V2I4 (Jul/Aug 2007)

Page 1


wellness Your natural resource!

5 natural ways to blow off

allergies Fabulous footing for

barefoot horses

BIG SHOTS! Is your horse being over-vaccinated?

How to stop

Sun Damage Good hair days: 8 grooming tips for health & beauty July/August Display until August 20, 2007 $5.95 USA/Canada


Enter our first

Photo contest


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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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Click on this icon to visit featured links


16 5 basics to alleviating allergies Getting the itch out of your horse




Sun damage


Are your emotions taking you for a ride?


Brushing up!


Big shots!


Therapeutic hoof boot review


Putting your best footing forward




Moving in the right direction


Embracing the Elements: Part four

What it can do & how to stop it

How a good mood leads to good training

Top 8 grooming tips

Are we giving our horses too many vaccinations?

Hoofcare experts put three products to the test

What’s your equine partner walking on?

A sweet treatment for sprains and strains

Improve your riding with the Feldenkrais Method ®

The Elements of Chinese Medicine: is your horse “water”?



68 10 tips for winning horse photos How to take great shots


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Traveling with your horse

What to keep in mind when you’re hitting the road

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columns 12 Neighborhood news

Volume 2 Issue 4

Your health

26 Holistic veterinary advice

61 74

30 A natural performer


Horsemanship tip

38 Did you know?


Tail end

Talking with Dr. Joyce Harman

Profile of a natural performer

Book reviews

with Anna Twinney

departments 8 Editorial 25 Product picks 43 Wellness resource guide 55 Heads up!

75 76 81

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: Christina Handley Columnists & Contributing Writers Thurz Aspinal, DCH Sheryl Bourque, DVM Clair Davis W. Jean Dodds, DVM Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS Annabel Kent Sue LeBrun Julie Anne Lee, DCH Penny J. Leisch Dan Moore, DVM Wendy Murdoch Bonnie Riedl Maryse Shank Susan Tenney, CMT Anna Twinney Valeria Wyckoff, ND Administration


Publisher: redstone media group inc. President/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley Office Manager: Lesia Wright Information Services Director: Vaughan King Administrative Assistant: Julie Poff


Submissions: Please send all editorial material, advertising

Events calender

our cover:

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 Jeff Yamaguchi – Sales Representative (905 ) 796-7931




Classified Advertising classified@redstonemediagroup.com subscribe: Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. $15.00 and Canada is $20.00 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


Photo: Christina Handley

Her registered name is Pieces of Plaudet, but because her mother’s name was “Peeka”, this striking horse’s barn name is “Boo”! She’s a double registered American and Canadian Appaloosa who stands at 15.2 hands and is a venerable 17 years old. Once used for trail riding, Boo is now a 4H horse and is given to one student every year as a project horse. An easy keeper with a great temperament, she lives on a farm near Fenelon Falls, Ontario, where she enjoys a barefoot life, daily turn-out, and some light pleasure riding.

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.

www.equinewellnessmagazine.com 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: June, 2007

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

equine wellness

editorials Winning respect

A picture’s worth a thousand words

I love all animals, but when it comes to the most beautiful creature on earth, there’s no question in my mind. Horses win hands down. Watching a herd flying over the ground, nostrils flared, tails high in the air, can bring tears to my eyes. Horses seem vulnerable and wild all at once, and it’s that paradox that fascinates me. It’s what I’ve tried over the years to capture on film, with varying degrees of success. I’m sure any amateur photographer can relate. In this issue, we’re launching our first-ever Equine Wellness Photo Contest (p. 10), and we hope you’ll enter. You’ll have the entire summer to get that perfect shot, whether it’s an action photo, a creative portrait shot, an image that reflects the horse/human bond or just a picture of your horse grazing in a field. If you’re a little rusty in the phototaking department, don’t worry. There’s a great article in this issue (p. 68) to get you shooting like a pro. To prepare your horse for his “glamour shots”, you’ll want to read through our skin and coat articles. Not only will your horse look better from the outside, but he’ll feel better too. And speaking of feeling better, don’t miss the first of our three-part series on vaccination (p. 35). This is one of the most controversial topics in horse health and as the decision maker for your horse, you need accurate, unbiased information.

Of the six geldings who make up our herd, the one with the most “attitude”, and quite frankly the most difficult to work with, is Cooper, our three-year-old mini. He’s certainly a fire horse and I am a fire woman, so it’s not surprising our high energies clash once in awhile. We also look very much alike, with blond hair and blue eyes. When I first started thinking about getting a mini, I envisioned a sweet, loving creature. Not so with feisty Cooper. Instead, whenever I requested he do something, I was met with pinned ears, tight lips and “how dare you ask me to do that?” However, due to two recent events in which I saved his life, his attitude towards me has really changed. It’s as though am I am now entitled to his respect and love. The fact that these two crises happened within two days really helped. The first happened while I was hanging laundry one day. I noticed the horses were clearly upset and calling in a low nickering sound. I discovered Cooper lying upside down against his shelter. His big belly and a wedged rock prevented him from flipping back up. I grabbed his back foot, pulling him over. Brownie point No. 1. The next day, the herd was again upset. This time Cooper had got a strand of electric wire (not hot) wrapped around his ankle. Thankfully, he stood completely still while I removed it and freed him. At that moment, the look in his eyes changed. He realized I was a competent leader and protector. So far, no more pinned ears.

Finally, as we head into our second exciting year of Equine Wellness, I’d like to thank our contributors, readers and advertisers for making our first year such a great success.

Moving on to this issue. Equine Wellness has only been around for a year, yet what an impact we’ve had in the horse world! It’s such an honor to network with all the natural horse care and horsemanship professionals who have contributed to our success. And thanks to our readers for embracing Equine Wellness. Doesn’t it feel great to make informed decisions about your horse’s care?

Happy summer to all!


Founder and Editor-in-chief

Senior Editor

equine wellness

equine wellness

Dust off your cameras! Over $700 in prizes to be won in our

1st Ever Equine Wellness Photo Contest! Enter our Equine Wellness Photo Contest and you could win one of five fabulous prizes! Your photo will also appear in an upcoming issue of Equine Wellness Magazine for all to admire. What better way to pay tribute to your equine partner!


The rules are simple: 1.


Send a digital photo, scanned at a minimum of 5"x7", at 300 dpi resolution in a tif, jpeg or pdf format to: photos@equinewellnessmagazine.com or send a good quality hard copy original photo (not a color photocopy) to: Photo Contest, Equine Wellness Magazine, US: PMB 168, 8174 S. Holly St., Centennial, CO 80122 CAN: 164 Hunter St. W., Peterborough, ON K9H 2L2

Please remember to include your name, address and telephone number, along with your equine's name, sex and age (if known) and a short description of the photo. Hard copy photos must have contact information printed on the back of the photo. You may submit a maximum of two photos of each horse.


All photos become property of Redstone Media Group. Redstone Media Group reserves the right to publish all photos in Equine Wellness Magazine, and on our website. We regret that photos cannot be returned.


Winners will be notified by phone or mail and winning photos will appear in a future issue of Equine Wellness.

Enter by September 30, 2007 for your chance to win!

Win one of these great prizes! 1st prize – Nurtural No-Bit Bridle™ and DVD set from Nurtural Horse (retail value $400) 2nd prize – HoofPrint silver jewelery from Pawprints (retail value $150) 3rd prize – DVD and book set from Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute (retail value $89) 4th prize – In Balance essential oil and autographed book from Women & Horses (retail value $75) 5th prize – Organic horse treats from WinTreats (retail value $39)

Thanks to our sponsors:

Tallgrass Publishers LLC.


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neighborhood news

Horses Mean Business The term “backyard horse” may not spark images of high spending and thousands of jobs. But a survey by the American Horse Council (AHC) reveals that the recreational segment of the horse industry, including the average pleasure rider, generates a significant economic impact as well as employment opportunities. The U.S. horse population is 9.2 million, and horses used primarily for recreational purposes make up the largest segment of this population by more than a million. More than 1.4 million quarter horses are being used specifically for recreational activities. Another 228,290 thoroughbreds and an astounding 2.3 million horses listed under “other breeds” are also involved in equestrian recreation. A total of 4.7 million people participate in the equine industry, and 1.8 million have horses of their own. The resulting effect on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – an impressive $32 billion!

Hong Kong’s Olympic Plans Race Ahead Pulling together The 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events are being held in Hong Kong, and the Equestrian Company has already made great strides in the preparations. The city’s Jockey Club is paying for and managing construction of the venues. Equestrian experts who have visited the cross-country course say it is one of the best they have seen. At the Jockey Club’s Sha Tin racecourse, meanwhile, eight training arenas and three training tracks are being built. Four new blocks of stables are also under construction for the 200 horses that will compete in the three Olympic events (dressage, jumping and eventing) to be held August 9 to 20, 2008. The Paralympic events are set for September 8 to 12, 2008 and will involve 78 competing horses. Equestrian events are becoming more popular in both Hong Kong and on the mainland. Beijing now boasts more than 70 riding clubs, and the wait to join local riding schools in Hong Kong stretches to three years.


equine wellness

Residents in Uxbridge, Ontario must have felt they were stepping back in time recently when about two dozen riders and three “chuck wagons” wound through the streets of town on April 1 to collect food for the local Loaves and Fishes Food Bank. Following separate routes, the group, which was organized by the Uxbridge Horsemen’s Association, ended up at Zehrs grocery store. According to the Daily Bread Food Bank, the 1,800 pounds of food and $400 in cash donations was the biggest ever collection on a single day. Now, that’s no April Fool’s joke. See www.uxbridgehorsemen.org.

Humane voters pack a punch A national survey by the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) revealed that Americans from all major political affiliations have a broad-based interest and concern for animal protection issues. Here a few interesting stats: • Nine out of ten humane voters said they would likely cross party lines to vote for an animal-friendly candidate. • A majority also said that animal protection was a more important priority to them when selecting candidates than any other top issue, including the environment, health care, education, jobs, the economy, and immigration. • Humane voters make their voices heard: 94% of respondents have voted in national or local elections, while 86% have contacted an elected official. • Problems plaguing pets continue to be of paramount concern to humane voters, followed by animal fighting, factory farming, and other issues. • Humane voters are willing to increase their level of political activity on behalf of animal protection issues.

Clearing the air Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW) was created by a group of vets who are concerned about the misinformation being given to the public about the national debate on horse slaughter.

VEW has consulted and responded to the concerns of representatives of the horse industry, the field of equine rescue, and the humane community, with the goal of facilitating a dialog that will improve the quality of life of all horses. The coalition recently launched a new website (www.vetsforequinewelfare.org) about the day-to-day proper treatment of horses, and to provide humane information and options to those who can no longer care for (or must end the lives of) their horses.

Talking is the first step

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) recently hosted a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The theme of the discussion was how the equine veterinary community can help permanently eliminate the practice of soring. Fourteen industry groups were represented, including FOSH (Friends of Sound Horses), along with AAEP officials and veterinarians from the USDA. Everyone in attendance expressed their commitment to ending soring, which is strictly prohibited by the Horse Protection Act. The AAEP condemns the practice and supports the enforcement efforts of the USDA. equine wellness


A Second Chance There’s good news for horses in Kentucky. Equines in life-threatening situations will now be given a second chance thanks to the newly opened Kentucky Equine Humane Center.

Photo: Joy Gilbert


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Located on a peaceful, 50-acre horse farm just outside Lexington, the center is the first of its kind. It was established to give owners a humane option when they need to give up their horses, and provides a safe refuge for at-risk equines of all breeds and disciplines. No horse will ever be turned away, and those that are adoptable will be placed in loving new homes. Unadoptable horses in chronic pain or with permanent, crippling injuries will be humanely euthanized. Visit www.kyehc.org to learn more.

New rules for endurance Photo: Troy Underwood

After jumping and evening, endurance has become the third most popular International Equestrian Federation (FEI) discipline. It has evolved from a leisure activity into a competitive sport, and the total number of endurance events has risen by nearly 500% in just the last six years. Early this spring, Paris, France hosted the FEI World Endurance Forum to review the discipline in depth and identify specific areas where change and improvement are necessary. These include: • qualification system • equitation training • rest periods • suspension of riders and horses • protocol for abandonment; ride finish system • monitoring officials’ performances • re-evaluation of the low-level distances and the potential dangers linked to them • number of vet gates and their link to the going • adequate technology • examination of a handicap system As a result of the findings, a task force will be created to help the FEI produce new Rules of Endurance better suited to the changing circumstances and massive growth the sport is experiencing.

Endurance events, demonstrated above by Gina Lander and Halim, are growing in popularity.

equine wellness



basics to alleviating


by Dan Moore, DVM

Photo: Kenny Williams, If Your Horse Could Talk

Summer is here, and so are those pesky flies, mosquitoes and, for many horses, awful allergy problems. Veterinarians call it dermatitis and frequently say your horse is allergic to things you can’t possibly keep him away from, like flies, certain hays, and dust. Allergies are becoming more prevalent and those with affected horses call it a nightmare. Yet by following some basic guidelines, you may never have to experience them with your horse.

What are the symptoms? The obvious symptom of skin allergies is itching. This is often accompanied by hives, which are little raised bumps similar to what a bee sting would make. In severe cases, hives are so numerous that they gather together, causing welts. In extremely severe episodes, the horse itches so badly that he rubs and bites his skin until it is raw and/ or bleeding. Fly sprays, lotions, etc., help somewhat, but for the most part, these simply make you feel better, not necessarily your allergy horse.

ruined our soils with salt fertilizers, and have over-vaccinated, over-medicated, over-sugared, and over or incorrectly supplemented our horses so much that their bodies do not know which way to turn. Things seem worse today than when I graduated from vet school in 1980, just 27 years ago. Our horses appear to be weaker now. It’s because we have bombarded them with so many vaccines, chemicals, pollutants and toxins. The consequence is a critically out-of-balance immune system. It’s in

Above: Hives are a common allergy symtom.

“hyper” mode, not really knowing what it should react to, so it simply starts reacting to everything.

Nutrition is critical The best way to prevent or treat allergies is to look at what the horse’s body is

It’s the cause that’s important, not the trigger Why are some horses allergic to things that are normal for them to be around? Flies, mosquitoes, and bug bites in general are “triggers” that make things worse, but they are not the cause of allergies. The cause is from “within”. We have


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Are vaccinations linked to allergies? Many allergies start in the spring, when most vaccinations are given. Is there a connection? If you have a horse with allergies, please look at this issue carefully. Vaccinations are often filled with preservatives like mercury and foreign protein. Continually “sensitizing” with foreign tissue via vaccines is a big part of the allergy syndrome. Ask yourself: “Are all these vaccinations really needed year after year?”

getting too much of, or not enough of. Vitamins, minerals and salt are equally important, but so is the source. Minerals are often full of heavy metals like aluminum and lead. A professor at the University of Kentucky sent me some information stating that lead and cadmium are frequent contaminants in minerals. White salt is chemically made for other industries, not just for horses, as most believe. It is even kiln dried and bleached. The horse’s body has to handle all this extra “junk” one way or another. Nutrition is critical but it can be confusing. What should you feed your horse? What should you supplement? The list of questions is long. But you don’t need a PhD in nutrition to know how to take care of your horse’s needs properly. It truly is not that difficult. All you need to do is keep the basics in mind and leave the rest to nature.

Basic #1: More fat, less sugar Horses generally don’t get enough fat from their diets, but get far too much sugar. Essential fatty acids are a must in allergy horses. In my opinion, the best source is oil, but not just any oil. It must be crude, unrefined and non-hydrogenated. I prefer soybean, or even better, GMO-free (nongenetically modified) soybean oil. Processed vegetable oil and corn oil are practically useless except for calories. Unfortunately, most horses today are getting way too many processed fats from commercial feeds. I feel this is perhaps the single greatest cause of metabolic issues in general.

Basic #2: Supplement with vitamins and minerals Our soils and the foods grown in them

simply can’t provide a balanced diet anymore, so supplementation is often needed. However, I don’t think there’s such a thing as a “complete” feed. There are just too many variables. Each horse should be supplemented individually, especially the allergic horse. Remember, though, that many minerals and vitamins are manmade Even worse, many of them are an other industry’s “leftovers”. Even free choice minerals can be a problem because we only have a vague idea of what our horses need. When we make a mineral mix, we are simply guessing. Even with a free choice mix that contains massive amounts of this and that, horses simply over-consume what they don’t need while trying to get what they do. What they need might not even be in the mix to begin with. In addition, manmade blocks and mixes are missing critical elements, including micronutrients like rubidium, molybdenum, palladium, cesium, and strontium, which are vital for problems like allergies, COPD and even cancer.

