wellness Your natural resource!
SPECIAL ISSUE Show & performance horses Get the
competitive edge... through diet!
Saddlefit for women
9 tools for the best fit
Flower power Easing equine emotions
Unwanted behaviors? How to turn them around
Help for heaves May/June 2008 Display until June 24, 2008
with your pasture
VOLUME 3 ISSUE 3
Photo: Joanne Panizzera
ÂŠ Andi Berger â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Fotolia.com
An earth-friendly approach to pasture management The key is to keep your land healthy
Coping with show nerves
Top 3 tips for show ring shine... naturally!
Saddlefit for women
How to stay calm and collected
It takes more than bathing and blanketing
Feeding the high performance horse
9 tools to help you find the best fit
Help for horses with heaves
Click on this icon to visit featured links 48 Vice versa
How to turn around those unwanted behaviors
52 Flower power
Gentle healing essences ease equine emotions
Games that challenge your equine partner and strengthen your bond
64 A wholistic perspective on pain relief
Healthy ways to help her feel better
68 Saving Freeway... Horse rescue 101
72 Hot stuff
Preventing heat stress in horses
contents Volume 3 Issue 3
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
20 Holistic veterinary advice
Talking with Dr. Lisa Burgess
34 Did you know? 38 A natural performer
Profile of a natural performer
with Anna Twinney
departments 8 Editorial 43 Wellness resource guide 58 Heads up!
76 77 81
Classifieds Marketplace Events calender
our cover: Photo courtesy of: Cheri Prill Photo
Aptly named Ivory Pal, this gorgeous palomino stallion is in top condition, and no wonder. The seven-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse enjoys a natural diet and 24/7 pasture turnout, thanks to owner Rafael Valle. He’s also a multi-talented and versatile barefoot performer and competitor in a wide range of disciplines, from jumping and dressage to musical freestyle and barrel racing. Ivory Pal is the only two-time winner of the prestigious FOSH Horse of the Year Award, and has also won several national championships – turn to page 38 for his full story.
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: April 2008
Cover Photography: Cheri Prill Photo Columnists & Contributing Writers Fawn Anderson Alexandra Best Flood Lisa Burgess, DVM Hannah Evergreen, DVM Ellen Fitzgerald Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Joyce Harman, DVM Tonya Johnston, MA Christine King, DVM Dan Moore, DVM Kim Sergent, DVM Sandy Siegrist Judy Sinner Diana Thompson Anna Twinney Valeria 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Advertising Sales Michelle L. Adaway – Equine National Sales Manager (502) 868-0979 email@example.com Tim Hockley – Sales Representative (866) 764-1212 firstname.lastname@example.org Classified Advertising email@example.com
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Improving the lives of animals... one reader at a time.
It’s showtime! Ah, show season. For those of us who are competitive riders, the start of show season brings many things. Excitement,
concern (“Is my horse really ready? Am I?”), and often the sound a cash register makes when we begin adding up all the costs of coaching fees, show fees, trailering and so on. Regardless, it’s a fun way to get out and test both yourself and your horse, while meeting some other great riders along the way. Who knows, you may even come home with a ribbon or two! In this issue of Equine Wellness, we offer several great articles to get you
geared up for show season. Learn how to deal with your nerves ahead of time with tips from Tonya Johnston (“Coping with Show Nerves”) and Valeria Wyckoff (“Anxious? Who me?”). Get your equine partner fit for the ring by learning how to feed performance houses (Dr. Joyce Harman), and make a statement in front of the judges with that special show ring shine (Judy Sinner). One of the most important things to remember about being competitive is to have fun! Early on in my show career, I learned the hard way about what happens when you become too concerned about results, and not concerned enough about just enjoying yourself. After a brief break from the competition world to rediscover the importance of personal goals versus a ribbon, I have re-entered the ring and found it to be much more enjoyable for both myself and my horse. Have fun out there this year! Naturally,
neighborhood news He’s done it again! For the second year in a row, trainer and clinician Chris Cox won the Colt Starting Challenge at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on March 1 and 2. The challenge involved four competitors, each of whom was given a threeyear-old untrained Quarter Horse colt to work with. At the end of the two days, the trainers worked through a series of judged events, including an obstacle course and freestyle. Photo: Sara Bewley
Early on, Cox had to make some decisions that ended up costing him some time, but which paid off in the end. When his young horse, WR Shinosmoke, began having
The equestrian community is mourning the loss an inspirational woman. Lynn Millar, wife of eight-time Olympian Ian Millar, recently passed away after a lengthy illness at Millar Brooke Farm in Perth, Ontario, with her family by her side. Lynn played a crucial role in her family’s success as equestrian competitors. Ian, otherwise known as “Captain Canada”, is the country’s most decorated equestrian. Lynn saw him to eight Olympic Games, eight Pan Am Games and six World Championships. She also proudly helped her two children to great success in the sport. Daughter Amy is short listed for the Canadian Equestrian Team, while son Jonathan finished just behind Ian at his most recent Canadian Show Jumping Championship. While Lynn’s work may have been done in a quiet, behind-the-scenes manner, she ensured that everything ran smoothly and was the cornerstone of the Millar equestrian family. While Ian wishes he could have Lynn by his side for the upcoming Olympics, he says he has no intention of removing himself from contention for the team this year. If he is successful, this will be his ninth Olympic appearance, equaling the world record. A wonderful legacy, indeed.
difficulty with the canter, he opted to work through it rather than take the required break with the rest of the trainers. This earned him a penalty that entailed sitting out the first ten minutes of the second day, but it also meant he didn’t end things on a sour note with his horse the previous day. Cox’s horse subsequently negotiated the obstacle course with ease and went on to do a simple yet successful freestyle, earning him his back-toback win. He also received a $15,000 donation from Quest and Fort Dodge towards the charity of his choice; the money went to the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer.
Will work for food
Horses like food as much as we do! According to the results of a new study presented on Equine Research Day in Paris, France this past winter, horses trained with food rewards regard their trainers in a more positive light and also learn more quickly. The goal of the study was to discover ways to help horses stand still for grooming and veterinary procedures without using negative force to restrain them. The research involved 23 young horses (eight colts and 15 fillies) that were given daily training sessions of five minutes each. The study found that yearlings given grain pellets for correct reactions and responses learned new skills up to 40% faster than yearlings not given food as a reward. Those given food reached the end of their training in an average of 3.7 hours, as opposed to an average of 5.2 hours for horses that didn’t get food rewards. In addition, the horses rewarded with food were much more amicable towards their trainers!
Mustangs & inmates
Training and working with animals can help inmates with their rehabilitation while also increasing the adoptability of the animals. Since the 1980s, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Colorado prison system have been successfully bringing inmates and mustangs together with their Colorado Wild Horse Inmate Program. The program allows inmates to learn about horse care and training while teaching the horses specific tasks, including basic ground manners and riding using resistance free methods.
The horses chosen for the program are typically two to five years of age, and receive training for three to six months. The results are heartening. At a recent BLM adoption auction in Arizona, a happy family took home one of 13 inmate trained horses. The two-yearold gelding went for the minimum bid, making the program a viable way to purchase a youngster trained in the basics, while helping out a great cause. For more information, visit www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov.
Controversy of Olympic proportions This summer’s 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Hong Kong are creating a lot of controversy and concern among equestrians. Many riders are worried about how their mounts will cope with the long journey and the humid Hong Kong weather. Switzerland’s dressage team has already chosen to opt out, as have two top riders from Canada’s dressage team. Some American dressage riders are also concerned. In response, equestrian officials are working overtime to reassure everyone that the welfare of equine athletes competing at the Games will be the utmost importance and consideration. After a workshop that briefed representatives
from all equestrian federations on veterinary and weather concerns, Olympic officials feel they are prepared to help the horses through the event. Although summer temperatures in Hong Kong can top 31ºC during the day, and only drop to about 26°C at night, the horses will be housed in air conditioned stables and both training and competing will take place during the cooler parts of the day. The venue will also provide ice boxes and misting fans for the horses to cool off in after working. Thanks to these efforts, the FEI believes the 2008 Games will be successful for both horses and riders. equine wellness
neighborhood news The fight against soring In response to the outrage provoked by soring practices used in some circles of the gaited equine world, the Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) recently hosted the first ever national conference to address the issue. Held in Columbus, Ohio on April 11 and 12, the event focused on ways to deal with and end soring, particularly in Tennessee Walking Horses. Soring is used to increase the showiness
of a horse’s gait in order to win ribbons in the ring. It has long been considered abusive and detrimental to the horse’s health and soundness. During the conference, a dynamic roster of speakers shed light on soring methods and their negative effects, and discussed ways to help inspectors detect it. By raising awareness, educating riders, and taking a look at judging criteria, the ultimate goal is
to phase this archaic practice out of the show world. For more information, visit www.fosh. info/index.html. And for proof that Tennessee Walking Horses can perform well barefoot, read about Ivory Pal in our “Natural Performer” profile (page 38)!
Endangered equines Want to learn more about endangered horse breeds? Then pencil in September 5 to 7 on your calendar. It’s when the Equus Survival Trust, an organization dedicated to the conversation of endangered breeds, is hosting the Festivale of Endangered Equines at Kentucky Horse Park. A variety of unique breeds will be featured at the event, including the Akhal-Teke, Caspian, Cleveland Bay, Canadian Horse, Dales, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Fells, Gotland, Highland, Irish Draught, Lipizzan and Newfoundland. The goal is to bring together breeders and associations while educating the public about these endangered horses. Through demonstrations, seminars
The Canadian Horse is a recognized breed, inherent only to Canada.
and unique competitions, the Equine Survival Trust hopes that more people will come to appreciate these lovely historical breeds, and to realize that they’re more than capable of performing in today’s equestrian world, and should not be lost.
An earth-friendly approach to
by Sandy Siegrist
I love listening to my horses grazing…the gentle chewing noises, the tearing grass, the occasional soft squeak when a blade slides though the powerful teeth. Fess up. Most of us have relished in quiet moments like this spent alone with our horses. They’re one of life’s simple pleasures.
•the varieties of weeds present (both broad leaf as well as noxious)
•whether there is moss •where the horses don’t seem to be grazing
What doesn’t seem quite so simple is the idea of a healthy pasture that will nourish our horses in perpetuity. In reality, though, it’s easier than you think. To optimize your equine companion’s health, wellness and performance, you need to combine the best nutrition possible with a happy lifestyle. And the most important factor is a healthy pasture that can support your horse effectively.
A healthy pasture offers good nutrition, brings emotional well being, and is an outlet for play and exercise.
How do you keep your pasture healthy? You start with healthy land. Just as a solid foundation is essential to a house, a foundation of healthy land is essential to good pasture, which in turn is a building block to a healthy horse. Simple, right? Many scientific studies tell us about
the decreasing nutritional value of the plants we grow. Land overuse and other environmental factors have led to soil depletion. As plants grow they draw nutrients from the soil; if there are inadequate nutrients in the soil, the plants will also be deficient. So we have to start with the soil. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you build and maintain a great foundation of healthy pasture for your horses. First, you have to assess the health of your soil. Then you have to make sure you use the pasture in a healthy and responsible manner. Finally, you have to properly maintain the pasture.
Assess the land The first step to an environmentally healthy pasture is to evaluate the soil and plant life.
Start with a visual inspection. Get out there and walk your land. Pay attention to:
•the type of grasses growing there that offer forage for your horses
•where there are areas of heavy wear
2. Next, you should have your soil
tested. You need to understand which nutrients are both present and lacking in order to be able to build a better crop. Most experts suggest an annual test, or one every other year at a minimum. The results will help you develop a good plan for building your soil foundation and monitoring the effectiveness and progress of your pasture management program.
Smart usage The next critical step to a healthy pasture is to use it properly.
1. Familiarize yourself with the climate
and growing seasons in your area. Know when:
•the grass stops growing and goes dormant for the winter
•the rains typically come and go •you consistently have dry periods •the grasses start growing again in the spring
Photos: Sandy Siegrist
You need to understand all this in order to adjust your grazing practices accordingly.
Proper grazing involves making sure you don’t permit your horses to eat the grass too short. Grasses need a certain amount of plant structure above the soil in order to maintain a healthy root. If you let your horses overgraze, you are damaging the plants and jeopardizing the overall health of the pasture. Overgrazing can also lead to a loss of topsoil through erosion as well as an increase in weeds that choke out the grass you need to feed your horses.
between grazing periods. You will have to balance the size and number of your pasture subdivisions to optimize both the ability to give pastures a “rest”, and the space your horses need to stretch their legs and get enough exercise. You should only start allowing the horses to graze in a certain pasture space when the grass reaches approximately six to eight inches in height. When the grass has been eaten down to about three inches, take your horses off the pasture and move them to another area. Then, after the grass grows again, you can bring the horses back for more grazing.
3. I’m sure you’ve
Prevent overgrazing by planning pasture spaces so you can rotate usage and allow for proper growth of grasses
noticed areas in your pasture where the horses tend to eliminate, but where they will not readily eat the grasses that grow there even though they appear to be very rich. The manure deposited in these areas yields grasses very high in nitrogen; horses will avoid those patches unless and until it’s all that’s left for them to consume. So it’s important to properly dispose of manure. Either pick it up and add it to your manure
composting bins, or break it up by kicking apart the piles or dragging a harrow.
Disposing of manure from your pasture also minimizes the parasites that can infest your soil and horses. After I pull my horses off one section of pasture and move them to the next, I like to manage the manure and then mow. By cutting the grasses to a consistent length, some growth is spurred, and I can effectively monitor when that section is next available for grazing. I can also prevent the areas the horses don’t tend to graze on from growing too long and going to seed.
4. Finally, proper use of your pasture
involves monitoring heavy traffic areas. We’ve all seen how mud develops or grasses are worn down by the heavy tread of horse hooves. Areas near water sources and around gates seem most severely impacted. Consider using rock or gravel in those areas to minimize mud, which we all know tends to spread over time. And mud means no pasture to grow healthy grasses for our horses!
Maintenance plan Now that you’ve built a great soil equine wellness
Trying to make good feeding decisions with bad information?
foundation and are properly utilizing your pastures to ensure their health, how do you maintain them?
1. Proper mowing and harrowing to break up manure and keep the top layer of soil aerated is the first step.
2. Next is augmentation, which comes in several forms: •using your composted horse manure to add nutrients to the soil •applying natural fertilizers when necessary •applying lime to maintain the proper pH of your soil •re-seeding annually to replace grasses •controlling weeds through proper soil balance, or applying environmentally safe weed control mechanisms when required (healthy soil will resist weed infestations, so one of the best ways to minimize weeds is to build healthy soil).
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.
Remember, healthy land means healthy pastures – and that means healthier horses!
County conservation districts and state/county extension offices are great resources to help you learn about soil testing, the best grasses to grow in your area, and the types of noxious weeds to be aware of in your region. You can find them listed in your phone directory, or better still, on the internet; most of these groups have great self-help websites. Many will send an expert out to your farm to provide assistance and consulting.
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, cranio-sacral therapy, acupressure, kinetics, 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. www.perfectanimalhealth.com
by Tonya Johnston, MA
It’s natural to feel nervous at a horse show. You have spent time and money to travel with your horse to a new place, taken many lessons, put in hours of practice, cleaned and polished just about everything you will use in the ring, and the list goes on. You have made a significant investment in the process – and make no mistake, that’s a good thing!
