V5I3 (May/Jun 2010)

Page 1

Equine wellness


Your natural resource!


Special issue

Performance horses

Grow up!

When do horses physically mature?

Competing while bitless Tendon injuries Treatment and prevention

The right match How to choose a trainer


your pony


To lease not to lease?

Start a

riding journal Garden treats for your horse

Herbs and veggies you can grow at home May/June 2010 Display until June 15, 2010 $5.95 USA/Canada



equine wellness



equine wellness

equine wellness


Contents May/June 2010

22 features 14 Grow up!

The debate over when horses physically mature is a common one, heard from the barn aisle to the backstretch. One rider digs deep to separate fact from fiction.

18 The right match

Choosing a trainer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your horse. Learn what to look for in a professional.

22 Worn thin – part 1

Take a look at the wear patterns on your horse’s hooves. They’re telling you something important.

26 Advance your riding – bitless!

With certain hunter/jumper shows now allowing bitless equipment, the idea of leaving bits out of advanced and competitive riding is gaining more ground.


equine wellness

49 40 Under pressure?

52 Green gifts

Learn how to discover, treat and prevent common tendon injuries in your equine athlete.

When planting your gardens this year, include your horses in your plans. Many of their favorite veggies, fruits and herbs can be easily and organically grown at home.

49 Bite-sized nutrition

56 To lease or not to lease?

They may be small, but ponies are tough and hardy and their nutritional requirements differ from a horse’s. Here’s how to feed your pony like a pony.

Follow these three tips for creating a worryfree lease arrangement.

60 Dear diary

Track your horse’s progress – and your own – with the aid of a riding journal.





10 Neighborhood news

8 Editorial

30 H olistic veterinary advice

21 Heads up

Talking with Dr. Joyce Harman

34 A natural performer

45 Equine Wellness resource guide

36 From agony to ecstasy

63 Marketplace

59 Book reviews

65 Classifieds

65 Did you know?

66 Events calendar


26 equine wellness




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On the cover photograph by:

Jessica Glonek This lovely horse is in fine form while negotiating a free jumping exercise. Free jumping is used to help evaluate jumping technique, and allows the horse to discover how to clear fences properly without a rider interfering. Young horses are typically introduced to obstacles through this exercise, and most enjoy it immensely. equine wellness

Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Editor: Kelly Howling Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Graphic Designer: Meaghan McGowan Graphic Design Intern: Deanna Hall Cover Photography: Jessica Glonek

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



Volume 5 Issue 3

Columnists & Contributing Writers Maya Cointreau Isabella Edwards Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Scot Hansen Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS Jaime Jackson Bob Jeffreys Rachel Kosmal McCart Suzanne Sheppard Kerri-Jo Stewart Kelli Taylor, DVM

Topics include:

Your natural resource!

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

Submissions: Please send all editorial material, advertising material, photos and correspondence to Equine Wellness Magazine, 107 Hunter St. E., Suite 201, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9H 1G7. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. Email your articles to: submissions@equinewellnessmagazine.com. Advertising Sales Equine National Sales Manager: John M. Allan (866) 764-1212 ext. 405 john@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.

Dealer or Group Inquiries Welcome: Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call 1-866-764-1212 and ask for dealer magazine sales, fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail at jamie@redstonemediagroup.com.


Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2010. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: April 13, 2010

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

equine wellness


editorial For all the

right reasons


his past winter and spring has been fun for my mare and myself. In the few years I’ve had her, we have played around with several different disciplines. We have dabbled in dressage, a bit of jumping, and lots of hacking. While she happily goes along with what I ask of her, it’s obvious that jumping gives her a real sense of joy. I became interested in jumping with her on a more regular basis, and hopefully doing some competing, but it was some time since I’d jumped competitive height courses on a regular basis (my main work lies with young and remedial horses). In addition, beyond taking the odd young horse out to small local schooling shows for exposure, I had “retired” from serious highlevel circuit dreams. Over time, the pressure of the competition combined with the sometimes unsupportive atmosphere of the show ring had made showing more nerve-wracking than fun.

get the opportunity and everything works out, we’d enjoy getting in the show ring this year – for all the right reasons this time. If you haven’t yet guessed, this issue of Equine Wellness is dedicated to performance horses and striking the balance between competition and a natural lifestyle. Scot Hansen joins us with tips on how to find the trainer who works best for you. If, like me, you are just getting back on the circuit, you’ll enjoy our articles on bitless performing and how to keep a riding journal. And keep your competitive friend healthy and sound – check out Jaime Jackson’s advice on interpreting hoof wear, and Dr. Kelli Taylor’s comprehensive article on preventing and treating tendon injuries. Whatever your goals this season, have fun – find the joy in your riding, and pursue it! Naturally,

However, I now have “the” horse – the one that makes it all fun and reminds me there must be joy in what we do, otherwise there’s no point doing it. I have found a wonderful jumping coach that my mare and I both get along with fabulously. We have enjoyed an off-season of educational and often humorous lessons. And, if we


equine wellness

Kelly Howling

equine wellness


Neighborhood news FEI against Rollkur

At the finish line

More controversy has been stirred up in the dressage world, following an FEI round-table conference in February to discuss the use of Rollkur as a training technique. Here’s an excerpt from the organization’s press release:

Hailing from Britain and well known worldwide, Dick Francis was an accomplished jockey and avid writer. In a period spanning less than a decade (1948 to 1957), he rode 2,305 races, 345 of which he won. He then retired and began writing. His works include his autobiography (The Sport of Queens), as well as over 40 novels, most of which involve the racing industry and have been translated into over 20 languages. He received numerous literary awards, and the Order of the British Empire.

“…the consensus of the group was that any head and neck position achieved through aggressive force is not acceptable. The group redefined hyperflexion/Rollkur as flexion of the horse’s neck achieved through aggressive force, which is therefore unacceptable. The technique known as Low, Deep and Round (LDR), which achieves flexion without undue force, is acceptable. “The group unanimously agreed that any form of aggressive riding must be sanctioned. The FEI will establish a working group, headed by Dressage Committee Chair Frank Kemperman, to expand the current guidelines for stewards to facilitate the implementation of this policy…. The FEI Management is currently studying a range of additional measures, including the use of closed circuit television for warm-up arenas at selected shows. The group also emphasized that the main responsibility for the welfare of the horse rests with the rider. “The FEI President HRH Princess Haya accepted a petition of 41,000 signatories against Rollkur presented by Dr Gerd Heuschman.” fei.org

Francis passed away recently at the age of 89, but his legacy lives on. One of his latest novels, Even Money, co-written with Felix Francis, was released last fall, while his final book, Crossfire, also written with Felix, will be released this year.

Rescues receive grants Most horse rescues find it financially challenging to do the work they do. Thanks to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, six equine rescues have received grants to enhance their ability to rescue retired racehorses and find them new homes and second careers. The recipients are: • California Equine Retirement Foundation • Old Friends • MidAtlantic Horse Rescue • Kentucky Equine Humane Center • Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation • Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses “Many thoroughbreds rarely live out their final days in peace and comfort when their racing careers are over,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “These grants will enable organizations devoted to equine rescue the ability to save more horses and further advance their mission.” The funding ranges from $100,000 to $350,000 and will be distributed over the next two to three years. The grants will help the rescues incorporate physical therapy/rehabilitation programs, renovate facilities to accommodate more horses, create voucher programs to increase adoptions, and implement training programs for thoroughbreds headed for second careers. aspcapro.org/saving-lives/equine-program


equine wellness

A modern Western International award-winning filmmaker James Kleinert showcased his newest film, Disappointment Valley...A Modern Day Western, at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February. The feature-length documentary examines the Bureau of Land Management’s controversial policies on public lands, and questions the fate of America’s wild horses and burros. The film includes interviews with Jim Baca (former Director of the BLM under the Clinton Administration), Michael Blake (writer of Dances With Wolves and wild horse advocate), Sheryl Crow, Viggo Mortensen and Daryl Hannah as well as scientific experts, animal rights activists and environmentalists. It also examines the effects of the 2004 legislation that cleared the way for the removal and slaughter of America’s wild horses. Disappointment Valley documents the struggle of an animal that has long symbolized freedom, individualism and unbridled passion in America. Kleinert examines the origins and effects of the recent “Burns Bill”, which gutted the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 and cleared the way for the removal and slaughter of wild horses. Greed and corruption take center stage, exposing deceit within the Department of the Interior. The film also explores current impacts on western public lands by oil, gas, mining and corporate cattle grazing. The once free-roaming horses now face euthanasia, or worse, shipment to Mexico for slaughter. “I hope this film will not only educate viewers about the disturbing, massive removal of our horses but inspire change to the future of these precious animals,” says Kleinert. theamericanwildhorse.com

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Neighborhood news Opening with a bang

Allied for health

It’s a first for America – from September 25 to October 10, Kentucky is hosting the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The Games are the world’s most prestigious equestrian event, featuring international championships in eight sports.

