V4I4 (Jul/Aug 2009)

Page 1

Equine wellness


Your natural resource!


Going Bitless

Starting off on the

right foot

Tips for a successful transition



Advice on trimming your foal

The benefits of fish oil

Hospice for horses

Scents for

stress How to deal with common problems related to stress


selfdefense tips

Feeling stalled?

Four ways to make stall rest easier

for the trail


Crash course

What you need to know to prevent accidents

confused? Taking the mystery out of bits

July/August 2009 Display until August 11, 2009 $5.95 USA/Canada



equine wellness

equine wellness

equine wellness

Contents July/August 2009

Right: ©Krents | Dreamstime.com (page 4)



features 14 On the road again

Safe trailering means more than buying the right trailer. Training, logic and common sense also play big roles.

Want to ride without a bit? Follow these tips to help your horse make the transition successfully and safely.

Fish oil is not the first supplement riders think of when creating their horse’s feed program, but it may be one of the most beneficial things you can offer your equine.

20 Scents for stress

33 On the right foot

18 Go bitless!

From separation anxiety to sweet itch, many common problems are symptoms of stress. Aromatherapy is an easy and effective way to help calm your horse.

24 Stay alert, stay safe!

What would you do if someone tried to attack you on the trail? These five tips will help ensure you don’t become a victim.

28 Something fishy

equine wellness

Start trimming your foal early and you’ll set him up for a lifetime of soundness.

39 Crash course No matter how confident you are around your horse, taking safety precautions is the only sure way to prevent accidents.

48 Hospice for horses

How do you know if your horse’s condition is terminal? Hospice care recognizes death is part of the cycle of life, and helps us take the time to say farewell.

54 Disaster

Natural disaster preparedness isn’t just for humans. Include your horses in your plans for safety so they don’t suffer or go missing.

58 Feeling stalled?

Keeping your horse confined while he heals can be challenging. Here are four ways to help him stay happy and healthy till he’s ready to be turned out again.





10 Neighborhood news

8 Editorial

36 A natural performer

31 Heads up!

Profile of a natural performer

46 From agony to ecstasy 51 Holistic veterinary advice Talking with Dr. Hannah Evergreen

60 Book reviews

42 Equine Wellness resource guide

61 Marketplace 64 Classifieds 65 Events calendar

64 Did you know? 66 Your health


20 equine wellness



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Columnists & Contributing Writers Ella Bittel, Holistic Veterinarian Valeria Breiten, NMD, RD Linda Cowles Hannah Evergreen, DVM Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Scot Hansen Bob Jeffreys Angela Kirby Neva Kittrell Scheve Nayana Morag Suzanne Sheppard Madalyn Ward, DVM

Topics include: disease prevention natural diets and nutrition natural health care

product recommendations integrative Vet Q & A gentle training, and so much more!

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On the cover photograph by:

Christina Handley ChristinaHandleyStock.com Cowboy is a gorgeous Palomino Quarter Horse who is used as a lead pony (pony horse) at Picov Downs in Ajax, Ontario. This serene portrait by Christina Handley captures him taking some down time to enjoy the mellow summer sunshine.

equine wellness


Volume 4 Issue 4

Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Editor: Kelly Howling Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Graphic Designer: Stephanie Wright Graphic Design Intern: Deanna Hall Cover Photography: Christina Handley


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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: June 2009

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

equine wellness

editorial Take the right tack Twice a year, our area tack shop has a ridiculously large sale. Since I was in my early teens, it has been a tradition to attend each sale with barn friends. The buildup to each sale consists of the usual list making and excitement. We nearly always spend too much money, and come home with a few things we didn’t really need but were deals supposedly too good to pass up. Horse people are said to be a special breed when it comes to shopping for our equine friends. It only takes stepping into a tack shop for relaxation to set in, along with the smell of new leather mingled with liniments and peppermint horse treats. We can spend a good while examining new products, poring over the latest horse and sale magazines, and more often than not will see and catch up with people we know from the horse community. We regularly lament (though not with terrible seriousness) that our horses’ wardrobes are more expensive than our own. While we wear the same jeans for several months, our horses will don the latest designer accessories. It’s not uncommon to hear someone talking about the dozens of saddlepads they own, their obsession with polo wraps, or their fetish for blankets for every temperature and weather condition under the sun (no pun intended). We want our horses to look and feel fantastic, all the time.

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And it doesn’t stop just at tack. We carefully manage our horses’ diets, right down to vitamin and mineral balance. We make sure their feet are balanced every six to eight weeks. Massages, bodywork, specially fitting tack, exercise regimes…the list goes on. But I often wonder…would we be better riders and more balanced people if we took as good care of ourselves as we do our horses? Really, there can’t be much doubt. So as you read over this tack and equipment themed issue, I challenge you to do something for yourself. When you book your horse’s next massage, for example, book one for yourself too! This issue also offers excellent articles on developing an emergency plan for your facility, using aromatherapy for stress and trimming your foal’s hooves right from the start. If you still need some tack temptation and eye candy, you’ll find a few articles to satisfy that craving too! Naturally,

Kelly Howling

equine wellness

Neighborhood news Stronger safeguards

Ranch rescue When Habitat for Horses, an equine rescue organization, received reports of problems at the 3-Strikes Ranch in Morrill County, Nebraska, they set out to investigate. To their horror, they discovered at least 60 dead mustangs at the ranch, and 100 more that were seriously emaciated, ill, and living in muddy holding pens with an inadequate food supply. Mustangs captured by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that were not adopted out after three attempts (i.e. “three strikers”) were sent to the 3-Strikes Ranch. Owner Jason Meduna also accepted horses from people unable to care for their mustangs, and those in need of special training.

Tragedy struck the U.S. Open Championship in Florida this past April when 21 polo ponies, all from the Venezuelan team, collapsed and died at the start of the event. The cause has been tracked to a poorly made, potentially illegal vitamin supplement. Unable to get the desired supplement (Biodyl, which helps horses recover from exhaustion) in the U.S., the team had a chemist recreate the supplement for them. It was found to contain an ingredient of inappropriate strength. In the wake of the incident, the United States Polo Association Equine Welfare Committee set up a research committee to examine and strengthen safeguards for polo horses. These safeguards will include a prohibited substance policy. The USPA stated that it is 100% committed to preventing a tragedy like this from happening again in the future.


equine wellness

According to Meduna, the deaths were caused by toxic poisoning, but to date no proof of this has been found. He is currently in jail on an animal cruelty charge.

A number of private owners who had placed horses with Meduna have retrieved their animals. Habitat for Horses is assisting local law enforcement, the BLM, and a number of volunteers in caring for the rest of the rescued mustangs.

Free ID service Identifying an unknown horse, even if he’s tattooed, can be a challenge. The Jockey Club has established Tattoo Identification Services, a free resource to help owners identify tattooed but unknown Thoroughbreds in their possession.

A Thoroughbred in “second career” after retiring from the track.

“We hope it will be a valuable tool for individuals and organizations seeking to retire, re-train and find suitable homes for Thoroughbred racehorses when their racing careers are over,” said Matt Iuliano, vice president of registration services for The Jockey Club.

Top left: ©Shariffc | Dreamstime.com (page 10), Bottom right: ©Stevart | Dreamstime.com (page 10), Top: ©Djk | Dreamstime.com (page 11).

For legible tattoos, a free tattoo lookup feature is available at jockeyclub.com or the Registry homepage at registry.jockeyclub.com. For illegible or partial tattoos, customer service representatives from the Registry will research the horse’s identity using information in the club’s database, including color, markings and photographs. To learn more about procuring identification from illegible or partial tattoos, tips for reading lip tattoos, and for a list of FAQs, visit registry.jockeyclub.com.

Just desserts The horse public was outraged earlier this year when information and photos surfaced of a young gelding in the care of popular trainer Cleve Wells. During an unannounced visit to Wells’ facility in Burleston, Texas, when both he and his assistant trainer were away, Nicole Marr discovered that her horse, Slow Lopin Scotch, had significant injuries. He was promptly trailered off the property to a veterinarian, where he was treated for large infected sores on his sides, likely from excessive spurring, tongue lacerations, bar ulceration, bone fragments in his jaw, and overall poor condition. At an April 22 disciplinary hearing, the Executive Committee of the American Quarter Horse Association found that Wells was in violation of Rule 104(a), which states: “No person shall treat any horse in a cruel or inhumane manner, including, but not limited to, the prohibited conduct specified in the Show Rules and Regulations section of this Handbook... For violation of this rule, an AQHA member may be disciplined, suspended, fined and/or expelled from AQHA, and a non-member may be denied AQHA privileges.” Wells was suspended from the AQHA and fined $10,000 to be paid in full prior to any reinstatement of his membership privileges. equine wellness


Fantastic five Five riders are taking endurance to a whole new level. Megan Lewis, Rowena Haigh, Peng Wenchao, Li Jing and Rowena Matthew are on The Long Horse Ride, a horseback journey that will take them from Beijing to London. The ride started at the end of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the riders aim to reach London in time for the 2012 Olympics. They’re raising funds for Schoolchildren for Children and the China Children and Teenagers Fund. The riders are using local equine breeds accustomed to the conditions and terrain they are encountering. They are also using the ride as an opportunity to promote these breeds, which so far include the Mongolian, Shandan and Yili. The Mongolian horse is one of the breeds the five riders will use on their ride, to bring awarness to the breed.


equine wellness

The horses are being ridden in bitless bridles, with adjustable flex panel saddles to ensure they stay comfortable on the long journey. For more information, visit thelonghorseride.com.

Left: ŠPniesen | Dreamstime.com (page 12), Right: ŠAngeal | Dreamstime.com (page 13).

Neighborhood news

Back to the drawing board Last November, celebrity and horse enthusiast Madeleine Pickens offered to take over the care of thousands of wild horses the Bureau of Land Management holds in facilities across the United States. Her plan was to set up a private foundation to care for the animals at no cost to the government, potentially saving American taxpayers millions of dollars. Unfortunately, it seems the project is at a standstill.

Among other things, Mrs. Pickens’ plan proposes taking the animals to graze on private and public lands on a large ranch in Nevada. However, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act restricts animals to the areas where they were found roaming when the Act was passed in 1971. Unfortunately, none of the BLM grazing allotments Mrs. Pickens proposes for her sanctuary are where wild horses roamed in 1971. Congress would have to amend the Act to address this aspect of Mrs. Pickens’ proposal. Discussions between Mrs. Pickens and the BLM are continuing, in an effort to iron out the bugs. equine wellness


On the road again Safe trailering means more than buying the right trailer. Training, logic and common sense also play big roles. by Neva Kittrell Scheve


he other day, a trailering topic on an equine forum caught my eye. A poster wrote about her horse scooting under the butt bar of her straight load trailer and getting stuck. The horse was eventually released unharmed, but the discussion that ensued was even more frightening to me. Fellow forum members who had experienced the same issue chimed in with stories and advice of their own. They had all sorts of solutions to the problem, none of which made the situation any better. The most common advice was to untie the horse and take the butt bar down before the ramp was lowered. Some realized this could be somewhat dangerous, and suggested standing to the side so the horse would not run over them on the way out. Others took up the old argument that slant load trailers were better. Not one poster suggested that the trailer, regardless of what kind it was, could be made safer for everybody by giving more commensensical thought to its actual features.


equine wellness

What makes a trailer safe? The answer is complicated, and the opinions of various friends, trainers, vets and anyone online are to be taken with a grain – or two – of salt.

Trailer safety checkpoints It’s pretty obvious your trailer should be kept in perfect condition. A horse trailer is basically a box on wheels with a few mechanical parts. The whole trailer rests on the tires and axles, so it’s very important to maintain the brakes, have the bearings packed yearly (unless you have Nev’r Lube axles), and make sure the tires are in perfect condition. Tires should be rated for the weight of the trailer and inflated equally to the proper pressure. The trailer floor is the only thing between your horse and the road. Don’t take any chances with a floor that is less than perfect.

