V3I5 (Sep/Oct 2008)

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wellness Your natural resource!

Changing Stride Top tips for a successful barefoot transition

It’s showtrim!

The power of

Positive thinking

Trimming for barefoot performance horses


cushing’s Winter prep

Feeding tips to get your horse ready

Stuck in the mud? How to deal with

pastern dermatitis

Enter our 2nd annual

Photo Contest

Sept/Oct 2008 Display until Oct 21, 2008 $5.95 USA/Canada



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contents Features 14

Magic in your mind’s eye The power of positive thinking


How does he score?

A easy-to-use management tool for measuring the need to feed 26

Do it naturally!

Trimming for barefoot performance horses 32

Changing stride

Top tips for a successful barefoot transition 36

Hoofin’ it

Natural support for common hoof issues



On the case against cushing’s Good nutrition is the main line of defense


healing light

Is he recovering from an injury? Does he stiffen up after a long day’s riding? Cold laser therapy might be able to help. 56

Don’t get stuck in the mud Dealing with pastern dermatitis


Making friends

How to form an effective relationship with your herd 62

Get ahead of the game Feeding your horse in preparation for winter


Enter our 2 Annual Equine Wellness Photo Contest nd

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Send us your best shots and you could win!


Setting boundaries Fence options for your equine partner

47 equine wellness


On trust

Building a true bond with your equine partner

Click on this icon to visit featured links Sept/Oct 2008

columns 10

Neighborhood news


Holistic veterinary advice Talking with Dr. Christine King


Horsemanship tip


a Natural performer


Did you know?


Your health


Book reviews


Tail End Š Bronwyn8 | Dreamstime.com

71 Departments 8


42 45

Wellness resource guide


Heads up!






Events calender equine wellness

FREE BACK ISSUES! Buy a 3-year subscription to Animal Wellness Magazine and get the first six years FREE on CD! Topics include:

Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Editor: Kelly Howling Editor: Ann Brightman Editorial assistant: Stephanie Bossence Senior Graphic Designer: Stephanie Wright Graphic Designer: Leanne Martin Cover Photography: Leslie Town Columnists & Contributing Writers Linda Cowles Hannah Evergreen, DVM Juliet M. Getty, PhD Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS Jaime Jackson Dawn Jenkins Christine King, DVM Marlena Deborah McCormick, PhD Thomas E. McCormick, MD Liz Mitten-Ryan Jenifer Nadeau, MS, PhD H. Lynette Partridge-Schneider Leigh Shambo, MSW Anna Twinney Adele von Rüst McCormick, PhD Valeria Wyckoff, NMD, RD

disease prevention natural diets and nutrition natural health care product recommendations integrative Vet Q & A gentle training, and so much more!


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Leslie Town, www.MyHorse.ca It’s hard to believe this graceful horse was forced to retire from racing just two years ago because of a knee injury. Now nine, Atlas is a 16hh thoroughbred gelding whose guardian, Erika Glenny, boards him with Elaine Polny of Horses by Nature in Palgrave, Ontario. He is in the process of being “re-invented” as a bitless, shoeless, natural horse – and this portrait by photographer Leslie Town shows he’s enjoying every minute of his new life!

To subscribe: Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. $15.00 and Canada is $20.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: www.equinewellnessmagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 US Mail: Equine Wellness Magazine, PMB 168, 8174 S. Holly St., Centennial, CO 80122 CDN Mail: Equine Wellness Magazine, 201-107 Hunter St. E., Peterborough, Ontario, Canada K9H 1G7 Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues. Dealer or Group Inquiries Welcome: Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call 1-866-764-1212 and ask for dealer magazine sales, fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail at sales@equinewellnessmagazine.com.

www.equinewellnessmagazine.com Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2008. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: Aug 2008

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

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editorial Learning curves I used to depend solely on my farrier to know what was going on with my horses’ feet. In fact, I shrugged off most aspects of my horses’ care onto industry professionals. I left medical decisions up to my vet. I trusted my coach to adjust my horses’ feeding programs, know when tack was fitting improperly, and to set up my horses’ work schedules. I did what they told me to, and rarely questioned them. I can’t quite place my finger on the exact moment when my attitude changed – probably around the same time I began to embrace a more holistic/natural mindset – but I realized I needed to take a keener interest in all aspects of my horses’ care and work on thoroughly educating myself. I now have an interactive relationship with the professionals who work on my horses, asking questions, discussing options, taking over maintenance treatment/work and being more aware of what is going on with my equines. Hoofcare itself is a vast topic, and I was thrown into the thick of it by a big 12-year-old Warmblood cross gelding. The horse was shod in front, but never felt quite comfortable in his range of motion. After discussing the issue with my farrier and locating a barefoot specialist, I pulled the gelding’s shoes. He became quite sore, which was difficult for me to watch. Understanding that this can be part of the process, I gave it time while attending to every factor that could affect his ability to go barefoot successfully. Eventually he was sound on soft surfaces

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but tender on harder footing, and required some form of hoof protection in order to be ridden. However, his range of motion improved greatly. Because of this gelding, I gained a decent amount of knowledge about hoofcare, and am much more attentive to the changes and needs of my horses’ feet. Eager to help the gelding get sound, I attended trimming seminars, pored over websites, read publications, and discussed trims at length with professionals. Horses really are the best teachers of all, and we as their caretakers can never stop learning! To get started on your barefoot journey, take a look at Dawn Jenkins’ barefoot transitions article. Then move on to Linda Cowles’ piece on common hoof issues and natural support, and Jaime Jackson’s inspiring advice on trimming the barefoot performance horse. And as we head into the cooler months, don’t forget to also check out our articles on dealing with mud fever (Hannah Evergreen) and feeding your horse in preparation for winter (Juliet Getty). Naturally,

Kelly Howling

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Neighborhood news Call to action Goodbye, Teddy Photo: Steve Faust

Mercedes Clemens is calling on the horse community for help. The Maryland-based equine massage therapist is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and is a State of Maryland Certified Massage Therapist. Despite her credentials, the Maryland Board of Chiropractic Examiners and Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners recently informed her that only licensed veterinarians may perform massage on animals. She has since been required to discontinue the animal portion of her business. Mercedes has filed a lawsuit challenging the fact that Maryland veterinarians currently hold a monopoly on equine and small animal massage. She is hoping fellow professionals and riders will support her, since changing the law would give us a greater variety of qualified practitioners to draw from. To find out how you can help, visit www.thebetteranimal.com.

Minnesota’s story

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Minnesota is special. He belongs to an endangered breed of Asian wild horse (Przewalski’s horse), of which only 1,500 remain in existence. They’ve been extinct in the wild since 1970, so most live in zoos (Minnesota makes his home at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC), although attempts have been made to reintroduce small herds to Asia.

Thanks to his genetics and ancestry, Minnesota is regarded as a valuable asset to the North American program to maintain this breed. Unfortunately, while living at his former home, he was given a vasectomy so he could be kept with mares. An attempt to reverse the procedure was made in early 2007, but was unsuccessful. A second attempt was made later in the year, with the horse positioned on his back for the surgery rather than his side. The operation was a success and Minnesota will soon be bred, providing this rare breed of horse with more genetic diversity.


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The equine world lost a champ on May 28 when USEF Horse of the Year and eventing inspiration Theodore (Teddy) O’Connor was euthanized after sustaining an injury that would have compromised his quality of life. Teddy was being exercised when he spooked and lost his rider. He bolted and slipped, severing the tendons and ligaments in his hind leg. It was quickly determined that the injury would pose serious difficulties for the power pony, and the decision was made to let him go. Teddy jumped his way into the hearts of eventing fans around the world. At less than 14.2hh, the ¾ Thoroughbred Sportpony proved that good things come in small packages, competing in international events such as Rolex (the first pony to do so!). He and Karen O’Connor were shortlisted to the 2008 Olympic Eventing team.

Racing safety

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In response to recent racing tragedies, The Jockey Club has taken action by forming the Thoroughbred Safety Committee. It will be responsible for examining everything that affects the health and well being of racehorses, including track surfaces, medications, drug testing and breeding practices, and will suggest appropriate changes. The Committee’s first recommendations have been to: •ban the use of steroids in both racing and training •eliminate the use of toe grabs •re-evaluate the rules surrounding the use of whips The American Association of Equine Practitioners has stepped up to support these recommendations. More will be made in the coming months, and all will be presented to The Jockey Club for consideration. The suggested implementation date for the changes is no later than December 31, 2008.

A history of horses Humans and horses have been partners for millennia. You can explore this enduring partnership at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, which is hosting a special exhibition called The Horse until January 4, 2009. The exhibit looks at the 6,000-year-old link between horses and humans and covers the history of the horse, how and why we domesticated horses, equine behavior, and how horses have changed our lives. The ASPCA is taking part with equine related artifacts from its archives, including a full size replica of a 19th century horse drawn ambulance. For more information visit www.amnh.org.

Enter vitamin E We know vitamin E is good for us, and it may prove beneficial for horses as well. Researchers at the University of California’s School of Veterinary Medicine have performed a study in which two groups of horses were supplemented with two different levels of vitamin E, specifically the a-tocopherol form, over a period of nine days. The first group was given 1,000U daily, as recommended by the National Research Council, while the second group received 10,000U per day, the level used to treat neurological horses. Samples of cerebrospinal fluid and blood were taken from the horses at the beginning, middle and end of the study. They showed rapid increases in a-tocopherol levels at both dosages. These results suggest that vitamin E supplementation may have a beneficial effect on the central nervous system, especially with neurological problems such as equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM). equine wellness


Neighborhood news Photo: Maggie Furbay

No Triple Crown for Big Brown Everyone’s attention lately has been focused on Big Brown, the Thoroughbred gelding who was well on his way to a Triple Crown after easily winning both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. On June 7, however, he stunned racing fans by not only failing to win the Belmont, but finishing last in the prestigious race. Preliminary veterinary examinations showed no cause for Big Brown’s poor performance, although he was running with a loose shoe. Some speculate that he was simply not coping well with the hot weather, and was having an off day. In an interesting twist, Big Brown’s trainer, Rick Dutrow, is facing a suspension by Kentucky racing officials because another of the horses under his care, Salute the Count, tested for Clenbuterol at twice the allowable limit. Clenbuterol increases lung capacity, and while allowable in race horses, is not to be used 72 hours before a race. This is not the first time the trainer has been reprimanded for such violations. Triple Crown hopeful Big Brown shocked fans by finishing last at the Belmont.


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Big Brown’s co-owners, IEAH Stables, have said they will be taking all the horses in their stables off steroids, and will not use trainers who use these medications on their horses on a regular basis.

Photo: Daniel K. Lew

Award for Sally Sally Swift, founder of the Centered Riding® Method, has received the 7th Annual Equine Industry Vision Award. This award is presented each year to an industry professional who impacts the equestrian community on a large scale, showing innovation, leadership and creativity. Sally’s riding program has influenced equestrians worldwide. Involved with horses from a young age, she was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was seven. Later in life, to help resolve this issue, she worked with Mabel Todd (The Thinking Body) and was inspired to develop the Centered Riding concept. Sally’s first book on the subject (Centered Riding) was released in 1985 and has been translated into 14 languages. She also founded a worldwide certification and teaching program for Centered Riding instructors. Sally Swift is now 95 years of age.

Sally Swift’s Centered Riding concept has changed the mindset of thousands of riders. Here, she accepts the Equine Industry Vision Award, presented in honor of her work and dedication.

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Magic in your mind’s eye The power of positive thinking by Leigh Shambo, MSW

an your horse read your mind? I’m sure most readers would say, “yes, at least to a certain extent.” Some may even assert their horses are more responsive to their inner world than their human intimates are! But to what degree and in what way do horses perceive our thoughts and emotions?


carried by their humans. In addition to clients seeking to enhance their own mental health through working with horses, I’m often called upon by horse caretakers who want to share a deeper understanding with their equine partners. In some cases, there has been an accident or unwanted behavior, and the rider feels fear and is unsure how to proceed.

Horses and subtle energy

In my experience, it is a given that horses frequently pick up and act on the subtle dynamics of emotional and mental energy. Constructive communication with horses requires us to be present and attentive, and to become conscious of what psychologists call “automatic thoughts” – the pattern of hidden assumptions and beliefs that underlie our so-called logic. Horsemanship is

As a lifelong horsewoman, and a former instructor/ trainer now turned mental health therapist, I specialize in a fascinating field known as “equine-facilitated psychotherapy and learning” or EFP/L. Horses are very effective therapy animals, largely because of their innate tendency to readily respond to the feelings, thoughts and images


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a matter of aligning your inner world with your actions, a quality known as congruence that allows us to be in full communication with another. A client I will call “Betty” made a dramatic change with her horse “Magic” simply by learning to be more present. Betty had become frightened after a series of mishaps with Magic, the most frequent during a ride with her husband in which she broke her wrist. I found Betty to be an intelligent, outgoing woman with several years of experience with horses. Magic was an eight-year-old quarter horse that had recently been in professional training. In the paddock, I asked for a brief history. Betty discussed at length Magic’s training and background, and her desired goals, all of which were well within her reach with this horse, except for the fear that now blocked her progress.

The “two” selves phenomenon The human cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that allows us to examine the past and carry it forward to plan for the future. Betty was clearly good at approaching her horsemanship in a logical, well-planned manner that made perfect sense to me as a fellow human! Meanwhile, however, I could sense Magic becoming impatient. She nibbled at her lead rope, then nuzzled Betty’s pockets. Betty brushed her off without missing a beat in her narrative. Betty continued to talk as she tacked up and prepared to ride. Magic’s impatience continued to hum in the background. Time for me to intervene! “Betty, how do you feel right now?” I asked. “What do you mean?” she said.

We all have the ability to send and receive thoughts, pictures and feelings to and from our equine friends. Refining those abilities can increase harmony and safety. I explained that, as humans, we all have two selves. One might be called the “experiencer” – the physical

Leigh Shambo and an equine partner work together at one of her therapy clinics.

body, navigating the world in the moment by a wealth of rich and mysterious sensations, including the visceral experience of immediate impressions and nonrational knowing. The other is our rational self that at its most unconscious level can be called the inner judge or critic. At the most conscious level this is the self that acts out of logical reason. Let’s call this part of our mind “the commentator”. True connection with a horse can only be made in the now by the immediate, highly subjective “experiencer”. With some coaching, Betty was able to stop her inner (and outer) logical “commentator” and tune in to the quieter level of immediate experience. Magic’s low level impatience seemed to evaporate when she began to do this.

Affect contagion Betty prepared to ride once she was more tuned in to Magic’s world of present moment experience. Betty noted that even though the horse was calm, she was alert and noticed everything. In fact, Magic’s innate character seemed to be similar to Betty’s in that she was intelligent, curious and strong-willed when she wanted to investigate something. She also had a tendency to startle easily, which was often a “trigger” for Betty’s own fear. equine wellness


Most riders recognize intuitively that emotions are contagious. Psychologists have coined the term “affect contagion” to describe how people pick up the emotions of others at a visceral and often unrecognized level, especially when they are in close proximity. Horses do this even more keenly than we do. Betty was aware that her own fear might be infecting Magic, but what could she do about it?

Energy management and positive visualization Over the course of a few sessions, Betty learned mind-body techniques that helped her find her inner courage and maintain the wisdom available to her moment by moment if she could stay in the experience. Betty tamed her abstract and rational “commentator”, training it instead to become a conscious and compassionate coach for her “experiencer”. She learned an energy technique called grounding, which helped her stay calm and present even in situations when Magic startled. This reversed the cycle of affect contagion, allowing Betty to calm her horse by calming herself. Then the real magic happened, pun intended! Betty realized that her automatic thoughts tended toward the negative – “awfulizing” as it is sometimes called. She also realized that in most cases she could plug in a positive picture instead, and that Magic seemed to catch the picture each time. Our work concluded with several riding sessions in which Betty successfully sent Magic pictures of all sorts of things, from proper bending through corners and canter departs in the arena, to successfully navigating potential “startle spots” on the trail. Magic seemed to find the new game very engaging, and was much more focused and responsive to Betty overall.

In this state of clarity, each present moment holds endless richness and possibility.

Horses pick up positive mental imagery from humans quite easily when sufficient clarity and calmness has been established. But they can also pick up our “awfulizing” pictures, often to our detriment! Harmony begins in the mind’s eye. Our own self-awareness turns out to be our greatest asset when it comes to communicating with our equine partners.

Leigh Shambo is a clinical therapist and educator whose first career was training horses and riders. After a serious riding accident in 1988, Leigh discovered that horses are exceptionally responsive to the psychological and spiritual stages of healing. Her interest led her to a second career as a mental health therapist. Recognized for her ability to facilitate horse work in ways that inspire human growth and healing, Leigh is regularly invited to teach at equestrian facilities throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, in addition to her therapy practice at her farm in Chehalis, Washington. www.humanequinealliance.org


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How does he score? by Dr. Jenifer Nadeau, MS, PhD


iders are always concerned about proper equine nutrition, and rightly so. It can be difficult to know exactly how to feed your horse, since his requirements are based on his physiological state (whether he’s a maintenance horse, working horse, or lactating broodmare, etc.). Feed requirements are quite variable from horse to horse.

