V3I2 (Mar/Apr 2008)

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wellness Your natural resource!

TOP EMERGENCY TIPS What to look for and what to do HAy there!

3 ways to size up your horse’s forage Grooming tips that will take you from

agony to ecstasy


3 steps to

How to stay safe

natural parasite control

Must-haves for your


FIRST AID KIT March/April 2008 Display until April 22, 2008 $5.95 USA/Canada


Expert advice on

HOOF INJURIES www.EquineWellnessMagazine.com

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Photos courtesy of: Anna Twinney and Camp Greystone, NC








Happy trails


Hay there!


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Safe trail riding for you and your horse

3 ways to size up your horse’s forage

Bringing up baby How to feed broodmares and foals


Red flags!


De-spooking doesn’t have to be scary!

Signs and symptoms that need attention

Help your horse overcome his fears


From agony to ecstasy How to teach your horse to accept grooming


62 Photo: Scot Hansen

46 Getting off on

the wrong foot Common hoof injuries to look out for

55 Your natural first aid kit

Be prepared for every emergency

59 In safe hands

More tips on protecting yourself and your horse

62 3 steps to natural parasite control

Healthy ways to nix those pesky worms

66 Late for your lesson?

Here’s how to get your horse’s head in the game

72 Mineral wise, salt poor

How to prevent imbalances in your horse

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contents Volume 3 Issue 2


Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Editor: Kelly Howling Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Graphic Designer: Stephanie Wright Graphic Designer: Leanne Martin

10 Neighborhood news


Your health

20 Holistic veterinary advice


Book reviews


Horsemanship tip


Tail End

Talking with Dr. Christine King

30 Did you know? 36 A natural performer

Profile of a natural performer

with Anna Twinney

departments 8 Editorial 40 Heads up! 50 Wellness resource guide

76 77 81

Classifieds Marketplace Events calender

Cover Photography: Violetta Jackowski, www.fireandearthphoto.com Columnists & Contributing Writers Hannah Evergreen, DVM Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Lu Ann Groves, DVM Scot Hansen Lisa Huhn Bob Jeffreys Christine King, DVM Liz Mitten Ryan Dan Moore, DVM Suzanne Sheppard Sandy Siegrist Judy Sinner Anna Twinney Victoria Walsh, BSc (Agr), MSc Valerie Wyckoff, NMD Administration Publisher: redstone media group inc. President/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley Office Manager: Lesia Wright Editorial & Marketing Assistant: Jamie Conroy Administrative Assistant: Libby Sinden Submissions: Please send all editorial material, advertising material, photos and correspondence to Equine Wellness Magazine, 164 Hunter St. West, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9H 2L2. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. Email your articles to: submissions@equinewellnessmagazine.com. Advertising Sales Michelle L. Adaway – Equine National Sales Manager (502) 868-0979 michelle@redstonemediagroup.com Lesley Nicholson – Sales Representative (866) 764-1212 lesley@redstonemediagroup.com

our cover: Photo: Violetta Jackowski, www.fireandearthphoto.com

This striking foal was not quite a year old when photographer Violetta Jackowski captured this spirited portrait on a summer day in 2006. Haylo’s Entourage (his barn name is Perry) lives in Davis, Illinois at Haylo Farm, which breeds APHA and AQHA registered horses for both western and English disciplines. The uniquely-marked paint leads a barefoot life and is not yet under saddle. As the photo clearly demonstrates, Perry is not only expressive, but also independent and fearless.

Becky Starr – Sales Representative (213) 793-1867 becky@redstonemediagroup.com Classified Advertising classified@redstonemediagroup.com

To 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 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© 2008. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: February 19, 2008

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

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Our thoughts First aid

This issue of Equine Wellness, which features several articles on first aid, has become very important to me. In the space of just one month, the equine community has seen many riding and trailering accidents. We’ve heard of horses getting stuck in everything from water troughs to pools to fences. In my personal “equine world”, we lost one special horse – and nearly lost another – in two separate freak accidents.

Putting safety first

At a horse show recently, I listened to an experienced horsewoman tell the story of how she almost lost her life while out riding one day. Her new, supposedly bombproof horse exploded without warning, throwing her to the ground with such force that she broke several bones. As she lay there bleeding and unable to move her legs, she realized she had done two things that might save her life. She had worn her helmet and she had tucked her cell phone into her pocket. Because she knew precisely where she was on the trail, emergency crews got to her quickly. They airlifted her to the hospital, where she underwent extensive surgery and many months of subsequent rehab. Emergencies happen – to us and our horses, so we’ve dedicated this issue to helping prevent and cope with these crises. Scot Hansen has written a great article on trail riding safety and we’ve included some additional tips in our “In safe hands” article. For the horses, Dr. Hannah Evergreen’s article on signs and symptoms is full of great advice on what to watch for in your horse, so you can recognize a health problem before it becomes a crisis. In her complementary article, Dr. Lu Ann Groves advises you what to put in your natural first aid kid, and Lisa Huhn offers up words of wisdom on hoof injuries. We’ve rounded it all out with some preventative advice from Anna Twinney on de-spooking your horse, natural parasite control from Sandy Siegrist, and grooming tips from Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard. We’ve also thrown in some informative articles on hay, salt and feeding mother and foal from some of the top nutritional experts. It’s all great information to brush up on as spring approaches. So enjoy and be safe!

Founder and Editor-in-chief

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The one I happened to witness was particularly difficult for me. A few clients and I were standing at a pasture fence, discussing a training program, while a small group of mares meandered around their three-acre field in the afternoon sun. As the group made its way over to the fence to visit us, one mare took offence at another, and kicked out. Sadly, and without warning, her hooves met at just the right angle and with just the right force and timing. We knew as soon as we heard the “snap” that the leg had broken. All we could do was try to keep the horse comfortable until the vet arrived. In the aftermath, questions exhausted my mind. Why this horse, and why now? Was there anything that could have been done differently? Why this kick? We’ve all frequently seen horses aim at each other with little, if any, injury. Why did it happen in this group, when the horses were getting along so well and had ample room to get away? At the end of it all, I came to realize that accidents do and will happen, and horses will leave us. As large as these majestic animals are, they can also be very fragile at times. These tragic events reminded me to cherish my horse every day, as you never know when you’re going to have to make that emergency phone call. Ride safe – and give your horse an extra hug today! Naturally,


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Photo: Shannon Brinkman

neighborhood news And the winner is... The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) announced the winner of the 2007 Farnam®/Platform™ USEF Horse of the Year at its annual Historic Horse of the Year Awards gala event in Lousiville, Kentucky on January 12. Theodore O’Connor, bred by P. Wynn Norman and known as “Teddy”, burst onto the international stage last year by taking third place at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. But it was the two gold medals he and equestrian Karen O’Connor won at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that transformed the Arabian/Thoroughbred/Shetland pony into the new star of the competition year. Visit www.usef.org to learn more.

New risk factors for WNV

Getting the jump on jumper abuse

Did you know coat color and gender can have an influence on whether or not a horse infected with West Nile Virus survives? Recently, Tasha Epp, DVM, and the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine released the results of a study involving 133 horses in the province that contracted WNV in 2003. Slightly fewer than half these horses died from the virus or were euthanized, while the others made a complete recovery. Here’s what the study found: •The fatality rate for stallions was 82%, geldings 45% and mares 36%. •Horses with dark coats had a higher survival rate than those with light colored coats. •Horses infected in September had a higher chance of surviving than those infected in August. Nearly 45% of the infected horses that died had been fully vaccinated against WNV. However, the report adds that the relatively low number of horses in the study makes it difficult to draw conclusions about the vaccine’s effectiveness. Find out more at http://library2.usask.ca/theses/ submitted/etd-08012007-160845/unrestricted/epp_t.pdf.


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Injecting or applying a topical product to a show jumper’s legs to make him hypersensitive to touch is an abusive practice that’s unfortunately being used throughout the industry. It’s done to give the horse a competitive advantage by making him lift his legs higher when passing over jumps. Recognizing that this practice is on the same level as steroid abuse, the FEI has approved the use of thermographic exams to tell when a horse’s legs are being over-sensitized to pain. The exams use infrared cameras to locate heat in the horse’s limbs caused by hyper-sensitization products. Positive results can lead to disqualification, and/or the horse’s legs coming under close scrutiny at future events. The new program starts this year. The FEI already monitors leg wrapping by ensuring bandages do not have any sharp objects or hyper-sensitization products in or on them.

Mustang border patrols Horses have been used before to patrol the border between the U.S. and Mexico, but now we’re also going to see them along the American/Canadian border. The U.S. Border Control in Spokane has recently purchased some mustangs to use as mounts for patrolling a 308-mile stretch from Continental Divide in Montana to the crest of the Cascade Range in Washington. Unlike motorized vehicles, horses can get into hard-to-reach, remote locations while causing very little damage to the environment. And because mustangs are strong, hardy and surefooted, they’re perfect for traversing mountain terrain. The mustangs come from the Bureau of Land Management program. Their initial training was carried out by inmates at a Colorado prison and the finishing touches added at a border patrol station in Washington State. The mounted agents will be on the lookout for any illegal border crossings as well as low-flying aircraft that may indicate drug smuggling activity.

Rescues face double challenge

While the closure of various slaughter plants in the U.S. is good news, it means equine rescues are finding themselves at capacity and beyond. Some are taking in double the number of horses they rescued last year, and in the Southeast the problem is compounded by the record dry conditions and resulting hay shortage. Hay prices in the region have increased dramatically due to the drought, in some cases jumping from $12 to as much as $100 per bale. Farmers that do have hay are either holding onto it or releasing it at a much higher price than usual. This huge price hike has made it difficult for some owners to provide their horses with adequate forage, and rescues are taking in many horses well below their ideal weight. To find or list hay, visit www.hayfinder.com. equine wellness


neighborhood news

Record breaking grants When it comes to helping horses in need, the ASPCA Equine Fund puts its money where its mouth is. Last year, it gave out more than $365,000 in equine grants, nearly tripling the $125,000 granted the year before. The largest grant went to Return to Freedom, an American wild horse sanctuary in Lompoc, California. The money will be used to expand educational and outreach programs that support their conservation efforts. Other grantees include Cedarhill Animal Sanctuary of Caledonia, Mississippi, for the emergency care of 18 horses involved in a cruelty case, and the San Diego Humane Society for assisting horses impacted by local wildfires.


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“The Equine Fund is a symbol of the ASPCA’s strong commitment to equine rescue and welfare efforts, and these efforts were greatly increased, both on a local and national level, in 2007,” said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. “We are particularly proud to support Return to Freedom, an organization that has blazed a trail in protecting the freedom and natural lifestyle of America’s wild horses. These grants are our way of showing these organizations how much we value their tireless efforts. We hope to make 2008 an even greater year through continued public support of the ASPCA Equine Fund.” Learn more at www.aspca.org/equine.

Photo: www.gravarty.com

Bazzy’s blog a big hit What started out as one horse’s blog about his life and daily activities has turned into a major source of entertainment for horse lovers everywhere. Bazzy’s musings (see www.bazzyboy.net) have proved to be such a hit that he won the 2007 Weblogs Award for Best Pet Blog, as well as a Blog of the Day Award.

spent with his “’Umans”, as he calls them. You can read about his heritage, his adventures with the barefoot trimmer, bodyworker and holistic vet, or peruse his Melancholy Moments, Scary Stuff, and the Tack Room. You can also watch videos, join the forum, and even list your own horse in Bazzy’s Hot 2 Trot section.

Bazzy’s blog talks about his daily activities, including weather reports, what his paddock mates and other animals around the farm are up to, and time

Bazzy has been featured in several publications, and his “Dad” has done radio interviews on the blog’s success (or should we say Bazzy’s success?).

Bazzy checks out a wheelbarrow full of carrots on his farm in Victoria, Australia.

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Happy trails

Safe trail riding for you and your horse by Scot Hansen

Trail riding has changed. Twenty years ago, you could probably ride your favorite trail system and not see another soul except those you brought with you. Many riding trails were just that – trails for riding horses. Your safety depended on you and your horse’s ability to negotiate the normal obstacles created by Mother Nature. 14

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As the population grows, however, and technology advances, there are a lot of new people using those trails. Once upon a time, the most common things to spook a horse may have been a deer popping into view, or grouse exploding from cover. Today it is likely to be any of the following: hikers, joggers, mountain bike riders, ATVs, dirt bikes, or even people pushing strollers.

silently and quickly, and are carrying an oddly-shaped passenger crouched much like a predator. You can condition most horses to a bicycle by simply using one around them. As with any training, start slow, progress gradually, and reassure your horse. If you aren’t sure what you are doing, seek professional help.



•You can condition your horse to almost any motorized vehicle including ATVs, dirt bikes and cars. While riding a young horse that is just learning the ropes, I have even asked ATV riders to remove their helmets so my horse could see that the alien on the motorcycle actually had a normal head. Photo: Scot Hansen

With so much more going on, safe trail riding -- and having a trail-safe horse -- have taken on a whole new meaning. Let’s look at what you need to know.

If you ride in an area where you are likely to encounter “multi-use” folks, you need to make sure you condition your horse to as many different sounds and objects as possible. I have trained mounted police horses, and can assure you that these animals have a fantastic ability to understand a variety of odd objects, noises and people. Here are some hints for dealing with the trail issues you might come across:

•If you have to connect your trail system by riding along a road, make sure your horse can handle traffic.

Learn to communicate and educate

•Bicycles are especially troublesome to horses as they have a tendency to arrive

Learning to say “Hello, how are you?” and speak politely often goes a long way towards getting other trail users to cooperate. I know there are “jerk” ATV users and dirt bike riders out there, but many are more than happy to oblige.

Speak to the bicycle rider so he/she speaks back. Your horse will understand the “object” better if it talks like you do.

The term “multi-use trail” means that you and your horse will likely have to share the system with a variety of users.

Training and conditioning

wait, by using a hand signal, while my horse and I rode past. I usually speak to them too.

Communication means more than yelling at someone to slow down as they pass you. You can often get dirt bike and ATV riders to slow down by using a hand signal. I have had many slow, stop, and even shut off their engines and

Remember that the person who passes you in one direction may be coming back from the other direction in a little while. If your first encounter was pleasant, you’re likely to receive the same treatment as the person passes by again on the return trip. Most bicycle riders don’t understand that they can scare a horse. They assume things will be okay because they are on a quiet, non-motorized vehicle. I have taken the time to explain the horse’s viewpoint (that they look like a predator, and the bicycle makes an odd whirring sound) to a number of bicycle riders, and their response has usually been, “Wow, I never thought of that, thanks.” Likewise, most motorcycle riders don’t realize horses can be spooked by their helmets, and can see reflections in a visor or set of goggles. Communicating can make a world of difference for you and other riders.

Wear a helmet

It cannot be stressed enough that wearing a helmet is vital to your safety when equine wellness


riding the trail. It’s dangerous enough with the many different obstacles, people, and strange things the horse might meet and spook at, let alone all the additional incidents that can happen by accident. Often, an injury can come from what would seem a simple fall. Many people have been hurt when their horse tripped and they were thrown over the animal’s neck, striking their head on a rock. You may also encounter unexpected

sink holes when your horse steps on a soft spot. Trail edges can cave in, slides can occur, and branches that were broken during a storm can fall at the oddest times, as I learned during one of my own rides. I am not sure whether my horse or I was the most surprised when a large branch suddenly dropped from above and stuck in the ground like a spear.

Additional safety gear


A grab strap or night latch is a good thing to have on your saddle. They give you something to hang onto should your horse spook, buck, spin, or bolt. They are easier and safer than using the saddle horn or grabbing the pommel. Many riders have been saved from a severe accident because they had a strap to hang onto.


All equestrians should carry a sharp, quality knife. It can be very useful for cutting a horse free from a tangled lead line at the trailer or from a hay net he has put his foot in, not to mention brambles, vines, or sticker bushes.


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A cell phone is also very handy to have. Make sure you have an emergency number programmed into your directory, and that you know where along the trail the phone will work and where it won’t.


If you pause to talk to someone, do not let the horses sniff noses. This can lead to a confrontation and a horse suddenly striking or rearing.

