V4I6 (Nov/Dec 2009)

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Your natural resource!






FOR BALANCE Solve imbalances with this popular therapy

How a holistic approach brought back health



OUTBREAK! Quarantine protocols to protect

When it’s time to retire your horse

your horses and farm


MUCH ADO ABOUT PMU Focus on a controversial industry

Causes and corrections



November/December 2009 Display until December 15, 2009

A unique way to assess nutritional health

$5.95 USA/Canada



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contents November/December 2009

28 14 features 14 straight tO the pOint Is he nutritionally balanced? Are his organs working optimally? Now you can find out using reflex point testing.

18 equi-bOw: bODy balancing fOr hOrses This increasingly popular therapy can help your horse with imbalances you many not even realize he has.

20 Much aDO abOut pMu A close-up look at a controversial industry.

24 apple Of yOur eye Holiday delights for the horses in your life.


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28 Out tO grass? Retirement isn’t just for older horses. Here’s how to tell when it’s time to stop working your equine, and how to make the transition as stress-free as possible.

38 Duty calls Cleaning and inspecting your horse’s “private” areas may not be a task you relish, but it’s important for his health and comfort.

45 JOin the club Find out what could cause a club foot in your horse, and how to prevent, treat and even correct it.

48 getting a “feel” fOr it – part 2 When developing a “better feel” of your horse, adjusting your inner attitude is the name of the game.

54 Outbreak! When infectious diseases strike, having proper quarantine plans and procedures in place can help protect your horses and farm from a world of worry.

60 saving scOut A holistic approach and lots of TLC helped this pinto mustang back to health and happiness.


24 DepartMents



neighborhood news

8 editorial


from agony to ecstasy



a natural performer



book reviews

52 66

your health tail end


heads up!

equine wellness resource guide






events calendar

54 equine wellness




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COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS valeria Breitin, NMD, RD Leslie Desmond Audi Donamor Isabella Edwards Cheryl Gibson pati Harris Bob Jeffreys Johanna Neuteboom Catherine Ritlaw Suzanne Sheppard Sandy Siegrist Kelli Taylor, DvM Simone Usselman-Tod

TOPICS INCLuDE: disease prevention natural diets and nutrition natural health care

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Carola vredegoor Horses lucky enough to get 24/7 turnout adapt well to the changing seasons and aren’t cowed by the cooler temperatures of fall. Some frost underfoot hasn’t dampened the spirits of this equine, who looks like he’s enjoying the crisp autumn morning to the full.



EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDIToR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDIToR: Kelly Howling EDIToR: Ann Brightman SENIoR GRApHIC DESIGNER: Meaghan McGowan CovER pHoToGRApHy: Carola vredegoor


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ADVERTISING SALES Equine National Sales Manager: Michelle L. Adaway (866) 764-1212 ext. 230 michelle@redstonemediagroup.com

US MAIL: Equine Wellness Magazine, pMB 168, 8174 S. Holly St., Centennial, Co 80122 CDN MAIL: Equine Wellness Magazine, 107 Hunter St. E., Suite 201. peterborough, ontario, Canada K9H 1G7 Subscriptions are payable by vISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.

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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: October 2009

ImprovIng the lIves of anImals... one reader at a tIme.


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EDITORIAL if it ain’t

brOke…. s I sit wrapped in a plush comforter with a large mug of tea, it isn’t hard to believe we’re already working on the Holiday issue of Equine Wellness. This year has brought some rather odd weather with it, wherever you live, and our summer has felt almost entirely like fall. Not that I’m complaining, as spring and fall are my favorite seasons. But any excessive deviation in weather patterns can have ramifications.


I think my mare maintained her summer coat for about three weeks this year. I remember lamenting (okay, whining) in the spring about how she wasn’t losing her winter coat. She always gets brilliantly fuzzy in the winter, and while I certainly understand the dynamics and importance of coat growth patterns (or so I thought), there was a stark difference between the other horses on the property and my wannabe wooly mammoth. I bathed her, trying to encourage some semblance of shedding. I threatened her with clippers (I swear she rolled her eyes at me – clippers make her fall asleep). I double checked her papers to make sure she wasn’t part yak. And then, several weeks into the warm weather, by which point I felt she should certainly have dropped her winter coat like every other horse had, I called the vet, worried. We pulled thyroid tests and other blood work. It all came back fine. I scratched my head, and went back to leaving the clippers out in plain sight. I didn’t want her to have a shorter coat out of vanity – I was concerned. Was she going to get too hot? What if there was something wrong with her?


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Turns out she had a good thing going. I don’t think the temperature rose above 85°F more than a handful of times this summer. She shed out, sleek and shiny, for a short while. And now she is transitioning back into her inner yak. I can only guess this is because she has gone most of her life un-blanketed, on pasture board. Her body knows when to grow a coat, and when to let go of it. And I, well intentioned and for the most part well informed, was on the verge of tampering with that. The intense need to do absolutely right by our equine friends sometimes blinds us to what is best for them. Sometimes we need a reminder to simply leave well enough alone. We’ve all heard the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” More often than we give them credit for, our horses know what to do, and what they need. What has your own horse taught you this year? Happy Holidays to all! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hug my yak… er, horse. Naturally,

Kelly Howling

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NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS IT’S oFFICIAL! The mockingbird, the bluebonnet…now the American Quarter Horse joins these two well-known Texas icons, becoming the state’s oficial horse. It’s an appropriate declaration, since Texas history is closely intertwined with the breed. It all began with Steel Dust, a forebear of the state’s more than 470,000 American Quarter Horses. In the early days, the breed was used to help settle the territory. Later, they were used by ranchers to round up livestock and move them to market, and for a little match racing on the weekends. The American Quarter Horse Association, founded in 1940, is headquartered in Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. So it’s not surprising that this breed of equine embodies the spirit of Texas. “This is a great way for the American Quarter Horse to be recognized,” said AQHA Executive Vice President, Don Treadway Jr. “We need to give credit to the Texas Quarter Horse Association, Rep. Larry Phillips, and tenyear-old Logan Head, who got the ball rolling on this by writing to Rep. Phillips with the idea of making the American Quarter Horse the state’s oficial horse.”

BoTox FoR HoRSES? Every year, around 2% of the equine population is affected by laminitis, according to a study by the USDA. Around 20% of these horses face irreversible damage, and 5% perish. Treatment usually involves reducing tension in the deep digital lexor tendon with shoeing techniques or by cutting the tendon. But a new patented technique involving Botox (Botulin toxin type A) could hold hope for horses suffering from laminitis and its complications. Discovered by Dr. Daniel Carter of West Florida Veterinary Associates and Dr. Ben Renfroe of the Child Neurology Centre in northwest Florida, the new method involves injecting Botox into the deep digital lexor tendon. There, it prevents the nerves from iring so the muscle is unable to contract. The treatment wears off after about three months. Because it’s temporary, unlike cutting the tendons, it allows the horse to return to some semblance of normalcy after there is no more risk of laminitis. More studies are being done to evaluate the potential of the Botox technique.


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According to ‘Gospel’...

Equine Light Therapy TRACK TALK What makes the best track surface? At the 55th Annual Convention of the AAEP in December, Dr. Andrew Clarke will present his indings on synthetic track surfaces. His research has shown these surfaces pose more of a risk to horses and riders than initially thought. In Hong Kong and the UK, where synthetic tracks have been in place for some time now, Dr. Clarke found that fatal injuries were twice as likely to happen as they would be on regular turf. In Australia, meanwhile, the fatality rate on synthetic tracks averages more than 2 per 1,000 starters versus only 0.44 per 1,000 starters on turf tracks. North American tracks had a fatality rate averaging 1.4 to 2.0 per 1,000 starters, with Dr. Clarke noting that most racing is done on synthetic or dirt tracks versus turf. Dr. Clarke discovered that synthetic tracks have a honeymoon period after being put in place – in time, issues such as material breakdown, drainage problems, or problems with the binding agent start to occur. Put simply, the materials are not holding up over time and are creating a safety issue.

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 JOIN US AT THE MA EQUINE AFFAIRE NOVEMBER 12-15 BOOTH #802 BLC

615.293.3025 EquineLightTherapy.com

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NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS RoCKRIDGE HoRSES RECovERING The equine community reacted with shock and outrage when 23 horses were poisoned at Rockridge Farm in Rancho Sante Fe, California this past July. The horses became critically ill after someone fed them a cocktail of apples, carrots and oleander leaves. Oleander is highly toxic, and horses won’t often eat it due to its bitter taste. One ounce can be fatal to a horse; symptoms of poisoning include colic, dificulty breathing, arrhythmia, sweating, tremors and bloody diarrhea. Prognosis can be poor unless treatment is swift. The farm owners, who operate a facility for American Saddlebreds, are bafled as to who would want to hurt their horses. The poisonous mixture had been left in 20 stalls in the barn, as well as in the corrals outside. The culprits obviously knew what they were doing when they mixed it with treats horses normally love. Luckily, it was possible to treat most of the horses on the farm, where they were tubed with mineral oil and charcoal. A few others needed to be rushed to an equine hospital for more in-depth treatment.

Secretariat fans will be thrilled to know that a ilm about the 1973 Triple Crown winner is in the works. Disney is set to start ilming Secretariat in Kentucky, with Diane Lane playing Penny Chenery, the First Lady of Racing and Secretariat’s owner. The script was written by Mike Rich (Finding Forrester, The Rookie) and depicts Penny’s journey through the race industry after taking over Meadow Farm when her father falls ill. Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers) will direct the movie with Mayhem producers Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray. Mrs. Chenery and the rest of the Meadow Farm team will be on hand to help bring this exciting project to life.


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Secretariat photo: © secretariat.com| visit secretariat.com for more information

The horses have now recovered, and the incident is still under investigation.


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straight tO


ouldn’t it be nice if you could be sure your horse was nutritionally balanced? To know his diet is providing what his body needs to stay healthy and sound? To be able to make seasonal changes in your feeding program as your horse requires it, and be certain those changes are working effectively? And to do all this at little to no cost? Well, you can. And it’s fairly easy to learn how.


IT’S ALL ABoUT BALANCE -- AND SIMpLICITy Let’s review the most important building blocks in an effective and balanced nutritional program: • An adequate supply of fresh water available at all times. • High quality forage in the form of good grass hay. • Free choice minerals and salt so your horse can balance his own nutritional needs. • A basic vitamin and mineral supplement, if required. Many horses do not need additional supplementation when fed a good quality hay and offered free choice minerals. • Probiotics as appropriate during times of stress, at the introduction of vaccinations and wormers, etc. An effectivelyfunctioning gut is essential to proper nutrient absorption. That’s it. That’s the basic program. If you need to add more protein or energy to your horse’s diet due to his level of exertion, that can be easily managed. But less is more. I prefer to stick to the basics unless one of my horses or a


equine wellness

rehabilitation client requires something else. And I look to the horses’ bodies to tell me if I’m on target.

HoW Do yoU KNoW IF yoUR pRoGRAM IS RIGHT? 1. First, pay attention to obvious signs of a potential problem by assessing your horse’s appearance. Evaluate his body to gauge whether his weight is optimal. Examine his coat. It is dull or shiny? Is the mane and tail brittle? Does the hair on his coat have little curls at the ends? Does he have visible dapples? Is the color fading? Pay attention to his hoof quality. Brittle hoof walls can indicate a nutritional imbalance. Simply pay attention to how he looks and note any changes as you make alterations to your feeding program. 2. Consider having your veterinarian draw blood to test for any speciic vitamin and mineral imbalances. Blood work can indicate some nutritional imbalances and show you how your horse’s organs are functioning. It’s a good idea, in my opinion, to have basic blood chemistry work done when your horse is in his teens so you have a good baseline in the event he develops some health issues as he ages. 3. Finally, you can monitor relex points on your horse’s body that will indicate whether there’s an imbalance in certain minerals, or if any organs aren’t functioning at their

optimal levels. These relex points can also indicate if there are excessive toxins in the body. The ability to correlate these relex points with actual body functions and/or mineral levels has been proven over and over again through the years by blood tests. We’ll examine the most common mineral/nutritional points here. See the table below to refresh your memory on the function of each of these minerals.