As a horse lover, you’ll want to know about a new organization dedicated to equine well being. It’s the Equine Health and Welfare Alliance, founded by veterinarians Dr. Doug Bayers, Dr. Mike Cavey, Dr. Frank D. Marcum, Dr. Gary Lavin and Dr. Norm Umphenour. Based in Kentucky, the organization’s membership is open to horse owners and organizations as well as veterinarians.

“We are inviting some of the greatest performers from around the globe, including equine entertainers and international performing artists,” said Dr. Everett McCorvey, whose company, Global Creative Connections, is producing the Games’ Opening and Closing Ceremonies. “We will highlight both the best of Kentucky and the best of America, and begin these Games with incredible celebration and fanfare.”

The EHWA will be reviewing current equine health and welfare standards and legislation to identify needed improvements, solutions, changes or action. It will also provide a certified standard of care for rescue and retirement operations, and assist local veterinarians in identifying and enforcing critical areas of need such as health and humane issues, population control, enforcement of neglect and abuse issues, and education. equinehealthandwelfare.org

The Opening Ceremonies will kick off with hundreds of horses and athletes, marching bands, orchestras, world-renowned singers and a Kentucky “Call to the Post.” As many as 600 performers and 200 horses could be involved, including a 100-piece orchestra and 300-person choir. Local and international celebrities and dignitaries are also expected to take part. The production will include a tribute to American music, such as Broadway and Bluegrass, the official Parade of Athletes and, in tribute to the first American host, a singing of My Old Kentucky Home. alltechfeigames.com

Join Us on Facebook! Equine Wellness Magazine is now on Facebook! Become a fan to receive magazine updates and read selected articles from each issue. Submit your questions for our veterinary Q&A, nominate your horse for our Natural Performer section, participate in trivia, polls and more. To join, search “Equine Wellness Magazine” on Facebook and “Become a Fan”. We hope to see you there! 12

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Grow up! The longstanding debate over when horses physically mature is a common one, and heard from the barn aisle to the backstretch. One rider digs deep to separate fact from fiction. by Isabella Edwards


t can be a fiery dispute. When do you start a horse under saddle, and at what point are horses fully finished growing? Everyone has their own opinion – just step into a barn at the track or visit the aisle of a breeding facility and you’ll hear several different justifications for the ages horses should be started at. Many young horses are being started under saddle and primed for competition as early as two years of age – even sooner in some cases.

Up for debate Several months ago, I began diligently researching equine maturation rates. It started with a simple question that appeared on an online equine forum – a horseperson, on acquiring her first youngster, was gathering opinions on when she should start the horse. They belonged to a barn where all the other horses were being started around the age of two. You can imagine the “conversation” that followed among the forum members. While many people were tossing out different ages and reasons, it seemed very few could come up with concrete evidence as to what age a horse was mature enough to


equine wellness

be started under saddle with the least detrimental effects. The answers given included: “My vet said X age,” with “X” varying by years from person to person. Or: “Have your vet check to see if his knees are closed,” which in the end seemed the most agreed-on method. I began to do my own research, and have been a bit surprised at the lack of prominent, accessible information and guidelines as to when horses physically mature. In general, asking a general practice large animal veterinarian what age you should start your horse under saddle can yield any number of answers, similar to what I saw in the online forum. It’s understandable to some degree, since horses are individuals, and without extensive x-rays, your veterinarian cannot see at what point your horse has matured. But are there no set guidelines?

A horse is a horse is a horse I frequently hear that heavier breeds, such as many Warmbloods or Draft crosses, take longer to mature, while lighter breeds such as Thoroughbreds mature at a much quicker rate (that’s why we see them on the track at the

Fillies produce progesterone, which encourages growth plate closure. Colts produce testosterone, which delays the closing of the growth plates. age of two). My research, however, revealed that this isn’t the case. Horses are not fully mature until between the ages of five and seven years old. A horse is a horse – and they all mature at approximately the same rate.

The knees have the answer – or do they? So what is “physical maturity”? When people speak of a horse’s knees being closed, what they are technically referring to (whether they know it or not) are the growth plates in this area. Growth plates begin as cartilage and become bone as the horse ages. Obviously, it is easier to do damage to these areas when they are cartilage rather than bone, hence the waiting period. And that brings us to one of my main questions – are the knees the final frontier when it comes to a mature horse? The answer is no. The knees are not the only growth plates in the horse’s skeletal system – there are many. What most riders do not know is the growth plates generally convert from the hooves up. So just because your horse’s knees are “closed” does not mean the other vital structures are mature yet. The knee end of your horse’s radius is simply the last area of the leg to close – that’s why vets will x-ray that area. But the rest of your horse has not finished growing.


Average age of maturation

Proximal long pastern

6 – 15 mths

Distal long pastern

Before birth – 1 mth

Proximal short pastern

3 – 12 mths

Distal short pastern

Before birth

Proximal cannon bone

Before birth

Distal cannon bone

6 – 18 mths

Proximal tibia

36 – 42 mths

Distal tibia

8 – 24 mths

Proximal radius

14 – 20 mths

Distal radius

24 – 35 mths

Proximal humerus

36 – 42 mths

Distal humerus

14 – 24 mths


36 – 48 mths


36 – 42 mths


5 – 7 years

*Chart produced from a culmination of sources.

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What is an epiphyseal plate? “Long bones grow in two different ways: by increase in diameter and by increase in length,” writes James R. Rooney in The Lame Horse. “The growth in length is by growth of the cartilaginous epiphyseal plate which then is converted to bone. This is called endochondral ossification (formation of bone within cartilage). Each epiphyseal plate has its own specific life span…. The disappearance of the epiphyseal plate means, of course, that the bone has stopped growing in length; it has matured.”