More safety tips and trail etiquette • As much as possible, follow the same rules you do while driving: stay to the right for an approaching group and pass on the left when overtaking someone. However, unlike a car, a horse can suddenly close the gap between horses on his own. Make sure that when you pass you have good control of your horse so he doesn’t try to bite, kick, or even sniff the other horses. •If you are going to canter or gallop, be respectful of other riders, bicyclists, and hikers and slow to a walk when you get near and need to pass. A galloping horse can be frightening to all of the above, especially to another equestrian. Horses usually run away from danger, and a rider galloping towards another horse and rider may accidentally trigger the other horse to start running too. Every year, accidents are triggered by this unsafe practice. •If you ride with your dog make sure he is well behaved and will listen to your commands. A strange dog can trigger

some nasty events when he scoots under a horse that isn’t used to having dogs around. The best way to enjoy a safer trail ride is to prepare for the unexpected. By adding training techniques for unusual objects, learning to communicate effectively with other trail users, wearing and using proper gear, and exercising caution when passing other horses, your riding experience will be greatly enhanced.

Scot Hansen is a retired Mounted Police Officer who travels throughout the U.S. giving clinics and performing at many major horse expos. His experience in training police horses is reflected in his horsemanship and sensory training clinics. Scot created an award-winning DVD entitled Self Defense For Trail Riders that teaches women about safety while riding alone, and has been interviewed on RFD TV and Horse City TV. To see all his training DVDs and clinic schedule, visit www.horsethink.com.

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Hay there! 3 ways to size up your horse’s forage

by Victoria Walsh, BSc (Agr.), MSc

Few riders give much thought to their horses’ hay as they toss them their daily ration. They tend to simply trust that their barn owner is feeding the horses what is appropriate, or think that as long as the hay is free from mold and relatively dust free, it is fine. But given that the bulk of the average horse’s diet is hay, the quality of what you feed can have a much bigger impact than you might think. Forages represent the largest part of a horse’s diet. These animals require a minimum of 1% of their body weight per day of forage material in order to ensure proper digestive tract function. In order to ensure your horse is getting all the nutrients he needs from his hay, it’s important to look at its quality. This involves: 1. Determining the plants that make up the hay.

a mix of the two. The most common grass hays include Timothy, bromegrass, orchardgrass and fescue. •Timothy grass is one of the most common grasses in the world. It is easily cured and very palatable to horses, growing best in humid, cooler climates. •Bromegrass grows readily on well drained soils, and is also very palatable and easy to cure. •Orchardgrass does not tolerate drought well and is less palatable than Timothy grass. •Fescue does well in hot, dry climates and easily tolerates trampling and excessive grazing. However, you need to take care when feeding it as tall fescue may become infested with a fungus that can extend the gestation length of pregnant mares.

2. Performing a visual inspection. 3. Having a nutrient analysis done.

1. Hay varieties

Hay is made up of grasses, legumes, or


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•Legumes, such as alfalfa and clover, are often used in horse hay as they are extremely palatable, often moreso than grass hays. Legumes usually have a higher protein and calcium content than grass hays.


A good quality grass hay will usually supply all the nutrients needed by an idle adult horse or one doing light work.

2. Take a close look

A visual inspection cannot tell you about the nutrient content of your hay, but it can be used to provide an indication of the overall quality. There are several things to look for:

Color: Ideally, it should be good green color. Hay that is beige in hue indicates that it has been sun bleached or rained on, while hay that is dark brown may point to heat damage.

Maturity: Hay cut at a later stage of maturity is less digestible and has less crude protein than hay cut earlier. It will also be coarser and have more seed heads. Ideally, hay will feel soft to the touch, as it should have fine stems and lots of leaves.

Free of dust and mold: Mold is often

found as clumps in the middle of the hay, while banging two flakes of hay together is a good way to see how much dust is present.


Hay should have a nice, pleasant odor. A musty smell indicates mold. Free of weeds, pests and foreign materials: A good look at several bales of hay is the best way to ensure it does not contain an excessive quantity of weeds (some weeds are inevitable). Hay should also be free of pests, such as blister beetles, and foreign material like garbage.

3. The nutrient analysis

The only way to determine the nutrient content of hay (and ultimately its quality) is to have a nutrient analysis done by a laboratory. If you are unable to locate a lab, your local feed dealer should be able to send you in the right direction. The lab will require a representative sampling of at least 20 bales of hay in order to provide accurate results. The best way to obtain a sample is to use a hay core sampler, which can often be borrowed from your local feed dealer or agriculture extension office. Alternatively, you can hand-collect small samples from different sections of the bales, place them in a Ziplock freezer bag to ensure none is lost during transport, and send them to a local lab for analysis.


Be sure to mention that the hay to be tested is for horses; the analysis for cattle differs slightly. A basic nutrient analysis should include digestible energy (DE), crude protein (CP), dry matter (DM), calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), acid detergent fiber (ADF) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF). Additional nutrients can usually be analyzed if requested.

Digestible energy is a measure of the calories available to the horse and is related to the maturity of the hay. Young hay has more digestible energy than hay at a later stage of maturity. Crude protein is a measure of the amino acids and nitrogen in the hay. Often there is ample crude protein to meet the needs of mature horses for maintenance or doing light work. Dry matter involves measuring the moisture content of the hay. Most hays contain about 10% moisture and therefore have a 90% dry matter content. Calcium, phosphorus and potassium are all minerals found in hay. It is important to have these values in order to properly balance your horse’s diets. Acid detergent fiber is a measure of the poorly digested fiber in the hay. The higher the ADF, the less digestible the hay. Neutral detergent fiber is a measure of all the nutrients that make up the cell walls of the plant (including the ADF). NDF is another important value because it represents the amount of hay the horse can consume. Since forage is such an important component of your horse’s diet, ensuring he has access to good quality hay is one of the best ways to help maintain his health and well being.

Victoria Walsh has a BSc in Agriculture (University of Guelph) and an MSc in Equine Nutrition (University of Guelph). She grew up in Oakville riding and showing horses. Upon completion of her University degrees she began working as an

Equine Nutrition Consultant for a She is now working with Shannon Pratt as an independent Equine Nutrition Consultant. For more information, contact gryphonequine@gmail.com. local feed dealer.

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holistic veterinary advice

Talking with Dr. Christine King Dr. Christine King

is an


equine veterinarian with over



of experience and advanced training in equine internal medicine and equine exercise physiology.


takes a wholistic approach to equine health and

performance which emphasizes natural strategies for restoring and maintaining health and well being.

Her mobile practice, Anima – Wholistic Health & Rehab for Horses, is based in the Seattle area. Dr. King is also the creator of Anima Herbal Solutions. www.animavet.com; email king@animavet.com; phone 425-876-1179. 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.


My young horse recently popped a splint on one of his front legs, just below the knee. It doesn’t appear to bother him, but it does look ugly. Is there anything I can do to minimize the size of it? Do I need to be concerned about him getting more in the future, and are there any preventive measures I should be taking?


I haven’t seen him so don’t know all the details, but if it isn’t bothering him, then I wouldn’t be too concerned. Most splints resolve on their own in time. Bone is highly responsive tissue (although its response can seem quite slow), and the body is very economical with its resources. Unless there is some reason not to, the body will steadily and with great


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deliberation remodel that bone over the next few months, smoothing and flattening the lump until it blends with the surrounding undamaged bone. Unless the damage is severe or repeated, most splints disappear entirely, or so much so that it is possible to detect them only with careful palpation once the body has completed the remodeling process. You will no doubt come across any number of remedies that claim to cure splints. View them all with a great deal of skepticism. It is your horse’s body that resolves the splint, not any external substance. There is nothing you need do to encourage this process; his young body is already working on it. (Having said that, I do think it’s helpful to use some type of anti-inflammatory therapy when the splint first appears. My favorite

is Traumeel [www.HeelUSA.com]. But after the first four or five days, antiinflammatory therapy is of limited value in most cases.) As for preventive measures, there are some things for you to consider. Splints generally form for one of two reasons: (a) direct trauma to the bone, and (b) abnormal or excessive load on the bone. Unless the splint was caused by an unlucky blow from an external object (e.g. another horse, the edge of a water trough), it is wise to take a critical look at the horse’s conformation, hoof symmetry, movement patterns, and recent work history. Stand with your trimmer/farrier and look at how your horse stands, how he loads each limb, and how he moves at the walk and trot. The goal is to trim

each hoof for symmetry of shape and loading, both when standing still and when moving. Make sure his saddle is comfortable too, and he has no other issues that would affect the way he moves (e.g. a dental problem, a subtle lameness, dislike of his job).

what we might do about it? Since it does not bother him, do we even need to be concerned?

When it comes to dust and other airway irritants, the most common offenders in a horse’s environment are the arena surface, bedding materials, hay, and dusty paths and turnout areas. It would be worth trying to lessen the quantity of airborne particles in his air space in whatever ways are appropriate under the circumstances. That way, he can remain healthy and continue to give his best.

As for the horse’s work history, splints often pop up when the workload is increased or a new activity is introduced. If that’s the case, ease up for a couple of weeks, then proceed more gradually. Some bodywork would be useful too, as it doesn’t take much discomfort or functional restriction for a young horse to develop poor patterns of posture and movement that can cause ongoing problems and be very difficult to unlearn.


I have a teenage warmblood gelding who sometimes, after working, will drain a fair amount (probably two to three tablespoons) of opaque white discharge out of one or both nostrils. He does not cough or have any breathing difficulties and has no allergies that we know of. His nose does not continually run – just after working it will suddenly pour out of his nose and that will be the end of it. Do you have any idea what this could be and

nostrils), but I also think it indicates that his body is doing a good job of expelling whatever is irritating it on its own. Even so, it would probably be helpful if you were to keep his work, play, and rest environments as dust-free as possible.


Photo: Kelly Howling


I know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s not the copious clear fluid or the thick icky-looking discharge one sees with a viral or bacterial infection. It’s strikingly white and quite runny; there’s never much of it, and it’s not accompanied by any signs of disorder. I do think it indicates some minor irritation of the upper airways or eyes (the tear ducts open into the floor of the

Why do vets still use the age-old practice of oiling horses in a colic situation? Is coating the intestines with oil a good thing? Wouldn’t water and electrolytes be a better solution to put in the horse during this stressful time?


The simple answer to your first question is because it seems to work. We vets are a rather pragmatic bunch, and continue to use things we feel have some value. I haven’t used mineral

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Trying to make good feeding decisions with bad information?

oil for a colic in over 15 years, but early in my career I used gallons of it, and it did seem to do the trick for gas and impaction colics. I have many colleagues who still feel it has some value in cases of mild colic and as a preventive in horses about to truck long distances. Personally, I think water (with or without electrolytes) makes more sense, and that’s all I give by stomach tube these days. But that’s just my opinion. By the way, many horse owners feel that the vet hasn’t done a proper job with a colic until the horse has been oiled. So perhaps, in some cases, the vet is treating the owner by giving the horse some oil.


What is the most effective way to deal with rainrot/rainscald?

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.

Get the horse out of the rain, feed him a great diet, and attend to any other issues, whether physical or psychological, that may be interfering with his immune system. It’s really as simple as that. I recently “treated” a case of rain scald (dermatitis caused by the bacterium Dermatophilus congolensis) in a mare who had been neglected and was quite underweight. I say “treated” because all I did was get her out of the rain and put her on a good diet. Nothing topical, no secret herbs ’n spices. Just good food, a safe place, some good company, and lots of love. Her skin cleared up in a matter of days.


Our barn owner recently spread calcium chloride in the indoor arena to keep the dust down. Can this affect my horse in a negative way? Both calcium chloride and magnesium chloride appear to be very safe when mixed in well with the arena footing. They don’t seem to be any more harmful to the eyes or airways than all the dust that’s kicked up in an untreated dusty arena, and they don’t appear to harm the feet and lower legs under normal conditions of use. I’d advise brushing any residue off the horse’s coat and washing it off his feet if he has been turned out in a treated arena for hours; but if you’re just working in the arena for an hour or so at a time, then your regular grooming routine should be sufficient.

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Bringing up baby How to feed broodmares and foals by Judy Sinner

Did you know you should start feeding foals even before they’ve been conceived? It may sound bizarre, but it’s true. The idea that you can just breed a mare, turn her out in a field and then feed her up a bit before foaling is unwise to say the least. Many breeders feel that mares have a 60% to 75% influence on what their foals will become, both genetically and environmentally. Proper nutrition for both mare and unborn foal plays a huge role in ensuring they both stay healthy.

Start before breeding A mare needs to achieve optimal mineral nutrition at least 60 or preferably 120 days before breeding. Reproductive function takes a back seat to other organ systems, which means a mare might look good on the outside but still be under par reproductively. If the forage (pasture or hay) is of high quality, very little grain is generally


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needed until just before foaling. Hay should be a grass or grass mix, with not more than about 10% alfalfa, and ideally should provide around 10% to 12% protein.

Feeding the pregnant mare

•Orchard grass, bluegrass, Timothy and Bermuda are excellent hay choices. •Oat or barley hays are grain hays, not true grasses, and usually contain enough grain heads to make them quite acidic. •Sudan contains prussic acid and is not a great choice for horses.


I will not deworm a mare chemically in the first 100 days of pregnancy. Ideally, do it before breeding and follow with a detoxifying herbal program or supplement as well as a quality probiotic.

The last few months of pregnancy are particularly important, especially in terms of trace mineral nutrition, and specifically, adequate copper supplies. •Copper, as well as balanced levels of zinc, need to be stored in the foal's liver at birth for proper bone development to take place. Look for a supplement that can be balanced for the nutrient profile

of your area. For example, much of the east coast has high iron levels in soil and water; this suppresses phosphorus, copper and zinc, so these minerals need to be provided at optimum levels. •Selenium is needed to address any muscle problems. The middle regions of the country offer adequate selenium levels in feeds, while the east and west coasts tend to be selenium deficient. Some areas in the plains states have nearly toxic selenium levels, so again, taking your area’s nutrient profile into consideration is very important. •Mares foaling early in the spring before grass is growing, or those not on pasture, will also need supplementation with vitamins A, D and E. Lush spring grass provides all these vitamins as well as omega-3 fatty acids. •Vitamin C supplementation is a wise option because it assists with blood vessel integrity in the placenta and uterine

artery, boosts the immune system, and provides joint support for the developing foal. •A broad-spectrum vitamin/mineral supplement should contain a full profile of chelated minerals for maximum absorption. Chelated minerals are bound to amino acids and have a low molecular weight, which means they are more efficiently used by the body. Minerals in oxide form are the least available and also the cheapest. Carbonates are somewhat more bioavailable, sulfates are better yet, but chelated minerals are “state-of-the-art”. Look at the actual ingredients, not just the analysis. Minerals that show up on the label but are not being absorbed are a waste of money.

After foaling Within a few hours of foaling, a good probiotic or prebiotic is in order for both mother and baby. Starting a few equine wellness


A word on oils, fats and protein Do not feed corn oil or other oils to horses. They do not have a gall bladder to emulsify fractionated fats and oils, so they absorb fats through the lacteal ducts in the intestine instead. This blocks the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and can result in poor calcium assimilation and problems with bone formation. These oils are also heavy in omega-6 fatty acids and arachidonic acid, a precursor to the inflammatory prostaglandins that contribute to joint problems. I take a very jaundiced view of highprotein, oil and/or animal fat-containing rations. They are usually heavily preserved, and provide more protein than needed. A mare’s milk is about 5% protein for the first 12 to 24 hours after giving birth, then settles at about 2.3 % for the duration of lactation. Foals are never growing faster than when they are very young, and this protein level is what nature intended during their first couple of months. High-protein, heavy-molasses youth rations often produce foals with joint problems or Wobbler Syndrome. If you feed these types of rations you will get a growth surge; but just like creating nitrogen-heavy wheat that lodges or falls over before harvest because the stems are weak and demineralized, you will be ignoring the structure of your foal in favor of early growth spurts and weight gain. No halter futurity or yearling sale is worth trashing the joints of a promising foal. A 12% overall protein level is adequate. Also pay attention to the amino acid profile and especially adequate lysine.