• normal bones and teeth • nerve function • blood clotting • cardiovascular system (including regulating the heartbeat) • enzyme reactions • aiding in the utilization of iron • aiding the power of concentration and positive emotional state


• inluencing protein metabolism • general healing functions • RNA formulation • developing bone tissue • central nervous system function • formation of red blood cells • increasing iron absorption • utilizing oxygen in cells • inluencing mental activity and emotions


• relaxing nerves and tension • aiding digestion • alkalizing the body • promoting sleep • solid teeth and bones • increasing tissue elasticity – vital for healthy muscle tone • maintaining DNA and RNA • activating enzymes that metabolize carbohydrates and amino acids


• central nervous system, thyroid hormones, skeletal and reproductive systems • improving relexes and memory • enhancing recuperative ability • enhancing intellectual power • proper functioning of pituitary gland • strengthens immunity • correct blood sugar imbalances • prevents sterility • coordinates thought and action


• carbohydrate and fat metabolism • muscle building • adrenal gland health • aiding in waste elimination • helping to keep heart rhythms normal • increasing blood and tissue alkalinity • vigor and health • enhancing recuperative ability • assisting in conversion of glucose to glycogen


• aiding in the healing of internal and external wounds • mental alertness • carbohydrate digestion • normal development of sexual organs and reproductive system • production of DNA • enzyme functions • production of white blood cells

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BASIC DIy REFLEx poINT EvALUATIoN Step 1 Clear your polarity irst. Then clear your horse’s. Here’s how. Using the irst two ingers on your right hand, sweep across your forehead just above your brow line ive times. After you have cleared your own polarity, you will need to do this for your horse as well. Again, use the irst two ingers on your right hand, and sweep across your horse’s forehead ive times as shown in photo 1.

Step 2 1. Clearing the horse’s polarity.

Get a feel for the amount of pressure you should apply to the relex point. It’s only about ive pounds of pressure – enough to make your ingernail turn white when you apply the pressure. Resist the temptation to push harder or you will get false readings.

Step 3

2. Stand safely -- grab the mane and reach for the points.

Be cautious. Practice safety each and every time you check nutrition or other relex points. Even the nicest horse in the world may have a somewhat violent reaction if there is an imbalance. Touch the back of your left hand with the four pounds of pressure to see what it feels like. Nothing. But if you applied that same pressure to a relex point on your body that showed a positive reaction, it might feel like a bee sting or as if someone was stabbing you. Your horse will feel this as well. And we all know what horses do when they get bitten by a horse ly or stung by a bee, right? They bite or kick at the offending insect. The six points you’ll learn in this article may all result in either a bite or kick. Some horses will kick out to the side or forward toward their belly – or toward your knee if you’re not careful. Always grab the mane with your left hand and reach for the points as shown in photo 2. Do not stand in a position that will make you vulnerable to a kick. Be sure that someone is holding the horse to prevent him from being able to reach around and bite you. Keep in mind that the horse won’t do this in anger or out of meanness. It’s just a normal reaction.

3. Calcium point.


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I don’t like to test relex points on most horses when they’re in cross ties. If they have a big reaction, they may slip or jump and then panic when the cross ties are drawn tight. Until you’re accustomed to the reaction of your own horse, practice safe handling and have a trusted helper work with you.

Step 4

Step 5

Let’s now learn the location of each of the irst six relex points for nutrition:

What does a positive reaction look like? The horse may linch. He may move away from you. He may try to reach around and bite at the offending spot. He may try to kick at it. You’ll know when you see it.

• Calcium: Standing near your horse’s left shoulder, reach down with your thumb and press into his barrel beneath his elbow (see photo 3). • Potassium: Same as calcium but on the right side of the horse. You can either walk around to the other side, or after you’ve practiced and grown comfortable with it, reach under your horse’s girth area to the right side and press in toward the barrel in the appropriate spot. • Magnesium: Using the irst two ingers on your right hand, locate the horse’s umbilicus. Pull it toward you to the left side of the horse. • Manganese: Using the same two ingers on the umbilicus, push away from you toward the right side of the horse. • Zinc: Move two inches back from the umbilicus and two inches proximal to the left side of the horse (toward you if you’re standing on the left side of the horse) and press up into his belly with the irst two ingers of your right hand. • Copper: Move two inches back from the umbilicus and two inches proximal to the right side of the horse and apply upward pressure.

Step 6 Learn how minerals get out of balance and how to resolve these imbalances. This is more complicated than can be covered in detail in this article, but additional information can be found at perfectanimalhealth.com. Do your own research and learn how feeds impact the balance of nutrients in the body. And remember that less is more. If you stick to a basic program as described at the beginning of the article, it will be easier for you to keep your horse balanced.

Step 7 Determine what will resolve the imbalance. First, make sure the digestive system is functioning properly. Using a good quality probiotic will help ensure this. If imbalances still exist after a 30 to 60 day probiotic regimen, then utilize muscle testing/kinesiology to determine what products or supplements will resolve the imbalance. Continued on page 64

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ow excited would you be if you could see changes in your horse like the ones shown in these pictures? The photos of this young mare were taken on the same day during an Equi-Bow Canada beginner class. The irst was taken at noon and the second later the same afternoon. The changes are remarkable – especially when you realize the students worked on the mare themselves during their irst day of class!


BEFoRE: This mare looks somewhat tense and uncomfortable, and her stance is what we refer to as “cow hocked”, which causes strain.

CONFORMATION OR COMPENSATION? Much of what we perceive as “conformation” is actually “posture” that comes about when the body compensates for pain or discomfort. Variations in tension or compression in one region of the body result in an adjustment and rebalancing of the horse’s whole structure. Since the body is “elastically connected”, we can successfully use vibrational techniques such as Equi-Bow, a Bowen-based technique, to address general and speciic areas of concern in the body, often resulting in the dramatic results you see here.

BODY BALANCING In general, Bowen is a gentle, non-invasive, neuromuscular re-patterning technique, primarily used to address the autonomic nervous system in humans and animals. The autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous divisions.

AFTER: Later the same day. Note how her stance is much more proper and relaxed. Her muscles appear softer, and overall she looks more comfortable.


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• The sympathetic division is involved in the “ight or light” response in an emergency, or a panic situation where oxygen-rich blood is directed to the heart and muscles for reactive response.

• The parasympathetic division is involved in “rest” and “digest”, when the digestive and elimination organs function during relaxation. Often described as body balancing, Bowen addresses and harmonizes the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The body’s sympathetic division can get stuck in the “light or ight” mode, resulting in chronically poor digestion and elimination, nervousness and muscle tension. The Bowen technique addresses these imbalances, and behavioral changes often become evident after treatment. The type A personality, who is always wound up, shows signs of settling more readily, while the individual who is “turned off” or depressed becomes more alert and responsive.

Horses often appear deeply relaxed and at ease during and after a session. BOWEN FOR YOUR EQUINE Many schools teach equine techniques derived from different interpretations of human Bowen. Since equine anatomy and physiology differ from ours, there are of course changes in the technique as applied to horses. Equi-Bow is taught as a light touch technique using ingers, thumbs or the hand, which disturbs the supericial fascia and underlying structures. A series of what we call “moves” are made. These involve consecutively stimulating groups of two to eight precise points on the body, over the muscles, tendons and nerves, using only gentle pressure. The practitioner then moves away from the horse for a short time that can vary in length. This pause between the application of sets of moves allows the horse’s body time to process the work, while giving the practitioner a chance to observe him and determine if further action is required. Hands-on work usually lasts between 45 and 60 minutes per session. Horses often appear deeply relaxed and at ease during and after a session. You can usually feel increasing warmth and a change in tissue tension.

with minimal intervention. It has been seen to affect many issues, including: • colic • congestion • laminitis • back problems • balance problems • gait disorders • postural problems • arthritic or chronic pain • stile, hock, shoulder and knee restrictions • hip and pelvic discomfort • body asymmetry • TMJ issues • hernias • digestive and respiratory problems • lymphatic drainage • restrictions and misalignments of the fascia and tissue When restrictions and misalignments of the fascia and tissue are released, performance is optimized. Behavioral problems and training issues often resolve with Equi-Bow because the nervous system balances, allowing the horse to learn more readily and encouraging “thinking” rather than reactive behavior. Symptoms are often relieved following the irst session, with changes occurring up to seven days later. Results vary based on the horse’s initial condition. Changes made with Equi-Bow are generally long lasting, depending on the circumstances, and may include detoxiication. The beneits and uses of this therapy are vast, and the results are often quick and obvious, as was the case with the mare in shown in this article. You can clearly see the relief in her body and posture. Consider adding this therapy to your horse’s wellness toolbox – and perhaps yours too!






BENEFITS AND APPLICATIONS Equi-Bow balances the body, allowing it to heal itself



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much ado about

pMu A CLoSE-Up LooK AT A CoNTRovERSIAL INDUSTRy. by isabella eDwarDs

ention the PMU industry, and most horse lovers react negatively. It’s viliied by much of the equestrian community, and the horses that result as a “by-product” are looked on with pity. In some roundabout way, I suppose I am grateful to the PMU industry, as without it I would not have my fabulous mare. So, armed with questions, I sat down to do some research into the accusations that swirl around this industry, in an attempt to separate fact from rumor.


The bad taste in the mouths of many equestrians likely comes from the few years when PMU horses looded the market because Wyeth Pharmaceuticals downsized its production and ranches had to move their horses on. With so many horses entering an already saturated market, not all fell into good hands, and some ended up going to slaughter. In addition, undercover photos and videos of mares kept in poor living conditions and bad health, and with inadequate care, came to the surface regularly. Rumors circulated of horses having their water intake restricted to make their urine more concentrated. The question becomes – are all the ranches like this, or are a few bad seeds creating a poor image? And even if this is the case and most ranches are on the up-and-up – are the horses suffering from the PMU lifestyle? This horse was born on a pMU ranch and is registered with NAERIC. pMU foals can grow up to be fully functional equestrian citizens, just like any other foal, when given the chance.


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A BIT ABoUT THE pMU INDUSTRy Premarin is a popular estrogen therapy produced from the urine of pregnant mares – hence the name (Pregnant Mare Urine) and the acronym PMU. The ranches are based mainly in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Approximately 22 million women in the States used Premarin in 2002. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals is the only company that produces it. Earlier, as many as 70,000 mares on 422 ranches were used for the production of Premarin. Now the numbers are closer to 5,600 horses on 70 ranches, due to decreased demand and effective alternatives becoming available to women. Around 5,000 foals are produced by this industry every year. The mares are kept for approximately six months through the winter in standing type stalls, with urine collection harnesses attached to them. The stalls range from four to ive feet wide, depending on the weight of the mare. Mares may be given daily turnout, depending on the ranch, while the barn, equipment and harnesses are cleaned. Spring is foaling time, and during the summer the mares and foals are put out to pasture. Herds typically consist of a band of mares and one stallion, to get the mares back in foal again. Foals are weaned each fall, and sold privately or at sales. According to the North American Equine Ranching Information Council (NAERIC) Recommended Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Horses in PMU Operations, foals cannot be sold or leave the ranch until they are three months old, and no foals can be weaned before the irst of September. Meanwhile, the cycle begins all over again for the mares.

While some ranches pride themselves on their breeding stock and focus on good bloodlines and performance, others breed randomly with seemingly little thought.

good bloodlines and performance, others breed randomly with seemingly little thought. With the market already saturated, not many people are clamoring for mixed breed horses with little to no training, and perhaps in not the best condition. That said, PMU horses bought and given an opportunity at a career can do as well as any other horse, with some becoming incredibly successful.