Waiting game The last structures to mature are the vertebrae, fairly important given your horse’s back is what you will be asking him to carry you on, and that damage in the back can result in an inability to perform the movements and tasks you’d like him to. “Morphologically, physeal closure in cervical vertebrae is very delayed compared with limb longbones; the cranial physes of C 3 – 7 are closed by three years ….” writes I.G. Joe Mayhew. “Physeal closure in [the] T [thoracic] – L [lumbar] vertebral bodies occurred between five and seven years of age.” Going by this, you

Resources Evans, James W., Horse Breeding and Management, Elsevier Health Sciences, 1992 Rooney, James R., The Lame Horse, The Russel Meerdink Compant Ltd., 1998 Mayhew, I.G. Joe, “I: The Health Spinal Cord (Milne Lecture: The Equine Spinal Cord in Health and Disease),” AAEP, 1999 Fields, Dr. Michael J., “PP33 Equine Growth and Development”, Powerpoint presentation, University of Florida Bennett, Dr. Deb, “Timing and Rate of Skeletal Maturation in Horses, With Comments on Starting Young Horses and the State of the Industry”, 2008, equinestudies.org/ranger_2008/ranger_piece_2008_pdf1. pdf


equine wellness

A horse is a horse – and they all mature at approximately the same rate. should wait until your horse is between the age of four and six before asking him to carry your weight, depending on the horse, circumstances and workload. For example, many people will begin light groundwork when their horses are two or three, back them lightly at four, work on the basics at five, then go off to work around age six. In order to simplify things, I compiled into a chart the data I found from a few reliable sources and studies, listing some (not all) of the growth plates and the accompanying average rates of maturation. Naturally, people’s opinions are still going to vary, but using the accompanying table makes it much easier to determine where a horse is at than just looking at one area of his body, or by guessing based on how mature you think he looks. These days we are breeding horses to look mature earlier and earlier, and that can mislead riders into starting them sooner because they look and move like physically balanced and mature horses. Our equines are susceptible enough to accident and injury – why push things by getting overeager? Horses started by patient, attentive riders who have their mount’s wellbeing in mind will be better set up for a successful career and long-term soundness. Isabella Edwards is an equine enthusiast and avid competitor living in Ontario, Canada. She and her mare compete at the provincial level in both dressage and hunter/jumper.

equine wellness


The right match Choosing a trainer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your horse. Learn what to look for in a professional. by Scot Hansen If you’re like most, you want your horse to know more, perform better, and increase his learning capacity. While some people can do this themselves, there are many aspects of training that require a professional to get to the next step.

What are your goals?

sending him to a specialized performance trainer may not be the best option. I am reminded of a top level professional who was asked: “Do you start your own horses?” His reply: “Heavens no, that requires a special person, and I can’t do that.” Think about that – if a top instructor sends his own horses to a specialist to be started, maybe you’ll want to as well.

Before you start looking for a trainer, you need a clear goal of what you want to accomplish with your horse. You also need a realistic idea of where your horse is in his current training. Is he fairly green, or a seasoned mount? Assess your own abilities too – if you’re a beginner, you may need a trainer a seasoned show person would not.

In short, deciding who to work with to accomplish your goals depends on your horse’s needs, your abilities, and what stage he’s at in his training. You might find you need one trainer today and a different one six months from now – and that’s okay.

If you are trying to create a reining horse, dressage horse or jumping horse, you need to find someone qualified in those fields. If you are just starting a young horse,


equine wellness

Making a choice Basing your choice of trainer on standardized qualifications is tough, because trainers don’t have to go through any

Be sure to go and watch the trainer work with horses other than your own, to help you with your decision.

real standard certifications. There are associations that test and qualify trainers. And there are trainers who “certify” people to teach their methods. You can find an array of “certified” programs and trainers on the internet. However, just because someone claims to be certified in a particular style of training doesn’t necessarily qualify him to work with you and your horse. Some top level professionals have been harshly criticized for their methods. Regardless of a trainer’s qualifications and awards, I do not want someone tying my horse’s head to a stirrup and leaving him for hours in an attempt to “soften his neck” and teach him to

give. And that is one of the “milder” forms of “training” sometimes used. A more common way to find a trainer is to ask people you know, check with local sources such as tack stores, and seek out advice from people who are doing the same type of riding you are. If you are a trail rider, asking a dressage instructor to train your horse may not be the best idea. He may know a lot about what works in the arena but not much about trail riding. So while he might be able to teach your horse some things, he may not be able to teach him to be confident on the trails. Just because a trainer wears a cowboy hat doesn’t mean

You might find you need one type of trainer today and a different one six months from now – and that’s okay. equine wellness


he’s qualified to teach reining or even trail riding. There are plenty of cowboy hat-wearing trainers who don’t have much experience being a cowboy. It doesn’t mean they can’t help you, but it might mean their practical experience is not what it appears. In all situations, it’s best to find out where the trainer learned, and from whom, and what his practical experience is.

The trainer’s program vs. your expectations Horses are bright and learn quickly. But that doesn’t mean they can go from “chumps” to “champs” in 30 days. So if a trainer is promising you the world in one to three months, you might want to slow down and ask lots of questions. It’s common for people to send a horse out for 30, 60 or 90 days of training. But this is misleading. A typical program of 30 days means the trainer really only trains the horse for about 22 days. Trainers take days off too (I have never met anyone who trained horses seven days a week). And even then, is it 22 days or more like 22 hours? Very few trainers work with a horse more than an hour at a time, so the most you can get is about 22 hours of training. Most of the time, in fact, a training session only lasts 30 to 40 minutes. So when a trainer says he can get something accomplished with your horse in 30 days, ask yourself if it seems realistic he could get it done in 22 hours or less. Next, find out how many horses the trainer is working with. I once talked with a trainer who told me he had 14 horses in training, worked them every day, six days a week, and usually rode them for about an hour. He was quite proud of this. My next question was, who did he have helping him? He said he was the only one who rode the horses, stressing that under his program “no students did the training”. I then asked where his barn help was. At this point, I didn’t really care anymore, but my question was designed to find out how big a hole he was going to dig for himself. I already knew 14 horses meant 14 hours of training, six days a week. That leaves little time to brush, saddle, warm up and cool down a horse, unless of course this is included in the hour of training. If it is, that means the horse is only being trained 30 to 40 minutes at most. That gives the trainer a 14-hour day, without counting stall cleaning, feeding and turning out horses. And that’s


equine wellness

Just because a trainer wears a cowboy hat doesn’t mean he’s qualified to teach reining or even trail riding. a 14-hour day without rest breaks and lunch. If you hear claims like this, walk away. Some top trainers have lots of help and 50 horses in training, but remember he isn’t riding all 50 – he can’t. So if you want him to personally ride your horse, make sure that’s understood up front, and expect to pay more.

Watch him at work Once you have decided on a trainer, watch him work with other horses besides yours. Most trainers will let you do this. Of course, if the trainer is trying to win your business, he may be on his best behavior that day. You might also want to watch several horses being trained since it is easy for a trainer to select his best performer to work with when you’re watching. By watching him train several horses, you’ll begin to see the true nature of his training. You might also want to drop by unexpectedly. I dropped in on a trainer once, and as I drove up the road I could see him as he finished cinching up a horse. I pulled over on the shoulder of the road and watched. He got on and started riding (he had not seen me yet). After about six minutes, I turned down the driveway and pulled up to the barn. He rode over, got off the horse and greeted me. He then proceeded to unsaddle the horse, saying it was too bad I hadn’t arrived earlier as he was just finishing up with this one. “Had a great ride,” he said. I replied: “Yeah, I saw when you got on; short ride today.” His reply? “Well, sometimes you just need to get on and off so you can say you rode them.” Enough said. Scot Hansen

is a natural horseman and retired

mounted police officer, and has trained both riders and horses to work the streets. award-winning

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Fly away It’s fly season, and your horse will need some relief. Green Horse Fly Spray is an all-natural product that’s extremely effective in the battle against insects. It works four ways: it protects your horse from all types of flies, mosquitoes, gnats, lice, fleas and ticks; helps heal previous bites with a high concentration of tea tree oil and organic aloe vera juice; calms the horse with lavender essential oil; and conditions his coat with oils of avocado, rice bran, soy and grape seed oil. The non-greasy formula is applied via a powerful industrial strength trigger sprayer. greenhorseflyspray.com

HEADS UP Making connections Online networking is a great way to make connections – just ask Zephyr’s Garden, whose Facebook presence has attracted not only a large community of horse lovers, but also many equine rescue groups. The company, which specializes in natural herbbased products, is lending their support to the rescues in the form of Adoption Packs sent to six horse organizations across the country – the packs, which contain Zephyr’s Garden products, are given to those who adopt a horse. zephyrsgarden.com