Keeping track Energy deficiency or excess can be identified in most cases by weight loss or weight gain. A scale can be a good tool for keeping track of body condition, but livestock scales are often quite costly. Many riders rely on weight tapes, which can be purchased at most tack and feed stores. Keep in mind, though, that a weight tape is usually off by 50 pounds in either direction. Whatever system you choose, it’s a good idea to use it regularly so you develop knowledge of your horse’s body condition, which will change seasonally. A horse’s hair coat can also have an effect on accurate observation, since a long winter coat can mask changes in body condition. I recommend measuring body condition at least every three to four weeks so you can detect changes.

Check points The body condition score is measured by visually appraising


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the horse. The rider examines the following six areas to determine the amount of body fat deposited there: • neck • withers • shoulder

• ribs • loin • tailhead

The well known body condition scoring system was developed by Don Henneke and associates at Texas A&M University in 1983. It provides horse caretakers with a management tool that can help them determine the success of their feeding regimen. A score is determined for each of the six areas, based on the parameters in the chart opposite. The six scores are then averaged to determine the horse’s overall body condition score. A quick score can be done by using the ribs and loin only. You should use your eyes to observe, and hands to palpate, Continued on page 20.

Body Condition Score checklist How does your horse weigh in? Use the guide below to assess the amount of body fat in different areas of your horse. Remember to look at both sides of your horse since they could be different. Then average the numbers for an overall score.

Neck Bone structure easily noticeable. Animal extremely emaciated; no fatty tissue can be felt.


Neck faintly discernable. Animal emaciated.

Tailhead Tailhead and point of hip and point of buttock project prominently.



Tailhead, point of hips, point of buttocks are prominent.


Neck accentuated.


Neck not obviously thin.



Neck blends smoothly into body.


Tailhead prominent, but individual vertebrae cannot be visually identified. Point of hip appears rounded, but easily discernable. Spinous processes easily discernable. Point of buttocks not distinguishable.

Fat beginning to be deposited.



Fat deposited along neck.


Tailhead prominence depends on conformation, fat can be felt around it. Hook bones not discernable.

Noticeable thickening of neck. Fat deposited along inner buttocks.


Fat around tailhead beginning to feel spongy.


Fat around tailhead feels soft.


Bulging fat


Fat around tailhead is soft.


Fat around tailhead very soft.


Bulging fat around tailhead. Fat along inner buttocks may rub together. Flank filled in flush.


Withers Bone structure easily noticeable.


Withers faintly discernable.



Withers accentuated.


Ribs project prominently.


Withers not obviously thin.


Ribs prominent.


Withers appear rounded over spinous processes.


Slight fat cover over ribs. Ribs easily discernable.


Fat beginning to be deposited.


Faint outline of ribs discernable.


Fat deposited along withers.


Ribs cannot be visually distinguished but can be easily felt.


Area along withers filled with fat. Fat deposited along inner buttocks.


Fat over ribs feels spongy.


Bulging fat.


Individual ribs can be felt, but noticeable filling between ribs with fat.


Difficult to palpate ribs.


Patchy fat appearing over ribs.


Loin Prominent spinous processes.


Slight fat covering over base of spinous processes. Transverse processes of lumbar vertebrae feel rounded. Spinous processes are prominent.


Fat built up about halfway on spinous processes. Transverse processes cannot be felt.


Spinous processes (ridge) along back.


Back is level.

Shoulder Noticeable bone structure on shoulder.


Shoulder faintly discernable.


Shoulder accentuated.


Shoulder not obviously thin.



Shoulder blends smoothly into body.


May have slight crease down back.


Fat beginning to be deposited.


May have crease down back.


Fat deposited behind shoulders.


Crease down back.


Area behind shoulder filled in flush.


Obvious crease down back.


Bulging fat.



1= Poor 2= Very thin

3= Thin 4= Moderately thin

5= Moderate 6= Moderate to fleshy

7= Fleshy 8= Fat

9= Extremely fat (Henneke et al, 1983)

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It is undesirable to have a horse fall into a body condition score of 3 or less. Most horses who fall to a score of 1 do not survive. If a horse is this low, care must be taken in adjusting the diet to avoid health problems and an equine veterinarian should be consulted. Remember that body fat represents energy reserves that a horse can rely on when stressed. A horse with a body condition score of 3 or lower has almost no reserves to depend on. Instead, his body will be forced to break down protein (muscle tissue).

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Each unit of score increase requires about 33 to 45 kilograms of weight gain. To help a horse gain weight, in addition to increasing feed, you might consider reducing exercise and limiting activity, and reducing environmental stressors. This could include providing shelter during cold, wet weather, moving the horse to a pasture where he is higher on the pecking order or hierarchy and/ or feeding him individually. As an extremely emaciated horse rebuilds his reserves, deposits will first be made in the bone marrow, then in the viscera (organs), and finally subcutaneously where you can see it. This is why you may not see results right away when you are feeding more. • Broodmares are more apt to conceive if their body condition score is kept at 5 or higher. • Most riding horses should be kept at a score of 5 or 6, depending on the desires of the caretaker. • Polo horses, endurance horses, and other horses in heavy work are usually maintained at a score of 4.


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• Horses at body condition scores of 7 to 9 tend to be less athletic, tire faster, and are more prone to colic and laminitis. They may be easy keepers and require more exercise, and/or their feed may need to be reduced to keep them at a healthier score of 5 or 6. Extremely fat horses may have reproductive problems or be hypothyroid and have a different metabolic rate.

Body condition vs. fitness level This system will not tell you how fit your horse is for your intended use. Fit horses tend to burn up their energy reserves and have less fat deposit. However, the fat level itself is not associated with cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone or other parameters of fitness. It also does not distinguish between fit fat, which is relatively firm and made up of yellow fat cells and less water, versus the white, soft, flabby fat a resting horse will deposit. Over time, as you use body condition scoring regularly, you will probably begin to develop a feel for the difference between these fat types. Body condition scoring is a good management tool that any rider can use. It is easy to learn, and a subjective way to determine the effectiveness of your feeding program. Using it regularly can save you money in feed and veterinary bills, because it can help you become more proactive in preventing problems associated with weight gain or loss.

Dr. Jenifer Nadeau is an Associate Professor and the Equine Extension Specialist for the University of Connecticut (UConn). She has worked for UConn since 2001, and grew up riding and working with horses including trail, hunter/jumper, draft, and race horses. She rides both English and Western, and drives. Her research focuses on equine health; she teaches animal nutrition for undergraduates and works in extension outreach with adult horse owners and

4-H horse project members.

She is a native of Schenectady, NY. She graduated from the State University of New York at Morrisville College with an Associate’s in Applied Science degree in 1993 and received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in 1995 from the University of Kentucky. She received her Master’s degree in Comparative and Experimental Medicine from the University of Tennessee in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Animal Science in 2001 from the University of Tennessee. Jenifer is a member of the American Society of Animal Science, American Youth Horse Council Publications Committee, Teaching/Extension Committee for the Equine Science Society, superintendent of the Horse Bowl Committee for the Eastern National Horse Roundup and secretary of the National Equine Extension Executive Council.

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Holistic Veterinary advice

Talking with Dr. Christine King

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. She takes a wholistic approach to equine health and performance which emphasizes natural strategies for restoring and maintaining health and well being.

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

Send your questions to: Holistic veterinary advice. email: info@equinewellnessmagazine.com Our veterinary columnists respond to questions in this column only. We regret we cannot respond to every question. This column is for information purposes only. It is not meant to replace veterinary care. Please consult your veterinarian before giving your horse any remedies.

Q: My horse got a bug bite on her shoulder, and

A: Are you sure it was a bug bite? Spider bites are more likely to cause such a reaction. A puncture wound with subsequent infection is another consideration. Yet another is bruising from trauma. If it was indeed an insect bite or sting, then


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a day later it swelled up very badly. There is a lot of fluid buildup, and the swelling extends over her whole shoulder. She has never reacted this badly to bug bites before. What can I do to help her, and prevent her from reacting this way in the future?

consider getting some homeopathic Apis mellifica (usually just called Apis) to have on hand for next time. I find it a useful remedy for stings. I’d also recommend you make an appointment with a wholistically oriented veterinarian to discuss your mare’s hypersensitivity. It’s not simply a matter of what you can give her to stop her reacting like that. You can certainly manage these types of horses symptomatically. But in my experience, it works best to evaluate the horse as a whole, and as part of a larger system (i.e. where and how she lives), and then devise a plan of care that addresses all her individual needs.

Q: My horses all got mouth ulcers from a bad batch of hay. My vets cannot seem to find much information on how to help resolve them. Any ideas?

A: Mouth ulcers generally resolve on their own in just a few days once the source of irritation is removed. The cells that line the digestive tract, including the mouth, have a very rapid turnover rate, so most mouth ulcers heal in just two or three days – provided the cause has been addressed. In this instance, simply removing the offending hay, and providing some soft food for a few days, is generally all that is required. However, if the hay contained awns that have become lodged in the gums, lips or tongue, then your vet may have to manually remove the awns in order for the ulcers to heal. Bottom line: if the ulcers persist beyond a few days, then something more is going on. And while I “have the floor”, a general comment to everyone: I understand the feeling that we should be doing something whenever our animals have a medical problem. But I’m here to tell you that we don’t always have to do anything. Bodies are designed to be self-maintaining and self-repairing. Give them half a chance and that’s exactly what they’ll do. Without us. Of course, there are times when our help is beneficial and even necessary in order for healing to proceed at an optimal rate. It would be unconscionable not to step in at those times. However, I think we too often intervene when it is not necessary. And sometimes in doing so, we interfere.

Q: My gelding cast himself in his stall, and now has a capped hock. How will this affect him in the future, and are there any ways to get rid of the bulge of fluid on his hock?

A: It’s impossible for me to say how this problem will affect him in the future without examining him and determining the exact nature and extent of his injury. In most cases, a capped hock is simply of cosmetic importance, once the initial inflammation has resolved. But in some cases the horse has damaged one or more structures at the point of the hock in such a way that his gait is altered for some time, perhaps even permanently. Also consider that he may have caused some other less obvious damage to himself when he was cast and struggling to get up.

“Bodies are designed to be self-maintaining and self-repairing. Give them half a chance and that’s exactly what they’ll do. Without us.” As for resolving the swelling in an uncomplicated capped hock, the options depend to some extent on how long the swelling has been present. For fairly recent capped hocks, I like Traumeel (a combination homeopathic remedy by Heel, www.HeelUSA.com). You can use the gel or apply the oral drops topically, directly over the swelling. Other anti-inflammatory therapies may work just as well. For more chronic capped hocks, I may be more inclined to try one of the classical homeopathic remedies that have been used for bursitis (e.g. Ruta grav., Silicea, Benz. acid). I might also do some manual therapy. It all depends on the individual patient, and on the treating veterinarian’s preferences (acupuncture, injection therapy, electronic therapies, etc.). equine wellness


Horsemanship tips

Tell tail signs by kelly howling

Pay attention to your horse’s body language when you are working with him. His tail can tell you a lot about how he is feeling. Ideally, the tail should be held slightly away from the body, relaxed and swinging loosely with his motion. This indicates a content, relaxed horse who is concentrating on his job. • A horse that begins to swish his tail sharply and violently may be feeling anxious and upset. This may be accompanied by other body language signs, such as ear pinning, pawing, and stomping feet. • A clamped tail typically means the horse has become nervous or fearful. He may appear frozen on the spot, with nostrils flared and ears and eyes fixed on the source of his concern.


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©Diane Cromartie | Dreamstime.com

• A tail held high, or “flagged” as some riders call it, indicates the horse is excited. It will often be accompanied by stiff prancing movements, alert ears and eyes, flared nostrils, and snorting. The tail is just one of many body language signs you can use to help read your horse. When you combine what your horse’s tail is doing with certain other signs, you can break down his messages even more. Watch him at work and at play; the more you observe him the better you will get at “listening” to him!

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Do it naturally! Trimming for barefoot performance horses with Jaime Jackson


t’s been a longstanding tradition to shoe performance horses – whether they be racehorses, dressage horses, jumpers, endurance horses, or reiners. As more riders realize their equine partners can soundly perform barefoot, and may even enjoy increased performance, they are spreading the word. Hoof care professional Jaime Jackson joins Equine Wellness to help us understand which horses can perform well barefoot, which trimming methods need to be considered, and what other factors come into play to create a happy performance horse.

Can horses successfully perform barefoot?

©Arthur Van Diest | Dreamstime.com


All horses can perform barefoot, or in some instances when professionally fitted with hoof boots worn only when the horse is ridden. But whether or not they can do so successfully will, perhaps ironically, largely depend on the same kind of care given to shod horses! This would include: •Not riding or training the horse in a manner that overstresses his natural athletic ability, thereby causing pain, breakdown and lameness anywhere across his musculoskeletal system, not just his feet. •Not feeding a diet or medications that predispose or cause the horse to become laminitic, an epidemic problem across the equine community. •Failing to trim the hooves so they are naturally shaped.


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EW: What factors play into a horse performing successfully barefoot?

JJ: “Natural horse care”, as advocates call it, incorporates natural boarding, riding and trimming. This collectively facilitates a tough hoof, enabling the horse to go without shoes (or in some instances with professionally fitted hoof boots). It has been well documented historically that shoeing weakens the hoof and causes hoof deformity. Today, barefoot advocates and hoof care practitioners know this is true from experience. As well, compelling anecdotal evidence from leading endurance riders shows that shoeing obstructs circulation and causes fatigue, thereby precluding optimal performance.

Why is there a general idea that performance horses require shoes? JJ: This idea applies not just to “performance horses”, but all horses! With all the buzz on the internet, the worldwide rise of numerous pro-barefoot associations, and the many books and journals espousing the benefits of going barefoot, it astonishes me that so many riders and professionals (farriers, vets, trainers) remain either uninformed or misinformed of – or resistant to – the burgeoning “barefoot revolution”. In large part, this can be attributed to the pseudo-scientific claims of the “farrier culture” itself, which have gone unchallenged for centuries until the recent rise of natural care advocates. Shoers and even vets continue to believe and widely pronounce that selective breeding is the culprit behind weak, inferior feet (“we have bred the hoof out of the horse”). Advocates now know this isn’t true at all, and that weak brittle walls, soft hypersensitive soles, less than optimal circulation and so forth can be attributed directly to the deleterious effects of shoeing. Remove the shoe, provide a regular regimen of natural trimming and boarding, and that “inferior” hoof suddenly heals and becomes a superior foot.

Why is this so?

If a horse has had shoes most of his life, can he make the switch to performing barefoot? Does his breed have an influence? JJ:

Absolutely the horse can make the switch. The answer lies once more in the fact that the core natural hoof (adapted) lies dormant in all equine hooves. The challenge is to awaken it through holistic natural care. Today, thousands of horse caretakers are discovering how to do this. They have rejected the specious farriery science that ruins their horses’ feet, educated themselves about the horse’s natural state, and found ingenious ways to stimulate that core natural hoof out of its dormancy. They have learned that the natural hoof is capable of enduring and supporting any reasonable equestrian discipline, and that there are fewer lameness issues when barefoot than shod. And they have done all this without the professional support of the farriery community, which continues to labor under the misguided belief that domestic practices have genetically ruined the horse’s foot. This is not to say, however, that there aren’t serious concerns in regards to traditional practices – in particular the damage to feet caused by shoeing, unnatural


For millions of years, the equine hoof has been under the full force of natural selection. Within the evolutionary timeline, selective breeding is very new and genetically limited – it does not override the timeless latent “adaptation” of Equus caballus’ foot.¹ The latter is “hidden” or suppressed by domestic care practices within every domestic horse – from miniature to draft, Thoroughbred to Arab, and everything in between. This is amply demonstrated today by the feet of wild horses of the U.S Great Basin, and similar arid biomes around the world. All these “feral” horses were originally derived from domestic stock, and all have overcome the adverse effects of domestication on their feet. Given the chance, any domestic horse turned loose into the wild will immediately start developing the ancient genotypical adaptive hoof form. And let me be clear on this point: the hoof is not adapting to the “wild conditions” – the adaptation occurred millions of years ago, or more precisely at the dawn of the species, Equus caballus. It is merely shedding “waste material” caused by domestic conditions, and remodeling itself though natural patterns of growth that are obstructed by shoeing and unnatural trimming practices.