•Check wood floors by sticking a knife into the wood and twisting it – if the wood seems a bit mushy, it is time to replace the floor.

each season to make sure it has not become loose on the ball. •Check the latching mechanism.

Extreme example of bad wood floor. Never let it get to this condition.

•Aluminum floors can corrode so check constantly for pitting or the beginning of corrosion.

Make sure the coupler, safety chains and break away emergency brake are in excellent working condition.

•Check the safety chains and the breakaway battery, which must be fully charged to be effective.

Choosing the perfect trailer The above checkpoints are basic safety rules for any trailer, no matter what style or brand it is. But what other features make it safe for the horse and the people involved?

Title image: ©Milkovasa | Dreamstime.com (page 14)

You should be able to quick-release

Aluminum doesn’t rust, but it does corrode. This is a piece of floor from an all aluminum trailer.

•If the floor has a spray-on bed liner, don’t forget to check under the trailer because the liner can hide defects in the aluminum. The undercarriage, which supports the floor, should be checked yearly for rust (steel) or corrosion and stress fractures (aluminum). •The coupler keeps your trailer attached to the tow vehicle. Check the coupler for interior wear before

any trailer part to get a horse out of a bad situation.

Not all trailers are created equal. Many are built by manufacturers who aren’t completely familiar with horses, so there are great differences between brands. Add the horse and handler to the mix and the situation becomes extremely variable. The training and temperament of the horse and the experience of the handler make a huge difference. Choose a trailer with an interior clear of any barriers or protrusions that could injure the horse. It is most important that all interior dividers, center posts, butt

equine wellness


All interior dividers, butt, breast bars and center posts should be quick release.

and breast bars be easily removable. These interior pieces should be strong enough to hold up to a horse thrashing around inside, or to protect him in case of an accident. But you should be able to quick-release any part to get a horse out of a bad situation.

The next most important feature is accessibility. You should be able to A quick release center post adds extra reach and unload each safety and versatility to a trailer. horse individually without unloading the others. This is the main problem with slant load trailers. It’s been my experience that anytime someone says, “My horse will never do that,” the horse does exactly that. Forethought and good judgment when choosing a trailer can minimize a situation that could be catastrophic in a more poorly designed trailer.

“Trailer fit” The trailer also needs to fit the horses being hauled in it. If you haul horses of different sizes, some adjustments should be made. Butt and breast bars may need to be adjustable so they fit all the horses properly. The situation I wrote about at the beginning of this article may have been avoided by proper fit and/or quick release features. Horses can get The butt bar on the right is the down and under a butt optimum height for the horse; the one bar more easily than on the left is a bit too low. Adjustable you would think. It is butt bars solve the problem. easier in a step down trailer because the horse can step so much lower than in a ramp trailer.

Training is key The last main ingredient – and the most important to a safe


equine wellness

trailering experience – is good training! A horse trained to load and haul safely and quietly will stay safe no matter how inferior the trailer may be. If your horse doesn’t tie on the ground, then don’t expect him to tie quietly in the trailer. If the butt bar is taken down while the horse is still tied, he is likely to pull back and try to run out of the trailer or get himself stuck under a butt bar. He is also more likely to panic and jump over the breast bar. This is dangerous to everyone in the vicinity. If either of these incidents occurs, quick release features will lessen the impact, but good training may avoid the problem in the first place.

If your horse

doesn’t tie on the ground, then don’t expect him to tie quietly in the trailer. So what would I say to the person who made the forum post? I would first tell her to question most of the advice she received. You should never take the butt bar down or open the slant divider with the horse still tied. When the butt bar is taken down or the ramp or doors are opened, many horses believe it’s all right to back out; but when they hit the end of the rope they panic and start to pull. It’s not uncommon for a horse to break the lead or halter and fall out of the trailer backward. Also, the advice to reach in, take down the butt bar and then open the ramp could result in the handler being crushed by the horse pushing down the ramp on the way out. I would also tell the poster to make sure the butt bars are set low enough to discourage the horse from scooting under. Many people who give advice base their opinions on their own experiences and those of their friends. Things may have worked for them personally, but they may not be aware of all the possible consequences. They mean well, of course, but before you take any advice, use you own logic and common sense.

Neva Kittrell Scheve, along with her husband Tom, is author of the nationally recognized textbook The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer. Neva also has two other horse trailer books to her credit including Equine Emergencies On The Road with Jim Hamilton DVM. Neva has been a horsewoman for over 40 years and has been involved in animal rescue as a former member of VMAT, a division of FEMA, and the Moore County Equine Response Unit. Besides being authors and clinicians, both Tom and Neva own EquiInternational Inc., which designed and developed the EquiSpirit line of horse trailers in Southern Pines, NC. For more info, contact Tom: 1-877-575-1771, tom@equispirit.com or visit them online at equispirit.com.

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Go bitless!

Want to ride without a bit? Follow these tips to help your horse make the transition successfully and safely. by Kelly Howling


homas was incredibly resistant and sensitive to bits, right from the get-go. Despite training, dental exams and the use of different bits, the New Forest gelding’s frustration went unresolved. He would endlessly fight having the bit put in his mouth, and once it was in he was super sensitive to any rein movement. He even resented certain types of rein attachments. So his owners tried riding him in a bitless bridle. It was a fairly easy transition, thanks to the groundwork they had already done with the pony, and Thomas was significantly happier.

Obviously, the pressures from bitless equipment are not the same as those from the typical bits most horses are used to. I therefore suggest spending as much time introducing bitless options to your horse as you would any other type of equipment. It makes sense that we ensure our horses know how to give and respond to the pressures from equipment, whether it is a hackamore, sidepull, rope halter, bosal or the more recent leather bitless bridles. As with anything we do with horses, safety and preparation are keys.

Riding bitless rather than in a traditional bitted bridle is becoming more and more popular. Through the process of helping riders make the transition, I have discovered the importance of several basic groundwork exercises to help ensure your first rides will be successful, and assist in more advanced under saddle work later on.

Groundwork success I ensure each horse knows and understands four main groundwork exercises before attempting to ride him bitless. While these exercises are fairly simple, many horses do not know how to do them properly.

Under pressure The majority of bitless equipment works off three main pressure points (some bridles may use additional points, or a variation). The first is against the bridge of the horse’s nose, with the noseband. The second is against the side of the horse’s face, and the third is often minimal poll pressure. We do not want our horses to resist or avoid pressures from the bridle (this goes for any type of equipment we use on our horses). Horses that resist become tense and often hollow, and are unable to relax physically or mentally. This can lead to a rather exciting first ride, and if left unaddressed can result in behavioral and physical issues.


equine wellness


Teach your horse to softly lower his head in response to poll pressure.

Is he ready to ride?


Help him understand how to tuck his chin or flex vertically in response to noseband pressure.


Teach him to back up softly from noseband pressure. He should back up with his head lowered and chin tucked, not hollow and braced.

Once your horse is comfortable with the pressure of the bitless bridle on the ground, how do you know if he is ready to ride? Take a look at where he is that day, mentally and physically. If you are riding a horse that tends to be a little spooky on cool windy days, then that is probably not the best kind of day to try out a new bridle. You want to set both yourself and your horse up for a positive first experience, so factor in everything you can to make that happen. Take a look at your groundwork, and make sure it’s all working for you – if you ask your horse one day to lower his head and instead he throws it up in the air, you must fix that before hopping aboard.

Safety tips Some horses may take to bitless riding naturally and are completely fine with it on their first ride, but I prefer to take the “better safe than sorry” route. The first time you try bitless riding, consider the following: •Ride in a familiar enclosed area with no other horses present until you know for sure you have full control. •Check your groundwork first, and fix any rough areas before mounting up.


Your horse should understand how to give/flex laterally to pressure against the side of his face. You may want to enlist the help of a professional to make sure you are doing these exercises correctly. Each horse is different and learns differently. It is often easiest to teach your horse these exercises in a regular or rope halter first, then start working on him in whatever piece of bitless equipment you intend to use.

•Have someone supervise you, or at least tell someone what you are doing so they can check up on you mid-ride. •Have someone walk beside you for the first few minutes while you make sure you can do a successful stop, backup, do a few upwards and downwards transitions and test out some patterns (to check your steering). •Wear all your safety gear!

First rides Keep your first rides short and simple. Only do things you know you and your horse can successfully do. It is better to take things slow and be successful than push the limit and create a wreck. Always make sure you still have control over each part of your horse’s body through numerous patterns and transitions – the most important of which will naturally be “halt” and “stand”. Riding without a bit can be an enjoyable experience for both horse and rider. In certain cases, as with Thomas, it’s the only option people can turn to when faced with certain physical or behavioral problems in their horses. Provided you keep safety in mind and ease your horse into the transition, he can perform just as well bitless as he did bitted. equine wellness



for stress by Nayana Morag

Horses suffer from as many causes of stress as we do. Many common problems are symptoms of stress, from separation anxiety to sweet itch. Aromatherapy is an easy and effective way to help calm him.


s Beau stepped off the trailer and surveyed his new surroundings, he began to call frantically. His stress escalated when no familiar whinnies greeted him, and he started to paw and push into his handler and become difficult to handle. Once in a stall, he didn’t settle but continued to call and walk the front of his stall. His handler felt helpless, not knowing how to alleviate his stress – she had been hoping for an easy transition to their new facility.

What is stress?

The “stress response” is a physiological cascade, triggered by anything perceived as a threat – physical or emotional, real or imagined. The hypothalamus causes the sympathetic nervous system to release adrenalin and other related hormones, which propel the body into a state of arousal. Metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and muscle tension all increase, blood vessels to the skin are constricted, and digestion


equine wellness

©Looby | Dreamstime.com (page 20)

In order to understand how we can reduce stress in horses, we must first understand what it is and how it manifests. Stress is not just a mental phenomenon that produces behavioral problems. It is a physical response to perceived danger, whether the harm is an immediate danger, such as a predator, change of home, or something that upsets the body’s healthy balance, such as confinement or inappropriate food.

stops. The stress response also suppresses the immune system and inhibits short-term memory, concentration, and rational thought, while storing impressions in the emotionally loaded long-term memory. This response is designed to give a short sharp boost when danger is present, preparing the body to fight or flee. This is followed by another release of hormones that stimulate the relaxation response once the stressor has gone, inducing feelings of euphoria. Stress becomes “bad” when stressful situations are not short-lived and the urge to act (to fight or flee) must be suppressed, such as with a horse in a stable. Chronic stress leads to a wide variety of problems, from overreacting to things such as a move, to serious illness. Because the stress response has an impact on many bodily systems, if it does not turn off, the body never returns to “normal” and physical problems result.

The stress response is an essential function, without which we wouldn’t survive very long. A healthy stress response system is important and beneficial.

Identifying stress Some horses develop behaviors easily recognized as a stress response, such as stall-walking, cribbing and weaving. All these are stereotypical (an exaggerated or misplaced version of a naturally occurring behavior when that behavior is denied). Fearfulness and/or aggression are also signs of stress. But there are other indicators that can be easily overlooked, such as scratching and rubbing, bumping into you, “ticklishness”, lack of concentration or playfulness, running away, pawing and lack of eye contact.

Many horses

live with low levels of chronic stress and do not exhibit behavior humans consider abnormal. With these horses, stress is more likely to manifest in the body. The skin, the body’s largest organ, is often the first place to manifests signs of a system overloaded by stress. Common early signs are increased sensitivity to flies or midges, slow-healing wounds, poor quality coat and hooves, or fungal infections. If the stress is not reduced at this stage it is likely to move deeper into the body and start to affect internal organs, such as the digestive or circulatory systems. This often leads to colic, soft tissue damage, or mystery lameness. Chronic stress can also manifest as tumors or sarcoids, coughs, colds and allergies. Weight

Stress reduction the APA way

Stress is a natural part of life. We cannot and should not try to get rid of it completely, but it is a question of balance. As with sound financial management, if you make a demand on the account, then you must also make a deposit. Animal PsychAromatica (APA) uses three basic tools to reduce stress.


