V4I3 (May/Jun 2009)

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Equine wellness


Your natural resource!


Top Trail Riding Techniques Licking Lime Disease

Saving the


Top integrative approaches

Natural weaning


Barefoot trail horses

Don’t be lame!

What causes lameness and how acupuncture and chiropractic can help

Got ulcers? Typical horsekeeping practices may be part of the problem May/June 2009 Display until July 7, 2009 $5.95 USA/Canada



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equine wellness

Contents May/June 2009

Photo: Kim Speek



features Photo: ©Mirrormere | Dreamstime.com

13 From rail to trail

Transitioning a young horse to trail riding can be tricky; try these three invaluable techniques

16 Got ulcers? Are your horsekeeping practices contributing to this common equine problem?

20 Licking Lyme disease Get the bite on this tick borne disease with both natural and conventional remedies

24 Before you buy

Getting a new horse? This simple pre-purchase exam can save you a world of heartache and expense

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30 Dare to go bare!

50 Dutch Treat

Trail horses can go barefoot, but you need to take your time with the transition

With their rich black coats and flowing manes and tails, Friesians are what many horse-crazy young girls dream of. But did you know they’re endangered?

40 Nice to meet you!

52 Natural weaning

Nervous about adding another horse to your herd? Here’s how to do it so everyone stays safe and sound

46 Don’t be lame Learn the signs and causes of lameness, and how acupuncture and chiropractic can help

How you wean your horse may affect his attitude and even his intelligence for years to come

57 Fit to continue

Hitting the trail this summer? Try these acupressure techniques to improve his endurance and conditioning

46 13 Photo: ŠCynoclub | Dreamstime.com



10 Neighborhood news

8 Editorial

28 From agony to ecstasy

36 Equine Wellness

34 A natural performer

resource guide

Profile of a natural performer

56 Heads up

43 Holistic veterinary advice

61 Marketplace

Talking with Kim Parker, DVM, EDO

60 Book reviews 64 Did you know?

64 Classifieds 65 Events

66 Your health


20 equine wellness



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Leslie Town, myhorse.ca The epitome of equine beauty, this five-year-old Friesian mare belongs to an endangered breed (see page 50). Neko lives with Johanna Neuteboom and stands over 15 hh. “She’s a wonderfully spirited and curious horse with an affectionate and sensitive disposition,” says Johanna. The signature horse of barnboots.ca, Neko enjoys a natural barefoot lifestyle with a herd, free to range over a varied terrain of hills, rocks, gravel and running water. “She’s my inspiration to remain focused on the beauty in all our lives!” says Johanna.

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Volume 4 Issue 3

Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Editor: Kelly Howling Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Graphic Designer: Stephanie Wright Cover Photography: Leslie Town


Your natural resource!

Columnists & Contributing Writers Valeria Breiten, NMD, RD Jackie DeDeo, DVM Jana Froeling, DVM Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Julie Green Scot Hansen Joyce Harman, DVM Bob Jeffreys Linda Kohanov Kimberly Parker, DVM Liz Mitten-Ryan Anne Riddell Suzanne Sheppard Karen Scholl Judy Sinner Amy Snow Lillian Tepera Nancy Zidonis

Advertising Sales Equine National Sales Manager: Michelle L. Adaway (866) 764-1212 ext. 230 michelle@redstonemediagroup.com Sales Representative: Lesley Nicholson (866) 764-1212 ext. 222 lesley@redstonemediagroup.com Sales Representative: Becky Starr (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 becky@redstonemediagroup.com Classified Advertising classified@equinewellnessmagazine.com To subscribe: Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. $15.00 and Canada is $20.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: www.equinewellnessmagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212

Administration Publisher: Redstone Media Group Inc. President/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley Office Manager: Lesia Wright Circulation & Communications Manager: Jamie Conroy Operations Director: John Allan IT Manager: Rick McMaster Marketing Assistant: Daniel Gazley Administrative Assistant: Libby Sinden

Submissions: Please send all editorial material, advertising material, photos and correspondence to Equine Wellness Magazine, 107 Hunter St. E., Suite 201, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9H 1G7. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. Email your articles to: submissions@equinewellnessmagazine.com.

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

Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2009. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: May 2009

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editorial Don’t trail behind After a long, cold winter, it’s a welcome respite to be reading and writing about a “good weather” topic – trail riding! By this time of year, most riders and horses are quite bored with the arena, and eager to get out in the sunshine and fresh air. Others will be approaching the season with some trepidation. If you have been working with a green horse over the winter, or know your horse to be a bit fresh outside the ring, those first few trail rides can be quite the adventure! When we were kids, trail rides had one speed – fast. It was not uncommon for someone’s horse to take off back to the barn, or begin to prance, buck and rear if he got left behind. Some horses “had” to lead the ride, while others “needed” to follow. We were young, and not knowing any better, we just went with the flow. Trail riding was supposed to take no effort, and of course there was no technique or training involved! This resulted in more than a few falls and close encounters. And I’m pretty sure we didn’t do any of those horses any favors, as they got away with a lot. Those of us who were more timid riders began to enjoy the safety of the arena more and more. Today, I am much more careful about who I trail ride with, and how I handle my horses on the trails. I now

equine wellness

know that training for the trail involves just as much effort as any other part of riding. A good, sane trail horse is to be enjoyed immensely, and like-minded trail buddies are invaluable. There is something to be said for “stopping to smell the roses” – trail rides need not involve galloping everywhere, all the time. Some of the best times I spend on my horses include just walking down the trail, warm sunshine dappling my horse through the leaves, enjoying the scenery and wildlife. This issue is chock full of excellent information for anyone looking to get out on the trail. Karen Scholl joins us to help guide you through the process of safely graduating your horse from the arena to the trail. And speaking of safety, Scot Hansen’s article on recognizing and dealing with predators on the trail is a must for all riders. Our “Two as One Horsemanship” column focuses on maximizing training opportunities on the trail, and you’ll read some great health articles on how to keep your horse in tip top shape all season long. Happy trails! Naturally,

Kelly Howling

equine wellness

Neighborhood news Passing of a master

A solid future American Quarter Horse enthusiasts love their horses – past and present – and many want to keep track of them even after they are sold. To help satisfy this need, the American Quarter Horse Association has developed the Greener Pastures program. This free program reunites breeders and previous owners with the horses they remember so well. AQHA members will be able to indicate on a horse’s registration certificate that if the horse ever becomes unwanted, unusable or is simply ready for retirement, the member will, if possible, assist in providing or finding a suitable home.

Ray carried on the work of Dorrance brothers Bill and Tom, spreading the message of a better way to work with horses. He rode horses in the early 1950s at T Lazy S Ranch; in early 1960, a horse he needed a hand with led him to Bill and Tom. The rest, as they say, is history. During his lifetime, Ray received the Top Hand Award, was inducted into the California Reined Cow Horse Hall of Fame in 2004, and was Western Horseman of the Year in 2005. His influence and inspiration will no doubt continue well into the future, and his teachings are sure to live on through wise words like these: “Make the wrong things difficult, and the right things easy” and “The slower you do it, the quicker you’ll find it.”


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You must be an AQHA member to sign up for or enroll a horse in the program. Go to aqhamembers.com to learn more. Photo: ©Wildhorsedesigns | Dreamstime.com

“Notice the smallest change and the slightest try and reward him.” These are just a few words of wisdom from legendary horseman Ray Hunt, who passed away in March at the age of 79 after a lengthy battle with COPD. Considered one of the world’s greatest horsemen, Ray was the first teacher of his kind to take his work on the road, and did so for over 30 years. While his methods weren’t new, he was one of the first to dedicate himself to working with the equine community on a large scale, essentially revolutionizing the way people work with horses.

Greener Pastures allow members an opportunity to keep track of and provide for the long term care of horses they’ve bred or owned. “AQHA wants to help responsible horse owners,” said Tom Persechino, executive director of marketing and communications. “We believe we can better serve the equine industry and help ensure the long term care of horses we register with this program. By implementing Greener Pastures, we begin to fill a void.”

Bitless winner You don’t need a bit to be a champ. Just ask Richard Winters, who was recently crowned Road to the Horse Champion in Franklin, Tennessee. The Ojai, California native competed for the title against John Lyons and Tommy Garland in front of a sold-out crowd of 6,000 spectators, including guests from as far away as Finland, France and Paraguay. Photo: Road to the Horse/Gus Reyes

Richard Winters does his bit-free victory lap with Plenty Brown Hancock.

The one-of-a-kind event, which matches three top clinicians with three unbroken colts, gives each competitor three hours over two days to start their colt using their own unique natural horsemanship training techniques. Winters explained to the crowd that he would train his 2006 AQHA bay colt, Plenty Brown Hancock, just as he would in any other setting on any other day. This included riding the colt in a halter rather than a bridle and bit – making him the first champion to ride his colt to victory bitless. “I start all my colts in just a halter and not a snaffle,” Winters explains. “I decided right away to ride him in a halter during the obstacle course because you don’t need to be pulling on the mouth at this stage.” As a result of the win, Winter’s charity of choice, Focus on the Family received a check for $15,000. The organization is dedicated to serving and strengthening family bonds worldwide. For more information, visit roadtothehorse.com.

Grant for GFAS The ASPCA has announced its latest grant recipient. The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) will receive a $10,000 grant to support its Equine Sanctuary Site Inspection program. GFAS offers an accreditation process to verify that sanctuaries are giving their animals species-appropriate care, are run in an ethical, law-abiding, fiscally sound manner, and if not, to help them attain that goal. The grant will cover the cost of ten GFAS accreditation site visits to equine sanctuaries. Find out more at aspca.org/equine. equine wellness


Neighborhood news The economic slump is affecting everyone, including the Boston Police Department. Due to proposed budget cuts, it’s set to let go of 60 of its members on July 1 – including the entire mounted police unit. This unit is said to be the oldest of its kind in America. The horses assist in general patrolling, as well as crowd control at parades, sports events, and large celebrations. Their imposing presence is valuable for controlling unruly masses, and the horses have the ability to go into, through and over things that most motorized vehicles cannot. There are currently 13 horses in service with the unit, although at one point there were closer to 100. The department’s plan for the horses has not yet been made available, but it is likely they will be adopted out. To help save the unit, the newly formed Friends of Boston Police Mounted Unit have started an online petition at thepetitionsite.com/3/Save-Boston-Police-Mounted-Unit.


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Photo: ©Andresr | Dreamstime.com

End of an era?

From rail to trail Transitioning a young horse to trail riding can be tricky. Before heading out, teach him these three invaluable techniques.

Photo: ©Flashon | Dreamstime.com

by Karen Scholl


ummer is the favorite season for most riders. It means getting out of the arena and onto the trail. But for riders on young horses, those first few outings can be tense. Most horses that are well started have spent quite a bit of time under saddle in either round pens or arenas. How do you make the transition from rail to trail?

The making of a trail horse Our first priority is always safety. It’s important to know that having a good trail horse takes just as much time, education and effort as any other equine activity. I find

most recreational riders are under the impression that because they “only” trail ride, their horses need less training or preparation than, say, a performance horse. In my opinion, trail riding is one of the most demanding activities we can ask of a horse. Numerous unknown, unexpected and unforeseen situations can happen on the trail. Both we and our horses need to be as confident and prepared as possible before such situations arise. Many accidents could be prevented if folks took the time to teach three basic techniques to their horses before heading out on the trail. equine wellness


Transitioning techniques


Desensitize the horse to unusual situations, sights and sounds. Being prey animals by nature, all horses initially fear anything they have not encountered before. Present a variety of challenges to your horse to better prepare him for what he may encounter out on the trail. These challenges not only give him more experiences to draw from, but you’ll also learn how he’ll react. You gain more mental connection with your horse every time he learns he can rely on you to direct him when he becomes uncertain in a situation. Challenges may include teaching the horse to cross over or next to a plastic tarp, go around or between barrels, through bushes or brush, across or into water – the list goes on. When first encountering these challenges, be sure to start on the ground so you don’t risk an acciPhoto: Geo Okretic dent. As the horse negotiates the obstacles and gains confidence, then go ahead and ride through them. Seemingly simple situations can and do disturb an inexperienced horse. These can include a ringing cell phone, crinkling an empty water bottle, opening a soda can, or putting on a rain jacket/slicker. We may not think these sounds would bother a horse, but I’ve seen each one of them cause a situation that could have been prevented if the rider had known and spent a little time to prepare the horse.


