Your natural resource!
How to discuss alternative options with your stable owner
Which poisonous plants & trees to weed out
Oh, Crap! The truth about worming and fecal tests
Deep healing for your horse
On the line
Rediscover the forgotten art of long-lining
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Doing itâ&#x20AC;? Naturally Advice on holistic breeding
About Abcesses Tips on protecting your horse from hoof pain and inflammation
March/April 2009 Display until May 4, 2009 $5.95 USA/Canada
VOLUME 4 ISSUE 2
Contents March/April 2009
Photo: Kathleen Ingram
24 features 14 Peace in the stable
Discussing alternative options with your stable owner
18 Sore foot?
Protect your horse from the pain and inflammation of a hoof abscess
24 “Doing it” naturally
Strike a balance between marketing your stallion and taking a more holistic approach to breeding
29 The case for chelation
Minerals are vital to perfect health and performance, but they need to be bio-available to the body
36 2nd annual Equine Wellness photo contest Check out our gallery of prize-winning shots
Photo: ©Kati1313 | Dreamstime.com
46 Cut to the quick?
Recognizing and dealing with your horse’s wounds in a holistic way helps ensure successful recovery
50 Exploring osteopathy
56 56 Go Green
Seven simple ways to reduce your farm’s ecological “hoofprint”
58 Unlucky 13
Keep your horse’s forage safe by weeding out these poisonous plants and trees
Sometimes you have to go deep to heal your horse
60 On the line
53 9 steps to a successful clinic
64 Oh, crap!
A clinic is a wonderful way to learn, network and make new friends
Long-lining is a forgotten art that’s well worth rediscovering
When it comes to natural equine care, regular fecal tests should be part of the regimen
Look for this icon to visit featured links
10 Neighborhood news
20 Holistic veterinary advice
42 Equine Wellness
Talking with Dr. Heather Mack, VMD
34 From agony to ecstasy
66 Heads up
40 A natural performer
Profile of a natural performer
67 Book reviews 72 Did you know?
72 Classifieds 73 Events
74 Your health
Photo: ÂŠDjslavic | Dreamstime.com
53 equine wellness
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Dare to be different When I was little, one of mother’s friends gave me a book called Crystal’s Vision by Frank Holmes and K.C. Montgomery. It’s about a filly trying to figure out what she is going to be when she grows up. She dreams about being a police horse, racehorse, hunter, and barrel racer – and spends lots of time exploring these different avenues. The book ends with a brief poem called “Dare to Dream”. The poem stuck with me through the years because of the very simple message in its title. Though I was brought up in traditional equestrian facilities, I dreamed of a different way of working with and caring for horses. And I was going to find it, even if it meant taking a different, more difficult, path. As with anything else, I have come across riders who aren’t very open to alternative interests and beliefs. The horse world is steeped in tradition, and many riders are uninterested in deviating from the norm. However, the norm is starting to change. I can remember (not too long ago) when therapies like massage and chiropractic were considered “out there”, yet they’re now fairly mainstream. Equestrians are opening their minds to what these options can do for their horses, seeking further information and asking excellent questions. When it comes to horses, an open mind is essential, and an educated opinion goes a lot further than a stubborn one!
Like the filly in my childhood book, we must explore many different avenues before we discover what resonates with us and our horses. As riders, we may have differing and widespread opinions about what works and what does not, but our end goal is the same – the happiness and best care possible for our particular horses. And more often than not, we are happy to share new discoveries, training methods and therapies, since our passion is not confined solely to our own horses, but encompasses the entire equine population. In this issue, Madalyn Ward offers some suggestions on how to approach your barn owner about non-traditional horsekeeping practices. In addition, Linda Kohanov discusses the topic of natural breeding, Hannah Evergreen covers holistic wound care, and Anna Twinney instructs you on how to incorporate the lost art of long-lining into your routine. I hope you find something in this edition that takes you just a bit out of your comfort zone, and stretches your mind a little. Dare to dream, and dare to be different! Naturally,
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Neighborhood news On parade
Mustang birth control As we reported in our last issue, public outcry shot down the Bureau of Land Management’s suggestion to euthanize thousands of mustangs to reduce their numbers. The organization has begun looking for other solutions, one of which is the contraceptive PZP (porcine zona pellucida). It’s a protein that prevents fertilization in mares, and is effective for close to two years. The Cedar Mountain Range in Utah is able to sustain 200 to 400 horses, but there are currently 640 on the range. Of these, 575 will be gathered and 70 mares will receive PZP and be returned to the herd. The cost per mare will be $200. Photo: The HSUS/Michelle Riley
The HSUS emergency team works to stabilize and comfort Mouse after he backed into a truck before the parade.
On January 20, millions of people from coast to coast were glued to their TVs as they watched the inauguration of Barack Obama. One of the highlights of this historic day was the traditional President’s Inaugural Parade. More than 200 horses took part in the event, including teams from the century-old Culver Academies (which first appeared in Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration parade back in 1913) and the McCrossan Boys Ranch, a school in South Dakota that helps at-risk youth through equine education programs. The U.S. Border Patrol, Temple Lipizzans, and the Crow Nation of Montana are just a few of the other groups that also had equine teams participating in the parade. Unfortunately, just before the parade, an Appaloosa named Mouse suffered a serious injury when he backed into a truck and ended up with one hind leg caught in the vehicle’s front grill. Luckily, the D.C. Department of Health had asked the Humane Society of the United States to provide animal welfare services for the event, so an emergency team was right there to help. Although it took two hours to free Mouse, he was then immediately transported to Prince George’s County Equestrian Center, where he is expected to make a good recovery.
This team effort between the BLM and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) will help prevent herd growth and ease the strain on horse management expenses. The BLM currently cares for around 63,000 horses. Approximately 33,000 Photo: ©Wildhorsedesigns | Dreamstime.com of these live on BLM land, while the rest reside in holding facilities awaiting adoption.
By any other name If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you likely know that star Daniel Radcliffe also takes the lead role in the hit theatrical production of Equus, now playing on Broadway. It’s the story of a disturbed stable boy and the psychiatrist (played by Richard Griffiths) who tries to help him. What you may not know is that one of the horses in the production had to be renamed before the play opened on this side of the Atlantic. The equine was originally called Trojan – the same as a brand of American condoms – so to avoid unwanted embarrassment, his name was changed to Hero.
Born with diabetes When Kentucky Mountain saddle horse colt Justin Credible was born, he failed to thrive. Blood tests showed abnormal glucose levels, and the colt was taken to the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky where he was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. While probably not the first ever case of equine type-1 diabetes, it is perhaps the first to be documented. While humans can tell from their symptoms when their blood sugar falls, a horse cannot communicate his Justin Credible’s owners have the symptoms, which makes managing task of testing the foal’s glucose the disease difficult. Justin Credible’s levels every four hours. owners, David and Monica Hufsana, are looking at a continuous glucose monitoring and supply system that has so far only been used with humans. Glucose monitoring systems consist of a sensor under the skin that transmits wireless readings to a receiver. An insulin pump can also be attached to the foal, and insulin delivered subcutaneously through a catheter, removing the need for numerous daily blood tests and insulin injections. As a species, horses eat and graze continuously, but a diabetic horse must be on a strict diet and cannot graze. Secondary complications include eye problems, kidney failure and circulatory issues.
Take the challenge! If you live in Ontario, you now have an opportunity to participate in a rider challenge, something that’s become all the rage at American equine tradeshows. Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard of Two as One Horsemanship have developed the Wind Rider Challenge™, a fun cross disciplinary event in which riders can display and test their horsemanship. The challenge will take place at the CanAm All Breeds Equine Emporium in London, Ontario from March 20 from 22. It involves up to 36 horse/ rider combinations which will be narrowed down over the weekend by participation in obstacle/skill courses of increasing difficulty. Riders of any discipline may participate. Teams may be asked to jump a small obstacle, sidepass, show speed control, drag an object, open/close a gate, and more. The finalists will also be asked to perform freestyle. For more information, visit canamequine.ca or twoasonehorsemanship.com. equine wellness
Neighborhood news Saving equines abroad Working horses and donkeys in Ethiopia are getting a leg up, thanks to a gift of tetanus vaccines arranged by Colorado State University veterinarian Dr. Paul Lunn. The vaccines were donated to the Society of the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA) by Fort Dodge Animal Health. They’ll help prevent tetanus in 5,000 working horses and donkeys, which are often the sole financial support for families of up to 20 or 30 people. The vaccines are also being distributed with educational materials on veterinary and basic healthcare needs, such as proper nutrition. “The vaccines will prevent the suffering and deaths of thousands of animals in Ethiopia, serve as an opportunity for veterinarians to reach animal owners with education, and greatly contribute to the sustainability of families and communities so dependent upon these animals,” says Dr. Lunn. “Saving a single animal from tetanus potentially saves a whole family from serious hardship and loss.” While virtually eliminated in North America, tetanus is much more common in less developed countries where poor farmers and laborers cannot afford even basic veterinary care. The veterinary vaccine is extremely effective in preventing the disease and lasts a relatively long time.
History of the horse Presented in Pennsylvania If you’re visiting Pennsylvania, drop into the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, where they’re showcasing the acclaimed exhibition The Horse. The exhibition, which features spectacular fossils, models, dioramas, and cultural objects from around the world, runs Photo: ©American Museum of Natural History/D. Finnin. until May 24. It demonstrates how horses have influenced civilization and major changes in warfare, trade, transportation, agriculture, sports, and many other facets of human life. “The Horse provides visitors with a rare opportunity to understand the sweeping history of this beloved animal,” says Dr. Sandra Olsen, Curator of Anthropology at Carnegie Museum and co-curator of The Horse. “From its origins more than 50 million years ago, through its relationship with humans over the millennia, to its roles in modern society, the horse has left an indelible mark on our world.” The Horse was organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (amnh.org), where it was first exhibited for most of 2008. After Carnegie, it will travel to the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH); the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau-Ottawa (2010); The Field Museum, Chicago; and the San Diego Natural History Museum. The exhibit consists of six sections, including: The Evolution of Horses, Horses and Hunters, Domesticating Horses, The Nature of Horses, How We Shaped Horses/ How Horses Shaped Us, and An Enduring Bond. For more information, visit carnegiemnh.com, or call 412-622-3131.
No building, no bedding Horse caretakers are bracing for another hit when it comes to wood-based bedding for their horses. The current economic crisis has resulted in a slow real estate market, and fewer houses are being built. This means fewer building by-products for shavings companies and an inability to meet demand for wood bedding materials. Further difficulties have arisen from increasing transportation and fuel costs, and competition from pelleted fuels, pet bedding, and ethanol production. Some riders are feeling the crunch when it comes to bedding prices, while others are having difficulty finding bedding at all. Bulk suppliers have had to increase delivery fees, making bagged shavings a slightly more affordable option for some. Many barn owners are looking into alternatives. While larger facilities can often absorb or distribute rising costs, smaller barns have a more difficult time. Bedding alternatives include straw, recycled paper, hemp and peat moss. Each comes with its own pros and cons, and while the initial price may be cheaper, additional labor or disposal fees can quickly eat up the savings. When testing out new bedding, set up one or two test stalls for a few weeks to evaluate whether or not it will work for you before purchasing a large amount. equine wellness
Peace in the stable Discussing alternative options with your stable owner by Madalyn Ward, DVM Photo: ©Robert Anthony | Dreamstime.com
f you’re into natural horsekeeping, getting all your needs met in a boarding situation can require quite a bit of planning and forethought, not to mention tact and diplomacy! To help you get the most out of your boarding situation, I’ve created a list of the hot topics of contention between riders and stable owners, along with ways to keep everyone happy in each situation.
1. Feed – You want your horse to get the type and amount of feed most suited to his needs, which may change from season to season. Many stable owners, on the other hand, are more interested in having standard feeding procedures, not a different kind of food for every horse. There isn’t a lot of money to be made in boarding horses, and they don’t want to pay for the extra labor necessary to feed each horse a specific or varying program. Plus, extra feedings in the middle of the day often disrupt the barn schedule, causing undue excitement in the horses that are not being fed. Solution: Since most stable owners charge just enough
board to cover their expenses, asking them to supply extra or special food at special times is asking a lot. Offer to pay extra for special food or special feedings, including tipping the stable hands for their time. If you are doing an extra feeding, you can also bring your own feed daily and take your horse to an isolated area to feed him. This ensures your horse gets what he needs, but isn’t disrupting the other horses.
2. Supplements – As with feed, you want your horse to get whatever supplements he needs, and this often changes over time. A stable owner considers extra supplements extra work and time, and may be less than willing to administer them. And some stable owners may not understand the reasons behind the supplements you are choosing to feed. Solution: Be understanding of the stable owner’s point of view, and try to educate him/her as much as possible (tactfully, of course!) on the supplements you have chosen for your horse. In addition, make the job as
easy as possible. Put each day’s or feeding’s supplements into film canisters or containers so all the stable hand has to do is dump it in the feed. Remember, it is your job to keep track of the supplements. Count them to make sure they are being given in the right amounts, and keep the supply constant. The stable owner shouldn’t have to track you down to get more!
3. Hay – In most cases, you want your horse to get as much as he can. Hay is great for his physical and emotional health. But for a stable owner, stocking large quantities of hay is difficult because it requires a significant cash outlay and a lot of extra space. Some stable owners would rather pay weekly for grain and feed more grain and less hay. Solution: If your horse lives in a corral, or has a stall with a run, buy round bales so he can munch any time. Some barn owners will also feed more hay if you pay extra. Finally, you can always bring your own. Some stable owners will let you keep a bale of hay in front of your horse’s stall, and will even feed extra hay at mealtimes. Remember to always express your appreciation and pay extra (to both stable owner and barn help) when necessary.
4. Turnout – As with hay, the more turnout your horse gets, the better. From the stable owner’s point of view, though, lots of turnout isn’t always a possibility. They may have limited space, not to mention limited staff. Plus, footing may be an issue, and horses may be kept in when it’s raining because wet pastures are easily torn up by hooves. Solution: First, always choose a boarding situation that offers turnout. Second, you may be able to pasture board your horse (assuming he can fend for himself in a herd situation). Pasture boarding isn’t a good solution if your horse is a hard keeper or doesn’t do well in groups. Third, you can pay someone to turn your horse out for
you if the barn owner doesn’t want to do it. Finally, if your horse doesn’t get as much turnout as you’d like, you can always ride him more to compensate.
Companies such as SmartPak offer portioned pre-packaged supplements.
– As a holistic horseperson, you have absolute say in the type of medications and healthcare your horse receives. Many stable owners are less inclined to use natural remedies because they don’t understand how they work and are often under pressure from the stable veterinarian to use conventional methods. Solution: Stand your ground. You have the right to choose what kind of healthcare your horse receives. However, because probably neither the stable owner nor the stable vet understands how these remedies work, you’re going to have to provide this kind of care yourself or be available to give instructions. For instance, if your horse gets sick, be prepared to leave work or your dinner to go take care of him. Give the stable owner all your phone numbers so you can be maximally available. You might also need to leave instructions for natural remedies, and a list of situations in which they should be used for times when you’re not available. The stable owner will usually do his or her best to accommodate you, then switch to conventional medicine if the natural remedies are not working fast enough. If you’re not available, you have to be willing to accept whatever treatment the stable owner deems necessary.