Boost of minerals Trace minerals are important to your horse’s health and well being. California Trace is a concentrated trace mineral supplement designed for horses on west coast forage diets. Based on a comprehensive study of west coast forage and hay, the product is formulated to supply the most commonly deficient minerals: copper, zinc and selenium. Each serving also contains biotin, vitamins A and E, lysine and methionine. California Trace supports optimal hoof growth and healthy coats that resist sun and bleaching. californiatrace.com

Sensitive spur Tapestry Equine Services owner Linda Hasmatali has gone public with the Spursuader, a unique, internationally patented spur developed for sensitive horses and riders with “uneducated” lower legs. The product’s rounded edges and larger contact area are aimed at reducing tension and stress and achieving a better ride. Whether you are an experienced rider or a novice, the goal is to give you a positive response from your horse without jabbing or irritating him. The Spursuader has been positively received by coaches, riders, officials and trainers. spursuader.com

Healing potions White-line disease can be stubborn and difficult to treat. Pony Potion Hoof Soak from Pony Potion Products is specially formulated with essential oils for the horse’s hoof, and with consistent application is very effective against white-line disease. It contains grapefruit seed extract to kill bacteria and tea tree oil to ward off fungi. The company also offers several other natural products, including a Helmet Deodorizer with fresh smelling spearmint. ponypotionproducts.com

equine wellness



thiN – part 1 –

Take a look at the wear patterns on your horse’s hooves. They’re telling you something important. with Jaime Jackson

Have you ever observed that certain areas of your horse’s feet are becoming more worn down than others, and wondered what it meant? Veteran hoof care professional Jaime Jackson joins us for the first of a two-part Q&A series, in which we’ll cover what constitutes normal “wear and tear” when it comes to your horse’s feet.


What is considered normal hoof wear between trims? Can a horse wear the hoof wall down to a detrimental point if he’s ridden a lot on rough terrain?


How much hoof is physically worn away between sessions depends on how much the horse is ridden, the riding discipline, the rider’s weight, the equestrian environment, boarding conditions, if boots are used, how the hoof is trimmed, diet and other factors. In the wild, horses

Fig.1 (a) Hº marks the healing angle.


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move as much as 25 or more miles in a single day, depending on availability of forage and water, socialization patterns (e.g. foaling season) and predation. This is what horses’ feet adapted to 1.4 million years ago. They are capable of withstanding the most rugged environments. Natural hoof care practitioners generally agree that horn replacement due to new growth is approximately 1 cm per month. This is a good estimate of how much equestrians can expect from their own horses. There is an effective though somewhat technical way to gauge if a horse’s feet are being over or under worn, or are in a dynamic state of equilibrium with wearing forces. It entails evaluating the hoof (and the trimming done to it) according to what natural hoof care practitioners call the principles of the Healing Angle of Growth, also called the Healing Angle, or simply H [see sidebar]. Specifically, when trimmed to H, a hoof

Fig. 1 (b) Hº TL marks the healing toe length.

Fig.1 (c) Measured using the Hoof Meter Reader (available at star-ridge.com)

can be said to be too worn if its relative HTL decreases between trim sessions. If HTL is static (as in the wild), hooves are said to be in a dynamic state of equilibrium with the environment, and nothing different needs to be done. If HTL increases over time, the hooves simply need to be trimmed. I use this standard myself, and it has not failed me in 28 years in the field. This method of evaluating hoof wear will not work for inappropriate trimming methods; for example, if they are invasive (i.e. penetrate the hoof’s epidermal armor), leave excessive growth to begin with, or ignore the hoof’s relative concavity (e.g. a farrier traditional “flat trim”). Hooves that are hypersensitive due to pain, and where HTL is in a lengthening mode, are probably suffering due to diet (e.g. laminitis), unnatural riding practices, and/or the hooves are not properly conditioned (transitioned) to the environment. This constitutes horse abuse if the problem is recognized but nothing is done about it. At any time a rider is uncertain about the relativity of HTL, s/he should use hoof boots and have the horse’s feet trimmed at four-week intervals by a trained and competent natural hoof care practitioner. What can excess wear to a certain area indicate? How do you go about discovering the cause?



It depends. If HTL is in a shortening mode, it could signal impending or outright foot pain and lameness due to overzealous riding; as I’ll explain below, though, this is highly unlikely. It may also be that the hooves are over-trimmed through incompetence or by design – some barefoot trimming practices condone this, but they are inhumane in my professional opinion. Also, it is possible that what appears to be excessive wear is in fact just the hoof breaking off where it should have been trimmed away in the first place. These are all distinctions that should be made by a professionally trained natural hoof care practitioner.


Should a rider be concerned if his/her horse appears to be excessively wearing a specific portion of his hoof wall between trims?


Not necessarily. In my book The Natural Horse: Lessons From The Wild, I explain the presence of “active” and “passive” wear in the hooves of wild horses (Figure 2a, b on p.24). These relate to what I call “biodynamic hoof balance” [see page 25] – in my opinion one of the most important yet least understood facets of natural hoof care. The general theory of biodynamic hoof balance holds that in the horse’s natural state, areas of “active” and “passive” wear correspond to “strong”

Healing Angle of Growth H (Healing Angle) is a measurement of the hoof’s optimal angle of growth down the median plane of the dorsal (toe) wall. HTL (Healing Toe Length) is the length of the toe wall at H. The “Hoof Meter Reader” gauges this angle and corresponding length, and is one of the most crucial measurements in natural hoof care. (Figure 1a, b, c on

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and “weak” locomotive forces respectively. These forces, which are principally compressional (weight-bearing) in nature rather than concussional (stationary counter-forces from the environment), are driven by the horse’s unique conformational and temperamental attributes. What this means is that when hooves are trimmed to H (and HTL by extension), we can expect active and passive wear patterns to emerge. In this interpretation, excessive wear has nothing to do with horn quality (though it can through unnatural horse care practices) or unbalanced riding; rather, it’s the positive and natural outcome of the hoof assuming a more natural shape due to biodynamic hoof balance. Understanding this is very important, so let’s look at an example, and you can even look at your own horse’s feet to compare.

Fig.2 (a) Starbursts pinpoint the locations of this right front, wild horse foot’s “active wear” pillars. Every space between these active wear pillars represent areas of “passive wear” during the hoof’s support phase. Horn constituting these active and passive wear locations correspond to the horse’s unique conformational and temperamental influences forged by the weight-bearing locomotive force, rather than inherent areas of relative strength and durability.

Fig.2 (b) Arrow points to “active wear” pillar.

Fig.3 “Bull-nosed” hoof.


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From my wild horse studies, I learned that active/passive wear patterns are symmetrical with respect to left/right hind and left/right front hooves. For example, if a right hind is actively worn along its medial wall, the corresponding medial wall of the left hind will also be actively worn. Hence, if your horse is showing more active wear on his hind medial walls, your hoof care and riding is probably more biodynamically balanced than if the wear patterns are asymmetric (e.g., the left hind medial and right hind lateral walls are actively worn). Now I’m going to explain how those active wear patterns actually occur in the naturally shaped hoof, and it might not make sense at first! “Active” wear is identified in hooves with lengthening HTL by the presence of more pronounced (“excessive”) growth. That part makes sense – if there’s more growth, it’s going to be more actively hitting the ground, right? Now hopefully you can accept this: a hoof that appears to be wearing more on the lateral (outside) wall, because the hoof has less growth there, is actually wearing more on the inside wall. Here’s the reason, and what is important to understand above all: it’s not that the outside wall is weaker (and thus wearing away more) – it’s that the medial wall is stimulating more growth due to active wear, just as we see in the wild where HTL is in a static state of biodynamic balance. This is not unlike forming “calluses” on your feet if you go barefoot. They are a thickening of your sole due to increased wear. Areas of passive wear in your foot aren’t inherently weaker, they just aren’t worn enough to generate excess protective growth. We can now define the two principles of natural wear (active/passive) as follows: • Extra growth = more wear in that location • Less growth = less wear in that location The reason this isn’t better understood or more obvious to the naked eye is because of the contradictory growth illusions caused by shoeing. Horseshoes preclude any kind of horn loss as a result of wear, active or passive. So the hoof just keeps growing longer and longer. We just assume, erroneously, that it’s all they’re capable of doing. Indeed, biodynamic hoof balance leads us to a far more complex picture. It isn’t always a pleasant one either – there are, in addition, possible negative explanations for what appears to be “excessive wear”, and all represent unnatural trimming, shoeing and equestrian practices.