Sensitize your horse to follow the feel of your reins and legs so well that you could maintain connection with him even under adverse conditions. Many recreational riders have a horse that goes pretty well under saddle, but may not be asking very much of him. When we think of “just” trail riding, it may seem we don’t need to direct the horse very much because we’re only going along the trail. There’s nothing wrong with this until something goes wrong, and then you’ll wish you had a horse that understands and responds to your direction, even – and especially – when he’s fearful.

Photo: ©Gkuchera | Dreamstime.com


equine wellness

Set up challenges such as backing between ground poles, riding through a gate, or holding a lead line between two riders while one mirrors the other. Tasks like these ask for more precision

from you and the horse and create more awareness than just mindlessly walking along a rail or in a serpentine or two. Before you know it, you’ll be having more of a “conversation” with your horse while riding, something you can draw on when the unexpected occurs.


Set up for success as you embark on your first journey out on the trail. Ask one or two trusted riders to go with you to help build confidence in yourself and your horse. Having other confident horses nearby will have a positive effect on the less experienced one, as he’ll naturally pick up on their calm emotions. Avoid large groups, though, as the herd dynamics can be too much for an inexperienced horse. In addition, a large group is more likely to include one or two people who don’t understand your situation and may unknowingly put you at risk. Take your first trail ride by opening the gate of the round pen or arena, riding outside the enclosure, back inside, outside a little further, then back inside again. This gets both horse and rider past the idea that the outside is any different from the inside. If there are extreme challenges, first build confidence with the horse on the ground. Don’t take this approach if the area is full of hazards such as farm implements or traffic. The last element for success is to be sure your horse will confidently walk, trot and canter. Many people never canter their horses, thinking they’ll only walk or trot on the trail, so why bother. To me, this is an unsafe situation because something may frighten your horse into a canter, making you do something neither of you is used to. If cantering is something you avoid, please get professional

Photo: ©Simonkr | Dreamstime.com

assistance to help you and your horse build confidence in this area. You’ll be glad you did!

The payoff These three stages of preparation – desensitizing, sensitizing, and setting it all up for success – will really pay off, especially in your levels of confidence and enjoyment. Just imagine how pleased and proud you’ll feel when your horse enjoys his very first trail ride, negotiating the terrain, watching the scenery, following at a respectful distance from other horses, and moving along with the confidence and trust you’ve always dreamed of having. Enjoy your journey!

Karen Scholl is an equine behaviorist and educator who presents her program, Horsemanship for Women, throughout the United States at horse expos and clinics. Find out more at karenscholl.com or call 888-238-3447.

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Got ulcers? Once thought to affect only high level performance horses, ulcers are a common issue for many equines. Are your horsekeeping practices contributing to the problem? by Judy Sinner


everal years ago, a University of Florida study made an important discovery. It revealed that any exercise above a walk could force gastric acid up into sensitive areas of a horse’s stomach.1 This may be one reason why 80% or more of performance horses have ulcers. Horses have areas in their stomachs that are more like regular hairless skin than the glandular mucosa found in human stomachs. “The lining of the human stomach consists entirely of a glandular tissue that secretes acid, digestive enzymes, hormones and mucus that protects it from damage from the acid,” writes Thomas R. Lenz, DVM, MS.2 “In contrast, only about 40% of the horse’s stomach is lined by glandular tissue. The remaining 60% is lined by non-glandular tissue that is structurally similar to hairless skin. In horses, ulcers occur primarily in the non-glandular portion of the stomach, which is extremely sensitive to elevated gastric acid levels.” In nature, horses eat almost constantly, don’t eat grain, and don’t exert themselves for more than a few minutes at a time unless under extreme duress. When we ride or work horses at faster gaits and for longer than they would play by themselves, the tightened muscles of the abdominal wall force stomach contents and acid upwards, splashing the squamous cell portion of the stomach.

Not just performance horses Dr. Lenz adds that two-year-old Thoroughbreds just starting training had few or no gastric ulcers. After two or three months of intense training, however, 90% had ulcers. By contrast, only 37% of horses used for light riding or lessons had ulcers.


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The downside of traditional medications The usual veterinary approach to ulcers involves medications. But these can have side effects, just as they do in humans.

Ulcers are not just found in high performance athletes; even the occasional weekend show or trail ride can cause problems. A recent Iowa State University study involved 20 horses that had been trained and used for recreational riding, and showed no sign of ulcers prior to the study. Ten were hauled four hours to an unfamiliar barn where they were stabled, ridden and longed for three days, then shipped home. The other ten horses served as controls by remaining at home, where they were longed and ridden. Seven of the transported horses developed ulcers, compared to only two who were ridden and longed at home. Ulcers in the traveling group were also more severe.3

In 2004, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study in which Dutch researchers evaluated data collected from the medical records of more than 360,000 human ulcer patients. They found that the use of drugs to suppress gastric acid quadrupled the risk of pneumonia. The drugs analyzed in the study were from two different classes: proton pump inhibitors (for acid reflux) and H2 receptor antagonists (for heartburn). The justification for using these drugs is based on the belief that stomach acid is “bad”. But stomach acid is there for a reason: you can’t digest food without it! My inquiring mind galloped straight to how this information could be applied to horses and the increased use of equine ulcer medications. For most mammals, including horses and humans, stomach acid is the first line of defense against ingested bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens.

In a separate study, Dr. Sarah S. le Jeune, a staff veterinarian at UC Davis, found that 44 of 62 pastured Thoroughbred broodmares had ulcers. Training, showing, stall confinement and travel have been proven to increase ulcer incidence, but most people believe that a pastured, relatively idle horse would not have these issues. The mares in Dr. le Jeune’s study had not been shipped recently, and all were similarly managed. Yet they had the same ulcer rates found in race horses in active training, although the mares’ ulcers tended to be less severe. One hypothesis is that crowding of the fetus caused stomach acid to be squeezed into the squamous cell section of the stomach, yet mares scoped after foaling showed no change in stomach health.4

Other causes Severe illness and the use of NSAIDs (like bute) are also well known causes of gastric ulcers in foals and adult horses. The most likely cause of non-glandular ulcers is the introduction of more grain into the ration, because grain increases gastric acid production. Dr. Lenz cites a 1988 study which found that stomach acidity was 60 times greater in grain fed horses than in those fed only hay. equine wellness


Clay’s the thing Consuming clays for digestive upsets is as old as recorded history – and as new as taking Kaopectate, which contains kaolin clay. In the wild, animals instintively search out clay deposits to soothe digestion and as a natural acid buffer and detoxifier. Clay is a paramagnetic substance with a very high pH. For horses, one ounce of bentonite clay (about two heaping tablespoons dry measure) can be made into a thin paste by adding four to five tablespoons of water. The mixture is orally syringed into the horse, and this simple practice has worked wonders on performance horses. Give it to your equine partner after walking him out and preferably at least an hour before feeding. The more intense or lengthy the exercise, the more important this practice becomes. In fact, many top competitors also give a syringe of clay before a class or event, and endurance riders may give several doses over the course of a ride. Give it before hauling, too – tightened abdominal muscles and trailer motion can have the same negative effects as exercise.

More solutions Free choice grass hay is another great way to prevent ulcers – if horses are nibbling all the time the stomach is more protected. Split grain meals into smaller portions (the stomach


equine wellness

becomes more acidic with a grain meal) and feed the grain after the horse has eaten some hay. Less acid is needed to digest hay, and the hay in the stomach will “buffer” the effects of grain feeding. You may even want to add a little wet activated clay to grain meals. Besides helping to prevent ulcers, clay helps horses cope with the residues of chemical dewormers, feed preservatives and other toxins in the diet and environment. Some people have found it beneficial to add some aloe vera gel to the diet, and a good probiotic or prebiotic is also essential to digestive health. A happy gut is a happy horse!

Judy Sinner is a lifetime horsewoman, owner, breeder, trainer and exhibitor. She has bred and raised Arabians and National Show Horses since the 1970s, and has produced two National Champions as well as many Regional and Class A winning horses. Affiliated with Dynamite Specialty Products for 25 years, she also served as Communications Director for the company for 17 years, and teaches holistic nutrition for all species in seminars and newsletters. For more information, contact 1-800-677-0919 or judysinner@dynamiteonline.com. The Horse, April 2003 Quarter Horse Journal, February 1995 3 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, (McClure, SR, Caruthers, DS, Gross, SJ, Murray, MJ, “Gastric Ulcer Development in Horses in a Simulated Show or Training Environment”) 4 The Horse, AAEP Convention Wrap Up, March 2007 1 2

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Photo: © Vickifrance | Dreamstime.com

Licking Lyme Disease Getting the bite on this tick borne disease involves a multi-pronged approach that combines natural and conventional remedies. by Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS

Three phases The problem with Lyme infections is that the bacteria that cause them can transform into three distinct phases, two of which are very hard to treat.


yme disease seems to be the “disease du jour” in many regions, and with good reason. It’s spreading throughout the country and can be very difficult to treat. Horses do not always have as much long term trouble as humans and may be more responsive to treatment, especially if the disease is caught early, but many can and do develop chronic problems. Natural treatment is very important to their recovery and maintenance.

What is Lyme, anyway? Lyme disease is caused by a tiny corkscrew-like bacterium called a spirochete. The scientific name is Borrelia burgdorferi. The tiny deer tick Ixodes is the main transmitter, but there is evidence that many other biting insects may be involved, including flies, other ticks and even mosquitoes.


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Phase One: The spirochete is the main infectious form and can drill into the tissue and even into bone. This usually causes acute symptoms such as skin rash, flu-like symptoms or mild fevers in horses, and a sudden onset of fatigue or not feeling well even without much of a fever. It is at this stage that both antibiotics and natural treatments have the most success. Phase Two: When the bacteria feels threatened by treatment or the immune system, it can convert to cell walldeficient mode and form tightly knit groups. In this form, antibiotics and the immune system have a hard time finding the bacteria, making the disease hard to treat. More chronic signs are seen and are very difficult to pinpoint. In humans, this phase can cause autoimmune disease in which the body begins to attack itself. We have little data to tell exactly what happens in horses at this stage, but many chronic Lyme cases can be assumed to be in this phase.

Phase Three: The cyst form is a dormant or non-reactive form of the bacteria. It sits quietly inside cells, waiting for the immune system to become weakened by outside forces before changing back to the infective spirochete form. Antibiotics and natural and immune system treatments usually fail to have much effect. The key at this stage is to maintain a healthy immune system and lifestyle. If Lyme is present, this is the best form to have since there are no active symptoms.

Difficult diagnosis Lyme can affect any system in the body, even though we mostly think of it as a musculoskeletal disease. It is known as an imitator disease since it can look like many other conditions. In humans, about 25% of cases show a classic red bull’s eye rash on the skin; in horses, however, we cannot see a rash even if it were to occur. And in many cases, thanks to the horse’s hair and skin color, we do not even see the tiny ticks, even if we look carefully every day.

especially in the muscles and connective tissues, may occur. Palpating a Lyme horse often reveals hard stiff muscles. Blood tests are available and can be helpful, but are not totally reliable. Some human infectious disease experts feel there are other tick borne diseases that we have not yet named. In my practice, I have seen horses that had all the symptoms of Lyme, yet tested negative and responded extremely well to antibiotic and other treatments. It is important to get a complete blood test called an ELISA, and a Western Blot test, and not just rely on a simple SNAP test. The more extensive test gives more accurate information. I often suggest a complete tick panel, which looks for other tick diseases that may also be present.