6. Farrier and veterinarian – You may want to use a different farrier or veterinarian than the stable owner does. You are interested in custom services from a professional of your choice; in contrast, the stable owner wants to deal with one farrier and one veterinarian for the sake of convenience. Solution: You have the right to bring in the farrier and veterinarian of your choice so long as you schedule your own appointments and show up to hold your horse (and pay for the services). If you’re unwilling to take these steps, then you’re more than likely going to have to accept the barn owner’s choice of farrier and veterinarian. equine wellness
Titers are especially important for rabies. 7.
– You want to support your horse’s immune system with natural methods, and have concerns about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. You want to use as few vaccines as possible. The stable owner, conversely, is concerned about protecting all the horses in the barn using a standard procedure. Most stable owners feel that vaccines are both harmless and effective, and prefer to vaccinate all the horses at once (since this is truly the most effective way to vaccinate). They feel that horse owners who don’t want vaccinations just want to save money. Custom vaccination programs can cause complications in record keeping, not to mention headaches with the stable veterinarian. Solution: Choose the middle ground. Agree to a minimum of vaccines rather than refusing them all. Allow vaccinations for the most dangerous diseases, such as encephalitis,
tetanus and rabies. If you have a chronically ill horse, or a horse with a poor immune system, ask your own veterinarian to write a letter stating that vaccinations could be harmful to him. If the barn owner insists on vaccinating, you have two options: move your horse, or get the barn owner to agree to pay for any problems arising from vaccinating your horse (since the labels on vaccines state they should only be given to healthy animals). It’s a rare barn owner who will agree to this, but it does make a point. If you truly want to avoid vaccines, you can have titers done to show your horse is already protected from certain diseases thanks to previous vaccinations (some vaccines create a lifelong immunity). A negative titer doesn’t mean your horse isn’t protected, but a positive one shows he will not benefit from additional vaccination. Titers are less reliable for influenza and rhinopneumonitis. A titer is an extra step you can take to help convince the barn owner you are not just trying to save money, since a titer costs more than the vaccine. Once you’ve chosen your vaccines, make sure you’re really getting what you want. If you choose to give the influenza vaccine, give the intranasal version, which gives year-long rather than just two-month immunity. Also, if you choose to give only tetanus and encephalitis, make sure you’re not also getting rhino or flu in the package too. Some vets will charge less for just two vaccines, but actually give a vaccine for all four. When it comes to holistic horsekeeping, how you work with your barn owner boils down to the following three steps: educate, compromise, and when necessary, pay extra!
Madalyn Ward lives in Fischer, Texus. More information can be found at www.holistichorsekeeping.com, www.yourhorsebook.com, and www.horseharmony.com.
Sore foot? Protect your horse from the pain and inflammation of a hoof abscess by knowing what signs to look for and how to prevent or treat them. by Sherri Pennanen
A heel abscess caused from trauma in the front of the hoof.
hances are, you’ve had to deal with at least one hoof abscess. At times, the symptoms are dramatic – the horse may be lame and in obvious pain. In other cases, you may not recognize the condition at all until you discover evidence that an abscess has occurred. Either way, taking these infections seriously can help you plan for a sounder horse.
It is possible that an abscess can heal on its own. But since it is very painful for your horse, consulting a professional is the recommended course of action.
The hoof is a marvel of nature. It is a durable, tough, constantly renewable structure that serves as an impressive barrier against the world in which the horse lives. It is in constant contact with the elements. Sometimes, though, the conditions that contribute to optimal hoof health break down. When a horse becomes lame and has difficulty bearing weight and walking, one of the most likely culprits is an abscess.
How can I tell if it’s an abscess?
What is a hoof abscess? An abscess is an infection. It occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms are introduced into the sensitive structures within the hoof. Pus forms as the body tries to rid itself of the infection. Since the hoof cannot expand to accommodate the collection of pus, and since the tissues may be inflamed, pain is the result.
Signs and symptoms may include any of the following:
1 2 3 4
Lameness, with difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg. Horses can be three-legged, lay-down lame from an abscess. Heat in the hoof wall and/or lower leg. Swelling just above the foot in the pastern and fetlock.
Strong digital arterial pulses; these are found by checking each side of the pastern -- find the visible digital veins and feel alongside for the accompanying arteries.
Soft areas may be present on the hoof wall where the abscess has occurred.
Why did this happen? Dozens of possible factors can contribute to a hoof abscess. Some of the more obvious include:
•Puncture of the sole or hoof capsule by a sharp object •Coffin bone rotation, founder, laminitis, or stretching of the white line •Improper shoeing and/or trimming techniques •Trauma •Nutritional deficiencies
What should I do? If you suspect an abscess, it’s best to call your farrier or barefoot trim specialist. When skilled in abscess care, the farrier or barefoot trim specialist can facilitate drainage of the abscess and make recommendations regarding continued treatment and prevention.
If the abscess has drained itself or been drained by the farrier, soak using warm water and apple cider vinegar. This is recommended to keep the drainage track open and clean and can be done two to three times a day. Treatment options In all abscesses, the horse’s pain is caused by accumulating pus and inflamed tissues. Pus is a liquid, and once the pressure begins to build it will follow the path of least resistance as the hoof prepares to “drain itself”. Often this path of least resistance is the coronary band, sole and/ or the heel bulb area. If the hoof wall has cracks or weak areas, these may become drainage pathways. If you consult your farrier/natural trimmer prior to the abscess finding its own drain, he may be able to isolate the abscess and manually create a “drain”. A normal abscess will exit within one to two weeks of the first signs of occurrence.
An ounce of prevention To prevent painful abscesses, take these simple steps: •Consider letting your horse go barefoot. Shoes restrict hoof movement, and nails can contribute to abscesses. Boots are an alternative if you require hoof protection. •Optimize available footing for your horse. If conditions are wet, try to offer some dry areas but take care not to rapidly “wick” moisture away with deep bedding materials and the like. •Limit exposure to standing manure and urine by cleaning stalls daily, and optimizing turnout time; 24/7 turnout is my personal preference. •Use a qualified hoof care specialist to do trims and help you plan for your horse’s hoof care. •Keep pastures, paddocks, barns, trailers, and stalls free of nails, screws, other metal foreign bodies, trash, and tools. •Check your feed program to ensure that your hay, grass, and feed offer adequate nutrients for hoof health. An overload of carbohydrates, excessive iron, or diets deficient in nutrients such as copper or zinc can work against hoof health. Discuss your horse’s diet with your vet or equine nutritionist.
In other cases, the involved area may be too deep, too large, or difficult to identify, taking away the option of creating a drainage path. If the abscess must heal on its own, a poultice may speed up the process and alleviate some of the pain. In all cases, one of the most commonly overlooked parts of the treatment is the necessity for the hoof to move. In other words, turnout should not be restricted and walking in safe areas should be encouraged. In fact, horses with draining abscesses do well with regular walks and adequate turnout. Moving the foot facilitates drainage and promotes normal blood flow and structural support. Restricting a horse to a stall that will become littered with contaminants (urine and manure) and will not permit him to move the foot naturally, will only serve to delay and complicate his recovery. Good nutrition, clean conditions, hoof soaks, and exercise will promote good hoof health. Knowing the signs of an abscess and implementing a simple holistic prevention program (see sidebar) will help ensure your horse never has to suffer the effects of this painful condition.
Sherri Pennanen is a certified United Horsemanship Horse Groom who serves Western New York and Southern Ontario. Natural, balanced trims and holistic horse care are the hallmarks of Sherri’s farrier business. She has studied under experts such as Pete Ramey, Jim Crew and Dr. Bowker. A certified hoof care specialist, Sherri says one of the best rewards for her work is being told by customers that the horses she trims “play again”. Visit her website at www.betterbebarefoot.com.
Holistic Veterinary advice
Talking with Dr. Heather Mack
Heather Mack, VMD, graduated from Pennsylvania in 1991. Shortly after, she received certification from both the IVAS and the AVCA. She has been a member of the AHVMA for 15 years, and is on a continual path of studying holistic health. She is turning her Mystic Canyon Ranch in Idaho into a Balanced Equine Wellness Center and also has a very busy Equine Sports Medicine practice on the West Coast. She is as much a healer as a doctor, teaches this art in Balanced Equine Wellness courses, and considers apprentices from time to time. Contact 760-447-0776 or www.balancedequinewellness.com. Send your questions to: Holistic veterinary advice. email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 young mare is in full work and only receives hay and a basic vitamin/mineral supplement. The grass in the pasture she is in stays cropped down – there is really only enough there to keep the horses occupied. Despite all this, she continues to put on weight, and is now developing a fairly cresty neck. I am concerned about the potential problems this could cause (i.e. founder). Someone mentioned she could have a thyroid issue – can horses develop thyroid problems? What causes it and what can I do about it?
A: Yes, horses do develop thyroid problems, though no one is certain why. Normally, bloodwork is done to check for levels of T3 and T4. I feel a TSH test is more conclusive. TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone occurs naturally in the horse’s pituitary gland, and stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroid hormone. Your veterinarian can give the horse TSH, then measure the amount of
thyroid hormone produced; this gives a more accurate measurement of the level at which the thyroid gland is functioning. Many people will just give a horse like yours Thyro-L or other feed additives containing thyroid hormone. Sometimes this works just fine. From a holistic standpoint, however, if the thyroid gland is already a bit sluggish, and we give the horse synthetic thyroid hormone, her thyroid may just stop working altogether. I would prefer to stimulate your mare’s metabolism and endocrine system. First of all, more exercise would be my best advice; also, as little sugar as possible because she sounds to me like an insulin resistant horse. This is also known as Equine Metabolic Syndrome. Your mare fits the profile: obesity, regional adiposity or changes in fat deposition, and cresty neck. You can soak her hay to get the sugars out before you feed it to her. Conventional
veterinarians put these horses on sometimes rather high doses of synthetic thyroid hormones as a feed additive. I start with a slow but progressive exercise program, a diet with the least possible sugar, acupuncture or acupressure, Cymatherapy (www.cymainternational.com), and essential oils to stimulate the endocrine system as well as #26 Thyroid and/or #28 Pituitary herbs from Silver Lining Herbs (www.silverliningherbs.com). If this doesn’t work, I will go to the synthetic Thyro-L product. There is a good test available to measure the insulin/glucose levels in your horse’s blood. Perhaps you should start with this and the TSH tests to see what is really going on with your mare.
show jumping career, but you can still hear him going around the ring. Not much different from where I started, and many thousands of dollars later. If you are not expecting high levels of performance from your horse, I suggest you try to live with it, but understand the condition and know your horse will have limitations. Keeping him fit helps, and keeping his immune system strong is also highly recommended, whether you choose surgery or not.
Q: When my gelding gets a cut or scrape, it takes much
Q: What does it mean when someone says a horse is a
longer than I am used to for it to heal, and it is quite some time before the hair grows back in the affected area. Why might this be?
“roarer”? Does it affect him performance wise? Is surgery the only option?
A: Three factors come to mind when I hear about a slow
A: Horses with laryngeal hemiplegia are often called
healer. First of all, is there an environmental reason? Does he live under power lines or next to a freeway? Secondly,
“roarers” because of a characteristic stridor or whistling noise they make, especially during exercise. It usually occurs on the left side of the horse and is due to paralysis of the left recurrent laryngeal nerve. This is a branch of the vagus nerve that runs along the jugular furrow; it innervates the arytenoid cartilage which normally opens and closes as the horse breathes. Since the paralysis is only on one side, air still can get in and out but there is less airspace, sometimes by 50%. So yes, it can definitely affect performance. I have seen it happen after IV injection mishaps where the medication got out of the vein. In Thoroughbred horses, some think it has something to do with the massive size of the heart muscle, and how that might affect the vagus nerve. There is also evidence that it could be hereditary. If your horse does endurance or races or is expected to perform at high speeds, then you have to consider surgery. It is the only way to allow maximum athleticism in your horse. However, the problem is not always 100% fixed after surgery. In fact, one of my young Warmblood jumpers was done by one of our country’s top equine surgeons, and the operation failed, even with all my extra efforts for success. He had another equally famous surgeon do a second surgery and the ultimate outcome was adequate. The horse has had a successful equine wellness
it could be genetic. Lastly, there could be a health issue. For instance, hypothyroid horses tend to heal slowly. Or he may have a mineral deficiency; there are areas of the country that are deficient in certain minerals. Nutritional imbalances such as a deficiency in vitamin C can cause a decrease in the synthesis of collagen. Zinc deficiency can also cause decreased collagen synthesis, decreased cell proliferation, and epithelialization. I would start with a basic chemistry screen and check thyroid hormone levels for a quick overview of your horse’s health. I would also offer him the free choice mineral stress kit from Advanced Biological Concepts (www.abcplus.com). Circulation is critical to wound healing, so perhaps you can experiment with modalities such as laser therapy, infrared, or micro-current therapy the next time you have a wound to heal. I use all these with great success. I also love to use essential oils because they are so highly oxygenated and have such anti-infectious qualities. If you want to delve deeper into your horse’s nutritional and mineral status, you can have a hair analysis done.
Q: My 19-year-old gelding has been developing what appear to be fatty lumps/deposits on his back, in the area where the saddle goes. Why do these occur? Will they hurt him if I ride him and is there any way to get rid of them?
A: This question leaves too many unknowns for me to answer accurately. However, I can speculate and try to sort it out. If these are large fatty deposits, are they only under the saddle area or does he have what we veterinarians call regional adiposity elsewhere? If so, does he have changes in his hair coat, and a cresty neck? Does he seem to be drinking and urinating more frequently? If so, then I would be looking up more information on equine metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance. This condition can easily turn into Cushing’s disease, especially in older horses. You will need your vet to help you sort this out. In this case, it should not hurt him to be ridden; in fact, exercise is the best medicine as long as he is sound. Be sure you are using a saddle that is comfortable. I’m sure he will let you know if it is not. If these are small fatty lumps that are only under the saddle, I’m thinking of furunculosis. This can be caused by
bacterial or viral infections in the hair shaft. It may also be a condition known as “fistulous withers”, caused by the brucella abortis bacteria. It is highly contagious, and can be very difficult to get rid of. The least problematic possibility is that they are simply fatty tumors known as lipomas, or sebaceous cysts which usually don’t cause any trouble at all. The only way to be sure is have your veterinarian biopsy the lumps. I would not put the saddle on until your vet has done an exam.
Q: My mare is prone to mild respiratory issues (wheezing, coughing). I keep her outside 24/7 and am careful to keep her environment as dust free as possible. Are there any other ways I could support her respiratory system?