For example, it is not uncommon to see hind hooves “dubbed at the toe”; that is, the toe wall no longer grows down straight to the ground, as it naturally should, but in a more curved or convex orientation (sometimes called a “bull nose”). While this can and does result from intentional trimming and shoeing practices in an effort to accentuate gait or prevent overreaching, it can also happen biodynamically (caused by wear, not trimming) for other reasons. Horses that are listlessly or aimlessly moving along without collection can cause their hind hooves to “drag” along behind, grinding the outer wall of the toe back. These horses lack the natural behavioral stimulation – as we see in the wild – to step underneath themselves to provide balanced support. Their “worn away” dorsal (outer toe) walls begin to resemble those intentionally “dubbed” by farriers trying to correct interference or stumbling (Figure 3). Such practices can induce what I call a pathological migration of the capsule into a club foot conformation (discussed in the next issue). Hunger can cause listless movement resulting in unnatural “dragging” patterns, usually in the hind hooves, as can riding in the absence of natural collection. But whether such unnatural wear occurs in the outer wall or some other part of the hoof’s weight-bearing surface, they are clear indicators that biodynamic hoof balance is somehow being compromised. If it’s ignored, a potentially insidious reinforcing “cycle of dysfunction” can be expected, causing permanent hoof deformity, joint destruction, obstruction of natural gaits (i.e. interference) and clinical lameness. Join us for part two of this article in the next issue of Equine Wellness. Jaime will address specific wear patterns, how to interpret them and how to remedy them, if necessary.

Biodynamic Hoof Balance AANHCP practitioners learn how to simulate natural wear patterns with their tools and equipment. These patterns precipitate natural growth patterns (size, angle and proportion, as studied and quantified in the wild), which in turn facilitate more naturally shaped hooves. Hooves so shaped support more natural movement. A repeating and reinforcing “cycle” of “formand-function” ensues, contributing to an equilibrium called biodynamic hoof balance. This is a confluence of locomotive forces, the animal’s unique conformation and temperament, and the environment. In part, it’s a mechanistic process, achieved largely through what we call the “natural trim”. When natural boarding conditions, natural training methods and natural diet are integrated and factored in, biodynamic hoof balance is further enhanced and reinforced. In this sense, “natural hoof care” is a broad holistic endeavor,

Jaime Jackson is a 35-year veteran hoof care professional, lecturer, author, researcher and noted expert on wild and domestic horse hooves. In the early 2000s, Jaime created the American Association of Natural Hoof Care Practitioners, now called the Association for the Advancement of Natural Horse Care Practices (aanhcp.net). He has written two books: The Natural Horse: Lessons from the Wild, and most recently, Paddock Paradise: A Guide to Natural Boarding. Jaime resides in central California and continues to maintain a trimming and rehabilitation client base.

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Advance your riding – bitless! With certain hunter/jumper shows now allowing bitless equipment, and a movement afoot for bitless bridles in various levels of dressage, the idea of leaving bits out of advanced and competitive riding is gaining more ground.


iding bitless has long been accepted as a useful tool for starting young horses, and rehabilitating remedial types. It is seen in the western world throughout the competitive levels, and we are also starting to see it more in endurance riding. The English disciplines seem a little more hesitant to follow, despite a small number of voyageurs demonstrating they are more than capable of riding bitless – however, this type of equipment is being accepted at some shows at various levels.


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In previous articles, I discussed how to safely help your horse understand your chosen type of bitless equipment on the ground, and during your first few rides. (EWM V2I6 and V4I4). So how do you go from there to jumping a 3’ course, riding the trails, running a barrel pattern or performing a dressage test? I will tell you the secret: there isn’t one, beyond good horsemanship and riding. Bringing your horse up the levels in bitless equipment is similar to how you would do so bitted, beyond perhaps a transition period. Sure, it may

Title photo: © Scot Hansen

by Kelly Howling

certainly force you to focus more on your body, leg and seat cues than your hands, but if you are training and riding your horse correctly bitted, you will know how to work your horse correctly bitless. Proper riding and control are not about the bit. Once the horse understands the basics of how your bitless equipment works, and you understand how to utilize rein aids in combination with the rest of your aids to effect the same response as with a bit, there is little you can’t do.

True control Going bitless can be about taking the metal out of the horse’s mouth, a reduction in stress or pain, a rehabilitative technique and/ or seeking a more “natural” partnership with the horse. For me, it’s also about teaching riders to get off their horses’ faces. The bit is so linked to “control” for so many riders that they rely too much on their rein cues and not enough on their body cues and aids. True control of your horse comes from both a respectful bond and the ability to put each part of his body where you need it, when you need it, at the speed you require. Your horse should be able to do upwards and downwards transitions, stop, back up, bend and turn, all off slight cues from your body and with gentle guidance and contact from the reins. It’s absolutely necessary to have these basics down pat before you try cantering up to that fence or rounding a barrel – if you don’t have the basic responses you need at the best of times, you certainly aren’t going to have them when your horse gets excited about heading for an obstacle. The ability to adjust your horse at a moment’s notice can mean the difference between making that fence or turn – or not. And “or not” can be disastrous as you begin moving into the higher competitive levels, no matter what equipment you are using.

Maneuverability In the same vein, you should be able to maneuver and guide each part of your horse’s body with your own, using light equine wellness


guidance from your hands. Exercises such as turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, and half pass will help with this. More advanced exercises to enhance this level of control and riding include shoulder in/out, haunches in/out, travers, renvers, sidepass, flying changes, counter canter and pirouette or spin.

I will tell you the secret: there isn’t one, beyond good horsemanship and riding.

Patient progress

Working your way up

If you are starting from scratch and plan on working with your horse bitless from day one, you can expect the same level of progress you would with any other horse you have ridden (within reason – every horse learns at a different pace). Your horse will know nothing different, so there will be no adjustment period for him. You will be the one doing the adjusting!

Once you and the horse are comfortable with the equipment and you have control over his body, and he is going well off your light cues, you can begin to challenge him a bit more in order to prepare him for work in your chosen discipline.

If you are switching your horse over from bitted to bitless, or just experimenting with it from time to time, be patient and allow yourselves a transition period. Understand that your horse is learning to interpret cues through a new piece of equipment. You need to understand how your cues may differ and work hard to prevent yourself from automatically going to the cue you are used to versus the one appropriate to a bitless bridle.

Again, do this just as you would with any other type of equipment – step by step, rewarding the tries, and progressing at a pace suitable for your horse and yourself. Regardless of your discipline, start introducing poles, pylons, trail obstacles, barrels, tarps, exercise balls and other distracting but useful objects. Make sure you can maintain control through scary situations and obstacles, and more complicated exercises and patterns that might divert your horse’s attention away from you. When you are ready to begin leaving your enclosed training areas (a good idea whether you intend to hit the trails or not, since show grounds often involve open spaces or warm up areas), do so just as if you were introducing any other horse to the great outdoors. Do it incrementally, starting on the ground first, and work your way up from there, making use of solid, quiet trail buddies if you can.

