet.


Mares naturally come into “season” with increasing amounts of daylight. Coordinating herbal treatment with the seasons, from spring equinox to fall equinox and taking a break during the winter when daylight and hormone levels are at their lowest, follows the mare’s natural hormonal response to light. Which horses can use it: Most healthy mares are good candidates. You should consult your veterinarian to rule out any serious causes of the mare’s behavior, like an infection or ovarian tumor. When to use: Man Jing Zi can be safely used all year long, but many mare owners report positive results with a seasonal approach, feeding the herb from early March through late September. Man Jing Zi should not be used with synthetic hormones like Regumate, Ovplant and Depo-Provera, or during short cycling procedures. Although we may not be able to completely overcome the effects of hormones on our mares’ moods and behaviors, Man Jing Zi, combined with


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Great Life

eNZYmes Pro+ for Horses From Elliott Harvey MH

“The Ultimate Nutritional Supplement” A delectable taste of fresh Bananas, Carrots and Apples. Complete spectrum of Enzymes, Probiotics and Herbal Nutrients eNZYmes Pro+ for Horses offers protection against muscle fatigue, lethargy, joint inflammation, digestive disturbances skin problems, colic and founder; improves hair, skin and hoof conditions, aids endurance, fertility and provides the body with nutrients to detoxify environmental toxins. eNZYmes Pro+ for Horses will supply everything that may be lacking in the current diet, providing the

enzymatic and microbial action to help your horses digest feed efficiently. Enhance the life of your Horse: Real Solutions to Real Problems Elliott Harvey MH has created a series of natural products that meet the needs of today’s health concerns of our animal friends. He is available for consultations or just for a chat.


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A case study Gracie, an eleven-year-old gray quarter horse mare from Texas, had taken a few years off to be bred. Her owner wanted to show her again, but after two years of training and conditioning for showmanship, western pleasure and trail classes, it seemed she was always coming into season on the way to the show. While Gracie’s behavior wasn’t described as “horrible or dangerous,” she was definitely a “different” horse. Her mare-ish behavior was described as acting too bold and talkative around other horses. She was also unable to focus or relax, always looking around the ring, easily upset when her buddies were out of sight, and acting “witchy”, pinning her ears when her sides were brushed or touched. Beginning in the spring and continuing through the fall, Gracie is now given a special herbal mixture containing Man Jing Zi. She takes a break from it during the winter. Since starting this routine, Gracie is better able to focus and listen to her rider in the show ring and at home. While her owner still pays careful attention to her during her season, she reports that Gracie is a much more focused and willing partner.

good horse handling/training practices and a little understanding, can be an effective tool to help smooth out the negative behaviors associated with these girls. *Note: Chinese herbal supplements should be used under the guidance of a licensed Chinese herbalist. Used properly, TCM is an adjunctive therapy and therefore complementary to veterinary treatment. The information presented here is not intended to replace proper veterinary diagnosis or treatment and should not be used for that purpose. Gloria Garland, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. & CH., is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist with a Master’s Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine. A lifelong horse gal, she rides and practices in Oakhurst, California, near Yosemite National Park. Gloria provides acupuncture consultations and herbal formulas for veterinarians, horse trainers and owners. Whole Horse HerbsTM, her line of herbal formulas, was developed to bring complementary herbal medicine to the equine community. www.wholehorse.com or call


equine wellness


your health

Taking the garbage out by Dr. Valeria Wyckoff, ND

How to counteract the effects of our toxic environment

When Janet started feeding her horses rye hay, she began suffering from extremely cold hands and her fingers would turn white. She was fatigued, her allergies became worse and she was feeling very sensitive to cold weather and perfumes. Her symptoms were all related to ergotism, a mold that grows in rye hay. With her liver not able to process the extra load, she was having a reaction to the mold. Fortunately, she was able to stop handling the hay, do some extra liver support, and take a homeopathic medicine that matched her symptoms, helping her body drain the toxins. She soon began to feel much better. We are exposed to a variety of toxins every day -- in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and even the things we apply to our skin. Our bodies accumulate all these toxins, creating symptoms. These frequently start with a sensitivity to caffeine; maybe you can’t sleep at night if you drink coffee after lunch. Then, you might notice a negative reaction to paints, perfumes, soaps and other hydrocarbons. Or maybe you’re suffering from fatigue, allergic reactions, insomnia, restlessness

and foggy thinking. These all indicate your liver is on overload and struggling.

olive, flax, seeds and nuts.

How does our body release toxins?

mercury, arsenic and cadmium. Watch anti-perspirant, shampoos, hand soaps, well water, tobacco and pesticides.

You have to take out the garbage if you’re going to clean house effectively. The body has five major routes of elimination: the liver, bowels, kidneys, skin and lungs. All five need to be working well for the body to stay healthy. This means sweating from the skin, exercising in clean air for the lungs, eating enough fiber for one to three bowel movements a day, and drinking enough clean water to regularly flush the kidneys. But even with all five working there can be problems if the exposure to toxins is too high. The one organ of elimination you can’t perceive is your liver. Liver detoxification programs or diets from the health food store are helpful if you are healthy and all your other routes of elimination are working well. But a rapid detox might make you feel pretty bad.

What can you do?

1. Eat free range and organic meats and dairy products. Drink clean water. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic (five to ten servings a day). Include good oils in your diet like

2. Avoid toxic substances such as lead, 3. Give your liver some herbal support. Drink dandelion root tea and take milk thistle capsules. Squeeze lots of fresh lemon wedges into your water.

4. See a licensed naturopathic doctor. They are experts at identifying symptoms and managing a detoxification program that is right for you. Homeopathy, amino acids, supplements and chelation can support and speed the clearing of toxic substances from your body. We can’t always eliminate toxins from our lives, but we can help our bodies take the garbage out.

Dr. Valeria Wyckoff

is a naturopathic

physician and registered dietitian with a

Chandler, Arizona. Visit her She is also a Radio Doctor with a weekly talk show (www.Radiodoctors.net) broadcast in the Phoenix area and on the internet, Saturdays from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, Mountain Standard Time. practice in

website at www.DrValeria.net.

equine wellness


Photo: Mark Niles

Earth horse

Embracing the

Part three – The Elements of Chinese Medicine:


The stocky school horse plods around and around the ring with a young rider on his back. He is kind and slow, providing a safe and steady ride, and has a fat round belly from all the treats he’s received. He’s a quintessential Earth horse.