A: Yes. Pay more attention to what sets her off. Is it seasonal? If so, is it the weather or an allergy to pollens or local flora? Does it worsen with a new shipment of hay? Noticing these kinds of things will help you be more proactive in preventing respiratory episodes. Your veterinarian can do a simple blood allergy test to help identify allergens. If you have access to a holistic veterinarian who is competent in applied kinesiology or “muscle testing”, you can use it to check all her supplements and feeds to be sure she is not being constantly aggravated by something she regularly eats. She may only want meadow grass hay, for instance; timothy and alfalfa may affect her negatively. Other things to try include acupressure on her lung points as well as her immune points. Find a veterinary acupuncturist to help you, even having it done quarterly can make a big difference. I show my clients points they can stimulate with acupressure, laser or even applications of essential oils. I do an essential oil treatment called Equine Raindrop Therapy on horses like yours to stimulate their immune system. It is a lot of fun. Sometimes I just do a mini raindrop on their front legs along the lung meridian, which runs down the inside of the leg. I also wet their hay with each feeding, and keep them on Breathe Easy herbs from Silver Lining, sometimes in combination with their Immune formula. I have also had good luck with a product called Mushroom Matrix (www.mushroommatrix.com) that balances the immune system and promotes healthy respiratory and vascular systems.
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“Doing it” naturally Find out how to strike a balance between marketing your stallion and taking a more holistic approach to breeding. by Linda Kohanov
n the wild, horses “do it” without any help from humans. But it’s a different story for domesticated equines. Over the years, we’ve interfered with the breeding process more and more, for various reasons. But as the holistic movement has begun picking up momentum, some breeders are letting stallions go back to breeding mares in a more natural manner.
Herd hierarchies As I define it, natural breeding occurs when a stallion lives with his mares and mates without direct human intervention. This is possible in a domesticated setting, but it takes some initial monitoring and training to make sure the stallion is appropriately socialized. Most stallions I’ve encountered are weaned suddenly at around six months, and isolated thereafter. Since they aren’t socialized with other horses, they don’t understand how to respect boundaries; they don’t pick up on subtle stress cues from other horses, let alone know how to defuse a situation that’s escalating.
The author with three-year-old Arabian stallion, Spirit.
A smaller percentage of stallions are turned out with other colts for a year or two after weaning, which gives them some experience in a herd. But this also causes socialization difficulties. Have you ever read William Golding’s classic book, Lord
of the Flies? It’s an unsettling tale of an island shipwreck where the only survivors are English schoolboys. Without adult role models, the kids become increasingly brutal, creating outrageously savage dominance hierarchies.
Natural breeding occurs when a stallion lives with his mares and mates without direct human intervention.
The same thing happens to horses, especially young stallions. When we remove them from situations where older, wiser, more settled horses have influence, colts have a hard time learning how to control their tremendous energy. They don’t know how to balance their individual drives with the needs of the herd. They can be taught these skills later in life, but depending on how long the stallion was isolated and how roughly he was treated by humans in his past, it can sometimes be a hair-raising experience.
There’s also some risk to the stallion in any breeding situation, as a mare can mortally injure a stud with a well-placed kick – something she’s much more likely to do when she’s pressured into a situation against her will – and time is always of the essence at large breeding operations. In turn, stallions who aren’t properly socialized can be quite brutal to the mares.
Breeding naturally Natural breeding initially involves more time and training. It’s also unrealistic if you’re marketing a stallion to large numbers of mares who come and go. Temporarily throwing a bunch of mares together in a pasture is risky in itself, as they can injure each other under the stress of a constantly changing herd dynamic. Herds need time to develop a stable social system. However, if you’re at all interested in holistic health and “natural horsemanship” in the truest sense of the term,
A question of safety
Some breeders say traditional breeding methods are safer for horses, particularly valuable horses. But a stallion who lives with a small herd can come and go, so pasture breeding does not preclude showing, training or breeding larger numbers of “guest mares” in a more time-efficient traditional way. It’s possible to strike a happy medium between marketing your stallion and allowing him to live a satisfying life. And a stud who knows how to live with and breed mares on his own is much kinder, calmer and more respectful when it comes to teasing and breeding mares he may have only a brief encounter with. So it’s Photo: Maureen Luikart
Safety, efficiency and economics are the primary motives for interfering with the breeding process, since the more mares a stud breeds the more money he makes for his owners. I’m not against people making money in the horse business, and I think it can be done with integrity, but I’m relieved that artificial insemination has been perfected because I think it’s much kinder to the mare in many circumstances.
I believe you must take the horse’s mental, emotional and social health into consideration. For a stallion, there is no more natural or satisfying relationship than the one he establishes with his mares. Stallions also recognize their foals, and treat even stud colt sons with much more patience and understanding than they do unrelated horses.
Using a mounting block technique. Shelly Rosenberg trains Merlin and Spirit to form a respectful relationship.
a win-win situation for everyone. The only drawback, as far as I can see, is the time it takes for traditionallyminded breeders to learn something new, or perhaps the temporary expense of hiring a consultant experienced in preparing a horse for pasture breeding. There’s some risk involved, but I don’t believe it’s any more significant than the risk people take when leading a mal-socialized stud to a frightened, angry mare he’s just met. But people with valuable horses want as much control as possible. To avoid possible kicks, bites and nicks, equine wellness
many high end show horses – stallions, mares and geldings – are kept in isolated stalls and never turned out with others. I don’t think the situation is going to change any time soon, at least with horses in their prime. But there is the potential for breeders to make a foray into pasture breeding when these same horses retire from the show circuit. My stallion Merlin is a good example.
initial mating, we immediately turned them loose together under supervision.
Getting started – the experienced stallion
Rasa was amenable to mating off lead several times that day, but really couldn’t handle Merlin’s intense, relentless fixation on her for longer than a couple of hours. After her first colt, Spirit, was weaned, and we were in a position to have more foals, I found that Rasa was only amenable to living with Merlin full time when another mare was part of the equation. Rasa and a younger mare, Comet, were already pastures mates. They actually tag teamed Merlin, protecting each other and running him off together if he got too much for them. And with two mares in his pasture, Merlin’s attention was divided between them, so his intensity toward either one was significantly reduced. For this reason, I highly recommend pasture breeding with more than one mare. It really helps if the mares form a stable relationship of their own prior to introducing the stallion.
Merlin had been bred in hand by previous owners. He was used to meeting mares only when they were in heat, literally jumping on them moments later. To alter this conditioning, it was very helpful to turn Merlin and his mare Rasa out in adjoining corrals so they could relate over the fence, initially when Rasa was not in heat. That way, she tended to walk away if he got too aggressive. When she came into heat, I supervised these encounters more closely with a longe whip, directing Merlin to back off if he got too feisty, so he learned that even off lead I was still part of the process. This also helped Rasa gain confidence in me as her advocate. The first time we bred them, we used a more traditional technique. I held Rasa, but because we had formed a strong and trusting relationship, I was able to do so without hobbles or a twitch. I brought in an experienced stallion handler to lead Merlin, and we made sure he knew to back off from Rasa on command. After the
Developing a centered horse With all the interest in holistic horse care and natural horsemanship, there is also a real interest in pasture breeding, especially among people with smaller programs where selling foals is not their main emphasis or income. For people interested in horse behavior, there’s really nothing more fascinating and satisfying than learning how to help horses live in harmony with humans and other horses. In my experience, as Merlin’s foals reach training age, the benefits are significant. Horses raised with more sensitivity to their own needs as social beings are much more centered and courageous in dealing with novel situations. And, oddly enough, they are not nearly as herd bound. 26 26
equine wellness equine wellness
It takes some initial monitoring and training to make sure the stallion is appropriately socialized.
Later, trainer Shelley Rosenberg discovered another useful technique for introducing stallions to other horses. By that time, Merlin was around 20. We wanted to keep his body and mind in shape while fostering an attentive, cooperative attitude. Ground work included various forms of leading and longing. Shelley, who studied with dressage legend Chuck Grant and worked with stallions at a number of large breeding operations, had learned some horse tricks over the years. She easily taught Merlin to climb stairs and stand on a mounting block. This simple maneuver proved very useful in teaching Merlin self-control in the presence of other horses. Starting with a horse Merlin already knew, Shelley taught the stallion to stand on the block while she longed Rasa around him, and vice versa. When we introduced him to Comet, both stallion and mare touched noses for the first time off lead while standing on carefully positioned blocks. We’ve also used this technique in introducing two stallions to each other.
The young stallion Preparing Spirit to breed was another story. I didn’t have the budget to buy two new mares for him, and unlike Merlin, Spirit was a virgin. It would have been nice if I’d been able to bring in an older brood mare to teach
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Spirit what was expected of him, but circumstances instead brought him a maiden mare named Panther. Spirit had one huge advantage – he’d been socialized by other horses. He’d been weaned slowly at one year, the age at which mustangs tend to wean their foals in nature. He’d continued to work with his mother up to age three, and his father up to age four. He’d also had a stud colt friend to play with for awhile, and had lived with a group of older geldings. By this time, we’d built some spacious corrals to allow stallions to be exposed to other horses 24 hours a day. Consisting of sturdy steel fencing with 5’-wide aisles between, these enclosures provide space for horses to cavort together without being able to touch, kick or bite each other. We put Spirit and Panther in two of these corrals right next to each other. At age five, Spirit was feisty. Even though he couldn’t touch Panther, he was initially so intense that he managed to intimidate his future mate to the point where she didn’t go into heat for six weeks – at the height of the breeding season! Photo: Kevin Anderson
Shelley and I worked as a team to train Spirit to calm down and respect Panther’s boundaries. With Shelley leading Spirit and me leading Panther, we taught the pair some approach and retreat techniques. Even more specifically, we taught Spirit to pause, rock back slightly and breathe deeply whenever Panther showed signs of stress on his approach. I began to see Spirit do this of his own accord when Merlin bonds with Panther. they were in their corrals, and he could actually get her to join up with him at a distance. When this happened, Panther immediately went into heat.
The first time, we bred them on lead lines with no restraints on the mare. Then we turned them loose together. They were still a bit like two teenagers fumbling around in the back seat of a car, and needed some assistance for various reasons. For instance, being a maiden mare, Panther didn’t realize she was supposed to stand still during mating. She’d walk around with Spirit in full mounting position. With a little more coaching, they were able to mate and live together on their own within two days. When you take the time to breed and raise horses more naturally, you save untold hours in training time further down the road. The horse is more secure and willing to be your partner when you prove you’re taking his mental, emotional and social needs into consideration.
Linda Kohanov is a trainer, clinician, and best-selling author of several books, including the 2001 classic The Tao of Equus. She offers more in-depth narratives of her adventures in natural breeding in her 2003 book Riding between the Worlds and her book/horse wisdom card kit Way of the Horse, a collaboration with noted equine artist Kim McElroy. As founder/director of the Epona International Study Center and Equestrian Retreat in Arizona, Linda and trainer Shelley Rosenberg also offer workshops and private consultations. For more information, visit www.taoofequus.com or call 520-455-5908.
The case for chelation
Minerals are vital to perfect health and performance, but they need to be bio-available to the body. Here’s what you need to know when shopping for supplements for you and your horse.
Photo: ©Cynoclub | Dreamstime.com
by Sandy Siegrist
utrition isn’t an exact science. When it comes to designing a nutritional program for optimum health and performance, in fact, there are many conflicting opinions even among the professionals. With the advent of processed and engineered foods, nutrition has become an even more complicated issue. In order to achieve perfect health, we’re left to research and study these complexities for ourselves and our equine companions.
Allowance (RDA) really mean? Are you and your equine partner getting enough, or too much, of what your bodies need? Is the balance appropriate? How are you to know?
Most of the nutrients in food are absorbed in the gut.
Making sense of it all One of the most critical mysteries lies in the area of vitamins and minerals. How much should you and your horse take? What does the Recommended Daily
As we begin to explore basic nutritional requirements, let’s first discuss the importance of whether the nutrients provided in supplements are being used by our bodies or eliminated as waste products.
How we process nutrients Most of the nutrients in the foods we consume are absorbed in the gut. This applies to all animals – including humans and horses. The nutrients enter the system equine wellness
Putting it all into practice
through the walls of the small intestine. So it’s critical that we accomplish the following in order to achieve good health and optimum performance:
•Ensure that the gut is healthy and functioning properly. •Consume foods that contribute to optimal digestion and maintain proper gut function. •Ensure that any added vitamins and minerals are bio-available. •Ensure that the intake of vitamins and minerals is properly balanced.
•Provide a well-balanced, chelated vitamin and mineral supplement. •Make sure the gut is functioning properly. •Offer only high quality feed and forage to your horses. •Utilize probiotics as necessary. •Minimize the use of chemicals in feeds and parasite control programs. •Watch for changes in your horse’s body and overall condition to monitor the effectiveness of your feeding program. 30
Minerals are crucial An “essential mineral” is one that is required for survival, or at least for health. Essential minerals include calcium, chlorine, chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, and zinc.
Minerals play fundamental roles in all living organisms. Many are active parts of enzymes that perform chemical conversions in our bodies. Others are structural components of certain tissues – such as silicon, which strengthens connective tissue, nails and hooves. Still others serve as regulators and signalers; potassium, for example, is involved in controlling the activity of nerve cells.
What is bio-availability? In order for minerals to be of maximum use, their chemical makeup must be usable by the body, so the body can absorb and utilize them to meet its needs. This is what is meant by bio-availability. “Minerals enter the body mostly as components of food,” writes Russell Mills in Mineral Transport. “To become bio-available, mineral atoms must be combined with other elements to form chemical compounds. For
Minerals become bio-available by attaching an amino acid to the mineral component, forming an amino acid chelate. example, the body gets most of its manganese not from nodules of manganese metal, but from manganesecontaining substances in food — that is, from plant and animal tissues in which the manganese is already incorporated into enzymes similar to those that our own bodies will make from it. “There is thus a great deal of mineral recycling going on in the biosphere: mineral compounds travel from one organism to another when the latter eats the former,” Mills continues. “But not all of the minerals found in biological organisms are the result of such recycling of mineral compounds. Some minerals enter the biological world when elemental minerals are converted to chemical compounds in the soil or elsewhere. As elemental minerals get converted to mineral compounds, these simple inorganic compounds become bio-available to plants. The plants then perform the conversion to more complex organo-mineral compounds which makes them bio-available to other organisms – to animals, for example.” When mineral compounds are consumed in food, the body must somehow absorb the minerals from the digestive tract and make them available to the tissues and cells where they’re needed. This process is not a simple one.
Chelation explained So how do these essential minerals become bio-available? By attaching an amino acid to the mineral component, forming an amino acid chelate. Amino acids act as chelators when they react with positively charged metal atoms (the minerals, in this case), forming a strong chemical bond. The argument in favor of using amino acid-chelated minerals goes like this: the body is very efficient at absorbing amino acids. Dipeptides (two amino acids linked together via the amino group of one and the acid group of the other) are especially well absorbed
thanks to a dedicated transport system found in cells of the intestinal wall. When mineral atoms are strongly bonded (i.e., chelated) to dipeptides, they get dragged by the dipeptides across the intestinal lining and into the body. Minerals that enter the body in an inorganic (non-chelated) form do not efficiently pass through the lining of the intestines, and we eliminate them as waste through our kidneys and digestive system.
What to look for Now you know why chelated minerals are so important. They are bio-available to your body, and your horse’s, and can be utilized to improve health and performance.
Always look for amino acid chelates on your nutritional labels. For a chart of chelates, see perfectanimalhealth.com/ Chelation%20Chart.html.
Avoid comparing the amounts of chelated and non-chelated minerals listed on ingredient labels. You won’t be comparing apples to apples. For instance, if you think that 500 mg of non-chelated calcium looks better and more powerful than 250 mg of chelated calcium, you will be mistaken.