Getting discipline specific Once you know you have the basics, have developed a light, respectful working partnership with your horse, and can maintain all this through potentially distracting situations and exercises, you can begin working your way up through your chosen discipline, whether it’s jumping, dressage or reining, in the same fashion you’d use with any other horse in any other type of equipment. Know that you may be met with skepticism, have a tougher time finding a coach or trainer willing to humor your choice of equipment, and have limited showing options depending on your discipline.

True control stems from a respectful bond with your horse, and the ability to maneuver each part of his body with subtle cues.


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Seek out an instructor who is willing to work with you and your horse, and to experiment with the equipment you have chosen. Build a program for your horse that sets you up for success. Believe in what works for you both, and have fun out there!

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Holistic Veterinary advice Talking with Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS, graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She is certified in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic and has completed advanced training in homeopathy and herbal medicine. Her practice in Virginia uses 100% holistic medicine to treat all types of horses. Her publications include The Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book– the most complete source of information about English saddles - and The Western Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book. harmanyequine.com

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

Q: A horse in our barn was recently diagnosed with leptospirosis. Do I need to be concerned about my horse catching this, and if so, what can I do to make sure it doesn’t happen? A: Leptospirosis is an infectious disease that gets little attention in the horse world. It is caused by a spirochete type of bacteria and is transmitted through standing water, urine or blood. Seldom do horses transmit it directly from one to another, but they conceivably could if urine was splashed on another horse or onto feed or hay. If you have standing water in the pastures at your barn, there is a chance that other horses could become infected. The best way to protect your horse is to keep his immune system as strong as possible. There is no equine vaccine for lepto, and to build a healthy immune system you do not want to vaccinate much anyway. It is possible to check blood for a titer (number that indicates exposure to an infectious organism), though this may not be definitive. A second test about three weeks after can be compared to see if the titer goes up, which would indicate current exposure. The titer does not tell us that a horse will


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or will not get lepto. It may tell us he could show signs, or it may just be that he has been exposed and his immune system has reacted, which could be a good sign his system worked properly. A healthy horse with a titer may have an immune system that has responded the same way as a vaccine. Stimulate the immune system against a disease and the immune system builds antibodies to protect itself (that is what we measure with the titer test). The most commonly recognized symptom of lepto is recurrent uveitis, though one recent study said this was not a valid symptom. Abortion is the other most common symptom, along with many other non-specific signs. Liver or kidney failure is much less common, but can occur. Given the uveitis connection, I like to be sure the immune system of the eye is as healthy as possible. Nutrients such as 100 mg of zinc (preferably picolinate or citrate form), 200 mg coenzyme Q10, the herb bilberry or a bilberry extract all work especially well for the eye. They also help the immune system in general. For overall immunity I will add an omega 3 supplement such as flax, hemp, or a new and (I think) even better source – chia seeds. These are the most stable source of omega 3s, even in hot weather. Vitamin C (4 to 5 gm per day) is also an excellent immune system regulator

that goes to the eye as well. If your horse were to get symptoms of lepto, I would begin conventional treatment as soon as possible and find an alternative veterinarian to work with, since the disease can be serious.

Q: Can horses have seizures? How common are they? What can cause them? A: Seizures can occur in any animal and the horse is no exception; however they are much less common than in dogs or humans. Seizures in horses can be a serious problem, since the horse is generally unaware of his surroundings and is often violently moving his limbs while falling or lying on the ground. If a horse is seizuring, the safety of people around him is most important; no one should try to get close to help. Many factors can cause seizures, and some are very hard to diagnose. Brain tumors and brain infections are common causes, with EPM (equine protozoal myeloencephalitis) being one of the more common infections. Tetanus, rabies, viral or fungal infections and chemical toxins can trigger seizures at any age. Head trauma is likely the most common origin of seizure in the equine. It is also possible to trigger a seizure with a vaccination. From a Chinese medicine perspective, it is possible to explain and treat many seizures. Before embarking on any treatment, it is important to have a complete workup done by a vet or referral clinic. This should include a neurologic exam, bloodwork, x-rays and MRI if available, or any other diagnostic steps the veterinarian thinks is needed.

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Chinese medicine describes seizures as originating from an imbalance in the Liver acupuncture meridian. When the Liver meridian “overheats”, it can result in a wind condition that looks like seizures. A Chinese medicine trained veterinarian would prescribe a formula that balances the Liver meridian and calms the wind down. A homeopathic vet might prescribe a remedy based on a description of the type of seizure the horse has, taking into consideration his health history. Either Chinese medicine or homeopathy has a good chance of helping, unless a brain tumor is present. Western drugs used for seizures are not well researched in horses and can be expensive. They may work for awhile but stop without warning, so everyone handling the horse must be aware of the possibility that another seizure could occur.

Q: My older gelding is having a difficult time chewing/swallowing his food. He has been looked at by a veterinarian, and his teeth are in great shape considering his age. However he frequently drops quids of hay, and lets grain fall from his mouth. What other physical areas should I look at before switching him to a mash feed? A: Many older horses have teeth that basically seem okay, but are a bit too smooth to grind up hay or grain well. And some have hooks at the backs of their mouths that are missed during examination or even a floating if the procedures are done by veterinarians not interested in teeth. Other horses have had their molars over-floated by practitioners with power tools, leaving the teeth too smooth. The front incisors may not have been properly adjusted when the molars were floated (this may have been done long before you purchased him, but the effects are showing up as he ages). For whatever reason, it sounds like it is time to switch to a mash or wet softer food. Horses that cannot chew well run the risk of choking on food. Hay or grain can wad up and get stuck in the esophagus. Once that happens, scar tissue can build up and it can occur more easily a second time. Older horses can live many years on a wet mash. You have to experiment with what he can eat and what still gets quidded. Some horses can handle soaked alfalfa cubes with their mash, which provides some roughage and protein, while others cannot chew it or do not do well on alfalfa. Feed companies are making more hay-based pellets that can be mixed with the grain ration, either dry or wet. Soaked beet pulp can be used. Be careful, as


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many products are high in molasses; most older horses need feeds without added sugars to prevent insulin resistance and Cushing’s. Get yourself a weight tape and check his weight every ten days to two weeks to see if you are providing enough food once he is not getting calories from roughage. Grass can sometimes be eaten long after hay cannot be chewed. Fat-based supplements provide calories without too much bulk. Be sure to give him enough time to eat all his food without pasture mates stealing it.

Q: How do you treat/stop an equine nosebleed? My mare has begun to get them regularly, and I am at a loss what to do when it happens (the vet does not seem to think we need to be concerned, but I am). A: In my opinion, regular nosebleeds should be worked up until you find a reason. The vast majority of equine nosebleeds are caused by a pathology or problem in the nasal passages or guttural pouches. You do not say if these are induced by hard exercise such as racing or eventing, in which case the blood is actually coming from the lungs and the problem is one of speed, not a disease process and not life threatening. The first thing you should do is find a vet who can do an endoscopic exam. This exam uses a piece of equipment that can see into most of the nasal passages and guttural pouches. Another way to examine the head is have an x-ray taken – some problems are better seen this way. Horses can have benign polyps or growths that bleed. Or they can have tumors, some of which are serious. Sinus infections could lead to bleeding, though more commonly you see mucous at the nose rather than blood. Once you know what you have to deal with, alternative medicine has much to offer. The first step here is diagnosis.