Metal horse, an equine with a similar and yet different make-up.

Every horse embodies common physical and behavioral characteristics of the Five Elements of Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. By understanding how Five Element patterns relate to your horse, you can keep him healthy and happy on a deep, lasting level.

Not all Earth horses are easy to handle, but at their best they are dependable, generous and worth their weight in gold.

In this issue, we’ll learn about the Earth horse’s needs and how to work with his temperament. We will also meet the

Earth 56

equine wellness

Earth: steady as a rock The Earth horse is friendly, easy-going and basically just a “good guy”. He enjoys company and connection. Earth’s biggest motivation is comfort and ease. He avoids unnecessary movement unless it takes him closer to his grain. But because he is an agreeable fellow, the Earth horse usually perks up after


initial reluctance and enjoys his outings. Don’t call him lazy as he has impressive endurance once his motor is running.

Easy does it When training an Earth horse, use lots of patience. He is not a quick thinker and may take longer than others to learn. He does best with short, clear lessons presented in bite-sized bits that can be easily mastered. When he does well, build his confidence with generous praise and recognition. Once he has learned a lesson, he will hold it forever. Don’t mistake his slower mind for lack of intelligence as the Earth horse can be quite clever. Just remember not to push him by overdoing the pace of your


Metal horse


is your horse Earth or Metal?

by Susan Tenney, CMT

lessons because he will resist if you do. His performance will become lackluster and his abundant patience will turn into a formidable stubbornness. Learn to honor his slower pace and you will have a work partner who will give you years of faithful rides.

Equine gourmet Once the saddle is off, the Earth horse is ready to get back to his favorite occupation: leisure. He loves nothing more than resting in a field of lush pasture. He is often an “easy keeper�, so regular exercise and a low starch/sugar diet is necessary to keep him trim. In addition, he is prone to all manner of digestive conditions including colic, diarrhea and dental issues. Make


sure you find a skilled dental practitioner and have your Earth horse checked regularly – simple filing is often not enough.

Keep a routine A regular routine and gentle understanding are the keys to a happy Earth horse. Routine gives him a comforting sense of security and competence and allows him to relax into familiar rhythms without having to think on his feet. Minimize activities that require prolonged periods of rapid thinking, as this increases emotional stress. If you plan to change his routine, whether it is a small shift (like a new neighbor in the next stall) or a major transformation (like changing barns), give him lots of

Metal equine wellness


The Earth horse at a glance

support and time to adjust. Be kind and understanding and the Earth horse will return the favor gratefully.

Physical characteristics

Considerations for the Earth horse

Common ailments: Digestive issues, diarrhea, colic of all types, weight issues, overly food focused, passing gas, growths and edema of all types, hay bloat, stifle issues, rain rot/rain scald, thrush, sway back from a big belly, dental issues, sluggish behavior Favorite sports: Anything of low to moderate exertion; a great lesson horse especially for beginners and children, excellent therapy helper, good pleasure and trail horse – long distance fine when pace is slow and steady Tips for success: Regular moderate exercise, moderate diet with limited sweets, turnout for keeping the horse active, regular dental care, “belly lifts” for strengthening the back

Emotional characteristics Emotional strengths: Dependability, stability, steadiness, gentleness, easy-going nature, friendly Stressed by: Lack of routine, humans who expect mental quickness, complicated requests, handlers who take advantage of his forgiving nature Balanced by: Genuine praise, touch, slow and grounded activities, routines, peaceful atmosphere, grazing time, comfort Vulnerable to: Stubbornness, worry, lack of confidence, lethargy, apathy, dull-mindedness, slow learning, getting in a rut Responds to stress by: Stopping to integrate the experience, refusing to move forward, shutting down emotionally, resigned cooperation Learning style: Benefits from slow methodical lessons with lots of praise that teach concepts in bite-sized pieces, ending early on a successful bit of learning instead of forging forth to something new, a calm learning environment Tips for success: Be patient and supportive. Give this horse praise for small steps to build rock-solid competence

On a physical level, Earth horses are prone to several health conditions. Knowing about these “weak links” can help you act promptly if they surface. They include stifle issues, growths including warts, sarcoids, melanoma and cancer, edema including wind puffs and stocking up, thrush, weak or sway backs (often due to weight gain), and excessive passing of gas. If your horse has any of these conditions, try to find an acupressure or acupuncture practitioner in your area to see if he would benefit from treatment. Herbs can also be wonderfully effective for many of these conditions.

Metal: a competent companion Both Earth and Metal horses are eventempered, sensible, reliable and calm, but what motivates them is completely different. The Earth horse’s greatest ambition is to have a lazy afternoon in a lush pasture; the Metal horse thrives on hard work and mental challenge.

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equine wellness

Whether it is a rigorous dressage lesson for a horse in his prime, or ferrying youngsters around the ring for a “retired” elder, Metal horses need a job to feel productive and useful.

Give 100% to training

early signs of stress can head off problems before they worsen, and avoid any tendency to shut down emotionally under pressure.

Keep it calm

The Metal horse is easy to train because he is smart, eager to learn and willing to work hard. But he gives 100% to his training sessions and expects you to do the same. He is tolerant of a unskilled rider who is earnest and trying hard, but impatient with a skilled handler who is sloppy or lax. This competent companion takes working with you very seriously. He bonds through work, not play.

Considerations for the Metal horse The most common place to look for physical ailments in the Metal horse is the respiratory system. If your horse coughs regularly, has labored breathing or other respiratory conditions, consider supporting the Metal Element with acupressure, acupuncture or herbs.

Turning inward To encourage harmony and maximum performance, don’t overwork your Metal horse. Though his reliable and collected nature seems to take everything in stride, his apparently calm exterior often hides a highly sensitive individual. More often than not, he is internalizing the stress of a heavy work load, sometimes to an unhealthy degree. Metal horses are also stressed when required to maintain a calm demeanor amidst chaos or difficulty. If your stoic Metal horse seems unflappable, look closely for subtle signs of stress. Carefully monitoring the

He’s happiest in a small herd with a few horses he can trust and rely on. When he bonds with another horse or person, his connection will be deep and lasting. Feel honored if you are the recipient of the Metal horse’s affections – he will only bond closely to a person he truly trusts and respects.