IMpRovEMENTS ARE BEING MADE NAERIC represents the ranchers of the PMU industry. Ranchers must follow the organization’s regularly evaluated and updated code of practice, which includes guidelines on everything from care and handling to stabling and pasture, nutrition and breeding. It’s available for the public to read at naeric.org. Regular inspections are performed by different organizations, and mandatory herd health inspections are done by veterinarians at regular, predetermined intervals. A consensus report on the care of horses at PMU ranches was done by representatives of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, and the International League for the Protection of Horses. Here’s what it reports: “The ranchers took pride in their animals, and WyethAyerst showed a commitment to continuing to improve the standards of equine welfare on the farms. Based on our inspections, the allegations of inhumane treatment of horses involved in PMU ranching are unfounded. Generally, the horses are very well cared for. The ranchers and the company have responded in a progressive and proactive manner to both professional and public interest. Observations for improvement have been taken seriously and continue to be acted upon by Wyeth-Ayerst and the PMU ranchers. The public should be assured that the care and welfare of the horses involved in the production of an estrogen replacement medication is good, and is closely monitored.” The report also suggested further changes and improvements to continue ensuring the best quality of life possible for the horses.

WHAT HAppENS To THE HoRSES Mares and foals sold from PMU farms, whether as regular practice or due to downsizing, may not necessarily have the best chance at a bright future. While some ranches pride themselves on their breeding stock and focus on

WHAT IS NAERIC DoING To HELp? There’s a need to help give “by-product” foals a better shot at securing a good home. So NAERIC developed the Advantage program, an incentive program for horses bred equine wellness


While the industry seems less than ideal, it does appear to be taking steps to improve the horses’ care and comfort and give them a chance for a better future. However… even though the industry has drastically downsized, and may argue that their horses make up a very small portion of the equine population, 5,000 foals annually are still 5,000 extra foals on the market every year that need to ind homes, or face slaughter. Not only that, but months on end in a standing stall, pregnant year after year, is not an ideal way for a mare to live. There is a better way.

Drafts and draft crosses are common in the pMU industry.

on PMU ranches registered with NAERIC. If your horse is registered with the program, you can earn rewards at approved events all over North America and Europe. You can earn money depending on your placing, and the program will also match winnings from certain breed incentive funds, such as the AQHA Incentive Fund. Over 40,000 horses are currently registered, with winnings totaling over 2.5 million to date. Approved events include everything from line classes, dressage, eventing and hunt classes to barrel racing, team penning, halter classes and driving classes. NAERIC also offers other programs, including the CanAm Sport Horse Program and the Young Horse Development Program, for which the Manitoba Equine Ranching Association teamed with Manitoba 4-H to teach youth how to care for and train young horses.


equine wellness

WHAT CAN yoU Do? • PMURescue.org helps ranchers place horses that are no longer useful to their program, thereby preventing them going to slaughter. If you are interested in adopting or purchasing one of these horses, visit the website for more information. • If you are a woman currently using Premarin, do educate yourself on where it comes from. Some people can live with what the industry does, and others cannot – it is a personal choice. Premarin is no longer the main menopause drug, thanks to advancing research on lifestyle and diet changes, as well as natural, synthetic, bio-identical and plantderived hormone replacement therapies.


HERBS FOR HEALING The summer show season may be over, but injuries or lameness can happen any time of year. Herbsmith Acute Trauma manages the pain and discomfort that can result from everyday activity and training. It’s also gentle on your horse’s sensitive GI tract. This versatile blend of Chinese herbs addresses the root cause of pain by invigorating and moving the blood through affected tissues, preventing the stagnation of energy that can cause discomfort and damage. herbsmithinc.com

SUPPLEMENT WITH SCIENCE Formulating effective supplements involves a lot of care and study. Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals is one company that designs well-researched natural supplements for horse health. Gastra-FX is used as an aid in treating stomach problems such as ulcers – it’s made from soothing herbs such as marshmallow root, slippery elm, licorice root and ginger root. Biotic 8, meanwhile, keeps the GI tract healthy with eight different kinds of beneficial bacteria. oapharma.com or macleod-equine.com

NOW THAT’S SMART! Does your horse have sore feet? Poor circulation can be the culprit. Proper blood flow is essential for normal hoof function, especially when the feet are recovering from the stress of jumping, reining and other hard work. SmartSox is a supplement for managing work-induced discomfort in the hooves of your performance horse, and is excellent for breeds known for poor hoof circulation. It contains the amino acid arginine, potent antioxidants, and Flo-Ox, a proprietary blend of ingredients that assists with healthy blood flow. smartpakequine.com

HEADS UP FORGET THE STEROIDS Performance horses often need a boost to keep them in top form, but anabolic steroids are not the answer. From Horse Health USA, Body Builder is a healthy, natural alternative to steroids that helps develop body condition in growing horses and equine athletes. It’s an emulsified liquid concentrate that uses high quality rice bran oil containing a natural compound called gamma oryzanol. It assists muscle building activity, increases appetite, contributes to overall health and development, and helps achieve peak performance without stress or side effects. horsehealthusa.com

AWARD WINNER Thrush can be a serious problem, but this unique botanical product can solve it. Thrush Off from Well-Horse is Equine Wellness Approved, and the recipient of the 2009 Horse Journal Editors’ Choice award. Thrush Off is natural, non-toxic and free of chemical ingredients. It kills thrush on contact without burning sensitive or live tissue, including open wounds. It can also be used to treat injuries and infections to the coronet band as well as cracked heels, abscesses, quarter cracks, white line and laminits. Well-Horse.com

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apple Of yOur


rom the time I learned to walk, horses were always a part of my daily life. I couldn’t wait for my dad to come home from his ofice, so I could ind out if I would get to go with him to the stable to visit Little John, and the other horses. Visits to the stable were like the holiday season and the very best birthdays, rolled into one great big wonderful event.


December was always a magical time at the stable. We’d be all bundled up, and if I was really good, there would be hot chocolate for me, and extra special treats to give to the horses. Now, over 50 years later, I still think of those extra special moments at the stable, going from stall to stall with my treats for the horses. It seemed to me they knew when I was coming to visit, and even now, just thinking of those times brings a smile to my face. While treat recipes have evolved over the years, the


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basics remain the same – something that tastes good, and something that is packed with goodness. Have fun making your “apple slides” and “carrot shots,” and do try making your own wreath. It’s lots of fun, and one more way we can celebrate the joy and love of the holiday season.

Apple slides

Carrot shots

Ingredients • 6 red apples • Local honey, e.g., blueberry, wildlower, dandelion, desert sage* • Whole oat lakes, oatmeal, or simple granola (oats, sunlower seeds and sesame seeds) • Cinnamon • Sundried unsulphured cranberries

Ingredients • 1 cup pureéd carrots* • 11/2 cups whole oat lour • 2 heaping tablespoons carob powder • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon • 1 teaspoon Endless Pawsibilities VaryBerry™ Power Powder, or cranberry extract • 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened desiccated coconut • 1 cup simple granola (mixture of rolled oats, sunlower seeds and sesame seeds) • 1/2 cup iltered water • Extra granola • Sundried unsulphured cranberries • Try adding 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Acadian sea kelp for an extra nutritional and lavor “pop”

Instructions 1. Try to use organic ingredients whenever possible. 2. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 3. Slice apples to a thickness of 1/8” to 1/4” and place them on the cookie sheets. 4. Drizzle honey on the apple slices. It will spread to the edges of the slices. (They aren’t called “slides” for nothing!) 5. Sprinkle with your choice of oat lakes, oatmeal or granola. 6. Sprinkle with cinnamon. A loose tea strainer is perfect for this task. 7. Bake for one hour. 8. Freeze the apple slides right on the cookie sheets. If you are “gifting” them, purchase a glass plate at the dollar store, or buy a neat China plate from a garage sale. Lay the apple slides on the plate, decorate with more sundried cranberries, add some fresh berries or an apple rosette (see next page) and cinnamon sticks. 9. For quick trips from the house to the barn, apple slides can be frozen in layers in Ziploc bags, and defrosted as you need them.

Instructions 1. Try to use organic ingredients whenever possible. 2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 3. Pureé carrots in a food processor or blender. 4. Add all other ingredients, with the exception of the extra granola and cranberries. 5. Form dough into large “trufles,” about the size of a tablespoon. Roll in granola, place on cookie sheet and add a fresh or sundried unsulphured cranberry or two. 6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then allow carrot shots to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 7. One batch makes 24 carrot shots. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. The dough freezes beautifully. *In place of pureéd carrots, try unsweetened apple sauce, unsweetened apple butter, pumpkin butter or hemp butter. Combinations work well too.

*If you have an insulin resistant horse, you can use apple juice or hemp oil in place of honey. Hemp oil is packed with nutrients and has a wonderful nutty lavor that horses love. By the way, apples and oats are low on the Glycemic Index. equine wellness



Apple rosettes

Horseshoe wreath

Dry some apples and make a horseshoe shaped wreath, using wire or grape vines. Granny Smith apples are perfect for creating decorative pieces, anchored with dried fruit. Cinnamon sticks add a nice touch, along with natural rafia, and look around your garden for other embellishments to add to your wreath. Here’s how to dry the apples: • Preheat oven to 175°F. • Slice the apples, so they are approximately 1/4” thick. • Soak them in a mixture of 2 cups pure lemon juice and 3 tablespoons salt for 15 minutes. Remove from the mixture and pat them dry. • Spread the apple slices out on a parchment papercovered cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon or a combination of spices (see below). • Bake for approximately six hours, leaving the oven door open a little to allow moisture to escape. • As soon as the apple slices begin to curl, turn them over and bake some more, until the slices look like soft leather. A dehydrator makes the drying process ininitely faster. Apple pie spice blend 1/4 cup cinnamon 4 teaspoons allspice 2 teaspoons nutmeg 2 teaspoons mace 1 teaspoon ground cloves Pumpkin pie spice blend 2 tablespoons cinnamon 1 tablespoon ginger 2 teaspoons nutmeg 1 teaspoon ground cloves Simple rosettes can be made with unsulphured apple slices, sundried unsulphured cranberries and bay leaves. Try beeswax and cranberry loss to stitch your rosettes, and for extra lair, add a cinnamon stick or two and a special equine charm!


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Rich in natural sugars and contains all the principal vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, magnesium, silicon, vitamin A, vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, niacin and protein.

Cinnamon Used to help treat a variety of gastrointestinal problems, including nausea and latulence. Known as an antibacterial and antifungal agent; a sprinkling of cinnamon can help heal a cut faster. One teaspoon of cinnamon contains as many antioxidants as 1/2 cup of blueberries.

Coconut Rich in digestible oils and an excellent source of iber, which helps to remove worm eggs.

Cranberries Contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant even more powerful than vitamin E – 50mg to 80mg are found in a 100g serving of cranberries. Proanthocyanidins (another antioxidant) help strengthen blood vessels and improve delivery of oxygen to cell membranes. Ellagic acid can cause apoptosis or “cell death” in cancer cells. Cranberries also contain iber, manganese and vitamin K, and are rich in vitamin C and tannins, which help keep bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract, and support healthy teeth and gums.

Honey There are more than 300 types of honey in the United States alone. Darker honeys contain the most antioxidants. Honey is soothing to any inlammation in the gastrointestinal tract, and is also nature’s “band aid.”

oats A strength-giving cereal. Soothes the digestive tract and the nervous system. Low in starch and high in minerals, especially potassium and phosphorus. Also contain calcium, magnesium, and are rich in B vitamins and a good source of iron. Oats support strong teeth, hooves, nails and hair.

Red apples Heart smart and rich in antioxidants. A diet rich in red apples helps inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Contain phytochemicals, lycopene and anthocyanins, lots of vitamin C, calcium, chlorine, luorine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, sulphur and trace minerals. Red delicious, northern spy and Ida red have more potent disease ighting antioxidants than other apples.

decrease the risk of some cancers. The seeds also have antiinlammatory and cardiovascular beneits.


Sesame seeds Contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, tryptophan, zinc, vitamin B1 and diet iber. Also a source of sesamin and sesamolin, which belong to a special group of ibers called lignans that have been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure in humans, and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin also protects the liver from oxidative damage.