Basic #3: Plenty of antioxidants It only makes sense to help the body in every way possible to get rid of the “junk” that it’s exposed to day in and day out. Antioxidants do just that! The best analogy I’ve heard is that the foreign substances the body is exposed to every day cause it to “rust”. Antioxidants prevent the rusting. The beneficial effects of antioxidants are often immediate in allergy horses, especially when really good products are used. However, antioxidants are a lot more than just a little vitamin A, C and E, as so many products tout. I prefer more bioavailable sources like grape seed, bioflavonoids, quercitin, beta carotene, garlic, and even ginseng. equine wellness


Basic # 4: Support the gut Pretty much everything starts in a horse’s gut so it’s important to add supplements that support the intestinal tract. One substance in particular that I see great results from is arabinogalactan, a product from the western larch tree. It is a tremendous immune modulator that boosts the immune system if it needs it, or quiets it, as with hyper-allergy states. Beta Glucans, Echinacea, mannose, oligosaccharides, and direct fed microbials are also a must. N-Acetyi-L Cysteine is an awesome source of sulfur as well.

Basic # 5: Don’t short the salt In my opinion, the major factor in allergies is the misuse of salt and mineral blocks. Horses are not lickers so they can’t get what they need from blocks quickly enough. Free choice natural sources of salt and minerals will help your horse’s allergies improve drastically. The “salt based” fertilizers used today

Consider homeopathy for the crisis stage Sometimes, horses with allergies are really bad by the time I see them. For these acute situations, consider using homeopathy: Nux Vomica at a 30C potency, (giving four to six times the number of pellets suggested for an adult) just once. I use this to sort of “detox” the system. I will often use Apis and Rhus Tox on alternating days to ease the itch. Stop when there is any positive response from the body, physical or mental, to allow the body “to do its thing”. Any more dosing might interfere with this process. Preferably, a full case study should be done by an experienced homeopathic practitioner, in which all factors and symptoms are evaluated before any remedy is prescribed.

often confuse the horse. The potassium they contain literally tricks the horse into thinking he has plenty of salt already because the potassium ion is so similar to sodium. When this happens, he quits eating salt, or if he only has access to blocks, he can’t even get as much of what he needs. This places a major metabolic stress on the system that can result in many problems. The obvious ones are “tying up” and what we generally think are electrolyte problems. The least obvious, but most dangerous, is a massive change in gut bacteria that can result in laminitis, abortion, and allergies. When you take away typical “manmade” salt and mineral blocks, and replace them with natural sources, many allergies and other problems go away. It is amazing what nature provides! Remember, the most important thing you can do for your horse’s health is to provide a natural source of salt and minerals. Although we are still learning about allergies, the above basics are very important. Certainly keeping flies and pests away is critical, but don’t overuse the chemicals or you could be adding fuel to the fire. For long term treatment, the actual cause of an allergy must be addressed rather than just the symptoms.Often, if we provide the body what it needs, it will heal itself!

Dr. Dan Moore

is a

practicing holistic veterinarian known as

Natural Horse Vet® or simply “Dr. Dan”. He has been featured on RFD TV’s “Ask Dr. Dan” series as well as the Outdoor Channel and is the founder of The Natural Horse Vet®, an online source of information, products, and services about natural alternatives. He has formulated dozens of products. His the

mission in life is to find alternatives to drugs and chemicals for people, pets, and horses. or call


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Visit www.NaturalHorseVet.com 1-877-873-8838.

skin & coat Special advertising feature


SOURCE micronutrients

dermalustre® is a professional treatment for the skin & coat. Containing no waxes or silicone, dermalustre® absorbs into the applied area providing deep conditioning promoting healthy skin, mane, tail and coat. It quickly repairs damage to manes & tails and relieves dry flaky itchy skin. Visit www.naturesgroom.com or call 1-866-772-8822.

The most beautiful coats are NOT sprayed on! They are created from the inside with nutritional building blocks. SOURCE® uniquely supplies important micronutrients for healthy skin and richly colored hair coats that glisten with a glorious shine. Feed all-natural SOURCE® every day. Available in 5 lb. (5 month supply) and 30 lb. bulk easy-open containers. Call 1-800-232-2365 or visit www.4source.com.

Dynamite® Specialty Products A well-balanced diet leads to healthy skin, joints and hooves. Dynamite®, the foundation of the Dynamite program for horses, contains bioavailable minerals, vitamins, enzymes, coenzymes, biocatalyst microorganisms, amino acids, and cultured gut bacteria. Users report increased competitive edge, better disease resistance, reduced feed bills, better attitude, hoof growth and bloom. Email: gloriawoodruff@cogeco.ca. www.GloriaWoodruff@DynamiteOnline.com or 1-877-423-6068

The Natural Horse Not So Sweet Itch. Sweet itch is a nasty, itchy skin condition and when your horse has it you want nothing more than to get rid of it...fast! Our Not So Sweet Itch is loaded with anti-itching and nourishing herbs to help heal skin sores made worse by scratching and rubbing. Our #1 Best Seller. Check us out at www.thenaturalhorse.net

Aloe AdvantageTM nature + science: Aloe-Med Shampoo Perfect for skin problems associated with rain rot, scratches, girth itch, insect bites and more! Contains Aloe for soothing relief and healing, and Phenol, an antimicrobial, topical anesthetic and antipruritic. Won’t dry skin or dull the coat, alleviates itching. Also great for dogs. Ask your store for it! www.AloeAdvantage.com; 1-877-624-9693.

EQ Solutions Body Wash All natural, foam-on, pH balanced wash for horses, pigs, goats, steers and more. Easy and quick, it requires no scrubbing and cleans your animal in minutes! Body Wash leaves the skin and coat of your animal soft, shiny and properly moisturized. Visit www.EQSolutions.net or call 866-377-6588 to learn more about our full product line. equine wellness


Sun damage

What it can do & how to stop it by Bonnie Riedl

During the summer, the glorious rays of the sun shine much stronger and longer. Although some sun is beneficial and necessary (see page 61), a horse’s health can suffer negative effects when he’s exposed too long to the sun’s rays. Results can vary from skin and eye damage to immune system suppression and possibly skin cancer. By providing protection and knowing the signs of skin problems caused by the sun, your horse can still enjoy those summer rays. Common skin issues The skin is very sensitive to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Photosensitization is an abnormal reaction to sunlight. It is characterized by redness, localized swelling, sensitivity to touch, weeping of fluid and even skin peeling. It can be induced by medications such as tetracycline antibiotics, or by consuming or coming into direct skin contact with St. John’s wort, perennial rye grass or burr trefoil. The skin condition called scratches is also considered to be related to the sun’s


equine wellness

ultraviolet rays. Often located on the heel and back of the pastern, this issue produces hair loss, swelling, sensitivity and ulceration. It often turns chronic and is hard to treat. Squamous cell carcinoma is a common skin cancer found in horses. Although most often located on the genitals or eyes, it can erupt anywhere on the body. Horses with pink skin that absorbs more ultraviolet light, resulting in sunburn, are more prone to this condition. Genetics also has a large influence, as in horses with blue or unpigmented eyes.


Signs of skin cancer include sores that don’t heal, bleeding ulcerations, and visible skin tumors. “Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common tumor of the equine eye and surrounding tissue,” says Dr. Robert N. Oglesby, DVM. “The mean age of onset is around ten years and the incidence is higher in drafts, Appaloosas and geldings.” Early diagnosis is important. If you are ever faced with cancer in your horse, consider adding a holistic vet to your team.

Prevention is the key The single most important thing people can do is protect their equine partners (especially at-risk breeds with pink non-pigmented skin) from the

damaging rays of the sun. But this is often easier said than done. Flymasks can protect the eyes and unpigmented skin on the face, but an extension is needed for horses with pink noses. Masks can irritate some horses and they tend to rub them off or get them caught on things. They are still worth the effort in protecting the face, although they do nothing for other parts of the body.


The most harmful ultraviolet rays are strongest in the summer, between 10 am and 4 pm. Being closer to the equator and at a higher altitude increases their strength as well. A shade structure in your paddock allows your horse to choose protection not just from the sun but from the rain as well. Even a simple awning or three-sided building provides a break from the sun’s rays. Over-the-counter human sunscreen may seem like a good idea, but no matter what the SPF, you’ll need to re-apply it every two hours. As well, many horses hate the smell and the product can irritate their skin because of the chemicals and preservatives used for compounding. These products have even been known to intensify the skin problems in some animals. They are also dirt collectors because of their greasy consistency.

Some sunscreens, often gels or lotions, are marketed for horses but again, watch for irritating chemicals. Remember that many horses dunk their noses in the water tank and may wind up ingesting some sunscreen residue.

Nature may have the answer As is often the case, Mother Nature may offer the best sun protection options. Pat Coleby, author of Natural Horse Care, suggests supplementing at-risk horses with vitamin H or PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid), which can help decrease the effects of sunburn and sunstroke. Natural minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are also very efficient as physical sun blockers and are safe, nontoxic, antibacterial, antiinflammatory, and will stay on all day with only one application. They can often be applied wet or dry. There are two such products on the market. Finally, especially when it comes to skin cancer, remember the importance of a healthy immune system. Diet, gut health and other care practices all affect a horse’s ability to fight off cancer. Go ahead and enjoy the dog days of summer. Just be sure to provide your horse with sun protection, and get prompt veterinary attention for any sores that don’t heal. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to protect yourself!

When Bonnie Riedl, a licensed esthetician and LPN who lives in Arizona, noticed her paint horses were experiencing sunburn, she set out to do something about it. She began working with different formulas in an effort to create a topical product that would provide authentic, non-allergenic skin protection for her equine family.


she tested it on her own horses

and had wonderful results.


then conferred with several equine veterinarians and found them to be equally excited about the product.

Sabre’s story “I really didn’t think too much about skin cancer until my eight-year-old paint gelding, Sabre, was diagnosed,” explains Sue JeanBlanc of Surprise, Arizona. “It started out with a small wound on his lip that wouldn’t heal. A couple of weeks later, Sabre’s sheath swelled up and the vet prescribed an antiinflammatory ointment which didn’t help. I then noticed a weird brown spot on his eyelid and thought of cancer. I took him into the clinic, they sedated him and found a quarter-size open wound on his penis. He was diagnosed with skin cancer on his eyelid, lip and penis. “Sabre has been treated twice, about a year apart, with chemo for his eyelid and nitrogen for his sheath and lip. I now use sun block for protection. My biggest piece of advice – don’t blow off the signs your horse is showing you. Skin cancer is real in horses and an early diagnosis is important.”


equine wellness


Are your

emotions taking you for a ride?

by Annabel Kent


equine wellness

Photo: © Miro Schaap

Personal revelations come in all forms. My own arrived in a quite painful way. A good while back, after a challenging day in which several things didn’t go my way, including getting stuck in traffic and having words with a good friend, I arrived at my yard feeling rushed and impatient to get on my horse. I hurriedly tacked Harvey up, pulled him into the arena and sprang into the saddle.

Immediately I could feel that he wasn’t going right, and as my anger swelled, my movements became more aggressive and forceful. Harvey became more difficult and I became more fearful of falling off. I persevered, looking for control and longing for the calm he usually brings me, but found neither. Ten minutes later I was sitting on the ground, holding my arm in pain – Harvey had bucked me off and I had twisted my wrist. With that day’s riding done, I led him to his stable and put him to bed for the night. As I washed my hands off before getting in the car, I looked in the mirror over the sink. My brow was furrowed, my jaw tight, and I looked angry and frustrated. I did not look in control. Then it hit me: this was the me that Harvey had seen, felt and obviously not liked. Even I didn’t like who I was looking at. So what did I expect from my horse? I realized I needed to look at my emotions and how they affected my horse. I started to keep a diary on each time I rode and handled my horse, to see if I could match my emotions to the response I was getting. The results were so revealing that I chose to investigate further. I spoke with several people who work with horses on a professional level, to see if they believe that horses can relate and react to our emotions, and whether it really makes a significant difference, especially when training and riding. They had a lot to share.

Your horse can sense your mood “We can hide our irritation from other people by masking our emotions, because humans are not good at reading energy fields,” says Margrit Coates, a part-time lecturer in the Department of Animal Behavior at Southampton University, and author of Healing for Horses and Horses Talking: How to Share Healing Messages with the Horses in your Life (www.thehorsehealer.com).

“A horse will read and see through everything we are feeling. Emotional health must be in control. We need to be a confident leader emotionally with our horses.” This means we need to be very vigilant about how we’re feeling when we’re around our horses. “We need to look deeper at our inner state because the horse reacts to the truth,” says Margrit. “If horses could speak or write they would tell us exactly how we are. We cannot put horses into human boxes, analyzing these animals as types from our viewpoint. Horses are full of emotional instinct, and the nearest we ever get to associating with a wild animal. “Past experiences will program a horse to behave in a certain way,” she adds. “They are incredibly emotional animals. Even our own past experiences will emotionally affect how we are with our horses. If we have been told that we are useless and feel it, this will come through when we are around horses. Finding it difficult to take criticism can also have an effect on our behavior. I believe that it’s a wise idea to involve the help of a good life coach, one who is not “horsey” at all, so that we can work on ourselves without any focus on horses. This philosophy includes other people who will be working with your horse. “Before getting a trainer, you need to look at the emotional state, characteristics and qualities of that trainer before you let him/her near your horse, as they have a massive influence upon your horse emotionally.”

Training? Be happy “The first rule is that if you feel tense and angry, just don’t bother to school your horse,” says Sheila Bryant, who has been riding and training horses for over 30 years and uses the Bowen technique professionally on both horses and humans (www.healthwithbowen.co.uk). “When it comes to schooling, you need equine wellness


Photo: Geoff Merrigan

students. We need to be emotionally consistent to develop a strong, solid relationship. It is no good being patient one day and impatient the next.

The author demonstrates loose work that will help make your horse more responsive.

to feel emotionally positive and relaxed. Otherwise the horse will pick up on your mood and respond negatively. Sheila emphasizes the value of checking your breathing. “Is it easy and relaxed? This is of paramount importance as your breathing can influence the purity, strength and speed of your pace. If it’s ragged and aggressive, imagine what that can do to the horse.” Breathing is also important to Jenny Rolfe, a classical trainer and author of the upcoming book, Ride from the Heart (www.spanishdressagehorses.co.uk). She has based her training methods on the horse’s sensitivity to our breathing. In her book, she shows how we can use


equine wellness

lateral breathing exercises to help master our emotions and create a feeling of calmness. The horse responds to the deep breathing, becoming the rider’s emotional mirror, and the rider can then influence him with this calm leadership. “We can sometimes forget we are not programming a machine,” says Jenny. “Horses are living animals. We have to make a conscious effort, especially in the beginning, to be very self-aware and vigilant about where our emotions are when training horses. By becoming aware of how much more perceptive horses are than humans, we then start to make it work for us when communicating with our horses. We need to treat them as our friends, not naughty

She recommends a relaxed approach before getting serious in the saddle. “Loose work is very good before riding as it not only helps prepare the horse for ridden work, but it’s another way for the trainer to find out where her mood is at, rather than getting straight on without a thought,” advises Jenny. “If we can learn to control our emotions and feelings, then we can control our physical body; rarely can we have a thought without a reaction from our body.” As you can see, emotions are the driving force behind everything we do, and play a huge part in how we and our horses learn. So take the time to stop and think about how you’re feeling when arriving at the stable. Look in that imaginary mirror before you get out of the car. Do it again when standing next to your horse, and you will feel it. A happy you is a happy horse. Annabel Kent is a horsewoman with 30 years’ experience. She reached the finals of the Horse of the Year Show 15 years ago. More recently, Annabel has concentrated her studies and teaching practice on horse behavior and human-horse interaction.

product picks

Water to go

This Omega is alpha Omega 3 fatty acids are vital to your horse’s wellness. They not only ensure a shiny coat, but also improve allergies and hoof condition, alleviate joint problems, and help him perform at his best. Omega Field’s Horse Shine is an Omega 3 stabilized flax supplement that can be given to horses in all stages of life, including mares in foal. The product has a one-year product freshness guarantee and can be given in amounts of two or three cups a days, initially, to overcome deficiencies. 20 lbs - $35.95 50 lbs - $64.95 www.omegafields.com

It can get pretty warm out on the trail, and your horse needs to stay hydrated just like you do. Thanks to the Water Rover, he’ll never be without a refreshing drink of water when he needs it. Perfect for carrying in a large saddlebag, the product features a durable wide-mouth 1.6 liter bottle and an attached bowl. You don’t even need to dismount to water your horse. The Water Rover ensures your horse has access to clean, safe water at all times. Ideal not only for trail riding, but also trailering and events. $24.99 www.waterrover.com

Pitch the fork Mucking out your horse’s stall is probably one of your least favorite tasks. Thanks to Brockwood Farms, you can now put that manure fork away. The company’s Stall Shi*fter is an electrically operated manure and bedding sifter that not only cleans the stall but also conditions it by completely sifting and mixing all the bedding and removing particles of manure as small as a corn kernel. It takes around five minutes to clean and sift a 12’x12’ stall with 3” of bedding. Available in four models. $1,649 - $2,095 www.brockwoodfarm.com

A fine gloss What’s more gorgeous than a horse’s coat when it shines and ripples with good health? FlaxSheen Shampoo from Equine Essentials helps your equine partner look his best with its special conditioning formula made from flax extracts, derived from the gum of the flaxseed hull. Flax extracts are soothing to the skin, leave the hair soft, silky and shiny, and help eliminate dryness and flakiness. The product also contains a synergistic blend of essential oils including tea tree, lavender, citronella and peppermint. A spray-on conditioner is also available. 500 ml - $12.95 www.flaxsheen.com equine wellness


holistic veterinary advice

Talking with Dr. Joyce Harman

Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS, graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She is certified in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic and has completed advanced training in homeopathy and herbal medicine. Her practice in Virginia uses 100% holistic medicine to treat all types of horses. Her publications include The Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book – the most complete source of information about English saddles – and The Western Saddle Book is on its way. www.harmanyequine.com. Send your questions to: Holistic veterinary advice. email: info@equinewellnessmagazine.com Our veterinary columnists respond to questions in this column only. We regret we cannot respond to every question. 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.