The Metal horse thrives in a calm, quiet, orderly home. In the bustle of a big barn he will be happier on the end of the row far from the entrance or, even better, someplace where he has free turnout to take private time when he needs it. Barns that have non-stop music or constant activity can really irritate this horse’s delicate sensibilities.

Skin problems also indicate your horse is dealing with a Metal imbalance. He may also show digestive problems and his immune system may require extra attention to stay strong. These physical symptoms surface when he is under emotional, mental or physical stress. Pay close attention to these signs; they may be the only way this stoic horse communicates that he needs your help.

This horse is not a social butterfly.

If your horse’s temperament doesn’t

equine wellness


Did you know? Are metabolic hormones and laminitis related?


“Giving cortisone (corticosteroid drugs) to horses at risk for laminitis is contraindicated (not advisable) as it causes the retention of fluids, which is the same laminitis-triggering effect as adrenal-released cortisol. Cortisol causes the body to retain sodium. Since water follows sodium, fluid migrates from the blood vessels into the tissues, producing further swelling and foot pain. If swelling and pain are not immediately relieved, laminitis may progress to pressure necrosis and founder. “The horse’s system can give its own injection of cortisol from the adrenal glands located in front of the kidneys. With ingestion of an excessive amount of carbohydrates, or sugars, an increase in insulin and cortisol secretion occurs, which results in tissue edema/swelling by the same method that occurs when cortisone is artificially administered.” “Any stressful event, including endocrine and environmental changes, may also cause the release of cortisol by the adrenal glands, which results in edema/swelling due to the retention of sodium. When the edema/swelling is in a closed vault such as the horse’s foot, there is great pain and tissue damage.” Excerpted from the book Laminitis & Founder: Prevention and Treatment for the Greatest Chance of Success by Dr. Frank Gravlee and Dr. Doug Butler.

Dr. Frank Gravlee graduated from Auburn University School of Medicine and practiced veterinary medicine for several years before

match those described here, or in the two previous articles, stay tuned. We still have one more Element to go. In the next issue we will meet the Water horse – an unusual and very special individual.

The Metal horse at a glance Physical characteristics Common ailments: Skin issues (rashes, dry skin, hair loss, allergies, eczema, skin sensitivity), respiratory conditions (coughing – acute or chronic, labored breathing (roaring, lung infection), immune issues, constipation, impaction colic, “splints” (bony growths) on the inside cannon bone of the forelegs, coughing or stocking up when the animal receives vaccination Favorite sports: Any task that gives him the chance to give his all, sports that require mental focus and demanding physical concentration and exertion - dressage, reining, jumping are often favorites Tips for success: Challenging work when fit, regular “work” to feel useful when “retired”, attention to environmental factors affecting the respiratory system (such as bedding, training surface, dusty hay, skin products), stretching for suppleness; evaluate the need for vaccination with a holistic vet (less is often better with this animal)

Emotional characteristics Emotional strengths: Logical, methodical and calm, reasonable, intelligent, dependable, independent, self-reliant Stressed by: Commotion, noise, lack of order, incompetence, foolishness, unreasonable expectations from handler, overly sentimental interactions, and occasionally resistant to lots of touch like massage Balanced by: Quiet time alone or with one favored person or animal, order, clean surroundings, respect, honor, competence, routine, work Vulnerable to: Mental rigidity, intolerance, judgment, perfectionism, righteousness, stoicism, trying to do it all alone, shutting down Responds to stress by: Internalizing inner chaos with exterior calm, impatience, irritation, emotional withdrawal, physical ailments like coughing and skin issues, blocking intimacy Learning style: Benefits from methodical and challenging lessons, clarity, correctness and competence from handler, calm quiet direct handling, no-nonsense approaches, regular work Tips for success: Be clear, quiet and respectful, give this horse meaningful work or training (work hard on your own part – e.g. handling/riding skills to earn his respect), don’t over-sentimentalize your interactions, gently coax him to feel safe expressing emotions and receiving touch and intimacy

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. of research, he launched www.lifedatalabs.com

60 60

equine wellness equine wellness

After ten years Farrier’s Formula.

Susan Tenney, CMT, works internationally as a teacher, writer and practitioner of Shiatsu and Five Element Acupressure for animals. She blends massage, acupressure, stretching, movement exercises and lifestyle modifications to improve animal health and performance. Her clients have included the Swiss Equestrian Team and two gold medal-winning United States Equestrian Teams. She is the author of Basic Acupressure for Horses and a growing line of laminated mini-posters. Susan offers clinics in Europe and the U.S., and leads a certification program in Switzerland. www.ElementalAcupressure.com

Aloe Vera Community of Canada Presents the excellency of FLP products for the holistic treatment of horses and for improving their well being

Aloe Vera gel, like Symphony Orchestra, with 75 nutrients, 20 minerals, 20 amino acids, and 12 vitamins in it, acts synergistically as: • Antioxidant • Skin cleanser and moisturizer • Exfoliator • Local anesthetic • Antimicrobial against certain bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeasts • Anti-inflammatory • Decreases itching • Lowers temperature • Potentiates the action of some other drugs

It has NO detectable side effects For • Skin Problems • Wounds and Burns • Digestive System Problems • Immunological System Problems • Ear and Eye Conditions Please, write us at horses @ aloeveracanada.ca www.aloeveracanada.ca

equine wellness


Photo: Tina Hutton

Getting Centered How Centered Riding helps you flow with your horse by Tina Hutton

A simple gesture may realign the entire torso to regain proper alignment of the rider’s body.

In the movies, people ride horses in the most beautiful and thrilling way. Human and horse move effortlessly as one being, flying across the sand, over the mesa or down the dirt-packed roadway. You can almost feel the flow and power as the hero gallops across the big screen and into the sunset. In reality, of course, riding is somewhat different for most people. Until you’ve mastered the basic skills, the hard facts of riding are just that…hard! Over time, our bodies develop patterns and habits of movement that may limit


equine wellness

HINT A horse can feel the weight of a fly, so he is certainly aware of the conflict between cues and indiscriminate signals from a distorted rider.

how they move. Our mental habits can also become stiff, fearful and limited. The act of “trying harder” to let go of tension usually produces the opposite effect in your body. How does this make your horse feel about carrying you in the arena or on the trail? If you think it

doesn’t matter to him, think again.