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days after foaling, gradually increase the mare’s grain as she produces more milk, up to about the two-month level when milk production begins to taper off a bit and she may not require a further increase in grain. Mares are quite individual in grain requirements. Some heavy milkers require more grain, while easy keepers don’t need as much. If it appears that more than five or six pounds of grain are needed, I like to instead use a fat/protein supplement from a whole food source such as whole extruded full fat soybeans, or even some black oil sunflower seeds, rather than more grain. Keep up the quality vitamin/mineral supplement. Mares produce milk that very closely approximates the mineral levels in their diet, so this is how foals get their minerals initially, as well as from tissue stores accumulated during pregnancy. A free choice supplement of calcium and phosphorus is also a wise choice during pregnancy and lactation. The ratio of these minerals will depend on the mineral profile of the hay; aim for a 1.5:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the total diet.

The growing baby

a quality vitamin/mineral supplement, works just fine. One half pound or up to one pound of grain a day per month of age is a good rule of thumb for foals; divide it into at least two feedings to prevent the blood sugar spikes and dips that can affect bone development. Note that this is just a guideline. Miniatures would get far less than one pound per month of age, while big Thoroughbreds might need a little more. Warmbloods tolerate much less, and often do better with no grain at all – just a protein/fat supplement like the whole soybeans, and of course a vitamin/mineral supplement. Some easier-keeping breeds also do best on just a mere touch of grain.


For breeds or individual horses that do not tolerate much grain, substitute a few pounds of well-soaked grass or grass-alfalfa hay pellets.

Proper digestion and joint function

Leafy alfalfa


Some people like to creep feed their foals. I personally find they do so well on mares fed in this way that I simply give them their own bucket while the mares are eating. The foal will begin to mimic Mom, nibble some of her grain and learn to eat that way. A simple mix of oats, corn, and barley, fed with

The hindgut of a young horse doesn’t develop enough to efficiently handle fiber until he is nearly two years old, so you need to support his digestion with a good daily probiotic or prebiotic. Foals fed a probiotic and appropriate concentrate ration along with their forage will never get that pot-bellied look. Free choice the hay, and make sure it’s a true quality grass hay that is fine-stemmed enough for baby mouths and teeth. A pound or so of leafy alfalfa per day

is permissible. The previously-mentioned hay pellets can also be used if your hay is of lower quality and too coarse for the baby to utilize well. If you consistently feed the same hay, a hay analysis is a good idea. If you see any sign of joint problems, back off on the calories a bit to slow the growth rate. Avoid sudden increases in grain, as this can trigger epiphysitis and OCD. Many breeders also use vitamin C products for prophylactic joint support.

Photo: Jeff Janson

A common sense, mineral based feeding program, together with as much free exercise as possible, will produce a healthy athlete and companion with a sound foundation for a long and productive life.

Judy Sinner is a lifetime horsewoman, owner, breeder, trainer, and exhibitor. She has bred and raised Arabians and National Show Horses since the 1970s, and has produced two National Champions as well as many Regional and Class A winning horses. Affiliated with Dynamite Specialty Products for 25 years, she also served as Communications Director for the company for 17 years, and teaches holistic nutrition for all species in seminars and newsletters. She is pictured here on her champion mare, Starborne VF, a third-generation representative of her Vallicrest Farm breeding program. For more information: 1-800-677-0919 or judysinner@dynamiteonline.com.

equine wellness


Red flags! Signs and symptoms that need attention by Dr. Hannah Evergreen, DVM


equine wellness

You come home from work and head to the barn to check on your horse. You notice the feeder is full of food, the water buckets are still full, and the stall is clean but the bedding looks a bit stirred up. Your horse looks sweaty and is standing in a corner of the stall with his head hanging down and bedding in his mane and tail. Either it’s your lucky day and someone surprised you by cleaning your stall and feeding/watering/exercising your horse – or there is a serious problem. If you are familiar with your equine’s everyday behavior, then you would likely recognize that the horse in this scenario is showing multiple signs of colic – he has stopped eating, drinking, and passing manure, is acting depressed and lethargic, and shows evidence of rolling. These and other signs and symptoms are all things you will be able to spot earlier and more easily if you learn to look for them on a regular basis.

Five basic things to watch

1. Fecal output

2. Water intake

full the wheelbarrow usually is each day. This is not as exact as counting piles, but may be more practical. Any abnormality may be significant, so don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian. Here are some examples of what you should know and contact your vet about: •Fecal output often decreases with colic (decreased GI motility) or if your horse is not eating his/her normal amount (usually because of illness, pain, or dental disease). •Diarrhea can be a serious sign of parasites, infection, cancer or other illness, or may just be due to excitement. •Abnormally dry fecal balls or those that are smaller than normal or covered in mucus can be a sign of colic, dehydration and/or slowed GI motility.

Horses normally pass eight to 12 well formed piles of manure per day. Frequent mucking of your stall/turnout (twice a day or more) makes it easier to count manure piles and notice any subtle changes. It also leads to a clean stable environment and saves you time in the long run. If your stall/turnout can only be mucked once a day and the manure piles are all mixed up, then you can keep track of fecal output by paying attention to how

there’s a problem and call your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment, the better the prognosis and outcome. So keep an eye on that manure!

•Visible adult parasites/worms in your horse’s feces suggest you need to discuss your de-worming program with your veterinarian to prevent parasite-related complications. •Long stem fibers or large grain particles may indicate dental disease and an increased risk of impaction colic. •Foreign material such as sand or gravel can lead to serious colic problems. With colic, and most other problems for that matter, the earlier you notice

On average, horses drink 0.3 to 0.8 gallons of water per 100 pounds per day, so a 1,000-pound horse would drink three to eight gallons each day. This is a wide range of normal and can increase significantly based on temperature, activity/work load, etc. Get to know how much water your horse usually goes through in a day and what normally causes that to fluctuate. Drinking excessive water may be a sign of kidney disease or Cushing’s. More commonly, when a horse does not drink enough water, dehydration and colic can follow. Automatic waterers make it difficult to monitor how much your horse is drinking (unless water flow is metered). When in doubt, switch to buckets and turn off the automatic waterer so you can keep track. If you catch the problem early enough, soaking your horse’s hay and pelleted feeds can help increase water intake while administering electrolytes can help increase thirst. However, if your horse is not drinking his usual amount and is showing other behavioral abnormalities, it’s time to call your veterinarian. equine wellness


Did you know? Would you drink sour milk or eat stale bread? No, because freshness is vital to the taste, safety and effectiveness of products consumed, not only for our families and ourselves, but for our horses as well. There are several ways to ensure freshness in the products we feed our equine friends: 1. Look for products made with the highest quality ingredients. Poor or lesser quality ingredients break down easily and are more likely to contain contaminants and harmful bacteria. 2. Proper packaging, such as airtight, lightresistant, re-sealable containers are crucial to ensure product freshness. Products packaged in nitrogen flushed vacuum sealed bags are now available in the equine industry ensuring the same freshness as your favorite vacuum packed coffee. A batch number and ‘best if used by’ date should be clearly printed on the packaging. 3. Supplement manufacturers can ensure product freshness by following strict quality control standards and getting certified by independent agencies. Speak with your supplement manufacturer and determine the quality system used in the manufacture of his products.

3. Appetite

Normal horses love to eat. Loss of appetite likely indicates a serious problem. Horses that bolt their feed then stop eating or grind their teeth a few mouthfuls later may have ulcers. Those that act as if they are hungry but don’t seem to get much down and leave quids (rolled-up balls of partially chewed hay) around the stall may have dental disease. Horses that have simply lost their appetite may be in pain from colic or lameness, have an infection or other serious internal illness. When in doubt, call the vet out.


Keep in mind that horses tend to try and hide any weakness. A horse that appears to be acting normally may be doing just that – acting.

4. Attitude

You demand safety and freshness for yourself and your family… your horses deserve the same. Dr. Frank Gravlee graduated from

Auburn University School of Medicine and practiced veterinary medicine for several years before attending graduate school at

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


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It is very important to spend time watching your horse’s normal behavior and attitude. Horses normally sleep intermittently throughout the day, but if your horse is lethargic, there may be something more serious going on. Restlessness can also be a sign of a problem, as painful conditions such as colic may cause your horse to paw, circle, roll and look at his sides. Any signs of abdominal pain or colic should be acted on quickly. Keep your horse up and walking if possible

5. Visual appearance Photo: Kelly Howling


by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS

(your safety comes first) and call your veterinarian immediately.

Your horse should be visually inspected at least twice a day. Check to see that both eyes are fully open, and check for swelling and ocular discharge. Nasal discharge may be a sign of a contagious infection, in which case your horse needs to be immediately quarantined from all other horses at the barn. You’ll also need to wash up to prevent spreading it. Check for signs of rolling (most normal horses will roll periodically, so it’s important to know what’s normal for yours), sweating or abdominal distention/enlargement – all these may be signs of a colic emergency. Look for wounds or swelling, especially on all four lower legs. Check for lameness, shifting weight and/ or pointing a toe. Look at your horse’s surroundings and make sure there are no broken fences or other signs of a problem. If it’s dark out, use a head lamp or bring your horse into the barn where there is plenty of light so nothing is missed. Puncture wounds, wounds requiring stitches, non-weight bearing lameness and eye injuries are all conditions requiring prompt treatment by your veterinarian.

Check his parameters

The more information you have about

the situation the better, especially when you need to call your veterinarian. Giving this information to the vet over the phone makes it easier for him to assess the situation and make a plan. This is where a first aid kit comes in handy because you’ll need a stethoscope, thermometer and a list of normal horse parameters such as temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate (TPR) and capillary refill time (CRT).


For your own safety, fractious horses or those displaying unpredictable or dangerous behavior should be left alone until your veterinarian arrives.


Start by taking your horse’s temperature (be careful and stand outside the kick zone), preferably with a 15-second (or less) digital thermometer. A horse’s normal temperature ranges from 98°F to 101ºF. The high end of normal is common only after strenuous workouts or on hot days, while the low end of normal is common in the relaxed/ sedentary horse. Temperatures above 101ºF indicate infection and a call to your veterinarian, while temperatures over 102ºF often indicate an emergency visit. An abnormally low temperature may indicate a serious problem such as colic, shock or advanced disease and also indicates an emergency vet visit.

meantime. Pulse rate is a good indicator of pain level (other than in the excited/ nervous horse) and the severity of the problem. There are various pulse-taking methods for horses, so ask your veterinarian to show you how to do them so you can find one that works for you. Keep in practice so that when the time comes, you’re ready. Often, the easiest way to take a pulse is by using a stethoscope. Place the stethoscope

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Pulse In the case of a colic emergency, it is very helpful to have a baseline pulse rate before giving Banamine. This is especially important if your veterinarian can’t get there immediately and advises you to administer Banamine paste in the

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(or the palm of your hand) on your horse’s left chest wall just in front of the girth area, behind the elbow. A normal pulse is slow (36 to 44 beats per minute) so be patient when you’re waiting to hear/feel it. Have someone time you for 15 seconds, count how many beats you hear in that time period, and multiply by four for beats per minute.

minute. Respiratory rate normally increases with exercise and excitement, but also with serious illness such as pneumonia, heart disease, shock, colic pain or allergic reaction. These are all conditions requiring prompt veterinary care.


Be sure to count the “lub (pause) dub” as one beat, not two. For better or for worse, an elevated pulse rate is often easier to hear/feel. So, if you’re having trouble when practicing, it will likely become easier if the horse really is having a problem such as colic, a painful injury or laminitis. In general, a pulse over 48 for more than half an hour warrants a call to your veterinarian. If the pulse is greater than 56 and your horse is showing other abnormal signs, call the vet immediately.

To take your horse’s respiratory rate, place your hand in front of his muzzle so you can feel the air flow, or watch your horse’s flank region for expansion/contraction. Count breaths in a 15second period and multiply by four for breaths per minute.

Respiratory rate


Your horse’s breathing should not be loud or labored. The respiratory rate should be between eight and 12 breaths per

Push up your horse’s upper lip and take a look at his gum color. It should be pale pink and moist. Blanch the gums by pressing your finger there for a few seconds and then release and watch for the color to return. This is the capillary refill time, or CRT. A normal CRT should be less than two seconds. A CRT longer than that is a sign of serious systemic illness, shock or dehydration. Dark pink, blue or gray gum color can also indicate a serious problem, so be sure to alert your veterinarian if this is the case.

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Dr. Hannah Evergreen is a 2004 graduate from Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has loved, cared for, ridden and trained horses for most of her life – horses are her passion. She started her own mobile veterinary practice in Monroe, Washington in December of 2004

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Knowing the basic signs and symptoms of an emergency situation, and when to call the vet, is essential to all your horse’s caretakers. Caretakers include you, the barn workers and/or the trainer, so make sure everyone involved in caring for your horse knows what to look for. The more experience you have, the earlier you may pick up on subtle changes in your horse’s health and behavior. Catching things early decreases the risk of complications and problems turning into serious illness, and may even save your horse’s life. Most importantly, when in doubt, call the vet!

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Photos courtesy of: Anna Twinney and Camp Greystone, NC

De-spooking by Anna Twinney

doesn’t have to be scary!

“My mare lies down trembling when she gets frightened.” “My horse has jumped on top of me several times when he sees the scooter.” On my travels each year, I meet hundreds of horses and their human companions, and statements like these are far too common. Dealing with a frightened horse can be frustrating, difficult and at times as terrifying for the person as it is for the horse.

Now is the perfect time of year to prepare your horse for the many possibly frightening things he may come across in your upcoming adventures together. Too many people wait to train their horses until after they are out on the trail or at the show. Worse, they don’t take the time to expose their horses to enough stimuli beforehand and are suddenly faced with a potentially dangerous situation of new “scary” experiences. Even well seasoned dressage horses, equine wellness


show jumpers, western pleasure horses and general performance horses have been faced with barking dogs chasing them down the trail, plastic bags blowing in the wind, and those loud cars that seem to sneak up from behind to maximize their startling effect. The more prepared you and your horse are for these unexpected moments, the better you’ll be able to deal with them without the bolting, rearing, bucking and other behaviors that can make horsemanship so dangerous.


A horse’s behavior can often be understood with one simple phrase: horses are flight animals. Once you understand this, desensitizing becomes easier and can actually be fun for both of you.

How “Reaching Out” can help

Out to Horses Introductory Course in Ashville, North Carolina, where we worked in depth on the art of “despooking”, as it is sometimes called. One very effective tool I used during the course was a tarpaulin or “tarp”. As many of you know, there is nothing like a tarp: the crackling sound, intimidating size, and odd, unnatural feel scares most horses right out of their hooves! Using the tarp as a desensitizing tool can be quite challenging so I would not recommend you just throw it on your horse. In an ideal situation, I always recommend that people first “Reach Out” to their horse in a round pen environment before they attempt to introduce any new stimuli. Reaching Out to your horse is a unique experience. During this process, you communicate in the horse’s nonverbal language. By adopting the gestures and movements already familiar to your horse, you begin to create a trust-based partnership from the ground up you’ll also be able to:

I recently conducted a two-week Reach

•Get an instant physical assessment of your horse’s abilities.

Remember to reward

•Determine conformation, personal limitations, and what is natural to his breed.

Acknowledgement is very important when desensitizing your horse. Whether it comes in the form of a release of pressure, removal of direct pressure on the noseband, soothing and comforting words, or a rub on the forehead, acknowledging your horse’s tries and successes will help give him the confidence he needs while facing new challenges. In addition, horses learn from the release of pressure, so you can use the rewards individually or all at once. Reward even the smallest tries – the desired response of standing still and calm. Don’t wait for the horse to get overwhelmed and run from you! If you stop before that moment, you eliminate flight, fight or freeze and replace them with confidence and comfort.

34 34

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•Discover immediate insights into your horse’s personality and character traits. •Learn his likes, dislikes, needs, willingness, and levels of concentration and sensitivity. In short, it is an invaluable opportunity to create a relationship based on mutual understanding and respect in an environment that’s safe for both you and your horse.