Treating Lyme

When antibiotics

are used, it is

Diagnosing Lyme can be very difficult. Symptoms are often vague extremely and can mimic many musculoskeletal or behavioral problems. to Mild or inconsistent lameness or stiffness is common, may not be apparent to the veterinarian or may be difficult to pinpoint. One of the more consistent findings in my practice is fatigue, crankiness or unwilling behavior. Horses seem to have no energy. Some horses have mild neurological signs that we may have called EPM (Equine Protozoal Myelitis) in the past. Other infections are possible, since the immune system is weak, so it is important to check for other tick borne diseases.


support good bacterial flora with a high quality probiotic supplement.

In the later stages, human doctors find many conditions related to Lyme, such as mental illness, neurological symptoms, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. We do not have specific data for horses, but behavioral problems – especially anger, irritability or lack of ability to focus – are all present in the equine. Chronic pain,

Treatment needs to be multifaceted, including both antibiotic and natural treatments. Human Lyme doctor experts all agree with this, and I have found it to be true. It is a very difficult disease to treat just naturally. It requires a broad natural approach, using nutrition, lifestyle, herbal and homeopathic medicines for the best results.

You need to be in charge of your horse’s treatment, since you are the one present every day. Find yourself a good holistic or integrative veterinarian or put together a team who is familiar with Lyme disease. Use all the tools and therapies available, but when something is not working, stop spending the money and look elsewhere. In general, most therapies take several days to a month to show good results. After two months with no results, move on. The antibiotics used for Lyme disease are oral doxycycline or intravenous oxytetracycline. Horses that only partially respond to the oral drugs usually will do best using intravenous drugs. Research shows that intravenous is often better, but clinically I have good results with

equine wellness


oral doxycycline. Intravenous drugs require a catheter and some extra management.

Lifestyle changes The Lyme horse needs a fairly stress-free environment. Adrenal stress suppresses the immune system, allowing the disease to recur or preventing the horse from recovering. Horses need to be outside, have friends to interact with, and not be on the road showing every weekend. Adequate sleep is also important; horses in busy barns or small stalls where they cannot lie down often do not get enough sleep.

Whole food immune regulators


Mushrooms such as Maitake and Shiitake contain beta glucans.


Noni contains proxeronine and can be fed as a powder rather than a sugar-laden drink.

3 4 5 6

Berries such as blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants.

Avocados contain fatty acids and help increase glutathione, an important compound for immune function.

22 22

equine equine wellness wellness

as possible. The more processed the food, the higher the oxidation level, causing the horse to use up antioxidants that he critically needs to help fight Lyme.

•Other types of immune system support include good old vitamin C, which regulates the immune system and helps heal the connective tissues of the joints. Doses range from 4 to 5 grams up to 6 to 8 grams per day, though I usually use the lower doses.

•Vitamin C pairs well with glutathione, an antioxidant used in most cells to protect them from toxin damage. It is difficult to supplement as most oral forms are inactivated upon digestion. Intravenous glutathione can be given, but requires a veterinary prescription and care when administering it. There is one oral equine product available (Immusyn® from Vitaflex.com). Acetyl glutathione is better absorbed in humans, though has not been used much in the equine.

glutathione levels are selenium, many of the B vitamins, n-acetyl-cysteine, alpha lipoic acid (about 800 to 1000 mg), and glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid that when fed at about 5 to 15 grams per day also helps heal the gut wall after it has been damaged by drugs.

Photo: ©Czalewski | Dreamstime.com

Garlic has antibacterial and immune enhancing properties.


•Feed programs should include as much whole food

•Other nutrients that help increase

Flax and hemp contain essential fatty acids.

Antioxidants from fresh green foods; or feed several tablespoons of organic green powders from the health food store.

Dietary and immune support

•Vitamin D in D3 form seems to be very important in Lyme treatment. Horses kept inside most of the time may not make enough vitamin D from sunlight and most supplements do not contain the active D3 form. Horses in northern regions where days are short in winter also need extra vitamin D. Doses of up to 20,000 IU can safely be used, with 10,000 IU being perhaps the most useful.

Herbal help Several herbs have been used in humans and some in horses. In general I have found equine doses of herbs to be about two to four times higher than the human dose; with Lyme, I think these doses need to be higher to get good results. Teasel, cat’s claw and Japanese knotweed are some of the beneficial human herbs.

The keys to treating

Lyme disease are to restore or maintain gut function integrity, strengthen the immune system, and kill off the bug as much as possible. How to prevent Lyme Although it’s difficult, the best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid ticks and blood-sucking insects. An environmentally friendly farm with good manure

No Lyme vaccines have been approved for horses and many veterinarians, including myself, see many problems in horses after using the dog vaccine. It does not seem to work, and horses who have been vaccinated often seem to become chronically sick with Lyme, especially if they were infected before receiving the vaccine. In the end, a healthy immune system is the most important way you can protect your horse from Lyme disease.

Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS, graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She is certified in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic and has completed advanced training in homeopathy and

handling can help keep biting insects away. Guinea hens love to eat ticks, and chickens can also do a fair job. If you live in the woods, these birds may be the only way to keep the tick population down.

herbal medicine.

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

equine wellness


Before You Buy Getting a new horse? Find out how a simple exam can save you a world of heartache and expense down the road. by Jana Froeling, DVM

Photo: ©Sonyae | Dreamstime.com


o you’ve decided to buy a horse – congratulations! Whether you are finally fulfilling a lifelong dream, or replacing a trusted mount, horse care is a major financial and emotional investment. This means you need to discover any existing or potential health and performance issues before you make your purchase. Doing so will ensure you enter the purchase process as informed as possible.

Finding a veterinarian

Once reserved for high-dollar equine sales, pre-purchase physical exams by a veterinarian are now routinely performed on most horses. The purpose of a pre-purchase exam is to assess the general condition and health of the horse, and to determine if there are any current issues that could or will affect his future health or performance. It can also reveal conditions not obvious to the buyer, and which even the seller may not be aware of.

One question many first-time buyers ask is if they can use the seller’s veterinarian. While it may seem


equine wellness

If you have had horses before, your current veterinarian will likely perform the pre-purchase exam. If you have never had a horse, however, you may not even know a veterinarian and will have questions concerning whom to use for a pre-purchase exam.

a logical choice, it is considered a conflict of interest for a veterinarian to represent both the seller and the buyer of a particular horse. You will therefore need to find an experienced, qualified, third-party veterinarian to critically and thoroughly examine your potential new horse.

The initial

purchase price of a horse is small compared to what you will spend on board, training, farrier work and veterinary care over the years. If you buy a horse with a chronic problem, or one that requires rehabilitation before you can ride him, those costs can go even higher.

A typical exam In a standard pre-purchase exam, your veterinarian will perform the following: •Auscultate the heart and lungs, both at rest and after exercise: to determine any heart murmurs or respiratory conditions that may affect performance •Examine the eyes with an ophthalmoscope: to look for corneal scars, cataracts, retinal or other problems •Examine the ears with an otoscope – to look for evidence of infection or fungus

Photo: Kim Speek

•An oral exam, possibly under sedation – to assess oral health, any need for corrective dentistry, and to confirm the age of the horse •Palpate the body and legs – to look for masses, scars, tendon or bone injury •Assess conformation – to evaluate suitability for intended use

Photo: ©Pepitoid | Dreamstime.com

•Move all joints – to check for restrictions or evidence of injury or arthritis •Examine all four feet with hoof testers – to assess frog and sole health, foot balance and to check for foot pain •Watch the horse walk, trot, and canter – to look for balance and symmetry in movement •Flex all four legs for one to two minutes and then trotting off – Continued on next page. equine wellness


to check for joint pain •Perform a field neurological exam – to assess balance and proprioception

Remember there is no

such thing as a “perfect” horse, or a perfectly healthy and sound horse. Even horses sold for high prices can

Your veterinarian will typically ask for a health, behavior, and performance history from the seller, in person or in writing. You should also request that all previous medical records, including x-rays, bloodwork results, and ultrasound findings, be released and available for scrutiny at the time of the exam. Depending on the physical exam findings, bloodwork, drug testing, x-rays, or laryngeal endoscopy may be suggested at an extra cost.

have problems not readily seen by a thorough vet check.

Additional integrative tests If the veterinarian performing your pre-purchase exam is an integrative veterinarian, she/he will do all the procedures described above as well as use acupuncture

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•Take a thorough history including information on housing, diet, supplements, social interaction and herd dynamics, behavioral concerns, subtle performance issues, environment, and intended use.

•Scan the acupuncture meridians, which can reveal painful areas corresponding to joint, ligament pain, or organ problems. •Suggest specific tests for diseases or conditions reflected by patterns revealed in the acupuncture exam, such as Lyme disease, polysaccharide storage myopathy, or gastric ulcers. •Perform static and motion palpation to reveal any joint and postural imbalances that may not yet be evident on x-rays. Veterinarians trained in chiropractic, acupuncture and postural rehabilitation offer the added advantage and ability to see and diagnose weaknesses and imbalances in your potential horse. They can further discuss with you the implications of those weaknesses and what it may take to correct the problems, if possible.

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and chiropractic to determine functional imbalances and restrictions that may not yet be affecting the horse’s health or performance. During a holistic exam, your veterinarian will:

It’s wise to schedule a pre-purchase exam whenever you are buying a horse, and to consider having that exam performed by a veterinarian who practices both Western and alternative medicine. This approach expands the ways and means by which a full diagnosis can be made, and gives you as much information as possible about your potential new equine partner!

Dr. Jana Froeling graduated from Iowa State University in 1988. She has worked as a veterinarian for 21 years in the Northern Virginia area. Currently, she owns and operates Full Circle Equine Service in Amissville, VA. Dr. Froeling is a member of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA). In 2003 she completed the Equine Acupuncture course at the Chi Institute for

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From Agony to ecstasy

Training on the trail Don’t forget your horse’s obedience while out riding. Being proactive instead of reactive keeps you in control and prepares you for the unexpected. by Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard


or most riders, there’s nothing better than going for a trail ride on your well-trained, obedient horse. In fact, trail riding can be a terrific opportunity to improve your horse’s obedience... or conversely, you can allow the trail to drain the training right out of him.

Draining your training This latter scenario is unfortunately all too common. Many riders don’t even realize what’s happening. Let’s say you’re riding down the trail enjoying the day when all of a sudden your trusty mount spooks about four feet sideways. Maybe he was startled by a deer, a plastic bag, or a killer rock, but even if you manage to hang on, you know this spook won’t be his last.

If you keep the communication going, your

horse learns to listen to you each time you ride. Another example of “training draining” is when your horse starts to rush home. He may be fine out on the trail, but once he senses you are going home he bolts into a gallop. Pulling on both reins as hard as you can usually doesn’t stop him, and he just keeps on running, out of control. This can be extremely dangerous, and definitely not fun. Horses who don’t want to move at all, will only follow the horse in


equine wellness

Rather than allow him time to look for the bogey man, or think about what pleasures await him at home, keep him busy listening for and responding to your requests.

When your horse respects you as his leader, then he’ll relax no matter what surprises the trail (or the expo!) may hold, as long as you relax to set an example for him to follow.

front of them, or can’t be separated from their buddies are additional examples of animals who need to learn their riders are their leaders, not their followers. In each case there are specific training cures. The spooky horse needs spook proofing: this is where you teach the horse to stand still and look at what’s scaring him, instead of running away. Bolting can be cured by letting him run home (be sure you can ride this out; if not, get help from a pro), and then working him really intensively for 20 or 30 minutes. In time he’ll learn that hard work awaits him when he rushes home, and that being untacked, hosed off and turned out with his buddies is his reward when he travels the relaxed, easy pace you choose. These individual cures and many others do work, but they each only address one specific issue.

Spook proofing your horse is a step by step process. e.g. Sack your horse out with a slicker on the ground first, and then when mounted so he is already comfortable with it when the skies open on you!