Sunlower seeds An excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium and selenium. Also contain vitamin B1, vitamin B5, copper, tryptophan and phosphorus. Their phytoesterols can help reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance immune response, and even

equine wellness


out to grass

Retirement isn’t just for the older horse. Depending on his condition and health, it can occur a lot earlier in life. Here’s how to tell when it’s time to stop working your equine, and how to make the transition as stress-free as possible. by kelly hOwling

aving to think about retiring your horse can be tough. When most people consider “retirement” from an equine standpoint, they generally think about horses at an age when the wear and tear of youthful years of use catch up to them. But this is not always the case. In fact, the need to consider retirement can happen at any time.


NoT JUST FoR THE AGED We all hope our horses will live to the ripe old age of 30


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plus, as happy and healthy as possible. But the reality is, an inability to perform at a desired level can strike at any time, even from the moment your horse is born. As powerful and elegant as they are, horses can also be terribly fragile at times. It sometimes does not take much to incur a career-ending injury. It can happen in the pasture, in the trailer, while being ridden, anywhere, anytime. Horses are also regularly retired due to conditions such as wobbler syndrome, EPM, severe behavioral reactions and more.



It’s a good idea to start preparing your horse’s retirement plan from the moment you acquire him. This may sound silly, but should your horse receive a career-ending diagnosis down the road, it can prevent extra stress during an already stressful time.

Should your horse reach a stage where he is no longer able to perform in your chosen discipline, whether it be dressage, jumping, racing or trail riding – what will you do with him?

WHEN IS IT TIME? The biggest question anyone asks when retiring a horse is: “When is it time?” Typically, you will get what may feel like a cryptic answer along the lines of: “You’ll know when it’s time.” This knowing can come from many things: • Veterinary, farrier or other professional opinions. • Undisputable diagnostics, reports and observations from barn staff, coaches, and trainers who are close to your horse and notice him struggling. • Your own observations, questions and doubts. • Most importantly – your horse. You know your horse better than anyone else does. You’ll see when he is struggling, despite wanting and trying his best to please you. You’ll notice when things aren’t quite right. Sometimes we may try to ignore or deny these signs, until the previously mentioned people step in and mention something, but we will always know.


Will you keep him? Depending on your situation, this requires an investment over many years, whether you keep him at your home or ind a good retirement facility. In either case, it can be a good idea to set something aside for your horse’s retirement each month, just as you would your own.


Will you try to re-home him? It’s not uncommon for people to pass on horses who, due to injury or other physical limitations, cannot perform at the level they would like them to. These horses often go to people who can enjoy them with their limitations, and use them for trail riding, basic dressage, or as therapy or companion horses to youngsters or others in need. In this situation, it is naturally your responsibility to ensure your horse is going to an excellent home. No retired horse, after years of working for the people who love him, deserves to be passed from home to home, potentially ending up in a very poor situation. These horses have earned a secure retirement.

FINDING A FACILITy ADJUSTING THE WoRKLoAD Does your horse need to be fully retired, or just semiretired? Everyone, at one point or another, has heard stories about horses retired from work due to age, only to quickly fade away when they no longer had a job to do. Brought back into light work, these horses began to lourish again.

Finding a good, trustworthy retirement facility for your equine friend can be tougher than it seems. We have all heard horror stories of people placing their retired horses in the seemingly capable hands of farms that “specialize” in elderly and retired equines, only to return a year later

Depending on why your horse is being retired, it may still be possible for him to have a job to do, if he seems the type to thrive on that sort of thing. Options for a horse that does not seem happy just being the resident professional treat taster can include: • A reduced workload • Lighter work (latwork or trails instead of jumping) • A change in occupation (therapy rather than eventing) equine wellness


and discover their horses were simply thrown out in a ield with little supervision, care or thought. When looking for a facility, do your research just as you would when looking at any other type of boarding situation. If you will be unable to visit your horse on a regular basis (sometimes a good retirement facility might be a long distance away) you must make sure you really like and trust the people who own, manage and run it. The facility should obviously suit your horse’s needs and be lexible enough to continue accommodating him as those needs change or his condition worsens over time. The farm staff should be knowledgeable about the needs of retired horses, including nutrition, turnout, coat care, dentistry, applicable health conditions/concerns and so on.

ENJoyING yoUR RETIREE People often become a little lost for awhile when they can no longer ride (or drive) their horses. They are unsure what else they can do with their horses to keep them feeling important and relevant. There are plenty of ways to spend time with your retired friend, and while it may require an adjustment period, it can result in a new and greater bond between the two of you. Visit and discover other things your horse enjoys doing. The list of ideas and opportunities is endless and can include: • In-hand work • Long-lining • Handwalking on trails • Bath time • Handgrazing in the shade • Hanging out by the ring watching other horses work • Being ponied off another horse while you go for a walk around the ields • Long grooming sessions • Quiet chats Your relationship with your horse does not have to end with retirement. It’s simply another leg of the wonderful journey you are taking with your equine friend.


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equine wellness


Suzanne and Tigger enjoy a very slow, balanced canter.

ride circles

around’eM! by bOb Jeffreys anD suzanne shepparD


equine wellness

FROM AGONY TO ECSTASY Loping circles can be a lot of fun. perfecting them by changing the speed and circle size adds an extra dimension of interest and enjoyment for both you and your horse. erfect circles at the canter or lope really show off your partnership with your horse. Although circles are practiced in all disciplines, we’re here talking about loping large, small, fast or slow circles, as in the world of reining. There’s almost nothing sweeter than watching a really large, fast circle dialed down to a nice, easy slow canter within a deined area, without a strong pull on the reins or an abrupt jolt to the rider. So how do we get there?



the center to the other side, and resume the circle. Do not change directions or leads. This succeeds because it makes your horse work harder when he drifts than he would have to if he stayed on the circle. Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing dificult. Hmm, sounds familiar, doesn’t it? To handle the horse “falling in” to the middle, use a similar but slightly different approach. As he falls in, immediately straighten him out by turning him outside, and then ride a straight line to the nearest point where you can re-enter the circle. You don’t cross the center this time because that would be taking him where he wants to go in the irst place. Rather, as he falls in, turn him outside, then ride a straight line back to the circle.

When you want to change the size of your circle from large to small, or vice versa, simply use your reins and legs accordingly.

Let’s assume your horse can lope on cue in the correct lead, and that you are riding correctly, in good balance, without leaning into the circle or sending unclear signals. Be sure to look about 20 to 25 feet ahead in your circle – in other words, focus on the next quarter of the circle you’re riding, not the quarter you are on. This will send your focus clearly out, helping your horse succeed. Then you’ll need to teach him to “guide” willingly. What we mean here is that when you put him on a circle, he’ll stay on it with little or no help from you. When you irst start to teach this lesson, what will normally happen is that your horse will either drift out of your circle, effectively making it larger, or “fall in” toward the middle, making it smaller. We don’t want to be constantly correcting either or both of these faults. So let’s say you want to ride a 75’ circle, and the horse starts to drift outside that diameter (toward the gate, one of his buddies, or for whatever other reason). You need to turn him toward the inside of the circle fairly abruptly, ride a straight line right across the center to the opposite side, then re-enter the circle gently. Every single time he drifts out, turn him inside, ride a straight line across

Bob and Blackjac lope a very fast circle bridle-less! Do the exercises described in the article as one step to this advanced maneuver.

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Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing dificult.

CIRCLE ADJUSTMENTS • When you want to change the size of your circle from large to small, or vice versa, simply use your reins and legs accordingly. When he is on the new circle you want to ride, you can leave him alone. Staying on the circle becomes his reward and you won’t constantly have to babysit him by making continuous adjustments. • To speed up, push your hand(s) just a bit forward, bring your shoulders a little forward, speed up your driving seat, and generally “up” your entire body energy. • To slow down, gently sit back, just to the point where your body is straight. Do not lean backward. This should also bring your hand(s) back to a normal riding position. Reduce your driving seat and lower your body energy.


equine wellness

Loping circles is great fun, but when you add in large, fast, small and slow, all effortlessly guided, it becomes a thrill to ride. Until next time, ride safe!



equine wellness




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.


Corona velvet (velvet) AGE: 5 years


pHySICAL DESCRIpTIoN: 18.1hh gelding, black with white star and two white socks

DISCIpLINE: Equine facilitated mental health (EFMH)

oWNER/GUARDIAN: Susan Edwards 36

equine wellness

AWARDS/ACCoMpLISHMENTS: “Velvet works with children aged three to eleven who have experienced trauma. He interacts with them in a non-mounted therapy. This includes kicking a soccer ball with him, drawing pictures of him, asking him questions and sharing feelings with him. They groom him and roll a large rubber ball around the arena with him. EFMH also involves a therapist (in this case, myself) and a horse handler (Marnie Maciebortski). Often the parent observes. “One child trusted him enough to ask him, ‘How can I get more love in my life?’ In a drawing, the child then drew Velvet’s answer to that question. The

horse replied in a conversation bubble drawn by the child that said, ‘Stick with me and act in a loving way.’ This is the ultimate reward of a therapy horse.”

HoW DID yoU ACqUIRE HIM?: “I met Velvet when he was three days old. He was in a round pen with his mother. There were eight of us (adults and children) standing around the pen and he walked over to me and licked me. I went back a week later and the same thing happened. I bought him. The vet said I had been imprinted.”

NATURAL CARE pRINCIpLES AND poSITIvE RESULTS: “I raised Velvet with natural horsemanship principles. He has two trainers schooled in natural principles – one with a background in Parelli and one utilizing several schools of thought. “Velvet beneits from the work of an equine communicator, natural feed supplements, massage, T-Touch and interactional training. He does not wear shoes and has an equine podiatrist care for his feet. His vet also tended his pregnant mother and recognizes the work of natural training, including equine communication. He seems to respond to the horse through interaction and Velvet always takes his checkups well.

“Velvet sizes others up easily. He senses sadness and will lick someone who has experienced a loss. Those who behave inappropriately he will ignore. And he’s funny. He once put a large plastic recycling barrel over his head and walked around the pasture. I’m sure he was trying to see what it felt like. He is a natural scientist, trying to understand the world around him. He has spirit.”

FUTURE GoALS: “We want to help develop a circle of Team Velvet, Inc., centers around the globe. These will be staffed by licensed psychologists and certiied counselors and will offer an alternative treatment model for child trauma.”

ADvICE: “It takes courage to follow your own convictions. Horses, like us, are not perfect. One child said to me, ‘Dr. Susan, I notice Velvet does not always listen to everything you ask.’ I laughed and responded, ‘Do you always do everything your Mom or Dad asks?’ The child started laughing. I continued, ‘That doesn’t mean Velvet is bad. It just means most of us are not perfect. We can still be wonderful.’”

“Psychology is about communication, not control by fear. Most training approaches use fear. I think learning what best its another – being able to read and learn about the other – is the basis of a good relationship. “In the end it’s about love and relationships. We grow through our interactions with others, some of whom are horses. And in return, what they offer us is so powerful it’s beyond words.”

TELL US MoRE: “Velvet is the namesake of a new children’s charity called Team Velvet, Inc., which will eventually have its own farm and herd of equine facilitated mental health horses. It will serve traumatized children from a region spanning New York City to Philadelphia. Velvet will also be the subject of a book for parents on understanding children from the perspective of a therapy horse. It’s called BEGINNINGS: Therapy Horse Wisdom on Children for Those Who Love Them. He also features in a book for children called Wonder Horse.

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


Duty calls Cleaning and inspecting your horse’s “private” areas may not be a task you relish, but it’s important for his health and comfort. by kelli taylOr, DvM

ou might think cleaning sheaths and udders is yet another responsibility (or chore) that comes with caring for a horse. You’ll do the task dutifully, but wonder if it’s really necessary for the health and well being of your horse.


Some argue that sheaths and udders are never cleaned in the wild and those horses seem to get along ine. Does that mean we don’t really need to clean them at all? Yet we’ve all heard of the gelding that makes a “honking noise” during exercise, seen the “bean” that is removed by your veterinarian, or experienced the embarrassment of your gelding’s crud-caked private part being displayed during a lesson or event. How can we determine if we even need to clean sheaths and udders? How often should we do it, and with what technique? It all comes down to the individual mare, gelding or stallion.