Mixed signals and styles When riding a horse, you are dancing with a multi-dimensional moving machine. When was the last time you thought of your own body in that way? Most of us find that rising from a chair, getting in and out of a car, or sitting at a computer for hours each day doesn’t leave us feeling all that mobile. Yet when we ride, we often expect our horses to carry themselves in elegant and correct postures no matter what our own

body patterns reflect to them. In fact, most riders are unaware of the extent to which their bodies are unbalanced.

When practicing this type of breathing, picture a balloon filling with air, equally in all directions.

Photo: Barbara Stanley

In your effort to learn to ride, you may also run into a variety of different styles. Some instructors use the cavalry style: firmly spoken instructions, repeated louder until you “get” them. Others are the soft spoken cowboy type, who don’t say much at all except to keep at it until you “get” it. Some eventually do “get it” while others struggle. But there is an easier way.


Move from effort to flow Centered Riding® incorporates the best of your physical and mental processes. Creator and founder Sally Swift, through her own experiences with a less than Turns flow for the horse when the rider’s body is balanced. perfect body, took the classical principles of riding and brought to be sure. Where did the majority of air sense to “how” it is done. Her four volume go in your body? If you are like basics of Centered Riding can not only many riders, you tend to fill only the top improve your riding, but your whole life. part of your body, in the chest area. 1. Soft Eyes – creates greater field of vision and releases tension. 2. Proper Breathing – reduces tension and fatigue, communicates calm to the horse and stabilizes your center of gravity into your lower body. 3. Building Blocks – aligns the body into true balance over the horse’s center of gravity, freeing both horse and human for fluid motion in any terrain. 4. Centering – allows the feeling of deepening your seat without the old tension and tightness, and permits the body to be ready for the flow of movement within and from/to the horse. Let’s focus on two of these basic principles:

Check your breathing Put your hands around your waist and take in a deep breath. Did your waist grow wider or narrower? Try this a few times

Compare and contrast how your horse moves at a walk when you hold or limit your breathing. Do this for several strides and observe. Now do the breathing described above and see what your horse reports back to you. Does he lengthen his neck and lower his head? Does his stride seem more fluid? Do you feel more comfortable and confident while riding?

Did your shoulders rise towards your ears? Besides cheating yourself of oxygen, your center of gravity is moved upwards, raising your risk of becoming unbalanced in tricky situations. Your whole body creates a pattern of tension, from head to toe. In addition, you have given your horse a signal that translates into fear or warning: “Be on alert!”

Balance your building blocks Most riders are sure they stand the “right” way. When they try the following visualization, however, it’s common for their bodies to make subtle adjustments from the inside, without any activation of muscle groups. Those who suffer low back tightness or tension may no longer have pain.

Look at your body as a series of blocks, from feet to head. Blocks that are stacked symmetrically, one over the other, balance the best. The human body carries this design, with built-in curves in the spine to allow for shock absorption during movement. While standing, place one hand, palm inward, on your lower abdomen. Your thumb rests on your belly button. The other hand lies against your lower back, opposite the hand on the abdomen. Use the back of your hand.

Breathe slowly inward while picturing your whole body gently filling outward with air, from the waist first (front, back and sides, all together), then continuing upward through the torso. The final area that fills is the upper part of the torso. It’s important to make sure you exhale slowly and evenly. Make your exhalations longer than usual, by a couple of full seconds (count “one thousand one, one thousand two”). This technique not only empties the lungs of old air, but becomes a clear calming signal to animals – a true cross-species language lesson!

Imagine that your body is hollow, but keep the pelvic “bowl” and spinal column. Install a wood dance floor across the equine wellness


“bowl” area of your pelvis. On it, place a ball of a size that can move around the area. Notice where the ball starts out. Is it closer to your front hand, your back hand, or somewhere else?


Feeling more harmony in your own body allows you to sense information from your horse more artfully, offer signals more gracefully, and feel more powerful.

from riders as they gain these skills in their bodies. They can’t believe that moving away from trying hard, while incorporating more creative solutions, can produce such great results for horse and rider. The best part of Centered Riding is that it applies to all riding disciplines. Whatever your level, riding or sport interest, adding Centered Riding skills to your equestrian toolbox offers real benefits. Your horse will learn to trust Photo: Barbara Stanley

Now visualize the ball moving directly to the front of your pelvic “room”, near the hand you placed on your abdomen. Notice what subtle changes occur in the balance of your body and the weight on your feet. Next, visualize the ball moving across the “room” to rest against the hand at your back. Did you notice any sensations in your body? Repeat When the rider dropped her stirrups as part of relaxation and rebalancing, this visualization the horse showed more movement and an engaged attitude. several more times. Does the weight bearing on your feet that the information coming from you change? Does your spine shorten or is accurate. This reduces conflict and lengthen? Do the changes seem to enhances your relationship. And isn’t ripple into any other parts of your that what we’re all searching for? body? Is breathing easier when the ball is in one place or another?


equine wellness

Riding from within

Tina Hutton

Being a better and more confident rider goes deeper than simply having lessons about what you need to do. We all need to spend time learning how to create each cue we use. That means learning to hear what our bodies tell us, not just telling our bodies what must be done. “It’s so easy!” is the common response

Dressage, Western, Halter, Driving and Endurance. She holds equine certification in Centered Riding® and TTEAM Method (Tellington TTouch Method). In human body education, she is a Feldenkrais Practitioner (European certification) and a Certified Massage Therapist. She has been offering humane

has experience in a

variety of equine disciplines including

education for horses and riders of every level for over


www.tinahutton.com or



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basics for senior health

They’re worth their weight in gold. Senior horses have helped raise kids, taken us on grand adventures, and provided comfort in times of sadness. Although a little slower now, older equines can still enjoy an excellent quality of life if their special needs are met.


It starts with diet

In addition to normal equine nutritional requirements, seniors have special needs depending on their circumstances. •Supply high quality free-choice grass hay. Smaller amounts throughout the day are easier on the intestinal track than two heavy meals. It also helps with a positive emotional outlook. •Offer three to four pounds per day of early-cutting alfalfa, which has smaller stalks and more leaves and is therefore easier to chew. It also provides extra calories, protein, calcium and other trace minerals. Some horses are sensitive to


equine wellness

alfalfa and this shows up as soft soles; discontinue use if this is the case. •Provide a high fat/low sugar feedstuff such as rice bran and ground flaxseed. This safely adds extra calories and essential fatty acids without contributing to blood glucose spikes. •Add a supplement designed for your type of hay. It should include vitamin E and selenium if these are deficient in your area. •Assure that free-choice loose white salt is available and consider adding two tablespoons per day to feed to support proper hydration. •Supply a high quality probiotic for a healthy level of good gut bacteria. •Provide soaked hay cubes if dental issues inhibit proper chewing and grinding. •Offer fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts to supply extra nutrients, “life

Photo: Mary R. Vogt

by Lisa Ross-Williams

energy” and excitement to the meal.