Last July, after a rainy period of about two weeks, my six-year-old thoroughbred/Andalusian gelding broke out in giant hives that covered his entire body. Despite antihistamines, steroids, allergy injections and every other conventional medication, the hives persisted. We even removed his grain/treats and moved him to a farm on the other side of the state, thinking the cause was environmental. He never had hives or allergies before that rainy period. The hives waxed and waned but never completely cleared until the cool weather in October. My vet said it was the worst case he has ever seen and was baffled at its sudden onset, severity, and duration. Testing revealed strong allergies to flies and molds/fungus and minor allergies to just about everything else. What could have caused this? More importantly, what do I do? I’m not sure either of us could live through another summer like last one. Please help!


Allergic reactions are very complex problems, even though they often show up on the skin’s surface. There is no telling exactly what set your horse’s problem off. Certainly the rain was a stress, but his immune system had to be very delicate for this to happen. Andalusians


equine wellness

do seem to be a bit more prone to skin problems than other breeds. Treating this horse will really require a consult with a holistic veterinarian who can prescribe constitutional homeopathic remedies or Chinese herbs, both of which act very deeply on the immune system. You can also try adding to his diet at least eight ounces of flax per day, both ground and naturally stabilized, or 10 ounces of whole flax seed. Three to six ounces of flax oil can also be used, but it must be kept refrigerated. Simple cases of hives that feel better with a cool water compress or cold hosing can often be helped with the homeopathic remedy Apis 30 C given for three to four days. If the hives feel better with warm compresses, the remedy Rhus Tox is often useful.


We have a mini foal that required colic surgery at just 2½ months old. They removed a very large impaction of hay (alfalfa) and a bit of stone. He has recovered well, continues to nurse and will be weaned next month. He does have a “mouthy” habit. He is on regular grass hay and Equine

Junior. Is Equine Junior considered a sweet feed? I am afraid to switch him and not sure what to do about his habit of mouthing everything. He isn’t bored, lives with a herd of about 13 horses, and gets around to pestering all of them! I sure would appreciate any advice on feed.


Colic surgery on a young foal is quite a stress that often leaves unseen residual damage. Every intestinal tract needs a healthy supply of good bacteria to digest food and make minerals into a form that the body can absorb and use. This foal may be unable to properly digest the food he is getting due to the antibiotics, other drugs and the stress of being so sick. His mouthing behavior may originate from him seeking minerals or other nutrients. However, many colts are also very mouthy by nature and unless handled by someone who really knows how to train a stallion, they can be quite obnoxious. So, if his castration is not already scheduled, that should be on the list before his biting becomes a confirmed habit. Nutritionally, he should receive several months of high quality probiotics, such as ProBi by Advanced Biological

Concepts, or Digest Plus by Hilton Herbs. He should have access to free choice minerals without salt added, so he can eat as much as he wants for two months, then it can be rationed to a small handful if he still wants to eat a lot of it. Have a naturally mined salt available in a separate container, so he can take what he wants. Equine Junior contains molasses so it would be much better for his health to feed him a very small amount of a whole food mix of corn, oats and barley, or a mix of any of these grains, depending on what you can get locally. Even just plain oats or barley is good; minis do not need any high sugar, high protein feed. Some feed companies make up a simple grain mix without molasses. For vitamins, feed a high quality vitamin supplement in addition to the free choice minerals, and watch his weight. He should stay just slightly on the thin side with his ribs visible. Do not allow him to get fat.


My mare developed an open lump or tumor/wound the size of a small orange on her back right leg, just a little above the fetlock. This lump is swollen all around and there is some sort of proud flesh that pus runs out of every now and then. No expert has been able to tell us what this might be or what the cause is. We’ve been trying to heal it for over a month. The mare isn’t lame anymore but she takes special care of it. The lump has reduced in size since we’ve been cleaning it daily and caring for it like an open wound, but still we haven’t managed to get rid of it. What might this be, and what treatment would be best?


I couldn’t be sure without seeing the lump, but it could possibly be caused by a piece of foreign material left behind after a small injury. Sticks or things like that can make a small puncture wound that does not heal. It is very hard to see many types of splinters since wood and glass do not show up on x-ray. It may be possible to examine it with an ultrasound machine to see if there is a clear tract that leads inside. However, clearing it up surgically can be difficult as the material is still hard to see. It might also be a small piece of bone causing a sequestrum to form. This is essentially a chip of dead bone that acts like a piece of foreign material. If you are in the south, sometimes parasites get into a wound and can create a lot of proud flesh. Homeopathy does offer a possible solution for any sort of foreign material. The remedy Silicea in 30 C or X potency can help the body eject many types of foreign material; give six to eight little tablets once a day for up to ten days, stop for a week or so, and see if it begins to change. You are looking for the pus to dry up and the proud flesh to begin to decrease. If this fails, I would consult with a veterinary homeopath for other remedies. Homeopathy should be able to provide the solution, but it may take several remedies and a bit of time.

Trying to make good feeding decisions with bad information?

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.

equine wellness



I have a 17-hand thoroughbred gelding. Stool testing showed he has encysted strongyles. I tried the Panacur Power Pac but could only get three in him as it was too dangerous. Even with the twitch and calmatives we couldn’t paste him! My vet only recommends Quest but I refuse this treatment due to controversy. My preference has always been for natural as much as possible. Is there any treatment for these horrible worms? I have had him for 1½ years and he was on a regular rotation worming and diatomaceous earth. I really don’t want to use Quest or pastes.


Natural deworming can work in many horses, but definitely not every one and not all the time. Natural deworming programs often fail for a number of reasons: 1) the horse is kept in a large barn with many other horses; 2) pastures are crowded; 3) the horse is on the road showing frequently, or 4) the horse’s immune system is compromised due to chronic illness. Natural dewormers do not work if you just give them once as a paste. They need to be repeated over a period of time. Natural methods take more work and attention to detail than using a conventional paste. When starting a holistic deworming plan, perhaps the most important thing to do is check your horse regularly for worm eggs by doing a fecal. This is best done at the full moon as the parasites are most active then and you are likely to see the highest counts. This will let you know whether the program is working or not. If your horse has had antibiotics or non-steroidal antiinflammatories such as “bute”, his gut immune system may be compromised. It is important to improve the health of the intestinal tract to maximize your deworming program. Probiotics can be used to replace the good gut bugs, while immune supplements can help improve the health of the immune system. For the actual deworming, a homeopathic combination product such as Wrm Clear by Equiopathics can, when used over three weeks, improve the health of the immune system and help the gut clear the parasites. It does not kill parasites; it just helps the body get rid of them. A broader spectrum diatomaceous earth product such as NOMS by Advanced Biological Concepts can also help support the gut. But if any of the factors I mentioned above are present, you may have to resort to some of the paste wormers, at least until you can improve the health of his immune system.

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.


equine wellness

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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.

Racing barefoot 30

equine wellness

The horse:

Saucy Night (Saucy) Age: 11 years Breed/Ancestry:

Thoroughbred; dam, Kiss in the Dark; sire, Anshan; damsire, Starry Night


Physical description:

15.3 hand chestnut gelding with white star

Discipline: Racing-steeplechasing Owner/Guardian:

Horses First Club; Trainer: Simon Earle Racing, Wiltshire, England How they got together:

Tell us more:

Before Saucy arrived at the yard he was described as the “worst horse in training”, running seven times and always last, second last or pulled up. He had never run past another horse on the track and was thin, nervous and unhappy. Having ruptured both front tendons, he was going to be sold out of racing. He was purchased for approximately $2,000 by Eamonn Wilmott, founder of Horses First Club, a racing club that pioneers training horses barefoot, not allowing them to be whipped in races, and turning them out in herds.

“Saucy can open gates, cuts other horses off if they try to walk past him, and makes it as hard as possible to tack him up by standing on any equipment he can,” says Kelly Baker, Simon Earle Racing.

Has won four races, been second five times, and was the first horse in history to win a race barefoot .

“Horses First Club and Simon Earle Racing are huge believers in keeping horses as naturally as possible. Turning horses out in herds allows them to interact with each other as they would in the wild. Keeping and racing them barefoot allows the hoof to be the natural shock absorber it was designed to be and leads to a reduction of injuries. Joining-up with our horses and starting youngsters in this way means a bond of trust is formed. Quite simply, horses kept naturally and kindly are happy, and happy horses are successful horses.”

Natural care principles:


Awards and accomplishments:

Upon arrival at his new home, Saucy’s shoes were removed, he was “joined-up” with, and turned out in the field. On his first start, he looked as if he was going to finish at the back when suddenly he sprinted past other horses to finish third. He has gone on to win four more times and always tries his hardest to get home first.

“Listen to what your horse is telling you and use common sense. A horse naturally wants to run. If he isn’t enjoying his work, there is a problem somewhere that needs to be unearthed.”

equine wellness


Brushing up by Maryse Shank


grooming tips

In many disciplines, grooming is an important part of competition. But it’s even more important as part of your horse’s daily routine. Grooming provides valuable insight into what mood he’s in prior to riding, and gives you the opportunity to check for any sore or tender spots. It’s also a nice chance to “touch base” with each other before you mount up. Here are some tips to make grooming your equine friend not only efficient but a wonderful bonding experience as well. Invest in quality tools. Although the initial cost is much higher, good tools can last years with the right care. Size and design is important. If the tool is not comfortable for you to use, chances are your grooming sessions will become short and infrequent. Some brands are designed for a woman’s hand.


equine wellness

Understand that each horse is an individual. Some enjoy a stiffer brush and pressure while others require softer bristles and a light touch. Be careful with the mane and tail. Try to avoid breaking these specialized hairs with rough handling as it can take years for them to grow back to that length. Don’t over-wash. I wash my horse’s tail and mane with shampoo about once a month but don’t use any conditioner or products that might attract dust.

Find a routine that works for you and your horse and stick to it. What becomes a habit is efficient and soothing to both horse and human. After riding, if weather permits, hose your horse off. It gets rid of the sweat that attracts flies and can make the horse itchy. I use water with no shampoo so I don’t strip the good body oils from the coat. During the colder winter months, you may want to wash off the legs only, and use the rubber curry and brush to keep the coat clean. A damp wash cloth works well to wipe off the face, eyes and behind the ears where horses often sweat.


A bath is an excellent way to moisten the hooves. Spring shedding requires extra

A natural approach to grooming for competition

Photo: Harvey Shank

Author Maryse Shank, seen here brushing her gelding Tafferel, recommends taking your time during the grooming process.

support. To help your horse shed his winter coat, give him a bath, wait until he is half dry and then proceed with the rubber curry and brush. The dampness in the coat helps loosen the hairs better than when the coat is dry. Within a few weeks you’ll find your horse is cooler and has shed a good deal of his long winter hairs.


Never rush the grooming process, even if you’re running late -- it’s better to shorten your riding time a little. Your horse will thank you for it.

consider washing saddle pads and leg wraps on a weekly basis. Developing a good grooming routine will serve both you and your horse well. While a beautiful, healthy coat begins on the inside with good nutrition, grooming maximizes its potential and provides wonderful emotional benefits for both horse and rider. For basic grooming tools and techniques, see next page.


avid rider,

focused on

Keep your tools clean. Clean brushes monthly with a very mild dish soap, rinse really well and place them bristle side down to dry completely. Because the brushes will be touching your horse, be sure to use a mild or natural soap product. You should also

Maryse Shank initially Dressage to learn basic

skills, but found herself becoming more interested in the sport as time passed.

She rides her seven-year-old Taffarel, five days a week


and competes four to five times a year.


has been with


for three

years and they enjoy every moment of their relationship.

Grooming for a competition depends on what the show or individual breed standard requires. I compete in dressage and our standards are for a nicely presented horse. Since I don’t clip my horse in the winter, I work very hard to present him nicely while still allowing him to stay as natural as possible. I don’t let the clippers run wild and just trim around his fetlocks to clean up the legs and under his chin a bit. I use a bit of coat conditioner to keep the hairs smooth and down, and braid his mane the day before competing. You’ll learn how much you need to do in order to keep your horse as natural as possible, and still be able to compete in your discipline.

A good daily routine to follow: •Start with a soft bristle brush for the face. Regular brushes are too hard for the sensitive face of a horse, so save those for the legs and body. •If the eyes or face need more cleaning, moisten a wash cloth and gently rub the places that need attention. •Gently brush the forelock, mane and tail using a pin cushion type of hair brush. Start from the bottom of the tail and work your way up to the dock (in sections if needed). This breaks the fewest number of hairs. Remember, horses need their tails to keep those pesky flies away. •Next comes a combination technique. It actually takes some practice (like rubbing your tummy and patting your head). Use circular motions with a soft rubber curry in one hand, followed by a regular bristle body brush in the other to wipe away the dust and hair. Be gentle on the under belly and girth area as these are more sensitive. •Finally, clean out the feet, and you’re ready to go. equine wellness


Basic tools and techniques Tool Rubber curry comb

*Photos courtesy of Desert Equestrian, Inc. 2007

**Photo: Kenny Williams, If Your Horse Could Talk

Body brush Finishing brush

Mane and tail brush


How to use


Loosens dirt and dandruff while providing a massage.

Circular pattern with varying degrees of pressure. Tap on boot frequently to clean.

Use fine density for face and legs; thicker teeth for body.


Lifts out debris loosened by the curry and distributes the natural coat oil.

Short, flicking motions. Frequently rub across curry comb to clean.

Medium stiffness is adequate and comfortable for most horses.


Removes any remaining dust and evenly distributes natural skin oil for shine.

Smooth, short flicks along the body.

Often available in horse hair fibers.


Gently brushes mane and tail without damage.

Start at the bottom and gently brush small lengths. Do not force tangles as it will break the hair.

Various designs including pin cushion types and human hair brushes.

Serrated blade removes loose, shedding hair in the spring or thick caked mud; smooth side is for scraping sweat or water.

Long, sweeping motions.

Universal basic design

Removes dirt, rock and manure from hoof.

Remove packed dirt and clean the spaces along the frog.

Various designs and sizes.


Shedding blade **

Hoof pick *

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



equine wellness

Photo: Dominic Morel

Horses receive more vaccinations on a more frequent schedule than any other domesticated animal. This practice has horse people from all walks of life asking questions. To explain this controversial issue so you can make an informed decision for your horse, Equine Wellness turned to one of the foremost authorities on vaccination in the veterinary world – researcher, lecturer and veterinarian Dr. W. Jean Dodds. In this, the first of our three-part series, Dr. Dodds gives you an overview of vaccination.


SHOTS! Vaccination – part 1 by W. Jean Dodds, DVM We all want the best for our animals. That includes providing them with proper nutrition and good health care. It also includes protecting them against disease, which is why researchers first developed vaccines. Vaccines are intended to protect against disease. So why are we causing disease by weakening the immune system with frequent use of combination vaccine products? Vaccine manufacturers seek to achieve minimal virulence (infectivity) while attaining maximum protection. This desired balance may be relatively easy to achieve in clinically normal, healthy animals but what about those with compromised immune systems? Animals harboring

latent viral infections may not be able to withstand the additional immunological challenge induced by vaccines. In addition, the stress associated with weaning, transportation, surgery, and subclinical illness can also compromise immune function. It’s no surprise, then, that reports of vaccine reactions and vaccine-related diseases are on the rise throughout the animal world.