Essential oils and other aromatics balance the body and mind, increase immune responsiveness, relieve past trauma and encourage general relaxation.


Species-specific management and a natural lifestyle and diet reduce psychological, physiological and environmental stress.


Educating the human about her horse’s needs and how horse and human can communicate more clearly reduces stress for both partners.

equine wellness


Essential oils for equine stress Oil


Angelica root

Strengthens nerves, calms hysteria, clears early trauma, immune stimulant, especially for those who have developed behaviors after a trauma in early life


Uplifting, calms mood swings, antidepressant, especially good for horses who have a high worm burden or growths/ tumours of any kind

(angelica archangelica)

(Citrus bergamia)


Relaxing, steadies nerves in times of change, gives inner strength, good for skin, hair loss, and weak backs

(Cedrus Atlantica)

Chamomile roman

Calming, good for the constitutionally nervous and horses prone to tantrums, especially if they have itchy skin or diarrhea when nervous

(anthemis nobilis)


Good for those who have fear of known things, claustrophobia and stereotypical behaviors rooted in the past, especially if they have breathing problems, dry skin or a tendency to diarrhea

loss, or an inability to gain weight, are also signs of stress. A guardian who is alert to her horse will notice any changes in behavior, attitude or movement, find out what the cause is, and remove the stressor before it can develop into a more serious health problem.

Essential oils to the rescue Essential oils have a wide range of actions, and can act as a sedative, nerve tonic, immune stimulant, relaxant and soother. Almost all essential oils reduce stress and increase immune responsiveness, working simultaneously on body and mind.

(Boswellia carterii)

(pelargonium graveolens var Heritier)


(jasminum grandiflora)

Euphoric, helps calm and centre, calms the stomach, especially good for horses who push others around when nervous or who bully inferiors


Generally calming, overcomes shyness and nervous anxiety, especially good for horses who show restlessness or seek constant reassurance


Good for nervous anxiety, depression, loss of a companion, pain taken to the heart, stress-related colic, especially good for horses who have recently moved or have to be confined

(lavandula angustifolia)

(Citrus aurantium)


(Rosa damascene)


Heals the heart, releases resentful anger, allows self-acceptance/forgiveness, especially good for temperamental mares

Sedative, soothing, calms and relieves pressure, especially good for really fearful animals who take flight easily

(Nardostachys jatamansi)


(vetiveria zizanoides)


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“The oil of tranquillity”, gives inner strength, very grounding, especially good for clumsy horses that bump into you and don’t know where their feet are

Any behavior

that is

abnormal for a particular horse is a symptom of a stressed body and mind. When a horse inhales essential oil, volatile molecules enter his olfactory system, pass through the blood/brain barrier and enter the limbic system of the brain, where the stress response also originates. Essential oils use many of the same pathways as the stress response, affecting the endocrine system which then affects organ function. In fact essential oils work very much like the “off” switch for the stress response – this is why they work so well for conditions

Photos page 22: Tim Lindenbaum (Bergamot photo), Tim Waters (Cedarwood photo), Krzysztof P. Jasiutowicz (Jasmine photo), Robert Bauer (Neroli photo), Maureen Duane (Spikenard photo), Sachin Kuber (Vetiver photo).

Geranium Bourbon

Gives a feeling of inner confidence, calming, settles nerves, regulates hormones, especially good for horses with greasy skin

such as stress related skin problems, even without being applied topically. In cases of acute stress, such as Beau’s response to a change of home, essential oils can immediately calm the horse, lowering blood pressure, reducing heart rate, and generally helping the horse to focus and come back to his senses. Offering oils to a horse and allowing him to “self-medicate” further reduces stress as it puts the horse back in charge of his life. When you offer essential oils, you become attentive to your horse – you must be patient and present in order to facilitate the treatment, and follow your horse’s wishes as to how he wants to interact with the oils. And simply being together quietly builds trust and reduces stress for both horse and human.

Nayana Morag is one of the world’s foremost experts in the use of essential oils and aromatic extracts for animals.

She has

developed a system of animal wellness she calls

Animal PsychAromatica,

founded on the use of essential oils, understanding animal behaviour and the reduction of physical, environmental and psychological stress.


also works with horses and owners

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$35 CAN. 07 value) (18 issues – $1

to help them develop a positive, creative relationship based on trust and understanding.

She teaches

worldwide and also offers distance or on-site consultations, workshops

Certificate in Animal PsychAromatica. For more information, visit essentialanimals.com or email nayana@essentialanimals.com. and a professional standard

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

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

Your natural

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Stay Alert, Stay Safe! by Scot Hansen

What would you do if someone tried to attack you on the trail? These five tips will help ensure you don’t become a victim.


ave you ever wondered how you would react if someone attempted to grab your reins or pull you from the saddle while you were out trail riding? Some riders have no idea what they would do, while others simply aren’t sure if their first instinct would be the best choice.

As the saying goes, knowledge is power. And knowing what to do and when to do it can spell the difference between getting away safely, and becoming a victim. Here are five things you can do to increase your safety.

1. Be aware of

your surroundings. This includes knowing where the trails lead, and where there are alternate routes to get


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Title photo: ©Cathyclapper | Dreamstime.com (page 24)

What would you do if someone tried to grab your horse’s reins?

back to your trailer or home should you need to alter your course to avoid a confrontation. It also means making certain that you know where your cell phone works along the trail and where it doesn’t. Cell phones work in some of the strangest places, but don’t always work where we think they should. It’s important that you actually use your cell phone to make some test calls while you’re riding.

Many people

tend to drone along on a trail ride, a bit too relaxed to be able to respond if they needed to.

With so many different people using the trails, it’s difficult to know who is friend or foe. But by being aware of certain traits of predator behavior, you can improve your ability to react if needed. One of the most common behaviors a predator will use is to act overly nonchalant and friendly in an effort to get close to you before springing his trap. He will often do this by asking a simple question like, “Can I pet your horse?” There’s nothing wrong with

Allowing someone to pet your horse puts them in a perfect position to grab you or your reins.

telling someone that they can’t pet your horse. It isn’t unfriendly, it isn’t rude, and you can always change your mind if you feel it’s safe to do so. It’s better to slow things down and assess the situation with additional dialogue than to assume everything is fine and let a total stranger approach you.

2. Trust your instincts and act on them. At one time or another, we’ve all had the feeling that something wasn’t right with a situation or person. This is a self-preservation equine wellness


One of the most common

behaviors a predator will use is to act overly nonchalant and friendly in an effort to get close to you before springing his trap.

mechanism designed to keep us safe. It’s the same sense that your horse, dog, cat or any wild animal uses to protect herself. This very sensation is also the one most common for a human to disregard. Don’t ignore your instincts. It’s your first early warning sign that indicates you may need to react, and gives you time to ensure that you’re prepared. Acknowledging this feeling doesn’t mean you have to ride around on the edge of your saddle. It simply means you’re going to be alert and vigilant.

3. Be prepared and know what to do. This is crucial to your well being. Remember, however, that your preparation isn’t only about you – it’s about your horse, too. One of the most important things you can do for you and your horse is to become an alert and active rider. Many people tend to drone along on a trail ride, a bit too relaxed to be able to respond if they needed to. At the moment you or your horse “smells” trouble, you need to ride like you know how to handle your horse. This includes asking your horse to stop and start, pick up the pace of his walk, cross the trail from one side to the other if it’s wide enough, and maybe even turn around and ride in the other direction for a few strides.

One of the most common misconceptions is that you can ride your horse right over the human predator. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, and even horses that will drive cattle, run into an object, and seemingly go wherever their riders point them, won’t always go into or over a human. One of the most obvious reasons is that we spend so much of our time teaching horses not to walk on us or other people – to respect human space.

5. Learn effective techniques to be

safe and use your horse to help you. For many riders, the first reaction to escape a bad situation is to gallop away from or past the human predator. A fast gallop may put you in even more danger. For one thing, you may gallop around a bend in the trail and come face to face with an innocent hiker coming in the other direction. You’d better know that you can stop your horse on a dime if this happens, as it would be terrible to collide into a hiker, or worse yet, a couple of children.

Learn and practice specific self defense techniques that will keep you safe. Learn how to maintain your balance and retain your seat. Learn how and when to use strikes or kicks so you can do it safely and not put yourself in more danger by being Galloping away from a predator may easily taken off your horse. Learn how to put you in even more danger. By taking these simple steps, you’ve use your horse to help defeat an attack. accomplished more than you may realize. Work with him and train him to respond Not only does this get you thinking, but it also gets your horse in a crisis situation. Doing so will help you both be prepared thinking. Most importantly, it gets your horse listening to your for the worst, and get away safely and unharmed. cues and aids. When you’ve been riding at the walk in a relaxed manner for awhile, it will take longer for your horse to interpret and respond to your sudden cues. Even if he reacts quickly, he may simply be startled and not respond correctly. Scot Hansen is a natural horseman and retired mounted police officer, and has trained both riders

4. Know the capabilities of your horse. It’s also critical that you know what your horse would do in a stressful situation. Many riders think they know how their horse would react if trouble arises. However, time and again, riders in my Self Defense for Trail Riders clinics have discovered their horses won’t do what they thought they would.


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and horses to work the streets.

His award-winning Self Defense for Trail Riders clinics and training

video have been widely accepted as the principal resource for safe trail riding and self protection.

He has extensive

knowledge of how horses think and learn, and offers professional

Thinking Horsemanship and other topics Find out more at HorseThink.com. To ask about hosting a clinic in your area, call 425-830-6260 or e-mail Sandy@HorseThink.com. training and clinics in

for both adult riders and youths.

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Fish oil is not the first supplement most riders think of when creating their horse’s feed program, but it may be one of the more beneficial things you can offer your equine.


hen you think about a horse’s diet and feed program, I’m sure fish oil is not at the top of your list. It seems to still be a fairly new concept for many, and is often met with a look of skepticism – horses are herbivores, after all, so meat and fish are not common equine fare. But it really isn’t all that new. Icelandic horses, a small, hardy breed native to Iceland and descended from Mongolian horses,


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have been eating fish for a long time, likely since domestication. They didn’t catch the fish themselves, of course, but were provided with barrels of “free-choice” salted fish in their winter pastures when other food and forage became scarce. Now I don’t think many of us relish the idea of giving our horses a nice salty herring with their evening grain. Thankfully, you can buy fish oil supplements for horses that can be added as a top dress to grain. Fish oil is the fat from fish, and doesn’t contain fish protein.

Understanding EFAs Essential fatty acids (EFAs) have become all the rage in human diets, and that has spilled over into animal diets as well. Essential fatty acids are “good fats” (polyunsaturated), and are necessary and mandatory for many body functions, including brain function, cellular repair, and immune, cardiovascular and reproductive support. They must come from your diet, as the body cannot produce them on its own. Omegas 3 and 6 are the two families of EFAs.

Title Image: ©Klikk | Dreamstime.com (page 28), Left: ©Chode | Dreamstime.com (page 29), Top right: ©Panaroid | Dreamstime.com (page 29).

Corn oil

Omegas over time

Before domestication, horses consumed omegas 3 and 6 in approximately a 1:1 to 4:1 ratio, from their diet of free-choice herbs, forage and occasional grains. Once we began putting horses to work, we started looking for ways to add energy and bloom to them. Riders began to add corn oil to the feed as a common top dress. It is still very common to feed corn oil to horses, particularly in show and race barns. While it certainly works, it throws off the balance of omega-3 to omega-6 significantly. Omega-6 is the most prevalent omega in today’s complete feeds, due to vegetable oils (most commonly corn oil) and its prevalence in cereal grains (i.e. corn, wheat). Omega-3 is expensive and difficult to add to feeds, given its propensity to become rancid when exposed to the air. Omegas 3 and 6 should essentially be fed in balance with one another. Omega-3 fights inflammation while omega-6 promotes it, so if more omega-6 is being ingested, then the beneficial effects are lost. Both horses and humans are typically omega-3 deficient due to our modern diets.