De-spooking in 5 steps

Learning how to desensitize your horse to the things that scare him isn’t difficult as long as you take a methodical approach. Here’s how Tina, one of my

course participants, used a five-step process to de-spook her horse Prophet.

In the beginning, she took time to introduce herself by conducting a number of “getting to know you” exercises involving relaxation techniques, head-drops, and neck yielding. Prophet was already accustomed to a pressure halter (another invaluable tool when introducing horses to new objects) and by taking a few moments to teach him pressure and release, Tina saved time and possible future conflicts.

When the time was right, Tina let Prophet explore the tarp. Horses are curious by nature and will usually want to examine new objects, cautiously smelling and feeling with their feet as they go. Horses have limited depth perception, so this allowed Prophet to examine the texture of the tarp and realize that his feet weren’t about to be swallowed up to his knees, as in water! Tina then brought him around to approach the tarp on the side he found easiest, acknowledging his tries along the way.

Once Prophet became more comfortable with this new experience, Tina approached the tarp from the opposite direction. Horses

process information separately from the right to left side of the brain, so Tina knew that Prophet would need to experience this as a new event to create a complete picture.

Once you and your horse have mastered the tarp as Tina and Prophet did, you can explore many other objects. Always remember the golden rule that horses are, by their very nature, flight animals, and you’ll be able to approach de-spooking from a whole new perspective to help your horse overcome even his worst fears. More importantly, you’ll become the genuine leader of a trust-based herd of two!

Anna Twinney is an internationally respected Animal Communicator, Equine Specialist, Natural Horsemanship Clinician, and Reiki Master. She has been featured on TV, national and international magazines and travels the world educating people and horses by working in the horse’s own language. The founder of the Reach Out to Horses® program, she remains on the cutting edge of genuine, gentle communication techniques with all our planetary companions. For more information, go to www.reachouttohorses.com.


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Folding the tarp so it was small enough to rub all over the horse was the next very important step. Tina rubbed Prophet with the tarp, covering his entire body, while gradually increasing the size of the tarp. She was able to quickly discover how Prophet felt about the tarp as it changed size and touched his body.


Don’t be afraid to ask a friend for help. It can be safer and a lot more fun when you’ve got a partner to assist you.

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Finally, Tina asked Prophet to completely relax by lowering his head. Horses need to carry their heads high to see far in the distance and negotiate their flight path. By taking away this primary form of defense, Tina asked for an enormous amount of trust. But she had taught him this relaxation technique at the beginning, and even with additional stimulus he understood her request. This was the perfect note to finish the lesson with.

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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.

Photos: Steve Faust


equine wellness

The horse:

Moonshine (Blue Moon Rising) Age: 7 years


Breed/Ancestry: Nokota

Physical description:

Blue roan gelding with star, 15 hands


Dressage and Exhibition


Chris and Margaret Odgers, Crazy Horse Farm

How they got together:

Natural care principles:

“Moonshine was part of a load of Nokotas brought to Chester County, Pennsylvania for resale by Nokota Horse Conservancy in March 2004,” says Margaret. “It was love at first sight for me.”

“While sometimes unavoidable in this age of shrinking resources, in my opinion, horses aren’t designed physically or mentally to be stall-kept for extensive periods of time, so ours get plenty of turnout.

Awards and accomplishments: Moonshine has shown in training level dressage with scores in the mid to high 60s. His Team Nokota exhibitions include the 2004 and 2005 Devon Horse Show, American Gold Cup, and Brandywine Carriage Show. He was one of the Nokotas featured on ABC’s Prime Time, and spent several months this year on loan to the Kentucky Horse Park, at their request, both for their Breeds Barn and to perform regularly in the Parade of Breeds – the first Nokota ever represented.

“With my Nokotas, I’ve been fortunate to have horses with great feet. I’ve never owned a horse that required shoes and have never been hindered from any activity by riding a barefoot horse. “I’m not a practitioner of any particular National Horsemanship method – I think my methods have evolved almost by accident to a more natural approach because of my association with Nokotas, which are a ‘natural horse’. “Gentling and training these horses requires

common sense, patience and a willingness to sometimes think outside the box. Teaching them obedience cannot be achieved without first earning their trust. That trust is earned with mutual respect, not force.”

Tell us more: “Moonshine has never been particularly dominant or assertive in the herd pecking order since I’ve owned him. Therefore, I was shocked to learn he almost immediately became the dominant horse in the gelding pasture at the KHP. It seemed so out of character for him. “However, he was a very benign leader. No one was persecuted or beaten up under Moonshine’s leadership, making for a happy herd. I believe this is because Nokotas

equine wellness


Photo: Nokota Horse Conservancy

understand how to interact appropriately with other horses – a quality often lost in domestic breeds because they are so far removed from natural horse behavior. “Moonshine’s history is the most amazing part of his current success. He was range-raised on the Kuntz Ranch in North Dakota in a natural herd environment with minimal human interaction. He was sold as a two-year-old.

equine wellness


“Months later, Leo Kuntz spotted him at one of their local horse auctions – in the kill pens – terrified of people and traumatized. Leo purchased him back and returned him to the Kuntz Ranch. Moonshine was turned out with the bachelor herd and left alone to recover.

“The best results – a healthy, happy, confident horse and a willing partner and performer - are achieved by understanding and working with the nature of the horse, not against it.”

“Leo started some handling just before he brought Moonshine to Pennsylvania. At the time I acquired Moonshine as a four-year-old, Leo was the only person who could put a hand on him.

Nokota Horse Conservancy www.NokotaHorse.org

“One of the coolest ‘Moonshine moments’ was when Leo traveled to Kentucky to take part in


2007 Breyerfest, held at the Kentucky Horse Park. During that weekend, Leo had an opportunity to see Moonshine perform in the Parade of Breeds. We were both wiping away tears as Moonshine proudly performed in the arena to a packed house. Here was our Moonshine – a horse that once could only be touched by one hand – now touched by thousands.”


Crazy Horse Farm www.CrazyHorseFarm.com

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AAEP looks at alternative medicine Just like in human medicine, many equine practitioners are skeptical of or unfamiliar with complementary therapies and modalities. Until recently, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) focused primarily on conventional Western medicine. But armed with supportive studies (and no doubt in response to demand), the AAEP is opening the door to integrative approaches. At their recent Healthy Horses Workshop, veterinarian Ed Boldt explained the uses of chiropractic and acupuncture to riders, and how these modalities can complement mainstream treatments. This new trend will be a win-win for everyone, especially the horses.

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Naturally clean What you use to clean your horse’s coat, tack and other equipment can affect his health. That’s why it’s important to choose safe, natural products. eZall is the answer. The company’s bio-based cleaning agents contain apple, oat, corn and grain esters and natural surfactants that immediately release even the toughest caked-on dirt from your horse’s coat. Just spray on and rinse off. Choose from Total Body Wash, Tail & Mane Treatment, Show-N-Go Detangler, and more. www.ezall.com


equine wellness

Easing eczema

When horse owner Ms. Hammerle found herself battling persistent sweet itch, eczema and rain rot in her equine friends, she decided to find her own solution. She contacted a fabric manufacturer and began testing different fabric combinations to find one that would give her equines relief and healing. The result was the RSH Eczemablanket. Made in Germany, this unique product promotes healing within days. The blankets come in 15 sizes and are machine washable. www.ReitsportUSA.com

Hurray for hemp!

For top performers When horses sweat, they lose significant amounts of the electrolytes needed for optimal performance, including sodium, chloride and potassium. Kentucky Performance Products comes to the rescue with Summer Games Plus, a scientifically formulated electrolyte for top-notch performance horses that mimics the composition of equine sweat. It also contains Neigh-Lox, a stomach-buffering agent that helps create a healthy, comfortable gastric environment. www.kppusa.com

Hemp is incredibly versatile. In addition to making great ropes and clothes, it’s a wonderfully health-enhancing natural nutrient and an excellent source of essential fatty acids. Adding hemp to your horse’s diet helps promotes good joint function, healthy skin, coat and hooves, and cardiovascular and digestive wellness. It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory. Hemp for Horses is an all natural Canadian-grown product made from 100% milled hemp. www.hempforhorses.com

Silver lining Did you know ionic silver has natural antibacterial properties? The CleanBucket is the latest addition to the Ag Silver line of products from EquiFit, Inc. This sturdy, 20-quart bucket is infused with ionic silver to control bacterial growth, minimize “bucket slime”, and keep your horse’s water clean and goodtasting. Other Ag Silver products include SilverClene24 disinfecting spray, and CleanBalm for bacterial control of cuts, scratches and abscesses. www.equifit.net

equine wellness


From agony to ecstasy How to teach your horse to accept grooming

by Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard

How many times have you wished your horse could understand English so you could explain to her the benefits of grooming? “Believe me, this fly spray will get rid of those pesky bugs…just relax and I’ll help you!” or “Once we get all that gritty dirt and sweat off, you’ll be soooo much more comfortable.” We all want our horses to look and feel their best, especially when we start taking them to shows, demonstrations or competitions. A clean, well-groomed horse trimmed to perfection presents a very pleasing picture to the judges’ eyes. The problem is, trying to clean up our horses can leave us frustrated, wet, late, and covered with the grooming products that should be adorning our equine partners. Even worse, someone may end up seriously injured.

horse’s point of view. Think how strange these activities are to our horses. Many of what we consider the most basic concepts (how about riding a straight line, or in a perfect circle?) are human ideas, and literally have no purpose or context to these animals. So they also have no idea why we would spray strange stuff on them, point a hose at them with cold water spouting out of it, or why that buzzing, vibrating machine is about to cut off some of their hair.

The horse’s point of view

Rather than just forcing your horse to tolerate grooming, (which is very stressful, and even dangerous to you and your horse) you need to teach him to

Why are bathing, spraying and clipping so difficult for many horses to tolerate? The key lies in understanding the


equine wellness

trust you and relax as you groom him. Horses must be desensitized to bathing, clipping, spray bottles, and yes, even brushes and combs. Fortunately, with a few key principles and a good, effective plan, anyone can teach these lessons!

Let’s start with six important ideas to incorporate into each of these lessons.


Stay safe, no matter what! By taking the time you need to teach your horse these lessons, your safety is enhanced. So plan ahead, schedule the time you need to carry out these exercises without rushing, and then follow through!


The way you approach any experience with your horse influences how he/she feels about it. Because horses are both prey and herd animals, they check out how we perceive our environment, and often take their cues from us. So don’t tiptoe around as if you don’t believe she can relax… act casual, like you know she can do it! Fake it, if you must!


Horses are prey animals. If your equine partner thinks the spray bottle is the “infamous horse-eating sprayer of doom” she will try to do what prey animals do best: take flight. If she’s tied and unable to act on that most primal impulse, she may decide to fight instead. These responses are not those of a “bad” horse, just a scared one. Don’t punish; teach instead. Horses behave in a very direct cause and effect way. •“What happens when I pull back? Can I get away?” •“When I paw anxiously, does he stop spraying me?” •“If I throw my head up high, can I get away from that buzzing thing?” When horses evade something successfully, they will repeat the behavior. So whenever you can safely prevent your horse from avoiding something, do it!


Timing is important! The best time to teach your horse to quietly stand and accept grooming, bathing, etc., is when he’s tired and wants to stand. Teach these lessons after a good ride, not before!


As a prerequisite to our lessons, your horse must willingly and comfortably accept your hands anywhere Start by spraying away from your horse. on his body. He must also accept saddle blankets, etc. Remember that a horse’s skin is •Outfit your horse with a well-fitting about seven times more sensitive than halter and a 10’ to 12’ long lead rope. Do ours, so keep your touch firm but not begin this work in a confined area pleasant. To prepare your horse for (a small paddock or round pen is ideal), these lessons, teach your horse to be and above all do not tie or cross-tie your comfortable with brushes, combs and horse until you are absolutely sure he is hoof picks before moving on. comfortable being sprayed. We’ll explain the lesson from the horse’s left side, but be sure to teach it on the right, too.

Start with sprays

Let’s begin with spray bottles (fly spray, stain removers, “polish” applications), since this is the easiest of our tasks.

•Stand facing your horse’s left shoulder point at approximately a 45º angle, holding the lead rope loosely in your equine wellness


left hand and the spray bottle in your right hand. Fill an old bottle with water for this exercise so you don’t waste expensive sprays. Keep your body relaxed, in a “this is no big deal” posture, point the bottle away from the horse and briefly spray a short burst of water. The position (and distance) of your body should protect you in the event your horse kicks out or strikes. This extreme reaction is possible, so you need to be ready.

careful not to startle her, proceed too quickly, or spray her directly in the ears, eyes or nose.

•Your horse may just stand there unconcerned. If this is the case, praise her with a pet or rub! Then begin to spray more frequently and with longer bursts, and gradually direct the spray closer and closer to your horse’s withers and back.

Bath time

If you need to end this or any other lesson before she’s really relaxed and comfortable, find a positive note to end on, and continue on another day. She’ll keep getting better and better!

Once your horse is fully relaxed with being sprayed from either side, you can move up to the bathing lesson.

•At some point your horse will probably move away from the spray. Don’t try to keep her still: let her move if she wants to, but reduce the intensity and direction of the spraying. •Keep spraying until she stops moving, even if it’s just momentary. When she stops all four feet, immediately stop spraying. Pet and reassure your horse and then resume the lesson. This teaches her that in order to make the spraying stop, all she has to do is stand quietly. When she does this comfortably you may move on to the neck, legs and finally around the head. Remember that your horse trusts you, so be The lower legs are the best place to begin hosing.

•Once again, begin with a halter and lead rope on your horse (untied), in a round pen or similar enclosure. Begin in the same position at his left shoulder and at the same safety angle of 45º, holding the lead in your left hand and the horse in your right hand. •Keep the hose pointed away from the horse as you turn on the water. A helper is handy to turn the water off and on as needed, but an off/on nozzle would work too. Most hoses will spurt out water at first, making a sound like a “horse-eating snake”, so be ready if your horse’s flight instincts take over. •If you try to fight with him and keep him still, you’ll just make matters worse. Let him move, but keep him on the end of your rope. You’ll also need to be mindful of where the hose is so he doesn’t get tangled in it and feel trapped. •Make sure your spray is not overwhelming but rather a soft, gentle mist in the beginning. Keep spraying until the horse stops moving; when he does, close the nozzle to stop the water flow. (Hey! He can make the water stop by standing still!) Pet and reassure your horse before starting over. •Gradually work the direction of the spray closer to the horse, until he accepts it landing on him while standing still. Stop, pet,


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reassure, and start again. Start spraying his front legs, and then move on to his chest, back, etc. Always start with the hose aimed away from the horse, and bring it towards him slowly. If possible, use lukewarm water, as very cold or hot water only makes the experience more unpleasant for your horse!

then a washcloth, a piece of aluminum foil, or anything else you can think of to desensitize him.

•When you can spray your horse all over from either side and he remains relaxed, you can begin to apply diluted shampoo with a sponge, and then rinse. Finally, familiarize him with the sweat scraper to remove the excess water.

•The next step is to rub him with the clipper itself – at this point, it should not be turned on, and the blades should be removed.

When you can do all this while your horse remains relaxed and unconcerned, you’ll be ready to teach the next and usually most difficult lesson.

The clippers are coming! In this lesson we desensitize the horse to three things: the clipper itself, the noise, and the vibration. You shouldn’t try to introduce all three at once, because it overwhelms most horses.

•Once he’s comfortable with these objects, start adding some noise. You can crinkle the aluminum foil, or add humming sounds while you rub.

•When he’s totally relaxed, rub the clippers all over him and hum at the same time. Then turn the clippers on and rub all those spots again. •When he’s as loose as a goose with the sounds and vibration, place the blades in the clippers. Clip the least sensitive area first (according to your horse) and work up to his most difficult spots. Don’t try to clip everything in one session; do a little at a time for the first few clippings. Once you’ve taught your horse to accept spraying, bathing, and clipping, you can do all these things while he’s tied (providing he has already been taught to tie). The time you take to teach these lessons properly will result in a calm, glistening horse that’s ready to create the perfect picture in class. Give yourself a pat on the back for your good horsemanship, then go get ‘em!