Overview of the immune system When an animal is vaccinated, its immune system responds by producing two types of specialized white blood cells called lymphocytes. As the name suggests, lymphocytes are produced by

the lymphatic organs (bone marrow, thymus, lymph nodes and spleen). You’ll find them throughout the body – in circulating blood and body fluids as well as in the tissues. These lymphocytes, which are descendants of the bone marrow’s pool of “mother” stem cells, form a cooperative interaction between the circulating (humoral) immune system and the cellular (cell-mediated) immune system. Think of them as a tagteam working together to provide short and long-term protection. The team is made up of two types of cells:

1. B-Cell immunity (humoral)

These antibodies provide an important equine wellness


Holistic Horsekeeping

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defense mechanism against disease in healthy individuals but can become hyperactive or hypoactive in a variety of acute and chronic disease states, or in the rare genetically based immunodeficiency status.

2. T-Cell immunity (cellular)

These lymphocytes act as coordinators and effectors of the immune system (the lymph nodes, thymus, spleen and intestine are also involved). Hyperactive cellular immune responses produce autoimmune and other immune-mediated diseases (e.g. autoimmune or immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, pemphigus, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosis) while hypoactive cell-mediated immunity causes immune suppression and incompetence. Classical examples of this latter situation occur with retroviral infection such as human AIDS or the animal equivalents (e.g. feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus, bovine leukemia virus, and equine infectious anemia).

Killed versus modified live vaccines


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Over the years, researchers have developed two types of vaccines – modified live virus (MLV) and killed or inactivated virus vaccines. Most single and combination vaccines available today for dogs and cats are of MLV origin because they’re less expensive to make and usually produce more sustained protection. By contrast, horses have traditionally been immunized with killed vaccines, although safe and effective MLV equine vaccines have more recently become available. A long-standing question remains, however, about the

comparative safety and efficacy of MLV versus killed virus vaccines, especially when a properly constituted killed vaccine is safer. A published study of the risks posed by MLV vaccines concluded that they are intrinsically more hazardous than inactivated products. The residual virulence (infectivity) and environmental contamination resulting from the shedding of vaccine virus is of concern not only for domestic animal populations but also for wildlife. So why would anyone use them? The answer is simple: they appear to provide better and longer protection. Giving single (mononvalent) or combined (polyvalent) viral antigens of MLV type elicits a stronger antigenic challenge to the animal. This is often viewed as desirable because a more potent immunogen presumably mounts a more effective and sustained immune response. For instance, a recent equine study comparing killed and MLV equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) vaccines found the MLV vaccine offered superior protection when tested in an aerosol challenge. But every rule has its exception. A recent study comparing killed, MLV, and livechimera West Nile Virus (WNV) vaccines found 100% protection with all three types following challenge with virulent WNV. In this instance, they all provided adequate protection, so wouldn’t it make sense to use the safest vaccine available? In the second and third parts of this series, I’ll be reporting on the specific vaccines available and issues of concern regarding each one. As the decision-maker for your

Reasons for vaccine titer testing:


1. To determine if an animal is protected (suggested by a positive test result). 2. To identify a susceptible animal (suggested by a negative test result). 3. To determine whether an individual animal has responded to a vaccine. 4. To determine whether an individual vaccine is effectively immunizing animals. * Schultz R.D., Ford R.B., Olsen J., Scott F. “Titer testing and vaccination: a new look at traditional practices”. Vet Med, 97: 1-13, 2002 (insert).

horse, it’s important you know the pros and cons of each so you can make the best choice for your equine’s individual needs. It’s equally important that you know when to vaccinate.

When is the safest time to vaccinate? While veterinarians and vaccine manufacturers are aware of the general rule not to vaccinate animals during any period of illness, relatively little attention has been paid to the hormonal status of the patient. The same principle that applies for illness (don’t vaccinate when a horse is sick) should apply to times of physiological hormonal change. This is particularly important because the combination of hormonal change along with infectious agents can trigger an autoimmune disease. Regardless of what you hear, vaccinating animals at the beginning, during or immediately after an estrous cycle is unwise, as is vaccinating animals during pregnancy or lactation. In horses, the WNV vaccine is stated to be safe for pregnant mares, although in 2005 the American Association of Equine Practitioners recommended vaccinating mares before breeding when possible. Research in cattle shows the MLV herpes virus vaccine induces necrotic changes in the ovaries of heifers that were vaccinated during estrus. Even heifers that were not vaccinated but shared the same pasture were affected. In addition, vaccine strains of these viral agents are known to be causes of abortion and infertility. If one extrapolates these findings from cattle to other species, including horses, the implications are obvious.

Adverse vaccine reactions When we refer to vaccine reactions, we’re talking about more than just immediate hypersensitivity reactions such as redness and inflammation. Clinical signs associated with reactions typically include fever,

stiffness, sore joints and abdominal tenderness, susceptibility to infections, neurological disorders including seizures and encephalitis, collapse with autoagglutinated red blood cells and jaundice (autoimmune hemolytic anemia) (AIHA), or generalized pin point or blotchy hemorrhages (immune-mediated thrombocytopenia) (ITP). Liver and kidney laboratory values may be significantly elevated, and liver or kidney failure may occur by itself or accompany bone marrow suppression. Regardless of species, acute events tend to occur 24 to 72 hours after

vaccination, or seven to 45 days later in a delayed immunological response. Even more delayed adverse effects include death in infants from hightitered measles, joint diseases in dogs from canine distemper antibodies, and feline injection-site fibrosarcomas. Viral disease and recent vaccination with single or combination vaccines are increasingly recognized contributors to immune-mediated diseases of blood and other tissues, bone marrow failure, and organ dysfunction. We know that potent adjuvanted killed vaccines like those for rabies virus can trigger immediate and delayed (vaccinosis) adverse vaccine reactions. It’s likely that the genetic predisposition to these disorders in humans has parallel associations in domestic animals, including horses. Health issues in horses attributed to equine wellness


Did you know?

adverse vaccine reactions have included fever and nasal discharge, temporary blindness, thrombocytopenia, muscle wasting or weakness, and laminitis.


by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Horses should be fed according to work requirements and body condition. Modern horses are often overfed and do very little, if any, work. In fact, we can compare their situation to a person with a desk job who eats like a professional athlete in training. The result will be fat storage and increased risk of metabolic diseases, which, for the horse, can lead to laminitis. Most idle horses should eat a limited amount of hay or pasture and do not need any grain in their daily ration. If horses are allowed to eat too much, they enter into an anabolic state of metabolism, and store fat. By contrast, when they are burning more calories than they are fed, they are in a catabolic state. An upset in this delicate balance can again put the horse at risk for laminitis. If your horse’s feed is deficient in essential nutrients, she cannot perform at optimum capacity. Hay that has been cured improperly or stored for a long period of time may be missing essential nutrients that your horse needs for normal metabolism and tissue growth. So remember to pay close attention to your individual horse’s needs. Monitor weight gain by sight, body condition scoring, equine scales, or a weight tape place around your horse’s girth, and pay close attention to her diet.

Overvaccination Curiously, while concerns about overvaccination have been raised for years in dogs and cats, little has been said about the fact that horses routinely receive more vaccines more frequently than other species. For example, many horses are vaccinated annually for rabies, even though this vaccine is known to confer a longer duration of immunity – at least three and likely more years! Perhaps this just reflects the lack of awareness that the vaccine issues pertaining to dogs and cats also apply in principle to other species such as horses. Not only is overvaccination dangerous to your horse’s health, it also costs you time and money you don’t need to spend. Giving boosters annually or even more frequently as recommended for several equine diseases is likely to be of little benefit to your animal’s existing level of protection against these infectious diseases. It also increases the risk of adverse reactions from the repeated exposure to foreign substances. The accumulated evidence indicates that vaccination protocols should no longer be considered as a “one size fits all” program.

Dr. Frank Gravlee

Consider vaccine titer testing

graduated from

So how do you know if your horse is protected from disease? By taking

Auburn University School of Medicine

a blood sample, your vet can use serum vaccine titer testing to assess the immunologic status of the animal against the common, clinically important infectious diseases. Research has shown that once an animal’s titer stabilizes, it is likely to remain constant for many years. “It is often said that the antibody level detected is only a snapshot in time,” states eminent expert Dr. Ronald Schultz, referring to the value of titer testing. “That’s simply not true; it is more a motion picture that plays for years.” Furthermore, protection as indicated by a positive titer result is not likely to suddenly drop off unless an animal develops a medical problem such as cancer or receives high or prolonged doses of immunosuppressive drugs. So once you have an acceptable titer, you shouldn’t have to repeat the test – and more importantly, re-vaccinate – for years to come. If you haven’t already done so, I would encourage you to get titer tests done to determine your horse’s status of immunity before vaccinating again. In this way, you may avoid the problems that arise from overvaccination. In the next issue of Equine Wellness, I’ll be discussing some of the vaccines used routinely in horses, their benefits and potential side effects, and available information on results of titer testing for these vaccines.

and practiced veterinary medicine for several years before attending graduate school at


During a three-year residency in nutritional pathology he received a masters degree in nutritional biochemistry and intermediary metabolism. In founded

1973, he Life Data Labs to determine

equine nutritional deficiencies through laboratory testing, and developed individualized feeding programs to correct the deficiencies he discovered.


ten years of research, he launched

Farrier’s Formula. www.lifedatalabs.com


equine wellness

Available vaccine titers for horses •Equine herpes III (rhino) •Potomac horse fever

•Equine influenza

•Equine encephalitis (EEE, WEE, VEE)

•Rabies titer (RFFIT: non export)

•Equine viral arteritis

•West Nile virus antibody titer


Dodds, W.J. “More bumps on the vaccine road”. Adv Vet Med 41: 715-732, 1999. Dodds W.J. “Vaccination protocols for dogs predisposed to vaccine reactions”. J Am An Hosp Assoc 38: 1-4, 2001. Dodds W.J. “Complementary and alternative veterinary medicine: the immune system”. Clin Tech Sm An Pract 17: 58-63, 2002. Goodman L.B., Wagner B., Flaminio M.J. et al. “Comparison of the efficacy of inactivated combination and modified-live virus vaccines against challenge infection with neuropathogenic equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1)”. Vaccine 24: 3636-3645, 2006. Paul M.A. (chair) et al. “Report of the AAHA Canine Vaccine Task Force: 2006 canine vaccine guidelines, recommendations, and supporting literature”. AAHA, March 2006, 28 pp. Schultz R.D. “Current and future canine and feline vaccination programs”. Vet Med 93: 233-254, 1998. Schultz R.D., Ford R.B., Olsen J., Scott F. “Titer testing and vaccination: a new look at traditional practices”. Vet Med, 97: 1-13, 2002 (insert). Seino K.K., Long M.T., Gibbs E.P. et al. “Investigation into the comparative efficacy of three West Nile Virus vaccines in experimentally induced West Nile Virus clinical disease in horses”. AAEP Proceed 52: 233-234, 2006. Tizard I. “Risks associated with use of live vaccines”. J Am Vet Med Assoc 196: 1851-1858, 1990.

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.

and TREATING... 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

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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

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Twark L., Dodds W.J. “Clinical application of serum parvovirus and distemper virus antibody titers for determining revaccination strategies in healthy dogs”. J Am Vet Med Assoc 217: 1021-1024, 2000.

• continuous cold water flow with passive compression • light weight and portable • closed, dry system eliminates stall clean-up • set the temperature to a specific degree • provides up to 8hrs of continuous ice cold relief

Dr. W. Jean Dodds received her DVM degree from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1964. She accepted a position with the New York State Health Department in Albany and began compara-

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tive studies of animals with inherited and acquired bleeding diseases. In the mid-80s,

Dr. Dodds moved to Southern California Hemopet, the first nonprofit national blood bank program for animals. In 1994, she received the Holistic Veterinarian of the Year Award from the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA). Dr. Dodds is also a recognized authority on adverse reactions in vaccines. She has lectured at AHVMA conferences, to establish

written many articles for veterinary journals on this topic, and is a co-founder of the

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Therapeutic hoof boot review

Therapeutic HOOFFix Emergency Boot

Castle Hoof Boot


Plum Shade Farm Coatesville, Pennsylvania (610) 486-0708 www.plumshadefarm.com $34.99 per boot

Castle Plastics, Inc. Leominster, Maryland (978) 534-6220 www.castleplastics.com Sold only through retailers. Cost varies but approximately $35 each.

Soft-Ride, Inc Vermilion, Ohio (866) 763-8743 www.Soft-Ride.com Size 4-7 is $175; Size 2-3 is $200. The price includes the Standard Orthotic.

Easy to apply, light-weight boot for hoof rehabilitation and light riding. The body of the boot is neoprene rubber and the bottom is durable polyurethane. Closure is on top and back by Velcro.

Durable boot designed to comfort horses with or without shoes. Closed cell foam collar encased in a smooth ballistic cloth. Closure is by double hook and loop system.

HOOFFix Emergency Boot is a compact, lightweight (less than 5 oz) “spare tire” for temporary situations. Made with ballistic nylon and other proprietary fabrics. Bottom incorporates ground tires and closure by industrial strength Velcro.

Intended use and main benefits: A “spare tire” for a lost shoe or temporary support for horses who need some extra cushion to protect the hoof. Since they are fabric, they do not rub, can fit into your pocket or saddle pack, and size does not need to be exact.

Sizes: Small and Regular horse size.

Intended use and main benefits: Intended use and main benefits: Protection to prevent injury, aid in healing, during light riding or loss of a shoe. Boot fits into a saddle bag.

To provide sole support, comfort and relief in rehabilitation, third trimester pregnant mares and post surgical situations. Soft design does not rub and allows the hoof to breath.



00-3 ranging from 4 ½” wide by 4 / ” long up to 5 5/8” wide by 6 1/8” long. Hoof must be measured. 7 8

Warranty: 30-day replacement for defects in materials and workmanship. Damage caused by misuse, wear or accidental damage is not covered.

Additional options: HOOFFix Emergency Boot comes with two pastern bands. The Emergency Trail Boot includes a hoof pick, pastern band and carrying case.


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#2 - #7 or 4.5”– 6.5” hoof width


Will replace once.

Product replacement for boot failure due to manufacture defect. Call for return authorization.

Additional options:

Additional options:

None offered.

Standard Orthotics and five design/ softness levels of Specialty Orthotics.



As the barefoot approach grows by leaps and bounds, the demand for hoof boots is also skyrocketing. In Volume 2, Issue 1, we reviewed the most popular high-tech and efficient hoof boots for riding. But boots are

Tester #1

also important for therapeutic needs, such as in laminitic horses whose feet need some protection. We asked three barefoot trimmers to review three boots designed to be supportive for hoof healing.

1 2 3

Paige Poss is a barefoot trimmer who lives in Virginia with her husband, two boys, nine horses and a host of other animals. She is the creator of an educational website devoted to teaching people about natural hoof care, and is a founder of the new American Hoof Association. With over eight years of experience, Paige offers trimming, consultations and clinics. She can be reached at 540-364-2011 or www.ironfreehoof.com

Paige tested the HOOFfix boot on Colleen, a seven-year-old chronically foundered quarter horse whose feet are very flared and flat. She has a difficult time on gravel or hard, frozen ground. The terrain was muddy and icy during testing. Paige tested the Castle Boot on Sophie, her 11year-old Morgan-cross mare, who didn’t have any particular problems. The terrain was firm and hilly, covered in gravel and dirt. The boot stayed on fine until the horse moved up the hill and then it came off. During testing the ground was fairly dry so do not know about using them in mud or ice. Paige tested the Soft-ride boot on Maggie, a five-year-old Connemara mare that has Lyme disease and frequently suffers from laminitis. The boot was tested in a small paddock that can be slick with mud.

Tester # 2

Tester # 3

Kim Cassidy is a barefoot farrier who

Courtney Vincent is a natural

resides in Chester, New York with her two horses and a host of other critters. Kim maintains a barefoot practice in southern New York and is available for trimming and clinics. www.clickandtrim.com

trimmer based in Arizona. She has learned from many top natural hoof care experts such as Pete Ramey, Mike LaGrone, James Welz, Martha Olivo and KC La Pierre, and provides services to over 400 horses. She especially enjoys working with rehabilitation cases. Naturalhorsetrim@aol.com

Kim tested the HOOFfix boot on Murray, an 18-year-old quarter horse with long term founder. He is no longer rotated but still has very thin soles and sunken coffin bone inside hoof capsule. During testing, the terrain had some mud and frozen pitted ground, as well as rocks in some areas. Kim tested the Castle Boot on Doc, a 16-year-old quarter horse with 20 degree founder in March 2006. Still tender on hard ground or very rocky ground. During testing, the terrain had some mud and frozen pitted ground, as well as rocks in some areas.