WHAT’S NoRMAL? All stallions and geldings produce normal secretions from sebaceous glands in the skin of the sheath and penis. This combines with naturally sloughed skin cells and creates the waxy substance known as “smegma”, which can vary from a moist to a dry and crusty buildup. Some males produce a lot of smegma while others produce relatively little – either can be normal for the individual. When smegma accumulates within the sheath, discomfort and irritation in the skin of the sheath and penis may occur. Additionally, if the buildup is moist it can attract insects, especially in the summer months, and is an excellent medium for bacterial growth. Just around the urethral opening on the tip of the penis (or glans) is a pocket called the urethral diverticulum. When


equine wellness

smegma accumulates within this pocket, the famous “bean” is developed. It’s called a bean because the smegma is molded into a kidney bean-shaped lump as it builds up within the pocket. If the bean becomes large enough, it can cause irritation of the urethra and may even prevent urination altogether. It is important to check for a bean and evaluate the external genitalia for abnormalities at least twice a year, even if your gelding does not require regular cleanings. Mares also have sebaceous glands within the skin of their udders. Normal secretions mixed with sweat and dirt cause the accumulation of brownish black material that is found between the teats. This buildup can make the mare extremely itchy. You may notice she actually enjoys a good cleaning. All skin surfaces, including the udder, sheath and penis, also have a permanent population of normal bacteria that help maintain skin health by preventing the establishment of more harmful microbes. If you have a particularly dirty gelding, you may be tempted to clean him often, which can result in a disruption of normal bacterial lora. A shift in the ecological balance of bacteria along with dry skin (caused by over-washing, especially with harsh detergents) that chaps and cracks as the penis is retracted into the sheath, can lead to secondary bacterial infections. These infections are often hard to control and require systemic antibiotics.

Safety is key as many horses that have not had their sheaths/udders cleaned before will likely object with a swift kick from a hind leg.

HoW oFTEN SHoULD I CLEAN? It is best to start with biannual cleanings. You can determine from there whether or not your horse needs it done more often or less. Some geldings and especially mares only require a good hosing off after a hard workout to keep these areas clean. But remember, even if your gelding does not require frequent cleanings, you or your veterinarian should still check for a “bean” and examine the area for any abnormalities at least twice a year. Stallions require minimal cleaning if they are employed as breeding studs. The washing they normally receive prior to breeding is suficient to keep them clean. If the stallion is used for live cover, you may only need to hose him off upon dismount to avoid heavy duty cleanings.

HoW SHoULD I Do IT? In order to clean the sheath or udder, you will have to train your horse to grow accustomed to being touched in his or her “private area”. This may take some time and patience, using the approach and retreat technique. Never introduce your hand into the sheath without warning! Safety is key as many horses that have not had their sheaths/udders cleaned before will likely object with a swift kick from a hind leg. It is best to have someone hold the horse for you. That way, the handler can move the horse’s rear end away from you if he goes to kick, placing you safely out of the injury zone. This only works if you and the handler are on the same side of the horse! Standing near your horse’s elbow, reach along his belly to the sheath (or udder), and get him used to having your hand in this area. Remember to always be patient and gentle. If you handle your gelding roughly, he will never relax and drop, and that makes your job much harder. If you are uncomfortable working on this part of your horse, do not hesitate to call your equine wellness


veterinarian. He will be able to lightly sedate your horse and clean the sheath (or udder) quickly without anyone getting hurt. • Once your gloved hand (see sidebar for the equipment you’ll need) has been introduced into the sheath, lightly grasp the penis and with gentle traction draw it out. You can also try lightly rubbing on the inside of the sheath to encourage him to drop. While you have hold of the penis, you should clean and inspect it for abnormalities. Take a wet piece of cotton and have the handler put some Ivory on it, then soap up the shaft of the penis to remove the encrusted smegma. Alternate soapy cotton pieces with a plain water rinse until clean. If you notice any unusual lumps, bumps or sores, a call to your veterinarian is warranted. • Next, check for a “bean”. Locate the opening of the urethra, run a inger into the urethral diverticulum that surrounds it, and feel for a hard lump. If one is present, use your index inger to gently scoop it out of the pocket. Sometimes the bean is large enough that it will need to be broken down in order to remove it from the fossa. This can usually be accomplished by squeezing the bean into multiple smaller pieces. If you are unsure or unable to remove the bean, call your veterinarian. If the bean is left in, it will continue to accumulate more smegma and can become large enough (the size of a chicken egg) to occlude the urethral opening. • After the bean is removed, the sheath will also need to be cleaned. Take another piece of cotton with soap on it and reach up into the sheath. You may feel the inside of the sheath has a bumpy surface; these are clumps of smegma that all need to be removed. Again, alternate soap with rinsing until all the smegma is removed and the sheath is clean between all of the folds you can reach. • Now that everything is nice and clean, it’s time for a inal rinse. It is important to remove all traces of cleanser so there is nothing left behind to irritate your horse’s delicate skin. This can be accomplished with a few cotton pieces soaked in water or by using a garden hose. Before becoming over-zealous with cleaning those special parts, consider your horse’s individual needs. You may ind you only need to venture there once or twice a year to keep your horse happy and healthy. Avoid over-cleaning. A good rinse after a hard workout may be all he needs! DR. KELLI TAYLOR IS A 2008 SUMMA CUM LAUDE GRADUATE OF WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY’S COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE. SHE WAS BORN WITH A LOVE OF HORSES THAT CONTINUES TO DRAW HER TO THEM AND HAS STRIVEN TO BE NEAR THEM HER ENTIRE LIFE.



equine wellness

A good hosing after a hard workout may be all your particular mare or gelding needs.

Rubbing her tail and/or bum can be an indication that your mare is due for a cleaning -- they can get very itchy!

WHAT EqUIpMENT Do I NEED? yoU WILL NEED THE SAME SET oF ITEMS FoR EITHER A SHEATH oR UDDER CLEANING. • Wash rack or other spot that is free of distractions for the horse • Two pairs of thin disposable gloves (smegma has a distinctive odor that can linger on your hands) • Bucket of warm water • Gentle cleanser such as Ivory dishwashing liquid or Excalibur sheath cleaner; disinfectants such as Nolvasan or Betadine should be avoided because they can irritate and dry out the skin and kill off the healthy bacteria, leaving the area susceptible to infection • Cotton roll ripped into several pieces or strong heavy duty (yet soft) paper towels; you could also use a sponge, but it will need to be traded out often as bacteria will accumulate in it -- and be sure to label it so it does not get used for any other area! • optional: a garden hose is convenient if your horse will tolerate it in that area

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resOurce guiDe •Barefoot Hoof Trimming

•Natural Product Retailers


•Schools & Education

• Reiki View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com

BAREFOOT HOOF TRIMMING ALABAMA Danny Thornburg Shelby, AL USA Phone: (205) 669-7409

CA & HI 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



JT’s Natural Hoof Care AANHCP Certiied Practitioner & Instructor Scottsdale, AZ USA Phone: (480) 560-9413 Email: jonatom3h@yahoo.com

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

The Horse’s Hoof James Welz Litchield Park, AZ USA Toll Free: (877) 594-3365 Phone: (623) 935-1823 Email: jim@thehorseshoof.com Website: www.thehorseshoof.com

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

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

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

Serving southern CA

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

Hoof Savvy Folsom, CA USA Phone: (916) 201-7852 Email: hoofcare.specialist@yahoo.com Jolly Roger Holman Professional Farrier/Natural Hoof Care Templeton, CA USA Phone: (805) 227-4835 Specializing in natural trims and BLM Wild Mustangs

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

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

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

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

Non-invasive natural hoof care Custom hoof boot itting services

Serving Chico to Redding area. 530-343-7190, secondhearthoofcare@yahoo.com

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

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

CONNECTICUT Fred Evans North Granby, CT USA Phone: (860) 653-7946 Phyllis Gregerman North Stonington, CT USA Phone: (860) 599-8766 Sarah F. Block Shelton, CT USA Phone: (203) 924-5644

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

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

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



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



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

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

ILLINOIS Mackinaw Dells II Ida Hammer Congerville, IL USA Phone: (309) 448-2212 Website: www.mackinawdells2.com No Hoof - No Horse Cheryl Sutor, M.H.G. Kirkland, IL USA Phone: (630) 267-0357 Website: www.NoHoof-NoHorse.com Yvonne Moorhouse Hoof Care Practitioner AANHCP PT Marengo, IL USA Phone: (815) 923-6950 Email: y.moorhouse@att.net

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

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

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

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

NEW JERSEY Carrie Christiansen Browns Mills, NJ USA Phone: (609) 992-3889 Lisa Markowitz High Bridge, NJ USA Phone: (908) 268-6046

Natural Trim Hoof Care Hopatcong, NJ USA Phone: (973) 876-4475 Former Farrier - Now specializing in barefoot rehabili- Email: info@naturaltrimhoofcare.com tation - Certiied Practitioner Website: www.naturaltrimhoofcare.com


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

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


Natural barefoot hoof care; specializing in pathologic hoof rehab

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

OHIO Emma Everly AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.com AANHCP Certiied Practitioner

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


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

Better Be Barefoot Sherri Pennanen Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 434-0146 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com


Natural balance trimming, rehabilitation, and education centre.


Margo Scoield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com Website: www.hoofkeeping.com

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

Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: joe@naturalhoofconcepts.com Website: www.naturalhoofconcepts.com

Natural Barefoot Trimming, Easycare Natural Hoof Advisor, Natural Horse Care Services

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

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

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

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


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

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Amy Sheehy - Natural Hoof Care Professional IIEP Certiied Equine Podiatrist Pine Plains, NY USA Phone: (845) 235-4530 Email: hoofgal@naturestrim.com Website: www.naturestrim.com Specializing in natural trimming and rehabilitation of all hoof problems.

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

Barefoot Horse Canada.com Anne Riddell, AANHCP, Hoof Care Practitioner Penetang, ON Canada Phone: (705) 533-2900 Email: ariddell@xplornet.com Website: www.barefoothorsecanada.com Natural barefoot trimming, booting & natural horsecare services.

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

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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

Kate Romanenko Woodville, ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Website: www.natureshoofcare.com Serendales Farm Equine Hoofcare Services Brian & Virginia Knox Campbellford, ON Canada Phone: (705) 653-5989 Email: serendales@accel.net Website: www.serendalesmorgans.com


TENNESSEE Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Trac Right Indian Mound, TN USA Phone: (931) 232-3071 Email: tracright@aol.com Website: www.tracright.com Quality Barefoot Hoofcare in Middle Tennessee.

ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: abchoofcare@msn.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com Certiied hoofcare Professional Training, Rehabilitation, Education & Clinics

Conde Pantoje Molalla, OR USA Phone: (503) 502-1102 Email: betteroffbarefoot@yahoo.com Website: www.betteroffbarefoot.us The Veterinary Hospital Nancy Johnson Eugene, OR USA Phone: (541) 688-1835 Email: thevethosp@aol.com Windhorse Creations Mavis Pas Oakridge, OR USA Phone: (541) 782-3561 Website: www.windhorse-creations.com


TEXAS Born to Fly, LLC Argyle, TX USA Phone: (940) 455-7219 Website: www.miniaturesforu.com

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

WASHINGTON Cameron Bonner Wauna, WA USA Phone: (360) 895-2679 Leslie Walls Ridgeield, WA USA Phone: (360) 887-0529 Email: barehoolcw@yahoo.com Maureen Gould Stanwood, WA USA Phone: (360) 629-5153 Email: maureen@forthehorse.net Website: www.forthehorse.net

Gill Goodin Moravian, NC USA Phone: (325) 265-4250

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

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


27 years exp. as Farrier and I promote Natural hoof care. I am a ield instructor and clinician for AANHCP in Texas

TN Nexus Center For The Horse Greeneville, TN USA Phone: (423) 797-1575 Website: www.nexuscenterforthehorse.net


Walt Friedrich Nescopeck, PA USA Phone: (570) 379-2964


Cori Brennan Sharon, SC USA Phone: (803) 927-0018

Barefoot Trimming, Hoof Clinic & Equine Wellness Center

Eddie Drabek El Campo, TX USA Phone: (979) 578-8913 Website: www.drabekhoofcare.com

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


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

Autumn Mountain Sue Mellen Danby, VT USA Phone: (802) 293-5260

Elizabeth Swank Harrisonburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 434-5286 Erin Pearson Castleton, VA USA Phone: (540) 987-9507

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

Anita Delwiche Greenwood, WI USA Phone: (715) 267-6404 FHL Horse Care Mark Stuber Ridgeland, WI USA Phone: (715) 949-1002 Email: fhlhorsecare@chibardun.net Website: ww.fhlhorsecare.com Mike Stelske Eagle, WI USA Phone: (262) 594-2936 Scott McConaughey Houlton, WI USA Phone: (715) 549-6380 The Natural Hoof Monica Meer Waukesha, WI USA Phone: (262) 968-9499 Email: monica@thenaturalhoof.com Website: www.thenaturalhoof.com Triangle P Hoofcare Chad Bembenek Rio, WI USA Phone: (920) 992-6415 Email: trianglepenterprises@centurytel.net Website: www.trianglephoofcare.com

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COMMUNICATORS ARIZONA Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA Phone: (214) 615-6505 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com International animal intuitive offers nationwide consultations in animal communication and energy healing.