Why do I get anxious? It goes without saying that when you are heavily invested in something, you care a lot about how it turns out. But this same care, if left unchecked, can mushroom into feelings of pressure and fear of failure that often create excessive nervousness. This can affect your enjoyment of the show, and will certainly impede your ability to ride well. Another reason for show nerves is that when we are faced with a challenge (like a big class at a horse show), our bodies generate extra energy to accomplish the task. Often, what you perceive as nervousness is simply a mobilization of energy in your body and a strong desire to meet your goals. But no matter what the label – “nerves”, “energy” or
“excitement” – the important thing is to be sure these feelings do not distract you or limit your ability to ride effectively on the big day. In order to handle your show nerves successfully, it is helpful have some strategies in place before you even get there. Use the following five performance tools to reduce your nervous energy and channel the remaining good energy into things that can help you in the ring.
Five performance tools for nixing nervousness
Nutrition/hydration: When we are well-fueled, our bodies feel prepared to handle challenges, such as a jumper
class or a first level dressage test. When a nervous stomach prevents you from eating until after a ride (and, at a show, your last ride can be pretty late in the day!) your body is stressed and you may feel distracted, weak and extremely anxious. By eating and hydrating consistently throughout the day (complex carbs, protein, fruit, water, sport drinks, etc.) you build feelings of strength and well-being, reduce nervousness, and feel prepared to ride your best.
Figure out what foods your stomach will tolerate at a show and bring them with you so you can eat small amounts frequently rather than a few large meals late in the day. Feeling properly fueled will put you in control of your energy.
Rest: Proper rest means getting high quality sleep, but it also includes taking breaks during long horse show days. It’s essential to create opportunities where both your mind and body can have a “time out” from the hectic demands of the showground. It is difficult to focus effectively when you’re tired. Additionally, feeling
physically weak can create worry and anxiety about your ability to ride well.
Plan times during the day when you can rest someplace quiet and take your mind off the show. Bring a book, an iPod, a silly magazine and find a place to lie down if possible – anything to take a break from watching others or thinking about your own riding. Remember, in a typical eight-hour horse show day you are usually only competing for ten to 15 minutes. Learning to manage your energy wisely means you’ll arrive at the ring feeling confident and collected.
Breathing techniques: One of the most fundamental and powerful ways to impact your body’s ability to manage energy is through proper breathing. A basic technique called Circle Breathing involves three main components: breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, pausing between the inhale and the exhale, and exhaling for longer than you inhaled. Let go of excess energy by concentrating on the exhale and relaxing specific areas in your body where you typically hold tension.
Find several times throughout the day when you can take three to five Circle Breaths to relax and let go of anxiety. Examples include at the in gate, at the start of your warm-up, or on the mounting block. In the show ring, shorthand this technique with an exhale through your mouth during opportune moments such as a downward transition or a long canter through the corner on a hunter course.
Visualization: Imagine yourself successfully negotiating your class, course or test, and you’ll gain confidence on several levels. You practice channeling your energy productively towards your focus, position, and plan for the ring, and you become more comfortable with the ring itself and the riding challenges ahead.
As part of your pre-ride routine, try to positively visualize the entirety of your ride – from walking into the ring to patting your horse on the neck as you exit. Use all your senses to create a vivid and realistic mind/body experience.
Focus on progress: Be disciplined about seeing your positive progress in every ride. Focus on your own performance goals rather than relying on the outcome of the class to tell you if you have done a good job. When you direct your energy into riding details that you have control over, you will feel more prepared and confident.
Be sure to integrate one or two performance goals into your plan for the ring (e.g. eyes up on focal points, checking your rein length in each corner, etc.). After your ride, you can give yourself feedback on your personal goals and recognize specific facets of your progress – irrespective of the overall outcome.
These tools may seem straightforward, but give yourself time to think them through and practice them at home. Then, the next time you pack your tack box for the show, remember to bring your performance toolbox as well so you can enjoy feeling poised and prepared!
Tonya Johnston, MA,
is a sport
psychology consultant and hunte
with equestrian athletes for the past
attained competitive success at every level, from local shows to national titles and awards.
website is www.TonyaJohnston.com.
holistic veterinary advice
Talking with Dr. Lisa Burgess Dr. Lisa Burgess is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, CBT, Reiki Practitioner, and is currently working towards her certification in human Acupuncture. She had a successful practice in British Columbia for four years, and is dedicated to continuing her education to increase her understanding of the healing process. She has incorporated all of her knowledge and years of experience into her current small and large animal mobile practice, based in
Send your questions to: Holistic veterinary advice. email: email@example.com Our veterinary columnists respond to questions in this column only. We regret we cannot respond to every question. 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 filly recently strained her stifle, after falling while playing on poor footing. I am currently resting her, with turnout in a small paddock (so she can still move around, but not so much that she can make it worse). What treatments and therapies would be beneficial for her? Do I need to wait until she is no longer sore before having someone do any type of bodywork on her?
A stifle strain may manifest as a mild to severe lameness on the affected leg, and would initially benefit from therapies aimed at decreasing inflammation. This should be followed by treatments to improve circulation to the area to promote healing of the injured joint or strained patellar/collateral ligament(s). Initial therapies may include acupuncture and/or chiropractic, plus the
homeopathic Arnica Montana 200c. A standard dose of Arnica is six tablets or ½ teaspoon of granules two to three times per day. Traumeel, from the Heel company, is also a good anti-inflammatory, and is a combination remedy that works like the single remedy homeopathics. It comes in tablet or injection form. Your veterinarian can start the therapy with an injection, and then you can follow up with oral dosing. A Traumeel ointment could be massaged onto the stifle area. Anti-inflammatory herbs such as yucca, white willow bark and devil’s claw could also be used, but take longer to get into the horse’s system for a visible effect. You do not need to wait to perform any bodywork on her, as long as she is cooperative. She may really enjoy some massage or Bowen therapy to aid in the healing process.
If the lameness persists beyond 48 hours without any improvement, be sure to obtain an x-ray to rule out a fracture of the patella.
My previously healthy gelding has had gas colic twice over the past six months. Thankfully it passed each time. The first episode happened during an extremely hot spell, and the second during an extremely cold period. We are sure he is drinking, as the barn owner checks his buckets (but maybe he isn’t drinking enough?). What can I do to prevent him from colicking again? He is fed hay, a small amount of roughage chunks and a vitamin/mineral supplement, and is turned out for long periods each day in a large field.
In my opinion, gas colics are not so
dependent on water consumption as impaction colics. With impaction colic, the stool becomes dry and lodged in the intestinal tract, and the colic is caused by the backing up of digesta as it physically does not move down the tract. Gas colics are commonly caused by the fermentation of “rich” foods (sweet feed, pellets, hay cubes etc.), thereby producing extra gas in the intestine. This gas abnormally distends the bowel and results in pain when the horse cannot get rid of it. Obstruction due to enteroliths (stones) or a twisted section of intestine could also cause gas colic. In your horse’s case, it is likely the roughage chunks that are causing him grief and his recurring episodes of colic. I would suggest changing the type of chunk, or removing them from his diet completely, and substituting with more hay. Hay is superior roughage, as it is already in the form for which the horse’s digestive tract is designed.
Recently, when my farrier came out for my mare, he mentioned that she appeared to toe out a bit on her left front. However, as we looked closer, it appeared she was turning out from her shoulder rather than from a conformational issue lower down the
leg. She did not do this before. Why would she begin to do this? Could she be compensating for something? What can I do to help her?
If you think she has truly changed the way she stands in front, and your farrier has not changed her angle gradually or dramatically with his/her shoeing or trims, then I would go over her from a chiropractic and/or acupuncture point of view. I would check to see if any obvious subluxations or ah-shi points are noteworthy. These will be clues as to where, and perhaps why, the body has changed its conformation. Muscles or muscle groups may be weak or overcompensating. Take special note of the neck and chest area. It would be of interest to initially use acupuncture and chiropractic care. If the horse does not show an improvement with her stance after that, then I would consider an osteopathic evaluation and treatment.
A horse I am looking at purchasing has wind puffs on his hind legs. What causes these? Is there anything that can be done about them, and should I be concerned about this horse’s soundness in the future?
Wind puffs (or wind galls) is a term used to describe incidental fluid accumulation in the digital flexor tendon sheath. Tenosynovitis is another term for this condition, which causes swelling in front of the suspensory ligament. It may be a concern for lameness; an ultrasound of the limb could provide a definitive diagnosis. A true wind puff is not a concern for soundness, and is an esthetic issue only. They are usually evident in older performance horses and any therapy to draw fluid out of the area would likely only be a temporary resolution.
My mare recently developed a nasty runny nose and cough. She is on both an antibiotic and an expectorant to help her get rid of the infection. Are there any natural remedies I can use to assist in making her feel better? Is there anything I could have used in the beginning stages to perhaps prevent it from getting so bad?
You could assist your mare’s healing using homeopathy or herbal remedies, in conjunction with nutritional supplementation for immune system support and overall cellular health. Because I am not a classical homeopathic practitioner, I take a homotoxicology
Call: 1-800-522-5537 today to order & get $10 off your horse’s first month supply!
approach, and would use a Heel product called Echinacea compositum Forte SN. If her appetite is depressed, I may add some Traumeel to the protocol for its anti-inflammatory properties. If herbs were acceptable to you and your horse then you could use Echinacea for its immune system actions, or a Chinese herbal formula, in conjunction with acupuncture. Together they would treat the Lung and disperse Phlegm in order to allow the Lung Qi to flow. This formula may vary, depending on the color of the nasal discharge (clear or colored) and the type of cough (loud or weak, productive or non-productive). A veterinarian trained in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine would be best to assist you in picking the most beneficial Chinese herbal formula. Regardless which extra support you utilize, essential fatty acids and B complex vitamins (injected or orally) would also be in my treatment protocol. Early stages of respiratory disease may be helped by Echinacea, even before the coughing starts. If other horses in the barn are coughing or sick, start your immune system support sooner rather than later!
Opps! The photo of nasal discharge used in the holistic veterinary advice column in the March/April issue is of a mucopurulent nasal discharge â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that of a horse with a respiratory tract infection â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not the benign white material the reader enquired about. If your horse has mucopurulent nasal discharge, please contact your veterinarian.
Dear Readers: The brand names recommended in this column are suggestions only. There are other brands with similar formulas. As with any product, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to buy a brand you can trust.
3 tips for a
show ring shine…
naturally! by Judy Sinner
Bathing, blanketing, coat sprays and conditioners, endless grooming, stalling 24/7…this is all the stuff of which show coats are made. Or is it? What if you could turn your show horse out in the scorching sunlight to graze, without fear of bleaching or drying his coat? What if he was so slick and shiny that the dust brushed right off and bathing was not even necessary? What
hard work I went through during nearly 20 years of showing horses before I learned these things, I am just amazed. Read on as I simplify your life with my top three tips for a show-worthy shine.
if the color intensity, even on your black horse, was just unreal?
In this article, I’ll share with you some show coat tips that are not commonly understood. When I think of all the
A healthy, toxin-free horse has a gorgeous coat. In other words, a glowing coat starts with glowing health – from the inside out. The body works on a
Minimize the toxins
Photo: Dana Mahood
priority system, and organ health is more important than shine. Coat sheen is the frosting on the cake, the final flourish to tell you that all other issues have been addressed. Over-vaccination, feed preservatives, city water full of chlorine and fluoride, and overuse of chemical dewormers all contribute to toxic residues in the body. â&#x20AC;˘Veterinarians are now acknowledging that "preventive" deworming is not necessary, and are classifying 200 eggs per
When you must chemically deworm, follow it with an herbal or clay detox, starting the next day, for about a week. gram in a fecal as the point at which worming should even be considered. So rather than overdoing the worming, seek out effective herbal alternatives, and work on boosting the immune system and gut through a good pre/probiotic. At the very least, do your best not to equine wellness
deworm chemically in the middle of show season, or before a big event, as it’ll generally result in a loss in coat quality. •Avoid preserved feeds. Instead, use organic or chemical-free grains from companies committed to natural methods. Keep in mind that even if the final manufacturer does not add preservatives, they can still be present in the ingredients and don't have to be listed on the label. It’s important to work with a company that has a more holistic philosophy.
Use healthy fat sources We have probably all used corn oil in our quest for coat sheen. But because horses don’t have a gall bladder like other species, they have a limited ability to emulsify (break down) these fractionated oils for proper digestion. Just like people who have had their gall bladders removed, they digest oil directly in the intestinal tract through the lacteal ducts. This results in reduced absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and in a waxy “glaze” on the skin, common in humans who no longer have a gall bladder. It’s not a truly healthy sheen, but rather oil literally seeping through! These corn oils and other vegetable oils are generally rancid by the time you purchase them. They also contain a high ratio of omega-6 fatty acids, potent precursors to arachidonic acid, an inflammation-producing prostaglandin. Appropriate fat sources for horses include:
after the oil is removed (usually through the use of the petroleum-based solvent Hexane). Extruded whole soybeans contain a good balance of both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
•Flax is sometimes used as a fat source, but can have thyroid-inhibiting properties in horses that may be prone to low thyroid. Flax must be boiled into a gel before feeding to neutralize the naturallyoccurring cyanide that is often present. •Some progressive owners and companies are exploring the use of chia seeds for horses. Chia is the best plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids.
•The best source of omega-3 fatty acids for horses is fresh green grass. That’s why spring coats on pastured horses rival the coats seen at national shows. Even a few minutes of grazing a day will do wonders for a horse’s coat, as well as his psyche. •Probiotics or prebiotics enhance the production of volatile fatty acids in the hind gut of the horse, thereby improving coat sheen.
•Organic full-fat soybeans. Not just the soybean meal, which is a byproduct
important for color intensity and coat quality. Signs of copper deficiency include a rusty-looking coat with fading and bleaching in chestnuts, bays, and blacks in particular. It also results in frizzy, fried-looking hair that fishhooks up at the ends. These “frizzies” are not sunburn, as some people think; an optimally-mineralized horse will not sunburn.
A noted mineral laboratory discovered that black skinned animals (including greys) have copper requirements up to eight times higher than lighter skinned animals. Copper must be fed in balance with all other minerals, and is best utilized in a chelated form, bound to amino acids for optimum digestibility and low molecular weight. I personally know of several black show horses on this program that are able to graze in 100°F sun, are never blanketed, and maintain their true blueblack sheen with no fading at all! It is important to note that some feed companies have taken this information and have started adding chelated copper to their rations; however, it can be extremely dangerous to provide just one or two minerals in chelated form without the other minerals also being chelated. This very quickly creates imbalance, so it is important to seek out a quality, full-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement with a full profile of chelated minerals. Also, look for a product line with the ability to
Feed trace minerals Copper and zinc are the minerals most
Vitamins and minerals
add some extra copper and zinc for darker horses. Extra copper is also necessary in high-iron areas of the country, because iron suppresses copper and zinc. An added bonus is that optimal copper levels increase resistance to parasites, thereby allowing you to deworm less frequently.
The end result of detox, healthy fats, and optimal mineral levels? Sheen…and dapples! We live in an energetic universe, and trace elements are the key to our cellular “batteries”. “When our minerals are balanced, we literally resonate with the music of the spheres,” says geologist and metallurgist Slim Spurling. We have all seen horses at an event, or even in a pasture, that seem to radiate with an inner light. I believe what we are seeing is the aura or electromagnetic field, which becomes larger and more vivid with optimum health and mineralization. These are the horses that dominate the race track, that have that little “something extra” in their performance that we all strive for.
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Most of the time you will see dapples on these horses. In my opinion, dapples represent little swirling energy “vortexes” and only appear when a horse has cellular energy to spare. When you achieve dapples, you’ll know you’ve achieved optimum health in your horse, and in his coat!