Riding proactively A better strategy is to change the way you think about riding altogether. Simply being a passenger and hoping nothing bad happens, and then reacting to it if and when it does, unfortunately puts your horse in the leadership position. This forces him to make decisions on his own, rather than listening to yours. We need to reverse this process by becoming the proactive partner in our horse/ human partnership, replacing these unwanted equine behaviors with those we want.

Here are some things you can work on while trail riding: •Ask him to give to the bit laterally, using one rein at a time. •Ask the more advanced horse to collect and flex vertically, using your legs to drive him forward, into the bridle.

Whether you’re on the trail or performing in front of a crowd, training your horse to listen to you despite the distractions of the environment is accomplished by giving him a job to do!

•Work on speed control by asking him to speed up, without changing gait, for ten strides, and then slow down for ten strides.

•Work on transitions from walk to trot, trot to walk or walk to canter, etc.

Keep him busy listening for and responding to your requests. If you keep this communication going, your horse learns to listen to you each time you ride. His ears flick back towards you with each request, proving that his focus is where it should be – on his leader. Knowing you’re in control helps you relax and enjoy the ride, which in turn relaxes your horse, who is your mirror image. Stay proactive rather than reactive. Your horse will eventually stay tuned into you for longer and longer periods as he realizes he can trust your judgment. And he’ll begin to look forward to your trail time together time just as much as you do. Ride safe and have fun out there! Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard travel across North America teaching horse lovers how to bring out the best in their equine partners.

Their home base is Two as One Ranch in Middletown, New York. To learn more about their unique, crossdisciplinary training methods, Two as One Horsemanship™, visit TwoasOneHorsemanship.com or call 845-692-7478.

equine wellness


Trail horses can go barefoot too, but you need to take your time with the transition. These inspirational stories and tips will help get you started.

Photo: ©Bsauter | Dreamstime.com

Dare to go bare! by Anne Riddell with Julie Green

Gradually conditioning your horse’s feet to new surfaces is the secret to barefoot trail riding.


ob and Laura Drury were booked to travel west with their two horses for a month of trail riding and camping in the beautiful Rocky Mountains – a trip they’d dreamed of for years. Normally, their horses did not wear shoes. But their farrier recommended shoes in anticipation of the rough terrain, so front shoes and pads were


equine equine wellness wellness

put on each horse. They planned on having the shoes re-set just prior to leaving on the trip. After pulling the shoes during the re-set appointment, they found the mare’s feet were split and cracked, and it seemed too much of her sole had been removed in the shoeing process. She was

quite tender walking, not only on cement and gravel but on soft footing as well. Their dream trip to the Rockies was quickly fading away.

Transition gradually Whether you’re a weekend pleasure rider, an avid trail blazer who likes to go different places with your horse, or a fierce endurance competitor out for the gold, the rules for sound trail riding are the same. Your horse should never be suddenly asked to ride across unaccustomed terrain for any length of time. For example, a horse living and training on soft footing should not be expected to go out and perform on hard rocky ground. If your horse cannot live daily on the same footing you expect him to ride or perform on, then hoof boots are a must. Take your time! If your goal is to eventually trail ride your horse barefoot without the protection of hoof boots, then start introducing rougher footing gradually. Until that time, boots will save the day.

Your horse’s hooves

require gradual conditioning, just as his muscles do. A tale of endurance Endurance rider Julie Green was always told by farriers that her mare Khaelah did not have good feet – she had a long toe and low heels that used to curl under. Julie believed Khaelah would always need to be shod or her hooves would simply disintegrate. She lived in fear of removing the shoes and kept them on year-round for several years, all the while struggling to grow and keep a good hoof wall. She fed various hoof supplements and devotedly rubbed and brushed every potion known to man onto the hooves, trying to improve them. Over the years, they had a number of disappointing competitions where Khaelah lost front shoes, mostly due to wet ground that sucked the shoe/pad combination right off her hoof. They managed to finish those rides, either by tacking a shoe back on or with the use of a hoof boot. But the problem wasn’t going away, and it was limiting their potential. More importantly, Julie was tired of watching the shoes destroy Khaelah’s feet, not to mention the strain on her lower limbs when a shoe was torn off. She knew there had to be a better way. She had heard many success stories from other endurance riders about turning their horses barefoot, and decided she and Khaelah had nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving it an honest try. The first thing Julie did was get professional help and guidance from a Certified Natural Hoof Care Practitioner. Thankfully, Khaelah’s transition has been well managed and she has remained very comfortable

Even if your horse can handle the trail barefoot, I still recommend you carry these items in case of emergency:

•hoof pick •set of hoof boots •hoof pads equine wellness


Photo: Jarrett Green

and sound. To Julie’s amazement, once the nail holes grew out Khaelah’s feet never crumbled like she thought they would. They have been in transition for only six months, so when she rides Khaelah barefoot, Julie continues to only walk, not trot, on hard gravel surfaces. This protects Khaelah’s thin soles and weaker digital cushions until they rebuild to adequate thickness. Khaelah is able to trot and canter comfortably in sand rings or fields while completely barefoot. When she wears her hoof boots, she can trot and canter very comfortably over all kinds of terrain. Julie has noticed Khaelah’s gaits are becoming much smoother than they used to be. When she wore shoes, she used to slam her feet on the ground – very jarring for the rider. Now she has begun to float! And when Khaelah was in metal shoes, Julie couldn’t convince her to slow down and be careful over technical terrain – she would just smash her way along. Now she has much more feeling through her feet, and takes greater care without Julie’s urging; even when she wears her Renegade boots, she can still feel the ground quite well.



Happy endings Bob and Laura also ended up turning to a barefoot practitioner for help. She did a full assessment, a setup trim, and fitted both horses with Renegade hoof boots. She taught Bob and Laura some basics to help keep their horses trimmed while they were away. She also suggested a change in diet, and the Powerhorse supplement to help their mare quickly put out more sole. After about a week, they were riding their mare with boots and she was coming along fine. Soon they were heading west to the Rockies. The little mare rode the entire month completely comfortable in her boots. If it wasn’t for the boots, they would not have had a horse to ride at all. Laura’s gelding rode through the Rockies completely barefoot, but his boots were never far away, just in case.

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Khaelah still has more to accomplish before she is fully transitioned, but Julie doesn’t feel there will be any limits to her competitive abilities as a barefoot/booted horse. On the contrary, she believes it will give them a competitive advantage. This year, they plan to compete nationally and internationally to gain their qualification criteria for WEG 2010. Whatever type of trail riding you plan to do, always be prepared. Just by implementing something as simple as a “paddock paradise” with varied footing and plenty of room to move, and providing a natural diet along with the correct barefoot trim, your horse can very quickly be conditioned to withstand barefoot trail riding. Go ahead, ride bare – your horse can do it!

Anne Riddell is a Certified Barefoot Hoof Practitioner and a Board Member/Instructor for the Canadian Barefoot Horse Association (barefoothorsecanada.com).

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a natural performer

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

Tall, Dark & Handsome (Zephyr) Age: 12 years Breed/Ancestry: Belgian Warmblood

Physical description: 17.1 hh dark bay gelding

Discipline: Hunter and Equitation

Owner/Guardian: Georgette Topakas-Hicks 34

equine wellness

Photo: Georgette Topakas-Hicks

The horse:

“Zephyr has won many Hunter Championships in AA’s and 1st Year Greens. Most recently he has been showing in Children’s Hunters with Laurel Hicks (my 13-year-old daughter). Last year he was Children’s Hunter Champion at all but one show, showing predominately in the Los Angeles area. In addition, he was Children’s Hunter Champion at the Oaks in San Juan Capistrano, and was Year End Children’s Hunter Champion and Children’s Equitation Champion for the Santa Barbara Riding Club 2008 show season.”

Natural care principles: “Zephyr has been barefoot for the past five years. His diet is low in sugars, starches and grains. He only eats grass hay and Triple Crown Lite, with a custom blend of oils and herbs. I choose herbs based on his needs, such as dandelion, kelp, rosehips, spirulina and nettles. He also gets fish oils, vitamin E capsules, olive oil, fresh ground flaxseed, and apple cider vinegar. After shows, I steep a special detox tea that helps him decompress and release any muscle toxins and tension. For treats, he gets the occasional apple or carrot, but most often it’s a bunch of dandelion greens or some Swiss chard. “Before Zephyr’s shoes were pulled, he had horrific feet. I could not keep shoes on him due to an acute case of white line disease and a compressed heel bulb. With the aid of our trimmer, Zephyr’s shoes were pulled, his diet was revamped, and he was put out to pasture for a year. He emerged a new horse with solid feet and a great attitude. Zephyr’s feet have never ‘broken down’ at shows (as many predicted they would), but we don’t show every weekend and try to limit shows to those that have good footing. “I never use chemicals on him and won’t allow show grooms to apply any products I have not provided. Because of our journey from shoes to barefoot, I created a line of products that were all natural and did not affect his system in a negative way. Zephyr is cared for with pure products that will never have a negative effect on his feet or body.”

Goals: “I have three goals for Zephyr. One is to take my daughter to Large Junior Hunters this year. The second is for him to meet her needs until she goes to college. There are plenty of Belgian Warmbloods nearing 20 who are going strong on the professional show circuit. I’m hoping that with my care, he’ll remain in tip-top shape. My third goal is to retire him to my backyard – I hope to have a ranch by that time!

Tell us more:

Photo: www.kimmerleecuryl.com

Awards and accomplishments:

Georgette and Laurel celebrate Zephyr’s accomplishments.

so I knew all about drugs and their side effects. In 2000, we sold our company, moved to California, and I fulfilled a lifelong dream of learning to ride again. After years of riding school horses and leasing, we took the plunge into horse ownership by purchasing Zephyr, and a year later Ivy, our large pony, for my daughter. “We have two horses that went barefoot at the same time. They also went through a major dietary change. I have seen these horses become more balanced in their muscles, happier in their dispositions, sounder in their bodies and feet, and have far less injuries and diseases then other horses in our barn. The benefits have been huge.”

Advice: “When I took Zephyr barefoot I had trainers, friends and vets telling me I was insane and that he’d never jump again. I knew this was the right thing to do and had a strong ally in my trimmer. My advice is to do your research, talk to other people who have similar interests/goals, and stick to your guns. If I had listened to my then trainer and vet, Zephyr would be broken down by now. Instead, he’s sound, happy, healthy and natural.”

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.

“I used to be co-owner of a pharmaceutical marketing company, equine wellness


Equine Wellness

Resource Guide •Barefoot Hoof Trimming

•Holistic Healthcare



•Natural Product Retailers

•Schools & Education

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


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


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

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


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

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


Serving southern CA

Non-invasive natural hoof care Custom hoof boot fitting services

Dawn Jenkins Hoof Coach Frazier Park, CA USA Phone: (661) 245-2182

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. secondhearthoofcare@yahoo.com

Hoof Savvy Folsom, CA USA Phone: (916) 201-7852 Email: hoofcare.specialist@yahoo.com Hoof Help Tracy Browne, AANHCP, PT Greenwood, CA USA Phone: (530) 885-5847 Email: tracy@hoofhelp.com Website: hoofhelp.com

Serving Sacramento and the Gold Country

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

Dr. Sugarshooz Farrier Services & Natural Hoof Care Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235

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

Specializing in natural trims and BLM Wild Mustangs


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


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

Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide


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


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

From CA to HI: Practical hands-on-hoofcare. Trimming/shoeing instruction. 16 yrs hoofcare experience. Private workshops


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: y.moorhouse@att.net



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

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


Former Farrier - Now specializing in barefoot rehabilitation - Certified Practitioner

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



Sharon Sanford Campbellsville, KY USA Phone: (270) 469-4481

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

Ann Corso London, KY USA Phone: (606) 878-0466 Email: naturalhorsecare@earthlink.net

Lisa Markowitz High Bridge, NJ USA Phone: (908) 268-6046


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


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


Jeff Farmer, AANHCP Certified Practioner 927 Abe Chapel Rd. Como, MS USA Phone: (662) 526-0821 Email: hooffixer@msn.com

Natural Trim Hoof Care Hopatcong, NJ USA Phone: (973) 876-4475 Email: info@naturaltrimhoofcare.com 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: sherri@betterbebarefoot.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: hoofgal@naturestrim.com Website: naturestrim.com

Specializing in natural trimming and rehabilitation of all hoof problems.