NATURAL PRODUCT RETAILERS WASHINGTON Laminitis, arthritis, general health & wellness.


www.AnimalParadiseCommunication.com • 703-648-1866



Acupuncture Barefoot Hoof Trimmers

REIKI CONNECTICUT Powerlow, 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 &


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nyone who has spent any time with equines has undoubtedly seen a club footed horse. He is typically recognized and deined as having one front hoof growing at a much steeper angle than the other, with a short dished toe, very high heels, extremely curved wall and straight bars. The club foot is also generally much narrower than the other and will usually have a substantially smaller and sensitive frog.


Club feet are surprisingly common, with up to 60% of the domestic horse population exhibiting at least minor characteristics. Several theories address the potential causes, ranging from a genetic predisposition, to hoof or body injury, to improper trimming and/or shoeing. It’s unlikely, however, that there’s only a single cause or contributing factor. As with many hoof issues, it is usually a “whole horse” concern rather than simply

a foot problem. As more and more studies into the physiological function of the equine hoof demonstrate, hoof issues are often symptoms or relections of other issues within the horse.

FIvE poTENTIAL CAUSES There are several theories on what can cause a club foot to occur. Many stem from the understanding that situations limiting the range of movement in a horse’s limb can cause a hoof to grow more upright.

Club feet are surprisingly common, with up to 60% of the domestic horse population exhibiting at least minor characteristics. equine wellness



INJURY One of the more commonly accepted causes is the result of an injury, most notably supra-scapular nerve damage. The supra-spinatus and infra-spinatus muscles run along the outside of the scapula that holds the bone against the body. They offer lexibility to the forelimbs. When the motor nerve “controlling” these muscles is damaged, the muscles cannot contract as well, ultimately reducing movement in the shoulder and forelimb. This in turn can cause a hoof to grow at a steeper angle from improper biomechanics and wear. This nerve can be damaged by a one-time event such as a sudden loss of traction to a foreleg that is extended and moving under power. If you view the withers and shoulders of a club footed horse from behind, you will often see that the shoulder of the club sided foot is usually somewhat smaller and falls away from the withers more steeply.

otherwise unrestricted movement and exercise by living outside 24/7, this may have little effect. However, if most of the horse’s exercise happens under saddle, the effect on the hooves can be very dramatic.


PAIN AVOIDANCE A horse moving in a certain way to avoid pain from any sort of trauma to the foot, or chronic abscessing or thrush, can contribute to the upright growth of a hoof. Something as “simple” as a minor thrush infection can cause enough irritation in the sensitive nerves within the frog to discourage the horse from landing properly heel irst. This essentially “sends a message” to the hoof to grow more heel in order to protect those sensitive tissues, by lifting them further off the ground. This can certainly contribute to the development of a mild club foot, but is unlikely in itself to be a major cause.


Front view of club foot.

Same horse, slightly different angle, showing a more obvious club shape.


RIDER IMBALANCE AND ILL-FITTING TACK This is another commonly overlooked cause of club foot. If the scapula cannot move freely under the saddle, either through a tight it or a pressure point causing pain, the horse will compensate for this in his movement. Many riders unintentionally load one stirrup slightly more than the other, which also causes imbalanced and restricted movement in the horse. Admittedly, if the horse is only ridden a few hours each month and enjoys


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IMPROPER OR IRREGULAR TRIMMING This can signiicantly affect the growth patterns of the foot and contribute to hoof irregularities. Trimmers and farriers may create differences from one side of the horse to the other, depending on which hand they favor, or which side of the horse they traditionally start trimming on. If one side is habitually left even slightly longer than the other, the effect can compound after many trims. Some professionals allow the heels of a horse to grow unnaturally high and substantially beyond the level of the live sole, and others routinely trim them down so far that the healthy live sole is cut or rasped too much. Either approach will cause the hoof to respond in extraordinary ways and contribute to many hoof pathologies. At times, often by the owner’s request, some farriers may exacerbate the problem by trying to match the look of the hooves. Allowing the smaller club foot to “outgrow” its actual size usually results in lares and moves the breakover of the foot further forward, which in turn shortens the stride and changes the movement of the limb. This causes the hoof to grow even more upright. It’s a vicious cycle!


HEREDITY Some horses are born with a more upright conformation, so it is often suggested that club feet are mainly a hereditary concern. This is usually only the case if the club conformation occurs bilaterally – that is to say, on both feet. Many argue that genetically upright horses are not nearly as common as is frequently indicated, and that a lack of proper trimming in young

foals is more likely the cause. Even grazing stance (where a young foal habitually grazes with one foot forward) has been blamed for the development of a club foot.

pREvENTIoN AND TREATMENT A regular trimming schedule that relects the needs and growth rate of the horse’s hooves will help keep him moving properly. It is much better to keep feet balanced by frequent trimming (every three to six weeks) than to ix or correct the balance each time at longer intervals. Resist the temptation of “false economy” trimming on an arbitrary eight to ten-week schedule, and trim as often as required by the particular horse and his environment to maintain balance. Many minor club feet respond favorably with a proper trim, and may even lower their angle accordingly if maintained on a regular schedule. Resist the urge to have both feet “look the same”, and ask your farrier/trimmer to instead address the physiological balance of each hoof independently, striving for a balanced heel-irst landing and proper breakover. Finally, identify imbalances in either the rider or the horse’s movement, and address them as best as possible. Assess the whole horse, not just the hooves, and identify

and treat any potential problems above the hoof irst. Stretching, massage therapy and chiropractic treatments all help increase the range of motion, and along with trimming, can play an important role in the maintenance, prevention and even the correction of club feet.

Take the time and initiative to train your youngsters to stand for trimming, and begin their hoof maintenance early. young foals can quickly develop high heels, particularly if they live on soft terrain and spend a lot of time in stalls. Competent professional hoof care from the beginning will help grow a healthy, correct foal.


equine wellness


getting a “feel” fOr it – part 2

When developing a “better feel” of your horse, adjusting your inner attitude is the name of the game. by leslie DesMOnD

eel. This tiny word is tossed about in a broad range of equine sports and disciplines, and is used in earnest by increasing numbers of trainers and coaches. It is a vast and intriguing concept that is worth the time to understand, learn and apply.


Developing a “better feel” is something most people can learn. To succeed, you need to start with a desire to include the horse’s point of view in decisions and actions that affect his behavior and moods. It is at once a humbling and empowering process of self-discovery and personal reinement.

METHoD oR MADNESS? For centuries, pressure and release have been the name of the game. It still is in many circles. At your barn or ranch, is it normal operating procedure to get irmer with the horse when he does not understand what is presented? Do you up the ante and then wait it out while the horse struggles to make sense of what you intend? A horse usually can and will, so most people believe they don’t have a reason to think about another approach to “what we have always done”.


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pERSoNAL DISCovERIES In former times, I confess my behavior towards a horse was sometimes crude. I would bump or jerk the lead rope to get his attention or add more emphasis to cues for a maneuver I wanted him to make more quickly. I now realize it was impatience that caused me to pull the reins sooner and kick harder, or present a irmer feel overall. If the horse understood my request but chose to ignore me, I would easily excuse myself. Considering the wide range of individual horses brought my way, I had to eventually admit it wasn’t the horses. It was me. I was not as reined or effective as I could be – the horse was not responsible. Not one of them had decided to meet me, come to my clinic, or stay in my care. That being the case, I was the one who needed to learn how to adjust and make the best effort I could to it the horses better.

It can be invaluable to have still photos or DVD clips done so you can see yourself in action with the horse.

I have read that certain groups of Native Americans kept hundreds of horses near camp, a low whistle away, without the enticements of grain or corrals, fences, halters and ropes. References throughout history cite various armies, marauders, nomads and gypsies who kept groups of horses with them as a dogless shepherd kept his lock and the Tauregs of the desert kept camels. Could it be as simple as mutual dependency, as balanced and beautiful as reciprocal respect, trust and feel? It was not until I spent a few years alongside Bill Dorrance that I found another way. In hindsight, I realize how much unnecessary confusion and work I was creating for the horses, and for myself, by not setting them up to succeed from the get-go.


This Morgan yearling colt, Noey, is owned by Alessandra Boasso and RIccardo Ruschena from Silver oak Farms in viverone, Italy. This series of photos is from our irst session in the rope and halter. I stand two feet ahead and about eight feet to the right of this yearling colt’s shoulder. His attention is respectfully focused on me, and his feet are still. on the loat, or slack, I control the shape of his body (he released the root of his neck to the right, without an idea to crowd into me or my space). In this way, he learns early the difference between the feel of stepping right, and preparing to step to the right.

Here are the ingredients and questions that make all the difference:

TIME. You need time to spend thinking and watching the horse. It can be invaluable to have still photos or DVD clips done so you can see yourself in action with the horse. What does the horse do just before, during and after you do something? Is he waiting for you? Are you waiting for him? Are you blocking his response to the move you just asked for? Is he pushy? Are you?

pATIENCE WITH THE HoRSE. Is he too slow, or are you in a rush? Is there enough room for him to make mistakes in your training program? Can you learn what you need to do to improve if you become upset with your horse? When things do not go as you planned, what are your real options?

pATIENCE WITH yoURSELF. Do you feel diminished (less

The colt stops where I asked and rests the right hip. He respects the margin of space I leave between us. I do this so that when we move off together and he livens up, my chances of getting kicked or run over are minimal to none.

important, less fulilled) as a person if you do not “win” a struggle with a horse or a class at the show?

HoNESTy. If punishment is truly the best answer, would it need to be repeated? Ask yourself these additional questions: • Do you feel better or worse after you get mad at a horse? • Do you feel better or worse after you get mad at yourself or others? • Do you know where to go, or whom to call to get help if and when you need it? • Is equine wellness connected to your own wellness? • Is it important that someone else’s horse likes you? • Have you over-empowered your horse?

Together, we back away from the space I asked him previously to respect by not walking into it. He prepares to move the right diagonal by releasing the withers and neck up in response to the feel of my hand on the rope, and my obvious desire to avoid the space we back away from. He is mindful of the fence on his left and behind him, and has shaped himself in a state of natural collection in order to do what I have asked. equine wellness


ENLIGHTENED AWARENESS Sometimes people need an alternative to techniques that are no longer satisfying or effective. Consider the following scenarios: Have you broken an arm or leg and still had to shift horses around the farm or ranch? Loaned out your round pen and discovered that your lunging techniques lead to loose horses that are headed in the other direction? Have your horses snapped all your lead ropes, or broken their halters from pulling back? Are you tired of horses that walk or run away at the sight of you? If any of these apply, it might be time to ease off on the pressure and consider an approach that incorporates more “feel and release”. Feel is enlightened awareness. How can you develop it quickly? By making deliberate actions preceded by clear thoughts. How long does it take? Whatever time it takes to experiment with the results of the judgements you can make at the time.


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• Can or does your horse do things that embarrass you? • Does the horse’s viewpoint matter? Why and when? Why and when doesn’t it? • How do these questions make you feel?