Watch out for dental issues Supplying a balanced diet is important, but dental issues can hinder a horse’s ability to properly chew and therefore utilize their food. “From a dental standpoint, horses are considered geriatric between 18 and 20 years old although this varies depending on previous dental care and environment,” says advanced certified equine dentist, Wes Campbell. “It’s imperative that all horses, especially seniors, have correct tooth balance. Keeping the arcades [back teeth] balanced with the incisors and temporal mandibular joints (TMJ) provides proper chewing ability and therefore absorption of nutrients. “A dental issue unique to seniors is loss of teeth,” Wes adds. “Horses have a reserve crown stored in deep pockets

within the jaw and that crown erupts continuously throughout life. However, once that reserve is gone, it’s gone, and it either falls out or becomes a bony matter which can attach itself to the alvelor process [bone]. Typically, the number nines, fourth tooth in the upper arcade, are the first to expire. Once a certain number of teeth are gone, the horse’s ability to chew coarse food is greatly reduced and special diets are required.” Although loss of teeth is a normal aging effect, abscesses, inflammation and infection can develop because of missing teeth and periodontal disease. Any odor coming from the mouth needs to be addressed by a qualified dental practitioner and veterinarian.

Feet don’t fail me now Movement is essential to a senior horse’s life. Hooves are his foundation and ensuring balanced, healthy feet is crucial for promoting an active lifestyle. •Frequent trimming every four to five weeks should be done by an experienced hoof care provider. Balanced feet reduce strain on already arthritic joints. •If possible, strive for active frog pressure; this helps absorb shock and increases circulation through the whole body. •Trimmers need to work with your horse’s comfort level. Many seniors have joint and muscle discomfort and forcing a leg into the normal trimming position can be extremely painful. •Provide frequent breaks during the trimming session. Remember, it gets tiring holding a leg up and a reprise is always welcome. Finally, don’t forget to provide interest and excitement in the form of play or exercise – it help keeps both the mind and body young.

equine wellness


inspirational women

Linda Parelli


by Norma Velda

In the world of natural horsemanship, the name “Parelli” has become a household word. As one half of that dynamic duo, Linda Parelli has helped drive this philosophy of horsemanship to its current international popularity. But how did an Australian dressage rider end up with an American cowboy named Pat Parelli? Photo: Parelli Natural Horsemanship

Born in Singapore, Linda moved to Australia at age twelve. She convinced her parents to buy her a pony and “we went everywhere at a gallop…with me clinging to my pony’s back like a little insect.” When Linda had to find a “real job,” she retired her ponies to attend Sydney’s Macquarie University with plans to become a teacher. Her curiosity as a lifelong learner resulted in a position with world-famous Ella Baché skin-care, where she was quickly promoted to Education Director and became the ‘face’ of Ella Baché, appearing on national television, conducting seminars across Australia and France, and redesigning the company’s entire training program. The horses still called, though, so Linda bought a Thoroughbred ex-racehorse with dreams of eventing. But the more she trained in the “normal” way, the more dangerous the horse became. “I struggled for two years with a horse that I was advised to ‘sell to a man’ or ‘put a bullet in his head’ because I couldn’t stop him,” recalls Linda. In a tack store one day, Linda noticed a video featuring a cowboy named Pat Parelli. As Pat executed perfect flying lead changes, slide stops and spins, Linda realized that he was doing it all without a bridle. She signed up for Pat’s clinic and was so impressed with his ideas, energy and enthusiasm, she started importing his equipment and organizing clinics in Australia. “We became friends and then more,” Linda recalls. “One snowy night he called and said ‘I can’t live without you,” The cowboy and the dressage rider were married. Now a Parelli Five Star Premier Instructor, Linda designs curriculum and teaches courses at the Parelli Centers, produces video podcasts, writes dozens of articles for publication, stars in Parelli tour presentations and the RFD television shows


equine wellness

and in 2007 will present Savvy Conferences in both the U.K. and Australia with Pat. “She’s absolutely passionate about teaching and learning. It’s contagious,” says Tara Harris, a student in Level 3. “Linda showed me that I could not only cause my horse to do things, but I could inspire him,” adds student Maddrey Baker. But perhaps her greatest impact on Parelli teaching has been her role as “Beta Test Student.” Before audiences of over 3,000 people, Linda has learned Roman riding, cutting, slidestops, vaulting, you name it – all done naturally. Bungee jumping, swimming with dolphins and presenting to the Queen of England are just another day at the office for her now. “I’m often asked why I don’t compete anymore,” says Linda, who lives with Pat at the Parelli Centers in Pagosa Springs, Colorado and Ocala, Florida. “It’s just not important to me. I’m having more fun with horses and accomplishing more than I ever thought possible. I want to share that.” For more information about Linda and Parelli Natural Horsemanship, visit www.parelli.com. Norma Velda, a Level 2 student and former television writer-producer-director, left a glamorous 25-year Hollywood career for the world of horses, who are far less rank than most actors.

Home Sweet Home by Elaine Polny

Tips for choosing a boarding facility

Having just acquired her dream horse, a

you with valuable information so you can make an informed decision.

ten-year-old flashy paint named Cosmo,


Melanie now had one week to find the perfect boarding facility. At a bit of a loss on how to

Understanding what type or style of boarding your horse is likely to encounter is a good starting point.