Clipping can be simple when you teach your horse how.

Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard are the founders of Two as One Horsemanship. They appear nationwide at expos and clinics to teach people how

•Take baby steps by first rubbing your horse’s fetlocks, bridle path, muzzle, under his chin, and anywhere else you may wish to clip. •When he is comfortable with this pleasant touch, rub him with a sponge,

to bring out the best in their horses.



for their schedule,

DVDs, books, Horsemanship Education Courses, ProTrack™ Trainer Certification Programs, and to find a Bob & Suzanne’s Wind Rider Equestrian Challenge™ near your area. equine wellness


Getting off on the

wrong foot by Lisa Huhn

Common hoof injuries to look out for 46

equine wellness


ccidents happen. Despite our best efforts to protect our horses from harm, we can’t always prevent them from getting hurt. Foot injuries excite our deepest fears, perhaps because of the old adage “no hoof, no horse”. The most common acute injuries are cuts or abrasions, puncture wounds, and sudden blows.

My horse is bleeding! Cuts to the coronet band or heel bulb can produce a lot of blood. It can be quite alarming, but only illustrates that the equine foot is a highly vascular structure. • Bleeding cleanses on a cellular level, so take a deep breath and get out the hose. Cold hosing is beneficial in many ways. It cleans without abrading healthy skin, slows the blood flow, helps ward off swelling, and lessens sensation and pain, all within ten minutes. I keep on hand a small spray bottle containing three to five drops of tea tree oil (TTO) in two-thirds water and one-third witch hazel (the concentration doesn’t have to be exact). If the wound is fresh, it is beneficial to use TTO straight from the bottle for initial application after cold hosing.


is covered. Wrapping is an invitation to infection – it creates a dark, moist, airless environment in which anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that grow without air) can thrive. Remember to keep your horse’s tetanus vaccinations up to date, as tetanus is an anaerobic bacterium. • Try to keep the horse moving in a free choice environment. Spread hay around the pasture to encourage walking. Make sure the footing is not deep or manure-filled muck but a relatively dry field or grass lot. A little dirt (or even flies) in the wound between cleanings is not harmful, but standing in manure and urine-laden paddocks or stalls is counterproductive to natural healing.

Internal antibiotics are most often unnecessary if you follow a strict cleaning regime and use TTO and witch hazel topically. Infections can occur if there is a foreign object still trapped inside the wound, or if cleansing rituals are skipped or not done thoroughly enough. An infection can cause an increase in body core temperature, so be sure to check your horse’s vital signs. The normal will be between 36.5º to 38.5º C (99º to 101º F).

It should take no more than three weeks to thoroughly heal a deep wound. Nature is really that fast!

How to deal with puncture wounds

What about older cuts? Older cuts present a different scenario. If the cut is more than 12 hours old, there is a good chance a scab has formed to stop the bleeding, and there may be proud flesh building around or under the scab. This is nature’s way of rapid healing and stopping blood loss. But scarring and infection can also arise under the scab.


Stitches are rarely if ever applied to the mobile foot; healing will still take

TTO is a natural antibiotic,

place by keeping the horse moving

antifungal and anti-inflammatory

and the wound thoroughly cleansed.

– it also wards off flies. Witch hazel is a great astringent and helps stop the bleeding.

• Thoroughly cleanse the wound twice daily by using a sponge in a scrubbing motion to remove any dead or loose tissues. This encourages healing from the inside out. A wound open to the air heals much quicker than one that

bleed lightly again, but this is okay – it means you have a clean wound. Keep using cold water alternately with the scrubber sponge until all scabs and proud flesh are eliminated.

Shallow wounds can be allowed to scab over with no ill effects, but large scabs on deep wounds act like a wrap under which bacteria can grow. Cold hosing is still needed but you also need to scrub the wound. Apply ten to 15 minutes of cold water to soften the scab and decrease sensation enough for you to use a simple kitchen pot scrubber sponge to abrade the wound. It may

Puncture wounds are something you want to try and avoid. Look around your horse’s living space and remove any potential for injury. Keeping pastures clear and fencing in good repair is a must. What if you are out riding and pick up a nail or foreign object from the trail? Again, be sure to have your horse’s tetanus shots up to date. Depending on the nature and placement of the object invading the foot, you may need to call a vet for x-rays to see if there is any damage to the hoof bones. The treatment for minor puncture wounds includes soaking the foot in warm water and a solution of TTO (five to seven drops per gallon) or apple cider vinegar (one cup per gallon). You may also put TTO straight into the puncture to deeply cleanse the site. Depending on the wound, you may elect to call the vet, who might administer antibiotics and advise wrapping. In my experience, however, long term wrapping and confinement are not necessary, while cleansing and movement hasten recovery.

Blows to the hoof Horses can kick hard. When there is equine wellness


a wall, fence or tree in the way, the resulting blow can produce internal bruising, broken hoof walls, bars or bones. Moderate bruises may be reabsorbed by the body, but deep bruising and broken bars often produce enough damaged tissue that it has to be walled off and expelled through an abscess. This happens within a few weeks of the initial blow. Broken walls can tear some laminae and be initially painful, but in a relatively short time the injury stabilizes, grows down the hoof and is replaced by healthy tissues. Broken bones in the foot can be only seen by x-rays, and usually heal within six to eight weeks. No confinement is necessary, but a smaller pasture to encourage walking rather than running could be beneficial. Shoeing is unnecessary, but a proper, balanced, barefoot trim by a qualified barefoot practitioner is required, as is freedom to move and a staple diet of hay.


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Painkilling drugs are not advised because the horse can re-injure himself without realizing it. Try more natural pain relief approaches, such as MSM, Buteless or devil’s claw.

Common chronic injuries Most abscesses and bruises and almost all splits and cracks do not result from sudden injury, but rather from internal factors versus external forces. They are symptoms rather than injuries. • Overgrown or unnaturally trimmed feet create abnormal pressures and strains that in turn initiate a myriad of problems inside the foot, ranging from chronic bruising to damaged nerves. • A diet that strays from the hay staple and into sugars and starches can damage

developing laminae and set sensitive horses up for chronic abscessing. • Abscessing can occur when bacteria enters the foot through a deep puncture wound. A greater number of abscesses start from the inside – not the outside – and are preventable. Abscesses can present themselves in a few different ways. A suddenly three-legged lame horse may lead you to believe there has been a recent injury, but it could be that an abscess is just coming to a head and will soon exit. Some abscesses exit without your even knowing there was anything wrong. The exit hole can show up on the sole of the foot or the coronet band; abscesses that exit from the coronet band are often confused with cuts because that’s what they look like. • Splits and cracks can result from poor hoof form. For example, a crack dead center on the toe is simply a result of abnormal physical stresses on the wall

Photos: Kelly Howling

due to tall or collapsed heels and/or an over-long toe wall.

Splits, cracks, bruises and abscesses can be repaired and made a thing of the past by looking more closely at diet, trim and turnout. Even making small changes towards a more natural lifestyle can reap great rewards.

thought of as injuries. For more information on enhancing lifestyle, diet and trimming, visit www.equinextion.com. Prevention is the key!

A final note on injuries Before

On the road to healing

Above: Poor or irregular trimming can result in cracks and breaks in the hoof wall but proper trimming, diet, and turnout can help repair it.

A horse can have a previous injury to the foot and coronet band that will continue to produce a scar running down the wall of the foot. This may be considered a blemish but most likely harbors no further insult. Heel bulbs that are almost sliced off can grow back and regenerate to full function using the above recommendations. The resulting scar is just that – a scar. Accidents do happen, but healthy, functioning feet, a hay staple diet and an enhanced natural lifestyle not only speed recovery and healing but also help reduce the risk of injury and virtually eliminate many problems commonly

Lisa Huhn

has six years of post secondary

schooling in equine and animal sciences and has studied and practiced natural horse care for


years and

natural hoof trimming since

Equinextion 1995. Lisa

developed, tested and implemented the protocols for the Equinextion Therapeutic Performance Trim and now travels North America, teaching clinics and giving lectures to vet schools and other equine organizations on natural horse keeping, health care and trimming.

Canada, Lisa




owns and operates an

equine rehabilitation and training center. the

For more information on Equinextion Associate Trimmers

program and certification courses contact www.equinextion.com.

equine wellness


Wellness Resource Guide

Barefoot Hoof Trimming



Wellness Resource Guide Inside this issue:

• Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Communicators • Holistic Healthcare • Integrative Vets • Laser Therapy • Schools & Training • Shelters & Rescues

View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: www.equinewellnessmagazine.com

Barefoot Hoof Trimming ALABAMA

Danny Thornburg Shelby, AL USA Phone: (205) 669-7409


Richard Drewry Harrison, AR USA Phone: (870) 429-5739 The Horse’s Hoof James Welz Litchfield Park, AZ USA Toll Free: (877) 594-3365 Phone: (623) 935-1823 Email: jim@thehorseshoof.com Website: www.thehorseshoof.com JT’s Natural Hoof Care AANHCP Certified Practitioner & Instructor Scottsdale, AZ USA Phone: (480) 560-9413 Email: jonatom3h@yahoo.com


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BRITISH COLUMBIA Christina Cline Abbottsford, BC Canada Phone: (604) 835-1700 Diane Brown Lumby, BC Canada Phone: (250) 547-6391 Dave Thorpe Vernon, BC Canada Phone: (250) 549-4703


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

Softtouch Natural Horse Care Phil Morarre Oroville, CA USA Phone: (530) 533-7669 Email: softouch@cncnet.com Website: www.softouchnaturalhorsecare.com Dr. Sugarshooz Farrier Services & Natural Hoof Care Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235 Serving southern CA

Michael Moran Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235 Jolly Roger Holman Professional Farrier/Natural Hoof Care Templeton, CA USA Phone: (805) 227-4835 Specializing in natural trims and BLM Wild Mustangs


Cindy Meyer Carbondale, CO USA Phone: (970) 945-5680

Barefoot Hoof Trimming


Phyllis Gregerman North Stonington, CT USA Phone: (860) 599-8766 Sarah F. Block Shelton, CT USA Phone: (203) 924-5644


Dawn Willoughby Wilmington, DE USA Website: www.4sweetfeet.com


Sound Horse Systems Anne Daimier Deland, FL USA Phone: (386) 822-4564 Website: www.soundhorsesystems.com Brett Barteld Havana, FL USA Phone: (850) 391-4733 Email: masterfarrier@gmail.com Hoof Nexus Daniel E. Hofford Ocala, FL USA Phone: (352) 502-4384 Email: equsnarnd@gmail.com Website: www.hoofnexus.com Frank Tobias AANHCP Practitioner Palm Beach Gardens, FL USA Phone: (561) 876-2929 Email: info@barefoothoof.com Website: www.barefoothoof.com


All Around Horses Andrew Leech Dahlonega, GA USA Phone: (706) 867-4890 Website: www.geocities.com/ andrewsallaroundhorses/


Mackinaw Dells II Ida Hammer Congerville, IL USA Phone: (309) 448-2212 Website: www.mackinawdells2.com No Hoof - No Horse Cheryl Sutor, M.H.G. Kirkland, IL USA Phone: (630) 267-0357 Website: www.NoHoof-NoHorse.com Yvonne Moorhouse Hoof Care Practitioner AANHCP PT Marengo, IL USA Phone: (815) 923-6950 Email: y.moorhouse@att.net

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


Hensley Natural Hoof Care Randy Hensley Orient, IA USA Phone: (641) 337-5409 Former Farrier – Now specializing in barefoot rehabilitation – Certified Practitioner


Sharon Sanford Campbellsville, KY USA Phone: (270) 469-4481 Ann Corso London, KY USA Phone: (606) 878-0466 Email: naturalhorsecare@earthlink.net


Triple S Farms Julie Sanders Altamont, MB Canada Phone: (204) 744-2487


Coreen Harris Emmitsburg, MD USA Email: alboradapasos @ aol.com


Gwenyth Santagate Douglas, MA USA Phone: (805) 476-1317 Website: www.barefoottrim.com


Larry Frye White Cloud, MI USA Phone: (231) 652-3505


Cynthia Niemela Duluth, MN USA Phone: (218) 721-3094


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


Bruce Nock Warrenton, MO USA Phone: (314) 740-5847 Website: http://homepage.mac.com/brucenock/ Index.html


Luke & Merrilea Tanner Milford, NH USA Phone: (603) 502-5207 Website: www.lmhorseworks.com


Carrie Christiansen Browns Mills, NJ USA Phone: (609) 992-3889

Lisa Markowitz High Bridge, NJ USA Phone: 908-268-6046 Natural Trim Hoof Care Hopatcong, NJ USA Phone: (973) 876-4475 Email: info@naturaltrimhoofcare.com Website: www.naturaltrimhoofcare.com Serving NJ, central to eastern PA, and lower NY state


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.

Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com Website: www.hoofkeeping.com Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: joe@naturalhoofconcepts.com Website: www.naturalhoofconcepts.com

Wellness Resource Guide

Fred Evans North Granby, CT USA Phone: (860) 653-7946


Natural Hoof Care Lisa Dawe, AANHCP Practitioner Oriental, NC USA Phone: (508) 776-6259 Email: Lisa@ibarefoothorses.com Website: www.ibarefoothorses.com Natural barefoot hoof care; specializing in pathologic hoof rehab

Bruce Smith Raleigh, NC USA Phone: (919) 624-2585 Email: bruce@father-and-son.net Website: www.father-and-son.net


Lost July Natural Hoof Care Nina Hassinger Bridgetown, NS Canada Phone: 902-665-2151 Email: nina@lostjuly.ca Gudrun Buchhofer Margaree Forks, NS Canada Phone: (902) 248-2235 Email: gudrun@go-natural.ca Website: www.go-natural.ca


Steve Hebrock Akron, OH USA Phone: (330) 644-1954

equine wellness


Berfoot Hoof Trimming

Wellness Resource Guide

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

Sherry Eucker Cuyahoga Falls, OH USA Phone: (216) 218-6954


Becky Goumaz Tulsa, OK USA Phone: (918) 493-2782 Email: pulltheshoes@yahoo.com


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

Back To Basics Natural Hoof Care Services Carolyn Myre AANHCP Hoof Care Practitioner Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 262-9474 Email: carolyn@b2bhoofcare.com Website: www.b2bhoofcare.com Natural Barefoot Trimming, Easycare Natural Hoof Advisor, Natural Horse Care Services

Kate Romanenko Woodville, ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Website: www.natureshoofcare.com


Bellwether Farm Katrina Ranum Morrisdale, PA USA Phone: (814) 345-1723 Email: info@ladyfarrier.com Website: www.ladyfarrier.com Walt Friedrich Nescopeck, PA USA Phone: (570) 379-2964


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


Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Trac Right Indian Mound, TN USA Phone: (931) 232-3071 Email: tracright@aol.com Website: www.tracright.com Quality Barefoot Hoofcare in Middle Tennessee.

Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349


Conde Pantoje Molalla, OR USA Phone: (503) 502-1102 Email: betteroffbarefoot@yahoo.com Website: www.betteroffbarefoot.us Windhorse Creations Mavis Pas Oakridge, OR USA Phone: (541) 782-3561 Website: www.windhorse-creations.com


equine wellness

Non-invasive natural hoof care; Custom hoof boot fitting services


Autumn Mountain Sue Mellen Danby, VT USA Phone: 802-293-5260


Erin Pearson Castleton, VA USA Phone: (540) 987-9507 Flying H Farms Equine Hoof Clinic & Wellness Center Fredericksburg, VA USA Toll Free: (888) 325-0388 Phone: (540) 752-6690 Email: info@helpforhorses.com Website: www.helpforhorses.com Barefoot Trimming, Hoof Clinic & Equine Wellness Center

Elizabeth Swank Harrisonburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 434-5286 Lei Ryan Mount Jackson, VA USA Phone: (540) 477-2489

Natural Hoofcare Services Anne Buteau, AANHCP Certified Practitioner Shipman, VA USA Phone: 434 263 4946 Email: annebuteau@yahoo.com

The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: thevethosp@aol.com

Certified hoofcare Professional Training, Rehabilitation, Education & Clinics

Lone Pine Horse Ventures Bruce Goode, AANHCP Practitioner Vernon, BC Canada Phone: (250) 549-2209 Email: lonepinehorse@yahoo.com Website: c/o www.aanhcp.org

Ann Buteau Shipman, VA USA Phone: (434) 263-4946


ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (514) 899-1535 Email: abchoofcare@msn.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com

Gill Goodin Moravian, NC USA Phone: (325) 265-4250

Have faith in the healing powers of nature

Rebecca Beckstrom Weyers Cave, VA USA Phone: (540) 234-0959

WASHINGTON Equine Wellness Resource Guide

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

Pat Wagner Rainier, WA USA Phone: (360) 446-8699 Leslie Walls Ridgefield, WA USA Phone: (360) 887-0529 Email: barehooflcw@yahoo.com

Eddie Drabek El Campo, TX USA Phone: (979) 578-8913 Website: www.drabekhoofcare.com

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

G & G Farrier Service London, TX USA Phone: (325) 265-4250

Cameron Bonner Wauna, WA USA Phone: (360) 895-2679

27 years exp. as Farrier and I promote Natural hoof care. I am a field instructor and clinician for AANHCP in Texas

Barfoot Hoof Trimming – Schools & Training

Mike Stelske Eagle, WI USA Phone: (262) 594-2936 Anita Delwiche Greenwood, WI USA Phone: (715) 267-6404

Holistic Healthcare

Laser Therapy



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

Scott McConaughey Houlton, WI USA Phone: (715) 549-6380

Natural Product Retailers

FHL Horse Care Mark Stuber Ridgeland, WI USA Phone: (715) 949-1002 Email: fhlhorsecare@chibardun.net Website: ww.fhlhorsecare.com Triangle P Hoofcare Chad Bembenek Rio, WI USA Phone: (920) 992-6415 Email: trianglepenterprises@centurytel.net Website: www.trianglephoofcare.com The Natural Hoof Monica Meer Waukesha, WI USA Phone: (262) 968-9499 Email: monica@thenaturalhoof.com Website: www.thenaturalhoof.com


Animal Herbery Greenwich, CT USA Phone: (203) 302-1991 Email: info@animalherbery.com Website: www.animalherbery.com Holistic health products for your horse and pets including Wendals Herbs, Emerald Valley, Tallgrass Acupressure media,

Integrative Vets WASHINGTON



Wellness Resource Guide



Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA Toll Free: (250) 656-4390 Phone: (2140) 615-6505 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com


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

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

1/24th O NTARIO Claudia Hehr

Organic food and supplements for horses, dogs, and cats. Humans too!

Animal Communication Specialist


To Truly Know and Understand Animals World-wide phone consulations, Health and Behavior Issue Workshops, Tele-seminars, Books, Grief Counceling.

Omega Fields Newton, WI USA Toll Free: (877) 663-4203 Website: www.omegafields.com

(705) 434-4679 • www.claudiahehr.com




Claudia Hehr

Animal Communication Specialist

Schools & Training Equine Wellness Resource Guide

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


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

!NIMAL 0ARADISE To Truly Know and Understand Animals #OMMUNICATION (EALING ,,#

World-wide phone consulations, Health & Behavior Issue Workshops, Tele-seminars, Books, Grief Counseling. See article in the Ontario Regional section

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Wellness Resource Guide

Schools & Training – Shelters & Rescues


Evelyne Neall ARICP Certified Instructor Dressage Jumping Rehabilitation

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

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


Established 1991

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

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Your natural

first aid kit by Lu Ann Groves, DVM


well stocked first aid kit is something every equestrian should have. It can make a huge difference to how you handle an emergency,

whether you’re treating a minor wound or waiting for the vet to come and deal with a more serious problem. Here’s what to include.

Tools of the trade •Get a stethoscope to check the animal’s heart rate. While the normal heart rate for a horse is 36 to 40 beats per minute, a horse with a minor colic will have a heart rate of about 48 beats per minute. A rate over 60 indicates a severe problem; if it does not decrease with homeopathic remedies and Pro Bi or KLPP, give the horse flunixine meglumine (brand name Banamine). If the elevated heart rate continues or worsens, call the vet. If you do not have a stethoscope, you can also take the horse’s pulse by putting your fingers across the vein that runs around the edge of his jaw; it’s right where the jaw starts to bulge out in a round curve about halfway between the muzzle and ears. You will feel a pulse under your fingers. It’s easiest to take the pulse by counting for a ten-second period and multiplying the results by six. •A thermometer is another important

tool. A horse’s temperature should be between 99ºF and 101ºF. A temperature of 103ºF or higher probably means a fever. Temperatures over 105ºF can be dangerous. A horse with a temperature this high can be cooled by applying alcohol or cold water to the jugular vein in the furrow of the neck, nose, and legs. A horse with colic will usually have a normal or decreased temperature, whereas a horse with a respiratory infection will generally have an elevated temperature. Exceptions are horses with an infection or inflammation in the stomach that can cause colic with fever, as well as other causes of infection such as a wound. •It’s a good idea to keep a list of what your horse’s heart rate, pulse and temperature should be, because people often forget what the normals are in an emergency. •Advanced Biological Concepts makes a product called Probi, while KAM

Animal Services has one called KLPP. I would advise carrying one or the other in your first aid kit to give to a colicky horse. These products are also useful for stomach ulcers that are aggravated with the stress of showing or traveling. Give the horse 30cc orally if he is acting colicky. You can repeat the Pro Bi or KLPP two to three times daily to help rebalance the horse’s normal gut flora. •A good, bright flashlight will help if you need to administer first aid to your horse after dark. •A bottle of saline solution and a small bottle of betadine solution are also in my first aid kit. Put 1cc of betadine solution in about 250cc of saline and use a syringe to flush out a deep wound. •Hydrogen peroxide is useful for cleaning out a dirty wound. Because it’s irritating to healing tissue, it should only be used the first day. •Tea tree oil is a good antiseptic for wounds, and may also be used to treat fungal dermatitis. •Grapefruit seed extract is another antibacterial and antifungal product, and can be diluted and given orally to treat infection. equine wellness


Homeopathics for first aid




Arnica montana

Any type of trauma, from bruises to falls

Rhus tox

Tendon and ligament sprains

Ruta gravolens

Bone bruises


Helps get foreign bodies such as splinters and thorns to come out, and hoof abscesses to open and drain

Ledum palustre

Puncture wounds and insect bites


Spider bites

Apis and Urtica urens

Insect bites, specifically wasps and ants

Arsenicum album


Calcarea fluorica

Back pain

Carbo vegetabilis, Colocynthis, and Nux vomica



Helps with fractures


Nerve pain


Helps stop bleeding


Eye problems




Good for open wounds. Give it orally as a homeopathic remedy, or a solution to flush out wounds, encourage closure and promote healing


Helps with fear, anxiety and panic

equine wellness

•Banamine, either in a paste or injectable form, is handy for treating unrelenting pain. •Colloidal silver is a very good antibacterial product. It is usually given for a minimum of two weeks, and often for 30 days to treat a chronic infection.

•You will also need Vet Wrap and cotton to bandage legs, and scissors to cut bandages with. •Duct tape can be applied to the bottom of a hoof to keep it clean and protected. •If you are going to be in an area where you cannot easily trailer out to a veterinarian, you may want to carry lidocaine to numb wound edges, and suture material to close a wound. You should be able to purchase both from your local veterinarian. You will need some type of needle and needle holder to put in the sutures. •Disposable plastic gloves will be useful to protect your hands, or protect wounds from dirt on your hands.

•Bring an ice pack and perhaps some bags of frozen peas to use for swelling. Vet Wrap is good for holding ice on a leg. •I would also have Epsom salts and some type of 3” to 4” deep rubber pan to soak an abscessed foot in. Bring a hoof pick and some type of stiff brush to clean out feet with. Baby diapers work well to bandage a foot; the bottom of the diaper can be covered with duct tape to strengthen the walking surface.

•Mineral oil is given for colic. It is most helpful if the horse has impaction colic and is constipated due to the blockage. A gallon of mineral oil can be given via a syringe, or poured into the horse’s mouth from a large plastic soda bottle. Be sure you don’t get the oil in your horse’s lungs; you should be okay as long as you don’t lift the horse’s head too high when administering the oil. •Bach Rescue Remedy can be helpful for calming a stressed horse or to treat shock. It comes in a spray for easy administration.

Homeopathics for first aid Homeopathic remedies come in different potencies; a good potency for a first aid kit is between 9C and 30C. You can buy them at health food equine wellness


stores or purchase them online from Washington Homeopathic or other vendors.


Strong smelling or tasting products can antidote homeopathic remedies. Do not store your remedies near things like tea tree oil, because the vapors can neutralize them.

You can’t lug all this stuff everywhere, of course, so divide your kit between a small satchel you can take with you when you ride, and a larger container that you can leave in your horse trailer.


equine wellness

You can repeat homeopathic remedies every five to fifteen minutes depending on the severity of the symptoms.

If I was going to take a few remedies with me in a saddlebag, I would choose: •Arnica montana for trauma •Rhus tox for sprains

The remedies are most easily carried in the form of small sugar pills soaked in the medicine. You can place the pill directly in your horse’s mouth or dilute it in a little water in a syringe and squirt it into his mouth. The animal should not be given food or water for five to ten minutes before and after you give him a homeopathic remedy. It is best to keep your remedies out of direct sunlight, away from a heat source, and not close to radio or computer equipment.


When you’re on the go

•Phosphorus to stop bleeding

You may not ever have occasion to use everything in your first aid kit, but having all these tools and remedies on hand provides peace of mind, and the assurance that if an emergency does happen, you’ll be prepared to deal with it.

•Apis for insect bites and stings •Nux vomica for colic •Flunixine meglumine paste for pain, snake bite, and colic •Roll of Vet Wrap to bandage a leg

Veterinarian Dr. Lu Ann Groves has over 25 years of experience in equine medicine. Her clinic, The Whole Horse, in San Marcos, TX uses the best of conventional and alternative medicine to provide excellence in patient care.


•Some cotton if there’s room


www.thewholehorse.com 512-396-2234


Photo: © FotoliaI – Fotolia.com

In safe


More tips on protecting yourself and your horse From the barn to the trail, and everywhere in between, safety is a major consideration. Horses are big animals, and forgetting to take those extra precautions to protect yourself and your equine partner from injury could have serious consequences. An accident can happen fast, and afterwards is not the time to be thinking about how you could have prevented it. To help remind you what to keep in mind, clip this article of simple but invaluable tips, and keep it in a prominent place for frequent reference.

and medications securely locked in a storage room or cabinet. •Ensure barn doors and aisles are unobstructed and there are no projections that could injure you or your equine partner.

In the barn

•Keep flooring surfaces clean, level, and free of ropes, halters and other equipment, and make sure the surface provides adequate traction to prevent slippage and falls. Consider slip resistant flooring if necessary. •Stalls for washing and grooming should be well lit and have crossties with safety release snaps to secure the horse. They should also be equipped with adequate drainage and ventilation. Keep these areas clean and neat.

•Horses are curious and like to check out new things, so keep all chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, paints

•Tack, brooms, forks, shovels, wheelbarrows and other equipment and tools should be stored in their own space away from your horses. Tack rooms should be large enough to safely and conveniently store all your gear, without clutter.

•Double check that all water sources

inside the barn are properly grounded. Electrical outlets in wash stalls or other areas where water is used should be equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters. •It should go without saying that working fire extinguishers and a sprinkler system are musts in the barn. •Both the interior and exterior of the barn should be amply illuminated with UL or CSA approved lighting. All wiring and switches needs to be encased in weather proof metal boxes and metal conduit, while light fixtures should be protected with heavy duty screening wire. •Consider motion detector lights outside the barn to warn of potential intruders, or even a closed circuit video monitoring/security system. •Store hay away from sources of heat and electricity. In fact, it’s wise to keep all combustible material in a separate storage building away from horses, and keep a fire extinguisher there. •If your barn has a hayloft, ensure the equine wellness


ladder or stairs have handrails that are firmly secured and in good condition. Rails should also be installed around the loft area. All stall doors and latches should open easily.

While riding

Trailering tips

•Get rodent and weatherproof containers to store feed, grain, and treats in. Take further steps to rodent proof the barn by trimming trees, weeds and grass near the barn. •Are there any areas where moisture collects and puddles? Consider installing rain gutters and downspouts if you haven’t already. •Disposing of garbage promptly helps prevent rodents and reduces the risk of fire. Have several garbage cans or bins both inside and outside the barn. •Use safety glass or Plexiglas covered with metal screening or steel bars in stall windows. •Do regular safety checks of your barn, stalls and other outbuildings. Look for things like loose or protruding nails, splintered boards, curled stall mats, broken latches, etc. •Carry a cell phone on you at all times when you are at the barn, and have emergency numbers programmed into it.

•Make sure you’re riding a horse that’s suited to your skill and experience, and that you always can maintain control of. •Ride with a friend whenever possible. If you’re riding alone, let someone at home know your trail route, and give them your cell phone number and the time you expect to be back. •Carry your cell phone on your person. Do not pack it on your horse, as it will be useless to you if you fall off and your horse runs away, or you can’t get up. •Bring along emergency reins and a GPS. •If you’re riding with a group of people at different skill levels, stick to the speed of the least experienced rider and maintain a safe distance between horses. •Make sure your gear is in good shape. •Wear your safety gear, including your helmet and proper riding boots (a 1II heel is recommended). Additional gear could include reflective wear for riding on the trails/roads and/or a safety vest.

•Keep a close eye on any children or dogs around the horses.

•Check out the weather forecast, and avoid riding if storms are imminent.

•Inside or outside the barn, stay aware when handling your horse. Lead him from the side, not in front. Do not walk directly behind him or under his neck. Make sure you let the horse know where you are at all times so you do not surprise him, and pay attention to how he is reacting to things.

•Bring water – for you and your horse.


equine wellness

•Make sure your trailer has brakes and that they meet state or provincial regulations. Electric brakes are the most common and more widely accepted than the hydraulic variety. In the U.S., two wheel brakes are required on trailers over 3,000 pounds in 31 states, while 11 states require brakes on both axles. •A breakaway brake is almost always required. Located on the coupler of the trailer, it activates the trailer brakes if the trailer separates from your vehicle. It must have a fully charged battery that will engage the brakes for 15 minutes. •All U.S. states either require or recommend safety chains on your trailer, whether it’s a tagalong or gooseneck type. •If you’re transporting one horse in a two-horse trailer, put him on the left side. This might seem less safe, but because most roads are higher in the middle, having the weight on the driver’s side will help keep your trailer more stable. It follows that if you’re traveling with two horses, you should put the heaviest one on the left.

•Take along a basic first aid kit in your saddlebag. See page 55.

•Before heading out, check everything over carefully. Inspect the trailer hitch, ensure ramps are up and and that doors are securely closed. Check that your horses are tied.

•Stick to marked trails; you don’t know what obstacles or hazards you might encounter in unknown areas.

•If you’re traveling a long distance, stop every five hours or so, depending on the weather, and give your horse a break.

•Make sure your horse has water in the trailer, and check the levels every time you stop. •Your horse should be tied so that he can comfortably lower his head. • Do your homework when putting together your rig. First, consider your horses, then fit the trailer to the horses, and finally fit the tow vehicle to the loaded trailer. Always buy a trailer that fits your current horses while also considering the size of your future horses. Consider the climate in which you live. Dark colors, single wall trailers and aluminum all hold heat. Insulated walls and roofs can help control the interior temperatures in colder climates. •When buying a new trailer, make sure it’s large enough to comfortably accommodate your equine partner. Horses don’t like being in enclosed spaces, so it’s important that the trailer has adequate space, light and ventilation. Your horse should have enough room to move his legs back and forth to keep his balance while the trailer is moving. Horses that stand more than 15.3h need 7’ of stall length and 3’ of headroom. •Consider a trailer that combines a variety of today’s technologically advanced materials, rather than one that’s all steel or all aluminum. A composite built trailer uses steel for the frame and chassis and aluminum or fiberglass for the parts that don’t get as stressed. This helps reduce the overall weight of the trailer without compromising on the strength and safety.