The human balance of omegas should be approximately two to four times omega-6 to 3, but it tends to be 14 to 25 times more omega-6 to 3. “The point to be made is that the food industry has created fatty acid imbalances through the overuse of less expensive fatty acids and partially hydrogenated oils in manufactured food/feeds that can be harmful to both horses and humans,” writes Dr. Bo Martenson in Good for You, Even Better for Horses! “Some horse owners actually compound the negative effects by adding corn oil to the horse’s diet thinking that it offers a beneficial source of energy.”

Omega-3 Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid found in fish, certain plants and nut oils. It provides extra calories in a beneficial and highly useable form. It plays a vital role in cellular repair and formation, brain function, growth and development. It reduces inflammation and improves calcium deposit and bone strength. Omega-3 has been proven to help horses with stomach ulcers, arthritis, allergies, auto-immune diseases, hoof quality, reproduction, joint health, laminitis, respiratory issues and more. It also decreases the risk of colic and pulmonary bleeding.

Omega-6 Omega-6 is another polyunsaturated fatty acid that assists with brain function, growth and development, and is found mainly in plant and grain oils. However, it also promotes inflammation, and can lend to the development of inflammatory diseases if the level of omega-6 greatly overtakes that of omega-3. “Too much omega-6 and too little omega-3 fatty acids has been recognized as a major predisposing cause of the degenerative changes observed in arthritic horses,” writes Dr. Martenson. “In cases of arthritis with cartilage degradation, there is found high concentrations of omega-6 fatty acid derivates creating inflammatory mediators. Two of these mediators, PGE2 equine wellness


Fish or corn? Want proof that fish oil is good for your horse? A study conducted at the University of Kentucky in 2007 involved two groups of horses who were given either fish oil or corn oil (324 mg/kg of body weight) for 63 days. All the 13 horses also received regular exercise. The results? Horses receiving fish oil had greater concentrations of EPA, DHA and omega 3 fatty acids, decreased concentrations of omega-6 fatty acids, and lower serum triglycerides. As well, the horses ingesting corn oil actually had higher concentrations of serum cholesterol by the end of the study; there was no change in the horses consuming fish oil.


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and LTB4, are considered the prime culprits in instigating the inflammation process in arthritis.” That doesn’t mean omega-6 is the “bad guy”. It is still essential. Inflammatory responses have their place and are necessary – you want to see inflammation when your horse injures himself, because it will draw your attention to the injury and aid in the healing process. The problem arises when omega-3 and 6 become so out of balance that the body gets confused and sometimes turns on itself, resulting in issues such as arthritis and auto-immune diseases.

Omega-3 significantly reduces inflammation without causing damage to the gut like NSAIDs can. Sources of Omega-3 So why not feed something like flax to your horse as a source of omega-3? This is where things get a little technical. The body best utilizes omega-3 in long-chain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) form. Omega-3 from flax consists of short-chain alpha-linolenic acids (ALA) that must be converted to the long-chain acids in order to be useful. And too much omega-6 hinders the conversion of ALA to DHA/EPA. This is not the case with fish oil, as no conversion is necessary. Canola and soy oils are better than flax in this respect, but still have a higher percentage of omega-6 than is ideal. Any natural source of omegas is beneficial to your horse. But if you want the most bang for your buck, fish oil will help provide him with the omega-3s so sorely lacking in most modern feed programs, and in a highly available and useable form.

Heads up Safe starch Hoof it Proper hoof balance is essential to health and performance. The Hoof Wizard helps you align your horse’s hooves in harmony with his legs. This specially designed tool assesses proper hoof balance from the top down. This means it’s no longer necessary to resort to the traditional ground-up way, using stance and ground surface, and often in an undesirable work environment, with results that are inconsistent and unreliable. Made of durable neoprene, the Hoof Wizard lasts a lifetime and provides repeatable and consistent results. hoofwizard.com

Make him a hero Does your horse have chronic sore feet, a cresty neck or laminitis? HEIRO helps fight these symptoms, reaches to the root of the problem, and gets your horse back on grass pasture where she belongs. Developed by Frank Reilly, DVM, the Healthy Equine Insulin Rescue Organical (HEIRO) supplement was created to treat the growing number of horses suffering from chronic sore feet and the high insulin levels contributing to these problems. The 100% all-natural blend of USDA certified organic herbs helps control insulin to get your horse out of the stable and back on grass pasture faster. horsehealthusa.com

Too much starch in a horse’s diet can disrupt his metabolism. Nutrena SafeChoice helps reduce the risk of metabolic imbalance related to high starch intake. It contains high levels of digestible fiber, calorie-rich fats and quality protein for healthy digestion and reliable performance. It also includes processed grains to enhance starch digestion and replenish glycogen stores, added yeast cultures and direct-fed microbials to support fiber and protein digestion, and organic complexed trace minerals for increased mineral absorption. SafeChoice is pelleted to enhance nutrient digestibility. nutrenaworld.com.

After effects

Some vaccines are necessary, but it’s important to know what potential side effects to look for. They can include: •Muscle soreness or swelling around the site of the vaccine •Mild fever •Loss of appetite •Lack of energy If these symptoms last more than a day, or if the horse develops colic, hives or difficulty breathing, call your veterinarian right away. equine wellness


Heads up To the finish line A holistic approach means taking the whole body into consideration when improving health and performance. Finish Line Horse Products introduces its new Total Control and Total Control Plus all-in-one supplements. Total Control is a combination of five of the company’s best-selling products and is formulated to support your horse’s joints, feet, coat, digestive system, blood and hydration. Total Control Plus does the same, but also provides support for capillary health in performance horses. finishlinehorse.com

By leaps and bounds In response to requests from consumers and retailers, Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals has developed four new products to add to their best-selling line of herbal-based liquid nutraceutical formulations. The company has formulated and manufactured liquid nutraceuticals for the equine trades since 2001 when it offered four products for equine consumption. In just eight years, the equine division of Omega Alpha has grown to over 35 products, and also offers products – including the four new ones – for dogs, cats and other small animals. oapharma.com


equine wellness

Smart thinking SmartPak Equine, provider of the daily-dose SmartPak supplement service, has been named the Official Supplement Feeding System of the American Quarter Horse Association. Additionally, two SmartPak SmartSupplements join the team of official AQHA products. SmartSox, which supports proper blood low in the hoof, has been named the Official Hoof Soreness Supplement of AQHA, while SmartTendon, which promotes strong and resilient tendons and ligaments, has been named the Official Tendon Support Supplement. SmartPakWestern.com

Going the extra mile It’s a first! The equine production facility of Cattleman’s Choice Loomix, LLC in Johnstown, Colorado has become the first to be completely dedicated to the manufacture of equine health products certified by the Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program administered by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA). This certification means the facility demonstrates and ensures continuous improvements in delivering safe, wholesome equine health products for the growth and care of horses, and ensures the highest standards in manufacturing and processing. cellarator.com

On the

Start trimming your foal early and you’ll set him up for a lifetime of soundness.

by Linda Cowles


hat’s the best age to start trimming foals?” It’s a question I hear a lot as foaling season approaches.

Photo: ©Bimmergirl | Dreamstime.com

In the wild, foals have to start moving with the herd within hours of birth, and their feet quickly adapt to the terrain. Domestic foals typically live in cushy pastures or paddocks, so foals can develop long toes, club heels or medial-lateral imbalance due to crooked baby legs. I perform the first trim when foals are a few days old. That way, I know I am doing all I can to give them the best start possible for a lifetime of soundness. It’s also important to control any hoof imbalances while the foal’s joints and muscles are developing. What could end up being a severe club foot can, if managed regularly, be a normal hoof. I request that all clients have their foals vet-checked as early as possible, so that both the veterinarian and I are aware of their initial condition. Occasionally, a foal has a serious physical imbalance

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in a foot, or has crooked legs, and it’s good to have a vet monitor his progress.

The first trim My primary objective with the first trim is to accustom the colt to my touch, and teach him to stand on three legs when asked. I run my hands all over the baby, touching every inch of skin, and lift each foot. Most foals have itchy hindquarters and withers, so I teach them that scratches are rewards. I don’t feed treats because it gets horses agitated and makes them impatient, and this is even more likely with foals. They love to be scratched, though, so for the first trim or two, I often have the owner stand with a tail brush and softly scratch the withers as I work. This can have such good results that I get the feet picked up and checked without any resistance.

These feet belong to a three-week-old filly.

Investing in the future I trim foals at their dams’ sides for no charge until they are three or four months old, as long as the owner does some handling in between trims to keep the youngster tame. If an older foal becomes undisciplined, I ask the client to work on more intensive handling, or to consider paying me for the trimming. Most clients are eager to keep me trimming for free. Babies need regular handling to stay compliant. Ideally, that handling should be done quietly yet quickly, so as to not stress their very short attention spans. Youngsters’ hooves can be handled in less than five minutes (for all four feet), and if that’s done three or four times a week, it’s great training for the future.

Even a regularly handled foal tends to squirm and resist trimming; I don’t expect juveniles to have perfect manners.

Offering clients free baby trimming is an incentive for them to invest time in handling, and ensures these young horses grow up with great feet and manners.


equine wellness

This colt was six months old before he got his first trim.

Once I’ve picked up all four feet, I use the fine side of the rasp to once or twice rasp the tip of each toe, very lightly. Days-old foal feet are very sensitive, so that’s all I do. The point is to get him familiar with the vibration. I’m not trying to remove any wall; it’s all about training at this point.

Restraining young horses I was taught to use a figure-eight butt and chest rope to restrain foals. For the first trim, I use a cotton lead rope that starts behind the withers, runs down the shoulder, across the front of the chest, crosses back over the withers, below the buttocks (and above the hocks) and ends up back at the withers. The handler can use the crossover point like a handle to keep the baby from lunging forward or backward.

Trimming is great training. Your tiny foal will quickly become a reactive weanling, and then a powerful yearling. Teaching him to relax for trimming is a basis for future training.

When I’m restraining older foals, I like to work in a pipe stall with their dams. I take ten minutes to teach them simple yield-to-pressure aids until they drop their heads a few inches and yield forward when softly urged to do so. I use lots of scratching and vocal encouragement to communicate my approval. To start the trimming, I run the lead from the halter over a smooth bar (like a pipe stall rail) and back to me. I never tie young horses! The lead is just to keep the foal somewhat straight until I pick a hoof up. Once the foot is up, I drop my end of the rope close to where I can get it quickly if the youngster moves away.

Getting a good start on your youngster’s handling and trimming will make things infinitely easier as he or she gets older. A good attentive trimmer can help correct and prevent any imbalance issues that may arise, helping to guarantee your equine friend will lead a healthy, sound life. That’s all anyone wants for their youngster!

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

W NDER HOOF Over 50% New Growth in 60 D

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When training becomes trimming Some colts have a bit of toe length or high heel to trim at one month old; it depends on the individual. One client has a stallion with a significant club, and we’ve been able to keep his foals balanced by gently working with their feet every two weeks. I have several youngsters who were knock-kneed for the first month or two. Slightly thinning the lateral (outside) wall at the base (from less than ¼” down to the ground) allows that edge to wear at the same rate as the medial (inside) wall. This ensures the coffin bone doesn’t become distorted by the unequal pressures of the wall.

Determining a schedule I trim young horses on a normal five-week schedule,

Before 100% New Growth in Approximately 120 Days*



Elapsed time approximately 120 days with Farrier Assistance*

I trim the majority of my horses at liberty or with a “ground-tied” lead rope. I’ve found horses generally behave better when it’s just the two of us, with no handler. I suspect this is because horses are easily distracted, and having a handler gives them a “toy”, someone to pester. If it’s just me, alone, they often relax or go to sleep.

similar to mature horses. If the young horse remains easy to handle, and if I have other horses to trim at that location, I offer discount rates until the horse is two years old, and sometimes older.


Even though I use a rope, I instruct the handler to keep it slack whenever possible to get some of that first trim done at liberty.