5 TECHNIqUES FoR IMpRovING FEEL 1. Begin asking, stop telling, and leave your watch and cell phone in the pickup. 2. Check your mood barometer as you approach a horse. Remove punishment from the list of acceptable options when things do not go as planned. 3. Set the horse up slowly and in small ways to succeed, so he cannot fail. Are you waiting for him to do the wrong thing so you can make that dificult for him? 4. Do not mix alcohol and horse training. 5. Start keeping a notebook handy to record the small things that go well with each horse you handle and ride. (Use a small recorder if writing is not the best way to keep track.) Getting a better feel of your horse takes considerable patience, but the time you spend developing this skill will be paid for many times over, in both the personal and professional relationships you share with your horse.


BOOK REVIEWS spook busting secrets authOr: anna twinney title:

Do you hesitate to take your horse to shows or on trail rides because of his spooking? Are you constantly on the lookout for things that might scare him? Are mailboxes, hay tarps, bicycles or loud noises his undoing? With her clear and effective teaching style, Anna Twinney offers methods and tips for re-shaping your horse’s reactions in her new DvD, Spook Busting Secrets. Discover step-by-step how to encourage your horse to conidently handle himself in both everyday and potentially dangerous situations. Anna’s methods can be tailored to any horse, from the green-been youngster to the seasoned trail or competition mount, and include instructions on how to appropriately “lag” your horse. Learn how to transfer these lessons from groundwork to work under saddle, maintaining a true partnership with your horse as he looks to you for guidance in threatening situations. It’s yet another step towards developing a trusting and rewarding relationship with your equine friend!

publisher: Invisible WIzard productions

horses with a Mission authOr: allen and linda anderson


Fascinating, mystifying, highly intelligent…horses have evoked awe in human beings for thousands of years. Written by Allen and Linda Anderson, Horses with a Mission focuses on an aspect of equines that remains largely unexplored: horses as vibrant spiritual beings, infused with purpose and intention. This evocative book presents 21 stories of horses who have saved the lives of both people and animals, brought joy and comfort to the broken-hearted, and even made it possible for people to fulill their lifelong dreams – all without expecting anything in return. As you’ll discover, horses can be wonderful teachers and healers, carrying messages of unconditional love and hope to anyone willing to open up to what they can give. From Molly, a pony who survived Hurricane Katrina to become a therapy horse, to Sankofa, a stallion who made it possible for his human companion to take a cross-country journey in tribute to his African American ancestors, Horses with a Mission is illed with stories that speak to the service and spiritual gifts our equine friends can enhance our lives with.

publisher: New World Library

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the gift Of gOOD

health by val

eria b

hen you’re lying, the stewardess emphasizes putting your own oxygen mask on irst before your children’s. The reason is obvious when you think about it. If you don’t have your mask on, you might pass out from lack of oxygen before you inish helping your child. Taking care of our health is the equivalent to the oxygen mask. Know that your health is more important than anything else. If you are paying for supplements, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage and great feed for your horses, but not doing the same for yourself, who will take care of them if your health suffers?


The journey towards good health starts with nonviolence, or doing no harm to yourself. This is especially true during the holidays, when we often eat too much, drink too little water and too much alcohol, and miss out on sleep and time for relaxation. Here are my recommendations.


Get plenty of sleep so you wake feeling rested. Did you know that regularly sleeping over seven-and-a-half hours per night signiicantly helps you maintain an ideal weight? On average, a woman should sleep eight-and-a-half hours a night for the best health. You can create a sleep deicit that can take some time to clear, so you might sleep even longer than that for awhile. When driving, being sleep deprived can be as dangerous as drinking alcohol because it affects your ability to react properly.


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Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Holiday buffets and parties offer special foods you don’t have other times of the year. Eating moderately helps in many ways to reduce the negative effects of weight gain, stomach discomfort or even sleep interference. Observe yourself and notice when that special food you love stops tasting special and you are eating for reasons other than appetite or taste. Eating slowly and being present with your body allows you to know when you have had enough. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables irst, and small amounts of sugars, breads, baked goods or other simple carbohydrates second. The fruits and vegetables are illing, delicious, offer iber and nutrients, and ill up your plate. Very small servings of candies and baked goods will allow you the taste and satisfaction without the after effects.


Drink alcohol in moderation, and lots of water. Alcoholic drinks dehydrate you, so if you drink a glass of water for each beverage you’ll feel better. I frequently have lots of mineral water in my drinks to reduce the alcohol and calorie concentration. I also mix mineral or soda water with a little juice or lime wedge for a delicious drink. If you don’t feel good the day after drinking alcohol, despite drinking plenty of water, your liver probably needs some additional support. Take

n, nMD

500mg of N-Acetyl Cysteine (an amino acid) with plenty of water at bedtime and you’ll wake up feeling much better.


Take some quiet time just for you. During the winter, our bodies need more rest and quiet contemplation time. Build into your days some time for yoga, Tai chi, qigong or just being with your horse or other companion animal. Quiet your mind and let thoughts just pass on through. You’ll ind it invigorating as well as calming. If you ind yourself falling asleep, maybe you’re not getting enough rest at night. Treat yourself to a special holiday gift by investing in optimum health and scheduling an appointment with a Naturopathic Physician (ND or NMD). The doctor will review your medications, supplements, schedule, diet and health to make sure you are on the right track. He or she will base your treatment on similar diagnosis information, but the treatments vary from acupuncture, manipulation and homeopathy to clinical nutrition, botanical medicine and counseling. Just as you have your teeth cleaned and checked every six months, you do yourself a favor by having your health reviewed by a professional who specializes in wellness. Naturopathic Physicians are licensed doctors in 15 states to date. If you live in a state without licensure, you can ind naturopaths licensed by other states. I encourage you to look for them.

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Outbreak! When infectious diseases strike, having proper quarantine plans and procedures in place can help protect your horse and farm from a world of worry. by kelly hOwling

ou don’t have to be involved in the equine world to see the ramiications of contagious illnesses that go undetected or uncontained for any length of time. We see it all around us, and it affects both humans and animals. SARS, swine lu, strangles, equine inluenza…most of us have heard of all of these, because they were diseases that got out of control.


Time and time again, we see what happens when quarantine protocols are not in place, or are breached. So what can you do to protect your horse and your facility? What are your responsibilities, as the guardian of your own horse and/or those belonging to others?

KNoWLEDGE IS poWER; CoMMUNICATIoN IS KEy The horse world is very small. It does not take much to


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start a rumor, or set forth panic. When dealing with any type of contagious disease, it’s important to not only know what you are dealing with, but to communicate it effectively. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a simple case of snifles turn into rampant facility-ostracizing rumors about strangles. While it is certainly better to be safe than sorry, starting an unfounded rumor can have widespread effects. That said, I think some people’s tendency to “sound the alarm” stems from facilities that don’t keep the equine community informed when dealing with a contagious disease. It only comes out later, when people discover they competed at a show with horses from the affected facility, causing concern and outrage. I have also seen the opposite side of the coin – facilities that step up and inform the public straightaway when

dealing with anything contagious. Press-type releases are issued so nothing gets misinterpreted, website posts are created, vet contacts are given for anyone wanting to verify facts, and competitions are postponed. The facilities give updates, stay accountable, inform everyone of quarantine measures, prevent horses from leaving/entering the property, and verify that their horses are healthy before allowing anyone to go anywhere. This should be the status quo, but there are many cases where facilities or riders get careless for the sake of getting needed points at a horse show, or because they’re worried about how a disease outbreak will affect their reputation if everyone inds out. Others simple don’t know any better.

SET Up A qUARANTINE AREA Ideally, every facility should have some type of quarantine area – for new horses coming in, a horse that comes back from a show ill, and everything in between. It can be as simple as a temporary paddock set well away from other horses, with its own speciied water buckets, feed buckets, mucking equipment and so on. It can also be a separate block of stalls, whether in another building or separate area, again with its own equipment and tools. Permanent, approved quarantine facilities are also available to the general public in most areas.

pRoToCoLS AND pRoCEDURES It’s typically recommended that new horses arriving at a facility be quarantined for 30 days. They should come in with adequate health records and protocols for your facility (i.e. proof of vaccination and Coggins). The horses should be observed for the 30 days, and their temperature, food and water intake, manure output, physical appearance and temperament monitored. Turnout is possible in a separate designated paddock, as long as it is far enough away from the main facilities and turnout areas that nothing can be spread by air, and that all equipment is designated and kept separate, manure is disposed of separately, and all surfaces (fences, troughs, etc.) are cleaned between horses. Should the paddock at some point contain an infected horse, be prepared (depending on the disease) to leave the paddock vacant for a period of time (depending on climate and disease) and/or disinfect the soil.

WASH yoUR HANDS! proper handwashing after handling quarantined horses is important. Here is the right technique; anything less doesn’t do the trick. 1) Wet hands with warm water. 2) Use liquid soap. 3) Rub your hands together for 15 to 20 seconds, being sure to do the backs of your hands and in between your ingers. 4) Rinse well. 5) Dry with disposable towels.

vISITING HoURS Anyone entering a contaminated facility or visiting a quarantined horse should be required to wear clean clothes and to change before visiting other horses or facilities. They should be required to follow the same protocols as anyone else coming into contact with the horse(s). This might include a footbath, shoe covers, gloves, etc., depending on the attending veterinarian’s recommendations. If your facility does have a contagious disease in its midst, inform any visiting farriers, veterinarians, coaches, trainers and so on so they can take necessary precautions and/or perhaps not visit for awhile unless it’s absolutely necessary.

oFF-pRopERTy pRECAUTIoNS Whenever you take your horse to a competition or an event off property, take precautions to protect him and every other horse back at your facility. Bring your own buckets, water and equipment. Do not allow your horse to drink out of a communal water trough, or come into close contact with other horses at the event. Do not share equipment such as bits and saddlepads. equine wellness


CLEAN SURFACES pRopERLy Any surface an infectious horse comes in contact with must be cleaned. This goes for loors, trailers, tack, equipment and more. 1) Remove any loose material, dirt, caked-on manure, etc. The cleaning agent cannot reach the surface through these barriers. 2) Wash, rinse and dry the surface thoroughly with warm water and an appropriate cleaner. 3) Disinfect the surface.

quarantined horses, including disposable gloves and footbaths or shoe covers. Depending on the severity of the illness, you may also need to wear coveralls or scrubs and change before handling other horses or leaving the quarantine area. • Any contaminated item or piece of equipment should be taken care of within the quarantine area, and not transferred to another area of the facility. This includes affected bedding and manure – these should be disposed of in closed bags or containers, not added to the manure pile.

pLAN AHEAD Have a plan in place about what you would do if a horse at your facility became ill. Make sure all boarders and riders are aware of the plan and the importance of following the protocols. When in doubt, ask your veterinarian for recommendations on quarantine plans, protocols and facility planning. Should you have concerns about a horse on your property being infectious, maintain close communication with your vet about precautions, protocols, quarantine length, the disinfecting process and so on. Infectious diseases are nothing to mess around with. Never assume anything, and make sure you are well informed. Educate and inform everyone involved with your facility, stick to your quarantine plan, and listen to your veterinarian. All things willing, your facility should be back to normal in short order.

TIpS FoR A qUARANTINE AREA • It should be easy to thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces, including loors and walls. • Insects can assist in spreading disease – use screens to minimize their movement through the quarantine area. • To help prevent contamination, color coded buckets, muck forks, lead ropes, tack and so on can make it much easier to keep track of what belongs solely to the quarantine area and/or each speciic horse. • Help prevent the spread of airborne disease by limiting the air shared by potentially infected and healthy horses. In this case, a separate building is ideal, especially if it’s downwind from the rest of the facility. • If possible, one person should be designated to look after the quarantined horses, and those horses alone. If this is not possible, healthy horses should always be handled irst, and potentially ill or ill horses last. • Precautions should always be taken while handling


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saving scOut by catherine ritlaw


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Kittens FREE TO A GOOD HOME zzz@zkittenz.org



YARD SALE May 15th mah’s & pah’s backyard

he bay and white pinto mustang wasn’t what comes to mind when one thinks of abuse or neglect. He was in good lesh and, despite some nicks and bite marks around his head and neck, appeared to be healthy under casual observation. Beneath the surface, however, he was a seething bundle of anxiety and discomfort.