Q: Do you have any tips or tricks for drawing out an abscess from an area of a horse’s body that is difficult to keep a poultice on -- for example, the shoulder or neck? A: Abscesses are relatively easy to bring out if they can find a way to get to the surface of the skin and drain. Homeopathic remedies are very effective at bringing them to a head. The most common remedies are Silicea, Hepar Sulph and sometimes Sulphur. I find several topical preparations very useful. Draw (made by DNR) is a liquid poultice made from healing mineral spring water. It is diluted, can be sprayed onto any surface, and does not need

to be bandaged. Old-fashioned gooey, messy Ichthammol still works well. Hot packs with a towel soaked in hot water can help draw an abscess to a head. Refresh the hot water regularly for about 20 to 30 minutes. If the weather is very cold, you may prefer to use Draw. A regular clay poultice can also be applied to any surface and left un-bandaged. If the abscess looks like it is going to drain (it usually gets a very soft spot) on the top of the horse (top of shoulder, withers) where it will not drain well once open, you may want to ask your vet if s/ he can create an opening in a better place lower down. If not, you will need to help the drainage along with external applications above and some massage in the area to push the fluid out.

Q: My horse is having an odd issue – his legs stock up when he is turned out, but look normal when he is stalled. Can hard and/ or uneven footing cause a horse to stock up on turnout? Should I be concerned enough to try to get him placed in a different paddock? A: This is opposite to the usual pattern, so a bit of detective work is needed. Your hunch that rough ground is aggravating his legs may be correct. The roughness could be doing one of a number

of things. If his feet are tender or the farrier trimmed his soles too thin, his feet could become a bit inflamed. If this is the reason, hoof testers should show reactivity. His tendons and ligaments may be inflamed and aggravated by the increase in uneven movement. Has he shown any soreness in his tendons and ligaments? It is also possible that he is in the early stages of degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis (DSLD), a disease where the suspensory ligaments begin to break down, sometimes at a fairly early age. A thorough veterinary exam and possibly an ultrasound would help figure this out. If his feet are the issue, a number of natural treatments can help. You do not say whether he is shod or not, but changing the trim/ shoeing style may help. Check out hopeforsoundness.com, hoofrehab. com, and coronavistaequinecenter.com. Strengthening the sole can be done with a turpentine dressing. I frequently use a Chinese herbal salve (Soreness Salve – see my website) and apply it like a hoof dressing to take out soreness and improve circulation. Homeopathic remedies such as Arnica and Bellis Per. are useful for bruising and soreness. If the tendons seem to be a problem, homeopathics such as Ruta Grav are helpful. If it is DSLD, you may want to work directly with a homeopath since this is a much more serious chronic condition.

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a natural performer

The horse:

Discipline/area of expertise:

Tennessee Walking Horse

“Walkers are known for being very versatile horses. They excel at anything from jumping to reining. The traditional style of riding is saddleseat, which is what I typically do. There are several divisions within this style. I ride the largest and most competitive division, called Trail Pleasure (this is a rail class and has nothing to do with actual ‘trail’ class). There are two-gait (no canter) classes available for horses that excel at the running walk, and three-gait (with canter) for horses that excel at the ‘rocking chair’ canter. I am happy to say that Blue excels at all his gaits and competes in both the two-gait and three-gait divisions.”

Physical description:


15.3hh gray gelding

Elissa Dauberman

Craving Blue (Blue) Age: 13 years



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.

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Awards and accomplishments: • North American Plantation Classic – Best of Show Champion for three consecutive years • 2007 National Show overall adult champion • 2008 PA Pleasure Walking Horse Assn. Horse of the Year • 22 time PPWHA hi-point champion • 6 time National hi-point champion • 28 time National Champion • PA Horse World Expo breed demonstration horse • 2010 World Equestrian Games representative

COULD YOUR HORSE BE A NATURAL PERFORMER? Equine Wellness Magazine is looking for natural performers to feature in 2010. 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.

How did you acquire him?: “When I met Blue, he had come to the boarding stable I was using at the time. He had just turned two and I was 15. I had previously ridden Jumpers and had no experience with Walkers, but was interested in learning anything that had to do with horses. I offered to start him so I could gain the experience of training from the ground up. It didn’t take long to convert me – I retired my Thoroughbred and have been riding Walkers ever since. I officially purchased Blue when he turned three.”

Title photo: © Castle Photography

Natural care principles and positive results: “I trained Blue from the beginning, using natural, resistance-free horsemanship to form a bond by allowing us to understand each others’ languages. His care routine includes daily turnout with his brothers. He is allowed to be a real horse rather than stay cooped up in a stall all day like most show horses. He is barefoot in the offseason and wears keg shoes only during show season, which is virtually unheard of in the heavy shod Walking Horse industry. Due to the unique scissor-like movement of the driving hind legs, lots of riding and training does usually require shoes to keep the hooves from wearing down too far.

never tiring or getting bored. Everything is funny to him and he always finds a way to goof off and make me laugh. He has tried to sit on my lap, he has followed me into the house to watch TV, and he has picked up my chair and thrown it into the air – with me in it. Blue is a powerhouse in the show ring, yet a gentle and kind teacher for anyone interested in learning about him or his breed.”

Future goals: “We have been asked to do a breed demonstration at the 2010 World Equestrian Games! Upon completion of this event, our goal will be to have fun and enjoy life. We will continue to work heavily in breed promotion to raise awareness of this amazing breed and will continue encouraging others to use natural horsemanship and horse care to achieve their goals.”

Advice: “Allow the time and patience it takes for your horse to learn. Approach him with a kind and gentle attitude and he will reward you in more ways than you can imagine.

“Blue is never contaminated with chemicals. I’ve discovered great natural products from Zephyr’s Garden that work so much better than their chemical counterparts. He gets bi-weekly full body massages, and we also utilize magnetic therapy. Blue gets natural supplements daily that I blend with organic carrots.”

Personality profile: “I know everyone says this about their horses, but Blue is perfect. He has no dislikes (well, except maybe ice cream), he has no quirks or bad habits. He just loves attention no matter what he’s doing. He will stand at expos for days on end loving attention from children, equine wellness


upping the

performance level Is my horse ready? Am I?

By Bob Jeffreys & Suzanne


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rena work can get tedious, so it’s nice to have some fresh ideas to help bring your horse to the next level of your chosen discipline. Perhaps you’ve already taught him to give to bit pressure, move his hips and shoulders on cue, move lightly off your leg cues, move forward with good impulsion, stop and back up lightly and in balance, and willingly transition up and down between walk, trot and canter. If you and your horse have mastered all these basics, you may be wondering where to go from here.

Spice things up! The next step is to give your horse more challenging and complex jobs to do. Horses and riders often go on “autopilot” when any training regimen gets too repetitive, so spice it up by frequently adding new tasks. Your horse will become more attuned to your requests, and more accustomed to taking on the unfamiliar. “Changing the subject” keeps your horse/human dialogue interesting, productive and fun!

Break it down To accelerate your horse’s progress, make it easy for him to succeed. When working on any of the following lessons it’s imperative to introduce them gradually, just as you did in the early stages of your horse’s training. Start by choosing a goal, then plan how to break each training session down into baby steps. This way, your horse will understand each phase of your lesson. Remember that it’s always clearer to the teacher (you!) than it is to the student (your horse). Be sure to focus on what you are teaching him so you can reward his slightest try. Always reward the horse by releasing the pressure that caused the response, and occasionally include a kind word or a rub along with the release. While it is certainly good to praise in the beginning, keep in mind that once he’s learned the lesson, too much praise can actually become a distraction. When performing the skills he’s mastered, the only reward he truly needs is the release.

Remember that it’s always clearer to the teacher (you!) than it is to the student (your horse). Advanced skills to play with • You might choose to begin by riding the perfect circle. By that we mean teaching your horse to “guide” in the circle without falling in or out. Having your circle actually look like a circle rather than an egg or a modified square is more difficult than it sounds, but this guiding will eventually require almost no equine wellness


Your horse will become more attuned to your requests, and more accustomed to taking on the unfamiliar.