Growth in 60 Days* For more information and orders please call 866-939-2556 or visit us at :

www.wunderhoof.com or email contact@wunderhoof.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.

Photo: Jeff Kirkbride Photography


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The horse:

TS Black Tie Affair (Black Tie) Age: 19 years Breed/Ancestry: Double registered, half Arabian and Pinto Physical description: 14.3hh black and white tobiano pinto stallion

Discipline: All around show horse, competitive trail and working trail horse, but is best known for his high schooled exhibition tricks.

Owner/Guardian: Jan Sharp

Awards & accomplishments: Black Tie is a 22-time Pinto World & Reserve World Champion, two-time Pinto World Show High Point Champion and Pinto Supreme Champion. He’s won 30 ROM and ROE awards, and multiple competitive and working trail horse championships.

Natural care principles and positive results seen: “Despite being a show horse, Black Tie lives outside 24/7, weather permitting. He has a run-in shed and is quite happy outside. When the weather turns cold, he has a waterproof blanket to keep him snug. People always comment on how calm my Arabians are – it’s because they are allowed to be horses, outside in a small herd, always free to move around. Black Tie is kept barefoot as much as possible. If he is going to be somewhere where the footing might be slippery, like inside a building with polished floors, he has rubber shoes or hoof boots that he wears. He receives a simple diet of pasture, timothy hay, a free choice vitamin/mineral supplement, and a small amount of grain. He is very chemical sensitive, so I make sure that all his things are kept as natural as possible, even his saddle blanket must be cotton or natural fleece. Living natural promotes a healthier body and mind.”

Tell us more: “In addition to his show and breeding career, Black Tie has spent the last 16 years performing tricks in-hand, under saddle, and at liberty. I use him and his tricks as a

equine wellness


unique way to educate children (and adults) about horses, how to be kind to animals, and how life’s problems aren’t always solved in 30 minutes like they are on TV, and do it in an entertaining and fun way. He has performed his tricks for expos, fairs, rodeos, schools, church groups, horse shows, and at many charity events. “I swear Black Tie was a person in a past life. He loves to show off in the pasture, but when he’s standing amid children for a petting session after his performances, he closes his eyes and doesn’t move a hair while hundreds of little hands pat his face.”

How did you acquire him?: “Black Tie was three years old and just started under saddle when I looked at him. The vet who did his prepurchase exam warned me that the owner was afraid of him, and he’d been known to come after her on his hind legs. I train trick horses and many of them are rescues or problem horses, so I wasn’t afraid of a challenge. “I started teaching my horses tricks simply for something to do with horses that were too young to ride. Then I discovered that it was a unique way to teach them to be obedient, submissive (light to the aids), confident, and relaxed, and for both of us to have fun at the same time. As I came up the ranks in the show world, I became more and more unhappy with the unnatural way so many horses were Black Tie loves performing for crowds of all ages.

treated. Being a show horse often means being stall bound, over fed and under exercised, not to mention being ridden too young, the unnatural shoeing, and often times harsh training practices. What makes me the maddest is seeing show horses ridden at younger and younger ages. I don’t start my horses under saddle until they are at least four, but I see people riding yearlings. I wanted to show, but I didn’t want to do so at the expense of my horses. I decided long ago that my horses were going to live and be cared for as naturally as possible. That led me to getting involved in using Black Tie and his tricks as an educational tool and it sure hasn’t hurt us in the show ring.”

Goals: “I am going to keep listening to my horses and to stay involved with children’s educational programs. In my own small way, I hope that I am influencing future generations of horse owners by introducing them to a better way of taking care of horses.”

Advice: “A horse is no better than his home. Treat him the way you would want to be treated. When you see things through his eyes, you will always want to do what’s best for him.”

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.


equine wellness

Crash course

No matter how confident you are around your horse, taking safety precautions is the only sure way to prevent accidents.

by Kelly Howling


he number of riders who resist wearing even the most basic safety gear while around horses always surprises me. I liken it to driving without a seatbelt, and find the excuse of “it will never happen to me, I trust my horse” to be rather ridiculous. Being around a 1,000-pound animal with a mind of his own can get you into some risky situations, and the statistics prove it. A recent Canadian study showed that:

Photo: ©Djk | Dreamstime.com

•Horseback riders are at more risk than motorcycle riders when it comes to serious injuries. •Experienced riders on well trained horses have more severe accidents. Just because you know what you’re doing doesn’t mean you don’t need to take precautions. • Head and chest injuries are the most serious, as a result of the combined height/speed of falls.

• Of the riders who sustained/reported injuries, only 9% were wearing helmets. • Studied deaths were directly related to head trauma. • Falls from a height of just two feet can result in permanent brain damage. A horse puts us much higher than that. It is hard to go long in this sport without hearing of one accident or another. Some of these riders are no longer with us. Others have reformed themselves in how they go about protecting themselves, and even more are glad for the equipment that prevented fatal injuries.

Head first These days, there really is no excuse not to wear a helmet. They come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, styles and price ranges. There are helmets tailored to

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Whatever helmet you choose, it should be ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)/SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) certified (in Canada and the U.S.). Beyond that, your own preferences and riding discipline will heavily influence your choice. Be sure you find a helmet that fits you well – don’t just choose the one you think looks nicest. Pretty doesn’t keep your head safe! Most tack shops should have someone capable of fitting a helmet to you. Some feel so strongly about providing this safety-conscious service that they will not sell you a helmet unless you come in for a fitting. When trying on helmets: •Wear your hair as you intend to while you ride. If you have longer hair that you wear up under your helmet, be sure to do this when you try on helmets – the extra bulk will affect the fit.

•The helmet should fit snugly, but not so snug that it gives you a headache. Wiggle the helmet side to side and back and forth (nod “yes” and “no” vigorously). Your eyebrows/scalp should move with the helmet. •The harness and chin strap should be snug; you should be able to fit one finger under the chin strap. Helmets should be replaced every three to four years, or after a bad fall. It does not matter if you cannot see any outward signs of damage to your helmet after an impact – replace it anyhow. An impact degrades the integrity of the material inside the helmet.

Best foot forward It is important to wear an appropriate pair of riding boots when around horses. Tennis shoes and sandals don’t cut it! A riding boot will protect your feet somewhat if you get stepped on, not to mention help prevent you from getting caught up in a stirrup and dragged during a fall. As with helmets, riding boots come in an array of discipline specific materials and colors, and a wide range of prices. There is something for everyone – I have it on good authority that you can even get pink sparkly cowgirl boots with light-up stars. Your boot should have a heel no less than 1” high, to prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup. Most will range between 1” and 2”. Also take a look at the sole/tread – you want something that will give you some, but not too much, grip in the stirrup.

To fit a helmet properly make sure the brim rests 1.5” to 2” above your eyebrows

•Place the helmet level on your head – do not tip the visor up or down. Many people try to wear their helmet as they would a baseball cap, and this is incorrect. The brim of the helmet should rest 1.5” to 2” above your eyebrows – if it does not rest here naturally, the helmet does not fit.


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There is some debate about whether typical steel toed boots are appropriate for equine activity. You can get riding-specific steel toed boots that meet the applicable ratings and certifications.

Invest in safety Safety vests are meant to absorb impact, such as from a kick or fall, and distribute it over a wider area. They protect your chest, sides, back and tailbone, though they cannot prevent all injuries.

Top left: ©Trosamange | Dreamstime.com (page 40), Bottom left: ©Crystalcraig | Dreamstime.com (page 40) Right: ©Kobby_dagan | Dreamstime.com (page 40), Top left: ©Tbroucek | Dreamstime.com (page 41).

every discipline; there’s even a new one for Western riders that mimics a cowboy hat. In my experience, though, quite a few Western riders want to go without a helmet, opting instead for the more traditional cowboy hat. Even many English Improperly fitted helmet. riders make the unfortunate presumption that they don’t need to wear a helmet unless they are jumping over fences.

Your boot

should have a heel no less than 1” high, to

prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup. Most

will range between 1” and 2”.

The vests come in a number of different colors, and are made with different materials, such as high density foam or Kevlar, depending on the maker. Vests are meant to be comfortable, lightweight, breathable, and still allow you a full range of motion while riding. While they can be somewhat pricey, they save lives, so it’s worth the investment. Fit depends on the type of vest, and safety certification types/levels vary from brand to brand, so do a bit of research before you shop. The investment you make in basic riding safety gear is minimal – and the advantages are great. Ensure you are around for a good long time to enjoy your equine partner by doing what you can to protect yourself from serious injury. You’d do it for your horse, so do it for yourself too!

Hot tip Parents commonly have a tough time finding helmets to fit small children. Some products to consider include: •Tipperary Sportage (XS) •GPA Jimpi Kid’s Helmet •Aegis Juvenile Helmet

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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


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


Richard Drewry Harrison, AR USA Phone: (870) 429-5739

Dave Thorpe Vernon, BC Canada Phone: (250) 549-4703 Lone Pine Ranch Bruce Goode, AANHCP Practitioner Vernon, BC Canada Phone: (250) 545-6948 Email: lonepinehorse@yahoo.com Website: hooftrack.com Non-invasive natural hoof care Custom hoof boot fitting services


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

Serving southern CA

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

Jolly Roger Holman Professional Farrier/Natural Hoof Care Templeton, CA USA Phone: (805) 227-4835

Serving Chico to Redding area secondhearthoofcare@yahoo.com

Diane Brown Lumby, BC Canada Phone: (250) 547-6391

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

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

Michael Moran Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235



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

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

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

Christina Cline Abbottsford, BC Canada Phone: (604) 835-1700

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

Serving Sacramento and the Gold Country

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

Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide

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


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


Sound Horse Systems Anne Daimier Deland, FL USA Phone: (386) 822-4564 Website: soundhorsesystems.com 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


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


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


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


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


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


Bruce Nock Warrenton, MO USA Phone: (314) 740-5847 Website: 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



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

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

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


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

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

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 an rehabilitation of all hoof problems.

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Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com Website: hoofkeeping.com Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: joe@naturalhoofconcepts.com Website: naturalhoofconcepts.com


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

Natural barefoot hoof care; specializing in pathologic hoof rehab

Bruce Smith Raleigh, NC USA Phone: (919) 624-2585 Email: 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


Serendales Farm Equine Hoofcare Services Brian & Virginia Knox Campbellford, ON Canada Phone: (705) 653-5989 Email: serendales@accel.net Website: serendalesmorgans.com Barefoot Horse Canada.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.

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



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


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


Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Website: maryannkennedy.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

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: windhorse-creations.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



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


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Eddie Drabek

Barefoot Hoof Trimming – Schools & Education — Wellness Resource Guide Eddie Drabek El Campo, TX USA Phone: (979) 578-8913 Website: drabekhoofcare.com

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

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

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


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 Trimming, Hoof Clinic & Equine Wellness Center

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

Have faith in the healing powers of nature

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

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

Laminitis, arthritis, general health & wellness.

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



Powerflow, LLC Jennifer McDermott, RMT Equine Reiki Guilford, CT USA 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!


T R EEstablished E T1991O P S Equine and Canine Massage Certification Programs ! Pet First Aid Training

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

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equine wellness


From Agony to ecstasy

“Bit” confused? Taking the mystery out of bits involves understanding there are really only two basic types. by Bob Jeffreys & Suzanne Sheppard


hat bit should I use on my horse? How do snaffles and shank bits differ? Does a joint in the bit mouthpiece mean it’s a snaffle? Are shank bits really harsher than snaffles?

We’d like to offer some useful guidelines so you can make an educated choice based on good solid facts, rather than just guessing or doing what everyone else does without knowing why.

These are just a few common questions riders ask about bits. There’s so much contradictory information out there, and so many different types, shapes, sizes, designs and even materials to choose from, that it can be really hard to decide what’s best for your horse. It’s no wonder so many of us are confused!

The good news is there are truly only two types of bit. Yes, that right. There are only two separate categories into which every bit will fall: snaffle or shank. We can best define these two types by how they work.