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 26 years, she also served as Communications Director for the company for 17 years, and teaches holistic nutrition for all species in seminars and newsletters. For more information: 1-800-677-0919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. equine wellness
by Joyce Harman, DVM
Feeding the high performance horse
The topic of feeding horses is often surrounded by tradition, mystique, and a lot of hype. Out of all this mystery comes very little in the way of fact. One of the most important things to remember in feeding your horse is that each one is an individual. Just because one horse needs several pounds of feed to maintain his weight and performance, doesn’t mean your own horse needs the same. For example, one of my clients had an endurance horse that carried a heavyweight rider to many 100-mile competitions. When they had to feed him a “lot of food”, he was really only receiving one cup of grain twice a day, compared to one cup once a day when he wasn’t working. In comparison, most other
horses competing in 100-milers require many pounds of feed each day.
Horses were designed by nature to be foraging animals. This means they were made to graze on whatever scrub, grass and weeds were available for the greater part of the day. They also moved constantly, except for relatively short periods spent sleeping. If they became ill, a wide selection of weeds (herbs) was available to help solve their health problems.
Today, commercialized nutrition and cultivated pastures have changed equine nutrition habits from rough forage to processed feeds and rich grass. The competition horse is often fed most of his calories in the form of concentrates or grain, with proportionally less forage and hay.
Avoid hays on which the herbicide Grazon® has been used. It will persist in a manure pile for five years after the horse has eaten it. The optimum way to feed horses is to use organically grown products. These are rare, but becoming increasingly available. Many roughages (hay) are
grown with chemicals (fertilizers and herbicides), and the purchaser often has no knowledge of which farm a certain shipment came from, and what chemicals have been used.
When carbohydrates are fed in large quantities, they pass through the small intestine too quickly, and land in the large intestine where the bacteria are not prepared to handle the digestion. Fermentation or improper digestion occurs, resulting in ulcers and poor absorption of vitamins and minerals. The horse then becomes nutrient deficient and has an inflamed digestive tract. Feeding antacids to change the pH in the stomach does nothing to help the large intestine. If the gut needs support, it is best to use an herbal product that helps heal the gut wall, and probiotics to keep the bacteria healthy.
Vitamins and minerals
Mineral balance is perhaps even more critical than vitamin balance in a horse’s diet. A complex interaction takes place between many minerals, and even a slight excess of one can mean another may not be absorbed. Trace minerals are a catalyst to help break major minerals down into a form that can be utilized. Horses will naturally select from free-choice minerals if the mixture does not have salt added (feed the salt as a separate item).
require only 7.5% to 12% protein as an adult. The lowest percentage of protein found in commercial feed is 10%; in fact, it’s common to see protein levels of 14% to 16% in feed. Since horses are made to live primarily on roughage, there is no physiological reason to have protein levels so high. High performance horses usually eat more grain, so if they need slightly more protein they will usually get it from the increase in grain volume. Feeding excess protein is toxic, since it has to be converted to energy. The by-product of that is nitrogen, which is excreted by the kidney. Young animals can digest protein better and can use it to grow muscle, especially when working and growing at the same time. Except for some Thoroughbreds, however, most young performance horses have little need for high protein diets.
According to the National Research Council (NRC) nutrition tables, horses
A horse of healthy weight should just have his ribs showing; most show horses are more than 100 pounds overweight. Excess weight puts more strain on the joints and leads to long term health problems such as insulin resistance.
Certain individual horses have a greater requirement for protein and can benefit from the addition of protein to their diet. If your horse is losing weight despite a good feeding program and you are sure no ulcers are present, consider raising the protein level.
Holistically minded owners with a few extra dollars to spend will do well by buying cold pressed oils and mixing them into the feed. Once a horse needs more calories than can be obtained from three to six pounds of grain per day, oils can be added up to about one cup per day. Corn oil may be the cheapest, but rice bran, flax and hemp are much better because they contain desirable Omega 3 fatty acids. Never feed animal fats to your horse.
Horses eating good quality pasture or hay can take in all the nutrient energy they need from the forage. Concentrates (grain) should only be fed to make up the extra energy required by the horse to perform his job or maintain weight, if he has a high metabolic rate.
Most horses with plenty of minerals available do not need electrolytes added to their food, except for long distance types of competition such as endurance riding or upper level eventing. In this case, start feeding electrolytes about 24 to 48 hours beforehand to hydrate the intestinal tract and give the horse a reserve of electrolytes.
carbohydrates, which can make some horses jittery. However, fats in commercial feeds are routinely preserved with chemicals and are extracted using solvent processes.
Fats are an excellent addition to the performance horse’s diet because they increase calories without adding excess
Horse feeds are becoming more and more processed, to the point where there are now extruded feeds that
Horses use acid digestion in the stomach and fermentation digestion in the cecum. The stomach acid digests protein, while the small intestine digests fat and carbohydrates. The cecum is perhaps the most important part of the digestive tract – it is designed to digest long stem fiber through fermentation. When a horse is fed mostly concentrates in the form of grain and very little long stem fiber (hay), the cecum is only partially filled, and this can predispose the horse to colic. equine wellness
Your horse’s intestinal tract contains bacteria and protozoa designed to digest food, manufacture vitamins, and make minerals available. The normal pH of his intestinal tract changes from acidic in the stomach and upper small intestine to neutral in the large intestine, with the mineral balance keeping the pH in the correct range. The bacteria in the intestinal tract have their normal places, determined by pH, because bacteria are pH specific in their requirements for multiplication. Feeding excessive amounts of concentrates alters the pH, so bacteria may not stay in their appropriate places.
look just like dog food, and probably have little “life force” or healthy energy. Sugar is just as bad for horses as it is for any other species, and horses become just as jittery and hyperactive when they eat too much of it. Molasses is also preserved with propylene glycol and other chemicals not on the labels. The best and most natural way to feed horses concentrates is to use whole feeds. Some feed companies are producing whole grain mixes, while in other cases you will need to mix your own. Organic grains are ideal, if available. Oats, barley and large cracked corn are the basic grains. Use what is available in your area, and what is horse-safe. Beet pulp with no added molasses can also be used. Beets are grown using chemicals and organic beet pulp is virtually impossible to find. However, beet pulp does make a good feed, especially as an addition to increase the bulk in a diet. A mixture that works well for me is
25% large cracked or rolled corn, 30% steamed, rolled barley (the only way it is available in bulk), and 45% oats (either large race horse oats, or crimped). Any combination can be used in a given area of the country. Do not read the labels on the bag when deciding how to feed. Look at your horse, buy a weight tape, find his ideal weight and adjust the grain ration to maintain that.
Water is the number one food consumed by a horse. However, water quality across the nation is suspect. Water may contain toxins, high levels of minerals, or other undesirable compounds such as lead. Herbicides and pesticides are present in the water sources of pastured horses through streams and run-off from neighboring farms. Many horses live in urban areas, with questionable urban water supplies. Some stables give horses water they will not allow people to drink.
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Competition horses must like the water they are supplied with so they will drink well. If they do not, dehydration can result, causing tying up, colic and poor immune system function. You can use water filters of many sorts, from simple charcoal filters attached to the hose to complex systems attached to the main water intake for the farm. For the traveling horse, take along a simple charcoal filter to put on the hose when you water your horse. Bentonite clay or milk thistle can be incorporated into feeding programs to help detoxify the horse if necessary.
Do not expect your grain to supply vitamins and minerals no matter what the label says. Provide a free choice mineral supplement, then decide what else your horse needs and add that specific product. Many of the conditions we see in equine medicine are just a reflection of the feeds the horses eat. A solid, simple feeding program gives your horse the building blocks he needs to perform at his maximum potential. It’s better to feed your horse frequently rather than just twice a day, both for the gut and the mind – horses are made to eat and are mentally stressed by not eating.
Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS, graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She is certified in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic and has completed advanced training in homeopathy and herbal medicine. practice in
Virginia uses 100%
medicine to treat all types of horses.
Her The Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book – the most publications include
complete source of information about
English saddles – and The Western Saddle Book is on its way. www.harmanyequine.com.
Saddlefit by Ellen Fitzgerald
Use these 9 tools to help you find the best fit When it comes to saddles, there seems to be an unending Is there a difference? number of options these days. Trying to find one that fits both you and your horse can be a lengthy process! In this article, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll focus on how to find a saddle that best fits your body type and shape.
Are there saddles that accommodate the physical differences between men and women? The answer is both yes and no, because of the wide spectrum of body types in both sexes. In my years of saddle fitting and speaking with other experts in the field, I have found that what we look like on the outside often equine wellness
Did you know?
by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS
To understand how to feed your horse and manage his nutrition, you need to understand his digestive system and how it differs from that of other animals. Horses are “hay burners”. This means they can digest cellulose fiber and convert it to energy in the pouches of their digestive systems. In the wild, horses have the capacity to produce all the nutrients they need for survival by using water, minerals, and cellulose as energy. Horses use cellulose fiber derived from hay and other roughages as the fuel and building blocks to manufacture most of the essential nutrients that simple stomach animals, such as people, must ingest from other sources. Unfortunately, this eco-system does not have the capacity to furnish the quantity of nutrients needed to compensate for the added work and stress that the modern horse experiences. We are therefore faced with the nutritional challenge of fortifying this fragile system, without producing nutrient excesses and/or deficiencies. The solution is to provide hay and/or pasture for roughage, and the necessary basic daily nutrients using a science-based hay balancer, and to control caloric intake utilizing whole oats.
does not translate to comfort in any prescribed saddle. Last year I took an equine health class with a fellow who was built like a line-backer. While I am a relatively petite woman who looks like I should be a yoga diva, he appeared musclebound and stiff. The reality is that he’s a cheerleader in college and a total Gumby, while I can only wave at my toes when I bend over to touch them. It just goes to show that how we look doesn’t always reflect the connections and flexibility in our muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
The sexes, generalized
Men and women have differently shaped pelvises. Men’s pelvises are narrower and more vertical, so their legs hang straighter. They tend to support themselves horizontally on the saddle on the triangle of the seat bones and pubis. I visualize their vertical shape around the saddle as rectangular, or two right angles as their legs connect into their pelvises. Men will often prefer a saddle with a medium seat and a medium waist.
Women have a wider and shallower pelvic shape that necessitates more inside thigh muscle, pulling their legs more toward the center of the body. Although the horizontal support of the pubis and seat bones is similar to a man’s, women often use more inside thigh muscle, in addition to the pelvic triangle, for balance. This creates the desire for a broader seat and narrower waist. In women, I see a more triangular vertical support system with the apex at the front of the pelvis being supported on the sides by the inside thigh. Now think back to my diva and Gumby story. Although pelvic shapes differ between the sexes, the length and flexibility of muscles and connective tissues also dictate our comfort in saddles. So instead of steering you to your perfect saddle, I’ll give you nine concepts with which to evaluate your prospects and help you towards the best choice for you.
Your balance is one of the keys to
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
34 34 34
equine wellness wellness equine equine wellness
Men’s pelvic shape
Women’s pelvic shape
comfort for both you and your horse, and the only way to produce effective signals. To illustrate this, try balancing seated on an exercise ball. Once you are balanced with your legs in a comfortable spot, move one of your feet about 3” in any direction, or roll the ball slightly forwards or backwards under you. Now stay in the altered position a few minutes and feel how your body is subtly struggling to stay balanced, and how anything else you try to do is hindered by being out of balance. Without realizing it, we are often struggling with our balance in the saddle and are therefore unable to be comfortable or effective.
seats fit and feel different for each of us depending on seat waist (sometimes referred to as twist), pommel slope, seat depth, width, and stirrup placement. Hardly anyone will ever measure your saddle seat or check its size marking, so don’t get hung up on a number!
3. Waist (or twist)
2. Seat size
Seat sizes range from about 15” to 19” for English saddles. This measurement is generally taken from the head nail on the pommel (sometimes a saddle company logo is affixed to this) to the center of the cantle. As a rule of thumb, you should have 2” to 4” between the front of your body and the fork at the pommel. Your seat should rest at the base of the cantle but not be pressed against the back of it. If your seat rests too much on the cantle, it will tilt your pelvis forward and hollow your back. According to Karen Borne, Owner of Borné Saddlery, one of the most common mistakes riders make is selecting a seat size that’s too small in proportion to their bodies. Even the length of femur (thighbone) can necessitate a larger seat so that your knee stays comfortably on the leg flap. I don’t go for vanity seat sizing because
I like to use the term “waist” because it is the part of the saddle built for the rider over the twist, the twist being built for the horse’s comfort. This narrow area of the saddle needs to comfortably support the forward part of your pelvis without interfering with your legs dropping into proper position. Fleshy thighs require space on the saddle so they are not pushed out or forward, creating discomfort or a “chair seat”. A narrower waist can allow this needed space, and the inside of the leg can help support the pubis. Women with slim thighs often prefer medium waisted saddles, because there is broader support for the front of their pelvis and yet their legs hang into position.
4. Pommel slope
Saddles have differing slopes from the base of the cantle up to the pommel. This will affect where the center or balance point is on the saddle. Make sure the slope does not push your balance point back too far, thus interfering with the forward portion of your pelvis. If a rise to the pommel encourages you to tilt your pelvis back, you will be out equine wellness
of balance. If the pommel gets in the way when you post the trot, it is not going to work for your build.
blocks. One of the advantages to exterior blocks is that it reduces the bulk directly under the leg. This aids both expert riders, and riders who are more restricted in lateral hip joint mobility. In some cases, exterior blocks create instability for a more amateur rider because they don’t have the security of the roll or block that has a traditional overlying leg flap slightly cradling their lower leg. The traditional placement of blocks and rolls is under the leg flap, mounted on, or built into the sweat flap (the flap closest to the horse). It is less restrictive to leg and forward hip movement and adds sometimes desired security under the leg.
The balance point must be evaluated in relationship to the stirrup bars and knee or thigh blocks. If the center of the seat is too forward, you will feel that your legs are locked in by the knee rolls or stirrup placement. A balance point too far back will create a situation in which you have little to no contact with knee rolls, or the stirrups will bring your legs forward into a chair seat.
5. Leg rolls and blocks
Some saddle companies offer Velcro attached leg blocks, so you can place them for optimal comfort and effectiveness. Whether you are investigating saddles with exterior blocks or traditional rolls, be aware of the placement, angle and length of the blocks or rolls. If they are restricting your leg, they can create a pivot point and actually throw off your seat position or push you onto the cantle. If your leg is not being supported by the blocks or rolls, it will have a tendency to constantly “search” for it, resulting in instability. Again, decide on what feels best for you and try not to buy into the latest craze. Your body is unique, and you will find you are most comfortable and effective with the style that suits you.
6. Stirrup placement Knee and thigh block designs on English saddles have expanded greatly in recent years. There are now many English saddles that have exterior (on the top side of the leg flap) knee and thigh
A growing number of English saddles are equipped with adjustable stirrup bars that allow you to move the stirrup forward or back. Return to the balance ball exercise and recall how moving the ball forward or backward from your balanced position created body tension. Try to be aware of your shoulder/hip/
heel alignment when you sit on a prospective saddle on your horse. Your ear, shoulder, hip and heel should line up vertically. A change in the stirrup bar setting, or a saddle with correct stirrup bar placement for your body, can make a large improvement.
7. Seat depth
The depth of a seat can give a rider security, or restrict her mobility. Dressage style English saddles generally have deeper seats, while close contact and all purpose saddles have more open seats. Within all these disciplines, expert riders often prefer more open seats because they have developed excellent control and therefore feel less restricted in such a seat. Amateur riders like the security of the deeper seat.