Search for products with a proper balance of chelated minerals. Minerals interact with one another in the body. Too much of one will lead to a deficiency of others that compete with it, creating an out-of-balance situation in the body. The balance of minerals is a complicated topic best left for another article; the important thing is that you look through the ingredients and make sure you find at least one chelated form of each mineral (or most of them).
Be a smart consumer As you can imagine, the chelation process makes the
production of mineral supplements more costly. Non-chelated, non-bio-available mineral supplements may be less expensive – but they’re not useful to the body. In order to draw consumers, or offer a product that boosts only one or two minerals to achieve a specific result, manufacturers often use only a few chelated minerals. They then refer to their product as containing amino acid chelates. But since only a few of the minerals are bio-available and absorbed by the body, you are creating an imbalance by using these products. Imbalances result in mineral deficiencies, so this is something to be very cautious of when researching supplements for yourself and your horse. Producers of animal feeds are notorious for offering chelated forms of copper in their foods. This gives the animals a briefly healthy “bloom” in the coat color. Many old-timers in sale barns used a similar technique by putting pennies in the water buckets for a few weeks before a sale. This would give the horses a brighter coat color for a short time and make them more appealing to potential buyers. However, as the body continued to
absorb copper without an appropriate matching amount of zinc, the “sister” mineral to copper, the new owners began to see signs of a zinc deficiency, such as poor hoof quality, decreased coat condition, and wood chewing behavior. Horses low in zinc also often lick or rub their teeth on galvanized steel gates as they seek more zinc. To keep your horse and yourself healthy and happy, you need to fully understand what you’re putting into your bodies. Always read nutrition labels – what looks good on the outside may not be so great on the inside!
Sandy Siegrist is a lifelong horsewoman who practices natural horsemanship, healing and horse care techniques. She works with clients throughout the U.S. to evaluate their feeding and horsekeeping programs based on their horses’ specific needs. She also does energy work and overall health analyses, often taking in horses for more extensive rehabilitation. Sandy’s approach to horse care is based on natural and alternative therapy techniques and incorporates bio-energy testing, craniosacral therapy, acupressure, kinetics, herbs and flower essences, among others. Her lectures and articles address nutrition, hoof care, bodywork, worming, vaccinations, and emotional wellbeing, grounded in maintaining a more natural environment and healthcare practices. www.perfectanimalhealth.com
From Agony to ecstasy
Tie one on
Depending on where you live, the weather may still be too wintry to do much outdoor work with your horse. While you’re waiting for spring, here’s an important lesson you can teach him in the barn. by Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard
ith the end of winter still to come, it’s not always comfortable or safe to ride or work with your horse outdoors. But there are lessons you can give him in the safety and relative warmth of the barn. A good example is teaching him to tie safely. Whenever a horse is tied, there’s a chance he could pull back, break the snap or halter, and possibly flip over. Unfortunately, incidents like this happen far too often and are very dangerous to both horse and handler. They can result in serious injury, or even death.
Always tie to a stationary fixture about the height of his eye; the distance from the tie ring to his halter clip should be no longer than your arm. Four steps to follow The danger can be avoided with proper training and knowledgeable horse handling.
First, your horse must be taught to yield to pressure around his head. Follow these steps to begin:
•Attach a lead rope to your horse’s halter. •While standing by his shoulder, slowly take the slack out of the lead rope, steady your hand, and maintain the pressure until he yields by bringing his head to that side. •As soon as he does so, release the pressure completely and praise your horse. Photo: ©Apschorr | Dreamstime.com
•Do not release if he pulls or braces against you. Even
if he physically pulls you towards him, maintain the pressure on the lead rope. Don’t increase the pressure or get into a tug of war with him; just maintain it until he yields in the proper direction. •Repeat many times on both sides until your horse responds automatically.
Now teach your horse to yield his head downward from pressure applied to his poll. This lesson will help if he ever gets his head caught underneath the lead rope while tied: •Loop the lead rope over your horse’s head, just behind his ears. •Slowly and gently apply downward pressure on the lead rope. •Release when his head moves downward, even if it’s just by a small degree. •If he raises his head, do not increase pressure; just maintain the same pressure until he offers any downward movement. •Repeat many times until your horse responds automatically.
Next, to test his responsiveness, stand out in front of your horse, take the slack out of the lead rope, and ask him to come toward you with a pull of the rope. From here you can progress to the next test to see if he is ready to tie – this involves asking your horse to follow the feel of the rope, even if it means moving away from you:
When your horse responds well, he should be ready to tie. Always tie to a stationary fixture about the height of his eye; the distance from the tie ring to his halter clip should be no longer than your arm. If you tie him for a minute or so and he stays quiet, untie him and move on to something else. Add a minute per day until he stands relaxed while tied for up to an hour. This will take a couple of months.
Whenever a horse is tied, there’s a chance he could pull back, break the snap or halter, and possibly flip over. What about crossties? Only at this point, in our opinion, would you be ready for crossties. The ties need to be long enough so the horse can turn his head about a foot to either side without getting “bumped” by the other tie rope. However, it should not be so long that he could actually turn around or lower his head below his knees.
Safety first Even when you’ve done your homework, and done it well, it’s still possible for your horse to panic, so attach baling twine to the non-horse end of your ties as an emergency breakaway. Also, when you’re introducing something new like clippers or new farrier work, it’s safer to hold your horse rather than tie him. If you should witness a wreck, do not put yourself at risk since you can’t undo so-called quick release knots anyway. Wait until the wreck is over, and then pick up the pieces in safety. Just because it’s still icy or muddy out doesn’t mean you have to put training on hold. Use the barn to teach your horse to tie safely – it’s well worth the time and effort and may even save a life.
•Loop your long lead rope through a tie ring. •Ask your horse to move toward the ring, away from you, by taking slack out of the line. •Release as he moves towards the ring.
Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard are the founders of Two as One Horsemanship. They appear at expos and clinics across North America teaching people how to bring out the best in their horses. Visit TwoasOneHorsemanship.com for their schedule, books, DVDs, and info on the Wind Rider Challenge and ProTrack Trainer Certification Program.
Check out the winners of our 2nd Annual Equine Wellness photo contest
ost horses are photogenic, but the entries we received for our second annual photo contest really raised the bar on just how gorgeous they can be! From the breathtakingly beautiful to the quirky and humorous, every submission was nothing short of stunning. We had a wonderful time looking at every image and admiring our readers’ amazing talents and obvious love for their equine friends.
Choosing six winners wasn’t easy, but here’s our final selection, based on content, focus and originality. If you didn’t win, don’t worry – your photo might appear in a future issue of Equine Wellness, so keep your eyes open! A big thank you to everyone who entered the contest, and to our sponsors for their generous prizes.
1st prize: Epitome of peace Congratulations to Meg Johnston of Exira, IA, for her exquisite shot of Max enjoying a refreshing sip from a stream. The eight-year-old Belgian gelding lives on the therapy ranch where Meg works and gives a lot of pleasure to visiting nursing home groups by driving a wheelchair accessible carriage. Meg reports that he’s also a lot of fun to ride! We love this photo’s simplicity, and how well it portrays Max’s contentment. Wins a gift package from Wellington Ridge Herbalists.
2nd prize: Trust and beauty We just couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t decide which of these two images by Nicole Sicely of Cambridge, VT, we liked the best, so we called it a tie! Congratulations to Nicole for her amazing image of young cowgirl Faith enjoying a quiet moment with Chance, a 24-year-old Palomino Tennessee Walker; and this charming portrait of Faith with Onyx, a black Percheron Cross, whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obviously head over heels in love with her! These artistic and contemplative photos perfectly capture the magic and trust of the human/equine bond.
Wins health and performance products from Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals Inc.
3rd prize: Masculine moment Congratulations to Amanda Davis for this powerfully moving shot of Buddy the Mustang with his trainer at 3-Strikes Ranch in Alliance, NE. We were struck by the fantastic lighting as well as the touching interaction between man and mustang. Wins a supplement gift package from HorseTech.
4th prize: This eye has it Congratulations to Kim Speek of Boulder, CO, for this beautifully composed close-up of Cherokee, a Mustang mare who was living at Colorado Horse Rescue when this image was taken. She has since been adopted and now has a loving new home. Can you see the gentle wisdom in that gorgeous eye? Wins herbals salves, massage oils and aromatherapy hydrosols from Zephyrs Garden
5th prize: Splish, splash! Congratulations to Vicki Jones of Germanton, NC, for this humorous portrait of Vaquero the gelding cooling off on a warm day. Great composition and fun too!
Wins DVD and book from Tallgrass Animal Acupressure
6th prize: Play time Congratulations to Susan Williams of Morrison, CO, for this fantastic action shot. It features Friesian/Paint cross colts Texas Ice and Frisoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Apache, both eight months old, being wild and free at a local ranch. Obviously the best of friends! Wins one-year subscription to either Equine Wellness or Animal Wellness
Honorable mentions Kick up your heels! Geldings Mike (age 23) and Fiyero (age 17), by Eileen Baliga, Crete, IL
Over the rainbow Morgan gelding Pharaoh, age six, by Lucinda Korman, Sharon, ON
Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s looking at you Twelve-year-old mare, Blu, by Max Palazzi, Amherstburg, ON
I love you Kinsey, age 10, with her eightyear-old quarter horse Willow, by Julie Fenoglio, Knoxville, IA
Nyah, nyah! Shaw (18-year-old Thoroughbred) and Major (eight-year-old Tennessee Walker), by Toni Walker, Trafalgar, IN
Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s run! Megabyte, age 19, National Show Horse gelding, by Keli Bruns, Saint Paris, OH
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.
La Bella Vita (Isabella) Age: 19 years
Breed/Ancestry: Thoroughbred/Percheron cross
Physical description: 15.1 hh dark bay mare
Discipline: Dressage, jumping, trail riding, groundwork
Kathrin Wormwood equine wellness
How they got together: “Our first show nearly four years ago was at the local Pony Club. We placed first in Walk/Trot, and second on the line. Our most recent show was the Mousam Saddle and Harness Club, where we placed second on the line, and third in Novice Pleasure!”
Awards and accomplishments: “My trainer found Isabella for me. She had been a broodmare for many years, and was on pasture doing nothing but eating. When we brought her home she was lame, badly in need of a trim, and very overweight. After a few trims, she was no longer lame, came back into work, and that’s where our story begins.”
Natural care principles: “Isabella receives massage and Reiki on a regular basis. She has also received acupuncture, chiropractic work, and herbs. I use natural grooming products – anything I can find that isn’t loaded with chemicals. “Isabella loves her bitless bridle and rides very well in it. I ride her in a Cashel Soft Saddle after an injury from an ill-fitting saddle did extensive damage to her back. She never wears shoes and has never looked better. I have been so happy with the natural approach; I can now ride my mare again! “I have been an advocate for going as natural as possible for as long as I can remember. In all the things I have invested in, I have seen such positive results with the natural approach versus anything else I have tried for my mare. “I plan on continuing the natural approach for Isabella through her senior years and want to keep her in work as long as she is sound and happy.”
Tell us more: “Isabella is the sweetest mare around. She falls asleep during massage or shows the massage therapist where to work on her. She is such an easy keeper and loves wasabi peas and galloping on the beach. I am so lucky to have such a well behaved mare for my first horse. Isabella is the main focus of my photography, and loves having her picture taken!”
Isabella enjoys a barefoot and bitless lifestyle that also includes massage and natural grooming products.
COULD YOUR HORSE BE A NATURAL PERFORMER? Equine Wellness Magazine is looking for natural performers to feature in 2009. If you employ natural horsekeeping practices and training principles and would like to see your horse considered for the magazine, please contact us. You will be asked to answer some basic questions about your horse, and send along some high resolution photos. Your horse does not have to be a national champion to be featured – local heroes are welcome, too! For more information, contact Kelly@equinewellnessmagazine.com.
Resource Guide •Barefoot Hoof Trimming
•Natural Product Retailers
•Schools & Education
View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: www.EquineWellnessMagazine.com
BAREFOOT HOOF TRIMMING ALABAMA
Lone Pine Ranch Bruce Goode, AANHCP Practitioner Vernon, BC Canada Phone: (250) 545-6948 Email: email@example.com Website: hooftrack.com
Danny Thornburg Shelby, AL USA Phone: (205) 669-7409
Non-invasive natural hoof care Custom hoof boot fitting services
Dawn Jenkins Hoof Coach Frazier Park, CA USA 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: thehorseshoof.com JT’s Natural Hoof Care AANHCP Certified Practitioner & Instructor Scottsdale, AZ USA Phone: (480) 560-9413 Email: email@example.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
From CA to HI: Practical hands-on-hoofcare. Trimming/shoeing instruction. 16 yrs hoofcare experience. Private workshops
Second Heart Hoof Care Cohasset, CA USA Phone: (530) 343-7190
Serving Chico to Redding area. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hoof Savvy Folsom, CA USA Phone: (916) 201-7852 Email: email@example.com Hoof Help Tracy Browne, AANHCP, PT Greenwood, CA USA Phone: (530) 885-5847 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.hoofhelp.com
Serving Sacramento and the Gold Country
Softtouch Natural Horse Care Phil Morarre Oroville, CA USA Phone: (530) 533-7669 Email: email@example.com Website: softouchnaturalhorsecare.com Good Hoof Keeping LLC Ramona, CA USA Phone: (619) 719-7903
Dr. Sugarshooz Farrier Services & Natural Hoof Care Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235 Serving southern CA
Michael Moran Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235 Jolly Roger Holman Professional Farrier/Natural Hoof Care Templeton, CA USA Phone: (805) 227-4835
Specializing in natural trims and BLM Wild Mustangs
Cindy Meyer Carbondale, CO USA Phone: (970) 945-5680
Fred Evans North Granby, CT USA Phone: (860) 653-7946 Phyllis Gregerman North Stonington, CT USA Phone: (860) 599-8766 Sarah F. Block Shelton, CT USA Phone: (203) 924-5644
Dawn Willoughby Wilmington, DE USA Website: 4sweetfeet.com
Sound Horse Systems Anne Daimier Deland, FL USA Phone: (386) 822-4564 Website: soundhorsesystems.com
Barefoot Hoof Trimming â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Wellness Resource Guide
Brett Barteld Havana, FL USA Phone: (850) 391-4733 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Corso London, KY USA Phone: (606) 878-0466 Email: email@example.com
Hoof Nexus Daniel E. Hofford Ocala, FL USA Phone: (352) 502-4384 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: hoofnexus.com
Frank Tobias AANHCP Practitioner Palm Beach Gardens, FL USA Phone: (561) 876-2929 Email: email@example.com Website: barefoothoof.com
All Around Horses Andrew Leech Dahlonega, GA USA Phone: (706) 867-4890 Website: geocities.com/andrewsallaroundhorses/
Dawn Jenkins Hoof Coach Frazier Park, CA USA Phone: (661) 245-2182
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: barefoottrim.com
Larry Frye White Cloud, MI USA Phone: (231) 652-3505
From CA to HI: Practical hands-on-hoofcare. Trimming/shoeing instruction. 16 yrs hoofcare experience. Private workshops
Cynthia Niemela Duluth, MN USA Phone: (218) 721-3094
Mackinaw Dells II Ida Hammer Congerville, IL USA Phone: (309) 448-2212 Website: mackinawdells2.com No Hoof - No Horse Cheryl Sutor, M.H.G. Kirkland, IL USA Phone: (630) 267-0357 Website: NoHoof-NoHorse.com Yvonne Moorhouse Hoof Care Practitioner AANHCP PT Marengo, IL USA Phone: (815) 923-6950 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Jeff Farmer, AANHCP Certified Practioner 927 Abe Chapel Rd. Como, MS USA Phone: (662) 526-0821 Email: email@example.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: lmhorseworks.com
Natural Trim Hoof Care Hopatcong, NJ USA Phone: (973) 876-4475 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: 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: email@example.com Website: 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: naturestrim.com
Specializing in natural trimming and rehabilitation of all hoof problems.
Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: email@example.com Website: hoofkeeping.com Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: naturalhoofconcepts.com
Natural Hoof Care Lisa Dawe, AANHCP Practitioner Oriental, NC USA Phone: (508) 776-6259 Email: Lisa@ibarefoothorses.com Website: ibarefoothorses.com
Natural barefoot hoof care; specializing in pathologic hoof rehab
Bruce Smith Raleigh, NC USA Phone: (919) 624-2585 Email: email@example.com Website: father-and-son.net
Lost July Natural Hoof Care Nina Hassinger Bridgetown, NS Canada Phone: (902) 665-2151 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Markowitz High Bridge, NJ USA Phone: (908) 268-6046
Gudrun Buchhofer Judique, NS Canada Phone: (902) 787-2292 Email: email@example.com Website: go-natural.ca
Carrie Christiansen Browns Mills, NJ USA Phone: (609) 992-3889
Barefoot Hoof Trimming â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Wellness Resource Guide
Steve Hebrock Akron, OH USA Phone: (330) 644-1954 Emma Everly AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: barefoottrimming.com AANHCP Certified Practitioner
Sherry Eucker Cuyahoga Falls, OH USA Phone: (216) 218-6954
Becky Goumaz Tulsa, OK USA Phone: (918) 493-2782 Email: email@example.com
Serendales Farm Equine Hoofcare Services Brian & Virginia Knox Campbellford, ON Canada Phone: (705) 653-5989 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: serendalesmorgans.com Barefoot Horse Canada.com Anne Riddell, AANHCP, Hoof Care Practitioner Penetang, ON Canada Phone: (705) 533-2900 Email: email@example.com Website: 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: b2bhoofcare.com Natural Barefoot Trimming, Easycare Natural Hoof Advisor, Natural Horse Care Services
Kate Romanenko Woodville, ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Website: natureshoofcare.com
The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: email@example.com ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: abchoofcare.com
Certified hoofcare Professional Training, Rehabilitation, Education & Clinics
Conde Pantoje Molalla, OR USA Phone: (503) 502-1102 Email: email@example.com Website: betteroffbarefoot.us
Windhorse Creations Mavis Pas Oakridge, OR USA Phone: (541) 782-3561 Website: windhorse-creations.com
Bellwether Farm Katrina Ranum Morrisdale, PA USA Phone: (814) 345-1723 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: ladyfarrier.com Walt Friedrich Nescopeck, PA USA Phone: (570) 379-2964
SOUTH CAROLINA Cori Brennan Horsense Hoof/Horse care that makes sense Sharon, SC USA Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: email@example.com
Natural barefoot trimming serving the Carolinas
Eddie Drabek El Campo, TX USA Phone: (979) 578-8913 Website: 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
Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: maryannkennedy.com Trac Right Indian Mound, TN USA Phone: (931) 232-3071 Email: email@example.com Website: tracright.com
Erin Pearson Castleton, VA USA Phone: (540) 987-9507 Flying H Farms Equine Hoof Clinic & Wellness Center Fredericksburg, VA USA Toll Free: (888) 325-0388 Phone: (540) 752-6690 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: helpforhorses.com Barefoot Trimming, Hoof Clinic & Equine Wellness Center
Quality Barefoot Hoofcare in Middle Tennessee.
Elizabeth Swank Harrisonburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 434-5286
Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349
Lei Ryan Mount Jackson, VA USA Phone: (540) 477-2489
Natural Hoofcare Services Anne Buteau Shipman, VA USA Phone: 434 263 4946 Email: email@example.com
Have faith in the healing powers of nature
Rebecca Beckstrom Weyers Cave, VA USA Phone: (540) 234-0959
Barefoot Hoof Trimming â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Schools & Education â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Wellness Resource Guide
Pat Wagner Rainier, WA USA Phone: (360) 446-8699
Leslie Walls Ridgefield, WA USA Phone: (360) 887-0529 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Maureen Gould Stanwood, WA USA Phone: (360) 629-5153 Email: email@example.com Website: forthehorse.net Cameron Bonner Wauna, WA USA Phone: (360) 895-2679
LY D I A H I B Y Published Author of:
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Conversations with Animalsâ&#x20AC;?
. LY D I A H I B Y . C O M
Mike Stelske Eagle, WI USA Phone: (262) 594-2936
Anita Delwiche Greenwood, WI USA Phone: (715) 267-6404
www.AnimalParadiseCommunication.com â&#x20AC;˘ 703-648-1866
Scott McConaughey Houlton, WI USA Phone: (715) 549-6380 FHL Horse Care Mark Stuber Ridgeland, WI USA Phone: (715) 949-1002 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: fhlhorsecare.com Triangle P Hoofcare Chad Bembenek Rio, WI USA Phone: (920) 992-6415 Email: email@example.com Website: trianglephoofcare.com
The Horse Mechanic Howard Jesse Calgary area Serving the Lethbridge, Phone: (403) 795-1850 Website: thehorsemechanic.com
Natural balancing of horses with proper trimming of www.AnimalParadiseCommunication.com â&#x20AC;˘ 703-648-1866 hooves, toothcare, BioScan & Bicom 2000
The Natural Hoof Monica Meer Waukesha, WI USA Phone: (262) 968-9499 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: thenaturalhoof.com
Equine Wellness Resource Guide
Promote your holistic business inexpensively to a targeted market! 866-764-1212 email@example.com
White Willow Therapies, LLC Erin Bisco, CMT, CEMT, MMT Clinton , MI USA Phone: (734) 417-6042 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: whitewillowtherapies.com
Manual Medicine, Cranial, Lymphatic and Visceral Therapies Horses, Dogs and People
NATURAL PRODUCT RETAILERS CONNECTICUT
Animal Herbery Greenwich, CT USA Phone: (203) 302-1991 Email: email@example.com Website: animalherbery.com
Holistic health products for your horse and pets including Wendals Herbs, Emerald Valley, Tallgrass Acupressure media,
SCHOOLS & EDUCATION CALIFORNIA
Equine Wellness Services Nancy Hall, Approved Instructor Beaumont, CA USA Phone: (951) 769-3774 Website: equinewellness.com
# " """ """ !
Cut to the quick?
Accidents happen, and occasional wounds are a fact of life. Recognizing and dealing with your horse’s injuries in a holistic way helps ensure successful recovery. by Hannah Evergreen, DVM
Photo: ©Cynoclub | Dreamstime.com
ou go out to the field to catch up your horse for a ride, and notice blood on one of his legs. He must have hurt himself playing with his pasture buddies. What should you do? Knowing a bit about wound healing is important for successful holistic wound care. Treatment options can vary based on the type or stage of a wound. Having a first aid kit and your veterinarian’s number close at hand are also important. Of course, prevention is key, but accidents can happen to all of us, so be prepared.
•Abrasions generally heal with minimal treatment and are at low risk of infection. However, immediate treatment can help accelerate healing. I start with Traumeel
•Contusions are a result of significant tissue trauma that doesn’t break the skin. Hematoma or bruise formation occurs, and swelling can be significant. Immediate cold therapy is the first line of defense. The area should be cold hosed or iced for ten to 15 minutes every two to three hours over the first 72 hours. Arnica is also very important, and should be in your first aid kit. It can be applied topically in the form of creams or liniments (Traumeel and Sore-No-More Gelotion) and/or
Photo: ©Fatman73 | Dreamstime.com
Wounds come in all shapes, sizes and types. There are open wounds (lacerations and punctures) that cut through the skin; closed wounds (contusions) that cause bruising under the skin; superficial wounds (abrasions) that only extend partway through the skin, and combinations of all of the above.
homeopathic cream after using a topical disinfectant (chlorhexidine, betadine or Equilite’s The Sauce). Following up daily topical treatments with Traumeel or ointments containing aloe vera and vitamin E (such as RestorAid EQ) also help keep the wound from drying out, and aid in healing. Boosting systemic vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids with oral vitamin E supplements (such as Elevate W.S. by Kentucky Performance Products and 1/3 to 1/2 cup per day of ground flax seed, respectively) can help with skin healing and new hair growth.
given orally as a homeopathic treatment. Oral anti-inflammatories should also be used, depending on the severity of the wound. For serious wounds, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) should be used. Bute is the traditional NSAID used for wounds, but many horses are sensitive to it and suffer GI upset and ulcers. When possible, use Equioxx (firocoxib), a COX-2 selective NSAID, which basically means fewer side effects. For less serious wounds, herbal anti-inflammatories such as devils claw and yucca (Equilite’s Ani-motion, B-L Solution) can be used. After the area has been iced and treated topically, apply a compression wrap if possible to prevent further swelling.
Damage control Some lacerations and punctures look minor at first glance, even though they are very serious. The location of the wound is important. Two wounds of equal size and depth can have very different treatment needs and outcomes if in different locations, such as a wound over the lower leg versus one on the hindquarters. There are very thin subcutaneous layers between the skin and tendons or joints on the lower legs, whereas thick layers of muscle lie below the skin on the hindquarters. Wounds into muscle generally heal well with clipping, thorough cleaning, and suturing, etc. If the wounds are very deep (such as a puncture from a T-post – hence
Lower leg injuries can also take longer to heal due to poor circulation and friction from joint movement. Limbs may need to be immobilized with splints, and should be protected with bandages for healing to occur. Proper bandaging is important -- be sure to have your veterinarian show you how. Bandages should start with a sterile dressing directly over the wound (non-stick Telfa, or a Kerlix AMD pad if infection is present). It can be secured with cling wrap or roll gauze. A generous layer of cotton padding should be next, followed by vetwrap and, if needed, Elastikon (adhesive elastic tape). Once the wound is no longer oozing, reusable quilted cottons and standing wraps can be used to secure the sterile dressing.
Photo: ©Milosluz | Dreamstime.com
•Open wounds (lacerations and punctures) are often the most serious, and will require the most intensive treatment. When in doubt, call your vet out! These wounds extend through the full thickness of the skin, and often into deeper tissues. Both punctures and lacerations should receive immediate veterinary care so the extent of the wound can be properly explored and an appropriate treatment plan initiated (cleaning, suturing, flushing, drain placement, etc). In many cases, antibiotics can be avoided in clean wounds that are caught and treated immediately. Boosting the immune system with Echinacea and vitamin C is also important. Cold therapy, anti-inflammatories, and compression should be used for lacerations as they would for contusions.
all T-posts should be capped!) they may need surgically placed drains and/or regular wound flushing. Wounds on the lower legs need to be explored by your veterinarian to determine if there is tendon or joint involvement. When joint capsules and tendon sheaths are penetrated, life threatening lameness can result if it’s not treated properly.
Healing stages There are four “stages” of wound healing. A good understanding of these will help you determine the appropriate day-to-day treatment of the wound.
1. Inflammation: Vasoconstriction immediately occurs to aid in clotting, and is quickly followed by vasodilatation where swelling occurs. White blood cells are brought in for the next phase. In this phase, applying pressure on the wound is very important.
2. Debridement: By six hours, the white blood cells are in action cleaning up the bacteria and debris in the wound. This stage results in the accumulation of pus or exudates, and continues as long as there is infection present. In this phase, frequent gentle wound cleaning and infection control are important.
3. Repair: By day three, granulation tissue starts to form, providing the framework for epithelial cells to grow new skin across the wound. This stage can be delayed by the debridement stage and infection. In this phase, providing the body with the necessary building blocks for wound healing and the prevention of proud flesh formation is important. Continued on page 49. equine wellness
Alternative treatments and therapies Treatment
Photo: John Brown
Tea tree oil
Can be used topically as a compress to relieve bruising and soft tissue damage Helps reduce inflammation, control bleeding and sooth damaged tissue
Antibacterial and antifungal for topical wound treatment
Soothes, moisturizes, and aids in wound healing.
Antioxidant, decreases scarring
Helpful for drawing out swelling or infection from a wound; Miracle Clay by Dynamite is an example
Can be used topically or internally to prevent infection
Decreases pain at wound site, increases healing rate and circulation, boosts the immune system to help fight infection
Massaging around a wound can help increase circulation and reduce muscle strain resulting from a horse guarding a wound.
Photo: MagSan/Swiss Vet
Known to increase circulation, which can aid in wound healing
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Increases oxygen saturation in bloodstream and body tissues, enhancing wound healing and decreasing recovery time
Grooming and playing in-hand games with your horse while on stall rest is important for overall happiness (and wound healing)
4. Maturation: After a few days (or longer, due to lag time), scar tissue forms and slowly remodels over time.
Good intentions There are also three main types of wound healing, depending on the kind of wound, time elapsed from the initial injury, and the level of infection.
1. First intention healing is when there is primary or immediate closure of the wound. The first 24 hours are the most important. If suturing a laceration is possible, the earlier it is done the better the outcome will be. Suturing a laceration outside the 12 to 24 hour window of opportunity greatly decreases the healing rate and increases the risk of infection and scarring.
topical treatment to help reduce proud flesh. Significant proud flesh formation requires surgical debridement.
3. Third intention healing occurs when a wound is too infected or contaminated to be sutured immediately, but can be closed later. The infection is treated and a few days later the wound is surgically debrided and sutured closed. As you can see, wounds come in all types with various treatment options. Whenever your horse hurts himself, it is important to contact your veterinarian to discuss the best treatment plan. If a treatment plan is not working well, there are many other options you can try; be sure to talk with your veterinarian about them to see if they would be appropriate for your horse. In all cases, prompt action is the key to successful healing.
2. Second intention healing is for lacerations that canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be sutured and have to be left open to heal. This type of healing happens through the formation of granulation tissue, followed by wound contraction and epithelialization (a big word for skin cell formation over granulation tissue). Second intention healing can be inhibited by proud flesh formation, a common occurrence with horses. Trypzyme is an effective
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 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 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.
Sometimes you have to go deep to heal your horse. Learn how this century-old therapy can help. by Kimberly Parker, DVM, EDO
t’s been around for more than 100 years but surprisingly, many people still don’t know much about it. Osteopathy is a tried and tested therapy that treats not only lameness in horses, but also behavioral issues and various diseases. It is similar to chiropractic in that we manipulate the muscles and joints, but osteopathy is more detailed than that. We also consider the organs and the connections between the skull and pelvis. In other words, to be an osteopath you must work on all three systems of the body: musculoskeletal, visceral (organs) and cranial sacral.
The men behind the method
Mobilizing the diaphragm.