1. Snaffle bit There are many variations of snaffle, including full cheek, D ring, O ring and eggbutt, but they all belong to the snaffle bit category. Simply put, snaffles apply pressure on the corners of the horse’s mouth, and are designed to be used when riding two handed, one side at a time. Snaffles are used to teach and “soften” your horse.

Sometimes people use chin straps on snaffles, not to create leverage but to keep the bit from sliding through the horse’s mouth.

When used correctly, a snaffle exerts very little pressure, if any, on the tongue or poll. Snaffles have no shanks, so the reins attach right next to the mouthpiece on both sides of the bit. This is important because it means snaffles do not employ leverage; in other words, the amount of pressure you apply to the reins with a snaffle bit is exactly the amount of pressure the horse feels. Many snaffles have a joint in the center, and are referred to as “jointed” or “broken”. There are also variations such


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Eggbutt French link snaffle bit

Eggbutt Happy Mouth, single joint snaffle bit

as the “French link snaffle” or the “Dr. Bristol snaffle”, which add a third piece in the center to further isolate the right directional pull from the left. However, a broken mouthpiece does not define a bit as a snaffle, and several snaffle designs have no joint but what is referred to as a “solid” mouthpiece.

Snaffles are for teaching, and shank bits are for trained horses that understand what you want.

2. Shank bit

Horse photo: ©Djk | Dreamstime.com (page 47)

Regardless of its size, if a bit has shanks and employs a curb strap or chain, then it is a shank or “curb” bit. A shank bit works differently from a snaffle in that it adds pressure to the chin groove as well as the horse’s poll. Some specialized mouthpieces also alter the pressure on the tongue and roof of the mouth, instead of the corners of the horse’s mouth. The shank itself is the piece that runs from the mouthpiece down to where the reins attach. The longer the shank, the stronger the potential leverage. The pressure may be increased by two, five or even ten times the amount exerted by the rider’s hands on the reins. The purchase is the part that attaches to the headstall and runs to the mouthpiece; the longer the purchase, the more poll pressure when the reins are engaged by the rider.

Dee ring lozenge snaffle bit

Dee ring snaffle bit, Single joint with copper rollers

Whether the shank bit is solid, broken, has a high, medium or low port, or no port at all, it is still a shank bit. Curb bits are considered advanced bits, and should only be used on well-trained horses by appropriate riders. When used correctly, a shank bit provides “power steering or “power brakes”, instantly yielding the “headset”, turn or stop you want with the lightest pressure from your hands on the reins. They are useful for one-handed riding, but not a good choice for training the young or uneducated horse. Why? Because if the horse doesn’t already understand the signal from the bit, it’s impossible for him to respond quickly and correctly as you begin to employ the reins. The bit signal (which is multiplied by the shank) will therefore become too harsh and cause pain. Pain is not a good way to motivate any animal. It will cause the horse to stiffen up and brace against it, which in turn interferes with his ability to feel the rider’s cues. Sounds pretty counterproductive, doesn’t it? Finally, remember that bits don’t train horses; only training trains horses. And a horse will move only as well as his rider uses his legs, seat and hands.

Shank bit

Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard travel across North America teaching horse lovers how to bring out the best in their horses. Their home base is Two as One Ranch in Middletown, New York. To learn more about their unique, cross-disciplinary training methods, Two as One Horsemanship™, visit TwoasOneHorsemanship.com or call 845-692-7478.

equine wellness


Hospice by Ella Bittel, Holistic Veterinarian

for horses Taking time to say farewell.


t’s tempting to not think about it, yet so worthy of our attention well ahead of time. Your beloved horse’s end-of-life stage holds a rich share of both challenge and beauty. The latter may come as a surprise to anyone unfamiliar with caring for a dying being. True, a lot of effort is involved on several levels, including physical, emotional, logistical, and possibly also financial. Yet those who choose to provide hospice care for their horses often find it a most precious, priceless part of their lives. It’s only been around for 40 years, but hospice care for humans has undergone striking advancements. In animal care, the concept is so new that it is yet to be officially defined, and horse owners and veterinarians are only starting to become aware of its existence and possibilities.

Goals of hospice care A major goal of hospice care is to neither hasten nor prolong the dying process, while providing for the greatest


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possible comfort of the dying individual. This requires that the horse’s condition is correctly recognized as being terminal, and that medical goals are redirected from treatment for a cure to supportive or comfort care.

When a life

is at stake, what works is what counts. Euthanasia remains a last resort (for example in the case of uncontrollable pain). Hospice care instead recognizes that death is a natural part of the cycle of life, not a failed medical event, and does not have to be feared or avoided. The focus is “intensive caring” instead of “intensive care”. End-of-life care is almost always demanding, but when it comes to horses, their body size can add logistical

challenges to the equation that few have been willing to take on. Currently, most horses are euthanized months and even years before their life would end naturally if supportive or hospice care was successfully provided. Hospice care is for the dying, distinct from geriatric or special needs care. For instance, a horse unable to rise on his own due to arthritis has special needs, but physiologically is not close to dying. You may be able to count the ribs on a skinny horse with a saggy back but he may nonetheless be well taken care of and content. Remember that elderly people and animals both tend to lose much of their body weight toward the end of life. This can happen even in the presence of a hearty appetite.

When the time comes Inside the dying process, the ability to digest food often wanes, and with it the desire to eat. This can stretch over a number of days. It is helpful to realize what we know from human hospice – that usually there is simply no more experience of hunger. Later on there may also be no more thirst, and much time may be spent just resting, with the focus of the horse wandering away from the “here”, no longer paying attention to us as he gets ready for his transition. None of these occurrences are unusual for the dying process or a reason to euthanize unless pain is present and cannot be controlled on an acceptable level.

Understanding the dying process can help us to not overreact, but instead provide a calm and peaceful environment for the horse.

©Krents | Dreamstime.com (page 48)

While common patterns exist, the process of bringing a life to completion is a highly individual occurrence that can require more time than may be anticipated, especially by those unfamiliar with hospice. It may be challenging to fit into our schedules, yet giving hospice care is often experienced as a way to deepen the heartfelt bond we share with our horses, while at the same time allowing everyone involved to gradually prepare for the great change. This can greatly help ease the grieving process, as it tends to bring along a sense of completion after the horse’s passing. Continued on next page.

Ella Bittel, a German veterinarian who lives and works in California, has specialized in holistic treatment options for animals for over 20 years. Among the modalities she offers are veterinary acupuncture, chiropractic and cranioscral work, all interspersed with tteam/ttouch. Email lovingplanet@verizon.net or call 805-688-2707

equine wellness


Prevention is the name of the game

Arthritis Many of us bond with our four-legged companions so deeply that they are considered family members. As a result, it has become more and more common for dedicated dog lovers to continue to care for Rufus even if he can no longer get up on his own. If Rufus is a Chihuahua, this is lot easier than if he is a large breed dog, but in horses we are talking about hundreds of pounds surrendered to gravity. So when you start noticing your horse is getting stiffer or the hind end weaker, take action -- help is available. Herbs and supplements, chiropractic, acupuncture and other treatment modalities can greatly increase the chances of a horse living long enough to make hospice a feasible option, possibly relieving you from having to make a heartbreaking decision to end the life of a horse who still happily eats and nickers a warm hello, yet needs help rising on certain mornings. If even with our best support a horse is not able to rise on his own due to stiffness or weakness, it may still be possible with a couple of people to help him by supporting him on the halter as well as the tail.

Laminitis Laminitis can be due to various causes, but especially with its strong correlation to unsuitable feeding, it is a disease far easier prevented than treated.


equine wellness

•Overeating grass and grain remain common reasons for an acute onset of the disease. Keeping grains in locked containers and equipping feed room doors with a self-locking mechanism go a long way in keeping horses safe. •Obesity in a horse is a great risk factor, but too low a body weight can also be present with chronic laminitis. Poor shedding, frequent drinking and urinating, as well as cresty necks or fat pads on the body count as classic signs of Cushing’s disease. These can also be indicative of problems with glucose metabolism, which may play a part in bringing on and entertaining chronic laminitis. •Corticosteroids as well as stress have been linked to pre-disposing a horse for laminitis. In a suspect horse, keep checking his feet for heat and the intensity of the digital pulses, as icing of hooves and lower legs can be a very effective means to counteract a developing laminitis if caught early on. The chronic disease too may respond favorably to an individualized, comprehensive holistic treatment plan.

Colic Colic in older horses may well be the number one cause for euthanasia. Surgery is often no longer feasible and even non-surgical situations may appear unmanageable in the absence of further treatment options. Here too it may pay off to try less common approaches. Helena Bresk’s senior gelding Jasper had at times life threatening bouts of impaction colic over the course of four years, in spite of great efforts to fine-tune his feed according to his sensitivities. It was the use of enemas that finally gave Helena a tool to break the cycle. Others have success stopping their horses’ colic episodes with essential oils or homeopathy.

Top left photo: ©Farang | Dreamstime.com (page 50).

The three most common reasons for euthanasia in horses appear to be colic that’s unresponsive to treatment, laminitis, and arthritis leading to an inability to rise. This points to preventive care being of critical significance when you consider its life sustaining value. It is essential to educate ourselves on how we can prevent or limit these diseases so our horses can live out their lives to the fullest.

Holistic Veterinary advice

Talking with

Dr. Hannah Evergreen Dr. Hannah Evergreen is a graduate of Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has loved, cared for, ridden and trained horses most of her life – they are her passion. She started her own mobile veterinary practice in Monroe, Washington in December of 2004 and offers full service equine veterinary care including acupuncture, chiropractic, advanced dentistry, sports medicine and more. Find out more at evergreenholisticvet.com. Send your questions to: Holistic veterinary advice. email: info@equinewellnessmagazine.com Our veterinary columnists respond to questions in this column only. We regret we cannot respond to every question. This column is for information purposes only. It is not meant to replace veterinary care. Please consult your veterinarian before giving your horse any remedies.

Q: My new show horse is having some issues with trailering. He loads willingly, and seems to ride fine, but it is clear he stresses during the ride as he sweats profusely. He always gets a bit sweatier than other horses during work, but on the trailer he can become drenched during a 20-minute ride. I am very wary of traditional calming agents -- is there anything natural I can give him to help his nerves?

A: I agree that sweating in the trailer is likely a sign of nervousness or anxiety. Sweating can also result from poor ventilation in the trailer, and traveling on days that are too hot, but it doesn’t sound like that is the problem in your case. It’s important to address the emotional component of why your horse is nervous in the trailer. All these things must be addressed for the best results with natural calmers. • Make sure the trailer is safe and comfortable, and check for loose/clanking dividers or other objects in the trailer that could be causing anxiety, slippery footing, wasp nests, etc.

•Go for short frequent trailer rides to non-stressful locations (or just around the block a few times then back to the barn) to help decrease the association of trailering with a stressful or exciting event. •When in doubt, work with a good trainer to address your horse’s emotional needs. There are two main natural products I recommend for this type of situation. The first is a flower essence formula such as Rescue Remedy or Relax (Dynamite). These work on an emotional/energetic level to help horses through anxiety. The second is an herbal calmer called Tranquility Blend (it’s labeled for cats and dogs, so for horses, use six 12cc one to two times a day). This works very well, but it has valerian root in it so check any show regulations to see if it is approved.

Q: Is it true that the levels of cyanide in flax can harm my horse?

A: It is true that flax contains cyanide (just like corn, alfalfa, apples, etc). If fed in proper amounts, however, flax is not harmful to your horse. Studies have shown equine wellness


that high volumes of flax oil can cause diarrhea and colic signs in horses, but it is safe at the recommended levels of 1/3 to ½ cup ground flax seed per day.