Don’t be surprised to find that a deeper seat often necessitates a larger seat size.
8. Seat width
You need to consider three aspects of the broad part of the seat width: the actual width, the slope from the center to the edges, and the length. Susan FletcherBaker, a Qualified Master Saddler who handmakes saddles, finds that women’s seat bones are fairly close to the center of their bodies and are easily supported. She emphasizes that the saddle also needs to bear the inside thigh muscles and the fleshier part of a woman’s seat. If the saddle falls off too quickly toward the sides, and all the rider’s weight is supported only by the seat bones, she will experience fatigue and pain. If the wide part of the seat extends too far forward, it can force the rider into a chair seat. Look for the seat you feel will comfortably support you but also allow you to sit correctly.
Manufacturers’ saddles generally don’t fit all builds of horse. Similarly, their seat styles may or may not work for you. Most saddle companies try to vary seat styles within their lines, so if you find a saddle that fits your horse but makes you feel uncomfortable, check to see if there is another model with a similar tree and better seat for you. Some manufacturers are now making saddles specifically designed for women. Because of the great variation among women’s body types, however, these may or may not feel right for you. If you don’t find the best fit for you at one company, move on. There are many excellent quality manufacturers and one will have the right saddle for you and your equine partner. Finding the right saddle can be a challenge. Try not to get caught up in the saddle de jour, and take the time to evaluate your options. Just as you must kiss a lot of frogs before you find Prince Charming, you must also try as many saddles as you can before making your decision. It will make all the difference to your riding.
Ellen Fitzgerald is a saddle fitter living on the Front Range in Colorado. Trained by both English and Western Master Saddlers, she owns and rides horses and helps clients in Colorado and the Northwest. Ellen is independent and does not represent or sell any saddles because, as she says, “people and horses all have unique bodies… like jeans, saddles will not fit any of us the same way”. Visit her website at www.SaddleHands.com equine wellness
profile a natural performer
Photo: Brandy Johnston
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.
Pal (Ivory Pal) Age: 7 years
10 year old Tennessee Walking Horse/Old Foundation
Physical description: 16hh golden palomino stallion
English and Western pleasure, halter/model, jumping, dressage, barrel racing, pole bending, driving, trial obstacle, versatility, trail riding, musical freestyle and tricks.
Owner/Guardian: Rafael Valle
Awards and accomplishments: Pal was the 2005/2004 Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) Horse of the Year (the only horse to ever win this prestigious award twice), 2005 North American Gaited Horse High Point Champion, 2005 North American Western Working Trail Pleasure Champion, 2005 North American English Working Trail Pleasure Champion, and 2005/2004 FOSH Southeastern Grand Champion.
Natural care principles: How they got together: “My wife and I weren’t looking to buy any horse, much less a Tennessee Walker, who happened to be a stallion. We did not have our farm yet, nor had we ever owned a horse before. But one day we somehow found ourselves walking down the aisle of a Tennessee Walking Horse barn, and there was this stunningly beautiful golden palomino stallion off to the right. He had a very special aura and dignity about him. It was Ivory Pal, and he captured my heart from the very first time I saw him. “Ivory Pal was turning four years old when we acquired him. His previous owner told us that he had an exceptional temperament, but he was considered a ‘show reject’, as he did not respond to the ‘traditional’ training methods found in certain circles of the Tennessee Walking Horse world.”
Pal is turned out to pasture 24/7, and only comes into the barn the evenings before exhibitions/performances. He is barefoot and is ridden in a bitless bridle. He has unlimited access to fresh water and is fed a low starch and low carbohydrate feed, supplemented by natural minerals, herbs and Omega Horseshine. By allowing him to be a horse, and having him on a natural diet, he is always in top mental and physical condition.
Tell us more: “Ivory Pal was my first horse, and I didn’t like what I saw in the ‘traditional’ Tennessee Walking Horse training/show world. So I decided to train Ivory Pal myself. I educated myself through reading books/magazines, viewing DVDs on natural horsemanship, and seeking out the advice of natural and sound trainers. I also applied many of the U. S. Army leadership principles (which
are based on trust, consistency, fairness, and respect), which I learned while spending 14 years as a Special Operations Officer. Most importantly, I listened to Ivory Pal and always put our relationship ahead of anything else. “Ivory Pal loves people and takes great joy in performing in front of a crowd. He is a total ham, and loves to have his picture taken. Pal is always willing to learn something new with courage and determination. One time our neighbor, whose home overlooks Ivory Pal’s pasture, called me to let me know that Ivory Pal was acting ‘strange’ and doing something ‘weird’ in his paddock. When we went to investigate, Ivory Pal was practicing his bowing on his own out in his paddock.”
Future goals: “Pal and I aim to keep doing performances/ exhibitions to entertain his fans, and to promote the versatility of a sound and naturally gaited Tennessee Walking Horse.”
Advice: “Only when we start respecting our horses as equal partners and see them through our hearts rather than through our egos, and not as a means to an end, will we fully understand them and win the biggest blue ribbon of all -- our horses’ respect, friendship, and unconditional love.”
by Hannah Evergreen, DVM
Help for horses with heaves
Heaves is a respiratory illness similar to human asthma, with flare-ups that make it hard for the horse to breathe. The original veterinary term for the condition was COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It’s now called RAO, or Recurrent Airway Obstruction. The name was changed because the condition is thought to be recurrent, with repeated episodes, rather than chronic or always present.
Causes and diagnosis Heaves is thought to be caused by chronic exposure to dust, molds, or other air pollutants and allergens. It can be triggered by respiratory tract infections or increased exposure to the above causes. Diagnosis is often based on the clinical signs of respiratory disease without evidence of infection, fever, or acting sick. In chronic cases, the abdominal muscles become overdeveloped from breathing efforts, causing a “heave line”.
Heaves can lead to clinical signs such as exercise intolerance (easily winded), expiratory dyspnea (difficulty exhaling), chronic coughing or wheezing, nasal discharge, and weight loss. A definitive diagnosis can be made by cytology (looking at the cells present) and culture (checking for bacterial growth) of a transtracheal wash (TTW)
or bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), both of which are used to obtain fluid samples from the horse’s lungs. When testing is not possible, response to treatment can also help determine a diagnosis.
Treatment with Western medicine Environmental management is the first line of defense against heaves, no matter what approach you are taking. Eliminating allergens, especially dust and molds, can be done by:
•Switching to pelleted hay •Soaking your horse’s hay before feeding •Feeding pelleted grain •Soaking the horse’s grain before feeding •Keeping the horse outside 24/7 if possible
•If he must be stalled, using pelleted shavings in a well ventilated stall
If inhaled steroids are not an option, oral or injectable steroids such as dexamethasone or vetalog can be used.
•Riding in dust free environments Bronchodilators dilate or open the airways. Inhaled bronchodilators are used as “rescue” therapy on an “as needed” basis. Bronchodilators should be given 15 to 30 minutes prior to inhaled steroids. This helps open the airways so the steroid reaches further into the lungs. A long acting inhaled bronchodilator such as Salmeterol can be used, but in some cases a shorter acting but less expensive option such as Albuterol is more reasonable. The oral bronchodilator Ventipulmin (clenbuterol) is less effective, but can be used if inhaled bronchodilators are not an option.
Steroids are medications that reduce airway inflammation. They are often needed to control the clinical signs of heaves and to keep the horse comfortable. They are used for maintenance therapy at as low a dose as possible, often once a day or just seasonally or during flare-ups. Because steroids can have harmful long term side effects, the route of administration is important. Inhaled steroids treat the condition locally and are used at lower doses, which help minimize negative side effects. Flovent (the human inhaler, fluticasone) is the steroid of choice, but others such as Beconase (beclomethasone) or dexamethasone via nebulizer can also be used. Inhaled steroids require the use of a special mask, such as the Aeromask, which is often quite expensive; a second option is the Equine-Haler, which is bit less expensive. However, the Aeromask rates higher in drug disposition in the lungs, making it a better choice long term.
Diagnosing and treating allergies can help decrease the need for steroids and bronchodilators. Allergy testing can be done with a blood test or by intradermal testing. The latter is more accurate, but also more difficult to do. The blood allergy test is controversial among veterinarians because of the high number of positives to antigens, but I have found it to be a helpful guide. Once allergens are identified, they should be eliminated or minimized. In cases where exposure is unavoidable, allergy shots may be helpful. Antihistamines such as tri-hist granules or hydroxyzine may also help in these
cases early on, but tend to be less useful as the condition progresses.
In some cases, secondary bacterial bronchitis can occur; a course of antibiotics may be helpful.
Going beyond Western therapies Acupuncture can be helpful for heaves, although some research shows that one treatment is not enough to make a difference. Treatments should be initially repeated at short intervals (such as every three days) and the interval slowly lengthened as clinical signs resolve. In Chinese medicine, heaves can be a Deficiency of the Lung and/or a Deficiency of the Kidney, or less commonly an excess of Wind and Phlegm. Acupressure can be performed between acupuncture treatments. Interested clients can learn from their veterinary acupuncturist how to treat their own horses daily with acupressure. Depending on the case, the acupressure points involved may include Bladder13, Lung-9, Stomach-36 and Spleen-3. If you are interested in learning more about acupressure for horses, a good place to start is Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual by Nancy Zidonis, Amy Snow and Marie Soderberg. Supportive herbs and supplements can
help significantly decrease dependence on steroids and bronchodilators. There are now many products available that can be helpful for treating heaves; it is often necessary to try a few combinations before deciding on the best fit for a particular horse. Common herbs in respiratory formulas include cleaver, elecampane root, eyebright, garlic, ginger, licorice, marshmallow, plantain, and thyme. A combination of Hilton Herbs’ Freeway and Equilite’s Garlic+C is a good first line of defense. The following supplements may also offer support:
•APF (Advanced Protection Formula) for immune support •NCD (Natural Cellular Defense) for detoxifying •VivoZeoComplete2 for both immune support and detox •Mushroom extracts, such as reishi and cordyceps sinsensis. These, in combination with transfer factors, have shown promising results
Is your horse suffering from heaves or COPD? The
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•Antioxidants for additional nutritional support •Bioflavonoids are pigments found in fruits and vegetables known for their antioxidant activity •Ester C (calcium ascorbate) is a potent pH neutral form of the antioxidant vitamin C •Ground flaxseed is high in omega-3 fatty acids and helps with allergies Homeopathics can also be used, although there is limited data showing their efficacy in treating heaves.
Preventing heaves Prevention is the foundation of a holistic approach; with heaves, prevention or early treatment is key. Simply providing a healthy living environment with good quality hay, plenty of turn-out and dust free arena footing can help minimize dust and mold exposure. Horses that are continually locked in stalls, with or without small paddocks, and ridden in dusty arenas while being fed poor quality hay are at the highest risk of developing heaves.
Respiratory infections can trigger heaves; overall general health helps decrease the frequency or severity of these infections.
What’s the prognosis? can HELP!
in helping to treat pulmonary function in humans with asthma, and may also be helpful for horses with heaves.
With dedicated management and treatment, the prognosis for complete resolution is good. The outcome is dependent on the level of care, though, so without commitment heaves can easily become harder and harder to control, ending the horse’s athletic potential and lowering his quality of life. Prevention is important, but if heaves does occur, the earlier a diagnosis and treatment plan is established, the better the prognosis is for the horse.
Dr. Hannah Evergreen is a 2004 graduate from Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has loved, cared for, ridden and trained horses most of her life – they are her passion. She started her own mobile veterinary practice in Monroe, Washington in December of 2004 and offers full service equine veterinary care including acupuncture, chiropractic, advanced dentistry, sports medicine and more.
out more at www.evergreenholisticvet.com.
Wellness Resource Guide
EQUINE WELLNESS MAGAZINE
Wellness Resource Guide Inside this issue: • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Communicators • Holistic Healthcare • Natural Product Retailers • Schools & Training
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: email@example.com Website: www.thehorseshoof.com
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JT’s Natural Hoof Care AANHCP Certified Practitioner & Instructor Scottsdale, AZ USA Phone: (480) 560-9413 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Lone Pine Ranch Bruce Goode, AANHCP Practitioner Vernon, BC Canada Phone: (250) 545-6948 Email: email@example.com Website: www.hooftrack.com Non-invasive natural hoof care Custom hoof boot fitting services
Hoof Savvy Folsom, CA USA Phone: (916) 201-7852 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Hoof Help Tracy Browne, AANHCP, PT Greenwood, CA USA Phone: (530) 885-5847 Email: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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Barefoot Hoof Trimming 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
Fred Evans North Granby, CT USA Phone: (860) 653-7946 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: email@example.com Hoof Nexus Daniel E. Hofford Ocala, FL USA Phone: (352) 502-4384 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.hoofnexus.com
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Yvonne Moorhouse Hoof Care Practitioner AANHCP PT Marengo, IL USA Phone: (815) 923-6950 Email: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Frank Tobias AANHCP Practitioner Palm Beach Gardens, FL USA Phone: (561) 876-2929 Email: email@example.com Website: www.barefoothoof.com
Jeff Farmer, AANHCP Certified Practioner 927 Abe Chapel Rd. Como, MS USA Phone: (662) 526-0821 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Cynthia Niemela Duluth, MN USA Phone: (218) 721-3094
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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.hoofkeeping.com Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: email@example.com Website: www.naturalhoofconcepts.com
Natural Hoof Care Lisa Dawe, AANHCP Practitioner Oriental, NC USA Phone: (508) 776-6259 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.ibarefoothorses.com
Natural barefoot hoof care; specializing in pathologic hoof rehab
Bruce Smith Raleigh, NC USA Phone: (919) 624-2585 Email: email@example.com Website: www.father-and-son.net
Lost July Natural Hoof Care Nina Hassinger Bridgetown, NS Canada Phone: (902) 665-2151 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Gudrun Buchhofer Margaree Forks, NS Canada Phone: (902) 248-2235 Email: email@example.com Website: www.go-natural.ca
Steve Hebrock Akron, OH USA Phone: (330) 644-1954
Barefoot Hoof Trimming
AANHCP Certified Practitioner
Sherry Eucker Cuyahoga Falls, OH USA Phone: (216) 218-6954
Becky Goumaz Tulsa, OK USA Phone: (918) 493-2782 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Serendales Farm Equine Hoofcare Services Brian & Virginia Knox Campbellford, ON Canada Phone: (705) 653-5989 Email: email@example.com Website: www.serendalesmorgans.com Barefoot Horse Canada.com Anne Riddell, AANHCP, Hoof Care Practitioner Penetang, ON Canada Phone: (705) 533-2900 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.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
The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: email@example.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com
Windhorse Creations Mavis Pas Oakridge, OR USA Phone: (541) 782-3561 Website: www.windhorse-creations.com
Bellwether Farm Katrina Ranum Morrisdale, PA USA Phone: (814) 345-1723 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.ladyfarrier.com Walt Friedrich Nescopeck, PA USA Phone: (570) 379-2964
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Cori Brennan Horsense - Hoof/Horse care that makes sense Sharon, SC USA Toll Free: (704) 517-8321 Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Trac Right Indian Mound, TN USA Phone: (931) 232-3071 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.tracright.com
Quality Barefoot Hoofcare in Middle Tennessee.
Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349
Certified hoofcare Professional Training, Rehabilitation, Education & Clinics
Conde Pantoje Molalla, OR USA Phone: (503) 502-1102 Email: email@example.com Website: www.betteroffbarefoot.us
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Eddie Drabek El Campo, TX USA Phone: (979) 578-8913 Website: www.drabekhoofcare.com G & G Farrier Service London, TX USA Phone: (325) 265-4250
27 years exp. as Farrier and I promote Natural hoof care. I am a field instructor and clinician for AANHCP in Texas
Gill Goodin Moravian, NC USA Phone: (325) 265-4250
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.helpforhorses.com
Barefoot Trimming, Hoof Clinic & Equine Wellness Center
Elizabeth Swank Harrisonburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 434-5286
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Emma Everly AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: email@example.com Website: www.barefoottrimming.com
Lei Ryan Mount Jackson, VA USA Phone: (540) 477-2489 Natural Hoofcare Services Anne Buteau Shipman, VA USA Phone: (434) 263-4946 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have faith in the healing powers of nature
Rebecca Beckstrom Weyers Cave, VA USA Phone: (540) 234-0959
Pat Wagner Rainier, WA USA Phone: (360) 446-8699 Leslie Walls Ridgefield, WA USA Phone: (360) 887-0529 Email: email@example.com Maureen Gould Stanwood, WA USA Phone: (360) 629-5153 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.forthehorse.net Cameron Bonner Wauna, WA USA Phone: (360) 895-2679
Mike Stelske Eagle, WI USA Phone: (262) 594-2936
Barefoot Hoof Trimming - Natural Product Retailers
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Anita Delwiche Greenwood, WI USA Phone: (715) 267-6404 Scott McConaughey Houlton, WI USA Phone: (715) 549-6380 FHL Horse Care Mark Stuber Ridgeland, WI USA Phone: (715) 949-1002 Email: email@example.com Website: ww.fhlhorsecare.com Triangle P Hoofcare Chad Bembenek Rio, WI USA Phone: (920) 992-6415 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.trianglephoofcare.com The Natural Hoof Monica Meer Waukesha, WI USA Phone: (262) 968-9499 Email: email@example.com Website: www.thenaturalhoof.com
Holistic Healthcare ALBERTA
The Horse Mechanic Howard Jesse Serving the Lethbridge, Calgary area Phone: (403) 795-1850 Website: www.thehorsemechanic.com
Natural balancing of horses with proper trimming of hooves, toothcare, BioScan & Bicom 2000
White Willow Therapies, LLC Erin Bisco, CMT, CEMT, MMT Traveling to Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan Phone: (734) 417-6042 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.whitewillowtherapies.com
Manual Medicine, Cranical, Lymphatic and Visceral Therapies. Horses, Dogs and People
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Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA Toll Free: (250) 656-4390 Phone: (214) 615-6505 Email: email@example.com Website: www.animalenergy.com
International animal intuitive offers nationwide consultations in animal communication and energy healing
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Holistic health products for your horse and pets including Wendals Herbs, Emerald Valley, Tallgrass Acupressure media,
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Omega Fields Newton, WI USA Toll Free: (877) 663-4203 Website: www.omegafields.com
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How to turn around those unwanted behaviors by Dan Moore, DVM
ave you ever heard of horses smoking? Well, mine do. They’re really “smoking” as they round the ring on that last pass by the judge! All joking aside, horses can develop bad
habits and vices the same way we take up things like smoking. These unwanted behaviors include wood chewing, cribbing, head shaking and stall weaving and can quite quickly become a proverbial pain in the hindquarters for any rider.
Habit or vice?
Habit generally implies doing something regularly, unconsciously and often compulsively. A vice, as defined by Webster, is an abnormal behavior detrimental to health or usefulness.
“Vice” was actually derived from a French word meaning “fault”. Cribbing, head shaking, weaving, stall walking and wind-sucking (technically called aerophagia, the most annoying form of cribbing) would certainly all be considered vices. They become serious, ugly faults, and are detrimental to the horse’s usefulness. They are behavioral (even psychological) vices, and are deeper issues than habits such as wood chewing, pawing or tail rubbing.
Causes are multi-faceted
In Italy, a study was done on over one thousand Thoroughbreds. It showed that cribbing, weaving and stall walking each occur in about 2.5% of the equine population. The researchers suggested that a genetic factor may be involved, since the offspring of cribbing mares became cribbers themselves about 25% of the time. However, most riders believe that cribbing starts when other horses mimic a cribber via “observational learning”. So is this vice genetic, an observed habit, or something else? The truth is, no one knows! My personal feeling is that cribbing is:
•Somewhat genetic •Somewhat learned •Related to nutritional deficiencies and imbalances. Stress is no doubt a factor too. Stress and bad diets, in particular, lead to
ulcers. Ulcers lead to pain. Pain and emotional upset require some form of relief. Humans turn to drugs. Horses turn to cribbing and other vices. One study showed that various drugs, specifically narcotics, eliminated cribbing, stall weaving and head shaking in horses, but that the vices returned when the drugs were stopped. It is has also been documented that the cribbing process causes a euphoric, drug-like effect for the horse. I think I would prefer using nutrition rather than drugs to solve the problem, wouldn’t you?
A nutritional resolution
Let’s face it – our horses’ diets are awful. I blame commercial feeds, agricultural fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and genetic modification for many of the problems today’s horses face.
There is nothing better for a vice or habit prone horse than an open, grassy pasture. It allows the horse to exercise, relieve boredom, and manage his nutritional needs. Correcting any deficiencies or imbalances in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids can make a big difference when it comes to vices. I have also found that feeding supplemented oats, rather than commercial feed, is a huge help. The problem with commercial feed is that, unless your horse is the “ideal horse”, he will get either too little or too much of all the added “goodies” in the feed.
Treating symptoms vs. causes Other potential resolutions for cribbing include treating the symptoms rather than the cause. Since we do not know all the causes of cribbing, this can be the only alternative in some situations. Such practices include: •Various forms of collar or strap to impede flexing of the neck. •Aversion therapy (a nice name for shock or pain). It may help, but displaced aggression and other secondary behaviors may develop as a result. •A surgery called buccostomy, as recommended by some veterinarians. It involves cutting the ventral branch of the spinal accessory nerve, and various muscles in the neck. Obviously, these should be considered a last resort! Look first into nutritional and environmental solutions. equine wellness
The length of time today’s horses are left stressing in stables does nothing for their mental state. Turning your horse out on pasture, or at the very least giving him a few 30-minute daily sessions on a walker, can help prevent many vices from developing in the first place.
With oats, you only need to feed as much as the particular horse needs. For instance, easy keepers need only a small amount, while hard keepers need a lot. You can put your supplements directly onto the oats, thereby ensuring the horse gets what he needs, rather than too much or too little. If you think about it, oats are the closest thing to natural seed heads, and directly adding vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids to them only makes sense.
Just this year the National Research Council – the “authority” on feeding horses – said that oats should be the staple in a horse’s diet.
Free choice salt and minerals
If a horse does not get what he needs
from his feed, he is going to try to get it elsewhere. He may:
•chew on fencing or his stall •eat dirt •chew on salt/mineral blocks •munch on any other surface that he can eventually begin to crib on.
Wood chewing is a telltale sign that a horse is missing something nutritionally. Chewing on salt/ mineral blocks is another. Horses simply cannot get all the salt and minerals they need from a block of any kind. They are not “lickers”, like cows. Horses will often over-consume from chewing on salt/mineral blocks; in other words, they will get too much of what
they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need in order to get what they do need. I prefer natural sources of salt and minerals. I offer them free choice in a loose form so the horses can get all they need, when they need it. Just offering your horse free choice minerals will help many cribbing, wood chewing, and
tail rubbing problems. And it is a much more economical approach than drugs for subsequent ulcers!
vices are environmental toxin problems. Processed hydrogenated fats, pesticides, herbicides, and even toxins from dewormers are to blame (in my not so humble opinion). Correcting
your horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nutrition is paramount, of course, but detoxing with appropriate antioxidants and herbs has helped tremendously in many cases.
component could be addressed by selective breeding, although merely suggesting this causes some tempers to flare. Fortunately, it seems that most habits and vices are not genetic, but rather environmental and nutritional. It is also fortunate that these can be addressed, and that success rates are fair.
After graduating from Auburn School of Veterinary Medicine in 1980, Dr. Dan 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
Head shaking and stall weaving
I personally feel that these particular
There is hope
Vices are difficult to fix, but it is possible if we look to the cause rather than just focus on symptoms. Even the genetic
complementary alternatives for horses, and the co-owner of breeder of
Rosehill Farm, Rocky Mountain Horses.
He is also a representative for the Tennessee Horse Council. For more information, call 1-877-873-8838.
by Diana Thompson
Gentle healing essences ease equine emotions
Diana offers her wet palm for Hank to sniff.
Photos: Joanne Panizzera
We humans experience a broad range of emotions. Love, fear, joy, anger, grief and other feelings trickle or pour forth as the events of our lives unfold. Horses have their own versions of these states. Most of us have heard the shrill frantic whinnying of a foal suddenly separated from his mother. Others have witnessed the deep grief some horses experience when a close equine friend moves or dies. And we’ve all felt the joy of a happy horse exuberantly playing on a fresh sunny morning.
Horses can feel intensely
While all emotions have their place, they can cause illness or injury if out of balance (too strong or long in duration). Take the foal or adult horse that panics when separated from the herd. He may run into a fence or straight over the top of his human handler as he desperately seeks the other horses. Meanwhile, the horse who doesn’t find new companionship following the loss of a friend may lose her appetite and slowly waste away. An irritable, easily-angered horse may attack other horses or people, biting or kicking with great force and damage.
Achieving balance with flower essences
Fortunately, there is a simple and inexpensive way to ease equine emotions. Bach Flower Remedies are liquid formulas that work quickly (often within minutes) to balance a wide variety of emotional states. They are prepared under strict standards for human consumption and work like magic to address emotional states in horses. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes the essences as GRAS (generally recognized as safe), which is the same category used for most human foods.
How the remedies were developed
The Bach Flower Remedies were developed by English physician Dr. Edward Bach about 70 years ago. While working in a traditional hospital practice and
in medical research, Dr. Bach saw the limitations of treating only the physical manifestations of a person’s “dis-ease”. He felt the root cause of physical illness was emotional imbalance. In 1930, he gave up his practice and returned to the countryside to seek out remedies in nature that would heal mental, emotional and spiritual unrest. During his search, Dr. Bach not only discovered specific wild plants, trees and bushes that address emotional states, but also brand new ways to prepare them. The sun method, for example, mimics the way dew on a plant interacts with the sun. It creates an energetic imprint of the plant in the water, and no physical substance from the plant remains. The result is a liquid product with the ability to relieve emotional stress in a gentle way without side effects. “Each flower was found to embody the positive and harmonizing force for a negative emotional state, be it fear, resentment, or despair,” write Julian and Martine Barnard in their book The Healing Herbs of Edward Bach. “In order to transfer this healing force to a patient, Bach prepared essences from the flowers. This essence, diluted to some extent, could then be taken as a medicine. He found that as the negative moods changed so the person would return towards health.” Dr. Bach created 38 single essences that transform unwanted negative emotions. He also mixed five of these remedies into a combination formula called Rescue Remedy. Today, these
remedies are used by holistic practitioners and laypeople worldwide. In the U.S., they are available at health food stores or by mail order.
It may seem impossible that a few drops of flower-infused water could change the behavior and health of a 1,000pound horse, but my first experience with Bach Flower Remedies was so profound it left no room for doubt. Because my father loved horses, my sisters and I rode as children, at one point caring for four horses in our backyard. Thanks to this early experience and passion, I started training horses for a Quarter Horse ranch while still in high school, and became a full time professional in 1980. In 1985, I was rehabilitating a race horse named Timothy’s Hope, who was prone to severe anxiety and panic attacks. He was so restless and tense he wasn’t able to eat, sleep or work well. When he was saddled, he froze in place, literally paralyzed with fear, and I had to slowly coax him into going out on an easy ride. In my efforts to help him calm down, I used various types of massage, acupressure and TTEAM methods. I took him for walks, gave him plenty of grazing time and introduced him to calm horse friends. Nothing relaxed him for any length of time, so I contacted my veterinarian, Dr. Bob Anderson of Dallas, Oregon, who was one of the first holistic practitioners in the region. Dr. Bob gave me a small dropper bottle of water-like liquid labeled Rock Rose. He told me to put a dropperful of the remedy on Timothy’s tongue every hour until bedtime. The next morning, Timothy’s behavior and health shifted dramatically. His appetite and ability to rest and work returned to almost normal. The disconnected look in his eyes shifted to a more present, settled state. I continued to use the essence over equine wellness
Essences for fearful horses Remedy
Uses For the horse who has experienced terror. He may freeze in fear and be helpless. This remedy creates the positive virtue of courage.
Rock Rose Photo: Lene Ørskov
The horse has known fears, for example of the trailer, of being alone, of clippers, of the farrier, etc. The remedy is helpful for sensitive, timid animals. The horse has non-specific fears (fears you can’t name). He is afraid of what danger might be lurking around the corner or in the bushes. He is tense and spooks frequently. For horses easily overwhelmed by noise and activity, becoming nervous and mentally scattered. A good formula to use when the horse is traveling away from home.
Helps the horse stay emotionally balanced during times of change. Should be used when he is weaned, moves to a new home, has a new owner, trailers to a show or clinic, or loses a friend.
the next few days, and it greatly helped stabilize Timothy’s emotional frame of mind, improving his physical health and overcoming his fear of training. Watching Timothy transform literally overnight sent me on a quest to learn more about Bach Flower Remedies. Since that day almost 25 years ago, I’ve used them to calm frightened and injured animals, lift the spirits of abused or sick horses, build confidence in performance horses and tone down belligerent pasture bullies. I’ve mixed formulas that help horses (and their owners) cope with allergies, fear of trailer loading and stage fright during competition. The essences have helped an orphan foal move out of depression and an older horse reclaim his place in the herd.
How to begin
An easy way to start using Bach Flowers is to experiment with Rescue Remedy. To create it, Dr. Bach combined five single essences: Rock Rose, Clematis, Cherry Plum, Star of Bethlehem and Impatiens. Today, several companies market this formula and the 38 single essences. The original Bach brand from Nelson’s uses the original name of Rescue Remedy. Healing Herbs calls it Five-Flower Formula, while a version called Calming Essence is available from Traditional Flowers.
Nicknamed “the listening or learning formula”, it helps the horse retain lessons and break old habits (by learning new ways of responding).
Calms repetitive thoughts and a restless, agitated, busy mind. Can help the horse who repeats the same behavior over and over even though you’ve showed him new ways to respond.
This horse lacks confidence, is timid, and often does not move forward boldly. Larch 54
You can use the single essences one at a time, or combine up to six. Even though Rescue Remedy contains five essences, it forms a unique mixture that counts as one essence when used in a combination formula.
Diluting the essences
Add a minimum of four drops of Rescue Remedy to one ounce of water in a dropper bottle or spray mister
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The physical side Bach Flower Remedies are known for easing emotional stress, but I find they are also often the key to resolving lingering physical problems. If a horse is chronically fearful or angry, for instance, he will physically tense his muscles and move with short choppy strides. This ongoing physical tension interferes with his coordination, leaves him vulnerable to injury, and keeps undoing the benefits of massage, acupressure and other body therapies. In many cases, once the correct Bach Flower Remedy is administered, the horse’s emotional reactivity settles down and his physical issues resolve.
bottle. If you are using a two-ounce bottle, use eight drops. If you are using single essences, add a minimum of two drops of each to one ounce of water.
Add water to fill the dosage bottle. Use the best quality water you have on hand. Avoid chlorinated tap water and do not use distilled water.