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

Also serving West Tennessee & East Arkansas

equine wellness


Natural barefoot trimming, booting & natural horsecare services.

Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide


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: bruce@father-and-son.net Website: father-and-son.net


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


Steve Hebrock Akron, OH USA Phone: (330) 644-1954 Emma Everly AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net 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: pulltheshoes@yahoo.com


Serendales Farm Equine Hoofcare Services Brian & Virginia Knox Campbellford, ON Canada Phone: (705) 653-5989 Email: serendales@accel.net Website: serendalesmorgans.com BarefootHorseCanada.com Anne Riddell, AANHCP, Hoof Care Practitioner Penetang, ON Canada Phone: (705) 533-2900 Email: ariddell@xplornet.com Website: barefoothorsecanada.com

Natural barefoot trimming, booting & natural horsecare services.


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Back To Basics Natural Hoof Care Services Carolyn Myre AANHCP Hoof Care Practitioner Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 262-9474 Email: carolyn@b2bhoofcare.com Website: 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: thevethosp@aol.com ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: abchoofcare@msn.com Website: abchoofcare.com

Certified hoofcare Professional Training, Rehabilitation, Education & Clinics

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

Quality Barefoot Hoofcare in Middle Tennessee.

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


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


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


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


Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033

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


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

Barefoot Barefoot Trimming, Hoof Clinic & Equine Wellness Center

Hoof Trimming – Schools & Education — Wellness Resource Guide Website: trianglephoofcare.com

Elizabeth Swank Harrisonburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 434-5286 Lei Ryan Mount Jackson, VA USA Phone: (540) 477-2489 Natural Hoofcare Services Anne Buteau Shipman, VA USA Phone: (434) 263 4946 Email: annebuteau@yahoo.com

Have faith in the healing powers of nature

The Natural Hoof Monica Meer Waukesha, WI USA Phone: (262) 968-9499 Email: monica@thenaturalhoof.com Website: thenaturalhoof.com



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

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

“Conversations with Animals�


Pat Wagner Rainier, WA USA Phone: (360) 446-8699


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

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


Mike Stelske Eagle, WI USA Phone: (262) 594-2936 Anita Delwiche Greenwood, WI USA Phone: (715) 267-6404 Scott McConaughey Houlton, WI USA Phone: (715) 549-6380 FHL Horse Care Mark Stuber Ridgeland, WI USA Phone: (715) 949-1002 Email: fhlhorsecare@chibardun.net Website: fhlhorsecare.com Triangle P Hoofcare Chad Bembenek Rio, WI USA Phone: (920) 992-6415 Email: trianglepenterprises@centurytel.net Website: trianglephoofcare.com


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

Holistic health products for your horse and pets including Wendals Herbs, Emerald Valley, Tallgrass Acupressure media,


Laminitis, arthritis, general health & wellness.

. LY D I A H I B Y . C O M


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


www.AnimalParadiseCommunication.com • 703-648-1866



Powerflow, LLC Jennifer McDermott, RMT Equine Reiki Phone: (203) 434-9505 Email: jennifermcdermott@mac.com

Servicing Connecticut & South Eastern New York. Offering barn visits, lectures, rider performance coaching & demonstrations. Classes in Reiki 1, 2, 3!


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PENNSYLVANIA # " """ """ !

equine wellness


Nice to meet you! Nervous about adding a new horse to your herd? Here’s how to do it so everyone stays safe and sound. by Liz Mitten-Ryan


re you afraid to put new horses out together for fear of injury? If so, it’s not surprising. Horses introduced suddenly and without sufficient preparation can cause a dangerous and costly interaction. But by taking it slow, and observing and following herd dynamics, most horses can live happily in community with friends and freedom.

Easy does it It is always safer to first introduce new horses across an alleyway, or in two nearby (but not touching) pastures or paddocks. This way, the horses can observe and accept each other without feeling threatened. It is important to have sturdy fences and secured gates. Slip rail and swing gates should be tied to avoid mishap.


equine wellness

Situate hay piles or feed buckets so horses can eat and graze near each other. After a week or so of calm acceptance (watch their body language for signs of interest and friendship), the horses can be placed in adjoining pastures or paddocks, with hay piles side by side. When they are ready to accept each other, horses will eat together and groom over the fence. They can then be placed together in a pasture that allows for plenty of room to escape if one When they are horse is more aggressive. Watch closely for signs of acceptance, as horses will each establish a pecking order even when other, horses will they are good friends. Offering two or more hay piles is always a good idea.

ready to accept

eat together and groom over the fence.

Joining the herd Adding a new horse to an existing herd is much more complicated. The new

horse will have to be accepted by each herd member and work his way up the pecking order. Some horses who have been raised alone will not understand the demands made by herd members and will have a harder time than others. The more respectful the new member is, the sooner he will be allowed to join the herd.

According to ‘Gospel’...

Equine Light Therapy

2 sizes do it all! Helps to: Good fences make good friends when it comes to introducing horses.

Put the new horse in a field close to, but not adjoining, the herd’s field. When the herd has accepted having him nearby he can then be moved to an adjoining pasture. Give him a choice of hay piles – one should be at the fence line so it can be shared by him and the herd, and one should be a safe distance away from the fence line so he can eat without the pressure of the herd if necessary. Over time, herd members will share the community hay with the new horse and develop communication. You will begin to see the horses interact over the fence, either displaying dominance by nipping at the new horse, or friendship by standing quietly or grooming the newcomer. A good way to ensure that all will go smoothly is to add herd members to the new horse’s pasture as they display friendship. The younger and less dominant horses will be first, and last to be introduced should be the lead and dominant mares. A note of caution: keep some horses on each side of the fence so the more dominant horses will not resent the new one for taking “their” herd. One of the biggest dangers in integrating a new horse is rushing the process, and another is putting the horses together in too small a space. The process generally takes about three weeks, and even after the horses are fine in a large area it will take more time until they can be left together in a smaller space. Watch each new situation for signs of aggression, but realize the new horse will be asked to remain on the edge for some time, and will be left alone if he respects these requests. Continued on next page.

•reduce recovery time •reduce pain •heal soft tissue injury •treat sore muscles •reduce arthritis pain •increase circulation

Illuminating the future of equine care

615.293.3025 EquineLightTherapy.com

Problem solving Sometimes an extremely dominant herd member will make things difficult. If all but that one member are getting along, it can work in your favor to isolate that one member in another pasture by himself for a time. This works almost like a join-up exercise, and is similar to when the lead mare sends a difficult horse out of the herd and maintains him there with her focus until the horse apologizes by licking, chewing and dropping his head. By the same principle, the difficult horse will ask to be allowed back. Horses cannot live without the social structure of the herd and will always choose to get along rather than be excluded. equine wellness


A bonding exercise If you take your time with this approach, the day will eventually come when there are only one or two contentious herd members to deal with and to put out with the new horse and the rest of the herd. At this point I get a friend to take the new horse, and I either lead or ride the dominant herd member out for a pleasant companion experience, being careful to maintain just enough distance for safety, and giving treats and congratulations upon return. After a few of these sessions, it will generally be safe to introduce the dominant herd member to the newcomer’s pasture, but without the other herd members to contend with. If all goes well with this, the friendly members can again be added in small groups until eventually the new horse has been accepted by all.

Keep some horses on each side of the fence so

the more dominant ones will not resent the new one for taking “their” herd. A tale of herd dynamics I had an interesting episode take place in my well established herd when one horse was injured. My dominant mare, who is the order-keeper and always on the lookout for a member who could possibly compromise the well being of the herd, chased the injured mare away. In the wild this would make sense, as an injured member could slow the herd down or invite predators. It was up to me to impress upon Diva, my herd policewoman, that her behavior was unwarranted in this situation. I had blanketed Epona, the injured mare, and Diva, followed by other herd members, began to chase her relentlessly. I realized I had made Epona “different” by blanketing her, and came up with a plan to stop the persecution. I took the blanket from Epona and put it on Diva. I only left it on her a few minutes as she immediately got the point; having walked a few miles in Epona’s shoes, she gave up her vigil. As I communicate with my herd, I continue realizing that horses have so much to teach us about being in our truth and listening to our instincts and intuition. But there are other times when I understand we have much to teach them about compassion!

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


equine wellness

Holistic Veterinary advice

Talking with

Kim Parker, DVM, EDO Dr. Kim Parker is proud to be one of the first certified Equine Osteopaths in the US. She received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1998 and began studying alternatives such as nutrition right after graduation. She went on to take the professional course, as well as an advanced course in veterinary homeopathy from 2000 to 2002, and completed her EDO (Equine Diplomate of Osteopathy) in 2007. Recently Kim founded the International Association for Equine Osteopaths (theIAEO.org) and is thrilled to be writing and teaching to spread the word of alternative veterinary medicine. She shares her farm with three beautiful children, three cats, two dogs, and one very sweet horse!

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


My mare keeps coming into heat every few weeks, even though we are in the winter season. She does not get cranky or sore so it is not hindering our work under saddle, but it is unusual for her. She does live out with a few geldings, but has done so for the past five years. Should I be concerned? I have no idea what could be causing this, or how to help regulate her.


A mare that does not cycle normally, even if she’s not showing signs of pain, can have undiagnosed ovarian problems and should be ultrasounded by your

vet. From an osteopathic perspective, she may have a variety of problems causing her normal cycle to be increased or decreased. This may include immobility of her sacrum or ilium, undiagnosed stomach issues, or a multitude of other issues. Basically anything that can over-stimulate her autonomic nervous system will create changes in her hormones. I would have her evaluated by a certified equine osteopath, if possible, to make sure she is mobile in all her joints and organs.

Q: My young gelding really drags his hind toes. He equine wellness


is very big (17.2hh) and gangly for a four-year-old. This does not seem to just be a phase, and he drags them even when he is pushed to really move forwards. He has begun to wear his toes down. Someone suggested there could be a problem with his hocks. What sorts of hock issues could such a young healthy horse have, and what indicators should I be looking for?

A: The hocks are almost never the underlying problem with a horse such as this. Many times as osteopaths we find that scar tissue, such as from gelding surgery, causes immobility of the SI joints. This in turn can cause changes in the way the horse uses his stifles and therefore his hocks, and eventually may cause the toes to drag. I would have your gelding evaluated by a certified equine osteopath for sacrum and ilium movement before resorting to injecting the hocks.

Q: My eight-year-old mare recently had a severe allergic reaction to something – she has never reacted to anything before, and we still do not know what caused it. Her entire body was quite swollen. The veterinarian was able to stop the reaction and reduce the swelling, but in the areas where her body


equine wellness

was most swollen there is still some remaining fluid/ edema. Is there anything I can do to help her body absorb this? Would acupuncture or massage help?


First of all, an “allergic” reaction in the body is actually a sign of an over-stimulated immune system – in other words, one which is reacting to everything. A normal healthy immune system knows when to react to a foreign invader in the body versus a normal compound, but an over-stimulated immune system reacts in an “all or nothing” way. This can be caused by over-vaccination and/or toxic chemicals in the environment or food, among many others things. Acupuncture, massage, as well as many other holistic modalities can help, but first consider what you are putting into your horse on a regular basis and start decreasing the toxins as much as possible – then the holistic modality will work even better.

Q: The new show barn I’ve moved to insists on wrapping horses’ legs after any ride that is even remotely stressful. Some people I’ve talked to say this is a good idea, while others say it will only

weaken the lymphatic system in my horse’s legs and weaken the tendons. What is your opinion? When should I wrap, if ever?