Trailering tips courtesy of EquiSpirit Trailer Company (www.equispirit.com), owned and operated by Neva and Tom Scheve in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Tom and Neva promote horse trailer safety through clinics and articles, and have produced three books on horse trailers, including the industry-accepted text The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer. For more info, contact Tom at tomequispirit@earthlink.net or 1-877-575-1771. equine wellness


3 steps to

natural parasite control

by Sandy Siegrist

If you have horses, you need an effective parasite management program.

we can stop the parasite reproduction cycle from spinning out of control.

And any good program must have proper balance. Your goal should be to keep things as natural as possible. Depending on your horse’s lifestyle,

•Clean stalls daily to eliminate exposure to hatching parasites in manure. Photo: Scot Hansen

you may not be able to completely avoid using chemicals that have been developed to make parasite control easier for the layman. But the days of routinely using harsh chemicals on a fixed schedule are over. There are too many downsides to these toxins to use them casually. Let’s look at how you can design a program that meets the needs of your horse while maintaining optimal health and performance.


There are three primary elements to any good parasite program: prevention, detection and eradication.

1. Prevention

The first and best step to achieving


equine wellness

parasite control using natural methods is to minimize your horse’s exposure to them in the first place. •Properly manage and dispose of manure. It’s important to prevent exposing your horse to parasites as they hatch (primarily in the fall and spring, and in conjunction with the full moon). The life cycle of parasites involves either the mature parasite or eggs passing through the horse’s system and exiting in the manure. Here they can hatch and infect pastures and other food sources, thereby continuing the vicious cycle of infestation and escalating it to a dangerous level. By preventing re-infestation,

An effective natural parasite control program involves frequent manure removal and proper composting.

•Clean your paddocks daily as well. •Consider scooping your pastures periodically. At the very least, harrow now and then to break up manure piles; keep your horses off that pasture for a week or more to allow the parasites to die off naturally. •Keep your horse’s immune system

strong. Parasites thrive in an unhealthy environment. The healthier the horse, the better chance he has of defending himself against parasite infestation without the assistance of chemicals. •Keep your horse’s digestive system healthy and functioning properly. Proper nutrition is critical to keeping the horse’s entire system healthy. A solid program includes free choice minerals, good quality hay, water, and probiotics as appropriate to support the gut. •Use select herbs and other products as a natural parasite control mechanism. There are many herbal products on the market that will assist in eliminating parasites and help make the horse’s digestive system unfriendly to parasite breeding. Do your research and consult a professional in your area to determine what products might be best for your horse.

2. Detection

Next, you must learn how to detect parasite loads that are unhealthy to your horse. You must also understand the risks associated with the each type of parasite and what constitutes those risks. Here’s how to monitor parasite loads in your horse.

•Observe fecal matter. Look for evidence of worms and loose stool. •Conduct periodic fecal tests either with your own test kits or through your veterinarian. Low levels of parasites are normal and do not necessarily need to be treated. It’s also necessary to know exactly which parasites are present to ensure that the appropriate chemical wormer is used, if appropriate.


Rather than simply broadcasting a harsh toxin – or several – into your horse’s system, be sure you are using the chemical that is most effective in eradicating whichever specific parasite is present. •Monitor the parasite reflex point and/or muscle test. You can easily learn how to do this yourself and it costs nothing. •Observe your horse’s appearance – watch for tail rubbing, coat and hoof condition, etc.

Dangers of frequent chemical wormers

1. Decreased immunity, which leads to

increased susceptibility to parasites and disease.


Chemicals accumulate and are processed in the liver, causing toxicity. An overtaxed liver leads to fluid retention, central nervous system disorders, tying up, colic or digestive stress, weight loss/loss of topline, hoof abscesses/ white line disease, etc.


Decreased gut function/digestive processes increase the likelihood of colic as well as other ailments.

4. 5.

Resistant parasites can develop.

Rotational programs often mean administering the wrong chemical for the particular parasites your horse has. It’s like shooting with no target!


Manure from chemically wormed horses does not compost effectively. Some of the chemicals survive the composting process, which means they end up in your soil and groundwater supply. This is not healthy for you or your animals. equine wellness


Photo: Scot Hansen

Quick tips •Learn about parasite life cycles and the specific parasites that are most prevalent in your area. This can vary geographically. •Consider all your horsekeeping practices. Understand how you can best control the risk of parasite infestation on your farm. Effective manure an pasture management are key factors. •Find a good alternative to chemicals that will minimize the impact of parasites on your horse. Ensuring optimal health in your animal is a great defense. •Learn how to support your horse’s digestive system so that it is both resistant to parasites and able to function effectively in the event you have to resort to chemical control or eradication methods. 64

equine wellness

rotational wormers has too many negative impacts on the horse’s health. I test for parasites so I know exactly which type of wormer is required, and how frequently to use it, instead of randomly assaulting the horse’s system with unnecessary chemicals.

How to support your horse when using chemical wormers Chemical wormers are effective because they kill the parasites in the horse’s digestive tract. The downside is that they also kill many of the beneficial Monitoring your horse’s condition and reflex points is one of the bacteria that are naturally methods used to control parasites naturally. present in the horse’s gut. These good bacteria are what make his system function properly. If the gut is not Eradication functioning well, the horse is not able Finally, if parasites become a problem, to process feed and nutrients properly. you have to understand the safest and This can result in many related conmost effective methods for eliminating cerns and will certainly affect your them from your horse’s system. horse’s overall health and performance.


•Herbal treatments – horses in the wild seek out appropriate herbs as they free feed to eliminate unwanted parasites from their systems. •Diatomaceous earth – tests have demonstrated that this product has anti-parasitic benefits. •Chemical wormers – toxins designed to kill parasites inside the horse’s system. As a matter of practice, I prefer to avoid daily wormers and frequent chemical wormers on a fixed schedule. If you do elect to use them, or are required to do so by your boarding facility, consider taking a break during the winter when parasite levels are naturally lower. Chemical wormers are sometimes required – but using

Many boarding stables require frequent worming with harsh chemicals in an attempt to prevent infestations. And even the best natural parasite control program may occasionally require chemical intervention. But you can still help your horse in a very natural way to handle these chemicals and minimize their negative impacts. I recommend using good quality probiotics. These actually replace and replenish the body’s supply of beneficial bacteria in the gut, restoring balance and proper function. I utilize several different products and begin using them seven to ten days before the wormer. I administer a probiotic each day that not only boosts levels of beneficial bacteria but also promotes additional reproduction of those bacteria. This approach

prepares the gut in advance so it can more effectively handle the chemicals when they arrive in the system.


Look for probiotics that have good fermentation qualities as well as those that list the bacteria included in the product. I also use a probiotic for seven to ten days after the wormer to replace the beneficial bacteria that were killed by the chemicals. Natural parasite control is neither complicated nor difficult. It does require discipline and routine, but the benefits to your horses – and to your land – are priceless and well worth the effort.

FREE BACK ISSUES! Buy a 2-year subscription to Equine Wellness Magazine and get the first year of back issues FREE on CD! Topics include: disease prevention natural alternative treatments natural diets and nutrition latest trends in integrative therapies product recommendations natural horsemanship, and so much more!

Sandy Siegrist is a lifelong horsewoman who practices natural horsemanship, healing and horse care techniques. She works with clients throughout the U.S. to evaluate their feeding and horsekeeping programs based on their horses’ specific needs. She also does energy work and overall health analyses, often taking in horses for more extensive rehabilitation.

Sandy’s approach

to horse care is based on natural and alternative therapy techniques and incorporates bio-energy testing, craniosacral therapy, acupressure, kinetics,





$35 CAN. 07 value) (18 issues – $1

herbs and flower essences, among others. Her lectures and articles address nutrition, hoof care, bodywork, worming, vaccinations, and emotional wellbeing, grounded in maintaining a more natural environment and healthcare practices for horses.



for more information.

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

1-866-764-1212 www.EquineWellnessMagazine.com 9am– 5pm E.S.T.

Your natural

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Late for your lesson? Here’s how to get your horse’s head in the game

by Kelly Howling


Traffic slows to a crawl on your commute to the barn and you realize, yet again, you’re going to be rushed getting your horse ready for your lesson tonight. You probably won’t even have time to lunge or give him a good riding warm-up before your coach gets there. On top of that, the weather seems to be blowing up a storm. This is all going to add up to an interesting lesson on your sensitive, spooky equine. In my years of teaching and being taught, I cannot begin to count the number of times I have heard a rider exclaim how late she is for her lesson, and that if she doesn’t get to lunge or ride her horse for a good half hour before the coach comes she’ll be sitting airs above the ground rather than working on transitions. Learning how to read your horse and teach him a few simple attention-getting exercises can


equine wellness

make all the difference on those days where you have only a few minutes to prepare for lessons.

Take care of yourself first Even if you’re rushed, you need to take a moment to settle yourself down and take some deep breaths before you catch your horse. If you don’t, he’ll pick

up immediately on your attitude and begin to think something is wrong. And as we all eventually learn, the more you try to rush a horse, the worse things get. The old saying “act like you’ve got all day and it will only take a minute” rings very true!

Who is your horse today? Some of us are lucky to have steady, constant horses, while other equines seem to have multiple personalities that can change due to any number of factors. I start judging how my daily rides are going to go as soon as I step out the door to drive to the barn. What is the weather like? Sudden drops in temperature, high winds and/or an impending storm can mean I’ll need to pay extra attention to the whereabouts of my sensitive horse’s brain that day. Once at the barn, observe how your horse is behaving in the paddock. Are the horses all feeling particularly fresh?

Photos: Dana Mahood

Is your normally herd-bound horse standing off in a corner by himself? Has your mare come into heat? Is your usually easy-to-catch horse being particularly cranky and standoffish? On your way into the barn, is your horse sluggishly lagging behind you or spooking, prancing and snorting at every object along the way? Is he looking stiff or sore as you lead him in? Once inside the barn, does he stand nicely or begin to do a pretty tap dance in the barn aisle? All the above will help you evaluate what your horse’s attention span is going to be like before you even enter the arena. Take note of anything that deviates from the norm. The sooner you notice your horse is particularly distracted or fresh, the sooner you can begin to deal with it. If I go out to catch one of my horses and I see that they are already high headed, full of themselves and not paying attention to me, I will do some quick short exercises out in the

paddock to get their attention before I even begin to walk back to the barn with them. You don’t have to wait until you get into the arena to begin focusing your horse! The sooner you assume a leadership position, the sooner your horse will begin to focus – and this begins the moment you catch him.

Take the time to notice Even if you are running short on time, try to go over your whole horse during the grooming session. This will help give you insight on how he is feeling. Check for heat, swelling, unusual flinching and sore spots. Notice if your horse shies away from the saddle, appears girthy or is difficult to bridle. If he is inattentive or reactive due to pain, the issue obviously needs to be resolved.

Four groundwork exercises for success Before I ride, there are several short

groundwork exercises that I run through on a daily basis, either in their entirety or in some variation: • Lowering the head • Backing up • Yielding • A few circles of “lunging” Each has the benefit of not only gaining your horse’s attention but also improving your work under saddle. Although the exercises are relatively simple, to ensure success it’s a good idea to have a professional teach them to you and your horse. They can be done in the arena, or can begin the moment you catch up your horse.


When I go to catch and halter my horse, I will ask him to lower his head. I will take into account how soft or stiff his response is to my request and either continue to work on it out in the field,

equine wellness


Lowering the head

or take note of it so I can work on it later in the cross tie area or arena. The act of lowering your horse’s head can have a calming effect; a horse that is staring hard at something with his head high in the air is both pumping adrenaline and not listening to me. Lowering the head snaps him out of that train of thought (if only momentarily).


The backup is an easy exercise to do before I even set foot in the arena. I can back my horse through the gate, into the cross tie area or into his stall, again taking note of how soft and responsive he is.


There are many different yields but the three main ones are yielding the shoulders (turn on the haunches on the ground), yielding the hindquarters (turn on the forehand on the ground) and sideways (sidepassing on the ground). These can be done either on my way into the barn or in the arena. As above, I will watch how responsive my horse is to my cues.

4. 68

There are different variations and equine wellness

Backing up

names for the last exercise. I use the term “lunging” as that’s what most people are familiar with, but it’s really barely that. It just consists of a few circles in each direction with several transitions, a yield of the hindquarters/shoulders, and a backup. I do not lunge my horses to wear them out in endless circles; I lunge them to evaluate their soundness, temperament and gain their attention. With this exercise, we start off in one direction and do several upwards and downwards transitions. I take note of my horse’s movement and whether or not he seems a bit stiff or sore. I also note whether the transitions are prompt and relaxed or sluggish or explosive, and whether my horse is moving rhythmically or seems rushed. I then ask him to stop and turn and face me, yielding his hindquarters in the process, back him up a few steps, and send him off in the opposite direction by yielding his shoulders away from me. This last combination of exercises is particularly telling in how attentive my horse is. The exercises do not take long to do and are extremely useful. It will take a bit of time to teach a horse how to do them properly, but after that their

benefits and uses are great. As long as they are done a few times a week, a horse should not forget them. Since they can be done at any time and anywhere, there’s really no excuse for not having the time to do them.

Don’t let it become routine Be careful not to get into a redundant routine with these exercises. I had one particular student who did the same exercises in the same order every time she worked her horse, for months on end. By that time, her intelligent horse had the routine down pat and it became more about going through the motions and getting it over with. It had become virtually useless for getting his head in the game – until we mixed up the routine to make him think instead of anticipate. As your horse gets better at the exercises and realizes what they mean, and you learn to read him better and know which exercises he may benefit from on which days, you can begin to pick just two or three to do. If your horse is very spooky and high headed, chances are he will be a bit resistant about lowering his head and that will need some work. If

Photo: Scot Hansen


he keeps trying to jump into your lap, he will benefit greatly from not only lowering his head and backing up but also the yielding exercises. If he is really convinced that he needs to be in your space, to be safe you may need to move him out onto a lunge circle and get his attention while he is a good 15 feet away from you, using plenty of transitions and distanced yielding work. The use of these exercises will help you at shows and clinics, on the trail, and


more. Also, as he gets better at each of the exercises, you will have a horse that is easier to handle. The exercises will carry over to your riding by improving his response to pressure when being asked to halt, back up, leg yield and do other maneuvers. Overall, your increased ability to control and maneuver your horse, both on the ground and under saddle, will lead to greater attentiveness. It will also build your horse’s confidence in you so that he does not have to look elsewhere for support, and become distracted.

If worse comes to worse, and you are in a lesson situation, simply ask your coach if you can have a bit of extra time to prepare. Most coaches shouldn’t mind, providing you are not holding up any other students, and that you understand you’ll be taking time out of your lesson. Your coach may even be able to give you some extra suggestions on how to help prepare your horse!

equine wellness


your health

Natural treatment for riding injuries


by Dr. Valeria Wyckoff, NMD

Riders are subject to their share of sprains, strains, cuts, and broken bones. Using natural medicine to speed the healing process will help get you back in the saddle sooner, something all equestrians are eager to do. First aid relief For falls, sprains, and strains, the first thing to reach for is Arnica Montana. You’ll want to have it in both ointment form and in a homeopathic tube of pellets. It’s amazing when used for bruises or over-exerted and sore muscles. It’s also helpful for falls and sprains – any time there is a bruised and/or sore feeling. Take it as soon as possible after injury occurs; it is especially important after a big fall or obvious injury. Homeopathic Arnica is available in many stores in


equine wellness

30C or 200C potencies. I carry 200C for emergency use.

Continued healing On the day after an injury, you’ll need to decide between homeopathic Bryonia or Rhus tox. Bryonia is for when you are in enough pain that you can only find one comfortable way to sit or lie, and when any movement hurts. Rhus tox is for that “rusty gate feeling”, when you first get going after sitting for awhile. For a serious injury, you will

usually need one or the other on the day after the Arnica has done its work. I would recommend 30C potency as needed for the pain.