Courtney tested the HOOFfix boot on Lucy, a 21-year-old quarter horse mare with an inverted coffin bone and severe ringbone. The terrain was hard-packed dirt. Courtney tested the Castle Boot on Willie, a 15-year-old quarter horse with founder and very thin soles. The terrain was hard-packed with some softer, sandy areas. Courtney tested the Soft-ride boot on Silver, a 13-year-old gelding with very tender, thin soles. The terrain was hard dirt with rocks and gravel.

Kim tested the Soft-ride boot on Ashrei, a six-year-old thoroughbred mare with severe founder. Ashrei spends her time either in the stall without boots or turned out in a small grassy/dirt paddock.

Continued on next page equine wellness


HOOFfix Boot

Castle Hoof Boot

Soft-ride Boot

Were sizing and measuring instructions easy to understand?



One tester said yes, one felt it might be challenging for the everyday horse person and one had quite a bit of trouble.

Easy or hard to take measurements?

2 out of 3 of our testers found it easy. Kim thought you might need help from customer service if you have a barefoot horse.


Easy, but confusing because the smaller the number boot, the larger foot it fits.

How easy was it to put on initially?

Easy or very easy.

Very easy

Very easy.

Did you see an increase in comfort?

In certain situations, said Paige. Kim’s horse was fine on soft ground but felt the hard ground through the soles of the boots. Courtney’s horse was more comfortable and she liked the pads.



Did this allow for more movement?

2 of our 3 testers noticed improved movement.


Yes. “Horse was very comfortable.”


One tester found them surprisingly durable, while another recommends use for in stall only.

2 of our testers thought they seemed fairly durable while the third found them not durable at all.

Very durable.

Was the padding adequate?

Yes, on soft ground with no rocks but not on rocky, uneven terrain. One horse found it inadequate for his thin soles.

No padding provided.


What did you like most about them?

Two testers liked how easily the boots went on, while a third liked the convenient size.

“Lightweight and soft.” “Seemed durable.” “I liked how the neoprene top molded to the front of the hoof. With padding, I think this boot may be useful for acute foundered horses.”

“The fit and the pads.” “ Well-made tough boot.” “Durable and easy to use.” “It was appropriately padded, the material was very breathable and there is a pad for all different situations.”

Were there any negatives?

Concerns with durability and quality. Paige thought the bottoms of the boots were “dangerously slick” for soil types in her area.

2 of our 3 testers didn’t like the closing mechanism while the third had a problem with the durability.

Very heavy.

Are they a good value for the cost?

“Okay, but not great.” Inexpensive but the quality “may not be worth the cost and trouble.”

Our testers had mixed reviews. One said yes, one said no, and one wasn’t sure.

“Pretty good.” “Yes, more expensive but the quality is there.” “It is a very good product but extremely pricey.”

Would you refer these to others?

“Only for a lame horse not moving much.” “As a bandage cover but not in slick conditions.” “Not for harsh terrain.”

Yes, or maybe for horses with extreme founder or “very limited movement on relatively flat footing.”



equine wellness

Wellness Resource Guide


Wellness Resource Guide Inside this issue: • Acupuncture • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Communicators • Holistic Healthcare • Integrative Vets • Laser Therapy • 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 Savvy Folsom, CA USA Phone: (916) 201-7852 Email: hoofcare.specialist@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 Certified Practioner 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 BarefootHorseCanada.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

equine wellness


Wellness Resource Guide

Barefoot Hoof Trimming - Laser Therapy


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


Trac Right Indian Mound, TN USA Phone: (931) 232-3071 Email: tracright@aol.com Website: www.tracright.com


Holistic Healthcare

Integrative Vets



Natural balancing of horses with proper trimming of hooves, toothcare, BioScan & Bicom 2000

Acupuncture, Chinese herbals, Tui-na

The Horse Mechanic Howard Jesse Serving the Lethbridge, Calgary area Phone: (403) 795-1850 Website: www.thehorsemechanic.com


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


Terri’s Gentle Touch Therapies Scottsdale, AZ USA Tracright: Quality Barefoot Hoofcare in Middle Tennessee. Phone: (480) 495-3312 931-232-3071 Visit www.Tracright.com


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

Cranial Sacral, Reiki, Flower Essences, Essential Oils, Moxibustion, cellular repattering



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

Communicators ARIZONA

Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sidney, BC Canada Phone: (250) 656-4390 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com International animal intuitive offers nationwide consultations in animal communication and energy healing



Laser Therapy

Claudia Hehr Animal Communicator To truly know and understand animals. Toronto, ON Canada Phone: (705) 434-4679 Website: www.claudiahehr.com Animal communication, worldwide, workshops, books


Animal Paradise Communication Oak Hill, VA USA Phone: (703) 648-1866 Email: janet@animalparadisecommunication.com Website: www.animalparadisecommunication.com Reiki Master Teacher, Consultations, Workshops


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

RevitaVet Therapeutic Systems Phoenix, AZ USA Phone: (602) 971-4353 Website: www.revitavet.com

Equine Wellness Resource Guide

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


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Natural Products - Manufacturers & Distributors - Schools & Training

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

Manufacturers & Distributors



Schools & Training CALIFORNIA

Equine Wellness Services Nancy Hall, Approved Instructor Beaumont, CA USA Phone: (951) 769-3774 Website: www.equinewellness.com


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


Niagara Health Products Dynamite Distributor St. Davids, ON Canada Toll Free: (877) 423-6068 Phone: (905) 262-5036 Email: gloriawoodruff@cogeco.ca

Animal Massage Programs, Herbal Workshops and Pet First Aid Training. Serving the Maritimes and Ontario 866-919-8733 ~ www.treetopsweb.com

Evelyne Neall ARICP Certified Instructor Dressage Jumping Rehabilitation


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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.

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

equine wellness


best footing by Lisa Ross-Williams


equine wellness


Photo: Tanya Harris

Putting your

Many factors contribute to hoof health, including diet, trimming and movement. For the most part, these are universal around the world. But footing, another important factor, varies between geographical locations, and each has its own issues. In this article, three natural trimmers in different regions talk about their particular challenges, and the footing improvements they suggest.

horse swimming in footing. Pea gravel is about ¼” to 3/8” in diameter and should pass through your manure rake.

can be expensive and the mandatory poop scooping can be more added work for the caregiver. But the payoff is healthier, more durable hooves that are easier to balance and maintain with little or no change in soundness after trimming time. “I am totally amazed at how good my horse’s hooves look now!” This is the most common response from my clients who finally make the change to pea gravel or some other type of abrasive footing. Kirt Lander

is a natural hoof care

practitioner and educator based in

Arizona. A trimmer 2000, he has


helped hundreds of

Kirt Lander

foundered horses. and his wife,

Lake Havasu City, Arizona Of the many variables that make up a sound barefooted horse, footing has perhaps the most influence on ultimate soundness and durability. Footing that helps the sole exfoliate provides the trimmer with a clearer sense of the structures within the hoof. A fully exfoliated sole gives a window view into the true position of the coffin bone and is the ultimate way to balance the hoof capsule. This is perhaps the most important aspect of natural hoof care because it is the horse that should decide how to trim the hoof, and not some preconceived idea coming from the trimmer.


Riding a horse on rocky ground does not produce the same results as giving him the right footing so he can exfoliate the excess sole himself. My preference for footing is 1½” of pea gravel over a firm base. More than that is not better; you do not want the



enjoy endurance competition with their herd of a dozen barefoot horses, including their

Arabian stallion Halim El Mokhtar, who received the nationally acclaimed

Above: Pea gravel makes great footing, but keep it to less than 11/2”.

Sometimes you will find suppliers who have an abundance of smaller material (1/4” or less), commonly called “road chips” or” birds eye”, that’s also good material for horse footing. You might also run across a combination material that has washed sand and pea gravel together. It’s often used for making concrete grout for cement walls, and I’ve had good success with it as well. If you opt for a combination material, make sure that it is produced by screening and washing. You don’t want the fines included in the mix as they can cause the material to compact as hard as concrete over time. While getting the footing right greatly reduces the trimming workload, it comes at a price. Hauling in materials



American Endurance Ride Conference “Jim Jones Stallion 2005. Kirt is developing a

new performance riding boot specifically designed for the natural hoof. www.thebarefootblackstallion.com

Kate Romanenko Woodville, Ontario

My clients are located throughout Ontario, so I see various footings in different areas. In northern and eastern Ontario, the ground generally consists of bedrock and shale, while the southern and western parts of the province have soft, rich soil. One of my greatest challenges as a barefoot trimmer is initially convincing my clients that proper footing, (along with sufficient movement) is necessary for strong healthy feet. Most owners are willing to make some changes equine wellness


to their horse’s environment when they understand the importance of proper footing. The first thing many people do to improve their horses’ hooves is remove their shoes, get a good barefoot trim, take them out of the stall and allow them to roam 24 hours a day. Keep in mind that most horses kept on soft ground are unable to walk comfortably on gravel, pebbles or rocks since their feet are not conditioned for it. Once the feet are given the chance to function properly again, it’s time to expose the horse to different types of footing. If you live in an area that is mostly clay, you will have a lot of mud during wet seasons and hard, dry conditions in the summer. During wet seasons, I encourage owners to ride on the road, as this allows their horses’ feet to expand and contract. During dry periods, I suggest overflowing water troughs and foot soakings to keep the hooves moist and flexible. After all, a horse in his natural environment would

Horses do have feeling in their feet so they may walk gingerly until their hooves have grown healthy enough to handle this type of footing. Concrete or pavement in some areas is also beneficial as it allows the hoof to “tamp” itself, becoming even stronger. Studies have shown that foals raised on hard ground have stronger, denser bones than foals raised on soft ground.


It is very important to ride your horse on the ground you expect him to perform on.

A horse’s footing needs depend first and foremost on his individual situation. For foundered cases, or horses with thin sensitive soles, I use fine clean sand, similar to beach or masonry sand. It needs to remain dry and unpacked to provide the proper support for rehabilitating and conditioning the hoof. It must also be kept clean to prevent the growth of bacteria or fungi within the footing. If the sand becomes mixed with too much manure and urine, it needs to be stripped out and replaced with fresh material. For sound horses, I suggest semi-packed limestone fine screenings. This helps draw excess moisture from the hoof and is very easy to clean because the manure does not mix into it. Manure stays on top and is easily picked up because the rock and fines fall through Photo: Chad Bembenek

At my rehabilitation facility, I have developed a perfect pasture consisting of grass and weeds, ponds and creeks, a concrete barnyard, and abrasive riding areas. This combination gives horses exposure to the variety of soft, hard, wet and dry ground they need for optimum health, allowing them to perform comfortably on any surface.

fall are both very muddy times of the year, while the ground can be hard during summer and winter. Each of these conditions can present issues when it comes to hoofcare and maintaining or developing a sound horse.

Kate Romanenko is a Barefoot Hoof Care Specialist who considers herself an advocate of “nature’s way of equine management”. She became a certified farrier in 1998, but when a friend

Photo: Kate Romanenko

introduced her to a natural balanced


was no turning back.

now spends



much of her time traveling throughout


trimming, teaching and

training others about natural hoof care.

Above: Hydration helps keep hooves flexible.

visit a creek, stream or watering hole to drink, so his feet would get exposed to water daily. For footing changes, a truckload of pebbles or gravel can be dumped in an area where the horses are always crossing.


way of trimming hooves in

equine wellness


operates a barefoot trimming

100-acre rehabilitation Woodville. www.natureshoofcare.com school and a facility in

Chad Bembenek Rio, Wisconsin

Living in Wisconsin can be a challenge when it comes to footing. Spring and

Above: Limestone offers great benefits to barefoot horses.

the fork. Limestone also neutralizes urine to help control flies and ammonia formation, even when several horses urinate in the same spot. Limestone fines help compact the hoof (wall, sole and frog), making it durable at all times of the year. Horses conditioned on this

type of footing can then easily transition onto larger gravel.


I do not recommend limestone fines for the initial rehabilitation of foundered horses. While it does provide support, it is not forgiving enough to keep the horse comfortable.

I have found that each of these footings can be very beneficial if managed properly. We must always keep in mind the comfort of the horse; he may need to start on sand, then transition onto pea gravel, and finally limestone.

Photo: Chad Bembenek

Below: A healthy hoof conditioned on limestone.

Chad Bembenek has been providing barefoot hoofcare since 1999 and has over 200 horse clients, many of whom are foundered or diagnosed with navicular.


is a full time


certified trimmer and a founding member of the

American Hoof Association.


equine wellness


Homeopathy a sweet treatment for sprains and strains


As soon as Tammy woke up, she realized she had overdone her trail ride the day before. Six hours was just too long. As she made her way out to feed Jasper, her mount for the long ride, she saw he felt the same way she did – sore and stiff. Using her homeopathic remedy kit, she dosed herself with Arnica 200C and did the same for Jasper. equine wellness

Photos: Kenny Williams, If Your Horse Could Talk

by Julie Anne Lee, DCH, with Thurza Aspinal DCH, Sheryl Bourque DVM

Homeopathy is a wonderfully effective and gentle modality. It was created in the 19th century by German doctor Samuel Hahnemann in his quest to find a less invasive and less toxic way to treat his patients. It works with the philosophy that “like cures like”; in other words, that which can make us sick in its raw form, can trigger the body’s natural ability to heal in diluted homeopathic preparations. For instance, the homeopathic remedy Rhus tox , which is made from poison ivy, is effective for conditions associated with dry, hot, itchy skin, and Allium cepa, made from red onion, is often prescribed for colds with a watery discharge from the nose.

How are the remedies made?

Homeopathic remedies are derived from a diverse range of substances including animal, mineral and plant. The raw materials are processed by a method call potentization, consisting of dilution (in a water/alcohol mixture) and succussion (vigorous shaking). This process renders even poisonous materials safe to use.


When choosing a remedy, try to select the one that most closely matches all the symptoms. The most common potencies range from 6C to 200C. Higher potencies such as 1M, 10M and 50M are available but should be recommended by an experienced homeopath. The potency is chosen based on what is being treated. For example, with a violent acute problem, the body should respond quickly to a high potency. A slow chronic condition is best treated with a low potency repeated over time. Again, a remedy used for chronic issues should only be selected and administered by an experienced homeopathic practitioner.

Dosing guidelines The general rule when administering

Horses love the sweet taste of sucrose-based homeopathy.

remedies for acute problems is to give one dose of a 200C potency every half hour until the desired effects are achieved, then stop. If there is no change after the third dose, it is not the correct remedy and another one will need to be selected. If you see the patient much improved after the second dose, you have selected the correct remedy and you don’t need to administer any further remedies. The patient’s immune system should take over from there. In chronic cases, as stated above, a lower potency is often given over time, or a single dose of 30c might be used. Remedies are most commonly available in granules and given directly into the bottom lip. They have a sweet taste that almost all animals take to very well. If your horse does have an issue taking the remedy it can be hidden in a piece of apple or carrot.

“Obstacles to cure”

In my experience, most complaints can be resolved homeopathically, but as in every modality of medicine, treatments may not always work effectively. In homeopathy, the number one reason for an ineffective response is the “obstacle


Homeopathic remedies are best stored in a dry, cool dark area away from strong odors, as well as computers, microwaves, refrigerators, etc. to cure” – any constant negating cause that acts on the body and interferes with its ability to heal. We need to remove these obstacles before a cure can be achieved. In horses, the most common obstacle to cure is lack of movement. Therefore, movement is as essential to healing as emotional well-being. Vaccinations can also interfere with healing ability.

Common remedies for muscle and joint injuries

Strained muscles and joint injuries are among the most common equine issues, so this is a great place to start learning how to use homeopathic remedies with your horse. Common symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness, especially when the affected part is moved. Continued on page 54 equine wellness


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3 remedies for

emotional issues Homeopathy is a quick, safe and effective way to help with fear and stress. Common emotional situations affecting horses include: •Extreme shock following an injury or trauma such as an accident while in the trailer •Travel or trailering anxiety •Fear of new places, people and horses •Performance anxiety Symptoms may include rapid heartbeat and respiration, profuse sweating, trembling, shivering, wanting to flee, rear, bite or strike, and/or extreme restlessness. Extreme aggression, whether from fear or not, may need deeper constitutional treatment from a qualified homeopathic practitioner, plus help from a trainer who specializes in understanding equine behavior.

Aconitum Napellus (monkshood) – For extreme shock, fear, or anxiety following sudden injury or intense trauma.