Potentize the formula after you mix it up, and whenever you use it, by shaking it straight up and down and pounding it on the heel of your hand 20 to 30 times.
Most horses don’t care for the taste of brandy or vinegar. It’s best to make up a formula with just essences and water and use it within a few days.
Ways to dose your horse
There are numerous ways to use the remedies with your horse: •Put the liquid on your hand and offer it to the horse to sniff or lick. •Wipe it on his face.
If you’re not going to use the formula within four to five days, add at least one tablespoon of brandy or two to four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the formula to prevent the growth of bacteria. The liquid should be clear when it is held up to the light. If it is fuzzy, discard it.
•Mist it onto his nose. •Mist it down the horse’s spine, and on large areas of the body.
•Mist over injured areas. •Apply it to acupressure points. •Massage the horse’s gums with the liquid. •Mist or put drops on his treats and food and in his drinking water. When adding the remedy to a large bucket of water, use ten drops of stock essence or ¼ to ½ ounce of diluted essence.
To help your horse overcome a pattern of behavior that he or she has had for a long time, dose him two to four times a day for at least one to two weeks before assessing the value of the remedy. I like to dose the horse during training and bodywork sessions, and put it in the drinking water. Bach Flower Remedies can aid you and your horse in numerous situations and scenarios. They are relatively easy to acquire and administer, and the benefits can be immediate and long lasting. Whether you are a rider, professional equine body worker, veterinarian, trainer, or farrier, I recommend you give them a try. Both you and your horse will benefit greatly from this gentle gift of nature.
Resources Healing Herbs (www.healingherbs.co.uk) makes Five-Flower Formula and the 38 single Bach essences. Distributed in the U.S. by Flower Essence Services, 1-800-548-0075 or www.Fesflowers.com. The original Bach Flower Essence brand is distributed by Nelson Bach USA, 1-800-314-2224 or www.Nelsonbach.com. The Calming Essence version of Rescue Remedy and single essences are available in health food stores or by mail order at www.Traditionalflowers.com. For more about Dr. Edward Bach, see www.edwardbach.org.
•Can be used to calm a horse before and during trailering, shoeing, veterinary work, showing and racing (make sure it is acceptable under competition rules). •Use it to prevent or relieve anxiety, fear, panic, and learning problems. •Give it to the nervous horse before and during training or riding sessions.
horse owners how to use equine acupressure, massage,
When to use Rescue Remedy
and gentle horse training and
She is the Acupressure Point Charts for Horses, An Illustrated Guide to 127 Point Locations. The 230-page text includes 330 high-quality photos and 100 anatomical illustrations
•Helps calm horses that are colicking, sick or injured while waiting for the veterinarian.
author of the new book
showing the positions of the points and energy channel pathways.
Diana offers classes at her facility in Northern California and other locations. Phone (707) 542-4646 or visit: www.dianathompson.com
•May help revive a horse that loses consciousness or goes into shock. •Can be used during a massage or acupressure session to help the horse relax so he can make the most of the bodywork.
heads up! On the wagon Imagine a utility wagon that carries up to 400 pounds but still fits through standard-size gates and doors. The new Value Turf Wagon from Ursa, Inc. features the same solid construction, maneuverability and corrosion-resistant materials as the company’s other wagons, but with a narrower stance. Easily pulled and dumped even when fully loaded, it significantly decreases back and shoulder strain, and reduces the risk of injury or work-related fatigue. The wagon can also be towed behind a small tractor or ATV. www.ursawagon.com
New look, same quality
It has a brand new label, but it’s still the same superior product. GLC 5500 is a first line of defense against the mechanical stress your horse’s joints undergo during competition or pleasure riding. This full spectrum glucosamine and chondroitin supplement from GLCDirect fights the joint damage and disease that cause pain and slow down your equine partner. Formulated as a 100% pure powder concentrate, it’s the only equine product to meet ConsumerLab.com independent testing. www.GLCdirect.com
Inflammatory and degenerative diseases like arthritis, navicular syndrome, chronic laminitis, heaves, and dermatitis are common. Now there’s a way to help alleviate these conditions without NSAIDS, corticosteroids and other medications. It’s System Saver, a unique all natural product that inhibits the destructive enzymes contributing to these diseases rather than just providing nutrients to repair the damage. It contains a combination of four standardized plant extracts chosen for their activity against these enzymes. System Saver is also ideal for routine joint maintenance and cartilage protection. www.systemsaver.net
Equine insulin resistance is the fastest growing cause of laminitis. The answer to keeping your horse healthy? HEIRO (Healthy Equine Insulin Resistance Organical) from Equine Medical & Surgical Associates, Inc. It’s the only product for this problem that uses USDA certified organic herbs and has the highest level of vitamin E. It is lab tested for safe levels of starch and sugars, and double-lab tested for content by the State of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center and Equi-Analytical. Before and after testing shows clear evidence that it works. www.equinemedsurg.com
Save his soles
If your horse has been used to wearing shoes, he’ll need a bit of extra help while transitioning to a barefoot life. Vettec’s Sole-Guard is the first product of its kind to offer fast and effective protection, support and comfort to a newly barefoot horse. Filling the bottom of the foot with Sole-Guard creates a durable and protective coating that bonds to the foot for up to three weeks. It sets firm within 30 seconds, but remains flexible enough to move naturally with the foot. Excellent for use during trail riding. www.vettec.com
Vitamin E made easy Getting the point
For anyone interested in learning about equine acupressure, or for professionals already practicing, the all-new Acupressure Point Charts for Horses is an easy-to-use and comprehensive resource. Written by equine acupressure and massage practitioner Diana Thompson, the book features an accurate guide to 127 equine acupressure points and 14 energy flows. Within its 230-page “barn-friendly” flip chart format, you’ll find 330 high quality black and white photos with the locations of points and energy channel pathways, as well as step-by-step instructions to help you find the points. Use it to learn how to balance emotions, ease situational stress, improve physical health, relieve muscle and joint soreness and aid in emergencies until the vet arrives. www.dianathompson.com
Natural vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant for horses and much more bio-available and easily absorbed than synthetic vitamin E. Elevate Maintenance Powder is a new natural vitamin E supplement from Kentucky Performance Products. It’s scientifically proven to significantly raise the circulating levels of vitamin E in the horse’s body within 21 days. Economical and easy to feed, the powder is concentrated, so as little as seven grams per day delivers 1,000 IU of natural vitamin E. Suitable for horses of all ages and uses, and essential for those that don’t have regular access to fresh pasture. www.KPPusa.com
Gaiter aid When you’re riding on muddy or challenging terrain, it’s a good idea to protect your equine partner’s hooves. With this in mind, EasyCare, Inc. announces its new and improved Easyboot Gaiter. The new design has four major revisions. There is no internal stitching, all edges on the gaiter are now rolled, and the leather on the back of the gaiter has been replaced by a two-way elastic that stretches and gives to accommodate different heel builds. The improved gaiter is now shipping on all Epic, Bare, Grip and Custom Easyboots. www.easycareinc.com equine wellness
Games that challenge your equine partner and strengthen your bond by Fawn Anderson
These days, people are more aware than ever of the importance of satisfying their horses’ psychological as well as their physical needs. Pat Parelli says it best: “Your horse is recreation for you, but can you be recreation for your horse?” You can have a pretty good relationship with a horse when you build on trust, respect and obedience, but if you want to get into his heart and enjoy the magical connection you’ve always dreamed of, you need to learn to think like a horse, and play! In addition to being a fun way to bond with your horse on a mental level, games that involve precision, focus and purpose will help you establish yourself as the leader of your “herd of two”. You can then break down and practice the ingredients of more difficult or frightening things, such as trailer loading, to
increase your horse’s confidence in bite-sized chunks.
Getting started The best place to begin when you are learning to communicate more effectively with your horse is on the ground with a 12’ lead and a carrot stick, if you have one. Sticks are great, because you can be more effective from a safe distance by using steady or rhythmic pressure to teach your horse to move away. It is important to have some basic ground skills before you start. You’ll
If you do not have access to a carrot stick, try working with a dressage whip. need to be able to back your horse up and move both his hindquarters and front end independently of one another, using both steady pressure (pressing on your horse with your hands or your stick) and rhythmic pressure (teaching your horse to move away from your intention/energy). For more help with these, the Parelli Level 1 Home Study Program is available on my website at www.fawnanderson.com.
Focus and precision games One of the most powerful tools you have, without even knowing you are using it, is intention (also referred to as focus). This is how herd animals communicate with each other. Every
herd has a leader, and the rest of the group follows the lead horse’s focus.
had when he was following you on the ground), but it also teaches you how to use your stick to support your direction from on the ground. These cues can later be applied the same way when you ride. So make sure you can ask your horse to go forward by lightly tapping him on the bum, and that you can direct him towards you with the lead rope or away from you with your stick. Got it? Great! Let’s get an object.
People have a tendency to go “at” their horses with their intention or tools. This can cause a horse to feel attacked or threatened. As well, this is not a type of communication your horse can read. Instead, you should form a strong picture in your mind of where you want him to go, and then use body language to help support it.
Think of it as playing charades with your horse and see how clear you can get your signals!
1. Teach your horse to touch an object with his nose In order to do this, you need to know
how to drive your horse forward in front of you while standing at, or behind, his shoulder. This is a great task because it not only simulates riding (you are teaching your horse to go first, and this can bring up confidence issues you didn’t know your horse
Pick something easy that is at the same height as your horse’s nose, and isn’t scary. Drive your horse forward towards the obstacle, and softly direct his nose so it is aiming where you want him to go. Think of his nostrils as being target sights – he will only go in the direction you want if his sights are set on it! Make sure your horse actually touches the object before you quit. Go slow and reward the slightest try, but keep going until he gets it. It’s sort of like playing “You’re getting warmer/colder”: back equine wellness
off when he’s getting warmer, and put a little bit more pressure on if he’s getting colder. Pretty soon he’ll figure it out, and will be looking for the things you want him to touch!
put any one of his feet on the object of choice. Your horse will get so good at reading your intention that he’ll know exactly which foot you want him to place on the object!
Be careful not to lead your horse to the object with the lead rope. Direct him from behind with your focus and give him an intention to follow.
This may take a few weeks of practice, but it will really get you in tune with your horse’s feet. Once he gets it, you can play this game from his back and see if you can place his foot on the object without looking. You can peek to check, but you want to get to where you can feel exactly which foot is moving and where. When you can feel your horse’s feet with that much accuracy, you’ll have acquired a whole new level of sensitivity and timing that your horse will definitely appreciate.
2. Put your horse’s foot
Success tip Look at what you want your horse to touch instead of at him. He won’t know what you want if you stare at him, and he might get a bit nervous!
on an object
This is a great game because it teaches you to be soft and refined with your aids. It also shows your horse that you are asking for something very specific, so it makes him think. The easiest way to start is by using Frisbees, or lids from pails, and asking your horse to put a
Confidence and purpose games
1. New ways to play with balls
Start by bouncing the ball on the ground, walking away from your horse while he follows. This will create curiosity and build his confidence. Begin with small bounces until your horse is completely confident. Once he gets braver you can progress to rubbing him with the ball, and eventually to softly bouncing it off your horse.
Take your time! Don’t be in a rush, and make sure you stop and reward even the slightest try in the right direction. Otherwise, your horse will get confused and not want to engage in the activity with you.
Be careful not to get frustrated or mad. If you are too focused on the task, your horse will feel pressured, and this will cause him to get claustrophobic and bring out his natural opposition reflex. You need to go into the task with the attitude of “I’ve never seen it take longer than two days!” and literally not care if you don’t get it done that day. Just look for improvement.
specific foot on the object. Eventually you want to progress to where you can
and get him more confident with rhythmic motion or commotion.
Many of you have probably heard of teaching your horse to push a ball around with his legs or chest. Once you’ve done this, another fun way to play with a ball is by bouncing it around your horse! This is a great way to desensitize him
Photo: Scot Hansen
Once you can do all these things, you are ready to try while riding. If you have a big enough ball, you will be able to reach down and start bouncing it from your horse’s back. Build to where you can bounce it in place, or even walk a circle around it while you keep it bouncing. Once you’ve mastered that, try dribbling and going somewhere with the ball. You could form your very own horseback basketball group!
Success tip Slow and right beats fast and wrong! Make sure you get the groundwork going well before riding, and don’t hesitate to go back to basics if your horse gets worried.
Pitfall Be careful not to hold your rope too short or start too close to your horse. If he is worried, give him plenty of space and don’t expect him to follow right behind you. Keep retreating – it might be a few weeks before you can stand still and bounce the ball beside him. Be patient!
2. Platforms for purpose
Teaching a horse to step up onto a platform is a great exercise. Depending on the size and height of the platform, it can help with trailering and trimming issues. A platform big enough for all four of your horse’s feet can really help him become more confident about backing off of objects. Some horses get quite scared when they are asked to back out of a trailer because they can’t see how
far the step down is, and have never practiced it. If your horse has trouble with this, start with a low platform and gradually progress to a greater height so he does not feel like he is stepping off a cliff the first time. Once he has learned the name of the game, you can also teach him to put just one foot up on something, such as a tire filled with dirt, and hold it there. If he takes it off, just ask him to put it back and build the time that he can hold it there. This will simulate what a horse feels when asked to hold his foot up on a shoeing stand to have his feet done, and will teach him that it is his responsibility to keep it there.
Success tip Keep your own feet still. At first, your horse will likely try everything but putting his foot on the object, and it is tempting to move in an attempt to block or redirect him. You’ll give him a better picture of what you want by staying calm and still and directing him from one spot.
Pitfall Do not ask for all four feet at once. Just ask for one foot the first day, and gradually build to where you can get two, three and then four feet up on the platform. There are literally thousands of challenges you can create for your horse. These are just a few to get you started, and it is up to you how far you take it. Have fun and go play!
Fawn Anderson is the only Canadian Instructor to have taught on Faculty at the Parelli Center in Florida. She is also one of the top rated Parelli Natural Horsemanship Instructors in Canada, and travels across the country teaching people how to be better leaders and communicate more effectively with their horses. can be found in
hiding from the snow and riding with
and other mentors
in order to keep her knowledge and training at the highest level possible. www.fawnanderson.com
A wholistic perspective on
by Christine King, DVM
One of the most common questions I’m asked is about natural alternatives to bute, Banamine, and other anti-inflammatory analgesic (pain relieving) drugs. The question reveals a desire to do what is best for the horse, but it also reveals a fundamental misunderstanding about pain, one I’d like to clear up here. There’s way more to it than substituting devil’s claw for bute.
Before proceeding with pain relievers of any kind, three questions need to be answered:
The purpose of pain
Accurate assessment is the key to effective pain relief. Resolve the underlying problem and the pain resolves itself in most cases. This is where having a wholistically oriented veterinarian as an integral part of your horse’s health care team is a tremendous asset.
Pain has a purpose. One of its roles is to protect the body from damage. In fact, pain is fundamental to health and ultimately to survival. In other words, pain is life-sustaining. It puts the body on notice that tissue damage has occurred or is about to occur. And it changes the body’s behavior accordingly, in an effort to avoid further damage and create an environment that is most conducive to healing (e.g. stillness or slow, careful movement). Furthermore, at the biochemical level pain helps marshal the troops, so to speak. The neurotransmitters and other biochemicals involved in inflammation and the perception of pain act as beacons for the cells whose job it is to move into the damaged area, destroy any invading organisms, mop up the debris, and begin the repair process. So, in addition to its protective role, pain is integral to healing.