RICE it! You’ll also want to have some standard equipment, such as an ace bandage and ice pack, in your kit.


It is important to Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate (RICE) a sprain or strain. Rather than “getting right back on the horse”, rest is a crucial element in healing so do remember to take it easy after an injury. Many people understand the use of ice – it just feels good. The compression of an ace bandage wrap, together with elevation by raising the limb above your heart, are also important for

the extremities. This helps contain the swelling so it doesn’t become excessive and slow down the healing process. If there is a spot that is especially tender and shows a lot of purpling under the skin, consider evaluation for a broken bone. Breaks require the attention of a physician to ensure they are set properly. You can help them heal in record time by taking two pellets of homeopathic Symphytum 30C every evening, and Calcarea Phosphoricum 30C every morning. The bones can heal so quickly that the cast may need to come off earlier than anticipated.


A tincture is a liquid alcohol extraction of an herb.

Cuts and scrapes Any cuts and scrapes are usually easily resolved with herbal Calendula and Hypericum. Calendula, the pot marigold

flower, is exceptional in its ability to stimulate skin regeneration, in addition to being antimicrobial. Hypericum is also known as St. John’s Wort. I always carry Hypericum oil in my bag when I am traveling. It is not only antimicrobial, but also stops the pain of a scrape, cut or smashed nerve on contact. I was once with a group of children on a bike ride, when one of them fell off and was scraped up badly on the gravel road. I put Hypericum oil on her scrapes and she completely calmed down. Even washing the scrapes with water didn’t bother her until we reached one that I had not put any oil on – it sent her through the roof. I then fully appreciated the pain relief Hypericum can provide. If you have a scrape or small cut, place 20 drops of Calendula tincture in a quarter cup of water and apply it to clean the wound. This will speed up the healing process. You can also apply Calendula with Hypericum oil, as they make a great team!

A bad cut to the head or other area that will not stop bleeding will respond well to one drop of Calendula tincture and a dry bandage, applied firmly. You will be pleasantly surprised at your success in stopping even severe bleeding. Begin carrying Arnica ointment and homeopathic pellets, Hypericum oil and Calendula tincture, along with a few bandages and an ace bandage, and you’ll have the start of a great field kit for riding emergencies.

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 (wwwRadiodoctors.net) broadcast in the Phoenix area and on the internet. www.DrValeria.net in

equine wellness


Mineral wise, salt poor How to prevent imbalances in your horse by Dan Moore, DVM


equine wellness


hort of water and air, there is nothing more important to the health of your horse than minerals and salt. You may think you’re doing

everything necessary if you give your horse a “complete” feed and provide him with salt and mineral blocks, but it’s not enough. Every function in the body requires minerals, and even the slightest imbalance can have severe consequences. In my opinion, literally every disease is either directly or indirectly caused by an imbalance. Conditions like founder, laminitis, abortion, allergies, botulism, Cushing’s, hypothyroidism, lameness and joint problems all result from imbalances. Even a simple “easy keeper” is, in almost all cases, out of balance on minerals and salt. “Easy keepers” just don’t get enough minerals because they consume so little feed. This means their metabolism is further negatively affected and they become even more “easy keepers,” eventually developing such conditions as hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, and so on.

Blocks aren’t the answer I personally feel that salt and mineral blocks should be outlawed. A horse just can’t lick fast enough to get what he needs. If you have ever seen a horse chew at his block, chances are he is not getting enough of what he needs. Cribbing, chewing on wood, and other behavioral problems are also telltale signs. It’s also important to keep in mind that a horse’s mineral and salt needs change with the weather. As well, the mineral content within grass fluctuates with the weather, and it’s a change that can be deadly. You may be familiar with grass tetany and milk fever among cattle, and the sudden death associated with their

occurrence. These conditions were once thought to be caused by magnesium and calcium deficiencies. We now know they come from high potassium forages and grasses. Similar situations causing abortions and gut problems often occur in horses. What happens is that the potassium in grass spikes during cool, wet conditions, especially after long droughts followed by rainfall and rapid growth. Frost and freezing are also bad – has your horse ever had colic after a frost? The reason is a sudden mineral change in the grass. Not only does potassium spike, but sodium, calcium and magnesium decrease. A major problem like this occurred in 2001 in the Midwest, where reproductive losses occurred in thousands of horses, cattle, sheep and goats. Often, cattle were found dead a few hours after frost and freezes. Excessive potassium and subsequent calcium and sodium deficiencies almost always lead to other opportunistic and even infectious diseases. Potassium promotes the overgrowth of saprotrophic

(microorganisms that normally grow on dead matter), commensal (organisms that live together but don’t harm each other) and pathogenic (microbes that cause disease) microorganisms within the plant. The diseased plants then often produce and become the source of pathogenic bacteria (such as those that cause botulism) and also fungi, which horses are extremely sensitive to, especially in fescue grasses. After eating them, horses and other animals face a rapid overgrowth of these microorganisms, which produce toxic by-products like ammonia. Excess ammonia is deadly, especially to fetuses and the immune system. Early and mid-term fetuses may abort, while near-term may suffer

Salt block

premature birth and/or septic weak births. This problem is not limited to grass. Hay can also be the source – especially from fields that are heavily fertilized. It is also important to keep in mind that since sodium is so similar to potassium, horses often think they have enough sodium (when they really have too much potassium) so they stop eating salt. This is especially so in the winter when they need it most.

equine wellness


Offer free choice minerals Unfortunately, salt and mineral blocks cannot provide minerals fast enough to compensate for the rapid changes that occur in grasses when weather fluctuates. An extremely beneficial solution to high potassium forage and grasses is having free choice, loose minerals readily available to your horse at all times. I prefer Mother Nature’s sources over commercial ones. Natural salt and mineral sources are less likely to contain undesirable ingredients such as lead, aluminum, cadmium and even mercury. According to one study at a major university, even dicalphosphate, which is almost always a major part of mineral mixes, is often contaminated with lead and cadmium. Sea salt

Probably the worst problem is the excess of other minerals that are added to free choice mixes and even trace mineral blocks. This is especially a problem with many “hoof supplements” – these are usually full of minerals and will often help with the condition in question; but they often tip the scales the other way, leading to an excess of minerals and other problems in the future. Naturally balanced sea salts are the best source of sodium salts and are excellent sources of many other essential macro and micro minerals (often called colloidal minerals). An example of a good product is Red Cal, which contains natural loose granular sea salt, colloidal trace minerals, and herbs. Always be sure to put any salt product near readily available water. According to my sources, and personal experience with thousands of animals, if sodium and calcium are always readily available free choice, macro and micronutrients will more likely remain balanced and deficiencies are less likely to occur. As always, a slower, more naturally balanced approach will lead to more stable health for your equine companion.

After graduating from Auburn School of Veterinary Medicine in 1980, Dr. Moore completed the Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy and the Advanced Course in Veterinary Homeopathy. Dr. Moore is the founder and developer of www.thenaturalhorsevet.net, an online source of information, products and services about natural and complementary alternatives for

The typical white salt used in blocks and most mixes is really made for industrial use. It’s also bleached and kiln dried, not a very “natural” process.


equine wellness

horses, and the co-owner of Rosehill Farm, breeder of Rocky Mountain Horses. He is also a representative for the Tennessee Horse Council. Information can also be obtained by calling 1-877-873-8838.

book reviews

Whole Horse Herbs™

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Author: Joan


Have you ever received a certain feeling, vibe, or sudden image from your horse, and wondered if she is trying to express something to you? Would you like some tools to reach your equine partner on a deeper level? Animal communicator Joan Ranquet believes that we are all capable of communicating with our horses through words, feelings, pictures and energy. However, in order to do so, we need to work on increasing our awareness, and both quieting and opening our minds in order to achieve the necessary connection. Joan has helped thousands of animals and people understand each other better, and has demonstrated how this new understanding can help resolve many wellness and behavioral issues. Her new book, Communication with All Life, offers insights on how to know if you are already receiving messages from your horse, and suggestions on how to open the communication channel further. Mingling words of guidance with true stories of horses and other animals that she has helped, this book is thought provoking, informative and entertaining. Joan also includes chapters on nutrition and complementary therapies, recognizing what a vital role they play in the well-being of the horse. Publisher: Hay House, Inc.


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

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

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horsemanship tips Tip #15

Magic number 3

Photo: Elena Dorfman & Equine Voices, AZ

by Anna Twinney

It is a known fact that if you want to create a bucking horse, then you should fall off your bucking horse three consecutive times. Quite often horses will learn what to do in a very short period of time. Likewise they will learn what not to do just as quickly.

Starting a young horse under saddle.

Always be aware of the message you are giving your horse. Take time out to re-consider what you are doing and change your plan accordingly. Remember that slow is fast, so you may need to take a step backwards in order to move ahead. If your horse is too much for you, seek advice from someone who has more experience than you do.

Anna Twinney is an internationally respected Equine Specialist, Natural Horsemanship Clinician, Animal Communicator and Intuitive Healer. She has recently launched the DVD series Reach Out to Natural Horsemanship (her latest is De-mystifying the Round Pen) and conducts clinics in Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA. www.reachouttohorses.com

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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.

Source One™ Naturals: 1 800 664-8182 www.immuneone.com• Email: rbell@immuneone.com

For more information:

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

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Healthy environment and professional management are key factors to running a top notch equine facility. Reduce stall cleaning time by up to 65% Reduce bedding usage by up to 50% Almost entirely eliminates back and elbow pain P.O. Box 4836, Greenwich, CT 06831 • 203.302.1991 animalherbery@optonline.net • www.animalherbery.com

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ery horses’ back s to ev t s u j d ...because it a

Treeless saddles for riders who care! Starts at $ 699 3 week money back guarantee.

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Horse Healthy Naturally The only suppliers in the USA for SP Equine Health and Herbal in England! Hormonise is liquid Chasteberry and it affects the pituitary helping to restore it to health, it shrinks non cancerous tumors and is extremely beneficial for Cushings. It is also wonderful for hormonal imbalances such as moody mares.

Navilam’O’ is liquid Devil’s Claw and

Hawthorn Berry, Devil’s Claw is nature’s anti-inflammatory. Hawthorn is a vasodilator and promotes blood flow to the heart. It is wonderful for laminitis and navicular problems.


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www.equinatural.com Internationally Known Animal Communicator

LY D I A H I B Y Published Author of:

“Conversations with Animals” Want to learn to talk to animals and get answers?

Semester Schedule – Southern California Please contact our office for future dates


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Phone consultations are available Escondido, CA • (760) 796-4304

Available: Gift Certificates, Groups, Lectures, Ranch Calls & Phone Consulations

understand your horses at a deeper level!

Heartland Veterinary Services

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teleclasses • workshops • consultations • coaching Lynn McKenzie • 214-615-6505 ext. 8642


Holistic Veterinary care for all creatures!

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Internet consultations and appointments available in the lower mainland and the Okanagan

events March 29-30 – McLean, VA Animal Communication Workshop Reawaken and acknowledge your ability to communicate with animals during this basic workshop. You will be led 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 connection between you and the animals as you send information and receive back from them their thoughts, images, feelings, messages, etc. This is an amazing heart to heart, mind to mind and soul to soul connection. Animals can touch our hearts like nothing else. They have the ability to give unconditional love and compassion. Animals are amazing and wonderful teachers. At the completion of the workshop you are likely to see and understand animals in a very different way. Day 1 You will be introduced to the basics of telepathic communication with animals. Learn how you already communicate with animals telepathically. Learn how to experience the animals’ perspective and see through their eyes. Enjoy meditations and interactive exercises that will show you how to open your heart and connect to an animal heart to heart as you learn how to send and receive communication. Deepen your communion with all of life. Day 2 Learn how to quiet and focus your mind when being with animals. Practice opening the channel to get across to animals and to receive

what they communicate telepathically in thoughts, images, impressions, feelings, messages and other ways that one may receive. You will learn how to communicate with an animal at a distance as well as practice with animals that are present. For more information: Janet Dobbs 703-648-1866 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com

April 10-13 – Columbus, OH Equine Affaire The 15th annual Equine Affaire in the Midwest will be held at the Ohio Expo Center and will have something to offer to horse enthusiasts of all ages, all breed persuasions, all levels of expertise, and all equine disciplines. Some of the things to expect are: Leading coaches, competitors, and trainers from throughout the United States will present a full schedule of in-depth clinics on a wide array of equestrian sports and training techniques. Industry experts will present non-stop sessions on a wide variety of horse management, health, and training topics relevant to horse enthusiasts from amateurs to seasoned professionals. Equine Affaire will host the largest trade show of any horse exposition in the United States featuring hundreds of the nation’s leading equine-related retailers and manufacturers. Attendees will browse through acres of equine products and services ranging from tack, riding apparel, and grooming supplies to farm

equipment, gifts, and books. Equine Affaire is the best place to shop for everyone’s horse-related needs. The Cashman Breed Pavilion will feature exhibit booths and stalls where attendees are able to see, touch, and learn more about a wide variety of breeds. Individual breeds will be represented by their associations as well as a rotating cast of selected stallions, mares, and geldings. The Horse & Farm exhibits will feature a vast number of stallions, horse breeding farms, and training facilities. Horsey kids of all ages will convene at the Young Rider Youth Pavilion. In addition to educational and horse-related youth association exhibits, the Young Rider Youth Pavilion will feature presentations throughout each day by many of the horse industry’s most popular educators, demonstrations of various horse breeds, plenty of fun activities for kids, and a Breyer Celebrity Horse Showcase. The Pfizer Fantasia – A Musical Celebration of the Horse – will be an entertaining “must-see” on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings in the Coliseum, once again performing to sold-out crowds. The Extreme Cowboy Race – as seen on RFD-TV– is a competition in which horses and riders will work through an obstacle course while being timed and judged on their abilities. Top competitors will receive cash and other fabulous prizes. For more information visit: www.equineaffaire.com

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


tail end


Teaching trust

At the time I had my first riding lesson at age six, it was commonly accepted that a horse should be bridled and saddled. Depending on his pliability or strong-mindedness, you would then increase or decrease the severity of the tack. Bits, spurs, crops, and martingales were usually needed to ride most horses. Degrees of resistance were counteracted with degrees of punishment. I somehow never bought into that school of thought. Instead, I pictured a black stallion running free with me on his back, connected in body, mind, and spirit. My first horse wasn’t black, but an untrained three-year-old golden palomino named Chako. I knew nothing about training, so I teamed up with my father

by Liz Mitten Ryan

(who also knew nothing). Together we read a step-by-step, starting-the-horse book – and then ignored it when we realized it was far too complicated. Not only was Chako untrained, he was also a stallion. But that was all part of my vision. I took the challenge in my stride and began to teach him English (I mean the language, not the riding style). “Walk Chako”, “Trot Chako”, “Whoa” and “Let’s go” were the basic commands I used. There I was, wedged in a tiny rented stall with Chako. People would cringe whenever a mare went by and he behaved like a stallion, but it somehow never occurred to me to be afraid. I knew he wouldn’t hurt me; he was my friend. Chako seemed to understand

my thoughts. Pretty soon I was riding him bareback, with a halter, all over the neighborhood. Several years (and several horses) later, I am still amazed by the popular belief that a horse cannot be ridden safely without at least a bridle. But I learned that the time to develop a relationship with a horse is on the ground, before you ever even start to ride. A fearful, thousandplus-pound animal is like a bomb ready to go off; I wouldn’t think of sitting on a bomb until I had disarmed it. The comfort I feel while riding comes from the comfort and acceptance my horse has for me, not from my ability to maneuver him by force. I don’t think there is any tack strong enough to manage a truly out-of-control horse. A horse lets us ride him because he chooses to do so. I still think of Chako and the valuable lessons in friendship and communication he taught me. I believe all horses deserve love, patience and consideration. With these wonderful tools, force and punishment are simply not needed.

Liz Mitten Ryan co-authored One With The Herd – A Spiritual Journey with her horses. You can visit with them and watch their DVD at www.onewiththeherd.com.

The author credits Chako, her first horse, for teaching her about the human-horse connection.


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

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