Before trimming

After 5 months

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boarding and riding practices, and invasive podiatric veterinary procedures. If the damage is permanent and devastating, then no amount of natural trimming, shoeing or natural boarding is going to change that, although going natural will unquestionably minimize suffering and won’t exacerbate matters further. Still, there is considerable anecdotal evidence that many hoof pathologies, once thought to be “incurable”, heal readily under genuine regimens of natural care. For this reason alone, I recommend that all horses be exempted from shoeing – clearly, barefoot is a better way to go. Debilitating pathology aside, age, breed and shoeing history are never grounds for keeping any equine in shoes. It is the horse’s “way” to be barefoot.

What must you take into consideration when trimming a performance horse? Do different disciplines require different trimming methods?

JJ: The belief in trimming one horse differently from the next, based on equestrian discipline, conformation, breed, etc., has its roots once more in the farrier culture of “corrective shoeing”. It is presupposed that horses “naturally” move differently from one another – due to breed, work, conformation and so on. Hence, it is essentially gospel that they must be trimmed and shod differently. This logic is specious because it ignores the species’ natural gaits and the latent adapted hoof. It is well known among natural hoof care advocates that the natural trim generates the most optimal biomechanical hoof conformation possible, because it mimics the wild horse foot and supports the natural gaits. A horse moving naturally is biomechanically more efficient, less stressed, and less prone to breakdown and lameness. Moreover, his individual conformation, the nuances of his gaits based on his individual musculoskelature and temperament (e.g. breed), and the demands made on him by a knowledgeable rider who understands what it is to be a genuine natural rider, are all best served by the biomechanically efficient, naturally trimmed hoof. Arguably, virtually all equestrian based lameness in domestic horses is caused by unnaturally trimmed/shod horses ridden in violation of their natural gaits.

Remove the shoe, provide a regular regimen of natural trimming and boarding, and that “inferior” hoof suddenly becomes a superior foot.

Do performance horses require trims more often?

JJ: All horses should be trimmed when they need it. Excessive growth 28

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(tantamount to waste material normally worn away in the wild) creates a teetering fulcrum for unnatural lever forces and unbalanced movement, and can wreak havoc. I recommend that horses be trimmed at no more than four-week intervals unless natural wear (as seen in some natural boarding environments) renders it unnecessary.

Naturally trimmed barefooted horses, whether at liberty or mounted, are able to move more naturally than when shod. What other considerations should you think about in terms of diet, turnout footing and general hoofcare in performance horses? JJ: My recommendations for natural boarding and general hoof care are described in my book, Paddock Paradise: A Guide to Natural Horse Boarding. I feel the subject is so important that I would be remiss in discussing what it means in the space of a paragraph or two. Briefly, PP provides a vision and method for boarding horses based on the band (family) movements of wild horses. It works, and many horse caretakers, horse rescue operations and boarding facilities are writing to say they are successfully incorporating the basic principles of PP and are spreading the word.

Do you have a story of a great barefoot performance horse?

Holistic Horsekeeping

JJ: There are many barefoot success stories, including that of renowned Nevadan endurance rider Karen Chaton’s famous Arabian, Chief [see sidebar], the U.K. racehorses Kavi and Saucy Night and (what may come as a surprise to dressage enthusiasts) the Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria. Not long ago I was emailed photographs from the Iranian international jumping competitor Maziar Jamshidkhani – very impressive, and barefoot! Yvonne Welz’s magazine, The Horse’s Hoof, is also worth looking at as each issue introduces barefoot riders and inspirational stories from various disciplines.

Do horses perform better barefoot? JJ: Naturally trimmed barefooted horses, whether at liberty or mounted, are able to move more naturally than when shod. The equestrian’s overriding focus and objective should be to become a natural rider so as to bring out the best in their horses. My philosophy is that horses, regardless of how they are to be used, should always be ridden naturally (in harmony with their natural gaits), and performance should be measured against this holistic standard. Horses commanded to ride in violation of their natural

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

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


Over 50% New Growth in 60 Days

Elapsed time approximately 120 days with Farrier Assistance*

Over 50% New Growth in 60 Days*

100% New Growth in approx 120 Days

Before 100% New Growth in Approximately 120 Days*




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athletic abilities, particularly at high performance levels, are inevitably doomed to lameness, suffering and sometimes destruction by euthanasia. Â

...we should keep it reasonable and keep it natural. On a much happier note, readers should be pleased to know that in the wild, horses are naturally competitive, love to run and jump, are prone to showing off on occasion and are cooperative by nature. They also seem to enjoy human company when it is respectful and non-threatening. I think there’s an important message in all of this â€“ horses instinctively want to cooperate and perform their very best for us. But in return, and so as not to cause them harm, we should keep it reasonable and keep it natural. ¹ The Biology of Natural Horsemanship, Bruce Nock, PhD

Jaime Jackson is a 35-year veteran hoof care professional. He has written five books on the subject of natural horse care, including his first, The Natural Horse: Lessons From The Wild (1992). He is currently Executive Director of the AANHCP (Association for the Advancement of Natural Horse Care Practices). Jaime resides in Southern California. Visit www.jaimejackson.com.

Barefoot champ Karen Chaton of Gardnerville, Nevada is a multiple award-winning endurance rider with over 21,000 miles. Karen and her Spanish Arabian TBR Granite Chief+/ have won the AERC National Mileage Championship twice. Chief was also awarded the Arabian Horse Association Distance Horse of the Year Award, and has received honors as an XP Gold Medal horse and the Wendell Robie XP Horse of the Year, also twice. Karen herself was awarded the XP Horseman of the Year. Chief recently surpassed the 7,000 mileage mark with AERC.


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Hoof care

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FOCUS® HF A healthy hoof requires a wide range of nutrients for optimum strength and resilience. FOCUS HF provides key nutrient building blocks including biotin, methionine, lecithin, lysine, chelated trace minerals, nutritional yeast culture and is fortified with the legendary SOURCE® ocean micronutrients. No other hoof product provides this broad spectrum of support nutrients to help your horse develop wonderfully healthy hooves and skin and brilliantly shiny coat. 800-232-2365 or www.4source.com

SmartHoof Ultra A new one-of-a-kind supplement from SmartPak! Contains 30mg of Biotin, key minerals, amino acids and Omega fatty acids. Collagen and 300mg of Silica make SmartHoof Ultra truly unique; both ingredients are essential to connective tissue formation and maintenance, making them an excellent choice for hooves in dire need of repair. 800-461-8898 or www.smartpakequine.com.

Happy Hoof Pads Sore hooves? Get Happy Hoof Pads. Happy Hoof Therapeutic hoof pads system is horse “and laboratory” tested and time proven. They were designed to support, comfort and stimulate the bare hoof but certain thicknesses have been tested and used under shoes, in boots for shipping cross town and cross country and they have been used for diagnostic purposes. Try Happy Hoof Therapeutic Hoof Pads for your horse. He will thank you for it. 941-448-9282 or www.HappyHoofPads.com equine wellness


Changing Stride Top tips for a successful barefoot transition by Linda Cowles Photos: Linda Cowles

The concavity and quality of your horse’s sole may change (for the better) as you transition from shod to barefoot.


arefoot guru Pete Ramey’s favorite response to most questions is to smile and say with a chuckle, “Well, it depends!” I started this article determined to avoid quoting him, yet came to the conclusion that his answer is, without a doubt, the best I have. There are so many factors that play into the barefoot transition, and each horse is unique. There are, however, things that make barefoot transitions easier. If you take control of them, you can expect your horse to be at least as functionally sound after the shoes come off as when he was shod.

Four components of a successful transition 1. Boots and pads The term “barefoot” now commonly refers to hooves that are booted when necessary to ensure the horse moves correctly and with optimum comfort. The long term objective is to have barefoot horses be sound without protection whenever possible, but protecting their feet should always be a priority. Boots give horses the advantages of metal shoes without the concussion, nail holes and peripheral loading, while allowing them to continue normal work. Boots can be padded with cushioned insoles that encourage the horse to use his feet correctly and athletically, thereby accelerating redevelopment of internal hoof structures. This correct heel-first landing movement results in stronger, straighter and wider heels, and the increased blood flow builds tougher, stronger feet.


equine wellness

There are so many great hoof boots available that sound horses with any type of hoof can be transitioned successfully, provided they get the appropriate trim, boots and padding. Boots are usually only needed when a horse is being ridden. While most newly unshod horses are sound in arenas, I recommend that everyone buy front boots and pads and be ready to use them if the horse is the least bit “off” or hesitant. Occasionally, horses also need rear boots. Hoof boots have come a long way in the past few years, and need to fit as well as any human athletic shoe. Qualified trimmers stock and sell a variety of boots as a service. Trimmers should know how to fit boots and be able to provide information on the advantages and disadvantages of the various brands or styles.

2. The right trim Getting your horse transitioned is easier when you have an experienced barefoot hoofcare provider. I suggest that you ask friends, chat boards, email groups and body workers for referrals, as not everyone who calls themselves a trimmer is qualified. Ask for references! Good hoofcare providers not only trim your horse, they also share information on hoofcare, diet, supplements, living environment and soundness essentials, in addition to providing services like boot sales and fitting. If you are committed to barefoot but your horse is having trouble transitioning, I suggest getting a consultation.

Consultants can be found through the American Hoof Association (www.americanhoofassociation.org), by asking for help on a barefoot email chat group, or by emailing the author of your favorite barefoot website. Most consultants require a series of pictures and a brief history on the horse.

Barefoot online http://hoofrehab.com www.healthyhoof.com www.clickandtrim.com www.ironfreehoof.com

3. The right diet Diet is so very important! Many of today’s horses are fed a rich diet that is literally killing them. Plenty of common domestic hoof ailments are a result of feeding overly rich forage, grain or pasture. A lush pasture is every horse person’s dream, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare in the spring and fall. At these times, pasture grasses are seasonally very sweet – too rich for constant turnout for horses that are casually worked or retired. All most horses need to perform athletically are: • Balanced nutrients • Good water • Good low NSC (non structural carbohydrate) grass hay • Low NSC pasture

www.heelfirstlandings.com www.wholehorsetrim.com http://tribeequus.com

Barefoot performance www.horsesfirstracing.com www.eurodressage.com/reports/shows/2005/ 05saumur/hindle.html www.tribeequus.com/action.html www.horseridingfun.com/barefootin.html www.naturalhoof.co.nz/brag.html http://members.tripod.com/ridephotos http://www.barefoothorses.co.uk

Hoof boots 4. Banish hoof infections One of the first questions I ask clients is “does your horse have thrush?” The answer is usually “no”, but many horses have thrush without their caretakers even knowing it. Most people – vets included – don’t recognize the signs of thrush, and few people appreciate how painful it can be. Every horse with navicular, club feet, contracted heels or under-run heels that I’ve worked on started out with a thrush infection – I’m still waiting to find a pathological foot that is thrush free. A successful transition depends on eliminating frog infections. Most over-the-counter thrush treatments are either too harsh and end up chapping the frog, creating a better environment for thrush, or else they don’t penetrate into tight cracks to reach the thrush. I have used White Lightning successfully, and also like Clean Trax, apple cider vinegar, athletes foot treatments, and usnea tincture.

Great expectations Going barefoot can require a leap of faith, and the initial results may be alarming for some riders. Keep an open mind, think positive, and expect great things from your horse’s transition!

EasyCare www.easycareinc.com (see Epic, Bare and Old Mac styles) Renegades www.renegadehoofboots.com Marquis www.strideequus.com Soft Ride Rehab Boots www.soft-ride.com Happy Hoof, Therapeutic Hoof Pads www.happyhoofpads.com Castle Hoof Boots www.castleplastics.com Cavalier, Simple Boot www.simpleboot.com

Chat groups Barefoot Horse Care http://groups.yahoo.com/group/barefoothorsecare EquineCushings@yahoogroups.com http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EquineCushings Equine Founder Email Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/equine-founder Australian Barefoot List barefoothorseinaustralia@yahoogroups.com equine wellness


Expect your horse to go barefoot without boots

walls grow out or chip off. It seldom affects soundness if boots are used for work.

Most newly de-shod horses are fine in a pasture, arena, and on soft trails. How well they handle challenging footing, and how long it takes them to be comfortable on moderately challenging surfaces, depends on their feet, general health, living environment, diet, exercise level, the terrain you ride on, the competence of your trimmer, and the regularity of the trims.

Occasionally, pieces of wall come loose in the first few weeks, and this is scary for riders. When the horse is trimmed regularly and ridden in boots, this wall shed doesn’t bother horses or impact their soundness. When horses have unusually ugly feet, I suggest three week trims for the first two months.

Boots last a year or longer for most clients, and are very easy to use, so most people with barefoot horses are fine having their horses be barefoot or booted. Horses may need boots for terrain they aren’t conditioned for, or when their feet are soft in the wet season.

Transitioning wall grows out quickly. Half the wall will re-grow in three to four months, and the entire wall will be re-grown in six to eight months. Because barefoot horses have significantly better blood circulation and minimal flaring, the walls thicken and grow denser, creating a better hoof overall.

Horses getting good low carb diets, living on challenging terrain, and getting lots of exercise usually do fine barefoot on all types of terrain year round.

Expect to become better educated about anatomy, diet, and movement

Expect ugly walls to transform quickly into super feet

People who choose to take their horses barefoot tend to be proactive about their long term health and welfare, and to form interactive, supportive online communities that share a wealth of information. Because a moderately low carb diet accelerates the barefoot transition, and improves the overall health and fitness of the horse, barefoot riders who join online communities soon find themselves learning more about nutrition and the important role it plays for equine athletes.

Most horses’ feet go through an “ugly” stage immediately after shoes are removed. This period lasts from a few weeks to a few months as the nail holes and delaminated

Having a transitioned barefoot horse is less complicated than owning a shod one, and if riders understand their

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



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horses’ requirements, they speed up the transition and boost their horses’ fitness level at the same time.

Anecdotal evidence from my barefoot clients indicates that longstanding chiropractic, saddle fitting, digestive and body problems resolve themselves or become manageable as the horse transitions.

©Garret Bautista | Dreamstime.com

Rehabbing hooves Barefoot is the best thing a caretaker can do for pathological or unhealthy hooves. When horses have pathology like navicular, founder, under-run or contracted heels, or when their soles have been mechanically thinned, they can be temporarily fitted with rehab boots to protect the hooves as they heal. Rehab boots can be riding boots like EasyCare’s Old Macs, or a specialized rehab boot like the Soft Ride. Boots are fitted with padded insoles that support and stimulate the sole and frog, resulting in faster regeneration and better movement.

concussion and numb the feet as they restrict blood flow, so correctly trimmed barefoot horses are more agile, stumble less and have a better feel for where their feet are.

Many horses that were moody and sour have a change of attitude as they “get their feet back”.

The other option is to have your trimmer cover the bottom of the hoof with a specialized hoof casting material such as that made by EquiCast. This cast has several advantages over other bonding materials in that it breathes, fits tight to the hoof, and allows the hoof to expand and contract normally.

Expect to see your bills go down, and your horse’s attitude improve Horses with strong, balanced feet don’t seem to “break down” as frequently or as catastrophically as horses with hoof imbalance and discomfort. Metal shoes amplify

Going barefoot doesn’t involve only your horse’s hooves, nor will each horse transition the same. As I said at the start, each horse is unique and “it depends”! Take a look at the overall picture, including diet, terrain, and exercise patterns. Educate yourself thoroughly on all aspects that surround going barefoot. Then work with your hoofcare professional to craft a plan that will ensure a successful barefoot transition for your equine partner.

Linda Cowles is a professional trimmer in Sonoma County, California. She is the author of www.HealthyHoof.com and a founding member and Vice President of the American Hoof Association (www.americanhoofassociation.org).

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©Kateleigh | Dreamstime.com

Hoofin’ it

Natural support for common hoof issues by Dawn Jenkins

he topic of natural hoofcare is a vast one. Just as each horse is unique and built subtly different from all the rest, each hoof on each horse is also unique and subtly different.


when we have a horse with a higher, narrower right front foot, and a flatter, wider left foot, we interpret it as some kind of problem. And we go about wanting to correct it.

This means, like the rose in the children’s story The Little Prince, that your horse is one-of-a-kind. No other horse is exactly like yours. Embrace her uniqueness. And endeavor to craft a trim that will give her hooves their best natural support.

Back to basics

Redefining perfection Consider what I was taught years ago from a learned veterinarian at a hoofcare convention. This doctor spent his entire hour stressing one very important fact: horses are asymmetrical. This means they are not built exactly the same from one side of their bones to the other, one side of the foot to the other, one side of the body to the other. They aren’t designed to be.