Does the facility take a begin, she decided to sit down and think about 1. natural or conventional approach?

what’s important for both her and Cosmo. Comparing boarding facilities can be like trying to compare snowflakes. They may seem the same from one perspective,

yet can be very different from another. Asking the right questions, both of yourself and the potential facility, arms

For the most part, there are two common styles of boarding: natural or conventional. To get a better understanding of each, I’ll explain some of their core fundamentals. From there, you can determine what kind of home you would like for your horse and how you equine wellness


too will fit into the picture. Here is a comparison of what you can commonly expect at each type of boarding facility:

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Conventional boarding facility

Full 24/7 turnout within a herd environment providing adequate shelter and access to grass hay on a continuous basis

Outdoor board – 24/7 turnout usually within a herd environment Indoor board - turnout is limited; it can be only when exercised by you, or outside during the day and in a stall at night

Barefoot trim methods applied – no shoes and varied terrain for optimal hoof wear

Expect varied hoof care methods from shoeing to barefoot; they may insist you use their farrier

Nutritional needs met utilizing natural feeds such as whole oats, vegetables and herbs

Nutritional needs are extremely varied, generally providing processed feeds (sweet feed, extruded grains, etc.) and infrequent hay feeding

Likely embraces homeopathy, massage, chiropractic, energy healing and many other non-traditional healing modalities as well as traditional veterinary care

Acceptance of different healing modalities vary greatly depending on the owner’s experience

Integrative approach to vaccinations and worming, perhaps utilizing titers and worming on an as-needed basis using fecal tests and/or herbal products

There would likely be a list of required vaccinations and frequent chemical deworming

Usually a non-competitive environment, although natural horsemanship is often used

Facility is commonly geared toward some kind of sport. i.e. dressage, reining, eventing, racing

2. What’s important to you?

Next, you need to ask yourself some questions to help decide what type of facility would best suit your requirements. 1. What do you enjoy doing with your equine partner? 2. Are you involved in a specific style of riding? 3. Are you competing now, or will you be in the future?


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4. Would you feel strange riding in an English saddle surrounded by others in Western riding gear, or vice versa? 5. Do you enjoy the social atmosphere or would you prefer a more private facility?


It’s as important for you to fit into the facility as it is for your horse’s best interests to be met.

6. Is there an indoor arena or access to trails? 7. What do you consider to be the best care for

your horse…no shoes; outside sometimes or all the time; alone or in a herd?

3. Looks good so far…now what? Once you have inspected a particular facility and feel it may be suitable, here are 15 key things you need to do. 1. Have a long chat with the barn manager/owner and as many other people there as possible. 2. Ask for references and about all protocols, such as what your horse will be fed, when and by whom. Remember, every time your horse is handled it is a training experience – either a good one or a questionable one. 3. How are emergencies handled? 4. What vaccinations are required? 5. How often is de-worming done and with what product? 6. Do they get their hay analyzed? 7. Do they have trainers on site? 8. Are you allowed to bring in your own trainer? 9. How often are herd mates changed, if ever?

12. Who do they use for veterinary care? 13. Do they offer clinics? If so, what kind? 14. If they have an indoor arena, how is the time scheduled? It can be frustrating to pay extra for something you can hardly use because of lessons or clinics being scheduled. 15. Finally, if you can, show up a second time unexpectedly to see if things are still the same.


Trust your own instincts. Do you feel a sense of calmness on the property or does tension fill the air? Horses often mirror their caregivers!

4. You get what you pay for Prices can range from $225 to $500 per month. But be careful about comparing facilities to the fees charged. You usually get what you pay for. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. I know many people who have chosen a boarding facility based on what they charge, only to discover that saving a few dollars has cost their horse a lifetime of emotional damage. Put your horse’s well being first, and scout around before making a decision.

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10. How do they introduce new horses to the herd? 11. Do they have any insurance for personal or horse injuries?

Continued on next page...

A great way to discover how happy the horses are at a boarding facility is to ask stories about them. Ask the person in charge to describe their personalities. Get him/her to tell you about their good and not-so-good qualities, where they’ve come from and how long they’ve been there. Ask about the worst and best things that have ever happened on the property. Hopefully they will give you funny and inspirational stories. But if you start to hear things like “oh, that horse is a bully or difficult to manage”, and other unbecoming behaviors, then you’ll know the environment has an unsettling nature.

For more information and prices call today or visit us online


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Don’t Let Your Best Friend Suffer From Stiffness, Soreness or Edema, For One More Day. Discover the 100% Natural Therapeutic Benefits of Holofiber.® Stable Blankets, Coolers, Polo Wraps, Saddle Pads and More. The revolutionary new smart fiber is made with millions of microscopic gemstones that act like mirrors for the horse’s emitted energy. Holofiber garments reflect the energy back into the body relaxing capillaries for optimum circulation and oxygenation and help fight inflammation, muscle soreness and edema. Optimum circulation also facilitates more efficient delivery of supplements and accelerates muscle recovery from exertion.

I leave you with one last thought. If you have ever experienced the gut-wrenching feeling associated with leaving your child in a stranger’s care, you know that honesty and integrity are important qualities to look for. Take the same care when researching a boarding facility for your horse, and you will be much happier with the outcome.

What does your horse really want? Close your eyes and feel your arms and legs turning into the four strong legs of a horse. Now feel your neck grow long and a beautiful mane and tail unfold. Take some time here to become a horse. Without thought, start running as fast as you can in this horse body and ask the question: “If I was a horse, how would I want to live?” Only you can answer this question.

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horse naturalist

Elaine Polny


been teaching, training and researching the many facets of the natural horsemanship world for over



At the natural boarding Ontario, Canada, natural

facility she owns in

horsemanship deals with the fundamentals of ©2007 Draper Knitting Company, Inc | 28 Draper Lane | Canton, MA 02021 | (781) 828.0029 Draper Equine Therapy™ is a trademark of Draper Knitting Company, Inc. Holofiber® is a registered trademark of Holofiber, Inc.

horse care and also encompasses the psychological, spiritual and environmental as well as the symbiotic relationships that directly connect to the equine way of life. www.horsesbynature.com


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book reviews Title: Discovering Author: Tom

Natural Horsemanship


For many of us, one certain horse has changed our life. This holds true for Tom Moates, whose horse Niji started him down the path of natural horsemanship. His book Discovering Natural Horsemanship chronicles his preoccupation to find a better way with horses. In his candid and plainspoken style, Moates shares with readers the highs and lows of following the convoluted trail of various styles of natural horsemanship. Throughout his journey, he works hard to learn the wise ways of numerous well-known clinicians, and his efforts to implement these ideas make for some interesting experiences. Sometimes humorous, often inspiring and always resonating with authenticity, this book is for anyone who not only loves horses but a great true story too. Publisher: The Lyons Press


Whoa-Ga! Eight limbed yoga for horse/rider harmony


Cathy Kan’dala Reynolds

For some years now, yoga has experienced a huge surge in popularity. Yoga schools have opened up across North America and most fitness clubs now offer classes. The stretching and strength-building poses combine with breath control to offer a balanced, relaxing workout for mind and body. It’s not all that surprising, then, that a rider’s version of yoga has hit the scene. The cleverly titled Whoa-Ga! draws upon the similarities between yoga and riding (think balance, alignment and harmony) and offers strategies to improve your horsemanship skills as well as your physical condition and concentration.