To give you an understanding of how equine osteopathy came to be, we have to start with Andrew Taylor Still, an American physician who founded osteopathy in 1874 during the “vitalistic” period of human medicine. Vitalistic physicians believed the body could heal itself if given the right circumstances. Their treatments were aimed at strengthening the immune system instead of suppressing it.
Then, about 20 years ago, three independent osteopaths from Europe – Dominique Giniaux, Pascal Evrard and Janek Vluggen – began developing osteopathy for horses. Sadly, Giniaux and Evrard both died, but Janek carried on and founded an international school, The Vluggen Institute for Equine Osteopathy & Education, with classes taught in both the Netherlands and the United States. I discovered equine osteopathy after years of studying holistic methods, when my conventional training no longer satisfied my need to help animals. I had studied and practiced classical homeopathy for years and tried both chiropractic and acupuncture, but was still not content that this was the best I could do for my patients. My career dramatically changed three years ago when I met Janek. I read an article describing his method of traditional European osteopathy for horses, and knew I had to study with him. Today I cannot imagine how I ever practiced without it.
Testing the withers.
Getting to the root
reported that Alvin gets adjusted by a local chiropractor about once every six weeks, and she can really tell when it’s getting close to adjustment time because he starts getting grumpy and bucking students off. He has been getting regular adjustments for over two years. She also reported that Alvin appears stiff and slower than he used to be, can’t seem to keep weight on, and just seems to be aging too fast in general. The trainer wanted to see him more comfortable, and stop the cycle of frequent adjustments. Upon assessment, I found a horse with a poor coat with patches of lighter red fur, different lengths of hair growth, and a mane and a tail with pieces of hair broken off in certain places. To me this indicates poor nutrition, or a body unable to utilize the nutrition it is given. I checked out Alvin’s current diet and supplements, and they were adequate for a horse of his age and workload. Alvin had also lost muscle mass, especially in his gluteal muscles, and displayed overly large hamstrings.
So how can osteopathy help I started my osteopathic evaluyour horse? The most common ation with the hind end by problems I treat in my practice testing the sacrum for mobility. are lameness issues. Usually, The sacrum is the triangular riders are surprised when I exbone that lies perpendicular and plain the underlying osteopathic between the two wings of the reason their horses have been pelvis. The importance of this lame for so long. I strive to get to bone is unequaled, because if the root cause of the lameness, it’s not mobile the entire pelvis with the goal being to prevent Checking the motion of the accessory bone. cannot move correctly. This reoccurrence. I also treat neuromeans the stifles and hocks are logical conditions such as head overused, causing compensation shaking, head tilts, in-coordination in the back, shoulders and neck. and stumbling. Behavioral issues like grumpiness in mares, I have seen many joint injections avoided by simply getting aggression problems, and bucking can also be helped. all these bones mobile and moving in the right direction(s).
Alvin’s story Alvin, a 12-year-old bay quarter horse gelding, jumps in a lesson program for high school students. The trainer
On Alvin, I found a sacrum that moved only on one side, with the stifle and hock blocked on the same side. He also had scar tissue built up from his gelding surgery that was preventing the sacrum’s movement. Certain vertebrae equine wellness
To find a Certified Equine Osteopath, check out theIAEO.org (The International Association of Equine Osteopaths) and vluggeninstitute.com. in his spine were immobile, indicating congestion in one kidney. Both shoulders were blocked as were various places in his neck. My osteopathic treatment consisted of mobilizing the sacrum by first releasing the scar tissue and then the sacrum itself, then simply getting all the rest of the joints moving. Afterwards, I gave him a natural remedy for his kidney, and to prevent soreness.
Testing the 7th cervical vertebrae.
Checking mobility of the sacrum.
As I write this, Alvin’s treatment has lasted 14 weeks. I expect to see him once every four to six months or so, in order to maintain him in his lesson program. While osteopaths are not as abundant as many other therapeutic professionals, they can be an excellent asset to your horse’s health and wellness team if you have one in your area. The “whole horse” approach is fundamental to keeping your equine partner healthy and happy in his work.
Dr. Kim Parker graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in journalism before returning to veterinary school at TUSVM where she graduated in 1998. She currently has a holistic vet practice in Roswell, Georgia, where she specializes in osteopathy and homeopathy for equine and small animals. She is one of the first veterinarians in the U.S. to receive her EDO (Equine Diplomate of Osteopathy) degree and is the founder and Executive Director of the IAEO. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-343-8402.
Photo: ©Djk | Dreamstime.com
9 steps to a
successful clinic A clinic is a wonderful way to learn, network and make new friends. Why not try hosting your own? by Kelly Howling
ome of my favorite horse related memories are of clinics I’ve attended, and those I’ve organized myself. Putting together a clinic, whether on a large or small scale, can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also turn into a stressful one if you aren’t organized.
Why do it? Organizing a clinic takes a lot of work, but it also offers a lot of benefits.
•A clinic allows you to learn from a professional you would not normally get to spend time with. Depending on the number of participants, clinicians will come from all over to teach you. •A clinic environment allows you to learn from other participants as well. They will be at different riding levels, have different horses, and each will have their own issues they are looking to improve on. You will get to see how the clinician helps them, and transfer that to yourself down the road. •Some clinicians offer a discount or complimentary participant spot to the clinic organizer(s) in return for their efforts. For those who find clinic fees formidable, this can be a good way to trade your time for a spot.
•You get to meet and bring together like-minded equestrians in your community. You always come away from a clinic with new friends and great memories!
1. Selecting your clinician The first step to organizing a clinic is choosing a clinician. If there is someone you think you would like to learn from, make sure you attend one of his/her other clinics first either as a participant or spectator so you know what to expect. Make sure you think it is something others would enjoy. Talk to the other participants afterwards to see how they felt about the clinic. Ask around before you commit, to ensure you’ll get enough response from the local equestrian community to make the clinic a success.
2. The facility The type of facility you’ll need depends on the sort of clinic you’re holding, the number of participants, and any specifications from the clinician. If you are in an area where the weather is iffy, it’s good to have access to an indoor arena should you need it. You also want to make sure there is plenty of parking space for horse trailers and cars. equine wellness
People are at your
3. It’s a date! Choosing a date for your clinic is not as simple as you may think. The clinician must first let you know what dates he or she is available. From there, you must decide which will work best. Factors to consider include:
•Season/weather – Not many riders are diehard enough to attend a clinic in subzero weather in the dead of winter.
clinic to learn and have fun. The easier you make it for them, the more they’ll enjoy it and want to return to future events.
•Holidays – Popular holidays and long weekends often mean people are busy doing other things. While a long weekend may seem an ideal time for a clinic, it can be hit and miss depending on how many people have alternative plans. •Show season – If you are setting up a discipline-specific clinic, make sure you avoid the big show dates.
Typically, each clinician will have a set of paperwork that he/she wants each participant to fill out. This may include an information sheet, and will most certainly include a liability form. It’s recommended that your host facility have each participant (and potentially each spectator) fill out a liability form as well. Talk to your equine insurance company to determine what, if any, insurance the facility needs in order to hold the clinic. Make sure you get all the forms in time for the clinic – start organizing early to avoid last minute problems and stress. It’s also a good idea to have extra forms on hand the day of the clinic, just in case someone didn’t get their forms in on time – they can fill one out before the clinic starts.
5. Accommodations If your clinic runs more than one day, offer participants a list of nearby accommodations, and directions to each. Some facilities give the okay for people to pop a tent or park a camper on the property. Depending on where your clinician is coming from, you may have to plan accommodation for him or her as well. Some organizers host them at their homes, or set them up at a nearby hotel.
Depending on how much work you want to take on, you may offer to feed the horses, do a night check, and muck the stalls in the morning, so your participants can get a good night’s sleep after a hard day of riding.
6. Show me the money! Typically, you will be responsible for making sure everyone gets their clinic fees in on time, and in full. If you are charging a fee for spectators/auditors, you will also need to collect those fees the day of the clinic. Make sure you have change and small bills on hand.
Photo: ©Alexkalina | Dreamstime.com
4. The paperwork
It’s also helpful to offer overnight accommodations for the horses, such as stalls, small paddocks or temporary stalls. Do some research on what other barns in your area charge for overnight stabling. Provide the participants with a list of what they need to bring, such as their own hay, grain, and bedding. Make up an information sheet for each horse’s stall that includes names, emergency numbers, allergies and feeding instructions. Ask participants to bring proof of current immunizations and possibly a negative Coggin’s.
7. What about auditors? Most clinics offer the general equine public the opportunity to audit or watch the clinic from the sidelines. This generally involves charging a small fee per day.
•Have nametags available for auditors, color coded for each day, so you know who has paid and who has not. This will also help the clinician identify people if they ask a question. •If you can, send spectators an information packet ahead of time (e-mail is handy) including directions, clinic times, and other information such as whether or not they should bring their own chairs, whether lunch will be provided, and so on. •Provide a safe area for auditors – some type of barrier between the auditor area and the clinic area is a must to ensure no loose or out-of-control horses can harm an auditor.
•Make sure auditors can hear the clinician/sound system. Remember, they are paying to be there, so they should be able to hear what is going on.
8. Feeding the masses As the organizer, you have several options when it comes to feeding hungry participants:
1) Offer lunch as part of the clinic/spectator fee. 2) Offer lunch for a separate fee (e.g. BBQ, catered). 3) Advise everyone to bring refreshments and/or point them to the nearest restaurants.
4) Suggest a potluck.
9. Take care
Pulling together a clinic can be a huge undertaking, especially if it is a multi-day affair. Try not to take it all on yourself – it can quickly turn into a very busy and stressful experience and you’ll find yourself being pulled in several different directions at once, all day long. Delegate the easier tasks to friends and barn mates who are willing to help out.
Photo: ©Djslavic | Dreamstime.com
It’s a nice gesture to keep hot drinks such as coffee, tea, and hot chocolate brewing all day, especially during cold weather. Cold bottled water is very welcome during the hotter months.
The weeks leading up to the clinic, and the clinic itself (particularly if it happens over two or three days), can leave you feeling wiped out. Make sure to take care of yourself. Along with delegating what tasks you can, be sure to get adequate rest, eat properly, and try not to get so caught up in your organizational duties that you forget to have fun. Nobody wants a cranky clinic organizer! Understand you cannot control everything – things may go wrong, such as the sound system going down, but just be prepared the best you can and roll with the punches. When all is said and done, if you plan ahead and cover all your bases, your clinic should be a successful and fun experience. You’ll learn new techniques, and make some valuable new friends. And who knows, you may want to do it all over again next year! equine wellness
Photo: ©Kati1313 | Dreamstime.com
Check out these seven simple ways to reduce your farm’s ecological “hoofprint”. by Kelly Howling
oing green” is something we’re hearing a lot these days. As we become increasingly aware of the negative impact we’re having on the planet, we’re discovering more and more ways to reduce our ecological footprint. Here are seven ways you can do your part around your farm. “
1. Take care of your pasture Many people struggle to make environmentally friendly changes because in most cases, they don’t see any immediate results or what impact they’re really having. So let’s start with something we can see a difference in – our pastures. Proper pasture management is important both for our horses and the land. Pastures that aren’t maintained end up as weedy messes filled with manure and mud. Not only does this negatively affect the horses, but it also degrades the topsoil, hastens erosion, affects the balance of plant life, and potentially allows waste to run off into water sources. In addition, poorly maintained pastures are often overgrown with weeds, tempting people to use chemical sprays to get rid of them. This is unnecessary in a properly maintained pasture. Pasture rotation and management, as well as manure management, are key.
remove from your pastures and stalls/run-ins. Some people have it hauled away, some spread it onto their pastures or crop fields, while others let it pile up and ignore it. Then there’s the small but growing group of people who are composting their manure/waste bedding. This relatively simple process allows you to create your own rich compost, which when done properly can be excellent for spreading back on your pastures. The composting process breaks down the chemicals and parasites in your horse’s waste, so you are not putting them back on your fields. This saves you money, creates healthier pastures, and makes for happier ponies!
For a great article on pasture management, see “An earth friendly approach to pasture management” in the May/June 2008 issue of Equine Wellness.
2. Manage your manure There are a variety of ways to handle the manure you
A “how to” on building your own composting bins and beginning the composting process is an article in itself. Check out O2compost.com or other resources online to get started.
3. Bedding down
If you look into composting your manure, you may also want to re-evaluate your stall or run-in bedding. Some types of bedding break down easily and quickly, while others are disposal nightmares. You will also want to take a look at what’s in your horse’s bedding. If it’s made from recycled wood or paper, it’s likely to have some chemicals in it (ink, paint, etc.). Do consider this when you are looking at how to dispose of
Some government programs offer incentives for reducing your energy use. used bedding. Some pelleted beddings may also contain a “binding” agent to help keep them in their compressed form until used.
4. Try organic It’s now fairly common for farmers to spray hay before baling to reduce moisture (mold) and pests. Obviously the sprays are not contained solely to the hay, and float over the surrounding farmland and vegetation. If you have the option, look into organic, or hay suppliers that do not use chemicals.
There are now a number of earth and horse friendly cleaning products on the market. Whether you are power washing barn stalls and aisles, cleaning windows or scrubbing troughs, eco-friendly alternatives mean you don’t need to feel bad about what’s going down the drain.
6. Energy conservation
If you’re a barn owner, check into energy saving options. Efficient lighting and energy alternatives such as solar and wind power are becoming more common. Choose energy efficient appliances for your barn’s lounge/kitchen.
7. The three R’s Reduce, re-use, recycle – who will ever forget that familiar alliteration? It can be as simple as ensuring you have a recycle bin in the barn for your boarders’ water bottles, supplement containers, and worn-out horse magazines. You’d be surprised at the number of recyclables a small boarding barn can produce, and if a recycle bin isn’t readily available, you can bet those items are going in the trash.
No matter how you choose to dispose of waste bedding and manure, your manure pile should not be close enough to a water source that run-off contamination may be an issue.
Conserving electricity is one of the first environmental lessons we were taught in school, and is a very simple thing to put into practice. Sometimes, though, it seems the simplest things are the ones most easily overlooked. Any barn owner can tell you that powering a farm is not inexpensive. Between arena lighting, barn lighting, heated
Photo: ©Willeecole | Dreamstime.com
Be aware that chemicals are also used in the growing and processing of most equine feeds. Consider companies that use organically grown options. You may even want to start your own organic garden, full of carrots and other treats for the horses on your farm to enjoy. If you board horses, you could offer a co-op type garden, where your boarders could each have a patch of garden to grow yummy things for themselves and their horses.
tackrooms and hot wash racks, barns don’t run cheap. Simple things can make a big difference, and each boarder can do her part. For example, turn the arena lights on as you go in, not half an hour ahead of time while you tack up, and don’t leave the heated tackroom door wide open (I’m sure most boarding barn owners can relate to this one!). While each indiscretion may not seem like a big deal, just imagine if every boarder forgot to turn the arena lights off when she left – it adds up fairly quickly.
We have all heard the phrase “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”. Websites such as Craigslist or your local equine community forum offer a place to advertise items you no longer have a need for. Many people are on the lookout for items that are used yet still functional, and selling them keeps them out of the landfill.