We need to realize that “perfection” is asymmetrical. Think about that. We always want to push our horses and their hooves into nice little organized categories. We want perfection not only in function but in form. So, for example,


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Instead of correcting, let’s get back to basics. Let’s get back to balancing each individual hoof capsule and supporting each individual limb around the inner-lying bones and tissues. This can be done either barefoot, or in shoes – well-placed supportive shoes. In fact, I’ve found that many horses with lameness or distortion issues transition better into barefoot after a few rounds of good, supportive shoeing. During the shod transition, the new capsule grows down attached and the old flares visibly grow out. Now the horse may go barefoot with fewer issues, because the capsule is tighter, fitter, and better equipped. As a side note (forgive my frankness), some horses, for therapeutic reasons, perform better in some form of shoe – maybe just fronts, maybe just hinds, maybe all the way around. Why rob your horse of the support she needs just because you prefer to see her barefoot?

Common hoof distortions So what makes good support, either bare or shod? How do we know whether the capsule is centered around

the internal bones and tissues? What are we looking for that indicates all is well within? Most horses coming out of everyday shoes or even traditional barefoot trims (as opposed to natural trims) have some type of hoof distortion.


Feel the hoof wall just under the coronet. The first 1/2 or so of wall lines up with the inner-lying coffin bone. If this area is at a steeper angle than the rest of the hoof, and you feel the capsule flare outward when you run your fingers down the wall, chances are the breakover Photo: Dawn Jenkins is too far forward and the capsule needs to be brought back. By bringing the breakover point back – nipping or rockering back the toe – the new wall can grow down at a steeper angle with tighter attachment for a better functioning hoof.

Dramatic example of new tight growth vs. the old flared growth. Accomplished by bringing back the breakover.

Note the new growth with tighter attachment and less flaring. Bringing back the breakover and centering the bones inside this run-forward hoof capsule enables tighter, healthier growth.



Often the heels are long and run forward These may be gently coaxed back to allow for better alignment. As far as side-to-side (or medial-lateral) balance goes, the live plane of the sole is an effective reference.

Photos: Dawn Jenkins

Flat foot reflects a flat inner-lying coffin bone.


The sole, whether flat or cupped, reflects the underlying coffin bone. If the bone is flat, yet you want a cupped sole, good luck. You may gain ground by allowing more bar, wall and heel to give a more cupped appearance to the bottom of the foot, but the bone itself will dictate the actual cupping.

It will take time to grow a new hoof capsule: the magic number seems to be about seven or eight months.

Managing moisture Moisture to the hoof is like oil to an engine. Running your engine dry will ruin the internal components. Moisture in a horse’s hooves comes from two sources, internal and external: movement and water. Movement: Hand-walking, riding and turnout increase circulation though the internal structures, thus moisturizing the hoof from within. Movement is crucially important to horses transitioning from shoes to barefoot. Water: Muddy ground allows the hoof to soak moisture up into the tubules to soften the otherwise dry capsule. When a hoof has just come out of shoes, the internal structures must adapt to greater circulation and a greater sense of feeling in the feet. Dry capsules constrict the internal tissues. As a hoof changes from shod to bare, internal tissues require a flexible capsule to accommodate change. External moisture allows the capsule to flex and adapt to the changes going on within.

Too Wet However, too much moisture is also not a good thing. The trick is getting the proper balance. I work in wet, tropical Hawaii where people work hard to keep excess moisture out. Too much moisture weakens hoof walls, allows growth of destructive fungus, and increases sensitivity. Drying strategies include bringing horses into stables at night, painting the soles and frogs with pine tar, Reducine, or other drying compounds, and covering the capsules with waxy salves to keep the moisture from over-saturating the hooves.

What About Hoof Dressings? Hoof dressings do no good at all if there isn’t moisture in the foot to begin with. Without moisture in the tubules, dressings actually seal water out of the hoof. When the hoof has a healthy moisture content, hoof dressings then help to seal the water in.

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The plane of the sole and the tightness of the capsule will change most dramatically during this time. Then the hoof tends to “stabilize”. From then on it should require simple maintenance, and the balance and plane should remain consistent.

Developing a trim for your horse

We start crafting the hoof toward a more natural form, bringing the capsule back as needed. And we let nature do its work. The horse moves during turnout, and is not left standing in a stall. The hooves are also exposed to moisture – water and mud. The movement and moisture work over time to begin to allow changes in the hoof and improve its function. When we return to do another trim, we read the progress and steer the capsule again toward the desired result. In our quest for sound bare feet, we may discover that a certain horse needs more heel. More sole. More bar.


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with detailed notes, and paying attention to diet, trim, weather, use and nuance, will help you determine the best approach to your horse’s natural support. More hoof wall. She’s tender when we take it, sounder when we leave it. So we listen, and adapt our trim to her specific needs. We keep notes. We watch her diet. We become specialists in providing her with her best trim. This is natural support. It addresses her flat feet or her high-low conformation or her cracks or flares – because we’ve taken her complete picture into consideration.

©Halilo | Dreamstime.com

As hoofcare providers, we meet each new horse equipped with our training, skills and experience, and make a plan as to where to begin.

Keeping a journal

One trim does not fit all Horses and their hooves are a deep, fluid topic. One trimming formula cannot work for every hoof. Just as I swear by my Ariats and my friend her Birkenstocks, horses require different approaches depending on their individual situations, environment, conformation, breeding, and use. The greatest frustration with following a trimming formula such as “bring the heels, toes and breakover back” is that it doesn’t work equally for every hoof or for every horse. Some horses actually have negative coffin bones, meaning that the bone sits inside the hoof capsule tilted backwards toward the heel. Removing heel on these horses to bring the capsule back to center doesn’t work. These horses need more taken from the toe and more height left at the heel. This doesn’t sound like a formula for natural hoofcare, but for these individuals, it is. How would you know if your horse has negative coffin bones? Work with a good vet and get radiographs. Usually the horse shows some sign of abnormality: lameness, bruising at the heels, long “floppy” tendons,

or perhaps a bull-nosed lump or triangular shape to the dorsal hoof wall. It could be the fronts, the hinds, or all the way around. I’ve had more than one veterinarian tell me to keep bringing the breakover back, back, back! Way beyond the point I would normally feel comfortable. But they could tell me this with confidence because the radiograph indicated that the hoof in question needed it. As a friend recently said to me: “Horses are just like people – everybody’s feet are different.” Heck, my right foot is bigger than my left, and tighter-fitting in my shoes. I wear magnets in my boots, and arch supports, or I go lame. Why would we expect anything different from our horses?

Dawn Jenkins specializes in natural hoofcare in Southern California and Hawaii. She is a student of Gene Ovnicek, Pete Ramey, and her old-time farrier uncle, Ink Knudson, who at the age of 80 still works under horses! Dawn has been trimming since 1990. She teaches hands-on hoofcare, trimming and shoeing to those who are bold enough to dare. Contact dawn@frazmtn.com, 661-245-2182 or 661-703-6283.

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a natural performer

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

Photos: Dana Mahood

The horse:

Mia (Exclusive Engagement) Age: 8 years

Breed/Ancestry: Thoroughbred cross

Physical description: 17hh chestnut mare

Discipline: Dressage and hunter/jumper

Owner/Guardian: Dana Mahood 40

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Mia enjoys a barefoot lifestyle, with 24/7 turnout and natural feeds and supplements.

How they got together: “I purchased Mia from a farm that believes as I do – that horses are meant to be kept as naturally as possible, and that you must take your time and not rush their training. When I went to visit Mia she showed she was happy, even though still very green in terms of her training, and I really respected that. So many young horses these days are pushed too quickly to get a fast sale, and that wears them down both mentally and physically.”

Awards and accomplishments: Mia has won numerous championships in the dressage and hunter disciplines.

“Under saddle, I am careful to keep Mia’s training routine interesting, and we trail ride for relaxation. Even when we are showing two to three times a week, she does not tire of it. She lets me know when she needs a break. “The more I study horse husbandry, the more I see that keeping horses more ‘naturally’ just makes sense. I have worked in so many different areas of the equine world, and I have had the privilege of learning what works and what doesn’t so I can continue to offer my horses the best with the knowledge I have now. I continue to learn and keep an open mind, as there is always new information out there, and you can always improve!”

Advice: Natural care principles: “I believe in caring for my horses in the most natural way I can. I keep my horses outside 24/7 except in extreme weather. Mia may also come into a stall the night before a show. I find their health is better overall when they spend as much time outside as possible. Furthermore, all my horses are barefoot and receive natural feeds and supplements. It takes a bit more time to make up their feed each day, but they are all shiny, healthy and happy, so it is worth the extra few minutes. Mia also receives bodywork and chiropractic when necessary.

“Never stop learning, and keep an open mind. The horse world is so rooted in tradition, and riders have a tendency to be afraid to step out of their comfort zones. It’s unfortunate, as a lot of the progress that has been made is for the good of the horse. Educate yourself thoroughly on other people’s ideas, methods or thoughts before you discard them as foolish. You can always learn something from everybody – even if you are not learning about what you want to do, you are learning about what you do not want to do (and gaining an educated opinion in the process!).”

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Equine Wellness

Resource Guide •Barefoot Hoof Trimming

•Holistic Healthcare

•Schools & Education


•Natural Product Retailers

•Shelters & Rescues

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


Lone Pine Ranch Bruce Goode, AANHCP Practitioner Vernon, BC Canada Phone: (250) 545-6948 Email: lonepinehorse@yahoo.com Website: www.hooftrack.com

Good Hoof Keeping LLC Ramona, CA USA Phone: (619) 719-7903


Serving southern CA

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

Non-invasive natural hoof care Custom hoof boot fitting services


Dawn Jenkins, Lady Farrier Southern California & Hawaii Phone: (661) 245-2182

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

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


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Natural Hoofcare and Barefoot trims Trimming Instruction Therapeutic and Natural Balance Shoeing

Second Heart Hoof Care Cohasset, CA USA Phone: (530) 343-7190

Serving Chico to Redding area. secondhearthoofcare@yahoo.com

Hoof Savvy Folsom, CA USA Phone: (916) 201-7852 Email: hoofcare.specialist@yahoo.com

Dr. Sugarshooz Farrier Services & Natural Hoof Care Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235 Michael Moran Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235 Jolly Roger Holman Professional Farrier/Natural Hoof Care Templeton, CA USA Phone: (805) 227-4835

Specializing in natural trims and BLM Wild Mustangs


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


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

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

Softtouch Natural Horse Care Phil Morarre Oroville, CA USA Phone: (530) 533-7669 Email: softouch@cncnet.com Website: www.softouchnaturalhorsecare.com

Sarah F. Block Shelton, CT USA Phone: (203) 924-5644

Serving Sacramento and the Gold Country

Phyllis Gregerman North Stonington, CT USA Phone: (860) 599-8766


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

Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide


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


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

Equine Wellness Resource Guide

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


Dawn Jenkins, Lady Farrier Southern California & Hawaii Phone: (661) 245-2182

Natural Hoofcare and Barefoot trims Trimming Instruction Therapeutic and Natural Balance Shoeing.


Mackinaw Dells II Ida Hammer Congerville, IL USA Phone: (309) 448-2212 Website: www.mackinawdells2.com No Hoof - No Horse Cheryl Sutor, M.H.G. Kirkland, IL USA Phone: (630) 267-0357 Website: www.NoHoof-NoHorse.com

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




Randy Hensley Hensley Natural Hoof Care Orient, IA USA Phone: (641) 745-5576

Former Farrier - Now specializing in barefoot rehabilitation - Certified Practitioner


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

Carrie Christiansen Browns Mills, NJ USA Phone: (609) 992-3889 Lisa Markowitz High Bridge, NJ USA Phone: 908-268-6046 Natural Trim Hoof Care Hopatcong, NJ USA Phone: (973) 876-4475 Email: info@naturaltrimhoofcare.com Website: www.naturaltrimhoofcare.com

Serving NJ, central to eastern PA, and lower NY state


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

Amy Sheehy Natural Hoof Care Professional IIEP Certified Equine Podiatrist Pine Plains, NY USA Phone: (845) 235-4530 Email: hoofgal@naturestrim.com Website: www.naturestrim.com

Specializing in natural trimming and rehabilitation of all hoof problems.

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


Natural Hoof Care Lisa Dawe, AANHCP Practitioner Oriental, NC USA Phone: (508) 776-6259 Email: Lisa@ibarefoothorses.com Website: www.ibarefoothorses.com

Natural barefoot hoof care; specializing in pathologic hoof rehab

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

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Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide


Lost July Natural Hoof Care Nina Hassinger Bridgetown, NS Canada Phone: (902) 665-2151 Email: nina@lostjuly.ca Gudrun Buchhofer Judique, NS Canada Phone: (902) 787-2292 Email: gudrun@go-natural.ca Website: www.go-natural.ca


Steve Hebrock Akron, OH USA Phone: (330) 644-1954 Sherry Eucker Cuyahoga Falls, OH USA Phone: (216) 218-6954


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


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

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

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


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

ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: abchoofcare@msn.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com

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Certified hoofcare Professional Training, Rehabilitation, Education & Clinics

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



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

SOUTH CAROLINA Cori Brennan Horsense -0 Hoof/Horse care that makes sense Sharon, SC USA Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: brombie1@yahoo.com Natural barefoot trimming serving the Carolinas

Equine Wellness Resource Guide

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


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

Quality Barefoot Hoofcare in Middle Tennessee.


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

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: info@helpforhorses.com Website: www.helpforhorses.com Barefoot Trimming, Hoof Clinic & Equine Wellness Center

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

Barefoot Hoof Trimming – Holistic Healthcare — Wellness Resource Guide Ann Buteau Shipman, VA USA Phone: (434) 263-4946 Natural Hoofcare Services Anne Buteau Shipman, VA USA Phone: (434) 263 4946 Email: annebuteau@yahoo.com

Have faith in the healing powers of nature

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


Massage Therapists

Integrative Veterinarians Trainers & Behaviorists Natural Product Retailers Manufacturers & Distributers Shelters & Rescues Reiki Chiropractic Acupressure Acupuncture


Pat Wagner Rainier, WA USA Phone: (360) 446-8699 Leslie Walls Ridgefield, WA USA Phone: (360) 887-0529 Email: barehooflcw@yahoo.com Maureen Gould Stanwood, WA USA Phone: (360) 629-5153 Email: maureen@forthehorse.net Website: www.forthehorse.net Cameron Bonner Wauna, WA USA Phone: (360) 895-2679


Mike Stelske Eagle, WI USA Phone: (262) 594-2936 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: fhlhorsecare@chibardun.net Website: ww.fhlhorsecare.com Triangle P Hoofcare Chad Bembenek Rio, WI USA Phone: (920) 992-6415 Email: trianglepenterprises@centurytel.net Website: www.trianglephoofcare.com The Natural Hoof Monica Meer Waukesha, WI USA Phone: (262) 968-9499 Email: monica@thenaturalhoof.com Website: www.thenaturalhoof.com

1/24th O NTARIO Claudia Hehr

Animal Communication Specialist

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

(705) 434-4679 • www.claudiahehr.com




Claudia Hehr

Animal Communication Specialist


To Truly Know and Understand Animals !NIMAL 0ARADISE #OMMUNICATION (EALING ,,# World-wide phone consulations, Health &

Issue Workshops, Tele-seminars, Books, ABehavior LBERTA

Grief Counseling. See article in the Ontario Regional section The Horse Mechanic Howard Jesse • www.claudiahehr.com

(705) 434-4679 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


Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA Phone: (214) 615-6505 or (250) 656-4390 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com


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


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

“Conversations with Animals�


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Holistic Healthcare – Shelters & Rescues — Wellness Resource Guide



White Willow Therapies, LLC Erin Bisco, CMT, CEMT, MMT Clinton , MI USA Phone: (734) 417-6042 Email: whitewillowtherapies@gmail.com Website: www.whitewillowtherapies.com

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

Manual Medicine, Cranial, Lymphatic and Visceral Therapies Horses, Dogs and People






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


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

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On the case against Cushing’s by Dr. Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS

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hy is Cushing’s syndrome diagnosed so frequently in horses these days? This disease has actually been in the equine population for many years, but generally went unrecognized. There have always been many unexplained cases of laminitis occurring in the winter or early spring when there is little grass, and we have often seen older horses with inexplicably long hair. Cushing’s only seems to be increasing because of a better understanding of the diagnostic tests involved. Laminitis is one of the more frustrating complications of Cushing’s. Chronic cases can take a lot of time and energy to treat and still not respond satisfactorily. Natural medicine provides another toolbox of treatments to help both acute and chronic cases. The goal in natural treatment of Cushing’s and Cushing’s-based laminitis is to: • Provide nutritional support to prevent and reverse damage from circulating free radicals • Prevent further damage to and encourage healthy laminar attachments

• Return the horse's metabolism to proper balance. When managed correctly, with patience and attention to detail, most chronic cases can return to reasonable work. Poorly responsive cases can often be managed and kept relatively comfortable without the use of drugs.