That’s not to say we should not be providing pain relief. That’s not what I mean at all. To use another Buddhist concept, what I’m saying is that we need to do so mindfully. Know what you’re treating and why, and understand the ramifications of what you’re doing. Jumping in with the pain relievers, without fully understanding why the pain is there, is a bit like putting a strip of duct tape over the oil warning light on your dashboard, instead of making an effort to find out why the warning light is on. Remember, pain has a purpose.
Answer these three questions
The best pain reliever I know of is restoration of health. In most cases, once a damaged tissue has healed completely, it is no longer painful. So, the single most important component of pain management in horses is to correctly identify the cause of the pain and appropriately treat the cause. Pain relievers, whether pharmaceutical, herbal, homeopathic, or anything else, are secondary components of the treatment plan.
Where is the pain originating? Why is it there (i.e. what’s causing it)? And with chronic pain, why is it still there? What, if any, intervention is needed?
Pain relief options
As to pain relievers, there’s an astonishing array of alternatives to drugs and surgery. Some operate primarily at the biochemical or cellular level; others on a more gross scale of tissue, region (i.e. body part), or the body as a whole; and panning out even further are the therapies that primarily work on the nonphysical or energetic aspects of the body’s organizational system. Here is just a sampling: •Biochemical/cellular: anti-inflammatory nutrients, nutraceutical, and herbs; injectable hyaluronan and polysulfated glycosaminoglycans; autologous conditioned serum (aka interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein, or IRAP) therapy; stem cell therapy; neural scar therapy (injection of scars with local anesthetic). © Andi Berger – Fotolia.com
Does that sound like something we should be actively suppressing, just because it’s unpleasant? It is an admirable desire to want to relieve suffering. However, sometimes I think we take it to an extreme. In our culture we have such an aversion to discomfort, in whatever form it takes, that we assiduously avoid it, sometimes even to the detriment of our long-term health and well-being. I think that’s what underlies the prevailing sentiment that every animal in pain should be given some form of “pain killer.” Our guiding thought is: “Just make it go away.”
To borrow from Buddhist philosophy, there is pain and there is suffering, and the two are not synonymous. Yes, there can be a psychological component to pain (i.e. physical pain can cause emotional suffering), but it’s been my observation that most animals cope with pain much better than most humans do. In fact, your horse’s pain may be upsetting you more than it’s upsetting him.
•Tissue/region/body: rest, exercise, cold therapy, heat therapy, bandaging and equine wellness
splinting, corrective hoof care, manual and movement therapies, osteopathic or chiropractic manipulations, magnetic field therapy, and various electrical devices (e.g. transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or [TENS], electrical muscle stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, cold laser and other light therapy, electromagnetic field therapy).
•Nonphysical/energetic: homeopathy, homotoxicology, acupuncture/acupressure, craniosacral therapy, Trager work, Reiki, Healing Touch, radionics, plant and gemstone essences, prayer, and love. Of course, there’s quite a bit of overlap with many of these specific approaches, as they work at both the physical and nonphysical levels. And this list is far from complete. It simply serves to illustrate how many different ways one can approach and work with the horse’s system to help restore comfort and function. Which method or combination of methods is most appropriate will depend on the individual horse, on the cause of the pain, and on its severity and duration. This, too, is where working with a wholistically oriented veterinarian often yields the best outcome.
Pain-mollifying vs. disease-modifying
When deciding on a plan of care, it’s important to make the distinction between pain-mollifying and diseasemodifying agents or approaches. Are you just wanting to mollify (calm, soothe, lessen) the pain, or do you actually want to address its underlying cause? A pain-mollifying approach is one that merely suppresses inflammation or reduces pain perception or sensitivity. With a disease-modifying approach, you’re actually working with the body’s healing processes to resolve
the problem causing the pain. As you might imagine, this strategy is most effective overall. Sometimes, though, a combination of the two is needed, because working only on the root cause of the pain may not have an immediate payoff in terms of pain relief. This is most often the case with chronic pain. Horses dealing with chronic pain generally require a multifaceted approach – a truly wholistic approach, in fact. Let’s take a look at arthritis as an example. Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is one of the most common causes of chronic pain in horses. In devising a treatment plan, I first consider the horse’s age, breed, build, conformation, occupation, work history, habits of posture and movement, trimming/ shoeing, footing (i.e. living and work surfaces), housing, exercise regimen, diet, social interactions, medical history, overall health, and other things. In other words, I’m looking for all the factors that may be contributing to joint health or disease in this individual horse. From there, I devise an individualized plan of care that aims to get and keep the whole horse, and thus her joints, in a better state of health. The body is more than just a collection of parts, and no problem occurs in isolation. So if I feel, for example, that the underlying cause of joint disease in a particular horse is a compromised gut barrier, then the focus of my treatment plan will be on restoring gut and liver health. Often, no specific “joint therapy” is needed once the digestive system is in a better state of health and function. In other cases, the focus may be on hoof care, saddle fit, or movement re-education. My point is that there is no simple formula for pain management in the horse. What works for one may be only moderately effective or entirely ineffective in another. That’s because disease is a highly
individual thing; it does not follow a formula. That’s not what the conventional scientific paradigm would have us believe, but it is nonetheless the true state of things. Find out why the individual horse has pain, and the solution for that horse begins to reveal itself.
In my practice I want to finish by listing the pain-management tools I use most often in my practice. They reflect the healing methods to which I am most drawn: nutritional therapy, herbs, homeopathy, manual and movement therapies, and energy medicine. •A healthy diet, daily exercise, and loving social connections. •Homeopathics, such as Traumeel and Spascupreel (www.HeelUSA.com); Traumeel for any kind of inflammatory condition, and Spascupreel for colic pain. I also use single homeopathic remedies as the case requires and following classical homeopathic principles. •Herbal supplements, such as Mobility Blend, Spicy Magic, Green Magic, and Ulcer Care (www.animavet.com).
•Herbal essences, especially Devil’s Claw, Frankincense (Boswellia), Ginger root, Raspberry leaf, Chamomile, and Wild Oat (www.animavet.com). •Manual and movement therapies (various). •Spinal mobilization, based on osteopathic principles, but primarily energetic in application. •Energy work: hands-on and remote, including an emotional release technique
(as chronic physical problems often reflect an underlying emotional disorder). •I also include dental care, saddle fit, and restorative hoof care (trimming to restore optimal digital biomechanics). For my own use, for the various aches and pains of a vet’s life, I use: Traumeel, Cimicifuga Homaccord (a Heel remedy that works a treat for upper back and neck pain), and the various herbal essences I make (especially Devil’s Claw and the others listed above). Daily exercise (a brisk walk with my dog first thing each morning), some spinal mobility exercises (Trager Mentastics, to be specific), and a healthy diet also are essential. When I slack off with any of these three, my body starts grumbling at me. So, too, with many of the horses and other animals in my practice. The principles of healthy living cross species boundaries and are immutable. Trying to cheat the system or addressing only the most obvious part of the problem (i.e. pain) is missing the point. To find a wholistically oriented veterinarian in your area, go to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association website at: www.ahvma.org or check out the directory listings in this magazine. Copyright ©2008 Christine King BVSc, MACVSc, MVetClinStud
Dr. Christine King is an Australian equine veterinarian with over
20 years 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 firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 425-876-1179. equine wellness
Freeway… horse rescue 101 by Kelly Howling
As Sue Thompson drives down the freeway one day, she notices an emaciated chestnut in a paddock. She figures if she can see the horse’s ribs, hips and spine from the road at high speed, he has to be in pretty poor shape. Shortly after, Sue is on the same route again, this time with her friend Bev Minor. She decides to take another look at the horse from the road and decide what to do. Bev tells her that if she wants to go check the horse out, she’s game. Seeing that the horse now looks even worse, Sue agrees. The owner of the farm lets them through the gate. As they walk to the field, Sue hears the horse’s story. Realizing that he’ll only continue to go downhill, she says to the owner, “This horse isn’t going to make it through the winter here. If I have him, he might. Let’s make a deal.” The deal is quickly struck, and the horse stands rocking back and forth at the ramp of the trailer, tempted by the grain Bev is offering. Sue gives him a shove, and one foot goes up. He is willing and trying, but just doesn’t have the strength. So Sue pushes and Bev pulls, and he gets on. The vet arrives soon after to see him,
proclaiming him a 1 on the body condition scale, and agreeing that he didn’t have much longer if he’d stayed where he was. The horse is about 15 years old, has an elevated heart rate, a slight temperature, lice and internal parasites. He is at least 400 pounds underweight. He has an upper respiratory infection and needs his shoes pulled plus six months of hoof growth removed. Sue decides to name him Freeway. Stories of horses like Freeway are all too common in the equine world. Fortunately there are people like Sue with the knowledge and resources to help them. In fact we can all help horses like Freeway, whether we save one ourselves, adopt from a rescue organization, or find a way to lend our time and/or resources to such efforts. Sue’s story may inspire some to run out and pick up the first unfortunate horse they find, but cool heads and common sense must prevail when it comes to rescue work.
When you see a horse in poor shape, be sure to find out what you’re dealing with before making assumptions and jumping to conclusions. Some may be rescue projects on the mend, or older horses that people are working at getting weight on. Sue took the appropriate steps by getting the owner’s permission to visit, and learning the horse’s story before asking to purchase him.
Rescuing a horse yourself Rescuing a horse can be a large undertaking. You must realize this ahead of time, so you don’t get in over your head (which could lead to a potentially worse situation for the horse). Even if the horse you would like to help is not in as extreme condition as Freeway, keep the following in mind: •Money. Horses cost money – lots of it! Whether you are adopting from a rescue, saving a horse from the meat man at auction, taking on a PMU or Mustang, or picking up an unfortunate critter from someone’s backyard, be
Freeway after 2.5 months of rehab in Sue’s care.
prepared for some type of initial purchase price. And just because the horse may be relatively cheap to buy does not mean it ends there. These horses often require plenty of aftercare. •Transport. Rescues come in every state, from very weak, to wild, to well trained horses that just ended up in an unfortunate place. If the horse is in poor shape, mentally or physically, find a way to transport him to his new home that will not stress him out further (i.e. a nice big open stock trailer). If you do not have access to such a trailer, look into hiring someone to transport him.
have to put in extra time on things like handwalking and mucking out.
Malnourished horses require a planned, slow, incremental feeding program.
•Veterinarian. Soon after your horse arrives, it’s a good idea to have a vet out to evaluate his condition and alert you to any potential issues. Be prepared for extra costs such as medications, worming and diagnostics.
•Products and equipment. We all enjoy shopping for new horses! Plan for the usual equipment costs, but if your rescue is a mess, you may have to spend more on things like lice powder, shampoo, detangler, clippers, health products and so on.
•Farrier. All horses require regular attention by a farrier, but rescues can often require more, especially in the beginning. Your horse may need more frequent trims to get his feet back in shape, and may benefit from hoof boots.
•Stabling. You will of course need a place to keep your new pal! If your horse has special needs, be sure to find a facility that can accommodate them. •Quarantine. All horses should be quarantined when they first arrive at a new facility. This is especially important with horses that have been through an auction, or were living in questionable conditions. Discuss the quarantine length with your vet and the facility owner. •Stall rest. If the horse is weak, ill or lame, be prepared for him to do some time on stall rest. This means you will
•Time. Depending on the condition of your rescue, be prepared to invest a lot of time in him. Extensive medicating, bathing, grooming, handwalking and more may all be necessary. •Training. Your rescue may come with plenty of training or none. Be ready to spend lots of time gaining his trust and working on basic handling and manners. If you reach a point where you do not feel comfortable continuing the training, or you discover a behavioral issue from the horse’s past, consider investing in a trainer to assist you.
•Feeding. Depending on your horse’s body condition and health, he may require special feed and/or supplements. It is a good idea to talk to a nutritionist or local rescue organization for tips on how to feed your new friend.
•Emotional investment. We all get attached to our horses pretty quickly. While most rescue stories have happy endings, some horses are just too far gone to save, despite their rescuers’ best efforts. If you take on a horse whose equine wellness
future is very uncertain, be prepared for the fact that he may not make it. But take comfort in knowing that you are giving him some last days of kindness and comfort.
Do not take on that cute yearling if you do not understand how to handle and train a young horse.
Adopting from a rescue
Negotiating a rescue contract
For some, adopting or purchasing a horse from an equine rescue organization is the way to go. Usually the organization has already done most of the rehab work, and knows the horse. They can often assess what type of future the horse will have, and can help you find one that will work for you and whose costs and needs you can handle comfortably.
Finding a rescue organization As with anything else in this world, there are good and poor rescue organizations. Do a lot of research and ask around before you pick one to adopt from. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be afraid to ask for references from previous adopters about their experiences.
Can you provide the correct home? Most rescues will want to interview you to determine whether or not you can provide the kind of home they want to adopt their horses out to. Be ready to provide references and allow the organization to check out the facility you will keep the horse at.
Getting the right horse Adopting a rescue is no different than purchasing a horse. Look for a horse that can fit into your family, and that you are capable of handling and caring for. Do not take on a horse with chronic lameness issues if you are not prepared to pay for the extra care that will entail.
Most organizations will ask you to sign a contract when you adopt one of their horses. Make sure you understand all parts of the contract before you sign it!
Other horses looking for homes include Mustangs and PMU horses. For more information, visit www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov or www.pmurescue.org.
Lending a helping hand If you want to help out horses in need, but are unable to take one on yourself, please consider volunteering at a reputable rescue organization. They can always use the help! Whether you are able to assist with barn chores, spend time with the horses, help with training/ exercising or donate resources for the costs involved in running such an operation, your assistance will be welcome.
And Freeway? Freeway is happy to report to his friends and supporters that he is well on his way to recovery (to keep up to date with his progress, see his blog at www.savingfreeway.blogspot.com). Through observing his behaviors and interactions, Sue has determined that at one point he did have a good life with someone who cared about him, bringing us to the scary realization that each horse is just one owner away from a bad situation. Happily, Sue and her team of veterinarians, friends and farriers have invested a great deal into helping Freeway, and he is now making everyone smile with his energetic antics!
Who, me? by Dr. Valeria Wyckoff
Awhile back, a friend and I were heading down a mountain in bumper-to-bumper traffic in a driving snowstorm. Suddenly, the driver side windshield wiper flew off. When we finally came to a stop and realized we were okay, we pulled out a bottle of Bach Rescue Remedy and each had a dropperful. As soon as I calmed down, I realized all I had to do was move the passenger windshield wiper over to the driver’s side, and we could be on our way again. The Rescue Remedy sped up the calming process and recovered our ability to think clearly. Anxiety can come in a variety of packages. Sometimes it’s predictable, and other times it’s a surprise. It can arrive in the form of shaking hands while you wait your turn at a big show. You could be out riding when anxiety hits out of the blue. Or you might run into a scary situation while driving, as we did. Understanding the triggers for anxiety can often help us avoid it. If you know you are always nervous before a performance, there are some reasonable and natural steps you can take to mitigate the anxiety. If you are surprised with sudden anxiety for no apparent reason, then you need to consider what might be happening inside your body to trigger the hormones, such as adrenalin, that produce those feelings. When life surprises us, having a plan in place for coping can help us think more clearly. Let’s review some ways we can combat anxiety.
Natural remedies You are packing to head out for the
horse show – what can you take with you to calm the jitters and allow you to think clearly? I suggest two different natural products.
1. Bacopa – An Ayurvedic herb. A capsule right before a performance creates a calm, clear, improved mental state.
2. Bach Rescue Remedy
– A flower essence in alcohol. I encourage people going into a tense situation to put a dropperful in their water bottle. A sip of water will then give them a small dose at regular intervals.