Thinking a little greener around the farm really doesn’t take much effort and can offer some wonderful benefits for you, your horses, and the environment. A little bit can go a long way! equine wellness
Do you know what’s growing in your pasture? Keep your horse’s forage safe by weeding out these poisonous plants and trees. by Maya Cointreau
ome plants are good for us; others are not. It’s a simple rule, and it also applies to our horses. Some plants benefit an equine’s body nutritionally, some can be used medicinally, while still others cause irrevocable harm.
Photo: Dorota Szeszko
is one of the most dangerous plants for horses in North America. All parts Yew except the flesh of the berries contain taxine, a respiratory and cardiac depressant – just one handful can cause death within minutes. Yew is native to North America, and planted widely as a landscaping ornamental; yew clippings must be handled with extreme care. Do not put pruned twigs anywhere a horse or other ruminant animal will have access to them. Photo: Lesley Newcombe
Although the roots of Water hemlock or cowbane (Cicuta species) are the most toxic part of the plant, even its seeds and leaves contain cicutoxin, an unsaturated alcohol deadly to horses. Eating even small amounts of Water hemlock
are beautiful evergreen bushes with pink, Oleander white or purple flowers. It takes only a few handfuls of the leaves to kill a horse, and all parts of the plant are deadly, containing toxins that cause arrhythmia of the heart. Within a few hours of oleander consumption, a horse will present with colic, a fast or slowed heartbeat, respiratory distress or shaking. Immediate veterinary treatment can save a horse.
Two varieties of Centaurea, Yellow star thistle and Russian knapweed, affect the
Yellow star thistle
nerve pathways in the brain that control chewing. Repeated ingestion is necessary to cause poisoning, generally over the course of a month or more, Russian knapweed but once symptoms present they are permanent, often resulting in weight loss and possible starvation.
Tansy (Senecio jacobeae), despite its pretty yellow flowers, should be culled from all horse pastures. It contains alkaloids that accumulate and harm the Tansy liver over time, resulting in serious, sometimes irreversible damage. Signs of liver failure are jaundice, decreased appetite, photosensitivity and weight loss.
Photo: Howard Clark
Yew (Taxus species)
Oleanders (Nerium oleander)
Photo: Doug Greenberg
Here are the 13 most dangerous plants in horse pastures. In all cases, avoidance and attentive pasture management are the best strategies to avoid accidental poisoning. In most cases, removing plants by the root before they go to seed will eliminate them. If you see something in your pasture you are not familiar with, always identify it as soon as you can: field guides and the internet are invaluable resources.
Many wild plants are potentially toxic, but most are avoided by horses in pasture because they are unpalatable compared to available forage. But some taste too good for horses to resist, or are so toxic that even small amounts pose serious danger. Also, horses in poor pastures and lacking adequate fodder will often turn to plants they would normally avoid.
the leaves can produce poisoning symptoms within an hour. Death may result soon after, although immediate treatment may save a horse. Signs to watch for are nervousness, rapid pulse, pupil dilation, excessive salivation, respiratory distress and seizures.
Photo: Cheryl Moorehead Photo: Cheryl Moorehead
is common throughout most of North America, and is toxic in any amount. Unrelated to water hemlock, it will cause tremors, nervousness and decreased heart rates within hours of ingestion, and consumption of just a few pounds will lead to respiratory failure in horses.
Oak trees (Quercus species) themselves are not poisonous, but the acorns, which contain high amounts of tannins and protein, can become an Oak acquired taste for horses and cause severe dehydration within hours. Oak trees may be eliminated from the pasture, or you can keep your horses out of the area during the fall until there have been several frosts (the frost lowers an acornâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s toxicity) In all and keep the area well supplied with choice hay.
avoidance and attentive pasture management are the best strategies to avoid accidental poisoning.
Red maples (Acer rubrum), now planted and growing throughout North America, have leaves whose toxins present as they die and wilt, whether in autumn or Red maple after storm damage or pruning. Just one pound can poison a horse, damaging his red blood cells and starving of oxygen vital organs such as the liver and kidneys. Symptoms can appear anywhere from hours to days after consumption: the more leaves are ingested, the sooner signs will present and the more serious the damage will be. Photo: Lisa Steinbrueck
Trees in the Prunus genus, including all plums, cherries, peaches and apricots, produce leaves, bark and fruit pits that contain cyanide. Wild cherry trees are the most toxic of all, but any of these trees should be eliminated from pasture areas. The leaves behave similarly to those of the red maple, producing more cyanide compounds when they wilt, and can cause dangerous symptoms in horses within minutes of ingestion. Signs to watch for are trembling, loss of bowel and urinary control, cases, labored breathing, flared nostrils and collapse.
Sudan grass and Johnsongrass, both species of Sorghum, contain cyanide
Wild pea or Crotalaria
is found throughout the western United States Wild pea and is quite toxic to horses, containing liver and lung damaging alkaloids. Depending on how much is ingested, and how often, it can can produce both acute or chronic liver damage, resulting in fatigue, jaundice and weight loss.
Photo: Jamie Brown
refers to species of both Oxytropis and Astragalus (also Locoweed known as milk vetch). These are known for their ability to disrupt neurological and motor function. Horses that eat locoweed may move their heads up and down, walk strangely, act aggressively or stumble. Horses can recover from eating small amounts, but larger doses will cause permanent nerve damage.
Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common to the western United States,
compounds that will cause oxygen starvation in a horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s red blood cells. Young or frost-damaged grasses contain the highest levels and are considered the most dangerous. Sorghum grasses properly dried and prepared for hays contain the lowest levels and are generally believed safe for consumption. Photo: Tracy D. Porter
Photo: Doug Waylett
Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum)
Tobacco and potato plants are the
most dangerous members of the nightshade family (Solanum) for horses, Potato plant containing toxins such as nicotine, pyridine and solanine. Poisoning by this family of toxins can produce the following symptoms: a weak, rapid pulse, cold extremities, shaking, elevated temperature, difficulty breathing and walking, and paralysis.
Although some of these plants and trees are very common, you can protect your horse with vigilant pasture management. Weed out the bad, make sure he has access to plenty of nutritious forage, and heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll stay safe and healthy.
Maya Cointreau is an herbalist with 15 years of experience and the author of Equine Herbs & Healing: An Earth Lodge Guide to Horse Wellness. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Johnsongrass equine wellness
On the line Often called “riding from the ground,” long-lining is a forgotten art that’s well worth rediscovering. by Anna Twinney
e all have passions in life. And when it comes to the world of horses, there are countless facets to grab our attention and time. Some enjoy riding or training. Others appreciate daily grooming or feeding time. Still others love those quiet moments; just you, the horse and stillness. I enjoy all of them, but another great often overlooked way of connecting with your horse is through long-lining. You may be wondering if long-lining applies directly to you. After all, it’s quite the forgotten art. But once you realize its true benefits, you’ll want to build it into your routine. Long-lining has often been described as “riding from the ground” and brings with it a multitude of advantages.
Young and un-started horses A few months ago, I started my young Spanish Mustang colt, Excalibur (“X” for short), under saddle. In preparation for his “big day”, X had practiced a number of exercises pertaining to long-lining including neck yields, single line yielding, head-drops and disengaging the hindquarters.
We began our session by “Reaching Out” to one another, which established clear communication and created a mutual understanding for the upcoming event. Without hesitation, and showing great interest, X accepted his first saddle, displaying extreme signs of relaxation as he wandered about the round pen with his neck stretched to the ground. The most difficult request that day was to convince him he needed to explore the saddle and his environment at a slightly more engaging speed! He appeared so settled and trusting that he felt little need to distrust the saddle, even though it was now fixed to his back and hugging his stomach. My intention was to allow X to explore all three gaits with his new saddle; even though he felt content, it was extremely important he experienced the sensations of this equipment through different muscle movements. The goal was achieved very quickly and gave me the opportunity to see that my colt did not consider this a challenge of any kind. So instead of boring him in what was our joint classroom, we raised the bar. Now it was time to try the long-lines.
With both lines attached, X was asked to choose in which direction he preferred to explore the long-lines (which were attached to the halter), and become accustomed to feeling them along his sides, hocks and body. At first, this new sensation can desensitize a horse to the motion of lines and the signals you are sending. At times, the horse may even stop when he feels this sensation, since when he stops so does the movement. Encouraging him forward without fear and force is the key.
Within moments, X learned these vital lessons, which were repeated a number of times for him to digest. The lesson was kept informative, short and interesting so we could build on it the next day. The most important factor was to teach X something new and yet not overload him in the process. Each day, he learned steps leading up to his successes, and long-lining provided him with the tools needed to promote balance, direction, speed control, focus, patience and more.
No round pen? No problem. Set up a small enclosure, sand paddock, grass area, small arena or picadaro.
I believe long-lines are one of the best ways to introduce a young horse to pressure on the face, nose or bit. This creates a safe environment for him to learn left, right, forward, slow and stop. In the highly sensitive and vulnerable area known as the mouth, the horse will begin learning to receive aids from your hands rather than taking each cue from your body language on the ground.
The well schooled horse If you have a seasoned horse, never fear. Long-lining has many advantages for you.
• Consider the times when your
horse has been stalled for any duration and has pent-up energy. For the hot-blooded horse, just one day without exercise can result in a rather exciting ride! Long-lining allows you to warm up your horse (preventing injuries) and eliminate excess energy (removing that “edge” for a safe ride).
Initially, a young horse will show signs of being “into pressure”. This means he will lean into the pressure he feels rather than moving to release it. When attaching long-lines, the pressure is considered to be direct (i.e. when you want to turn left, you apply pressure to the left rein). Being an “into pressure” animal, the horse will push (in this case pull) towards the pressure he feels on his mouth or nose so it increases. In this instance, towards pressure is considered an opposite and incorrect response. You want the horse to come off the pressure. A horse will instinctively turn right when he feels pressure on the left side of his mouth (to increase the pressure) unless he has been educated to turn left. Once he learns how to release himself from the pressure by seeking the source, he learns direction as well as slow and stop. These lessons also help the horse become more comfortable with movement on his back and around his sides, while gaining confidence and not having to be exposed to the rider at the same time. And unlike the lunge, long-lining will introduce your young horse to the feel of your hands.
Excalibur’s first day of being started under saddle.
• You can build your horse’s muscle tone on both the
left and right sides, encouraging natural balance and increasing fitness levels while maintaining rhythm. It’s a wonderful way to bring your horse back into work after taking time off for an injury or vacation.
• For the spooky horse, those lacking confidence and
self-esteem, long-lining will help you gain mutual equine wellness
trust and understanding, build focus, patience and selfcontrol. It also assists with introducing and exposing your horse to new objects. Try creating your own natural long-lining obstacle course by incorporating trotting poles, jumps or other obstacles such as the famous yet dreaded tarpaulin.
• For horses that are hard to keep occupied and need
mental stimulus and diversity, try taking this experience out of the round pen and into another environment – like the arena.
• Long-lining helps deal with equine challenges such as rearing, bolting, balking, or when your horse is barn sour.
What you need to begin Equipment: Think about what you would like to achieve. In its simplest form, you really only require a head collar and two long-lines. You could add a pressure halter, surcingle or roller, saddle (most kinds will do), bridle and a leather strap. You may also place boots on your horse if you prefer.
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Long-lining Introduce your horse to his equipment slowly, sensitively and safely. Check your equipment and the fitting. Practice on experienced horses first, gradually making your way to young, green horses. Practice in a safe environment like a round pen before venturing out in the open. Learn how to communicate with your horse through body language, energy and visualization techniques. Practice with human partners to understand your positioning and distance.
Avoid pulling on the horse’s mouth; begin with long-lining off the halter if you are unsure of his reaction or your own ability.
Your safety: Consider wearing a hard hat on the ground. You may also want to use gloves to protect your hands from rope burns. I keep this option open to my students; I personally don’t wear gloves because I like to feel the rope through my fingers. It helps me feel more connected to my horse. If you have soft skin, however, I would highly recommend you wear gloves. His safety: Remember that anything new should be introduced to your horse in a safe environment such as a round pen. He should feel like the round pen is a place of safety, a place to learn, and also a place to relax. I have worked in round pens ranging from 35’ to 75’. I am most comfortable in a 50’ round pen and have found this to be a suitable size for most horses. Most long-lines are 30’ in length and therefore just the right size for you to be in contact with your horse while making it less likely you will loose him. No round pen? No problem. Set up a small enclosure, sand paddock, grass area, small arena or picadaro. You want it
Spotty is a “spooky” horse. To help him, student Michaele Dimock ground-drives him at a Reach Out To Horses clinic.
to be small enough for your horse to be safe and not run off with you, but not too small that you might cause too much pressure or get kicked. Also, never forget to ensure the correct footing in an area free of obstructions. Now you’re ready to go!
Listen to your horse and his needs; always allow for expression.
Be patient. Allow your horse to learn – don’t expect perfection from either yourself or your horse the first few sessions. Introduce your horse to new objects like an obstacle course and other interesting challenges. Establish what motivates your horse and keep the lessons interesting. Read your horse; this is an opportunity to gather information about his personality, character, strengths and weaknesses.
You should be experienced with long-lining older and wiser horses before you venture into starting a young horse under saddle. It is really not advisable to put a green horse with a green handler. Green and green make black and blue!
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After reading this article, I hope you’ll begin to explore longlining yourself. I am convinced that once you really start using this technique, you will see the benefits and become as passionate about it as I am!
Anna Twinney is an internationally respected Animal Communicator, Equine Specialist, Natural Horsemanship Clinician, and Reiki Master. She has been featured on TV, radio, and in national and international magazines. Working in the horse’s own language, she travels the world educating people and horses. As the founder of the Reach Out to Horses® program, she remains on the cutting edge of equine training, promoting genuine, gentle communication techniques. Anna can be regularly heard on her popular podcast, Reaching Out with Anna Twinney. For more information, visit reachouttohorses.com.
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Getting up close and personal with your horse’s manure probably isn’t your idea of a good time. But when it comes to natural equine care, regular fecal tests should be part of the regimen. with Dan Moore, DVM
f you’re like most riders, you’re probably not terribly enthusiastic about picking through your horse’s latest gift of road apples. But like it or not, any natural horsekeeping or deworming program should include regular fecal tests. This simple test can save you money and improve your horse’s health by ensuring you don’t bombard his system with unnecessary chemicals. Fecal tests are typically not routinely recommended by local veterinarians, so it’s no surprise that many riders do not understand what this test is and what it does. To help us understand why this test is so important, we talked with veterinarian Dan Moore.
How often should riders have a fecal test done on a healthy horse?
This depends on the age and condition of the horse, as well as prior fecal results. Older horses generally have fewer issues, due to a natural worm resistance that has developed over time. Young horses, especially those under three years of age, need more frequent testing. Quite often, we will deworm a young horse that appears wormy (poor hair coat, pot belly) even if no parasites are seen on the fecal exam. As a rule of thumb, we suggest fecals be done a minimum of four times a year for adult horses. If a horse is under three, every other month is best. This schedule should be followed until there are no parasites, or until very low numbers are seen on a few consecutive samples. Then, and only then, can the time between samples be increased.