Mare Magic Helps to influence a quiet disposition in your mares and geldings. It also helps support a healthy reproductive system in mares.

The book includes step-by-step instructions on how to do poses, both in the comfort of your own home, as well as on your horse, while the full-color photographs will ensure you’re doing the poses correctly to get maximum benefit. Even if you can’t stretch as far as the models in the book (and who can?) you’re sure to enjoy this unique approach to horsemanship and fitness. Publisher: Publishingworks

Available in an 8oz. bag for a 60 day supply for one horse and in a 32 oz. bag for the multiple horse family.

Ask for Mare Magic in your favorite feed, tack and catalog store

360-426-9811 equine wellness


horsemanship top tips

Listen up! Tip #82

by Anna Twinney

Your horse’s ears let you know where he’s receiving his information from. In a schooling environment where your horse is either at liberty or on a single line, his inside ear will be rotated towards you, in what I call a “locked-on-to-me” position. I would recommend that you see this at least 75% of the time or more; ideally you are looking for 100%. This tells you that your horse is paying attention to you and listening to what you have to say. The outside ear will focus on motion and sounds from outside the round pen/arena/paddock or picadero. The ears will also reflect emotions or how a horse is feeling at any time. If his ears are flat back, he may become aggressive; if they are perked forward he is paying attention or alert to something in front. When saddling a young horse, he will have his ears facing toward the saddle, not because he is upset or mean, but because he is taking in information from the rear. Horses often display “floppy” ears when they are uncertain or confused.

Photo Courtesy of: Rebecca Burnitz & Bitterroot Ranch, WY

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 (her latest is De-mystifying the Round Pen) and conducts clinics in Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA. www.reachouttohorses.com

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ASSISI INTERNATIONAL ANIMAL INSTITUTE - Offers basic and advanced animal communication workshops and a Professional Animal Communicator Certification Program. You and a friend can attend our Skills Development Workshop for free by sponsoring it in your local area. Education@AssisiAnimals.org; AssisiAnimals.org; 510-532-5800. www.integratedtouchtherapy.com OFFERING EQUINE MASSAGE WORKSHOPS taught in small, hands-on classes by an LMT with over 15 years experience. Educational materials and certificate included. Lodging available. Free brochure: 1-800-251-0007, wshaw1@bright.net

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Portraits Pet HOOFTRAITS – send me your photos, do not mail your horse! For memories that last forever. Go now to: www.hayanimals.com Or call 416-829-7052


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1-866-764-1212 or classified@equinewellnessmagazine.com Equine Wellness Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising submitted, make stylistic changes or cancel any advertising accepted upon refund of payment made.

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If you would like to advertise in marketplace, please call: 1-866-764-1212 Categories: •natural products •educational •communicators & services

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events April 14 - 15 – St. Norbert, New Brunswick Pet First Aid Course The course will provide pet lovers with the necessary information and skills to stabilize an injured animal until qualified veterinarian care is accessed. Plenty of hands-on, first aid manual and mini herbal first aid kit. For more information: 506-785-2273, info@treetopsweb.com, www.treetopsweb.com April 14 - 15 – Phenix City, Alabama Toni Trimble Seminar Animal Communicator, Psychic, Clairvoyant and Author Toni Trimble will be conducting a 2 day seminar. All pets are welcome. This will fill up fast $80 (non refundable deposit)reserves your spot the balance is due by April 5th. Come find out what your pet wants you to know! Call for registration information. Dana Eiland: 706-527-7722 turn3coosa@yahoo.com April 28 – St. Norbert, New Brunswick Herbal and Aromatherapy Workshop Participants will learn about the qualities of herbs – what parts of the plant have healing properties; contraindications and precautions when using herbal remedies. Participants will also learn about the qualities and benefits of aromatherapy oils. For more information: 506-785-2273 info@treetopsweb.com, www.treetopsweb.com May 4 – Boulder, Colorado Horse Whispering: An Evening with Frank Bell Trainer and horse whisperer Frank Bell will demonstrate his Natural Horsemanship techniques for building trust with even the most troubled and anxious horses. All proceeds to benefit Colorado Horse Rescue – $20. www.naropa.edu (Extended studies) May 5 - 6 – Outside Chicago, Illinois May 19 - 20 – Larkspur, Colorado Introduction to Equine Acupressure This course offers you the ability to perform a complete acupressure treatment protocol and an understanding of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concepts and theories underlying acupressure. Since Acupressure is based on TCM,

we will explore this ancient science and guide you in learning how to help your animals feel their best. There are no prerequisites to this course. A Certificate of Completion for 30 LUs or 16 CEUs is available after successfully passing an open book, take-home examination plus 2 Case Studies. For more information: Kim Bauer, 541-352-6729 kim@animalacupressure.com www.animalacupressure.com May 9 - 13 –San Francisco, California Fort Mason Center Counseling & Problem Solving Workshop This exceptional and experiential workshop, facilitated by Dr. Jeri Ryan, was developed to teach participants techniques, skills and perspectives valuable in solving typical situations and challenges in animal communication work. You will gain a deeper understanding of animalbeings, develop a philisophical perspective on relating to and solving problems, learn methods and techniques for emotional protection, find out typical solutions to typical problems, develop and strengthen skills for rapport building and gain experience working with real problems... and more! Prerequisite of Assisi’s Skills Development Workshop or a basic animal communication workshop with any teacher. May be taken for edification purposes without pursuing certification. For more information: Education@AssisiAnimals.org www.AssisiAnimals.org May 10 - 31 – Boulder, Colorado Understanding Horses: A Field Guide to Equine Behavior Based on the ethics and principles of Natural Horsemanship, this course will provide you with a greater awareness of equine psychology, behavior and response. Observe herd interactions, as well as learn foundational skills including catching, haltering, leading and grooming, gaining and increasing awareness of your own energy and intention. $188, $159.80 by April 19 www.naropa.edu (Extended studies)