It sounds like they are trying to prevent tendon damage before it occurs. Once again, we have to look at the individual horse’s immune system and vitality as the main reason for healthy adaptable tendons, or not. Remember the horse is one whole body, not a group of pieces, so if you get your horse as healthy as you can by feeding the most natural diet, vaccinating/drugging as little as possible, and building up the immune system with holistic modalities, then you stand a far better chance of saving those legs than by routinely wrapping after every ride. Photo: ©Rcmathiraj | Dreamstime.com


I just rescued a very underweight horse from the local weekly auction. I am getting differing veterinary opinions on what to feed. I started him on a good grass hay, but a UC Davis study

suggests the best thing to feed such a horse is straight alfalfa. I’m not sure this makes sense to me, as alfalfa seems too rich for a horse in such a weak state. Do you have any suggestions?


When a horse is in a weakened state, it is not advisable to feed a high protein diet. For horses in a disbiotic state (meaning the gut is out of balance as far as good bacteria, bad bacteria and fungus go), the worst thing you can do is make their bodies more acidic – and high protein foods like alfalfa do just that.

I would feed the best quality plain grass hay you can find, and start building up your horse’s immune system by balancing his gut. Give four tablespoons a day of coconut oil for good fat, two tablespoons a day of French Mortonite “green” clay to coat the gut, and make him alkaline. Use a good brand of probiotics, and make sure he is on MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamin C (to make sure he can absorb the MSM) and chlorella – 3,000 mg daily for joint and cell repair.

equine wellness


Don’t be lame

Learn the common signs and causes of lameness, and how acupuncture and chiropractic can help diagnose, treat and prevent problems. by Jacqueline DeDeo, DVM


ooner or later, nearly every rider will have to deal with some degree of lameness in her horse. Lameness is a gait abnormality caused by a variety of conditions. It’s most often caused by pain in the musculoskeletal system – the joints, muscles, and bones – and is by far the most common reason for inadequate performance in a horse. Lameness can range from very subtle decreases in performance to a very apparent non-weight bearing lameness. Head bobbing lameness is quite apparent to most horse owners. Subtle changes in performance, hind end lameness, or multiple problem areas are more difficult to notice. Unfortunately, a lot of horses are asked to perform when in pain because their owners simply don’t recognize there’s a problem.

Spot check Take a step back from your horse and look at how he is standing. A sound horse usually stands with limbs perpendicular to the ground. It can be normal for a relaxed horse to rest one hind limb while keeping equal weight on both front ones. If a horse has a sore foot, he will usually point the affected foot forward. If a horse’s hind limbs are camped under him (farther forward than normal) or parked way out behind him, he is likely in discomfort and standing in a compensatory manner. If the lameness is in a hind limb, he will most likely lean on the sound side and have a hip hike on the lame limb when walking or trotting. Photo: ©Photodesign | Dreamstime.com


equine wellness

Other indications of pain: •increased sensitivity to being brushed in areas he’s usually fine with •not standing well for the farrier •not performing normal tasks as well •uneven shoe or hoof wear

Forelimb lameness is typically easier for riders to spot. A horse with a lame forelimb will move unevenly, raising his head when the painful limb is on the ground. The painful limb will also have quieter foot falls. Sometimes the lameness is quite visible at a walk, other times it may only be visible when the horse is trotting in a circle. When there is lameness in both fore or hind limbs, you may notice that the horse’s gait is short and choppy. Or he may slowly or suddenly stop performing movements he was previously fine with. If your horse does not want to do certain exercises, starts refusing jumps, acts cranky when getting tacked up, or bucks and acts rank in corners, he may be in pain and deserves to be looked at by your veterinarian.

may benefit from preventative treatments to help them deal with joint stress. Certain sports are associated with particular types of lameness. For instance, a more advanced dressage horse puts a lot of stress on the hind limb suspensory apparatus due to the collection required for movements like piaffe, passage and canter pirouettes. The propulsion needed by show jumpers and the flexion of the hock joints and extreme forward placement of both hind limbs during sliding stops in a reiner puts a great deal of stress on the hocks.

Sources of lameness Lameness can be caused by conformational deficits, performance stresses, trauma, and improper saddle fit, hoof maintenance or training. It can also be caused by a mechanical problem such as upward fixation of the patella (locked stifle). Less common causes include neurological problems caused by EPM (Equine Protazoal Myelitis) or Wobblers Syndrome.

Any change

in your horse’s performance level or attitude is cause for concern and should involve a call to your veterinarian. It is not advisable to ignore it or just assume it’s bad behavior.

Conformation should be looked at, especially if the horse is meant to be a performance animal. There is a strong correlation between faulty conformation and the development of lameness. These faults can put excess stress on joints and cause a lameness problem, especially if the horse is meant for a particular sport. An exam by a veterinarian prior to purchasing a horse is invaluable in identifying these conformation problems and helping you understand the issues you may need to be aware of down the road. Horses with conformation challenges can and do excel and have long careers in their sport, but they

Photo: ©Cynoclub | Dreamstime.com

Correct foot balance and breakover point are essential to proper posture and movement. Talk with your farrier and veterinarian in collaboration to make sure your horse’s foot is balanced and centered properly. Sometimes radiographs are needed to visualize the angles in the limb. Poor saddle fit is a common problem. An improperly fitting saddle can pinch or concentrate pressure in certain areas, leading to back soreness. A horse with back pain will normally contract his back muscles and hollow out his back. This leaves him unable to engage his hind legs effectively and puts excessive strain on his feet, tendons, ligaments, hocks and stifles, causing lameness and soreness.

Examination time A lame horse should be evaluated as a whole. In addition to looking at the potential causes of lameness, you should always look at joint flexibility, range of motion, effusion in joints, neck and back flexibility and reaction to palpation of tendons. When checking for lameness and its causes, you always want to start at the bottom (the foot) and work up. A systematic lameness exam is always necessary and usually involves watching the horse in motion, whether equine wellness


on a lead line, lunge line, in a round pen or under saddle. The only time this would be contraindicated is when a horse is unable to bear weight on a limb and/or a fracture is suspected. A lameness exam typically starts with checking foot sensitivity with hoof testers, followed by flexion tests. If the affected area is not easily identifiable, the exam will then progress to other tests like nerve and/or joint blocks. These blocks reduce or eliminate lameness by anesthetizing a joint or small region of your horse’s limb. This enables a veterinarian to narrow down the area of interest and identify the area to be imaged by x-ray, ultrasound, MRI or Nuclear Scintigraphy. Based on the diagnosis, treatment options are then identified and discussed. With more complicated lameness issues, a diagnosis sometimes can’t be made even with all the available tests. Sometimes an affected area, such as the pelvis, is quite difficult to image. In other scenarios, a diagnosis is made but the treatment options are a difficult choice for the owner; or perhaps the therapy is not helping or hasn’t quite got the horse back to 100%. In these situations, acupuncture and chiropractic can be very helpful.

Pinpoint the problem Acupuncture becomes an excellent diagnostic aid when trying to unravel a horse’s lameness. Traditional Chinese Veterinary practitioners can identify a disorder by feeling for sensitive acupoints or meridian pathways. A needle cap can be used to “scan” specific pathways on the surface of the horse’s body to evaluate lameness. Sensitivity at particular acupuncture points can indicate soreness and help pinpoint the area of pain.

points will be used. Stimulating these points stimulates the afferent nerves that transmit impulses to the central nervous system, releasing many neurotransmitters and neurohormones (i.e. endorphins, which help relieve pain).

Acupuncture also relieves muscles spasms, stimulates nerves and the body’s defense systems, and increases circulation. Animal Chiropractic Another great modality for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of lameness is chiropractic. A trained animal chiropractor will incorporate posture analysis, motion asymmetries, inability to track straight and a lack of propulsion within a basic lameness exam. After watching the horse’s movement, the chiropractor performs a spinal exam by palpating each vertebral complex for motion, pain and abnormal muscle tension. Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the vertebral column) and nervous system function. Most people don’t realize the spine is intended to have movement between each vertebra; this is essential for optimal functioning. When there is immobility and the vertebral complex is not motioning properly, a subluxation is usually involved. A cascade of events follows and can include not only a change in joint motion but also pressure on spinal nerves nerve roots, muscle weakness, spasms, inflammation and autonomic changes. A lot of people assume a chiropractor only works on bones, but it goes much deeper than that. Adjusting a subluxation allows normal motion and nerve function within the vertebrae, which in turn allows normal nerve firing to muscles and tendons and consequently good joint stability to the lower limbs.

Scanning specific pathways on the horse’s body can help evaluate lameness.

Acupuncture is also wonderful for treating most lameness. The area to be treated determines which acupuncture


equine wellness

A joint’s stability is directly related to the muscles and tendons going across it, and a muscle or tendon will not be strong if the nerve innervating it is not firing properly. Think about that next time your horse is said to have osteoarthritis in his hock, or has weak stifles. Why does he have instability in that joint to begin with? It very

well may be that his caudal lumbar vertebrae have some subluxations, causing improper firing of one or more of the nerves from the lumbosacral plexus, which innervate all the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the hind limbs. Remember, if your horse is lame or seems uncomfortable, consult with your veterinarian sooner rather than later. The sooner there is intervention, the happier and longer your horse’s career will be, whether in the show ring or on the trail.

Dr. Jacqueline DeDeo is currently practicing Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and Animal Chiropractic in NH, MA and limited trips to NY. After graduating from Ross University Veterinary School in 2001, she completed an internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery at Oklahoma State University, then worked in Edmond, OK at Equine Medical Associates. During this time she received her initial acupuncture training and certification with The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. In 2004 she moved to Rhinebeck, NY and worked at Rhinebeck Equine. In addition to continuing her education in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine with more advanced acupuncture courses and herbal therapy at

Chi Institute in Florida, she also completed her training and Healing Oasis Wellness Center in Wisconsin. After three and half years at Rhinebeck Equine, she and her husband moved to New Hampshire where she started her business Equine Wellness, PLLC, practicing Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and Animal Chiropractic. equinewellnessne.com

Resources It’s important to seek professionals who are certified to perform acupuncture and chiropractic on horses. These links can help you with your search. American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, ahvma.org Chi Institute, tcvm.com The Healing Oasis Wellness Center, thehealingoasis.com American Chiropractic Veterinary Association, animalchiropractic.com


certification in animal chiropractic at the

International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, ivas.org

equine wellness


Natural breed profile

Dutch treat

With their rich black coats and long flowing manes and tails, Friesians are what many horse-crazy young girls dream of. But did you know they’re endangered? by Kelly Howling

Photo: ©Ellende | Dreamstime.com Photo: Leslie Town


ou’ve probably seen these satin black beauties in movies such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. The Friesian is one of the most picturesque of equine breeds and its eye-catching appearance has made it popular with the big screen and horse enthusiasts alike. Friesans originated in the Netherlands and are descended from the heavy Equus Robustus. They were specifically bred for their trotting action and suitability for pulling carriages. As Dutch settlers migrated to North America, they brought their Friesian horses along with them. Because the Friesian has been closed to outside influences for close to 200 years, the breed has been kept genetically distinct and pure.


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Back from the brink Friesians came close to extinction in the early 1900s, as the need for carriage horses diminished, and the breed was considered too light for farm work. By 1913, there were a mere three stallions in the studbook, with no prospects of any more on the horizon. To help save the breed, a Friesian horse association was created, but by the mid-1900s, there were still only around 500 horses recorded. The Friesian actually became extinct in North America at one point, and had to be reintroduced in the 1970s. Another widespread attempt was made to promote and revive the breed, and it was much more successful. The Friesian is now considered to be “recovering”

on the conservation list, with around 2,000 horses in North America and 30,000 globally.

Henk and Connor

The Friesian today

Every week, up to 20 riders with physical or cognitive disabilities visit Stonegate Farm in Coldwater, Ontario to spend time with our horses.