Calming breaths A calming technique that you can use anywhere is your breath. This Yogic breathing exercise will rapidly relax you:
1) Slowly count to eight as you inhale. 2) Count to four as you hold your breath. 3) Do eight counts for the exhale. 4) Count to four as you hold after the exhale. Repeating this exercise creates a calming cycle that is available to you on the trail, in a plane, or any other place you might need it. It encourages oxygen to your brain and muscles, and forces you to relax. I used this technique on a plane over Salt Lake City one summer, when we were flying over a huge thunderstorm with wind shears and turbulence. By using this breathing technique, I was able to keep both my mind and stomach at ease.
Understanding sudden anxiety What about anxiety that comes out of the blue – the sweaty palms and racing heart that strike for no apparent reason? I frequently find this happens to people an hour or two after they have eaten a high sugar, simple carbohydrate meal. Their blood sugar skyrockets, causing the body to overreact, and then the blood sugar drops too low. This stimulates adrenalin release and an anxiety response. The cure is to eat a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fats at each meal or snack. Breakfast is often all breads, syrups and juices for many people. Adding eggs or nuts will make a big difference.
Recovering after an accident Sometimes people experience anxiety while driving or riding after a bad accident or other frightening experience. A homeopathic solution is to take Aconitum 30C as needed before going into a situation similar to the original state. It can also be wonderful after a near accident. If you every find yourself experiencing mild situational anxiety, try Bacopa, Rescue Remedy, breathing exercises or Aconitum. You will be glad you did. 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
Hot stuff! Preventing heat stress in horses by Kim Sergent, DVM As the hot weather approaches, so does the risk your horse may overheat. With show season upon us, it’s important to monitor how much work your horse can tolerate. It’s a wise idea to implement a good conditioning program in the spring, so that by summer your horse will be adjusted to the coming high temperatures. Heat stress is caused by a rise in internal temperature. Exposure to direct sunlight, minimal airflow, high ambient temperatures and humidity along with a long hair coat all increase the danger of heat stress. In addition, muscles produce about 80% heat and 20% mechanical energy, so when exercised, a horse’s metabolic rate increases substantially, creating thermal (heat) energy.
Dissipating excess heat
Sweating is one way horses get rid of excess body heat. When it’s really hot, a horse can lose up to four gallons of fluid (equal to 30 pounds of body weight) every hour. This may cause dehydration if the lost fluids are not replaced while exercising. If a horse loses over nine gallons of fluid, the
the sweat over the body surface, increasing evaporation. Latherin can be depleted by excess sweating, but will be replenished over a few days if the horse is rested and does not sweat.
result can be severe heat stress, and even death.
A horse’s internal temperature can rise quite quickly in humid conditions; this is because humidity makes evaporative cooling less efficient.
Sweat also contains important electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride that are found in body fluids. When these are lost, electrolyte imbalances can occur, furthering complications within your horse. Another important component of sweat is latherin (it creates a white foam on your horse when he is worked). This foam aids in spreading
Panting is another source of heat loss. It’s indicated by rapid, shallow respirations (120 to 140 breaths per minute). Panting causes rapid and significant airflow over the nasal surfaces. This allows heat loss from the blood in the nasal mucosal capillaries through evaporation (changing liquid to a vapor), direct heat transfer (conduction), and heat exchange (convection). As long as the respirations are shallow and the heart rate is declining normally, panting does not indicate a problem. The horse is just cooling out.
Once dehydration sets in, a horse loses the ability to regulate his body core temperature. He’ll be more likely to experience tying up, because less blood is circulating to the muscles.
Signs of heat stress
Symptoms include depression, lethargy, sweating all over the body, and depressed gut sounds. Heat that is not dissipated through sweating will either be stored, resulting in an increased body temperature (102.1°F to 103ºF), or lost via the respiratory tract, resulting in rapid breathing (30 to 40 breaths per minute). The heart rate will increase to 50 to 60 beats per minute and the gums will be dark pink. Your horse’s temperature should decline within 20 to 30 minutes – if it doesn’t, this is cause for concern and other cooling techniques should be implemented.
With continued exercise, these signs can go from relatively mild to severe in a short time, so it’s very important to monitor your horse and listen when he tells you “enough”. Here are some tips to keep your horse cool during exercise:
exercising. You can also try water mixed with rubbing alcohol or witch hazel extract, as these hasten evaporation. Apply on the inside of the legs, the underside of the belly and neck. There are large superficial veins in these areas that aid in heat transfer. Avoid putting cold water on the large muscles of locomotion, such as the gluteals, as this can cause cramping. In general, the cooler the air temperature, the less cold the water needs to be. Remove your horse’s tack and go for a walk, or place your horse in a breeze – this increases airflow and evaporation.
With increasing (moderate) heat stress, symptoms include:
Two ways to prevent heat stress
•Respiratory rate of 40 to 50 breaths per minute.
Start by conditioning your horse during cooler weather and keeping him conditioned as the weather heats up. This allows his cooling mechanisms to become more efficient, which will help him acclimate in several ways.
•Heart rate of 61 to 80 beats per minute. •Reddish pink gums. •Rectal temperature between 103.1°F and 105°F. •Allow him to frequently drink small amounts. •The horse will be depressed, uninterested in food, and may act uncoordinated (stumbling, loss of balance). •He will be dripping sweat profusely, but this type of sweating is ineffective because evaporation is not occurring to cool the body. It is also dangerous because large amounts of fluid and electrolytes are lost. When a horse is experiencing severe heat stress or heat stroke, symptoms include: •Dry, hot skin. •A respiratory rate above 50 breaths per minute. •A heart rate of more than 80 beats per minute. •Dark red or purple gums. •A rectal temperature over 105°F •The horse will be non-responsive to his/her surroundings, may stagger and even collapse and convulse. These signs can progress to coma and death.
•Allow rest periods in the shade. •Excitation can increase internal temperature. If your horse is excitable, use a little Rescue Remedy to calm him down prior to a workout (you can also use some yourself). •If your horse is in the moderate or severe zone, a veterinarian should be called in. At this point, rest and other cooling methods will not be enough, and IV fluids will be needed to reduce your horse’s core temperature, correct dehydration and balance his electrolytes.
Test your horse for dehydration by pinching the skin over the shoulder. It should snap back within one to two seconds. If it takes longer than that, the horse is significantly dehydrated.
After a workout Ice and cool water are the typical methods for cooling a horse down after equine wellness
temperatures in hot conditions. A fitter horse will have a smaller rise in temperature during a standard workout.
Clipping a long hair coat will aid in heat dissipation, but this means the horse has lost his insulation so don’t forget to blanket him at night! Heat will dissipate more efficiently from respiratory heat loss. As well, conditioning will lower the horse’s resting temperature, and lower stored body
Another preventative technique is to keep track of the heat index. This is simply the temperature (F) + humidity (%). If the heat index is less than 130, a horse can generally cool out without hosing or sponging off – unless the humidity is over 75%. If the heat index is over 150, evaporative cooling
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is diminished and you should begin monitoring your horse closely. Anything above 180 means the horse cannot cool himself and should not be exercised.
Working your horse during the early morning hours when it’s cooler is an easy way to avoid heat stress. Learning to recognize and avoid heatrelated problems will help you protect your horse from an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation. If you are ever in doubt about what stage of heat stress your horse might be at, call your vet. Heat stress can escalate quickly and have dire consequences. Listen to your horse, and keep cool!
After discovering at an early age
that she had a real connection with
disease prevention natural alternative treatments natural diets and nutrition latest trends in integrative therapies product recommendations natural horsemanship, and so much more!
animals, Kim Sergent set her sights on Veterinary School. She graduated in 1989 from the University of California, Davis and began practicing equine veterinary medicine in the
San Diego area. She began
to discover health and
behavioral problems which could not be treated medically and sought an alternative, a more complete approach to veterinary care. In
1997 Musculo-Skeletal Manipulation by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, she was certified for
and began to integrate chiropractics
into her veterinary practice. In
2002 Colorado State University Veterinary Acupuncture School, and has more recently been studying herbology and homeopathy.
she graduated from
$35 CAN. 07 value) (18 issues – $1
Call or go online today – your horses will thank you!
1-866-764-1212 www.EquineWellnessMagazine.com 9am– 5pm E.S.T.
Dr. Sergent’s practice is based in Alpine and still services most of San Diego county. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Chiropractic Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners. www.acequine.com
book reviews Title: Angel
Whole Horse Herbs™
and Linda Anderson
The relationships we share with our horses can change our lives in profound ways. These bonds can be loving, healing, challenging and even life-saving. In their book Angel Horses: Divine Messengers of Hope, Allen and Linda Anderson explore this relationship with a selection of amazing and heart-warming stories of horses and the positive impact they’ve had on the people whose lives and hearts they touched. Read about Renegade, the high-spirited Arabian gelding who helped heal the soul of a troubled teenager on a downward spiral, or Wind Walker, who rescued her injured human partner from being attacked by a temperamental mare. You’ll enjoy stories about equines who helped people find themselves and their place in the greater scheme of things, as well as moving tales about life-altering spiritual communication between horses and humans. As you’ll discover while reading Angel Horses, these amazing animals can share with us a whole spectrum of experience and emotion, from love and friendship to healing, courage and endurance – and help us along our own paths in the process.
Chinese herbal formulas for horses Custom blended & individualized herbal formulas to meet your horse’s unique needs
Classic herbal formulas: • Movement & Flexibility • Performance & Show • Increased endurance • EPM & ERU support • Immunity support • Calming & Focus Veterinarian tested & recommended. Endorsed by performance horse trainers and owners
Publisher: New World Library
The Soul of a Horse
When film producer, author, and animal advocate Joe Camp, creator of canine superstar Benji, received a horse as a surprise birthday gift from his wife Kathleen, he was plunged head first into the equine world as he strove to learn everything he could about caring as naturally as possible for his new friend, and for the additional horses the couple subsequently acquired. In his new book The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd, Joe writes about his experiences as he unlocks the magic and mystery of these majestic creatures and discovers how to bond and interact with his small herd of equine partners. Intertwined with the couple’s eye-opening journey into the horse world is the lyrically written parallel journey of a fabled herd in the wild. This beautifully written and informative book illuminates the vast difference between horses and humans, and explains how we can bridge that gap and join together in a richly rewarding relationship.
Publisher: Harmony Books
horsemanship tips Photo: Brooke Baxter & Centerline Stables, NY
by Anna Twinney
You may have noticed that: •Horses will raise their heads or plant their feet when they feel pressure on their poll for the first time. •Young horses will expand their stomachs and breathe into the girth or into the riders’ legs, when they feel pressure against their side. •The first time they feel the bit pressure on the left side of their mouths, horses will try to turn right – into the sensation and pressure. •Horses will often slow down when they feel a whip on their sides. Developed over millions of years, this behavior is part of a horse’s survival instinct. They have to be shown how they can release themselves from this same pressure. The key is in the timing of the release. This same phenomenon becomes apparent when you place incorrect pressure behind a horse you are trying to load through lines, whips and people shouting. Your horse will immediately run backwards out of the trailer and into the pressure. 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.
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events May 2-4 – Purcellville, VA 3 Dog Ranch Animal Communication Advanced I Workshop – The Deepening This class is for those who have completed the Basic 2 Day Animal Communication course and wish to continue to deepen their connection with animals. Leave the hustle and bustle of your day to day life behind for a few days and connect deeply with all that is. This class is for those who want more knowledge, direction and inspiration to deepen their connection and experience. As you continue to open your heart to heart connection with animals and all that is, you will gain more experience, knowledge, guidance and inspiration. You will learn from the master teachers: the animals themselves. Janet will guide you, but the animals will teach you. We won’t stop there. That is just the icing on the cake. As we continue to go deeper you will learn how to open to all that is, including domestic and wild animals, plants, trees, and all of creation. This will be a weekend of fun and surprises. Discover your power animal. Come experience the magic. Prerequisites: The Basic 2 day course. You may also take this workshop if you have completed a basic animal communication course with another teacher. For more information: Janet Dobbs 703-648-1866 email@example.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com
May 17-18 – Washington, DC KitKat Ranch Animal Reiki Level I Workshop This Reiki Level I class is for animal people who
want to deepen their relationship with animals and learn ways to heal the animals in their lives as well as themselves. This class will give you an overview of Reiki and you will learn the differences and similarities between Reiki for humans and Reiki for animals. (Reiki is Reiki. The difference is the approach used when working with animals.) Through lecture, enlightening discussion, exercises and practice, you will be led through the basic steps. Students will experience Reiki energy and learn different ways that Reiki can be used as a healing tool for both humans and animals. Upon completion of the two day course you will be able to do a Reiki self treatment, hands on healing for friends and family and be able to offer Reiki to your own animal companion(s), other animals and even wild animals. For more information: Janet Dobbs 703-648-1866 firstname.lastname@example.org www.animalparadisecommunication.com
June 21-22 – Washington, DC KitKat Ranch Basic 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 informaition: Janet Dobbs 703-648-1866 email@example.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com
Post your event online at: www.equinewellnessmagazine.com/events equine wellness
My equine angel
Lilly, the pinto pony mare with a tan and white coat, is an angel. No questions asked. If you don’t believe in miracles, here’s a story for you. I started riding at Percival Lane Farm in Sandwich, Massachusetts, in November of 2004 when I was ten, and now I am twelve. I had competed with Lilly in several shows and was looking forward to attending the Pinto World Show in Oklahoma in June 2005. Two days before I was scheduled to leave for the show, Lilly reared up and fell on top of me. This horse is bombproof, so it was a complete fluke. My trainer, Jess, said that my accident was the worst she had ever experienced. But I love Lilly even more now because when she fell on me, it saved my life.
by Alexandra Best Flood
After the accident I was taken to the hospital emergency room and given a bunch of tests, including a CAT scan. The tests showed that I had no broken bones but some internal bleeding. This, however, was the good news. The bad news was that the doctors had spotted something bad on the CAT scan. An aneurysm was stuck on the middle of my aorta, where my legs split. None of my doctors had ever seen an aneurysm in this location. The doctors believe that I was born with this condition. It was not caused by the fall. The doctors at Children’s Hospital in Boston were outstanding. They did surgery to remove the aneurysm. The surgery lasted almost seven hours. The doctors said that it if hadn’t been taken out, I would have eventually died. The week I was recovering in the
hospital from the accident, Jess was on her way to the Pinto World Show. She called me during every stop to see how I was and to tell me how Lilly was doing. At the show Lilly won Top 5 in showmanship and Top 10 in in-hand trail. I was psyched! After my surgery all I wanted to do was to see Lilly again. She was all I could think about. When I recovered I went straight to the barn. I couldn’t help myself. As soon as I got there I saw that Lilly’s mane was braided and fancy from being in the show. I ran into her paddock and gave Lilly a hug, a kiss, and treats as I cried into her neck. I had missed her and needed to see that angelic pony once more. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought more and more about the accident. I wasn’t mad at her. I was greatly appreciative of the experience she gave me. Lilly is not just some pony, she’s the pony who saved my life. Lilly has been and always will be the pony of my dreams and my angelic friend. From the book Angel Horses: Divine Messengers of Hope, Copyright ©2006 by Allen and Linda Anderson. Reprinted with permission from New World Library, www.newworldlibrary.com or 1-800-972-6657, ext. 52.
Alexandra credits Lilly for saving her life.
If you have a heartwarming or humorous equine story you’d like to share, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org