Characteristic symptoms: Sudden fear, intense violent symptoms, restlessness, rapid heartbeat, glassy eyes, panicked expression, sweating. Mental state: Overpowering fear, panic, restlessness, anger, desire to run away or strike because of fear, emotionally overwrought, inconsolable, claustrophobia, fear of crowds, desire for company. Causes: New places, new trailer, closed-in for too long, accidents in the trailer, mental trauma, fear after injury. Hint: If the symptoms come on very suddenly, give Aconite before Arnica.

Gelsemium (yellow jasmine) – For quiet, timid dispositions who are sensitive to excitement.

Characteristic symptoms: Weakness, trembling or shivering, paralysis of limbs, unable to move, frequent urination, diarrhea from emotional stress or fright, thirstlessness. Mental state: Anxiety, fear of thunderstorms, agoraphobia, spooks or startles easily, slow and sluggish, desires to be left alone. Worse: Motion. Better: Urination, sweating, open air, cold. Hint: Useful before an equine event where there is fear with trembling.

Argentum Nitricum (silver nitrate) – This remedy and Gelsemium are complementary and help with some similar symptoms.

Characteristic symptoms: Restlessness, hurried, impulsive acts, un-coordination, loss of control, trembling, noisy diarrhea, sweating, pacing back and forth, refusal to pass a certain place, get into the trailer or go into the show ring. Mental state: Restless and unable to keep still. When you compare the Aconite horse with the Argentum horse they can both have sudden panic attacks but the Argentum horse has more phobic or neurotic behavior especially while passing a certain place, in closed places, or before a show, event or journey. Worse: Anticipation of and traveling to an event, being left alone, passing certain places, crowds of people, sugar. Hint: Often the Argentum horse will go into a Gelsemium state if he is trapped in a situation he can do nothing about.


equine wellness

Homeopathic remedies for joint and muscle injuries



Characteristic Sensation symptoms

Mental state

Apis Mellifica (bee venom)

Joint trauma

Affected joint is swollen, red and shiny (not often seen in horses)

Burning or stinging

Irritable and anxious

Arnica Montana (leopard’s bane)

Torn muscles or tendons, overexertion of muscles and associated bruising

Soreness, stiffness and bruising

Sore and bruised

Horse has experienced a trauma with moderate shock, wants to be left alone, wants to lie down but cannot find a comfortable spot, often acts like he is well when clearly he is not.

Bryonia Alba (white bryony)

For joint or muscle injuries

Very hot swollen joints, usually without bruising, stitching pain in affected muscles

Ledum Palustre (marsh tea)

Joint sprains, esp. repeated ankle issues

Swelling, reddish bruising

Injury feels cold to the touch, and numb

Sprained joints and/or torn muscles

Hot, painful and swollen joints, aching and stiffness, worse from prolonged movement

Stiff and “bruised”

Injuries to bony joints or shins, tendon and outer layers of the bones

Hot aching sprains with lameness, bruised bones, weakness around affected part

Constant soreness, aching, “bruised” feeling of affected area

(Often used first to treat physical or emotional trauma of the injury, followed by more specific remedy selected for remaining symptoms)



Warmth of any kind

Lying down

Movement, exertion, touch, jarring and lying on hard surfaces

On slightest movement (even breathing)

Cold compresses

Warmth and movement

Restless despite pain

Warmth and after a period of movement

Rest, damp cold with start of movement, though pain lessons with continued motion

Weak and weary

Resting affected area, tightly wrapping injury, warmth

Using affected part, and cold

(Use after Arnica if swelling and bruising persist)

Rhus Toxicodendron (poison ivy) (Often used with Arnica)

Ruta Graveolens (rue) (Often follows Arnica)

equine wellness


When a homeopath takes a case, he/she takes a detailed history that considers everything, including mental, emotional and physical signs. The power of observation may also reveal important information that we would not normally include, such as how your horse reacts to other horses, to heat, cold, etc. Once the case is researched, a single remedy is selected from over 4,000 listed in the Materia Medica.

Beware of serious conditions such as fractures or dislocated joints – these are accompanied by severe pain and/or rapid and excessive swelling, and require veterinary attention.

Guidelines for use:

•If there is no improvement after three doses, it is not the appropriate remedy. •If there is improvement, repeat the remedy several times. •If the symptoms begin to get worse, stop and wait to see if they then improve. •Stop giving the remedy when symptoms disappear.


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As you can see, homeopathy can be a wonderful tool in supporting your equine partner. For more information, visit www.csoh.ca, www.bahvs.com, and www.healingplace.ca. Note: this is general information only. You should always consult with your veterinarian before starting anything new with your horse.

Julie Anne Lee is a classical homeopath, homeopathic mentor, instructor, and equestrian who graduated

Vancouver Homeopathic Academy in 1997. She founded the Adored Beast Veterinary Clinic in Vancouver and works from the

alongside veterinarians within the legislated

British Columbia Veterinary Medical Association. Julie Anne is also an associate member of the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons, and has ten years’ experience as a veterinary technician in Ontario. www.adoredbeast.com bylaws of the

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equine wellness

Did you know? According to the World Health Organization, homeopathy is the second largest therapeutic in the world. It is widely practiced in many other countries, especially in Europe and India where it is commonly used in clinics and hospitals. The Royal Family in England has had a homeopathic physician on staff since 1834, and Prince Charles treats all of his animals homeopathically.

Heads up!

Energy healing for equines

Energetic treatments work well on horses, and can often be used in conjunction with one another. Laser Therapy and Acupuncture on Horses by Peter Rosin and Anja FĂźchtenbusch is a comprehensive handbook written for those interested in working towards a practice in these healing therapies. It gives students a complete overview of the basics of laser therapy and acupuncture, and includes an encyclopedia of treatment protocols for a wide variety of conditions, including wounds, pain, respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, as well as diseases affecting the skin, immunity, reproductive and vascular systems. www.centurion-systems.com

Horses Help Humans Horses have a profoundly healing and empowering effect on people. The Buffalo Woman Ranch in Colorado has just announced a new certification program in Equine Facilitated Integrative Healing. The program is designed for horse enthusiasts as well as nurses and other health professionals who want to work with horses and clients using an equine experiential learning model for healing, personal growth and insight. The introductory module is scheduled for September 1 to 4. www.buffalowomanranch.com

Bill S311 making progress

The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee of the U.S. Senate recently held a mark-up for Bill S311, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA). The committee voted in favor of sending the bill to be considered before the full U.S. Senate. Passage of the AHSPA is critical, as it will ensure horses are protected from slaughter in the U.S., and will also prohibit them from being exported for the same purpose.

e w

Enter Enzymes

Digestive problems impact your horse’s overall health and performance. From Great Life, eNZYmes Pro+ for Horses is a nutritional supplement that provides your equine partner with a complete spectrum of enzymes and probiotics. It also includes natural antioxidants, trace minerals and herbal nutrients, as well as green lipped mussel, yucca and other ingredients for joint mobility and antiinflammation. Its fresh flavor of apples, carrots and bananas makes it taste good too. www.greatlife4pets.com

Get interactive!

Mark your calendar for June 30 and July 1. A unique equine event for riders and trainers is taking place that weekend at Iowa State University and by live interactive webcast. The Voice of the Horse Conference, presented by Tapestry Institute, explores the horse-human relationship in an innovative format that facilitates active learning, with presentations by internationally-renowned clinicians, trainers and other equine pros. The event also includes a panel discussion, a Horse of Legends concert, an online art show and interactive learning forums. www.thevoiceofthehorse.com

Fly away!

Flies and other insects can be a real problem, but the chemical-based repellents often used to deal with them are even worse. Defy the Fly insectrepelling products are made with geraniol, a safe new alternative to DEET, and are animal and environmentally-friendly. The company offers collars and leg bands for horses – just snap them on to repel flies, gnats, mosquitoes and ticks. The products work for up to two months. www.defythefly.com equine wellness


Improve your riding with the Feldenkrais MethodÂŽ

by Wendy Murdoch

Above: Wendy is able to give the rider a sense and feeling of what they are looking for by using Functional Integration techniques. Here, Wendy shows Connie Lloyd how to lengthen through the inside of her leg all the way to her foot. This will give Connie a firm but soft contact through her entire leg and allow the ankle to sink deeply without trying to force it into place.


equine wellness

Photo: Mary O’Brien

Moving in the right direction

How often have you got on your horse and thought, “I am so stiff!” Maybe you’ve noticed your horse is also stiff, or has trouble bending or taking a particular canter lead. You may realize that you are part of the problem, but what do you do about it? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a way to solve these issues without hours of stretching, or years of riding? There is. The Feldenkrais Method offers a unique way to correct riding problems through small, gentle, pain-free movements that quickly teach you how to move in new ways.

The three basics of Feldenkrais Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais was an engineer. After suffering a severe knee injury, he rehabilitated himself and in the process developed the Feldenkrais Method. He recognized several key factors that serve as the basis of Feldenkrais:

movement. Not only does this improve your physical potential, but it also allows your horse to perform new and different movements. The horse suddenly becomes confident because his rider is acting in a new and positive way.

ATM and FI As Dr. Feldenkrais refined his work, he divided it into two intimately related parts: Awareness through Movement® (ATM) and Functional Integration® (FI). The easiest way to understand the difference is to think in terms of a group lesson versus a private riding lesson. Dr. Feldenkrais developed hundreds of different lessons during his lifetime to help us learn and rediscover our potential for movement. These can be taught as either ATM or FI lessons.

ATM can be done at home using audiorecorded lessons, or in a group with a Feldenkrais Practitioner guiding the session (like a group riding lesson). You cannot think a thought without FI is a one-on-one session with a movement. Every time you think a Feldenkrais Practitioner (like a of taking an action, private riding leslike getting out of a son). Each lesson is chair, your nervous designed to teach system readies you to the student a new stand up before you way of organizing A sensitive horse hears the “getting ever act on your desire herself. Some lessons ready” part before you ever to stand. Similarly, are easier while othconsciously act on your thought. whenever you think ers require experience That’s why, with some horses, you of asking your horse have to be extremely careful of your with the Feldenkrais to turn, your thought thoughts so they don’t act on those Method. However, thoughts prematurely. Examples are causes a response in all can be modified jumping too soon or stopping at a your body that may for any student if the fence because you held your breath. cue him to turn. basic principles of ATM are followed. You act in accordance with your self-image. We express this daily in Feldenkrais fits each individual our riding. If we think we are stiff, or Dr. Feldenkrais stressed that his work can’t jump very high, or that our horse was not to be called, or associated doesn’t like crossing water, then that is with, exercise. He saw his Method as what we project and how the horse will a system of education, using us as the respond. It’s as if our limiting belief object of study. He was concerned system is transmitted to our horses, with the student’s attention to her and they express it like a mirror. actions. When the student was unable to do the requested movement, she was You can change your self-image, encouraged to visualize it as clearly as and therefore your human potential, possible. Lessons can be modified to with conscious awareness through the student’s ability instead of trying





equine wellness


to make her adhere to some imposed image of the movement. This is why the ATM lessons are only available in audio form. Dr. Feldenkrais did not want people to try and emulate someone else’s movement.

Not having a goal equals success Unlike exercise, there is no goal or ideal movement presented ahead of time. Nor are you told at the beginning what the desired outcome is supposed to be. Goals tend to encourage students to jump to the end without really learning the new movement. Therefore, you are intentionally not told what the lesson is about. This keeps you curious and in the moment so you learn new pathways of thought and movement. Many people find this part frustrating because they want to know what they are trying to accomplish. But that is exactly the point. The idea is to remain in the process; otherwise you will simply use your old tried and true patterns without learning anything new. By exploring


equine wellness

the possibilities, and only doing what is pleasurable and comfortable during the lesson, you discover much more about yourself. Your nervous system is given time to notice these non-habitual movements without a sense of failure or performance anxiety. Each student can therefore learn at her own pace and explore possibilities as deeply as she desires within any given lesson.

Training with Dr. Feldenkrais in the late 1970s.


Do less. Our nervous system senses change as a ratio. In other words, the less we do, the more sensitive the nervous system becomes to what is happening. This is also true when we ride. Most people get into trouble with the horse when they try to do more, like over-steering in snow. In ATM, the less you do, the more sensitive you will become to the changes and possibilities that exist.

What makes the Feldenkrais Method so powerful is that huge changes can occur in just one lesson by making very small, slow, non-habitual movements. This is because the primary focus is about awareness, not movement.

The principles of a ATM lesson The tenets Dr. Feldenkrais put forth can be applied to learning anything. For example, they are the basis for the Tellington-Jones Equine Awareness Method, which Linda Tellington-Jones developed after taking Practitioner

The principles of ATM are: Go slowly. Fast movements are discouraged because it takes more conscious awareness to move slowly. It also gives your brain a chance to pay attention to how you are doing the movement.

If it hurts, stop! This is a key principle. The idea of no pain, no gain, doesn’t work here. Pain inhibits learning. The brain gets distracted from the learning and instead concentrates on survival. In ATM, students are looking for new

equine wellness


Try this simple Feldenkrais ATM lesson

1 2

Sit in a chair and turn to look at something behind you on your right. Only do what is easy. Mark the spot on the wall.

Now move only your eyes to the right three times. Leave your nose straight ahead. Go slowly and notice if your eyes jump or pan like a video camera as you move them. Do not force anything. Rest.


Next, leave your eyes straight ahead (look at a picture on the wall, or a tree) and move your head to the right three times. Go slowly, and do not force the movement. Only do what is easy. Rest.


This time, leave your head and eyes straight ahead and turn your chest to the right, three times. Again, go slowly, only do what is easy and notice if other parts of you want to follow. Rest.


Now look to your right as you did in the first step. How much further can you look?

By taking the time to differentiate your eyes, head and chest, you’ll discover you can look much further with less effort. That’s Feldenkrais!


equine wellness

possibilities, so if it hurts, stop, go more slowly, and do less. Rest between movements. A momentary pause between each movement allows the brain to see each movement as unique. Rest between a series of movements gives the brain a moment to integrate the movement into a larger construct or picture, much like sleeping on a problem over night and having it make sense in the morning. Work within your comfort, only do what is enjoyable. If you go to your limit, all you will do is learn about and reinforce your limitations. By moving within a comfortable range, or perhaps even less, you learn how to go towards and return from a movement. If the movement is easy, you can of course go as far as you like.

your turns on a hunter course or a ten-meter circle in the dressage arena. Perhaps more importantly, it will make it easier for your horse to do what you want him to. To learn more, go to www.feldenkrais.com.

Wendy Murdoch is an International Riding Instructor/ Clinician and a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner. She is the author of Simplify Your Riding and the 3-DVD series Ride Like A Natural. Wendy discovered the Feldenkrais Method after suffering a severe riding accident in 1984. She has combined her knowledge of horses, biomechanics and the Feldenkrais Method to create The Effortless Rider®, unmounted classroom experiences which help riders achieve what great riders do naturally.

Imagine how the Feldenkrais Method will help you look for


www.murdochmethod.com or email wendy@wendymurdoch.com.

your health

Let the sun shine in by Dr. Valeria Wyckoff, ND

Diane is careful about what she eats. She does yoga and likes natural products. But one day, while dyeing yarn for a project, she put her hands in the dye vat. Her skin absorbed a large quantity of heavy metals from the dye. She became quite ill and needed chelation to remove the toxins from her body. Diane no longer puts anything on her skin that she wouldn’t eat. Healthy skin is essential to our appearance and overall well being. The skin absorbs medicines, chemicals and oils, and excretes perspiration, oils and odors (think about how eating a lot of garlic can make your sweat smell garlicky). Sunlight on the skin affects your melatonin production at night to put you to sleep, while cortisol wakes you up in the morning. The skin also manufactures a very important hormone precursor from sunlight – vitamin D.

Balancing sun exposure Sun exposure is a common skin concern these days. Many people wear sunscreen all the time, for fear of developing skin cancer. But we are discovering that some of the chemicals in sunscreen irritate the skin as they are absorbed into the body, perhaps actually increasing the risk of skin cancer. We have also discovered that vitamin D is very important for the bones, and is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent, especially for breast cancer. Vitamin D is possibly a mood enhancer as well; it’s thought that a deficiency contributes to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in northern

climates. Wearing sunscreen blocks vitamin D production, and can therefore affect our health. People in hot equatorial regions who have a siesta after their midday meal may have the right idea. It puts them under shade during the hottest part of the day. During the summer, I most enjoy the outdoors in the morning and evening, but prefer being inside at midday. I don’t burn before ten and after three, but in the middle of the day, watch out – I can burn in a parking lot if I am out too long.