Nowadays, Friesians are best known for their presence in front of a carriage and in the dressage ring. They are also succeeding in other disciplines, including trail riding, reining, saddleseat and therapeutic programs.

by Lillian Tepera

I am fortunate enough to own two Friesians, named Wilbert and Henk. It’s a testament to the Friesian’s intelligent, gentle nature that Henk joined the program at the age of five. Even at this young age he was reliable enough to entrust with the most vulnerable riders. He proved this with Connor – a tiny boy of four. Normally, I do not accept riders under six. But Connor’s challenges are primarily physical: he is small and delayed in his physical development. I lifted Connor onto Henk’s back and off they went around the arena, one sidewalker on each side, securing Connor’s legs in the saddle. He broke into a smile instantly. His body swayed, his head bopped, his eyes gleamed.

Photo: Leslie Town

He has been riding weekly ever since. It’s hard work for his body. While many quiet horses have a lazy gait, this is not the case with Friesians. Their movement is powerful. It challenges the rider, swinging side to side as well as backward and forward, forcing the rider to develop muscle strength and balance while also mobilizing joints. Henk is one of two Friesians at Stonegate Farm who participate in riding therapy. Here he gives Mikaela a ride, while volunteers Kristen and Krista supervise.

Friesians are perfect candidates for natural horsekeeping. “In general, they have hardy hooves, a strong constitution and are very efficient eaters with good metabolic function – especially the ‘older’ baroque style lines,” says equine trimmer, massage therapist and Friesian enthusiast Johanna Neuteboom. “They grow excellent winter coats, and shed quickly in the spring.” The breed does not tolerate heat as well as lighter breeds, which can be a concern in warmer climates. Johanna cautions that the Friesian’s excellent metabolism means “they tend to be sensitive to high starch/high sugar diets, and may be at risk if your definition of natural horsekeeping includes unlimited access to acres of rich pasture land.” It’s hard to imagine the horse world without Friesians in it. Thankfully, continuing conservation efforts are ensuring this unique breed will continue to enrich our lives and delight our eye.

It seems a wildly inappropriate match when you see Connor grooming Henk. His head barely reaches above the Friesian’s knees. Yet when he’s sitting on Henk, smiling from ear to ear, you know it’s a perfect combination.

Friesian facts

•There are two distinct types of horse within the breed – the Modern Friesian and the Baroque Friesian. The Modern Friesian is a sport horse of lighter build than the more classical Baroque Friesian. •In order to be recognized, Friesians must be black, although a white star is allowed. Most Friesians really stand out with their long wavy manes and tails, heavy fetlock hair, and showy knee action. They typically stand around 15.3hh, though they range from 14.2hh to 17hh. •Friesians are noted for their wonderful temperaments. They are generally kind, quiet, hard working and willing.

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Natural weaning Photo: ©Clearviewstock | Dreamstime.com

How you wean your horse may affect his attitude and even his intelligence for years to come.

by Linda Kohanov


hen I apprenticed at an Arabian breeding farm in the early 1990s, weaning was an unsettling prospect. Foals taken away from their mothers would scream and pace for hours, sometimes days, as would the mares who also experienced swelling udders with no relief. Anyone questioning this “standard practice” was branded as “overly emotional” or, horror of horrors, guilty of the ultimate sin in the horse business: “anthropomorphizing.” It didn’t matter that mustangs in the wild weaned their foals closer to a year, and usually as a result of a younger sibling’s birth. Nor did anyone seem interested in the fact that even mustang colts stayed with their parents’ herd for up to two years. It was considered business as usual, a characteristic of the hot Arabian breed in fact, to deal with flighty youngsters who’d spook at the slightest sound, not to mention mares who became aggressive with humans when new foals were born. Only years later did I realize that horses who were weaned later, more slowly, and if possible turned back out with their parents and other relatives for a while, were among the calmest, most secure, most gregarious and adventurous youngsters around. Many breeders are understandably concerned with practicality, of involving the least amount of costly human effort in weaning, but the hours saved in training are impressive in the


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I have to conclude that the exaggerated

startle response

and poor impulse control I’ve observed in young horses is the equine equivalent of attachment disorder. long run when you take the time to build a secure herd environment. Science has caught up with what many of us had been observing all along, that animals do have emotions (even Charles Darwin realized this), and that among social beings, such as horses, healthy development requires more than good nutrition and physical conditioning.

impair the growth and development of brain and body. People with attachment disorder are significantly more likely to be depressed, slow to learn, prone to chronic illness, aggressive, disruptive, and antisocial. They exhibit chronically high levels of anxiety, less resilience in the face of adversity, and poor impulse control.

Photo: ©Dizajune | Dreamstime.com

The confident foal

Attachment disorder

Much of this research has been used to shed light on people suffering from “attachment disorder.” When children are neglected or suddenly separated from significant caretakers in the first three years of life, a variety of emotional, social, and neurological consequences arise. Abnormally high levels of stress hormones

Another experiment demonstrated an even more positive response to human contact when the mares were brushed during that 15minute period. Youngsters who were not touched or groomed directly were assessed at 15 days in their response to human approach and later in their reactions to a person trying to put a saddle pad on their backs. The vast majority of foals whose dams were groomed could be approached and touched, as opposed to the control group, in which most avoided or escaped from the experimenter. Almost all the experimental foals accepted a saddle pad on their backs at one month without any training, while most controls were still wary of human contact. When these same horses were evaluated at one year, the flight equine wellness

Photo: ©Isselee | Dreamstime.com

Even in mice, the sudden premature separation of mother and child has dire consequences. Michael Meaney, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal, found that pups born to devoted mothers grew up to have denser connections between their brain cells, particularly in the hippocampus, the seat of memory and learning. They were not only calmer in stressful situations, they recovered more easily from a stress reaction when they had one. As Daniel Goleman further explains in Social Intelligence, the greatest neural setback occurs when pups are separated from their mothers when still quite young: “This crisis flips off protective genes, leaving them vulnerable to a biochemical chain reaction that floods their brain with toxic stress-triggered molecules. Such rodents grow up to be easily frightened and startled.”

Less research has been done on horses. Even so, studies conducted at the University of Rennes in France have shown that foals gain more confidence watching their mothers engage in gentle interactions with people than in direct handling and desensitization techniques like imprinting. In one experiment involving 41 mare/foal pairs, foals that were exposed to a person standing motionless in the stall for 15 minutes per day were subsequently shown to be more trusting of humans than foals that were gently restrained and stroked for the same time over the first five days of life. Even more specifically, each foal’s degree of interest and comfort was influenced by the amount of interest his mother showed in the person.


response of the experimental foals was reduced considerably as well. Add this to a UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine study in which distressed mares and foals showed a measurable decrease in infection-fighting T-cells, and you begin to see why ripping a foal away from his dam can be damaging physically as well as behaviorally.

Weaning as training Even before encountering these studies, I witnessed the benefits of weaning my foals in a more natural way. When I compare my poised yet adventurous two-year-old Arabian Indigo Moon with other horses his age, I have to conclude that the exaggerated startle response and poor impulse control I’ve observed in young horses at other farms is the equine equivalent of attachment disorder. Just as this diagnosis results in years of counseling, special education, and sometimes incarceration in humans, the time, money and safety we sacrifice in training flighty, mistrustful mounts far outweighs the initial “trouble” of making sure weanlings have the best possible start in life. The key is to treat weaning as a form of basic training – one that involves input from older wiser members of both species. Based on experience and research, including the studies mentioned above, I recommend the following five-step weaning program:


Photo: ©Stanko07 | Dreamstime.com

During the first three months of your foal’s life, spend time grooming his mother and milling around the corral or pasture without an agenda. Let the foal approach you by choice as much as possible, touching or grooming him briefly only when he initiates contact. Then, even if you must restrain the foal for medical

procedures, he will have a variety of other, more pleasant memories associated with human contact.


Early haltering and leading is positively enhanced when the mare is invested in the destination. Taking the pair for a walk to a favorite grassy spot or a route that results in carrots piques the youngster’s interest as he takes cues from his relaxed yet enthusiastic mother.


Between four and seven months, you’ll see indications that the mare is ready for a break, and the foal is acting more autonomously. At this point, separating the two for brief periods is a natural, stress-free progression. It’s easier if you have several mares and foals living together – mothers continue to graze while their children explore a nearby pasture or corral. But even a single mare/foal pair quickly learns to appreciate these respites. The key is to bring them back together again. And again. And again. The act of separating and reuniting mare and foal two or three times a week creates that sense of security and resilience to stress that conventional weaning practices sacrifice – to the detriment of horse and human.


When you’re ready to wean, generally at six to nine months, you’ll want to separate the pair daily. (If you can wait until eleven months, you’ll match nature’s timing, which may offer additional developmental benefits for the foal, though this hasn’t been studied.) Over a week or two, increase the time spent in separate corrals to a full day. Then switch the schedule, allowing the pair to spend days together and nights apart. Finally, since few mares will fully wean on their own, you will have to separate the pair 24 hours a day until the milk dies up. This is best achieved with the mare and her new weanling both enjoying the company of other horses, while also being able to see and possibly even touch each other over the fence.


Turn the weanling back out with his dam and other herd members. Here he begins to learn more complex socialization skills


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The key is to treat

weaning as a form of basic training

– one that involves input from older wiser members of both species.

under the tutelage of family members with whom he already has a strong bond. The horses I’ve weaned in this way show a remarkable pattern. They trot to the gate, eager for our next adventure. Passing by herds in other pastures, these youngsters continue to walk quietly beside me when horses are playing or spooking nearby. I can lead yearlings off property alone, even at night, with no signs of stress. In fact, they try to get me to stay out longer, urging us to hike farther afield. And they walk home more slowly, sometimes with marked resistance to “going to bed early,” as opposed to barn sour horses who jig all the way home. As for those left back at the ranch? Their sometimes fretful whinnies seem less about missing a herd mate

than fervent attempts to call us home – so someone else gets a chance to explore unfamiliar territory. To a secure horse, that big, bold world out there is a salad, one they’re eager to savor with a trusted two-legged friend.

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 also offers workshops and private consultations. For more information, visit taoofequus.com or call 520-455-5908.

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Lighting the way Light therapy offers a range of benefits, from increasing circulation and reducing edema to relieving pain, relaxing muscles and much more. Equine Light Therapy Pads from According to ‘Gospel’ Equine Light Therapy are a wonderful way to introduce your horse to these advantages. The pads use very specific wavelengths of light and are great for tendons, ligaments, splints, sore shins, muscle spasms and preventive maintenance. They’re available in two sizes and can be used on any part of the horse’s body, including legs and hoofs, shoulders, neck and back. EquineLightTherapy.com

Get the bite on flies It’s fly season! If biting insects are making your equine’s life a misery, consider an Epps Biting Fly Trap from Horseline Products. It traps flies by taking advantage of the flies’ natural behavior patterns. Many biting flies are attracted to large objects that contrast in color to the surroundings because such objects tend to be potential hosts, like horses. The trap provides a large, contrasting surface area with clear plastic deflectors representing the gaps between an animal’s leg and over his back. Flies see the deflectors as open spaces, hit them, and ricochet into soapy water in the trays below, where they drown. horselineproducts.com

Reach out and listen Want to learn more about horsemanship, equine communication, health and healing? Then tune into the newly launched Reaching Out with Anna Twinney Podcast. Hosted by worldrenowned equine behaviorist and animal communicator Anna Twinney, this free podcast brings you inspiring interviews with some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the equine field, such as Linda Tellington-Jones, Frank Bell and Carolyn Resnick. reachouttohorses.com


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Fit to continue

Hitting the trail this summer? Try these acupressure techniques to improve your horse’s endurance and conditioning.

Photo: ©Mirrormere | Dreamstime.com

by Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis


ara was riding in the high planes of the Colorado Rocky Mountains last summer with a group of her horse buddies. Two days into the four-day ride, she noticed that her 16-year-old mare, Gracie, was having difficulty breathing and showing signs of distress. She was not sure if it was the altitude or overexertion, but she knew she had to do something quickly. But they were at least 25 miles from any hope of finding a veterinarian.

is particularly powerful because it is safe, drug-free, and always available. This therapy has been used to treat animals for thousands of years. It is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine – the Chinese valued their horses and livestock so highly they used acupressure to keep them healthy and strong. Acupressure has been proven to: •Relieve muscle spasms

Luckily, Sara had studied acupressure and had her acupressure text with her. She searched through the book, found specific acupoints for respiratory issues and anxiety, and was able perform a session that addressed Gracie’s problems. By next morning, her mare was bright-eyed and ready to hit the trail again.