What is Cushing’s disease? It has been thought that horses, as part of the aging process, get pituitary adenomas (tumors) of the pars intermedia part of the pituitary gland. But texts disagree about how common the true adenoma tumor is. About half the sources feel the actual adenoma is less common and that there is a hyperplasia instead (abnormal and overactive, but not tumor growth, of the cells). Both adenomas and hyperplasia cause similar sets of symptoms. The hyperplasia, however, being a functional disturbance rather than a tumor, may be easier to treat. Many horses respond well to treatment; these cases are probably more functional than cancerous. Horses that do not respond well to treatment may have an actual tumor. equine wellness


Why Cushing’s occurs is not understood. One theory is that chronic stress (from the horse’s younger life) could lead to the development of hyperplasia and then perhaps progress into a tumor. There are no clear answers at this point.

Clinical signs The clinical signs most commonly associated with Cushing’s in horses are hirsutism (long hair that does not shed out in summer), difficult-to-treat laminitis, and weight problems (over- or underweight). Some horses exhibit very few clinical signs, while others exhibit many. Additional symptoms can include:

Laminitis that occurs for no outward reason is one of the most serious symptoms of Cushing’s. Some of the most refractory cases of Cushing’s-based laminitis occur in the winter, an uncommon season for typical cases. Even the more common summer laminitis, which appears to be caused by overeating grass, can be quite difficult to treat, especially when other clinical signs of Cushing’s are present. Many horses diagnosed with Cushing’s laminitis are overweight and very easy keepers, sometimes unable to


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Horses with Cushing’s often have weakened immune systems, so many symptoms are related to infections or parasites taking over the body. Diagnostic tools • The most important diagnostic tool for identifying Cushing’s is the horse’s history and the clinical signs discussed above. A thorough physical exam may reveal some of the less obvious signs such as poor teeth and reproductive problems. • Supporting lab work can be helpful and should be performed if possible, but may be inconclusive. Part of the problem is that in equine practice, single blood samples are taken whenever the practitioner is at the farm, so there is little standardization in the timing of the samples. Many of the parameters have daily variations and may change due to stress or other factors, including the amount of exercise a horse has had before the blood was drawn. • Cortisol levels appear to be an inaccurate test for Cushing’s syndrome. Elevated blood cortisol can indicate high levels of stress in the body – but is the high cortisol coming from the Cushing’s, or has the Cushing’s come from the chronic stress caused by something like laminitis? High levels of cortisol suppress the immune system and contribute to more infections in these horses. Cortisol is the stress hormone, so both past and present stress are contributors.

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© Wendy Kaveney | Dreamstime.com

• Sluggish thyroid gland • Insulin resistance • Thyroid dysfunction • Muscle soreness • Diabetes • Polyuria/polydipsia (drinking and peeing excessively) • Collagen breakdown (backs sag, tendons and ligaments may stretch) • Poor hair coat • Frequent infections of skin or other organs • Colic • Poor teeth • Multiple dental abnormalities • Lowered immunity to intestinal parasites • Decreased intestinal wall integrity • Infertility • Muscle wasting

eat more than a small amount of hay each day to control their weight. They generally have cresty necks and fat pads in specific places. The fat pads are typically behind the shoulder blades, on each side of the tail, and along the lumbar area. The fat on the body is often visibly lumpy. In some cases, horses who were previously easy keepers suddenly start requiring more food to maintain body weight. They may maintain their fat pads despite the obvious weight loss.

• Resting insulin levels, ACTH, and glucose tests are sometimes used. The usual single-sample thyroid test does not give a true picture of thyroid function because there is significant variation in thyroid levels even in normal horses. • The low dose dexamethasone suppression test (LDDS) is perhaps the most frequently used, but I would avoid it since dexamethasone is a steroid, and sensitive horses can get laminitis from steroids. I have seen a number of serious cases of laminitis in Cushing’s horses after steroid injections. • Some new laboratory profiles are being offered that combine tests taken at various times of the day. These may be more accurate in positively diagnosing Cushing’s, although the tests often add little extra information to the clinical signs and basic blood tests. • Also, have your veterinarian collect a complete blood count (CBC) to examine immune system status, and a chemistry screen to check organ function.

Insulin resistance Cushing’s in horses has many of the same characteristics as insulin resistance. Many Cushing’s horses have elevated insulin levels in their blood. Normally, when a sugar or carbohydrate is eaten, blood sugar levels increase, insulin is secreted by the pancreas, glucose is carried into the cells by the insulin and the blood sugar goes back to normal. In insulin resistance, the cell walls are too stiff to let the insulin do its job properly. The glucose gets stored equine wellness


as fat instead of providing energy for the cells. Many horses store their fat in specific places, such as fat pads on their body and in the crests of their necks.

function with high quality probiotics. If the gut is in poor shape, 20 grams of glutamine (an amino acid that acts as a fuel for cells of the gut wall) per day will help.

Cushing’s in horses has many of the same characteristics as insulin resistance.

Feed whole foods if possible, unless the horse has poor teeth or digestion. Processed grains and hays may lose key ingredients during manufacturing since pellets and extruded feeds are made at high temperatures. Some horses digest their food better when digestive enzymes are added.

Many tools in the alternative medicine toolbox can treat the Cushing’s horse, but each animal is an individual and will respond differently. In treating these complex cases, it is important to take it one step at a time and realize that the course of treatment may be long and expensive if the horse has many medical problems. There isn’t one simple answer. I try to look at how severe and longstanding the clinical signs are to determine how much to do at one time.

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In many cases, homeopathy is important to the treatment’s success, but it is advisable to work with an experienced homeopath. Chinese medicine, both with acupuncture and herbs, can also be used to help Cushing’s horses. Again, it is best to work with a veterinarian experienced in these modalities.

The feed should be low in sugar! There is no need for any sweet feed. Plain whole grains are effective, or if you need to purchase a processed grain, get a low carb feed. Plain corn (about 25%), barley (about 35%), and oats (about 45%) make a simple, clean mixture, and any combination of these grains can be used based on their availability in your part of the country. From a Chinese medicine perspective, barley is a cooling food and is useful for inflammation.


Higher levels of protein (up to 14%) and calories may be needed in horses with weight loss problems. Increased calories can be given as fats (vegetable oils or rice bran), and are well digested by most horses. Animal fats should not be used due to the preservatives used in the processing and the fact that horses are vegetarians.


Good nutrition is crucial Nutrition plays a key role in the holistic management of Cushing’s horses.


Many horses have been given anti-inflammatories and antibiotics frequently throughout their lives. This compromises the health of the digestive tract in many ways. So the most important thing to do is restore the gut



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Holistic treatment


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High levels of antioxidants are needed. Coenzyme Q10 is very valuable in this respect. The therapeutic dose is 300 to 600 milligrams per day for the first week or two, after which the amount can be decreased slowly to a maintenance dose of about 100 milligrams per day. Vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant and nutrient for collagen support as well as organ and immune system healing. Doses range from 3 to 8 grams per day.


One of the most important aspects of any nutritional program for horses is free choice minerals, with salt fed separately. Several key minerals are needed for glucose metabolism. Magnesium affects insulin secretion

and its action in the cells. It also helps the cells become more flexible and permeable to insulin. Chromium helps make muscle more sensitive to insulin so glucose can be taken into the muscle cells more easily. Chromium has also been shown to be effective in reducing fasting blood sugar levels. Vanadium, or vandyl sulfate, has actual insulin-like effects on glucose metabolism and helps transport glucose into the cells.

Treat each horse as an individual and seek quality practitioners to help you.


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Essential fatty acids (EFAs) help make cell walls more permeable to insulin – they are also anti-inflammatory and improve the health of the immune system. Omega 3 fatty acids are especially deficient in many equine diets. Most high fat equine foods use highly saturated animal fats that are full of preservatives. Flax and hemp oil provide plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids that are palatable to the equine.


I often use pituitary glandular support along with general glandular support, because the pituitary gland is central to the function of the entire hormonal system. Glandulars are nutritional supplements made from actual glandular tissue, often prepared with supporting nutrients. In small animal and human medicine, they are commonly and successfully used both as replacement therapy for poorly functioning organs and when there is evidence of inflammatory or degenerative processes in the organs. Glandulars can be useful in equine nutrition and should be considered instead of synthetic organ replacement, as in thyroid therapy or support for other organs such as the pituitary gland. Cushing’s horses are about the only ones I will use glandulars for because of the vegetarian nature of the horse. Additional thyroid supplementation may be necessary in some cases. Treat each horse as an individual and seek quality practitioners to help you. Use as much whole food nutrition as possible, supplement with specific nutrients as needed, reduce stresses and vaccinations, and support a healthy digestive tract. Over time, you will learn to manage your horse’s Cushing’s effectively, maintaining a healthy, happy medium with your equine partner. Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS, graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She is certified in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic and has completed advanced training in homeopathy and herbal medicine.

Her practice in Virginia uses 100% holistic medicine to treat all types of horses. Her publications include The Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book – the most complete source of information about English saddles – and The Western Saddle Book is on its way. www.harmanyequine.com.

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Healing light Is he recovering from an injury? Does he stiffen up after a long day’s riding? Cold laser therapy might be able to help.

by H. Lynette Partridge-Schneider


asers are a part of everyday life, whether we realize it or not. They can also be of great benefit to our equine partners, thanks to a modality called cold laser therapy. Cold laser therapy goes by several other names, including low level laser therapy (LLLT), soft laser therapy (as opposed to the hard lasers used in surgical procedures), and low power laser therapy. In some circles, it’s referred to as therapeutic laser therapy, to differentiate it from thermal or surgical lasers. Whatever name is used, the goal is always the same – to heal.

What it is The word “laser” stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Cold lasers supply energy to the body in the form of non-thermal (non-heatproducing) photons of light. This light is transmitted through the skin and fat layers of the body and has the unique property of being able to penetrate two inches or more, causing an increase in cellular metabolism which in turn assists in healing. It does not cause or produce any heat. When cold laser light waves penetrate deeply into the tissue, they optimize the immune responses of the blood. This results in both anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects.

Healing laser therapist Lotty Merry uses a Thor DDII laser on Max, a thoroughbred.

balance, energy and oxygen to sick cells without damaging or affecting healthy ones. This restoration results in accelerated healing and cell regeneration. In contrast to other modalities, cold laser therapy can be started at any phase during the healing process. It’s important to remember, however, that the earlier it becomes part of the treatment process, the better and more rapidly the benefits will manifest.

It’s a scientific fact that light transmitted into the blood through cold laser therapy has positive effects on the whole body, supplying oxygen and energy to every cell.

Is it safe?

What it can do

Lasers do not emit x-rays, nor do they produce the damage x-rays do. Cold laser therapy is extremely safe, and has been approved by the FDA. It has been around for over 30 years with no reports of injury. Studies have shown conclusively that cold laser therapy restores

Studies have shown that cold laser therapy works by supporting the natural healing process of the body in a variety of ways: •Naturally produces endorphins, reducing pain in the body •Increases blood circulation


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•Increases the flow of healing enzymes to the injured area •Stops the influx of fluid to body tissues •Releases the muscle tightness that creates pain, joint problems and decreased mobility •Speeds bone repair •Reduces swelling, redness and heat •Shown to be antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic Cold laser therapy has been shown to outperform ultrasound treatments and electrical stimulation therapy in enhancing the healing process. Overall, studies have proven that it is the best treatment for reducing injury damage while increasing the strength of repaired tissue and structures. If accelerating the healing process is the ultimate goal, cold laser therapy will return the patient to full function sooner, with less discomfort and minimal long-term deficits.

There are three stages of healing: inflammation, tissue repair, and remodeling. Professionals and equipment Chiropractors, physicians and veterinarians are all discovering the benefits of cold laser therapy for their clients and patients. Cold lasers are also making their way into physical therapy and rehabilitation centers. Although the actual treatment is simple to do, it’s helpful to have some knowledge of anatomy, muscle structure and acupuncture points, so it’s a good idea to work with a professional practitioner. In fact, most cold lasers are aimed at the professional, whether he/she works with humans or animals. Many cold lasers look like flashlights with one control: on and off. These models are usually under $1,000, but programmable systems can range from $1,500 to well over $25,000. Programmable lasers have varying power levels to assist the professional in a more complete treatment depending on the condition of the patient. Many manufacturers require that you take classes and get certification before you purchase and operate their lasers.

Many applications Cold laser therapy has shown promising results in a range of therapeutic applications. Veterinarians and equine practitioners have used it for the following: •Reducing swelling •Controlling inflammation •Speeding healing •Use on acupuncture points •Enhancing lymphatic drainage •Nerve regeneration •Neuropathy musculoskeletal pain •Myofascial pain •Suppressing nociceptor action (pain suppression) •Strengthening immune system response It has also been used to treat conditions such as: •Acute tissue damage •Arthritis pain and inflammation •Back pain •Lameness •Bone healing •Burns •Joint problems •Nerve damage •Swelling •Tendon/ligament injuries •Soft tissue injuries, including sprains and strains, tendonitis and hematomas •Tendonitis •Sports injuries

Once you locate an experienced professional who works well with your horse, you’ll find that cold laser therapy can be a valuable tool when dealing with a wide variety of equine injuries and stressors. Note: Cold laser therapy cannot diagnose problems in your horse. Be sure to work along with your veterinarian. Lynette Partridge-Schneider has worked with animals all her life. After working in the human medical field for over 20 years, she took her knowledge, and the knowledge gained from other training and certifications, to work with animals. To learn more about cold laser treatments, call 618-979-3192, email QREquineUnltd@aol.com and check out www.quailridgequine.com. Photo provided by: Lotty Merry, a Healing Laser Therapist who runs laser courses at Rose Farm College of Equine Studies. www.rosefarmequine.co.uk .

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Heads up Pick a card Bite ’em back! For years, horse caretakers had no choice but to use synthetic insecticides to protect their equine partners from biting bugs. Thanks to Zero-Bite, you now have a safe, non-toxic alternative to traditional fly sprays and wipes. The product contains no chemical pesticides. Instead, it is made from geraniol oil, which is processed from geranium flowers, naturally refined, and combined with other oils including coconut and wintergreen. The oils are suspended in more than 90% water, so the spray is non-greasy. Proven to be extremely effective against flies and other biting insects. www.pyranhainc.com

You do your best to understand your horse, but may still often wonder what he truly wants. Now you can communicate with him through Messages From Your Animal Companion, a 55-card oracle deck created by Angelica del Mar. Here’s what to do: state your intention (e.g. “I wish to have a meaningful reading with my horse”), then ask a question (e.g. “What would you like to tell me?” or “How are you feeling today?”). Shuffle the cards until your intuition tells you to stop, and turn over the top two cards for the message. It’s a fun and interactive way to gain a better understanding of what your horse is trying to tell you. www.angelicascards.com

Upping the ante

School days

If you give your horses commercial feed, here’s something you should know. Equine health researchers at Purina Mills recently developed new low starch and weight control feeds using the results of a six-year study involving more than 8,700 individual tests and 7,500 feeding trials. For the low starch feed, the team measured the insulin response in soluble carbohydrate sensitive horses and arrived at a formulation with the best insulin response rate. They studied several factors in formulating the weight control feed, including body weight and condition score, rump fat, extruded feed form, and baseline glucose. It’s a step in the right direction for the development of better quality horse feeds.

Homeopathy is becoming increasingly available to equine patients. Why? Because it works! Now there’s a new Canadian school offering courses to veterinarians and other animal care professionals who want to learn more about this important modality. Classical homeopath Julie Anne Lee has just launched the College of Animal Homeopathic Medicine in Vancouver. Her mission is to “educate students on the findings, teachings and philosophies of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann [the creator of homeopathy] so they may provide animals with the quickest, most gentle and least invasive cure.” Courses start this fall. www.cahm.ca

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Beat the weather With another winter on the horizon, it’ll soon be time to think about helping your horse withstand the coldest months. The Weatherbeeta Landa Freestyle Standard Neck Medium Lite Blanket offers advanced turnout protection. It features the exclusive Weatherbeeta Freestyle System and a full nylon lining as well as twin chest straps and removable, adjustable leg straps to keep the blanket in place. It contains warm polyfill and is available in sizes 66” to 84”. Available in new colors including crimson plaid, crimson/black two-tone, and crimson “born to roll” print. Choose the one that best suits your barn colors or horse’s personality! www.weatherbeetausa.com

What’s bugging him?