Tips for healthy skin 1. Spend some daily time in the

sun, before 10AM and after 3PM, without sunscreen.

2. Supplement with 800 IU vitamin D each day, especially during the winter if you live in the north.

Dehydrated? Try this pinch test Our skin can be an important indicator for dehydration. If it tents and wrinkles a lot, you are probably dehydrated. To check for tenting, pinch a large amount of skin on the back of your hand, let it go, and watch how fast it goes back down. If it happens very quickly you are hydrated. If it returns slowly, you are probably dehydrated. If your neck or hands are looking wrinkled, drink more water and electrolytes.

3. Keep well hydrated; drink lots of water with electrolytes.

4. Be as careful about what you put on your skin as what you eat and drink. Only use lotions, creams, oils and sunscreens that have ingredients safe to take into your body. Don’t put toxic chemicals or heavy metals on your skin.

5. Avoid sunburn in the middle of the day by wearing a hat and lightweight cotton shirts and pants, or by using a good herbal sunscreen (I like a herbal children’s 30 SPF sunscreen best).

6. Use a healing herbal salve on your skin every day. Desert plants like aloe and chaparral make marvelous treatments for sunburn or sun damage. Tests have shown that chaparral skin salve can even reverse some skin damage. Don’t be afraid to let the sun shine gently on your skin. Just be sure it’s at the right time, and that you’re staying hydrated and using safe products. Dr. Valeria Wyckoff is a naturopathic physician and registered dietitian with a practice

Chandler, Arizona. 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. www.DrValeria.net. in

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Embracing Part four –


Imagine entering a barn that’s advertising a horse for sale. As you walk down the aisle towards the prospect, your eyes are suddenly riveted by another horse. The lovely black mare focuses a laser beam look on you and you fall into the depths of her mysterious dark eyes. Then you hear a quiet inner voice say, “I am the one.” When you inquire if the mare is for sale, the barn owner responds with a list of her woes: difficult behavior, extreme sensitivities, and vague but debilitating lower back pain. Regardless of the grim story, you ask how much she costs and write out the check. The next day, the mare is difficult to load

Water 62

equine wellness

into the trailer and has a wild-eyed look as she enters her new home. She trembles with fear and looks ready to bolt. You feel the same. But you breathe deeply and tap into the feeling of rightness you had when you first saw her. Suddenly the horse exhales with relief, lowers her head, softens her eye and quietly enters her new stall as if she had always lived there. Somehow, instead of feeling surprised, you just smile. Welcome to the adventure of owning a Water horse! All horses embody 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 encourage deep lasting health and wellbeing. In this issue, we finish up our series of articles by learning about the Water horse’s needs and how to work with her temperament.

Expect the unexpected

The Water horse is different from the rest. If you’re looking for a “normal” horse, this is not the one for you! Water horses are quirky and unusual, and routinely confound trainers, riders and vets with odd behavior and ailments. They even catalyze


the Elements the Elements of Chinese Medicine: is your horse Water? by Susan Tenney, CMT

profound transformation in the lives of the people they’re closest to. If the two of you are a good match, your connection will be deeper and more emotionally satisfying than any you’ve known. There are some reliable patterns seen in the Water horse but the key to understanding is to expect the unexpected.

An equine chameleon

The Water horse is always changing. You may even think he is one of the other Elements, but don’t be fooled. Like a chameleon that changes his color but remains a chameleon, the Water horse may look like another Element on the outside, but these are just passing phases.


These Elemental “masks” can last for months, even years. Then suddenly, your slow-going “Earth” mare turns into an athletic “Wood” dynamo. This abrupt change of character hints at the essential Water character of your horse.

Canary in the coal mine

The Water horse tends to be physically sensitive. Does your horse have lameness, a skin problem or behavioral pattern that defies diagnosis? Is he sensitive to everything in his environment? Water horses are often plagued by unique physical problems; these odd conditions are real but their origin often lies in unexpected places. For example, Water horses react

Metal equine wellness


to energetic influences such as power lines passing through their pasture. They also react to physical substances like pesticides or chemical shampoos. They are the “canary in the coal mine”, warning us about the toxic nature of many everyday horse care practices and products. Do not dismiss their reaction; instead, search for solutions. Maybe you can learn how to use feng shui to mitigate the effect of power lines, or experiment with natural horse care solutions like fly predators or natural shampoos.

Emotional honesty

The Water horse is also emotionally sensitive, especially to feelings that are suppressed beneath a layer of false smiles. Many of their unusual ailments will worsen in the presence of emotional difficulties. If you act differently than you feel, she experiences it as lying and that disturbs her deeply. Learn to express your emotions honestly and seek out companions who do the same.

Exploring new horizons

Sharing your life with a sensitive Water horse will challenge you to reassess long held assumptions about equine training and health care. You may need to experiment with unconventional training methods to help her perform better. You may discover new alternative health care approaches in your quest to improve her odd physical symptoms. Water horses often respond best to energy based techniques like acupressure, acupuncture, homeopathy, healing essences and Reiki.

Embrace the adventure

Now that you know you have a Water horse, how do you handle the challenges of caring for him? First, embrace the adventure and listen to your equine partner. Surrender your dreams of riding Grand Prix dressage – or even riding at all – and enter into a deep relationship with the horse to see where his destiny really lies. To uncover the

Water horse’s plans, stay open to new forms of intuitive communication. Trust what you are picking up, regardless of what conventional “wisdom” may dictate. This horse goes beyond convention. If he comes to you in a dream and tells you about his athletic ambitions, give that serious consideration. If you notice that he goes lame every time you have a show scheduled, he’s telling you he does not want to be a performance horse.

Mystic partner

Accept your Water horse as your teacher and guide. He can help guide you on your path. His wisdom will catalyze profound and lasting transformation in your life. You may be surprised to find yourself looking at things in a different way. A word to the wise: while he may be your teacher on the spiritual plane, here on earth you still need to be the leader while riding and doing groundwork. Continued on page 66.


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The Water horse at a glance Physical characteristics

Common ailments: Odd symptoms, “brushes with death”, headshaking, EPM, Lyme disease, herpes, chronic skin irritation with itching, bone breaks, joint issues, hearing loss, stiffness, lumbar (lower back) pain or weakness, difficulty collecting, unusual water and/or salt consumption, susceptibility to cold weather, urinary and reproductive disorders, thyroid issues. Water horses may also display the symptoms of their “mask” Element.

Favorite sports: Sport patterns are strongly influenced by “mask” Element. Some are stupendous

Finally, trust your Water horse, your intuition, and your relationship. This horse has plans for you. The only question is whether or not you are prepared to jump into those deep waters. If not, you’ll be happier with another horse. If so, then be prepared for a unique adventure!

performers but many develop ailments or behaviors that preclude them from heavy competition, especially if they do not trust the rider/handler.

Tips for success: Balance work and rest, feed high quality salt (Himalayan or other specialty salts) and bone/joint supplements. Provide a healthy home, emotionally as well as physically. Avoid electrical towers or other structures with high electromagnetic fields. Use healing essences like Bach flower remedies to support emotional balance.

Emotional characteristics

Susan Tenney, CMT,


internationally as a teacher,

Emotional strengths: Wisdom, spiritual connection, may display any or all of the emotional strengths

writer and practitioner of

of the other four Elements, deep sense of personal destiny.

Shiatsu and Five Element Acupressure for animals. She blends massage, acupressure, stretching, movement exercises

Stressed by: Emotional insensitivity or dishonesty, chaos, conventional lifestyles and expectations, people who think this animal is “just a horse”.

Balanced by: Emotional honesty and forthrightness, rest time, healing work, emotional respect from caretaker/trainer/animal communicator.

Vulnerable to: Extreme sensitivity or displays of behavior, especially fear/panic. May display emotional weakness of the other four Elements.

Responds to stress with: Strange or extreme behavior, sometimes self destructive, odd physical ailments connected to emotional stress (personal or in surroundings), stable vices like weaving or cribbing.

Learning style: Benefits from deep intimate connection with a partner, close attention to the horse’s real goals/destiny. Learning style influenced heavily by “mask” Element.

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 on a variety of acupressure topics.



Tips for success: Trust yourself, the relationship between you and your animal, and your intuition in

clinics in

making decisions about the horse. Expect the unexpected, look deeply and creatively for solutions, and surrender to your destiny with this partner. This horse benefits from herbs, acupressure and lifestyle changes that balance the Water Element.

and leads a certification


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and the






Mary Ann Simonds

inspirational women


by Sue LeBrun and Clair Davis

While many little girls growing up in Fresno, California in the 1960s dreamed of being “Miss Raisin Queen” or the “Cotton Princess”, Mary Ann Simonds wanted to be a horse psychologist. Her parents kindly let her pursue this dream, not telling her how difficult it would be until she was about 12 years old. By that time, the idea was fully implanted in her head, and it was too late to change it as she realized how differently she thought about horses when compared to most people and trainers. Mary Ann began working towards her dream by obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Wyoming, and a minor in Range Management. She then went on to earn a Masters degree in Interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies. Today, Mary Ann is one of the country’s most respected researchers and educators in the fields of human-animal interaction and communication, with over 30 years of professional experience. She consults and gives clinics around the world, has served on the U.S. National Advisory Board on Wild Horse Management, and is considered an “expert witness” and leading authority on wild and domestic horse behavior. Whether working with Germany’s top Olympic riders or roaming the pens at a BLM wild horse adoption event, Mary Ann’s purpose is the same – getting people to understand what it is their horses wish they knew. She is recognized as having the unique ability to entwine intuitive methods with scientific credibility, and moves us beyond the horse-training paradigm into a people-training one. She shows us how to “think and feel with” our horses. Mary Ann’s focus on the human-animal bond includes reducing stress for animals and their caregivers by helping people learn about and understand natural behavior and communication. She has developed several techniques to assist people in evaluating and relating more effectively to their animals. O.F.F.E.R. (Open-Friendly-FocusedEmpathetic-Respectful), is a process for sharing awareness

with animals, while the S.A.I.C.C. (Sensitivity-AwarenessIntelligence-Confidence-Cooperation) Evaluation is used for temperament-typing animals that share their lives with people. Her “Enchanted Riding” program, meanwhile, takes participants on a journey into the magical kingdom of the horse, where humans and horses are partners, sharing each other’s thoughts and movements. This program changes the way people ride forever. “Riding is a communication between two species, a sharing of energy,” says Mary Ann. A published author in the U.S. and abroad, Mary Ann has produced four videos/DVDs, three CDs, four books and numerous articles about horses and people. She has spent years developing her educational materials as well as flower essences, aromatherapy and magnetic therapy products. Mary Ann works with an international community of trainers, judges, riders, veterinarians, and other horse professionals. She is dedicated to shifting the way we train, breed, communicate with and care for our horses.

To learn more about Mary Ann and her products, visit www.mystichorse.com. equine wellness


1. Make the subject obvious Subject selection is very important in photography. Just knowing your subject is not enough; you must capture it so it’s obvious to the viewer. No one else will recognize your horse in a herd of other horses standing in a distant pasture. Your eye and brain focus on your subject to make the visual, but conveying that to others takes practice. As you take photos and view the results, note the difference between what you saw and what your photos actually emphasize.

2. Stand out with great composition

10 tips for


horse photos by Penny J. Leisch


he early morning light shimmered through the mist, creating a magical scene in which the black gelding took center stage. Stacey ran back to the house, grabbed her camera and, in one click captured this incredible memory forever. Have you ever wanted to enter a photo contest or just take great pictures of your horse, only to realize the only button on your camera you really know how to operate is the shutter release? You don’t need to be a professional or own expensive, complicated equipment to take great pictures. With the following basic tips and some practice, you’ll soon be taking prize-winning shots. 68

equine wellness

Composition is arranging the whole picture artistically so it’s pleasing to the eye. Think of elements like contrast, repetition, balance, cohesion, and climax. • Can you place your white horse in front of a red barn, instead of a dull brown building? That's contrast. • Does your pasture have beautiful trees that would add a picturesque background? Trees add texture and color; a line of trees fading into the distance provides repetition. • Balance means the photo is pleasing to the eye and fills the frame without seeming lopsided. • Cohesion dictates that everything in the photo is necessary and relates to what you want to say. For example, do you need a shot of the entire horse or is a head shot enough to capture his crooked ears and happy expression? • Depicting a great climax can bring excitement and energy to the photo. Think of your horse in a mid-air jump, or your daughter’s joyful tears at an award ceremony.

3. Carefully place your subject Placement of the subject greatly

affects overall impact. The “rule of thirds” is invaluable here. Divide your viewing area into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and place the main subject at one of the intersections. This is a simple way for novice photographers to quickly improve their shots.


Always position yourself as close as possible to the action, but try to avoid flash photos wherever possible. A sudden bright flash startles horses and people.

4. Keep the background simple Background objects can either enhance or detract attention from the subject. What else do you see in the immediate area besides your subject? Is there garbage on the ground? Should the horse trailer be in sight? What else might take away from your shot? Decide whether the problem can be removed. If not, can you move around to obtain the desired picture? This extra effort can make a world of difference.

5. Add interest with angles Half the fun of photography is just mixing it up a bit. Experiment shooting from different angles to create the result you desire. • Vertical lines usually represent strength, purpose, balance, and support. If the subject is taller than it is wide, consider vertical orientation. • Horizontal lines are restful and passive. • Diagonal emphasis creates movement even if the subject is standing still.

6. Use a unique point of view Unusual is good. Move above, below or upside down as you explore various

views of your subject. Be creative and use important elements in the background to illustrate or add humor to your story. Want to depict something larger than life? Lie on the ground and shoot up to make the subject seem huge. What elements in the picture help tell the story? Is there a funny sign in the background? Are you photographing an important event, and could some background decorations be included to enhance the shot?

7. Use light to set the mood Light conveys mood, so use shadows and reflections to emphasize the subject. If you need more light, add it with fill flash or artificial lighting. Maximize the use of natural light whenever possible. Professional photographers consider early morning and late afternoon magical times to obtain great shots. High noon on a sunny day is the

8. Use these easy techniques to shoot like a pro Once you understand the basics of setting up a good shot, you’re ready to try some techniques used by the professionals. • Filters attach to the lens of your camera and create professional quality light and color balance. The most common filters handle basic light adjustments, such as cutting UV rays to eliminate haze and enhance color, or polarizing to eliminate reflections on water and deepen sky color. • Panning conveys motion. Try following a galloping horse with the camera; the photo shows movement by keeping the horse in focus and blurring the background.


Freeze action with fast film (400 or 800 ISO), or fast film settings on digital cameras. Many cameras offer an action mode to handle this adjustment automatically.

Tech tips Optical zoom is actual enlargement, as though you’re looking through a magnifying glass.

Digital zoom is the equivalent of cropping a photo inside the camera before you shoot the photo. Just keep in mind that photos taken using the digital zoom produce a reduced file size, which limits later enlargement. Black and white digital work is best done in color and converted to grayscale. You get better detail and nice crisp black and white photos.

worst as it creates harsh shadows and glare, washing out colors and details. Some people think overcast days aren’t good for photography, but colors will actually look more saturated, plus you don’t get those distracting shadows.

• Frame still subjects to create interest. Use trees, windows, and other objects to form a natural frame for your subject. • Zoom in on the subject to simplify and eliminate distractions. equine wellness


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“Dpi” stands for dots per inch and is a measure of picture and printing resolution. For example, 300 dpi means there are 300 dots per lineal inch. When you select an output of 200 dots per inch, or lower, the dots become larger.

9. Get a release if entering a contest Most contests require a release when people and private property appear in photos, especially if the winning entries are published. When you photograph property, people, or animals that are not yours, ask permission and respect cultural traditions and beliefs. A handwritten statement, signed and dated, is usually sufficient for amateur contests.

10. Never edit an original

Next time the morning light is perfect and your equine partner willing, grab your camera and start shooting. Who knows, you could be the next photo contest winner!

Call or go online today – your horses will thank you!


Digital photo trivia

Last but not least, never edit original photos or digital files. Save originals and make a copy to resize or edit. Most publications and contests require the large original size at 300 dpi (dots per inch).

only $

• Eye reflections challenge all animal photographers. To help reduce this, point the light source at a wall or ceiling to "bounce" it, or shoot from various angles. You can also fix the eye problem with computer photo software.

Penny J. Leisch taught Writing and Photography for Publication for the City of Tempe, Arizona. In 2006, her horse story “Honey” appeared in the Cup of Comfort anthology Horses as Healers. www.pennyleisch.com

Traveling by Lisa Ross-Williams

with your horse

Summer has arrived and many horse lovers are loading up their equine friends to take a trip. Whether you’re heading to an endurance ride or a vacation cabin in the mountains, the following travel tips will ensure a safer, calmer and healthier journey for everyone.