I believe I was destined to notice the freshly posted ad at the little local store where I pick up my mail once a week. It read “For sale: six-year-old mustang gelding, rides and pulls cart, needs miles – $300.” Wow, I thought. Now, I already have BLM mustang mares and a once-wild burrow and her daughter and, on disability, it’s hard to make ends meet. But at such a low price, I igured someone would buy this poor guy and likely run him through the auction to make a quick proit. Pictures I’d seen of Mexican slaughterhouses lashed through my mind. Besides, I hadn’t had a chance to ride since my old Morgan mare died four years ago. I called and found out the horse was located a mere six miles away. I just had to go see him. My old pickup

couldn’t make it up the incredibly steep dirt driveway, so I parked below and hiked up the hill. A very pleasant young couple lived there in an area literally carved out of the side of a cliff. They had a kennel full of happy-looking dogs and six geldings. The horses were paired up in fairly small pipe corrals because level space was at a premium. They told me they’d had Scout for only a few months. Prior to that, he’d spent most of his six years with an older fellow who trained him for riding and driving. After suffering a heart attack, the man was forced to sell his horses. The couple felt Scout missed the man, to whom he had really bonded, and they had ridden him only twice. They paired Scout up with different horses but there was constant ighting and the pinto just wasn’t itting in. In fact, the night before, he and another gelding had severely damaged their small pipe corral. Scout is a big, leggy, raw-boned bay with some splashes of white, a wide blaze, and a somewhat comical pink nose. He was very responsive and obedient on the end of the lead rope, yet I could see he felt nervous and frightened. equine wellness


His bare feet were very overgrown and broken up. I reached out my hand to him and he gently licked my palm. Our fates were sealed! I wrote a check and the couple delivered him to me next morning. Upon Scout’s arrival, my two usually quiet mustang mares became she-devils and went almost instantly into heat. For the irst few days, I witnessed a few kicking matches and lots of posturing and squealing. Five-year-old Mariah decided it was her job to protect four-year-old Kola. Whenever Kola tried to nuzzle up to Scout, Mariah would head her away. The two mares spent a lot of time going in small circles. I igured it was just what those chubby mares needed to get them moving. Scout’s previous caretakers said he was hard to catch. But by his second day here, I could walk up to him in the three-acre enclosure and he’d stand to be haltered. I soaked his feet, got out the Hoofjack, and gave him his irst trim in probably a year. He acted the perfect gentleman and the trim revealed big, beautiful mustang feet. I began doing bodywork and found tense, painful muscles everywhere, especially in his neck. He had a history of halter-pulling, which could have caused this injury. I ran my hand into his mouth and discovered very sharp molar edges. He also had wolf teeth. With idiotic optimism, I dug out my old dental loat – the one with the nice carbide head. Would I be able to do anything, working alone and with my somewhat frail 54-year-old body? A half hour later, Scout’s upper and lower arcades were nicely smoothed – with no restraints or struggling. It was still only day two and I was madly in love. Addressing the dental issue brought an end to his yawning. The sharp teeth had probably been setting off temporal-mandibular pain. A complete dental re-balance, which unlocked his TMJ, would come later. I continued with daily massage and T-Touch. I called a wonderful semi-retired veterinarian/human chiropractor who lives in our area. He came out a week later and did a full adjustment from head to tail. He also did acupuncture in an area of Scout’s neck where he found old scar tissue. While he didn’t ind any one huge problem area, he said Scout would soon have fallen apart without intervention.


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For the following month, I used a shotgun approach to Scout’s healing. He had been fed alfalfa before but I now feed him Bermuda grass hay. I began adding a balanced mineral mix, multivitamins, and MSM, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for his joints and cartilage. For several weeks, I gave him dandelion, milk thistle and red clover as liver support. He got two weeks of hawthorne, basil, ginger and turmeric to reduce inlammation and increase circulation. On top of that, I added probiotics, balanced Omega 3 and 6 oils, extra antioxidants (vitamins A, E and C), and alpha lipoic acid to his diet. Daily bodywork was deinitely helping – especially inger and leg circles, armpit massage, and gum and lip massage, which he absolutely loves. For a few weeks, Scout also got homeopathic Rhus Tox and Arnica to help combat overall soreness. To address his apparent post-traumatic stress, I ordered two lower essences and the herbal formula System Saver from Biotrope. At irst, Scout seemed surprised to be haltered and then receive pampering, instead of having work demanded of him. He inds ways to show his appreciation. Sometimes when I’m stretching in the corral, Scout will come up behind me and gently rest his chin on my shoulder. Five weeks after Scout’s arrival, I thought we were both ready to do a little riding. I had taken a fouryear hiatus from riding due to the death of my saddle horse and my own health. When I irst went to mount Scout, we were both apprehensive. He had to get used to my climbing on an overturned feeder in order to get into the saddle. After several short rides in the small corral, he calmed down a lot. I was thrilled to view the world again from between a horse’s ears. Scout was a bit barn sour when I irst asked him to leave the corral. No wonder, when he had four bossy females whinnying and braying to him! Once out of the corral, he moved out beautifully. He has a level back and is not too wide. My three saddles it him like gloves. In his Bitless Bridle, he no longer has a metal bit bumping into his wolf teeth. I am absolutely thrilled with his fast walk and springy, reachy trot. He actually has some knee action, which is genetic in some mustangs due to generations of having to negotiate rocky, uneven terrain. He is soft,

Scout enjoys a natural lifestyle in the Arizona countryside.

responsive, sensitive and energetic. On our seventh ride, I got up the nerve to ask for a canter. His depart was smooth and his long strides really ate up the ground. He then willingly came back into a walk. Scout’s story shows how a horse can pass from a good owner to someone who is well-meaning, but perhaps lacking knowledge and understanding. Unforeseen human circumstances may cause a horse to end up in a less than perfect situation. It only takes one sale to decide a horse’s fate forever.

will move on to a wonderful wild horse sanctuary. As for me, I have loved horses, especially pintos, since my childhood days of watching westerns on TV. I’ve had my own horses for 32 years now, but never the spotted pony of my dreams. How happy I am to now share my days with this handsome, affectionate and grateful fellow, who whinnies to me whenever I walk out the front door. Many thanks to Catherine Ritlaw of Kingman, Arizona for sharing her inspiring story about Scout. What a blessing for you both!

Scout and I were blessed to ind each other. He has a permanent home with me, and should he outlive me, he

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continued from page 17

• Follow a basic nutritional program that’s simple and effective.

WHAT ELSE CAN REFLEx poINT TESTING Do? Many additional minerals and vitamins as well as bodily organs can be monitored using relex points:

• Use high quality ingredients, and ensure your horse’s digestive system is working effectively to process the nutrients you’re giving him. • Monitor relex points for out-of-balance conditions.

• Thyroid • B vitamins • Digestion • Parasite toxins • Liver • Selenium • Gonads • Kidneys • The presence of ulcers • Stomach • Lungs • The presence of viruses and bacteria

• Determine the least invasive and complicated way to address an imbalance using muscle testing. • Engage your veterinarian or equine health practitioner for assistance as necessary. SANDY SIEGRIST IS A LIFELONG HORSEWOMAN WHO PRACTICES NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP, HEALING AND HORSE CARE TECHNIQUES.






Using relex points to monitor your horse’s nutritional balance and body function is an accurate and cost effective way to help him maintain good health.




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EVENTS october 16-21, 2009 - Lion’s Club Building at the Warren County Fairgrounds, Warrenton, Mo Gateway To Natural Hoof Care Clinics open to anyone interested in natural hoof care. participants receive a well rounded background in the theory of the natural trim and factors that can affect its outcome (Days 1, 2 & 3) along with detailed practical instruction and supervised trimming experience. For more information: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com october 29 - November 1, 2009 Wind Dance Ranch - Murrieta, CA Equine CranioSacral Therapies - Level I This course is taught by the very popular international instructor Gail Wetzler. The workshop is designed to teach participants the anatomy and physiology of the craniosacral system and its relationship to health and disease in people and animals. Class work is divided between lectures and demonstrations with loads of hands-on practice. By the end of the course, participants will be able to localize and facilitate the correction of signiicant restrictions and imbalances in the craniosacral system as it pertains to people and animals. For more information: paul Hougard 707-884-9963 ofice@equinology.com www.equinology.com November 6-8, 2009 Lazy Arena in Guthrie, oklahoma 2nd Annual Women and Horses Expo Featuring: The Women and Horse versatility Challenge, Hands on Horse Experience, vendors, A Rare Breed Horse Show, Meet The Breed Avenue, Trainer Cheryl Childs Spirit Horse Training/Women & Horses Mind Spirit & Body Seminars, Educational Speakers, Training Clinics. Friday Night’s performance of Dancing In the Dark will feature Charro Jerry Diaz and the Diaz Family, Royal Friesians of

Kansas City, Lippitt Morgan Mint Jacob and the Wild Women of the Frontier. Don’t miss this great event! For more information: horsewomanexpo@aol.com www.womenandhorsesexpo.com November 6-14, 2009 Wind Dance Ranch - Murrieta, CA Equine Body Worker Certiication Course This 9-day, 97+hour course (a total of 250+hours with the required post course ield work and precourse study), is taught by international instructor Debranne pattillo, MEBW. It is speciically designed for those students wishing to pursue a career in the massage therapy ield, 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 ind themselves up to speed with the other professional participants. For more information: paul Hougard 707-884-9963 ofice@equinology.com www.equinology.com November 12-15, 2009 Eastern States Exposition, Springield, MA Equine Affaire Experience Equine Affaire at the Eastern States Exposition! The 12th annual Equine Affaire in the Northeast will draw tens of thousands of horsepeople to enjoy a world-class educational program and extensive trade show as well as an entertaining and informative competition.

November 14-15, 2009 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 www.animalparadisecommunication.com November 20-22, 2009 Wind Dance Ranch - Murrieta, CA Equine CranioSacral Therapies - Level II Due to repeated requests, we will now offer this course to those who have already taken the Eq1200 Equine CranioSacral Therapy I course and are eager for more. Gail Wetzler, who was the amazing instructor for the Equine CranioSacral Therapy I will also direct this 3 day course. Gail will guide the participants through review and discussion expanding upon what was previously shown in the Eq1200 Equine CranioSacral Therapy I. Students will cover subjects such as conformation as well as exploring the cranial facial bone in greater detail. For more information: paul Hougard 707-884-9963 ofice@equinology.com www.equinology.com

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




yOu! by pati harris

aving a horse with a sense of humor is lots of fun, even though it can also be a challenge. Saber is one of those horses. He has a great sense of humor and loves to play tricks and games. As soon as we get to the bottom of one of his diversions, he immediately comes up with another.


Saber has an in and out stall that allows him freedom day and night. But his mind still seems to need the stimulation of pulling off a new prank. Recently, the hay man delivered the hay for the winter, and Saber’s inside sliding door was shut until he ate up some of the bales near his stall. But Saber had other ideas. He got the door open with his lips and pulled down one bale of hay. I thought I would ix the problem by putting a wheelbarrow up against the door after it was shut. He still managed to get the door open and pulled down several bales of hay. Next, I used a hook and eye to secure the door shut. Next morning, the hook was bent but the door was still closed. I breathed a sigh of relief. The following morning, I found that Saber had bumped against the door so the hook had popped out of the eye on the other side. He had also found a strategic place to pull out a bale of hay while knocking seven others down. I thought it was just luck, and that it wouldn’t be repeated. Wrong! Next morning, the door was open


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again and there were ten bales knocked down. Two of them had been pulled into his stall for easy consumption. Saber had clearly discovered a formula for hitting the door just right to pop the hook out of the eye. I inally headed for the hardware store to purchase a hook with a guard on it. So far, it has prevented Saber from having any more “fun” with the hay bales. But I can’t help wondering what his next game is going to be. I’m sure he’ll continue to keep us all on our toes, and laughing!

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equine wellness