All in one

Insect pests are unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean your horse has to suffer. He can’t swat off bugs as easily as you do, but you can help him out by applying non-toxic repellents like Liquid Net, a new animal and family friendly insect repellent and an all-natural alternative to chemical-based products. This fragrant botanical formula is nonoily and contains no pyrethrins, pyrethroids, DEET or d-Limonene. It controls stable flies, gnats, black flies, fleas, mosquitoes and ticks for more than 24 hours. www.liquidfence.com

Make life easier for you and your horse with a multipurpose supplement available in single dose form. New from Solenacor Global LLC, Bi-Nutriun is a powdered form of bovine lacteal extract combined with selected probiotic strains, broad spectrum enzyme activity, and the most preferred strain of live cell yeast. This highly palatable hormonefree supplement enhances DNA and RNA repair, stimulates normal cell growth and regenerates aged and damaged muscle and nerve tissue. Available in dry form that doesn’t require freeze storage. www.solenacor.com

Labor saver Sick of lugging buckets? The All Terrain Bucket System (ATB) from Just HorsN Around takes the hard work out of keeping your horse hydrated. This transportable water and feed system features a cart and two five-gallon flat back buckets with covers. The buckets are made of heavy duty polypropylene with sturdy galvanized handles, while the 16” pneumatic wheels allow easy transport over rough terrain. The cart easily folds for convenient storage in your trailer or trunk. The company also offers a 12-pocket Tool Caddy for grooming supplies; the heavy-duty cotton canvas organizer easily attaches to the cart with Velcro. www.allterrainbucket.biz

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Don’t get stuck in the mud Dealing with pastern dermatitis by Dr. Hannah Evergreen, DVM


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iders dread the mud seasons. Our horses seem to make the best of it, coming in caked head to toe in the stuff. For many, however, pastern dermatitis can be a real concern.

Mud fever Pastern dermatitis is a skin reaction that affects the horse’s lower legs. It is most frequently known as scratches, but other common names include rain rot, grease-heel, and mud fever. In the initial stages, crusts form at the horse’s heels, pasterns and/or fetlocks. The crusts are caused by blood or serum (the liquid part of the blood) seeping through the skin at the area of irritation. There is often redness, swelling, significant pain, lameness or even itchiness. As the condition progresses, a secondary bacterial infection frequently occurs. This exacerbates the problem, causing a vicious cycle of lameness, swelling, discharge and crusting, which leads to further infection. If left untreated, severe skin sloughing, proud flesh formation or “grapes”, and permanent damage can result.

Why horses get it In most cases, pastern dermatitis is a management problem. It is commonly seen in horses kept in wet, muddy and unhygienic conditions. Wet skin provides easy access to bacteria and other pathogens normally found in the environment, leading to infection and irritation. Some horses and breeds are predisposed to the condition. Those with weaker immune systems tend to have more severe cases and repeat episodes than horses with stronger immunity. Draft breeds with feathers such as Shires and Clydesdales are genetically predisposed to immune-mediated vasculitis. This can be triggered by pastern dermatitis, causing it


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to quickly cascade out of control without immediate treatment. In some cases, pastern dermatitis is started by trauma such as performing sliding stops or jumping in abrasive sand footing, which can irritate the skin. If this type of trauma to the skin is causing the problem, then abrasive surfaces need to be avoided, or the legs need to be protected during exercise by wrapping them with clean, dry leg wraps. Pastern dermatitis can also be a secondary condition, or the result of an underlying primary problem such as chorioptic mange (mites), photosensitization, pemphigus foliaceus, or allergic dermatitis. It’s important to work with your veterinarian for a definitive diagnosis so your horse will receive appropriate treatment. Early diagnosis gives the best prognosis for successful treatment. Otherwise, chronic changes occur and it can be difficult to tell what the primary cause was. History, living environment and clinical signs can be enough for a veterinarian to make a presumptive diagnosis. However, a biopsy, skin scrape, and/ or culture may be needed to rule out other possible primary conditions and to make a definitive diagnosis.

of antibacterial ointment and wrapping the legs with standing wraps. In severe cases, plastic wrap can be used for short periods under the standing wraps to help soften the crusts.

Try to stay away from furacin/ nitrofurizone ointments; they are known to be carcinogenic. Once the hair is clipped and the loose crusts removed, the affected area must be dried, treated with an antibacterial product, and wrapped as needed so any further crusts that develop can be removed.

Treatment should be daily to twice weekly, depending on severity and environment. If crusts are not removed, Photos: Kelly Howling the topical treatments can’t reach the bacteria causing the problem. If there is significant pain and inflammation, a topical steroid may also be needed. Many products for treating pastern dermatitis are available, so talk with your veterinarian about what may be best for your horse. I prefer using a chlorhexidine Conventional based shampoo every day treatment (allow five to ten minutes The most important factor The initial stages of mud fever crusts are forming on this of contact time before rinsin successfully treating pasThoroughbred’s heels. ing) followed by toweling tern dermatitis is moving dry and applying Animax the horse to a clean, dry en(antibiotic and steroid) ointvironment. This may require boarding or temporarily ment. In some cases, additional oral antibiotics and locking the horse in a clean, dry stall, until the paddock steroids are also needed. and pasture can be addressed. Next, the hair on the legs must be clipped and the affected areas cleaned. This must be done gently and carefully, and may require sedation as it can be painful for the horse. If the crusts are dried/hard, they need to be softened prior to treatment. This can be done by covering the affected areas with a generous amount

If other causes are involved, your veterinarian will recommend specific treatments. Mites and allergic dermatitis are a good example. If mites are the primary cause, they are commonly treated with lime sulfur applications twice weekly for four weeks. They can also be treated with fipronil spray (Frontline), with a second treatment three equine wellness


to four weeks later. If the mites are not properly diagnosed and treated, the condition will not resolve with routine pastern dermatitis treatment. If allergic dermatitis is the primary cause, determining and eliminating the allergen is essential to successful treatment.

Supporting the horse’s immune system as he fights off the infection can help speed up the process. Echinacea (such as Equinacea from Equilite) and/ or vitamin C can be used as an immune booster. If the horse has to be put on oral antibiotics, probiotics (such as DynaPro from Dynamite) can reduce the risk of complications and support the beneficial bacteria in the GI tract. Continue the probiotics for at least one week after finishing the antibiotics. If oral steroids must be used, then a liver cleanse detox (such as Dynamite’s Herbal Tonic) can be helpful afterwards. Acupuncture is useful for supporting the immune system and aiding in circulation and healing. In most cases, pastern dermatitis is given a Chinese medicine diagnosis of Damp-Heat accumulation in the skin, so treatments are aimed at clearing the heat and toxins and invigorating the blood and Qi. Treatment intervals are case dependent, but often start at twice a week then change to once a week until the horse has healed. If you’re interested in stimulating acupoints with acupressure between treatments, you may want to focus on points such as ST-36, GV-10 and SP-6. More information on acupressure for horses can be found in Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual by Nancy Zidonis, Amy Snow and Marie Soderberg.

Preventing mud fever Prevention is a key ingredient in the holistic approach and helps avoid unnecessary antibiotic/steroid use in your horse. Plan ahead for the rainy season. The best time of year to make necessary management changes for mud prevention is in the summer when paddocks are dry. Jaime Jackson’s book Paddock Paradise: A Guide to Natural Horse Boarding is a


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Alternative options

good place to start. You can also contact your local conservation district for more information or a referral to a paddock specialist in your area. All paddocks have different needs, but many do well with the following: • Grading to create a 1% to 2% slope away from the barn or high traffic areas. • Using geo-textile fabric or Hoof Grid for ground cover/barrier. • Applying 4” to 6” of 1¼” minus gravel compacted for base layer. • Using 4” to 6” of sand, pea gravel or 5/8’s clean (no fines) for top footing.

Manure cleanup once or twice daily is a must for maintaining a mud-free paddock If the mud management project has to be put off until next year, the horse must be kept somewhere clean and dry (such as a stall or arena) for at least eight hours every day after his legs are hosed and toweled dry. All horses should have their legs checked during routine grooming and hoof picking so small wounds and early pastern dermatitis can be quickly detected. Horses prone to the condition also need to have their legs regularly clipped and bathed in a medicated shampoo with betadine or chlorhexidine, for prevention. You may not be able to give these horses any turnout at all in muddy or wet conditions.

What’s the prognosis? When pastern dermatitis is diagnosed and treated early, there’s a good chance of full recovery. Susceptible horses may suffer recurrence if preventive measures aren’t strictly enforced. If the condition cascades out of control and chronic infection occurs, permanent damage such as skin thickening, “grapes”, scar formation and limb swelling can occur. So if you suspect pastern dermatitis, contact your veterinarian immediately for a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan.

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. Find out more at www.evergreenholisticvet.com

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Making friends How to form an effective relationship with your herd by Liz Mitten-Ryan

Photo: Liz Mitten Ryan


umans and horses share the need for complex, emotionally rich and enduring family relationships. Having spent ten years in the company of my herd, a family of 15 horses who range free on 320 acres of forests, fields and lakes, I can fully appreciate the depth and range of emotions within the herd, as well as the importance of a finely tuned communication system. There are several dynamics at play in the herd. If we observe and employ them, we will reach a whole new level of communication and friendship with our horses.

Survival instincts The primary focus of the herd is survival. This survival depends on intricate language involving bodily, verbal and telepathic cues, through which each member of the herd is connected and ready to respond in a second should danger threaten. Much like a flock of geese or a school of fish, the herd moves in unison, its members tuned to each other and their leaders. The lead mare, the stallion, and the dominant mare are the herd elders and each is responsible for order and safety.

Herd dynamics Living close to and observing my herd, I have noticed that when their communication is good – that is, the herd is stable with no horses being added to or leaving


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the herd – then all is well. The males, in my case geldings, take on the stallion role and watch and protect the herd, in particular the young foals. There have been publicized cases of stallions in the wild killing foals, but having observed my herd and their strong family ties, and in discussing wild herd behavior with experts, I feel there must have been complicating factors in those cases, such as serious environmental stress or possibly a severely compromised foal. I have never seen anything but proud “fathers” caring for and teaching the young ones. Hostility, from what I have learned, comes from a serious life-threatening breakdown in communication, such as when an outsider tries to join an existing herd, or members of the herd come and go and need to be re-educated as to their status within the herd. This education is usually the job of the dominant mare, who cares passionately about the working dynamics of the herd. She makes sure the pecking order is maintained and that all members, except the lead mare, adjust their positions and keep their eyes and ears open to her direction at all times. Should any infraction occur, she will punish at lightning speed, and severely if necessary.

Role playing To develop a strong and intuitive relationship with

Learn about herd dynamics, and you have the key to better understanding and interaction with your horses.

our horses, it is important to master the skills taught by the herd leaders. You can then place yourself in the position of both understanding their language and communicating your concern for their welfare. Your horses will then feel safe in your company and happily look to you for leadership. For example, you can adopt the behaviors of the stallion by leading from behind and having your horse move away from you when you ask. You become the dominant mare when you ask your horse to go away or invite him back, or allow him to eat or not. You are the lead mare when you provide the food and see to his welfare, or become the leader in activities that increase his trust in you.

To develop a strong and intuitive relationship with our horses, it is important to master the skills taught by the herd leaders. Establishing leadership It is easy to blame a bad relationship on having a dominant or lead horse to deal with, but with a little understanding, you can become herd leader no matter what the rank of your horse. First of all, it is important to establish a friendship or bond with the horse so he will look to you for his welfare and have a positive attitude to the relationship. It is the lead mare who finds safe meadows, providing food and water for the herd. She is also the wise decision maker and disciplinarian, but reacts more with the benevolent guidance of the family grandmother. People often confuse the aggressive behavior of the dominant mare with that of the lead mare, but if you watch closely you will notice the difference.

Developing the relationship When I’m establishing a relationship with a new horse, or starting a young one, I make sure they realize I have their welfare at heart and spend time in their company just making them feel good. I groom them, not with the purpose of getting them clean, but being careful to find and scratch all their itchy spots. I also generously ply them with treats and praise them verbally. We develop friendship and trust first, then a working or playing relationship when the trust is in place. Once friendship has been established, you can begin asking your horse to move various body parts, to walk ahead or follow at liberty, and he will both respect and enjoy the relationship. I always make it fun and rewarding and have found that my horses both love and respect me for it. They also run to the gate whenever I invite their company!

Liz Mitten Ryan has co-authored three books with her herd and has developed a system of playing with horses called “Friendship And Communication With Your Horse”. One With The Herd – A Spiritual Journey has won great acclaim along with several awards. Learn more at www.onewiththeherd.com.

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Get ahead of the game Feeding your horse in preparation for winter by Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D


orses love the cold weather! You know they’re enjoying the brisk air when they buck and run as the temperatures fall. For horses living in southern states, where the mercury rarely dips below freezing, less preparation is involved. But in the north, horses can be subjected to frigid temperatures and lots of snowfall, and require more attention to their needs. Regardless of where your horse lives, consider the following basics in preparing him for colder temperatures.

Forage considerations As winter approaches, pasture becomes limited or nonexistent and horses must be fed hay. Hay loses many of its nutrients, including vitamins E and C, beta carotene (for vitamin A production), and omega 3 fatty acids. As well, horses get less direct sunlight in winter, which limits vitamin D production. It is therefore more important than ever to fill in these nutritional gaps by providing a good vitamin/mineral supplement that includes flaxseed meal for omega 3 fatty acids. Alfalfa is beneficial for most horses because, when combined with grass hay, it boosts the overall protein quality. This helps protect immune function, and keeps body proteins such as muscles, hair, skin and hooves in good condition.


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Consider adding a 30/70 mixture of alfalfa/grass hay to the diet. Maintaining gut health Hind gut bacteria are responsible for producing heat through hay fermentation, so these microbes need to remain plentiful and healthy. A probiotic will feed the microbes, allowing your horse to more efficiently digest hay, generating not only heat but necessary calories. A good rule of thumb is to provide approximately 2% to 2.5% of body weight from forage, and never let your horse run out of hay for more than two hours. Horses are designed to graze virtually all day and night. Chewing produces saliva, which is a natural antacid for the continual supply of acid secreted by the stomach. Without anything to chew on, horses can develop colic, ulcers, stress-related disorders and behaviors, and may even have trouble losing weight (due to stress hormone production).

Feed concentrates Depending on the condition of your horse, you may need to add concentrates to his diet. A growing or

Cold weather maintenance tips •Be sure to have your horse’s teeth checked before winter sets in. Poor dental health is the number one reason for weight loss in older horses.

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underweight horse, or a pregnant or lactating mare will need more calories than hay can provide. Consider adding a commercial feed. Do not rely on a coffee can to measure the feed; be sure to weigh it. Horses’ stomachs are relatively small and in most cases a meal should never exceed four pounds. For the easy keeper, it is best to avoid cereal grains such as oats, corn, or barley. And definitely

•Also consult with your veterinarian about the best worming program for your region, especially for bots in late autumn.

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avoid molasses-sweetened feeds. With all the hay your horse wants, you can simply make a small meal to serve as a carrier for supplements by using a low starch commercial feed, or a small amount of soaked molasses-free beet pulp.

Bran mash myths Many horse caretakers enjoy feeding a warm bran mash in winter, with the good intention of offering “comfort food” to their horses. But this practice should be avoided for two reasons. First, consistency in the diet is critical to a horse’s digestive health. If you introduce bran once a week, you create a significant risk of colic because the hindgut bacteria haven’t had a chance to adjust. The second problem with feeding bran is that it has more phosphorus than calcium.

If you do feed bran, be consistent in feeding it daily and choose a commercial product that has added calcium to correct the inverted calcium:phosphorus ratio. Winter hydration Water consumption is critical during the winter, so plan on heating your water supply. Horses will not drink

•If your horse can go without shoes, this is the best time to pull them off to avoid accumulation of ice and snow. Be sure to trim his feet in preparation for winter. •If your horse is standing in muddy areas, he has an increased likelihood of developing thrush. To decrease the chances of dermatitis from mud exposure, trim the hair on the lower limbs. •Horses’ coats provide them with insulation as long as the skin doesn’t get wet. So most do not need to be blanketed as long as they have access to shelter from the wind, rain, and snow. If they are clipped, or if the winter coat is not allowed to grow (through exposure to artificial light), then a blanket is necessary. Horses that are thin, ill or recently relocated to a cold climate will enjoy the added warmth of a blanket. Also, if your horse is sweating after exercise, blanketing until the skin dries is important. Keep in mind that blankets flatten the hair coat, reducing its natural thermal ability, so only use them when necessary. •Turnout is the ideal situation for horses, with a three-sided shelter against the rain and wind or free access to a barn stall. If your horse is stalled, make sure the barn is well ventilated to avoid respiratory problems such as heaves. If a horse is unaccustomed to stall living, he may find it stressful, resulting in reduced immune function and more illness. The more turnout you can provide, the better.

equine wellness



by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS

Knowing both the “quality” and “grade” of hay is essential in feeding your horse properly. Last issue, we discussed “quality”. Now we’ll focus on “grade.” I assess the grade of hay based on the total digestible nutrients (TDN) content. Grade one contains the highest TDN and grade four the lowest. The extreme athlete needs grade one. The extreme “easy keeper”, metabolic syndrome prone horse, or insulin resistant horse needs grade three or four. Pleasure and performance horses need grade two or three. As horses move from one category to another, the hay grade should change: 1. Soak grade one hay in water to remove soluble nutrients. This is more time consuming and costly because you’re purchasing a high grade of hay, then soaking away the nutrients for which you have paid. The soaking process removes not only soluble carbohydrates but the water soluble vitamins and amino acids as well. 2. Purchase a lower grade hay that has been naturally soaked with rain. 3. Mix grade one hay with grade three or four, or with wheat or oat straw.

enough cold water to prevent dehydration and impaction colic, so maintain water at 50ºF. Now is the time to get heated water buckets or an automatic temperature-controlled watering system. To encourage your horse to drink enough water, always provide access to salt.