•Build the immune system •Release natural cortisones to reduce swelling •Release endorphins necessary to reduce pain •Enhance mental clarity required for focus in training and performance

Ideal for trail and endurance riders

•Resolve injuries more readily by removing toxins and increasing blood supply

Acupressure is an ancient healing art. This noninvasive, deceptively gentle complementary modality can profoundly impact your horse’s balance of energy, health, and general attitude. For trail riders, acupressure

“Endurance riding has its challenges,” says Bobbi Richine, long-time endurance rider and owner of Rocky Mountain Training Center in Colorado. “You have to be committed equine wellness


to considerable conditioning, and consistent acupressure sessions can greatly affect your horse’s soundness and the outcome of a ride.” Offering your horse an acupressure session along with a fitness conditioning program will help enhance the flow of blood and Chi, life force energy (pronounced “Chee,” also seen as “Qi”). By performing an acupressure session, you are actually:

Thumb technique

•Balancing the flow of energy throughout your horse’s body •Boosting his immune system •Reducing the potential for fatigue •Increasing fluid in his joints to enhance flexibility Two-finger technique

•Reducing any minor soreness or pain

Starting your session

•Sending more blood and nutrients to his four limbs

Begin by finding a location where you and your horse feel safe, and where there are few distractions. Slowly take three even breaths. Think about how you want to help your horse feel better – taking a moment to formulate the intent of your treatment is very important.

•Supporting his body’s ability to regulate his temperature in relation to the external temperature

Acupoints for endurance Bai Hui

Begin by resting one hand near your horse’s shoulder. Place the heel of your other hand just off the midline of his neck at the poll, and gently stroke down his neck. Continue stroking down his back to the hindquarters, staying to the side of the midline. Finish by stroking down the outside of his leg to the coronet band. Your opposite hand can trail along the same path, touching the horse lightly. Repeat this stroking procedure three times on each side of your horse.

BI 17

St 36 LI 4

GB 34







Bai Hui

Located in the lumbosacral space.

BI 17

Found lateral to the spine, at the 12th intercostal space.

St 36

One finger width from the head of the fibula, on the lateral side of the tibia.

GB 34

Located on the lateral aspect of the hind leg, at the space between the tibia and fibula.

LI 4

Found distal and medial to the head of the medial splint bone.

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Trail points Now you are ready for point work. Rest one hand on your horse wherever it feels comfortable. You are going to perform the actual point work with the other hand. Use either the thumb or two-finger technique depending on what is most comfortable for you.

•Thumb technique – place the tip of your thumb directly on the acupressure point, also called the “acupoint,” and hold the point gently, but with intent, while counting slowly to 30.

acupoints shown in the chart to give your horse that extra edge. He’ll enjoy the ride, and you’ll be more sure of hearing those glorious words from the vet: “Fit to continue!”

•Two-finger technique – put your middle finger on top of your index finger and then place your index finger gently, but with intentional firmness, directly on the acupoint while counting slowly to 30.

Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual. They own Tallgrass Publishers, which offers acupressure books, DVDs, and meridian charts for horses, dogs, and cats. They are also the founders of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute, which provides hands on and online training courses worldwide, including a Practitioner Certification Program. Contact 888-841-7211, animalacupressure.com or info@animalacupressure.com.

Follow the accompanying chart (opposite page) during the point work segment of your treatment. Watch your horse’s reaction. Healthy energy releases include yawning, deep breathing, stretching, muscle twitches, releases of air, and a softening of the eye. If your horse is overly reactive to a particular point or exhibits a pain reaction, stop holding that point and move on to the next. Try that point again during a later session to see if he is more comfortable.

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Final notes To complete your treatment session, rest your hand comfortably on the horse’s shoulder. Place the heel of your other hand just off his poll and stroke down his neck. Continue over his back to his hindquarters, keeping your hand to the side of his spine and down the outside of his leg in exactly the same way you did to start the session. Your opposite hand can lightly trail along the same path. Repeat this procedure three times on each side of your horse. It can take 24 hours for the effects of an acupressure treatment to manifest. When you take a break from the trail or at vet check during an endurance ride, use the





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Book reviews

Chinese herbal formulas for horses

The Illustrated Guide to Holistic Care for Horses


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Dressage in the Fourth Dimenson Title:


Sherry Ackerman

“Very simply, this book is about the art of dressage,” writes dressage clinician and philosophy professor Sherry Ackerman in the introduction to Dressage in the Fourth Dimension. “It is not about technique, but about essence, the fundamental nature of the art.” This evocative book presents a unique look at the spiritual aspects of dressage and riding. Though usually regarded as the most formal and controlled of equine sports, Dr. Ackerman sees it as a transformational art, an avenue for reflection, exploration and self-knowledge, and a way to profoundly bond with your horse. Drawing on philosophy, spirituality and geometry, she seeks to heal our alienation from nature through riding and dressage. Fascinating and highly readable, Dressage in the Fourth Dimension will encourage you to see this beautiful sport, and recreational riding, in a whole new light.

Publisher: New World Library


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Did you know? Over-supplementation is a common problem facing today’s equine companions. Proper supplementation can provide numerous benefits, but too much of any nutrient, even if it’s non-toxic, requires metabolic and organ functions in order to be eliminated from the body. This is a waste of valuable resources, whether it’s in the form of enzyme activity, energy, or organ usage such as the kidneys. For example, many hoof supplements contain organic sulfur in the form of the essential amino acids methionine and cystine. These hoof supplements can be given with joint supplements such as glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate and avocado extracts. However, if the joint supplement also contains MSM it could interfere with the effectiveness of the hoof supplement. MSM contains sulfur, and when given in addition to supplements or feeds containing methionine, sulfur can

by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS

reach tissue levels that interfere with the strength of connective tissue. Give a balanced supplement backed by research and years of proven effectiveness, and avoid other supplements with duplicate nutrients. That way, you’ll have a healthier and happier horse. Dr. Frank Gravlee graduated from Auburn University School of Medicine and practiced veterinary medicine for several years before attending graduate school at

MIT. During

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

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.

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Events May 11-19 – Murrieta, CA Wind Dance 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 precourse study), is taught by international instructor Debranne Pattillo, MEBW. 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, office@equinology.com equinology.com May 27-June 4 – Calgary, AB Equine Body Worker Certification Course This 9-day, 97+hour course (a total of 250+hours with the required post course field work and precourse study), is taught by international instructor Debranne Pattillo, MEBW. 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, office@equinology.com, equinology.com

June 6-7 – McLean, VA Basic Animal Communication Workshop Janet Dobbs will lead you through the basic steps of animal communication with guided meditaitons, enlightening discussions and telepathic experience. this two-day workshop will give you an overview of what animal communication is and how you already communicate with your animal companions, animal friends and even wild animals. For more information: Janet Dobbs, 703-648-1866, janet@animalparadisecommunication.com animalparadisecommunication.com June 13 – Kitchener, ON 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Tellington TTouch – Part 1 with Sue Becker CTTP, Animal Communicator/ Consultant. Learn how to TTouch your cat or dog! TTouch is a groundbreaking bodywork method which can effectively influence your animal friends’ behavior and enhance their willingness and ability to learn. TTouch uses kindness and understanding to improve confidence, performance and well-being, and helps dogs and cats overcome many physical and behavior problems.There will be lots of time for practice and class size is limited. For more information: Sue Becker, 519-896-2600 suebecker@cyg.net June 14 – Kitchener, ON 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Tellington TTouch – Part 2 with Sue Becker CTTP, Animal Communicator/ Consultant. This course is for those who have taken Tellington TTouch Part 1 and who wish to expand and refine their skills. The TTouch 1 work will be reviewed and built upon in this full day experiential workshop. Expand your knowledge of different TTouches and lifts, slides and wraps. Lots of practice time is included and you’ll receive feedback on your technique. You will have the opportunity to work with animals other than your own to build observational skills and increase experience. Learn to apply TTouch to specific situations such as barking, nail

trimming and supporting the physical body during healing. We’ll also do some groundwork with dogs on-lead to improve balance and confidence. For more information: Sue Becker, 519-896-2600 suebecker@cyg.net June 22-30 – Guthrie Center, IA Timber Creek Therapies Equine Body Worker Certification Course This 9-day, 97+hour course (a total of 250+ hours with the required post course field work and precourse study), is taught by international instructor Debranne Pattillo, MEBW. 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, office@equinology.com equinology.com July 11-12 – McLean, VA Animal Reiki Level One workshop Through lecture, enlightening discussion, exercises and practice, you will be led through the basic steps. Students will experience Reiki energy and learn different ways that Reiki can be used as a healing tool for both humans and animals. Upon completion of the two-day course you will be able to do a Reiki self treatment, hands on healing for friends and family and be able to offer Reiki to your own animal companion(s), other animals and even wild animals. For more information: Janet Dobbs, 703-648-1866, janet@animalparadisecommunication.com animalparadisecommunication.com

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Your health

Beat the heat by Dr. Valeria Breiten


was recently watching a men’s final tennis match on television. When the players took a break, I noticed one drinking an electrolyte drink, and the other drinking water. I predicted the latter would not keep his lead in the extreme Australian heat without electrolyte replacement, and sure enough, he had to withdraw before the match was finished.

The importance of electrolytes We may take electrolytes for granted in colder countries because our bodies don’t have to work hard to stay balanced. But if you ride, compete, or exert yourself in a hot, dry climate, it is important to pay attention. Your sweat can evaporate as quickly as it forms, so you may not realize how much you’re perspiring. Most people drink water when it’s very hot, but many do not realize they are also losing sodium and potassium through their sweat, especially if they’re not acclimated to hot temperatures. Health conscious people are careful with salt intake, but some salt is essential. Lots of water with very little salt or potassium, along with heavy perspiration, can throw off your electrolyte balance to the point where you may experience irregular heartbeats, extreme fatigue, and even need to be hospitalized. People who live in hot climates are better adjusted to the temperatures, and their bodies release less sodium in their perspiration.

Staying balanced I live in the desert, and this time of year we usually get a

sudden heat wave. I normally get at least one call from someone with a stomach upset and unresolved diarrhea and/or vomiting. They don’t realize the combination of the heat wave and the diarrhea or vomiting has seriously affected their electrolytes. Or I might have an elderly patient on a low sodium diet, who drinks a couple of gallons of water a day, complaining of being weak and having irregular heartbeats. A home remedy that generally brings relief, if electrolytes are the problem, is a glass of orange juice with a half teaspoon of salt in it. The orange juice has potassium, the salt has sodium, and together with the fluid the body is able to re-establish its electrolyte balance. Another good electrolyte balancer is fresh watermelon with something salty like potato chips. You can also buy commercial electrolyte products.

Alcohol and caffeine will aggravate dehydration. Warning signs Adequate water consumption is essential in the heat. A good test of hydration is the amount, color and frequency of urine. If it’s dark, smelly and infrequent, the kidneys do not have enough fluid to do their work properly. Someone drinking gallons of water, producing a lot of relatively clear urine, and starting to experience some edema, may be drinking too much. If you are out in the heat and sun and begin feeling dizzy or nauseated, and if you stop sweating and/or develop a headache, you could have sunstroke. Lie down in a cool shady spot, drink fluids/electrolytes and place a cool damp cloth on your head. The homeopathic remedy Glonoinum can speed recovery. As we head into show season, and those long days of competition in the sun, pay attention to what your body is saying. Catch dehydration early to prevent serious problems that could affect your performance, and your health.

Photo: ©Suravid | Dreamstime.com


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Dr. Valeria Breiten is a healer, teacher and author. She is a licensed naturopathic medical doctor and registered dietitian practicing in Chandler, Arizona. Her new book, Naturally Healthy at Home, is available at DrValeria.net

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