A 25-year-old gelding at our farm has been having some difficulty during seasonal changes. His stool gets very loose, and he ends up quite messy and miserable. He is on a good probiotic, but is there anything else we can do for him?

supplements can help soothe his GI tract (peppermint, aloe vera, alfalfa, etc.), but start with trying to pinpoint a diagnosis. Probiotics are essential and Miracle Clay from Dynamite or Bio Sponge Clay from Platinum Performance Aloe vera can also help get the diarrhea under control. One more hint: to make his hind end easier to keep clean, use a generous amount of mineral oil or lubricating ointment in his tail, around his anus and between his hind legs.


Q: My mare had a pretty severe cold over the winter

Chronic intermittent diarrhea can be difficult to diagnose. Generally I start with a vet exam to help rule out parasites (fecal float), sand, ulcers and food allergies. All these conditions can make a horse’s GI tract more sensitive to changes, but are mostly treatable. If the gelding’s diet is changing when the seasons shift, he may simply be sensitive to food changes and needs them to be done slowly over a two to three week period (this is recommended for most horses in general). Depending on the root of the problem, some natural


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– lots of snot and coughing. Months later, she is still coughing a fair bit and her airway seems easily irritated. How long does it take for a horse’s airway to recover from this type of thing? Should I continue to take it easy with her, or is it best to build her up slowly with exercise to improve her lung capacity?

A: It is common for horses to have a reactive airway for awhile after a severe respiratory infection. Unfortunately, the longer the airway remains reactive, the higher the likelihood that COPD/RAO or heaves will develop.

It is important to do everything you can to decrease respiratory irritation until the cough resolves. Soak all feeds, including hay, to eliminate dust. Water down bedding in the stall or keep her outdoors in a clean dry environment with a run-in shelter (no bedding). Don’t ride in an arena unless it has been thoroughly watered and is dust free. Some exercise is helpful (as long as it doesn’t induce more than a few coughs) to help improve her lung capacity and increase circulation/healing, but take it easy until the coughing has resolved completely. She may also need some vitamin C and supportive herbs such as dandelion root or Echinacea, and a respiratory formula such as Hilton Herb’s Freeway or Freeway Gold. Acupuncture can also help stimulate respiratory healing in chronic conditions.

Q: My horse is a very easy keeper, and even on a diet and good exercise regime is pretty overweight. I have been considering a grazing muzzle, but people are telling me this is cruel, and my horse will colic from not being able to eat as much. I’d like to be able to keep her out on a nice big field rather than confining her to a small dry lot -- which option is best? Have you ever seen a horse colic from only being able to nibble small amounts of food through a grazing muzzle?

A: Go for the grazing muzzle! I would argue that it’s cruel not to use a grazing muzzle, due to the laminitis risk with obesity. Overfeeding can cause severe pain and can be fatal when laminitis occurs. As you know, a horse is supposed to be eating off and on continually throughout the day. A grazing muzzle can be used in two ways:


It can be used for turnout in pasture to limit the intake of grass (the horse is still getting some grass, so I wouldn’t worry about colic or ulcers in this case), along with bringing the horse in for meals in a dry lot area.


Second, the hole in the bottom of the muzzle can be blocked so it eliminates grass intake completely. This is important for horses that have already foundered and can’t have any green grass but that benefit from turnout. When the hole is blocked completely, it is helpful to turn the horse out for a few hours at a time, bringing her in to a dry lot and removing the muzzle two to three times a day for meal feeding. Eliminating grass intake is not ideal, but much better than the laminitis alternative.

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DISASTER Natural disaster preparedness isn’t just for humans. Include your horses in your plans for safety so they don’t suffer or go missing. by Angela Kirby

Check fence lines and other structures for damage after the storm passes to be sure horses cannot escape or be injured by debris.


hen Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992, the majority of horses had no identification. What’s worse is that unsuspecting owners temporarily handed their animals over to someone claiming to be a rescue. These horses were never seen again. Conan, meanwhile, was one of many missing horses reported after Hurricane Katrina. He was also one of many that drowned because owners had no way to evacuate them and never expected such a horrific flood. As the volunteer executive coordinator for Stolen Horse International (aka NetPosse), a nonprofit that assists in the prevention and recovery of stolen and missing horses, I’m often asked to write articles to increase public awareness. And it never fails – as soon as I begin an article, real life steps in to offer some perfect examples for the story. On the afternoon of May 3, 2009, a tornado skipped across our property, downing trees and fence lines. We spent the


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next two days clearing fences to ensure the horses did not escape. Not four days later, many low-lying areas in nearby Montgomery County, Alabama were unexpectedly flooded in a matter of hours. Shortly afterwards, I received an email from an acquaintance who was missing four donkeys when the waters capped their five-foot pen. One of my tasks is processing the reports NetPosse receives. I immediately created a flyer and a webpage for the missing donkeys before sending out an alert to thousands of volunteers and list groups. In the meantime, I wondered about the donkeys’ fate. Did they swim away when the waters rose, or were they swept away? Will they be found unharmed or injured? Just as importantly – could the owner have prevented this situation? This particular disaster was hard to prepare for because it struck without warning. The flood came swiftly, suddenly and relentlessly, demolishing structures and sweeping

away everything in its path. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Every horse owner needs to know how to keep their animals safe in the event of a natural disaster.

Planning for the worst Google the term “natural disaster preparedness”, and many links will pop up, but they’re mostly for humans. If you need to flee your home because of flood, fire or hurricane, you can throw a suitcase in your car at a moment’s notice. In the event of a possible tornado, you can seek shelter in the nearest building or innermost room of a house. But what about your four-legged friends – specifically equines that can’t take shelter in your home or fit in the backseat of your car? Animal lovers got a wake-up call during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Many attempted to take their companions but were not allowed to, while others refused

Eb’s Stormin Around was rescued from the roof of a barn following Hurricane Katrina and taken to safety before disappearing again.

to leave without them and consequently perished. Still others didn’t realize the gravity of the situation and expected to merely ride out the storm in a nearby town for a couple of days. So they left their animals behind with food, water and shelter. Had the levee not broken, equine wellness


have transportation available if you do not own a trailer or cannot move all your horses in one trip. • Plan an evacuation route and a location where the horses can be housed temporarily. Many horse owners offer shelter during these times, and your local fairground or coliseum will usually open their facilities to the public. • Keep documentation such as Coggins, registration papers, vet records and pictures available in case they are needed for proof of ownership, medical treatment or to find a missing horse.

Horses are often misplaced or taken illegally after storms. Blaze, a Miniature from Mississippi, was one of these. Once he was found, his owners couldn’t keep him, so NetPosse adopted him to a new family.

they would have returned to the coast and found their homes and animals safe.

• Have emergency medical supplies on hand in the event of injury. Include bandages, scissors, alcohol, eye ointment, and gauze or vet wrap. Permanent ID – freeze brand

• Keep handy basic tools such as wire cutters, a limb saw, chains and ropes in case an animal is trapped by debris.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened, and NetPosse along • You’ll be hauling animals that will with several other organizations, require water, food and rest, so leave began listing missing animals. before a mandatory evacuation Because of these combined efforts, is announced. hundreds of animals were reunited with their families. But not all • Identify your horse through a freeze were. As a result of this tragedy, brand, hoof brand, microchip or Temporary ID – hoof brand a nationwide movement began in temporary leg bands. In a pinch, write an effort to change the laws to your name and phone number on Permanent ID such as microchips and allow people to take their animals your horse with a permanent marker. freeze brands are recommended as proof of with them during an evacuation. ownership should your horse go missing. Again though, unlike a dog or cat, • Know the names and contact you can’t pack your horse in a carrier or bed him down in information of local animal shelters and agencies, and a hotel room. the county sheriff’s department, so you can notify them immediately if you need help or have The key to surviving any natural disaster is to have a plan a missing animal. of action in place. You also need to have certain items on hand in the event of injury or the need to rescue an equine • Important: do not trust those who come out of the blue and trapped by debris. Here are a few tips on disaster planning offer to give your animal temporary shelter unless you know for horse owners. that person or the organization they claim to represent.

Weathering the storm • If your horses need to be moved to safety, be sure to


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• Store two weeks’ supply of hay in waterproof bags. Also store some barrels of water in case your fresh water supply is interrupted.

• Know your property and barn well enough to decide where your horse would be safest in the event of flying debris or structural damage. • Will your fencing contain your animals? Some horses will run through electric fencing or barbed wire if frightened.

Horses have excellent instincts. Many of the lost horses reported to NetPosse are recovered in about ten days when they return to the place of disappearance, even if they’re unfamiliar with the area. Things become problematic when the horse is injured or trapped, or has no clean water or food. As responsible horse owners, it’s therefore our duty to include our equines in our disaster plans.

Afterwards • Check horses for signs of injury, and continue to watch them until their comfort level is back to normal. Horses are often very stressed and spooky after severe storms. • Check all fence lines for damage; many horses go missing after the storm is over. • Check your barn for damage such as protruding boards or nails, a collapsing structure or anything else that could cause injury to a horse.

A native of Alabama, Angela Kirby resides on a small farm with her family and horses. She has spent two decades in the publishing industry as an editor, graphic designer and Web site developer. Recently Angela accepted the position of Marketing Director with the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry. Aside from her professional career, Angela serves as a volunteer The former vice president of her county cattlewomen’s association, she continues to work with the cattlemen in community endeavors, and is media director of its annual children’s rodeo. On a larger scale, Angela devotes countless hours to Stolen Horse International as its executive coordinator. for local and national organizations.

Angela can be contacted through her website stillwatersranch.net.

• Be aware of the aftermath. Floodwaters often come with tornados or hurricanes and can do more damage than the actual storms.

Learn more at netposse.com/Disaster/disasterplanning.htm.

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Feeling stalled?

Keeping your horse confined while he heals from an injury can be challenging. Here are four ways to help him stay happy and healthy till he’s ready to be turned out again. with Madalyn Ward, DVM

s if a serious injury isn’t stressful enough, many horses also have to endure stall rest while they heal. Some take their R&R in stride, but many others become stir crazy and difficult to handle.


better in a quieter area of the barn, while others prefer to be where they can supervise all the day’s activities. It often helps to put another horse or companion animal in a nearby stall.

Most horses are happiest living in a pasture, and most minor injuries will heal just as well with the horse turned out. Occasionally, however, a significant injury requires stall confinement. Prolonged confinement can lead to stomach ulcers or vices such as cribbing or weaving. In fact research shows that confinement is one of the most common reasons for ulcer development. Vices that develop during stall confinement may persist even after the horse is turned back out.

2. Dietary adjustments

Luckily, there are several steps you can take to keep your horse happy, healthy and stress-free during this time. Confined performance horses can also benefit from these solutions.

1. The buddy system If possible, put him in a stall or small pen where he can see out on all sides. Some stall-bound horses do


equine wellness

Keep hay in front of the horse at all times. This keeps him occupied and lessens the risk of gut issues by providing a steady intake of forage. If your horse tends to be on the heavy side, you can always use a hay net with smaller than normal holes to slow down consumption. Cut your horse’s grain portion in half, but do not decrease supplements. A confined horse does not need the extra energy grain provides; keeping him on his full ration will only make him more of a handful to deal with. Add nutritional and digestive support so your horse will have the nutrients he needs to heal as quickly as possible. I like Simplexity Essentials for nutrition and digestive support, and Noni or Xango juice for extra antioxidants. KLPP, Fastrack or Probi are other great options for digestive support.

3. Boredom busters No doubt created by frustrated riders with stall-bound horses, boredom buster stall toys are a great investment. Put hanging balls or lick toys in the stall to give your horse something to play with. Some horses like cones or balls with handles to bang around. You can easily make your own stall toys by hanging empty plastic milk jugs (see sidebar). Handwalk your horse several times a day if this is permitted. Taking him to the arena to watch other horses or graze can have a huge positive effect on his mental attitude. You can also do some ground exercises to keep your horse limber and focused – always speak to your veterinarian about which exercises will help strengthen him, and which ones could exacerbate the injury.

Creativity corner Simple stall toys you can make on your own!