It is not uncommon, even in a herd situation, to find many horses that are always negative, or almost always negative, in their worm counts. Such horses have either developed a resistant immunity, or are simply no longer being exposed to the worms. If no or very low numbers are consistently seen on fecals, you can increase the length of time between testing. Conversely, if you consistently find positive results in a horse, then test more often and consider boosting the immune system.
Understand that no test is 100% accurate, and common sense should always be used. Veterinarians and riders in general have got into the habit of deworming because the calendar says it’s time to do so, without considering the negative consequences. Resistant “super worms” are being created by such practices, and the immune system and general health of the horse may be threatened. All one has to do is listen to a pharmaceutical commercial on TV to realize that all drugs have some consequence. This common sense seems to have been forgotten when it comes to traditional deworming recommendations.
What process does a fecal test typically follow?
How should one go about collecting a fecal sample from a horse?
DM: Collecting a sample is as simple as picking up a
DM: At our practice, we do a fecal flotation test that con-
small amount of fecal material and putting it in a sealed bag. Ziploc type bags work well, and even work as a glove if turned inside out while picking up the sample. Properly label the bag with your horse’s name, your name, address, and date of collection.
centrates any eggs. We have a veterinary microbiologist review the samples – it is important to have someone who frequently does fecal exams to do the testing. Equine samples are much more difficult to read than dog or cat fecals.
The sooner you get the sample to your veterinarian, the better. However, we frequently have samples mailed from as far away as Hawaii. These may take a week or more to arrive by first class mail. As long as the sample has been sealed properly and has not dried out, we can get great results.
Are there any factors that can affect the test’s accuracy?
DM: The factor with the most negative impact would be a dried out sample. If such are received at our lab, we ask for new samples to be sent. Improper labeling can also be an issue. Occasionally we will receive a “group sample”, where samples from multiple horses in the same herd were mixed together to be tested. These we refuse to test – just because there are worms present in some horses, doesn’t mean all the horses in the herd are positive. Such thinking completely disregards individual immunity and resistance. For the most part, all horses are exposed to parasites on a regular basis, but that does not mean they should be dewormed “just because”, any more than we should be treated with antibiotics every time we are exposed to the flu.
Will my veterinarian collect a sample during a routine visit or annual exam?
What worms, if any, may not be visible in a sample?
DM: Tapeworms, bots, and parasites that are migrating through tissue (encysted larvae) may not show up.
How do you interpret test results?
DM: A positive test indicates that worms are present. Generally, if we find more than two or three eggs per slide, we suggest deworming. Of course, we suggest a more natural approach over chemical dewormers.
If a worm overload is discovered, and the horse is dewormed, should he have another fecal test done afterwards?
Yes. I would suggest a follow-up in three to four weeks. Any deworming program, whether chemical, natural or combined, should include regular fecal tests for each individual horse. These tests are easily done and relatively inexpensive. Best of all, they can save you money in unnecessary deworming products, and enhance your horse’s health and longevity.
Many veterinarians will not even do fecals on horses. Unfortunately, they have bought into the misunderstanding that all horses have worms all the time. They will frequently tell their clients that fecal tests are ineffective and it is best to simply deworm on a calendar basis. This practice has led to a resistance issue, and what I refer to as “super worms”. Fortunately, this is changing, and the need and recommendation to do fecals is trickling down from parasitologists to vet schools, and finally reaching veterinarians in the field.
Dr. Dan Moore graduated from Auburn School of Veterinary Medicine in 1980, then completed the Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy and the Advanced Course in Veterinary Homeopathy. He is the founder and developer of thenaturalhorsevet.net, an online source of information, products and services about natural and complementary alternatives for horses. Information can be obtained by calling
Heads up Greener pastures Looking for equestrian apparel that’s also earth-friendly? Then check out g.r.a.s.s., a revolutionary new line of riding clothes that strikes a balance between performance, style and sustainability. The company offers breeches, tights, vests and shirts and gives careful thought every step of the way to the impact its products have on the planet. It supports manufacturers and suppliers who use recycled and sustainable materials, and partners with 1% For the Planet, a growing global movement of 768 companies that donate 1% of their sales to a network of over 1,500 environmental organizations worldwide. gra-ss.com
Managing manure Are things piling up in more ways than one? O2Compost provides the equestrian community with effective manure management solutions with aerated composting systems and training for all farm sizes. They also now offer their first solar-powered systems and recently announced a new partnership with Barn Pros to provide beautiful highquality wood barn kits and the O2C Paragon Compost System. Eliminate waste removal fees, turn your unsightly manure pile into premium compost, and create a healthier environment for your horses. o2compost.com
No more cold bits! Imagine having an icy cold bit stuck in your mouth. You can spare your horse this discomfort with Lickity Bits Bit Warmers. This great new product is made with natural materials and can be re-used for years to come. It comes with Velcro tabs that attach easily and quickly to any size bit. Simply microwave for 30 seconds; it stays warm for approximately half an hour, so you’ll have plenty of time to get to the barn and tack up. Wrap it on the bit when you arrive at the barn, remove it before bridling, and the bit will be nice and warm when you’re ready to ride! lickitybits.com
Pass the salt Salt is vital for the proper digestion of grains, hay or grass. Celtic Sea Salt from The Holistic Horse is natural unrefined sea salt harvested from ocean waters. They’re moist crystals, light gray in color, and contain over 80 essential naturally balanced minerals. It’s safe and easily assimilated into the equine diet; your horse’s internal bodily fluids are returned to their proper balance when the product is used according to instructions. theholistichorse.com
Learn acupressure How would you like to give your horse a simple and effective healing treatment whenever you like? You can learn how with Equine Acupressure Therapeutics, the first in a series of workbooks for riders by Gloria Garland of Whole Horse Herbs. It gives you a comprehensive introduction to the basics of this ancient modality, including where the various meridians and acupoints are located on your horse’s body. The company also offers an Herbal First Aid Kit complete with instruction manual. wholehorse.com
Book reviews The Ultimate Horse Lover Author: Marty Becker, DVM, Gina Spadafori, Audrey Pavia and Mikkel Becker Title:
Start with a solid base of inspirational equine stories, throw in some instructional advice from the top experts in their fields, add a bevy of beautiful color photos of horses and top it off with some common horse terms – that’s the formula for this entertaining and informative book, and it seems to really work. While not exclusively “natural” in its approach, the compilation does seem to lean that way and includes contributions from names you’ll recognize, like trainer Monty Roberts and barefoot practitioner and teacher Pete Ramey. In fact, much of the “Must-know Info” section addresses issues most caretakers will deal with at some point, including signs of colic, equine posture and saddle fit. The bulk of the book, however, is written by horse lovers from all over who share their personal stories of triumph, education, humility, and connection in short, easy-to-read vignettes. The beautiful full-page photos add a touch of equine eye candy (who doesn’t love to look at gorgeous horses?).
The Ultimate Horse Lover is a book you can curl up with for an afternoon or pick up and put down as time permits without losing the narrative.
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
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Please, Can We Keep the Donkey? Editors: Diane Sullivan & Holly Vietzke Title:
Everyone loves happy endings, and this book is full of them. It all started when Professor Diane Sullivan of the Massachusetts School of Law invited retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman to visit the school and discuss his best-selling book about a puppy he rescued in Iraq. She offered her classes extra credit if they attended the discussion and wrote a paper about helping an animal. Please, Can We Keep the Donkey? is a compilation of those stories. Often amusing, sometimes poignant, always heart-warming, this book features a wide variety of animals, from dogs and cats to equines, birds and rabbits. You’ll read about Prince, a donkey rescued from a petting zoo that went out of business; Diamond, an elderly black pony who gave his guardian an important lesson about love, life and death; and Kia, a Doberman-Rottweiler cross that helped a woman overcome her fear of dogs. Including a Foreword by actress Betty White, this book is a wonderful read.
Publisher: Lantern Books
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Dr. Valeria Breiten, NMD, RD (formerly Dr. Valeria Wyckoff)
Dr. Valeria Breiten 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. Author of Naturally Healthy at Home. This book is for sale and shipping from Dr. Breiten’s office.
Listen to her radio show live online at
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Did you know? L
by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS
aminitis and founder are two of the most severe foot lameness issues that afflict horses. If laminitis is not recognized and treated as an emergency, most cases will turn into founder. Here are seven ways to help prevent laminitis:
1 2 3 4 5 6
Excerpted from the Book Laminitis & Founder: Prevention and Treatment for the Greatest Chance of Success by Dr. Doug Butler and Dr. Frank Gravlee.
Feed a consistent quality and quantity of feeds. Give two times per day. Mismanagement due to overfeeding idle horses causes 70% to 80% laminitis cases.
Avoid toxins, such as in black walnut shavings and, when possible, situations perceived as stressful by the horse. Remember, prevention is more successful than treatment!
Make provisions for idle horses to exercise. Check body condition and monitor weight with weight scales or a weight tape.
Dr. Frank Gravlee graduated from Auburn University School of Medicine and practiced veterinary medicine for several years before
Limit fructan intake by limiting grazing on sunny days after cool nights.
attending graduate school at
a three-year residency in nutritional pathology, he received a masters degree in
Eliminate molasses and grains from the diet of at-risk horses. Idle horses rarely need grain. Introduce feed changes gradually over the course of one to two weeks.
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.
After ten years of research, he launched Farrier’s Formula. www.lifedatalabs.com
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Events Friday March 20 – 5:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. Saturday March 21 – 10 a.m.- 8:00 p.m Sunday March 22 – 11:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m. Toronto, ON Direct Energy Centre Hall “D” Holistic World Expo A three day event filled with fun, education and entertainment with an impressive cast of health conscious celebrities, educators, politicians, practitioners and exhibitors that will share their wisdom about important health and environmental issues.
creating a venue for horse and animal people alike to gain knowledge, meet health practitioners, and discover products designed to enhance the health of their animals. Join us from 10-4pm, March 28, 2009 at the Saanich Fairgrounds in beautiful Victoria, BC for a great day!
For more information: 416-966-2626 www.holisticworld.org
April 2-5 – Columbus, OH Equine Affaire The 16th annual Equine Affaire in the Midwest will draw tens of thousands of horsepeople to enjoy a world-class educational program and extensive trade show, as well as an entertaining and informative competition.
March 26-April 3 – Aubrey, TX Shepherd Run Ranch Equine Body Worker Certification Course This 9-day, 97+hour course (a total of 250+hours with the required post course field work and pre-course study), is taught by international instructor Ruth Mitchell Golladay, PT. It is specifically designed for those students wishing to pursue a career in the massage therapy field, but is also regularly attended by veterinarians, physical therapists, human massage therapists, equine massage therapists, trainers, barn managers, and chiropractors who would like to enhance their skills.The course is taught in such a comprehensive logical layered format, that those with little or no complementary equine care and science background will find themselves up to speed with the other professional participants. For more information: Paul Hougard, 707-884-9963 firstname.lastname@example.org www.equinology.com
March 28 – Victoria, BC Saanich Fairgrounds Healthy Horse Expo This year, we are happy to be once again
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April 24-26 The Minnesota Horse Expo The Minnesota Horse Expo is a not-forprofit event sponsored by the Minnesota Horse Council and the 2009 Horse Expo is our 27th. We are proud to say that close to 50,000 people attended the 2008 Horse Expo. Funds generated by the Expo are used by the Council to support the Horse Industry in our state through scholarships, grants, direct funding and trail improvements to name a few. Over the years, over three million dollars has been raised at this event primarily through the efforts of volunteers. Last year’s Minnesota Horse Expo check to the Horse Council totaled $225,000. For more information: www.mnhorseexpo.org
April 20-May 1 – Petaluma, CA Flying Cloud Farm Equine Body Worker Certification Course This 12-day extended 100+ hour course, is taught by the international instructor Debranne Pattillo, MEBW. It is perfect for those who would like to learn at a more casual rate or for those who haven’t taken any type of educational programs in awhile. The course is designed for the horse owner, farm manager, trainer, competitor, groom and especially those pursuing a career in the field of equine massage and bodywork. Fieldwork is required in all of Equinology’s courses to ensure that the students have learned the material and will be able to apply knowledge with confidence as he or she performs an equine massage as a professional. Equinology’s staff will be able to answer questions for the students should they arise.
May 4-8 – Petaluma, CA Flying Cloud Farm Advanced Equine Sports Massage Technique This 5-day, 50 hour (90+ total hours with required externship), course is designed for those who have already successfully completed the basic or extended course (Equine Body Worker ® Certification Course) or comparable basic course with a strong anatomy background. For more information: Paul Hougard, 707-884-9963 firstname.lastname@example.org www.equinology.com
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Sleep sound! by Dr. Valeria Breiten, NMD, RD
ike many people these days, Mary came to me complaining of fatigue. We discussed when it affected her most, what made it better or worse, how much caffeine she drank, and if she was tired when she woke up. I asked her to tell me about her day: when she got up, what time she went to bed and how she slept. It turned out she was only getting five to six hours of sleep per night. When she focused on getting more sleep, her fatigue went away.
Counting sheep? Some people have problems getting to sleep, staying asleep or waking too early. All these are considered insomnia. Many people do not come to see me because of insomnia, and might not even mention it until I ask about their sleep, but I often perceive it to be the root of their health problems. Men require an average of eight hours of sleep per night, while women need around eight-and-a-half. We can and do create sleep deficits, and need to recover by sleeping more.
Often, people are unable to sleep well because of a major loss or grief. The problem frequently clears with a couple doses of the homeopathic remedy Ignatia. Many men have a problem with their prostate, causing them to have to get up and urinate several times during the night; they then have a difficult time getting back to sleep. As they age, women can also have urination frequency problems that interrupt their sleep. Menopausal women will complain of hot flashes waking them up at night.
Lifestyle changes There is no magic pill for better sleep. The first step is to improve “sleep hygiene”:
Feng Shui recommends there be no mirrors or mirror-like surfaces visible from the bed, because they disturb the Heart Shen. I suggest people try covering up any mirrors in the bedroom for a week to see if it makes a difference. Just as when we were little, we all need a bedtime routine such as pajamas on, washing face, brushing teeth, reading a little and going to bed about the same time each night. I also recommend people get out in the sun and exercise every morning. The sun can help the sleep hormone melatonin work better, and morning exercise doesn’t interfere with sleep like evening exercise can.
Alternative aids If the above suggestions don’t help, I recommend herbs or homeopathic medicines for specific issues. I like to use an herbal combination I put together called Dr. Breiten’s Calming Glycerite; it includes herbs like passiflora and California poppy that do not leave a person feeling groggy next day. Another approach is to test the person’s neurotransmitters and then prescribe amino acids such as 5-HTP and L-tryptophan. 5-HTP increases serotonin levels; when a person’s serotonin is low, they frequently go to sleep fine but wake during the night. L-Tryptophan can increase both melatonin and serotonin levels. If you’re tired or fatigued or just not sleeping well, see a naturopathic physician. Place a priority on adequate good quality sleep – you’ll feel a lot better!
•No TV in the bedroom or within half an hour of bedtime •No caffeine during the day •No computer activities at least half an hour before bedtime •Only use the bed for sleep or sex
Dr. Valeria Breiten (formerly Wyckoff) is a healer, teacher and radio personality. She is a licensed naturopathic medical doctor and registered dietitian practicing in
Chandler, Arizona. www.DrValeria.net