Keeping up the senior horse If you have an older horse, keep in mind that his joints need extra protection during the cold months. A good joint supplement is advisable, along with vitamin C for collagen production, since the older a horse gets, the less vitamin C he produces on his own. If he’s a hard keeper, be sure he is not competing with younger, more aggressive horses for his hay. Feed a quality senior feed, along with added flaxseed meal (use a commercial product such as Nutra Flax by Horsetech, since it is stabilized and has added calcium to adjust the calcium:phosphorus ratio). A vitamin/mineral supplement with added alfalfa for protein (unless his kidneys are compromised) is important to maintain his immune system. Additional fat from rice bran oil can be included as well. Avoid corn and soybean oils because they are high in omega 6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation. As horses age, they are more inclined to develop dysfunction of the pituitary gland (commonly referred to as equine Cushing’s – see page 47 for more on this condition). The main symptoms are a long curly hair coat, increased urination and thirst, reduced muscle mass, increased susceptibility to infections, and tendency toward laminitis. Avoid starchy feeds and do not feed sugar or sugary treats such as apples or carrots. Let your horse enjoy the winter by keeping his weight healthy through plenty of good quality grass and alfalfa hay. Add more calories if he needs them, a supplement to fill in the nutrient gaps, salt, and fresh, temperature controlled water. Do all this and you’ll have a horse whose good health will long outlast the cold months!

© Moth | Dreamstime.com

Did you know?


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

Dr. Juliet M. Getty earned her Master of Science degree in Animal Nutrition at the University of Florida. She completed her doctoral coursework in Animal Nutrition at the University of Georgia, and continued her studies at the University of North Texas, where she earned her Ph.D.

pathology he received a masters degree in nutritional biochemistry and intermediary metabolism. In

1973, he founded Life Data Labs

to determine equine nutritional deficiencies through laboratory testing, and developed individualized feeding programs to correct the deficiencies he discovered. of research, he launched www.lifedatalabs.com


equine wellness

After ten years Farrier’s Formula.

Winner of several teaching awards, Dr. Getty has taught comparative nutrition studies at the University of North Texas for 20 years. At the same time, she has been working in the field, consulting privately with horse owners to customize feeding plans that address a variety of health conditions. Recently retired from academia, she now resides in Colorado, where she devotes herself full-time to equine nutrition. Through her consulting company Getty Equine Nutrition, www.GettyEquineNutrition.com, Dr. Getty provides consultations locally, nationally and internationally. Watch for her new book, to be released in January.

Get your cameras ready! It’s time for the 2nd Annual

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

The rules are simple:

1. Send a digital photo, scanned at a

minimum of 5"x7", at 300 dpi resolution in a tif, jpeg or pdf format to: photos@equinewellnessmagazine.com or send a good quality hard copy original photo (not a color photocopy) to: Photo Contest, Equine Wellness Magazine, US: PMB 168, 8174 S. Holly St., Centennial, CO 80122 CAN: 201-107 Hunter St. E., Peterborough, ON K9H 1G7

2. Please remember to include your name,

address and telephone number, along with your equine's name, sex and age (if known) and a short description of the photo. Hard copy photos must have contact information printed on the back of the photo.

3. You may submit a maximum of two photos of each horse.

4. All photos become property of

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

5. Winners will be notified by phone or

mail and winning photos will appear in a future issue of Equine Wellness.

Enter by November 30, 2008 for your chance to win!

2007 “1st prize” winner by Codi Bradford

Win one of these great prizes! 1st prize – Gift package from Wellington Ridge Herbalists, including 2 month supply of 1 Formula for Horses and 1 Formula for Recovery (retail value $180) 2nd prize – Health and performance products from Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals Inc. (retail value $150) 3rd prize – Supplement gift package from HorseTech®, including OrthoPur Si, Quench and Buggzo (retail value $130)

4th prize – Herbal Salves, Massage Oils, and Aromatherapy Hydrosols from Zephyrs Garden (retail value $100) 5th prize – DVD and book set from Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute (retail value $89) 6th prize – 1-year subscription to either Equine Wellness Magazine or Animal Wellness Magazine (your choice)

Thanks to our sponsors:

Tallgrass Publishers LLC. equine wellness


FlashDance Menopause can be a challenging time of life, but understanding the symptoms may help prevent the need for hormone replacement therapy. by Dr. Valeria Wyckoff, NMD, RD


have gone through menopause and treated a lot of women for pre-menopausal and menopausal symptoms. Generally, their chief concern is hot flashing. Some fear it, others find it annoying, some are seriously inconvenienced by it, but very few understand exactly what causes it.

So what happens when the hormones start to shift at the menopausal end of this high estrogen time in a woman’s life? She enters a phase of “second adolescence”. She begins re-evaluating her life, and thinking about what she can do to improve the future portion of it. She is more assertive, and moves into a menopausal zest for life.

Hormonal stages

There is no “healthy” symptom of menopause.

When girls are young and pre-pubescent, they have a feeling of being invincible. As they develop breast buds and begin menstruating, their estrogen levels begin rising. Later, when they are of child-bearing age, they want peace for raising their families. In Dr. Christiane Northrup’s review of estrogen studies, the only consistent finding was that estrogen makes women more docile.

In many native cultures, women do not have a word for the stopping of their menses. In Western culture, however, we understand that the adrenal gland (which is responsible for picking up hormone production after the ovaries stop) becomes overwhelmed. The adrenal gland is where cortisol and adrenalin are made – the hormones that react to stress. Now the adrenal gland has to make estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone too. If the adrenal gland has been overly stressed in past years, it struggles with balancing these important new responsibilities.

Adrenal health and progesterone For most women, the first hormone the ovaries stop producing is progesterone. This is when hot flashing can start if the adrenals are


equine wellness

Your health not able to pick up the slack and make adequate amounts of this hormone. Many women find progesterone-stimulating herbs and creams helpful at this stage. Later on, when the ovaries stop making estrogen, the menstrual cycle stops and the adrenals are now the primary supplier of both hormones, in addition to the others it has been making. A woman at this stage can find her hot flashes either stopping or getting worse due to the new balance of progesterone and estrogen production. You can see why, if a woman has menopausal symptoms, she should also be working to support and heal her adrenal glands. Women with healthy adrenal glands are the ones who glide through menopause without a symptom. To support your adrenal glands: • Maintain a regular pace to life. • Sit down to eat regular meals. • Get an average of 8.5 hours of sleep per night. • Eat 5 to 10 fruit and vegetable servings per day. • Make time for quiet reflective activities, such as walking, yoga, tai chi and qi gong. • Take vitamin C and pantothenic acid (B5). • Fight adrenal fatigue with the herbs rhodiola and withania.

Thyroid balance and estrogen High estrogen, whether from birth control pills, menopause changes, or hormone replacement therapy, can also affect the thyroid. It can interfere with the activation of thyroid in the cells, and with the production of thyroid. This causes fatigue, dry skin, thinning hair, a foggy mind, and weight gain. To support your thyroid: • Use kelp flakes on food, rather than salt.

• Eat sushi, seaweed and seafood. • Iodine and the amino acid tyrosine help make thyroid.

It is hard to know from individual symptoms which hormones are too high and which are too low, since it is the lack of balance that creates the symptoms. Hormone imbalances The symptoms of general hormone imbalance can include headaches, hot flashes, breast pain, skin dryness, sugar cravings, depression, low libido, vaginal dryness, foggy thinking, sleep disturbances and mood swings. Saliva testing gives an accurate view over time of what each hormone is doing, and should include estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and cortisol levels. A thyroid blood panel is also helpful. At this point, many women choose an individualized prescription for compounded bioidentical hormones. I prefer to prescribe a customized homeopathic medicine and herbal formulation. This helps the body heal itself. In conclusion, the symptoms women experience surrounding menopause are a reflection of the stressors they have had in their lives. Rethinking diet and lifestyle can be helpful to their future health.

Dr. Valeria Wyckoff is a naturopathic physician and registered dietitian with a

Chandler, Arizona. She is also Radio Doctor with a weekly talk show (wwwRadiodoctors.net) broadcast in the Phoenix area and on the internet. www.DrValeria.net practice in a

equine wellness


Setting boundaries Fence options for your equine partner by Kelly Howling


ood fences make good neighbors. This couldn’t ring more true when it comes to having horses on your property, whether you are a full scale boarding operation or just keeping your own horses at home. Few things are worse than getting a phone call in the middle of the night from next door, saying they hear hoofbeats and do you know where your horses are? I often find it amusing, as I make my daily drive through the country to the barn, to see how a single strand of high tensile electric fence is capable of keeping an entire herd of cattle corralled – yet our horses can find a way through, under, over or out of anything less than the Berlin Wall. We have all heard stories of those crafty equines that figure out how to undo the gate and let their paddock pals out, or those like my own mare, who figured out how to pop the top fence boards off with her chest, reducing the height to something she and her friends could hop over. Then there are nightmare stories of frightened horses going through or over fencing in a panic, injuring themselves or getting cast at the fence and tangling their legs.

Never underestimate the value of a perimeter fence around your property with a gate that is kept shut at all times. This way, even if your horses do get loose, they cannot leave your property or get onto the road. With everything that can go wrong, it’s wise to invest in the best possible type of fencing for your facility, right from the start.

Common materials Post and rail fencing is quite common, and looks very nice when done properly. In fact, the first image that usually comes to mind when most people think about fencing is miles of immaculate white post and rail enclosing the lush green grasses of Kentucky pastures. While fairly sturdy and inexpensive, it does require a fair bit of maintenance – painting and


equine wellness

checking regularly for exposed nails, broken boards or large splinters of wood. Without the addition of a strand of hot wire at the top, cribbers and wood chewers will make quick work of the wood, and pushier horses will lean on the top boards because “the grass is always greener”!

enclosures are very visible, attractive and low maintenance. However, because they aren’t set into the ground, they are not the strongest. Care should be taken to only use panels that do not have a gap between them once assembled, as horses’ legs can get caught. Buck and rail fences are common in areas where it is difficult to set fences into the ground (i.e. rocky terrain). They look somewhat like a triangular version of post and rail fencing, and have many of the same attributes.

Post and rail fence

©Bimmergirl | Dreamstime.com

PVC/vinyl is fashioned to look similar to traditional post and rail. While more costly, it does not require nearly as much maintenance. It should be combined with some form of electric – whether by alternating PVC “boards” with electric, or by using a vinyl option that has hot wire run through it. PVC/vinyl is typically not strong enough on its own to contain horses well.

PVC/vinyl fence

©Robert Byron | Dreamstime.com

Buck and rail fence

©Leeloommultipass | Dreamstime.com

Electric fencing is available in many types, including hot wire/high tensile, braided electric strands, electric tape/ mesh, and vinyl fence with hot wire through the middle. Electric fencing is very effective for keeping horses enclosed and encouraging them to respect their boundaries. Horses will not chew, lean or rub on electric fencing. It can be combined with other fence types, and can look very attractive and be fairly inexpensive and low maintenance. Care should be taken to ensure the wire, strands or tape are always well tensioned, so horses cannot get caught up in it.

Pipe fence is quite sturdy, low maintenance, highly visible and fairly attractive. While initially expensive, it will last a long time. Cribbers and chewers will not be tempted by it, and it will withstand much leaning and rubbing by itchy horses. The only downside is that if a horse becomes cast or caught up in the fence, it will be a fair job to get him out. Electric fence

Pipe fence

©Harris Shiffman | Dreamstime.com

Panels and portable fencing are quite common in various areas of the country to house horses in smaller “sacrifice” paddocks. They’re made out of tubular panels similar to those that make up round pens. Like pipe fencing, these

If you use T-posts for your electric or wire fencing, do not forget to put a plastic cap on the top of each post. Otherwise, your horse is at risk of becoming impaled on the sharp posts. equine wellness


Wire fencing for horses includes V-mesh, rectangular mesh and chain link. Regardless of which type you choose, ensure that mesh openings are not so big that a horse, pony or foal can put a foot through. Do not use chain link with sharp top edges, and be aware that any mesh fence is easy for a horse to stretch if he leans on it. Mesh fences are not very visible, so plan on marking them with flags, or using a top board.

housing. Generally, bottom boards or wires should be 10” to 12” from the ground so horses cannot get their legs stuck. Minimum fence height is typically 4.5’, the general rule being that the top of the fence should be at your horse’s eye level. • It seems there is always at least one horse that finds a way to get stuck in fencing, but you can minimize the risk by always keeping hot wire, etc., well tensioned and having a plan and tools on hand should a horse become trapped. • Make sure your fencing is visible to the horses. Wire fencing, especially against dense brush, is difficult to see. Where practical, mark fencing with flags or a top board for visibility.

Never use barbed wire fences for horses.

Natural barriers are not uncommon in certain areas and include rock walls and/or thick brush. While obviously strong, cost effective and low maintenance, they should be carefully inspected on a regular basis for any sharp edges or branches that could harm your horse, or for weak areas your horse could sneak through/over.

• Check your fences regularly for anything your horse could hurt himself on. Immediately replace broken or loose boards and fasteners. • Before building a fence, try to visit farms where the fencing types you are considering are already in place. Observe how the materials have weathered, and ask questions about the maintenance involved. If you have never put up your own fencing before, do not hesitate to ask for help or hire someone. It’s important to get it right the first time!

Further considerations • The height of your fencing, as well as the distances between the ground and the first rail/hot wire, and the supports and number of rails/hot wires, will all vary depending on the type of fencing and the horses you’re

A good fence brings peace of mind and is vital to keeping horses out of trouble. Knowing your horses are safely enclosed in their fields means one less thing to worry about!

Equus College of Learning & Research Proudly presents

Equine Muscle Release Therapy’s First Aid for Horses

Developed by Alison Goward. Bowtech the original Bowen on Horses Technique. You will learn how to:

• Handle your animal in a first aid situation • Call the Vet • Check the horse/small animal’s vital signs • Deal with common first aid conditions e.g. Anhidrosis (dry coat), bowed tendon, choke, colic in horses etc., while waiting for the vet.

• Stop bleeding, manage wounds and bandaging • Conduct first aid procedures • Use EMRT™ first aid remedies • Conduct EMRT™ first aid emergency moves – these moves are only to used in an emergency first aid situation.

Knowing what to do in an emergency situation – SAVES LIVES • EMRT™ first aid does not replace Veterinary Advice For more information or to book onto a course contact Sophie Vertigan at 519-940-9875 or vertigan@sympatico.ca

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equine wellness

On trust Building a true bond with your horse by Anna Twinney


ove. Respect. Understanding. Three powerful words. Some might even argue the most powerful words in the universe. When we see people who embody them we honor and revere them. They can even inspire us to try and be the same. When I was asked to write an article about gaining your horse’s trust, my first thought was: “One of the simplest yet hardest things to do. And what makes it hard is not in the horse, but in us.”

Photo: Lori Faith Merritt

We may feel love for our equine partners and truly enjoy their company, but are we treating them as the living, breathing, conscious beings they are? We are often so busy and lead such stressed lives that despite our best intentions we don’t see our horses. I don’t mean they literally vanish into thin air, but we don’t see the horse in front of us. Instead, we see what we project onto them.

equine wellness


We don’t consider who our horses are, how their day might have been, or what they like or dislike, especially if we haven’t had the best of days ourselves. We expect our horses to make us feel better, and don’t realize that maybe they need us to brighten their day.

…and I whispered to the horse: “Trust no man in whose eye you do not see yourself reflected as an equal.” Don Vincenzo Giobbe, circa 1700 If you truly want to create a trust-based partnership with your horse, then you must put down your “tricks of the trade”, stop trying to figure out a foolproof technique, and look within yourself. Here are some ways to strengthen or start that bond of trust with your horse, as well as some signs that you are making some progress.

Getting started Few things will relax and calm your mind like getting in touch with nature; listening to the quiet, feeling the sun on your skin, the grass between your toes. We often forget this is where our horses live. They spend every moment being in and of the natural world.