May 21 - 24 – Larkspur, Colorado Equine Meridians & Specific Conditions This course is divided into two sections so that we can cover 6 of the 12 Major Meridians in each section. Following the categorization of the FiveElement Theory, the courses offer greater depth regarding the types of physical and psychological issues presented when particular meridians are not in balance. Participants will learn: indicators for each of the meridian imbalances; key acupressure points along each of the meridians; and Specific Condition Treatments for each of the 12 Major Meridians and two Extraordinary Vessels. A Certificate of Completion for 60 LUs or 32 CEUs is available after successfully passing the Open-Book, Take-Home Examination, and 4 case studies. For more information: Nancy, 888-841-7211 nancy@animalacupressure.com www.animalacupressure.com June 7 - July 12 – Boulder, Colorado Equine Inspired Growth and Learning By their very nature, horses have much to teach us about ourselves. Through hands-on horse play, contemplative practices of meditation, journaling and group process, we will explore how these states manifest in our personal and professional lives. This course is appropriate for those seeking deeper self-exploration and knowledge, and for anyone interested in the field of Equine Assisted Learning/Psychotherapy. Class size is limited. $225, $191.25 by May 17 www.naropa.edu (Extended studies) June 18 - 23 – Dubois, Wyoming Bitterroot Ranch Unique Reach Out to Horses® Program! Become a certified Reiki Practitioner Level I & II , while attending a tailor-made Reach Out to Horses® clinic. Learn to communicate with horses and how to solve remedial issues. Contact: Roz Abel Tel: 800 545 0019 for accommodation Roz@equitours.com Contact: Anna Twinney anna@reachouttohorses.com for course bookings

Post your event online at: www.equinewellnessmagazine.com/events 80

equine wellness

bulletin board CONGRATULATIONS!

Out and about Come visit us at:

Theresa Pafumi of Massachusetts entered the Equine Wellness Magazine draw at Equine Affaire in Springfield, MA and won this personalized portrait of her horses!

• Equine Affaire April 12-15 Ohio Expo Center Columbus, OH www.equineaffaire.com

Portrait donated by Alicia’s Equine Art www.freewebs.com/aliciasartwork/

Equine Wellness Magazine was there!

• Horse World Expo May 11-13 Empire Expo Center Syracuse, NY www.horseworldexpo.com

Equine Affaire – February 1-4 The 7th annual Equine Affaire in the West was held at Fairplex and had something to offer to horse enthusiasts of all ages, all breed persuasions, all levels of expertise, and all equine disciplines. The show featured in-depth clinics conducted by many of the nation’s foremost trainers, coaches, competitors, and Olympians. Left: Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis demonstrate acupressure.

• Women Luv Horses May 18-20 Cabarrus Arena &Event Center Charlotte, NC http://www.lynnpalm.com/docs/ women-luv-horses.php • Western States Expo June 8-10 Cal Expo Sacramento, CA www.horsexpo.com • Family Pet Expo April 13-15 Orange County Fair Grounds Costa Mesa, CA www.petexpooc.com

Pennsylvania Horse World Expo – February 22-25 Horse World Expo offered the Best of the Best in the horse industry. We met and learned from industry professionals from all over the country. The experts discussed topics covering virtually every aspect of horse care and training. Educational activities were scheduled continuously throughout the weekend.

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Don't miss our next issue... July/August issue on stands June 12

SKIN AND COAT • Essential nutrients for healthy skin • Skin cancer • Vaccination • Top ten grooming tips • Feldenkrais • Emotional aspects of horses • Proper footing for hoof health by region • Homeopathy for horses • Itchy skin and hives • Therapeutic hoof boot review equine wellness


tail end


Tess’s fairy tale ending

Photo: Nancy Faulconer

Once upon a time there was a small horse named Tess who was born on a small farm in Illinois. Her mother was a pony named She’s A Toy, while her father, King of Collector, was a famous Tennessee Walking Horse. Tess’s registered name is Toy’s Evening Shade (T.E.S.), and that’s how she came to be called Tess. When Tess was two, she was moved to Florida, then sold to a lovely young lady named Nancy. Nancy trained her to wear a saddle and bridle, and to go over bridges and walk under objects like tarps and umbrellas. They had a lot of fun together, walking on the trail. Nancy was really too tall for Tess, so one day she found the pony a new home with a little girl just her size. This home was different: Tess was taken barrel racing and was on the road a lot. One


by Nancy S. Faulconer

day, she fell in the trailer and hurt her shoulder. After that, she couldn’t barrel race for awhile, so was put out to pasture. Sadly, the other horses in the pasture weren’t too friendly with her, and she didn’t get much to eat. Before long, another woman came to see Tess in the pasture. She took the pony to her own barn and took very good care of her. The shoulder injury healed, and Tess started going out for rides on the trail again. She soon found herself moving to yet another new home, once more with a little girl. The child liked Tess at first, but grew tired of the responsibility of caring for a horse. The family left the pony out in the field. She still received feed, but was no longer brushed or walked on the trails. She started to get skinny,

Tess and Jordan.

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and the neighbors complained. The vet came out to see her and recommended that the girl’s parents either find a new home for Tess or put her to sleep. That night, Tess pushed down the fence and set out on her own. By the following morning, she’d found some other horses who welcomed her and let her hang out with them. When a woman came out to feed the horses and saw Tess, she called the vet to ask if anyone was missing a pony. The vet knew Tess’s family and when the woman called them, they told her she could keep the pony. Tess stayed there a few weeks. Then, by coincidence, her old owner Nancy stopped by to look at another horse that was for sale. Although it was 12 years since she’d given the pony away, she recognized her old friend and cried over her sad condition. Nancy now has a little nine-year-old girl of her own who was very happy to accept Tess as her personal pony. Her name is Jordan, and she takes excellent care of her charge. She has learned how to trim her hooves, groom and feed her, and the two will soon start going to shows together. They also hope to help other children learn to enjoy taking care of their own ponies. It’s been an incredible journey, but now that she’s been reunited with Nancy and Jordan, Tess is bound to live happily ever after.

If you have a heartwarming or humorous equine story you’d like to share, send it to submissions@equinewellnessmagazine.com

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