Trailer tips

•Consider using a stock-type trailer. The design allows for better air ventilation and circulation which helps keep the temperature comfortable and promotes dissipation of urine and manure fumes. It also permits the horse to find his

preferred riding position and allows him to look at his surroundings. •If possible, don’t tie your horse. This enables him to find his balance more easily and lets him put his head down to blow out his nose, helping to clear foreign matter and reducing the chances

of respiratory problems, including shipping fever. Not tying also reduces stress; many horses that kick and pull back in the trailer often stop if not tied.

•Avoid using front hay mangers as the horse has no choice but to have his face stuck in this area, inhaling dirt and hay pieces as well as getting debris in his eyes. If you must use this type of trailer, moisten the hay and use a fly mask. •Be careful about using shipping boots or wraps. They can negatively affect the equine wellness


horse’s circulatory system, especially during longer hauls. Due to lack of movement, the blood pools in the lower leg and causes swelling. Because the wraps or boots were placed on the horse prior to this swelling, unnatural pressure is placed on this area. •Provide rest stops of 20 to 30 minutes for every four to five hours of travel. If your horse is comfortable with loading/ unloading and the area is safe, unload and slowly walk him to help loosen up tight muscles. If the area is unsafe or the horse gets stressed during loading/ unloading, just stopping is beneficial. Offer moistened hay and fresh water.

to leaving. Forcing her not only makes it stressful for both of you, but will also guarantee a harder loading next time. •Offer moistened free-choice grass hay. It helps reduce stress and keeps the gut moving.


To entice horses to drink more, add a small quantity of unsweetened apple juice or a tablespoon of molasses to 11 pints of water. Start a week prior

•Try to limit driving to no more than 12 hours a day. The incidence of shipping fever increases after that period.

to leaving so they become accustomed to the special taste.

Support your horse

•Start extra nutritional support a week ahead of the trip, and continue a week after:

•Don’t start the trip by forcing your horse into the trailer. Take whatever time is necessary to work her past any fears prior

–Provide a good probiotic product to support gut health.


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–Vitamin C powder (2 to 3 teaspoons per day) boosts the immune system. –Loose white salt, preferably sea salt (3 to 4 tablespoons per day) promotes hydration. –Dried garlic flakes (1 to 2 tablespoons per day) provide anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. –Dried chamomile flowers (a small handful per day) can help soothe the gut and nerves. –Promote hydration. Most horses drink less while traveling, whether due to stress, different taste or less availability. Dehydration can lead to serious health issues such as colic, so be sure to offer water, preferably brought from home, at each rest stop. –Consider alternative therapies. Bach Rescue Remedy is well known for its ability to calm animals and humans, and is easy to use. Essential oils such

as lavender, patchouli or white angelica can be mixed in a water spray bottle and misted in the trailer to create a calming effect.

Plan and prepare •Study your route ahead of time and familiarize yourself with alternative routes just in case. •If crossing state lines, know that state’s paperwork requirements. Most call for a health certificate issued by a vet and dated within 30 days, a negative Coggins test (equine infectious anemia) and an ownership certificate or brand inspection if applicable. Bring a couple of good quality photos showing you with your horse at home. •Reserve overnight stabling ahead of time. For listings, check out www. horsetrip.com, www.overnightstabling. com or www.horsemotel.com.

•Conduct a trailer and truck maintenance inspection. According to USRider, the leading cause of trailer wrecks is lack of proper maintenance. Visit www.USRider.org for a complete trailer checklist and road emergency kit. •Put together an equine emergency kit that includes extra halters, leads, buckets, water and hay. Include a basic first aid kit, available commercially or listed at www.USRider.org. •Finally, don’t forget yourself. You need to be at the peak of your performance, so ensure you are getting adequate sleep, water and food. Keeping these simple tips in mind will leave you and your equine partner free to enjoy the journey, and the destination.

Bring along your homeopathic remedies For colic: Aconitum, Arsenicum, Belladonna, Colchicum, Colocynthis and Nux vomica Trauma/wounds: Arnica, Calendula (remedy and ointment), Hypericum and Ledum

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book reviews Title: Where the Author: Kathy

Blind Horse Sings


When Kathy Stevens, founder and owner of Catskill Animal Sanctuary, first laid eyes on Buddy, a blind, elderly Appaloosa, he was thin, terrified and sadly neglected. After bringing him to his new home at the sanctuary, and lavishing him with lots of love and attention, Buddy soon blossomed into a happy and confident horse. You can read his story, and those of many other animals, in Kathy’s new book, Where the Blind Horse Sings – Love and Trust at an Animal Sanctuary. The book traces the author’s decision to combine her love of animals and teaching to start a haven for abused horses and farm animals near Saugerties, New York. You’ll read about the many needy animals she has rescued and rehabilitated over the last six years, from Buddy and Bobo, another blind horse, to a 900-pound pig named Babe, and Paulie, a former cockfighting rooster who enjoys eating lunch with his human friends.

Where the Blind Horse Sings is more than a collection of rescue stories. It’s also a moving testimonial of the life-changing bond that can develop between people and animals when love and compassion are the key ingredients. Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing


Way of the Horse

Author: Linda

Kohanov Illustrator: Kim McElroy

Here’s a unique way to bond more deeply with your love of horses. Way of the Horse – Equine Archetypes for Self-Discovery includes a book and set of 40 gorgeously-illustrated cards that you can use to explore the wisdom of the horse and its connections to your own being and life’s journey. The card deck is categorized into four equine archetypes – experience, relationship, creativity and transformation. By picking one at random, or using the four-card layout suggested in the book, you can receive guidance, answers to questions, or potential resolutions to problems – all from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. The book includes a comprehensive description of each card, along with its meanings and messages. As author Linda Kohanov writes in her introduction, “These animals mirror, and help us recover, the beauty, power, and nobility of our own spirit.” Publisher: New World Library


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horsemanship tips

Tip #132

Head first

by Anna Twinney

Photo: Michelle Egide & Knightsbridge Farm

The way your horse holds his head speaks volumes about how he’s feeling. The higher his head, the more alarmed and prepared he is for flight. A horse needs to keep his head raised in order to focus on objects in the distance. He lowers his head when he needs to focus on objects immediately in front of him. When a horse carries his head even lower, almost to the ground, he is at his most subordinate and relaxed. Teaching your horse to lower his head and give to pressure while in-hand is imperative. Horses are a naturally “into pressure” species and need to learn how to come off pressure. By teaching them to lower their heads you are teaching them to trust you, rely on you and relax. Then they are willing to give up their form of defense – flight. Take this a step further and create a horse who looks for your affection and seeks out the halter by lowering his head into it! While your horse is at liberty in an arena or RP environment, you are looking for him to offer to lower his head. Any attempt to do this should be rewarded by a release of pressure. You can do this by dropping your eyes to below his nose, slowing down your walk, or not moving your long line for a moment. If you inadvertently miss this gesture, your horse may refuse to lower his head for you. Remember to always reward his tries! 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 Demystifying the Round Pen) and conducts clinics in Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA. www.reachouttohorses.com

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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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Dr. Valeria Wyckoff is a healer, teacher and radio personality in the Phoenix area. She has a practice in Chandler, Arizona where she specializes in classical homeopathy, nutrition, herbs and listening closely. She is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor and Registered Dietitian. Her down to earth style integrates her multiple life experiences.

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Clinton A PROS n Pat Parederson Chris Coxlli

Same great quality for less money!

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My Pony Sun Block

Natural Sunblock For Animals Your horse’s protection against UV rays, a known cause of cancer! Safe for all animals, it is fragrance and chemical free with natural non-irritating minerals, which have a natural affinity to the skin. Chemical free protection that will last all day!



“We Help Horses” Equine Natural Health Products • Professional Product Support Expert Health Advice • Consultations – Barn or Phone “Competition or Pleasure

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Be a part of a new vocation! Intensive course offerings in equine alternative health management in the heart of Florida horse country Taught by world renowned veterinarians and chiropractors in the fields of Traditional Chinese medicine, manipulative therapies, holistic nutrition and classical homeopathy Training seminars in equine dentistry, Cytek natural hoof balancing and shoeing, as well as saddle fitting and TEAM training Certification in Veterinary Health Management available in compliance with Florida legislation after completion of all modules. For more information:

www.jadehorseherbals.com • 352-583-3811 Class size limited. Call now for 2007 enrollment equine wellness


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Groomer ’s Stone “It’s every groomer’s best friend!” Massage your horse while removing dirt, dander and loose hair. • It’s durable • It’s effective!

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Holistic Veterinary care for all creatures!

Heartland Veterinary Services




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depending on size


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Imagine a therapy that could help a horse heal 2-3x faster! Examples of conditions successfully treated: Bowed Tendons, Suspensories, Splints, Pinched Nerves, Pulled Muscles, Chronic & Acute Injuries, Joint Inflammation, Back Problems and more! Favorable results include: Nerve Paralysis, Laminitis, Navicular, Ring Bone, Wobblers and more!


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Dogs & Cats welcome See it to believe it! If it’s fun, fashion or food you’re looking for we have it all or can custom make it. Please just visit us for a moment and see for yourself. Shop online today. Your 4 Paws will thank you!

www. 4paws toys .com Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils can help you and your horse to perform, feel and BE better. Discover the benefits of using some of Nature’s most powerful gifts. Contact us for information on our free Monthly Educational calls and Newsletters. Learn about Essential Oils from the comfort of your home! For more information and a free sample contact us at ybimbalanced@gmail.com




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No heart wrenching whinnying No pacing fence lines or stalls No stress related injuries Animals can remain in a herd setting. Keeps baby from bonding with another lactating mother.

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Horse Healthy Naturally The only suppliers in the USA for SP Equine Health and Herbal in England!

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events June 30-July 1 – Iowa State University, and on-line The Voice of the Horse Conference This event for riders and trainers includes on-site and a live interactive webcast of presentations, panel discussions and interactive learning forums that explore the horse-human relationship. Presenters include Jane Savoie, Mustang documentarian Ginger Kathrens, NARHA founder Marj Kittredge, and more. For more information: www.thevoiceofthehorse.com, jo@tapestryinstitute.org or 308-668-9425 July 6-8 – Appomattox, VA Holiday Lake State Park in Donna Whitmere Competitive Trail Ride NATRC (North American Trail Ride Conference) sponsered competitive trail ride. Divisions for heavy-weight, lightweight, youth and open. Ride one day or two, 20-40 miles. For more information on this ride and others, please visit the national NATRC website at www.natrc.org Our ride is in region 5. For more information: 434-248-5386, appyhappy@earthlink.net or www.natrc.org July 7-8 – Alliston, Ontario 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: 1-866-919-8733, info@treetopsweb.com or www.treetopsweb.com July 14-15 – Reston, VA Animal Communication Workshop Reawaken and acknowledge your ability to communicate with animals. Janet will lead you through the basic steps with guided meditations, enlightening discussion and telepathic exercises. This two-day workshop will give you an overview of what animal communication is and will teach you how you already communicate with your animal companions, animal friends and even wild animals. Your understanding of animals will deepen as you discover how they view the world. You will learn how to quiet and focus your mind, opening the channel between you and the animals as you send information and receive back from them their thoughts, images, feelings, messages, etc.

For more information contact: Janet Dobbs janet@animalparadisecommunication.com, www.animalparadisecommunication.com or 703-648-1866. July 23 – Alliston, Ontario Herbal and Aromatherapy for Pets 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: 1-866-919-8733, info@treetopsweb.com, www.treetopsweb.com August 10-29 – San Francisco, CA Fort Mason Center Animals: Compassionate Skills & Support This series of workshops has been designed to assist participants in making a difference by bringing awareness of the role of animals as teachers, companions, healers, and as equal travelers on life’s journey. It has been designed to prepare participants to understand animals culturally as well as behaviorally, and to support others through their grief over the loss of their beloved companions. It has been designed to prepare participants through these understandings to help others get closer to their animals, and to enhance their relationships on a deeper, more satisfying level. Finally, this series has been designed to prepare participants to be professional animal communicators, and to enhance people’s understanding of the animals, so their understanding and comfort with this work can be advanced. All workshops may be taken individually, as a series, or as part of the training for Assisi’s Professional Animal Communicator Certification. 88.5 hours. No prerequisites. For more information: Education@AssisiAnimals.org August 11-12 – Reston, VA Reiki I This Reiki Level I class is for animal people who want to deepen their relationships with animals and learn ways to heal the animals in their lives as well as themselves. This class will give you and overview of animal Reiki and you will learn the differences and similarities between Reiki for humans and Reiki for animals.

Through lecture, enlightening discussion, exercises, observation and practice, Janet will lead you through the basic steps. Students will experience Reiki energy and learn different ways that Reiki can be used as a healing tool for both humans and animals. For more information contact: Janet Dobbs janet@animalparadisecommunication.com, www.animalparadisecommunication.com or 703-648-1866. August 18-20 – Denver Metro Area, CO Reach Out to Leadership (for individuals) with Anna Twinney Through this fun and engaging hands-on workshop you will come face to face with your true inner leader. Through holistic horsemanship demonstrations, you’ll learn to •control your energy during frustration & upsetting situations •become more assertive •create a positive & rewarding environment •create focus, trust & respect •build a successful relationship •read & recognize people’s body language •replace force & violence with a gentle & effective approach •create true motivation •create authentic leadership skills and values For more information, contact Vin Mancarella, info@reachouttohorses.com www.reachouttohorses.com August 25 & 26 – Elisabeth, CO Natural Horsemanship clinic with Anna Twinney & Jim Rea For more information, contact Anna@reachouttohorses.com or Jim Rea, equius@rkymtnhi.com www.reachouttohorses.com September 7-9 – on-line Mark September 7 to 9 on your calendar for the first-ever Natural Animal World Convention. This online education platform will promote the understanding of alternative health care and provide networking opportunities with professionals from around the world. For more info. on registration, speakers and classes, visit www.naturalanimalworldconvention.org.

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


tail end

Let nature take its course


“When are you going to wean her?” My guest, an experienced horsewoman who had come to Proud Spirit for a tour of our operation, nodded in the direction of a little filly snuggled under her dam, eagerly nursing. I was grinning proudly over how wonderfully adorable our little Riley was with her downy soft coat, butterfly eye lashes, and fuzzy mane that had a mind of its own. But there was that darn question again. My beaming smile slowly drained away. I couldn’t believe how many times someone had asked me that since Jesse gave birth to Riley only three months before. One person even asked when I was going to wean her before she was two weeks old. I wondered why this was such a major topic of conversation. I apparently had a glaring inability to grasp the importance of deciding when to wean a foal, and my failing seemed to vex the entire equestrian community. “I’m not,” I said, hands on hips in a show of conviction.

by Melanie Bowles

My guest chuckled, as though I were kidding. “What do you mean ‘you’re not’?” “I’m not, that’s all.” I shrugged my shoulders. “I’m not going to wean her.” “But you have to wean her or she’ll bring the mare down.” My guest was referring to the possibility of a mare losing weight when a foal is allowed to nurse too long. But that might only happen if the mare had been “bred back” and was once again in foal. When it happens in the wild, natural instincts kick in and the mare will no longer let a foal nurse. The same thing would happen in domestication if the mare was bred right away. I wondered why we think we must always interfere. Regardless, it was a moot point as Jesse would never be bred again. Riley could nurse until the cows came home as far as I was concerned. “But how in the world are you going to train her if she isn’t weaned? You have to wean her.”

“That’s hogwash,” I said. “She’ll come to understand the halter, being led, having her feet trimmed, and everything else she needs to know. There’s simply no reason to wean her. It’ll happen naturally.” My guest nodded, albeit suspiciously, and finally gave up. “Huh. I never heard of such a thing.” That was back in 2004. Today, Riley is coming on three years old and we’ve never taken her away from her dam. Riley stopped nursing on her own and Jesse’s udder dried up. The mare never experienced any weight problems, and Riley is one of the most self confident, well balanced horses we’ve ever had. I believe this is, in part, a direct result of never putting her through the trauma of abrupt weaning. When someone says we should do something because it’s what we’ve always done, I try to step back and think about how things happen naturally. And more often than not, that’s the best plan of action. Happy horses! Melanie Bowles is the founder of Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary, a 320acre award-winning facility in Mena, Arkansas, where more than 150 horses have come to live out their lives in peace and dignity. of

She is also the author The Horses of Proud Spirit, a

profoundly moving book about her

Photo: Melanie Bowles/Proud Spirit

experiences, available at book stores


and through www.amazon.com.



Riley (left) and her dam Jesse (right), happily living together. equine wellness

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

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equine wellness