Pony popsicles Here’s a great boredom solution for warm days. Fill an empty margarine or similar sized container with water (you can flavor the water with apple juice), drop in slices of your horse’s favorite fruits and veggies, and put it in the freezer until frozen solid. Remove the treat from the container, and place it in your horse’s feed bucket or pan. He’ll stay amused for some time trying to pick out the tasty snacks as the ice slowly melts. Be sure the treat pieces are small enough that your horse cannot choke.

Stall jugs

Vices that develop during stall confinement may persist even after the horse is turned back out.

4. Natural remedies •Rescue Remedy can be added to your horse’s water to help keep him calm. The homeopathic remedy Chamomile is another calming option. Herbal blends formulated for relaxation can be useful for high energy confined horses. •If your horse starts to get irritable or goes off his feed, he may be developing ulcers. Products such as Succeed, UF, green clay or aloe/slippery elm are all good for healing and preventing ulcers. •Get bodywork done to keep your horse comfortable and help prevent compensation muscle spasms that can cause further lameness. Last but not least, the time your horse must be kept on rest can be used for extra bonding. More attention to grooming and scratching those itchy spots can help your horse appreciate you more, and this will serve you well when training resumes.

Madalyn Ward lives in Fischer, TX. More information can be found at: holistichorsekeeping.com, yourhorsebook.com, and horseharmony.com.

Hanging empty clean milk jugs from your horse’s stall can give him something fun to bang around and play with. Some horses like it when the jugs are filled with something that will make noise, such as a few pebbles – just be sure your horse will not drive the barn staff crazy! You can also cut a few small holes at the bottom edge of the jug and place some healthy treats inside, making your horse work to get at them.

Bobbing for apples Fill a separate water bucket with water, toss a couple of apples in and let your horse entertain himself trying to retrieve the fruit from the water. This activity should be supervised.

Clubhouse hay net If your horse is not particularly interested in picking at his hay all day long, tempt him by placing a layer of hay in the hay net, followed by a sprinkle of fruit/veggie slices, followed by more hay, and so on.

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According to ‘Gospel’...

Equine Light Therapy

Book reviews Title: Author:

2 sizes do it all! Helps to: •reduce recovery time •reduce pain •heal soft tissue injury •treat sore muscles •reduce arthritis pain •increase circulation

Illuminating the future of equine care

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Mindful Horsemanship Cheryl Kimball

“Mindfulness has many definitions; ‘living in the moment’ is perhaps the best way to describe this concept. Most animals except humans live in the moment, making mindfulness a way of life for them.” So writes author and equine enthusiast Cheryl Kimball in her fantastic book, Mindful Horsemanship, a wonderful inspiration for anyone who wants a fresh way of looking at her relationship with horses. The book is filled with quotes from various sources, followed by Cheryl’s thoughts on how they relate to horses and horsemanship. Quotes come from top clinicians and riders such as Buck Brannaman, Ray Hunt, Xenophon and Nicholas Evans’ The Horse Whisperer. What takes this book to a whole new level is that Cheryl also delves into other areas you may not consider when searching for equine inspiration, including Eeyore (Winnie the Pooh), Mother Teresa, Tiger Woods, Memoirs of a Geisha and many others. Cheryl proves that horsemanship solutions, ideas and inspiration are all around us, all the time. “Look around you. See things. Be aware.”

Publisher: Carriage House Publishing

My Mezeppa Author: Cheryl Bruder Title:

Here’s a romantic novel for horse lovers. As a Lusitano breeder and horsemanship trainer, protagonist Randi Hurst discovers and begins to utilize cranio-sacral therapy, foal imprinting, and other alternative therapies in conjunction with her own healing journey. Born with a physical disability, Randi begins riding at an early age and starts assisting at a therapeutic riding facility, where she takes a student named Eric under her wing. The birth of a foal named Mezeppa is the catalytic moment that changes Randi’s life forever. On the same day, popular movie director Mathew Hines arrives to help a friend select some new stock for his polo string. Mesmerized by the farm’s serene setting, and even moreso by Randi and her rapport with the horses, Matt continues to find reasons to visit the farm, leading to some life-altering decisions.

My Mezeppa incorporates mystery, drama -- and natural horsekeeping. Follow the lives of several intriguing characters as the common thread of horses weaves their futures together. Publisher: First Choice Books


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w w w. r i v a s r e m e d i e s . c o m Dr. Valeria Breiten, NMD, RD (formerly Dr. Valeria Wyckoff)


Dr. Valeria Breiten is a healer, teacher and radio personality in the Phoenix area. She has a practice in Chandler, Arizona where she specializes in classical homeopathy, nutrition, herbs and listening closely. She is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor and Registered Dietitian. Her down to earth style integrates her multiple life experiences. Author of Naturally Healthy at Home. This book is for sale and shipping from Dr. Breiten’s office.

Listen to her radio show live online at


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

•Sports Medicine Lameness

•Certified in Animal Chiropractic

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•Advanced Equine Dentistry

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


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Did you know?

by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS

Balancing your horse’s diet


rass hay is the best equine feed source that fulfills a horse’s daily nutrient requirement without creating nutrient excess. With proper supplementation, grass hay and pasture diets can be improved further.

amino acids. Plus, lysine helps balance your horse’s grass hay and pasture diet, and makes it more efficient.

Dr. Frank Gravlee graduated from Auburn University School of Medicine and practiced

For example, the amino acid lysine is one of several nutrients found in less than ideal amounts in hay and pasture grasses. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein – they combine together to form protein.

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

With low levels of dietary lysine, the other amino acids in the diet are less likely to be efficiently utilized in the building of tissue proteins. By supplementing lysine, you can improve the utilization of other dietary

metabolism. In

1973, he founded Life Data Labs to determine equine nutritional deficiencies through laboratory testing, and developed individualized feeding programs to correct the deficiencies he discovered.

After ten years of research, he launched Farrier’s Formula. lifedatalabs.com

Classifieds Business opportunities FASTRACK DISTRIBUTORS WANTED for the #1 direct fed equine microbial in the world! Call 1-800-570-3782, Ext. 4330 or email saddlemtnent@yahoo.com.

communicators JANET DOBBS – WORKSHOPS AND CONSULTATIONS. Animal communication, Animal/human Reiki. Deepening the bond between animals and humans. For information about hosting a workshop in your area. janet@animalparadisecommunication.com, (703) 648-1866 or animalparadisecommunication.com

healing essences HORSES HAVE EMOTIONS TOO! – Canadian Forest Tree Essences offers Vibrational Tree Essences for horses and other animals… Available for vets, horse trainers, animal communicators, retailers and individuals. Web: essences.ca, Email: cfte@essences.ca, Tel. 888-410-4325.

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CUSTOM LOW NSC FEEDS YOU CAN MIX YOURSELF from locally obtained ingredients and one of Vita Royal’s Specialty Balancers. Laminitis, founder, Cushing’s, obesity, insulin resistance, contracted tendons, Tying Up Syndrome, performance enhancement, etc. Send case history from our website for a free consultation. vitaroyal.com.

CANINE AND EQUINE BODY WORKER CERTIFICATION – Serious hands on training from leading specialists and veterinarians for hands on work. Progressive certifications beginning at 250 hours to the Master’s series of over 2000 hours. CE courses offered: advanced massage, MFR, CST, acupressure, anatomy, and more. USA and worldwide. NCBTMB approved. Selection of courses AAEP and RACE approved for CEH. Visit: equinology.com and caninology.com Write: office@equinology.com or call 707 884 9963

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ORDER YOUR CLASSIFIED AD 1-866-764-1212 or classified@equinewellnessmagazine.com Equine Wellness Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising submitted, make stylistic changes or cancel any advertising accepted upon refund of payment made.

Events July 9-17 – Buchanan, VA Amethyst Acres 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 Ruth Mitchell Golladay, PT. It is specifically designed for those students wishing to pursue a career in the massage therapy field, but is also regularly attended by veterinarians, physical therapists, human massage therapists, equine massage therapists, trainers, barn managers, and chiropractors who would like to enhance their skills. The course is taught in such a comprehensive logical layered format, that those with little or no complementary equine care and science background will find themselves up to speed with the other professional participants. For more information: Paul Hougard, 707-884-9963, 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

August 1-2 – McLean, VA Animal Reiki Level II workshop This class is for people that have completed Level I Reiki. In this class you will continue on your healing path with Reiki and continue your work with animals. The focus of this class is on more advanced meditations and Reiki practices. This course is unique because we focus on both humans and animals. For more information: Janet Dobbs, 703-648-1866, janet@animalparadisecommunication.com animalparadisecommunication.com

August 3-14 – Petaluma, CA Flying Cloud Farm Equine Body Worker Cert. Course – Extend This 12-day extended 100+ hour course (a total of 250+hours with the required post course field work and pre-course study), is taught by the international instructor Debranne Pattillo, MEBW. It is perfect for those who would like to learn at a more casual rate or for those who haven’t taken any type of educational programs in a while. The course is designed for the horse owner, farm manager, trainer, competitor, groom and especially those pursuing a career in the field of equine massage and bodywork. Fieldwork is required in all of Equinology’s courses to ensure that the students have learned the material and will be able to apply knowledge with confidence as he or she performs an equine massage as a professional. Equinology’s staff will be able to answer questions for the students should they arise. For more information: Paul Hougard, 707-884-9963, office@equinology.com, equinology.com

August 18-26 – MSU-East Lansing, MI Equine Body Worker Certification Course This 9-day, 97+hour course (a total of 250+hours with the required post course field work and pre-course study), is taught by international instructor 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

September 12-13 – Kitchener, ON Animal Communication Level 1 Learn how to communicate with animals. In this powerful workshop, you will learn the essentials of how to get in touch with your animal friends telepathically, discover blocks to communication and learn what levels of communication are possible. Increase your awareness and understanding of animals through exercises and meditations. Learn to quietly focus your mind and practice allowing yourself to be open to animals’ messages and viewpoints through thoughts, images, impressions and much more! For more information: Sue Becker, 519-896-2600, suebecker@cyg.net

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


Your health

Much ado about swine flu by Dr. Valeria Breiten


was on a medical mission in Mexico the week before the swine flu (H1N1) outbreak started in mid-April. I flew into Mexico City and traveled with a group to a beautiful small town about four hours to the south.

Preventive head start We were careful not to drink the water, but not yet aware of the influenza outbreak. I drank only bottled water, and used the same to brush my teeth. We used wet wipes for handwashing. My daily morning routine to protect myself from tourista was to take two drops of grapefruit seed extract in water, and a scoop of Green Tree Medicine GI Protect also in water. I also sprayed colloidal silver in my throat and nose. •Grapefruit seed extract has a wonderful antimicrobial effect that can be very helpful when traveling to areas where the water is unsafe. The only negative is its very bitter taste – you have to take it in water or it can burn your throat.

Photo: Diego.cervo | Dreamstime.com

•GI Protect is a combination of amino acids and immunoglobulins. It works well to help restore health when one is first exposed to a virus, especially when traveling.

•Colloidal silver is an antimicrobial spray that is non-toxic in small doses.

Help from homeopathy My first patient in Mexico was ill with some type of influenza – she had had a fever, body aches and fatigue for a week. Her lungs were congested. She was a middle-aged, hard working farmer who denied ever being ill before, had never taken antibiotics or other medicines, and walked to the clinic to be treated. I realize in retrospect that perhaps she had swine flu, but this was the week before the outbreak hit the news. Maybe I had been exposed by the time I finished examining her.

During the flu or cholera epidemics of the last century in which many people died, homeopathic physicians saved most of their patients. We worked long days and saw many people. Several people on the team got ill, but I felt good the whole time I was there. My first day home, however, I was exhausted, chilly and had some diarrhea, with some chest tightness later in the day. I increased my treatment. I also took homeopathic Arsenicum album. It is good for people with chills and food poisoning type symptoms. I was mostly recovered the next day. In natural medicine, we usually have many choices for effective treatment. You just have to seek treatment from the right person, preferably a naturopathic doctor who can integrate the best of both worlds for your treatment.

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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