© Bronwyn8 | Dreamstime.com

Getting to know your horse in his natural environment is getting to know him as he is. Instead of coming to him with your agenda, try leaving it behind once in awhile. Sit down with your horse in the paddock. Watch his motions, his emotions, his interactions. Find out who he is when he’s not being forced to work. Let him discover


equine wellness

you on his terms. Allow him to explore you, approach you and greet you in his own time.

Saying “hello” Have you ever been approached by a boisterous person – loud voice, hard handshake, jumping into your space and demanding your attention? Not a comfortable experience for most, yet this is often how we greet our horses. We walk right up and put a halter on, or start touching, petting or grooming regardless of how the horse feels. Instead, try inviting your horse to the meeting. Notice how he reaches out with his nose as he stretches towards you to discover your uniqueness.

Offering the back of your hand is a great non-invasive way of reciprocating your horse’s approach. Welcome his interest as he begins to touch your skin gently, feeling it with his whiskers. He’ll probably move to your hair next. With every breath he takes, he is investigating new parts of you. As he gets closer to your neck he begins to exchange breaths with you. Even in this simple greeting, he is learning to trust you and offering you the same.

I’m not “comfortable” with that You wouldn’t let another person touch you inappropriately, and your horse feels the same. Ask her and let her invite you into her vulnerable areas before you start poking, prodding and rubbing. Get her approval to explore her defenseless areas, then you can scratch her withers, rub her body and search for those special places she likes rubbed. Let her show you what she’s comfortable with. Not only will you introduce yourself further, but you’ll be asking your horse to accept you for what you do and not for what you are – a predator. You will also discover her favorite “itchy” areas, making that ever important good first impression.

About face Many horses enjoy human contact, while others learn in time that it can be comforting. Here are a few common ways horses like to experience human touch around the face. Find the ones your own equine likes.

Ears – Massage his ears. Begin at the base and work your way up to the tip. Discover what he enjoys, and build on the positive experiences. Work in a fluid rhythm, creating circular motions or stroking the ears. There are acupressure points at the tips of the ears which alleviate stress, and many horses just melt into instant relaxation. Eyes – A particularly sensitive nerve center is located right under the horse’s eye. When you move two or three finger pads in the direction of the hairline and create small circles, your horse will begin to relax. Be careful not to use your fingertips as you may dig your nails into his skin. As you increase the area of the circles you may be able to cover your horse’s eye. By momentarily taking his vision, you ask him to trust in your protection. Muzzle – Cup your hand over your horse’s muzzle, circle your palm and let him tell you if he likes the cradling feeling or the gentle motion of your hand against his lips. If you’re a more advanced horseman or woman, you may wish to place two or three finger pads against the top gum, once again circling as you go. Remember to make your way to the front of your horse’s mouth by entering the side first. This massage can be very soothing, but be cautious that your horse doesn’t pull your fingers between his teeth. The top lip can be very powerful!

Give your horse the respect you would want from another person. Neck drops For the anxious and frightened horse, this can be the most difficult request. If your horse is willing to drop his head for you, you are well on your way to gaining his trust. When you ask your horse to do this, you are asking him to give up his primary form of defense – flight. Anatomically, horses need their heads up high to focus on distance. When their heads are lowered you remove this ability and ask them to focus on the ground. At that point, their trust has been completely placed in your hands. As a horse lowers his head for you, he presents the most

©Diego Cervo | Dreamstime.com

vulnerable part of his body, the back of his neck. This is exactly where a lion would strike to asphyxiate her prey. Some say that crouching down by the side of your horse and encouraging him to lower his eyes below your own takes his trust to an even deeper level. One way to request a neck drop is to place pressure on the lead rope underneath the clip. The pressure is very slight, equivalent to holding a baby bird. Notice if your horse responds to a constant pressure of if he prefers a pulsing within the pressure. Either way, remember that horses learn from the release of pressure, so your timing in rewarding the tries is crucial to encouraging his nose to touch the ground.

Neck yielding This exercise offers many advantages, including muscle stretches, tissue softness, natural adjustments and preparation for the one-rein stop. One of the greatest benefits is that it builds trust. By asking your horse to softly, smoothly and willingly yield his head around, touching your hip bone farthest from his head, you take away his vision in one eye. Horses are known to follow their noses and this tight neck yield prevents an open and immediate flight path. Losing vision decreases his flight options, a major part of the horse’s survival instinct, and asks him to completely place his trust in you.

Disengaging hindquarters Take a moment to do the following exercise. Stand up. Cross your legs. Now… run! Okay. Stand up again (you equine wellness


probably fell flat on your face). This is exactly what your horse would experience if you made her disengage her hindquarters. When you do this, you take away her ability to run and instead ask her to look to you for guidance.

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Horses gain leadership by controlling one another’s feet and taking possession of territory. In other words, if you control your horse’s forward motion and direction, you take the leadership role in your herd of two. (This takes us into another topic, respect, but we shall save that for another article.) I hope these tips will start you on the path of building a trustbased relationship with your horse. Remember, it’s not about developing the right trust-building techniques and tricks. Your horse is not a motorcycle that always goes on command. He is a living, breathing being. Ask yourself, “Based on my actions and intentions, would I trust me?” Treat him as you would like to be treated. See him for who he is. Be the kind of person he can trust and rely on, and you will develop a bond that will never be broken.



Anna Twinney is an internationally respected animal communicator, equine specialist, natural horsemanship clinician, and Reiki master. She has been featured on TV and in national and international magazines, and

$35 CAN. 07 value) (18 issues – $1

travels the world educating people

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

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


Your natural

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and horses, working in the horses’ own language. As the founder of the

Reach Out to Horses® program,

she remains on the cutting edge of genuine, gentle communication techniques with all our planetary companions. For more information, go to www.reachouttohorses.com.

Book reviews The Horses In My Life Author: Monty Roberts Title:

Often referred to as “the man who listens to horses”, Monty Roberts has spent most of his life working as a professional trainer. In The Horses in My Life, he tells with warmth and affection the stories of the many equines who have shared his life’s journey. Read how Monty rebelled against his father’s traditional “horse breaking” methods and opted instead to observe horses in the wild to better understand them. You’ll learn about his first equine friend Ginger, a retired ranch horse, as well as the many famous Thoroughbreds, including Alleged, that he has trained during his career. This revealing book is illustrated with beautiful photographs, and conveys the unique understanding that Monty has for all horses, no matter what their personality or challenges.

Publisher: Trafalgar Square Publishing

Whole Horse Herbs™ 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



Ask your Animal Author: Marta Williams


As in human relationships, animal communication requires vigilant listening and thoughtful responses. It all begins with a basic overview of what it means to communicate intuitively with horses, dogs and other beings. Written by animal communicator Marta Willians, Ask Your Animal – Resolving Behavioral Issues through Intuitive Communication focuses on solving common problems through inter-species communing. Marta teaches ways to work through problems such as aggression and socializing abused and rescued animals. Using her techniques, you’ll also be able to better prepare your horse or other animal for travel, vet visits or moving to a new location. Exercises and case studies combine to make this book an interactive guide as well as a fascinating glimpse into the world of animal communication, and how it can be applied to everyday issues.

Publisher: New World Library

equine wellness


Book reviews In Search of the Truth About Dogs Author: Catherine O’Driscoll Title:

Many young dogs develop debilitating diseases and die years before their time. When three of her beloved golden retrievers died too young, Catherine O’Driscoll founded Canine Health Concern, an international organization advocating real food for dogs. In her new DVD, In Search of the Truth About Dogs – An Introduction to Natural Canine Health, Catherine is joined by renowned experts veterinarian Dr. Michael Fox and veterinary homeopath Dr. Christopher Day to teach you how to give your dog a long and healthy life.

Learn how to feed your canine companion for optimum health and longevity, and why it’s harmful and unnecessary to vaccinate every year. You’ll also find out why vets and other professionals now have the courage to speak out and challenge the system, and how dog guardians around the world are keeping their canines healthy and happy.

Publisher: Dogwise

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Massage your horse while removing dirt, dander and loose hair. • It’s durable • It’s effective!

• It’s recycled! • Made in USA

(800) 864-3448 • www.GroomersStone.com 1100 Kane Street, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54603

Organic Approved Fly Control

BARE SKIN BARRIER™ Safe for Foals & Lactating Mares Call for FREE Catolog 1-866-821-0374

Order Securely Online www.ShopNaturesBalanceCare.com

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health products & services

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

Sickness or Health”

Riva’s Remedies Equine Health Line •1-800-405-6643

Marijke van de Water, B.Sc., DHMS Mail Orders Welcome!

w w w. r i v a s r e m e d i e s . c o m

HEIRO™ – The Answer for Equine Insulin Resistance • Laminitis even on Pergolide • Sudden Laminitis in Winter • Chronic Laminitis even on special diet • Can’t turnout on grass

Go to: www.EquineMedSurg.com Call: 610-436-5174

Certified Herbs




Mother & baby remain together

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

$42 - $64

depending on size


www.horsingaroundllc.com 1-866-GET-EZEE (438-3933)

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

Evergreen Holistic Veterinary Care Hannah Evergreen DVM •Certified in Veterinary Acupuncture

•Sports Medicine Lameness

•Certified in Animal Chiropractic

•Horse Rescue/ Rehabilitation

•Advanced Equine Dentistry

www.EvergreenHolisticVet.com (206) 940-8589 • PO Box 1494 Monroe, WA 98272

Radial Nerve Paralysis 04-12-02

Imagine you being the Therapist who could offer this service! Electro-Acuscope & Myoscope Therapy Non-Invasive & Drug Free

Become a Certified Therapist

80 hour training class Classes offered in California, Nevada and Texas.

Call for our 2008 Class Schedule Nancy Hall, Approved Instructor

951-769-3774 • www.equinewellness.com

Dr. Valeria Wyckoff, NMD, RD www.DrValeria.net

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

Listen to her radio show live online at



equine wellness

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

Navilam’O’ is liquid Devil’s Claw and

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

immune one


health products & services

Horse Healthy Naturally

Arabinogalactan Powder

shipping to Canada!

Immune One AG powder gently balances the effects caused by daily stress and various common drugs and antibiotics by increasing the numbers of “beneficial anaerobes” such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria. Immune One AG also decreases the numbers of infectious pathogens especially; E-Coli, Clostridium and Candida and acts as an anti-inflammatory and immune system modulator.

www.equinatural.com Direct to your home shipping!

Based on customer reports, immune one may be of beneficial nutritional support for the following: •Gastrointestinal disorders •Malabsorption of nutrients • Auto immune diseases

•Allergies •Viral & Bacterial Infections •Inflammation

Packaged for horses, dogs, cats and their owners. Testimonials available

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

Wholistic health & rehab for horses Compassionate, integrative veterinary care Feeding and nutritional therapy • Herbs as food and medicine Homeopathy • Integrative body work Spinal care and saddle fit • Movement re-education Training and fitness • Behavioural counselling • Medical intuitive evaluation

Dr. Christine King

(425) 876-1179 • king@animavet.com • www.animavet.com


The Fhoenix Vogue Dressage Saddle It has the narrowest twist & deepest seat of any soft tree saddle on the market! Book your trial today!

www.GoTreeless.com • www.Torsion-Canada.ca equine wellness


health products & services communicators

understand your horses at a deeper level!

free audio course

‘making the heart connection’ www.


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

Rosezella’s Way

A new way for a new age Ann Marie Hoff Horse “whisperer” Communicator/Medium/psychic. Communicates with your horse – change and channel energy. Find source of lameness, or illness and cure fears.

Ride better by knowing what your horse thinks!

www.RosezellasWay.com • (520) 749-4182


Become a part of the equine wellness movement and help educate your friends and family on health and wellness issues for animals.

1-866-764-1212•www.EquineWellnessMagazine.com 80

equine wellness

Events August 23-24 – McLean, VA Animal Communication The Basic Workshop Reawaken and acknowledge your ability to communicate with animals. Janet will lead you through the basic steps with guided meditations, enlightening discussion and telepathic exercises. Day 1: You will be introduced to the basics of telepathic communication with animals. Learn how you already communicate with animals telepathically. Learn 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 receive what they communicate telepathically in thoughts, images, impressions, feelings and messages. For more information: Janet Dobbs, 703-648-1866 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com September 6-7 – Cornville, AZ Reiki I and Equine Reiki Training Learn Reiki for horses with Kathleen Prasad, co-author of Animal Reiki. This special class is for horse people who want to deepen their relationships with horses and learn practical ways to heal the horses in their lives. Most Reiki I classes focus on Reiki for people, but Kathleen’s teachings are unique in their emphasis on Reiki for both humans and animals. Both days include time for practice on the equine residents of beautiful Talking Horse Ranch near Sedona, Arizona. For locals, there is space for you to bring your equine companion with you to practice with during the course. For more information: Kathleen Prasad, 415-420-9783 info@animalreikisource.com www.animalreikisource.com

September 13-14 – Spotsylvania, VA Traveler’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary Animal Communication The Basic Workshop Reawaken and acknowledge your ability to communicate with animals. Janet will lead you through the basic steps with guided meditations, enlightening discussion and telepathic exercises.

students will develop their intuition when working with Reiki. Upon completion of day two, students will receive the Level II Reiki practitioner certificate.

Day 1: You will be introduced to the basics of telepathic communication with animals. Learn how you already communicate with animals telepathically. Learn 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 a animal heart to heart as you learn how to send and receive communication. Deepen your communion with all of life.

October 10-12 – Spotsylvania, VA Traveler’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary Animal Communication Advanced I Workshop – The Deepening

Day 2: Learn how to quiet and focus your mind when being with animals. Practice opening the channel to get across to animals and receive what they communicate telepathically in thoughts, images, impressions, feelings and messages. For more information: Janet Dobbs, 703-648-1866 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com September 20-21 – Washington, DC KitKat Ranch Animal Reiki Level II Workshop This class is for people who have completed Level I Reiki and wish to deepen their healing path. Day 1: Participants will receive the three Level II attunements and be taught three Reiki symbols and their mantras. Building on what was learned in Level I, students will learn more exercises to help increase the flow and level of energy in themselves. We will practice group energy healing, long distance healing and much more.

For more information: Janet Dobbs, 703-648-1866 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com

This class is for those who have completed the basic two-day Animal Communication course and wish to continue to deepen their connection with animals. It’s 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. 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 two-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 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com

Day 2: Students will learn how to send long distance Reiki to animals as well as continue their practice and experience with in-person Reiki with animals. Level II

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


Tail end

Natural upheaval by adele von rüst Mccormick, phd, Marlena Deborah McCormick, PhD and Thomas E. McCormick, MD


armen, one of our favorite show mares, was expecting her third foal, and we were all very excited. Carmen was a big, beautiful chestnut and a real people-lover. Her previous foals had been easy, fifteenminute deliveries. Then one night our ranch manager came and knocked urgently on our door. He was very upset. Carmen was having some problems with her delivery. We quickly went down to help her, but the baby was lodged. We tried to reposition the foal, but it was impossible. We called the vet, and he said to wait until he arrived. He explained that if the baby wouldn’t easily shift, something was seriously wrong. Moving the foal could kill them both.

When she was out of the woods physically, our real work began. Carmen was in great emotional turmoil. She would look all around, calling and crying for her baby. Her eyes were listless, and her head hung low. It was heart-wrenching to see her in such despair. She had always been such a proud and majestic mare. We could see she wasn’t going to bounce back overnight. Her grief and depression continued for months. During her mourning, she stared blankly and isolated herself. The other mares knew she was distraught, and many tried to comfort her. But Carmen remained aloof. Then one day, feeling melancholy ourselves, we walked out to the barn for our morning visit. Much to our surprise, Carmen was eagerly waiting for us. She jumped in the air, let out a joyous whinny, and put on a big show for us. We were ecstatic. Carmen had completed her dark night of mourning and was rejoining the living.

There was nothing we could do but wait by Carmen’s side and attempt to comfort her. Looking for assurance, Carmen put her head in our laps, and we stroked her. By the time the vet drove onto the property, the foal had died. The vet needed to work quickly because Carmen was failing. In moments like this, we learned what it means to surrender to the vast power and incomprehensible wisdom inherent in nature. ©Stanisław Kostrakiewicz | Dreamstime.com

Carmen made a complete physical and psychological recovery, but her days of having foals were over. Recognizing her loss and knowing how much she enjoyed mothering, we decided to give her a new role. We put her in charge of many of our human kids. In time, she became one of our most capable healing horses. Perhaps it was through her own experience of loss and grief that she was able to empathize with others who were having a difficult time. She took a special interest in all youngsters, both human and animal, and extended to them her caring nature. Carmen went on to lead a productive, fulfilling, happy, and healthy life.

From the book Horses and the Mystical Path, Copyright © 2004 by Adele von Rüst McCormick, PhD, Marlena Deborah McCormick, PhD and Thomas E. McCormick, MD. Reprinted with permission from New World Library, www.newworldlibrary.com or 800-972-6657, ext. 52.

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


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