Speed added to a basic turn around or turn on the haunches will become a spin.


equine wellness

steering from you. • If you’re a western rider, you can work on speed control at the lope so you can increase your horse’s speed with just a slight incline of your hips, and maybe a cluck. Slow down by simply sitting up straight again and using the sound “aaaahhh”. If you’re an English rider, teach your horse to increase his speed at the canter by squeezing with both calves and driving so lightly with your seat that it’s almost invisible to an observer. Decrease speed but maintain the gait by breathing deeply and ever so slightly slowing your driving seat into a stilling seat. • Cultivate straight lines, correcting whatever part of the horse starts to go crooked, and then reward him by releasing the pressure. • Teach shoulder in by keeping the hindquarters straight and moving the shoulder so that the diagonal pair of front and hind legs are moving on the same line (i.e. in a shoulder in right track right, move the shoulders in until the left fore and right hind are traveling on the same line). With haunches in, simply keep the forehand straight and move the haunches in until (haunches in right) the left hind and right front are tracking on the same line. Remember that impulsion and suppleness on both sides are prerequisites! • Teach your horse to collect by driving him forward, then lift up his forehand to shift his weight more toward his haunches. Once rebalanced like this, drive him into the bridle: don’t pull the bridle back to him as true collection can’t happen when we pull back. The finishing touch is when he breaks at the poll, with his face on or just a hair ahead of the vertical. •T each him a basic turn around or turn on the haunches, then add some speed until it becomes a spin. •B egin to introduce obstacles into your workouts, including various cavaletti patterns, low jumps (any horse, beyond those with

experiences a string of successes and progress actually occurs quite rapidly. His confidence in himself and your leadership grows. A confident horse is not afraid to try, and may actually develop a “bring it on!” attitude, which is at the very heart of top equine competition. Your horse will look forward to his ride each day, greeting you warmly and happily, and will start to take pride in his work. Remember to have an effective training plan, be fully in the moment whenever you handle your horse, and keep the fun in your training. You’ll not only bring out the best in your horse, but will give him the opportunity to bring out the best in you. Adding obstacles to your riding routine, such as javelin throwing, will help to advance your riding -- and make it more fun!

Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard, founders of Two as one Horsemanship, appear

injuries, should be able to jump two feet), trail class work such as lope overs, opening, passing through and closing gates, ranch work such as dragging a log behind you, and even certain cavalry maneuvers such as ring jousting or javelin throwing.

at expos and clinics across

North America. Their mission is to teach people how to bring out the best in their horses, and to train horses to bring out

All these exercises are so much fun! When advanced lessons are simplified and broken down into baby steps, your horse

the best in people.

Visit TwoasOneHorsemanship.com for their schedule, DVDs, books, Horsemanship Education Courses, ProTrack™ trainer certification

equine wellness


Under pressure?

Learn how to discover, treat and prevent common tendon injuries in your equine athlete. by Kelli Taylor, DVM


f you have a performance horse, you probably know that tendon and ligament strains and sprains are very common in the lower legs. During a full gallop or when landing a jump, the entire weight of the horse is placed on one or two limbs, putting extreme force on the tendons. But tendon injuries are not limited to high-level performance horses and can also occur in weekend warriors and pasture pets.

What is a tendon? Tendons are flexible, cable-like bands of fibrous connective tissue that attach muscle to bone, while ligaments attach bone to bone. Normal healthy tendons are mostly composed of thick, closely packed bundles of highly organized collagen fibers. These fibers are what give tendons their strength and elasticity. Tendons and muscles work together to produce movement. The muscles provide the power while the tendons transmit


equine wellness

the power to the bone. Tendons also act as springs by storing energy from muscle contractions and absorbing minor overloads during exercise. This in turn allows the muscles to generate greater force without extra effort.

Which ones are commonly affected? The most commonly damaged tendons and ligaments are those that run down the back of the leg from the knee to the foot (the superficial digital flexor tendon, the deep digital flexor tendon, the accessory ligaments and the suspensory ligament). The flexor tendons help flex the fetlock and the digit joints, while the suspensory ligament provides support for the fetlock, preventing extreme over-extension. Which tendon or ligament is injured usually depends on the type of activity the horse is asked to perform. Forelimb suspensory ligament injuries are common in horses that have to brake quickly from high speeds and perform quick forehand turns, such as barrel racers and polo ponies.

Racehorses, show jumpers and eventers most commonly injure the superficial digital flexor tendon in the front limbs. Dressage horses are also more prone to suspensory ligament strains, especially when working in deep sand arenas.

Strains versus sprains Most tendon strains are associated with excessive loading and overstretching due to excessive physical stress (such as when a horse lands a jump). As the tendon is stretched beyond its normal capacity, the collagen fibers within it begin to tear and some may rupture. Though the tendon fibers can tear all at once, for example when a horse is galloping and steps in a hole, these injuries are most often caused by repetitive stress during training and events, when minor disruption or tearing of the tendon fibers take place day after day. This type of acute tendon injury (or tendonitis) is characterized by inflammation with hemorrhage, edema and fibrin accumulation within and around the tendon, causing local swelling. The net result of inflammation created by tendon fiber tearing is a series of events that further damage and weaken the surrounding fibers. Tendon injuries can also be caused by external trauma. Hard blunt trauma can cause significant injury; examples are a leg being caught under a fence plank or a horse brushing one leg with another. Another example would be an improperly applied or slipped bandage.

Ultrasound is an excellent diagnostic tool that allows your veterinarian to view the fiber pattern of the tendon and determine exactly where the injury has occurred. Why are tendons so susceptible to injury? As a horse bears weight during movement, stress is applied on each limb. This is accommodated by an equivalent lengthening (strain) of the tendon. Although tendons are elastic in nature, they can only stretch so far before injury occurs. As the maximum strain limit is exceeded, the collagen fibers and blood vessels within the core of the tendon begin to rupture. The end result is the inflammation, pain and swelling characteristic of a “bowed� tendon. equine wellness


Tendon tissues have a very poor blood supply, and that makes the healing process long and drawn out. It normally takes six to 12 months for a tendon fiber to be repaired. As well, the tendon is repaired with a different type of collagen that’s not as elastic or strong and is often laid down haphazardly during the healing process. This results in a tendon that’s more prone to injury in the future.

How to recognize a problem You probably touch your horse’s legs every day when you pick out his hooves, but do you pay attention to the normal feel of his tendons? Starting today, begin to look at and feel your normal horse’s legs so you can identify any abnormal heat or swelling as soon as they occur. If caught early, you can prevent further damage and allow the healing process to begin before lameness occurs. Always check your horse’s legs before and immediately after a ride for any heat or swelling. Improper trimming and/or shoeing can place extra stress on your horse’s tendons, making him more prone to injury.

With a minor injury, heat and mild swelling with no lameness are the first signs of inflammation. This often resolves within 24 to 48 hours, but if exercise continues, the tendon is frequently re-injured. The swelling may then progress, resulting in a moderate tendon injury with pain on palpation and overt lameness. The worst possible scenario is traumatic laceration or rupture of the tendon. The horse will be lame at a walk and often panicked because his leg is not working properly. Try to keep him calm and call your veterinarian immediately. The vet will be able to sedate your horse if needed and prepare him for transport to a surgical facility.

Diagnosis If you notice heat or swelling in your horse’s legs, with or without lameness, call your veterinarian immediately. S/ he will recommend a lameness exam. If s/he determines that the heat or swelling is associated with a tendon, an ultrasound of the affected leg will be performed.

Boots, even sports medicine boots, can actually hurt more than they help, if applied incorrectly.

Ultrasound is an excellent diagnostic tool that allows your veterinarian to view the fiber pattern of the tendon and determine exactly where the injury has occurred. They can

The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation, maintain blood flow and decrease the formation of scar tissue within the tendon so your horse can return to his current performance levels. 42

equine wellness

also determine whether the injury is mild, moderate or severe – this is important information needed to formulate a proper rehabilitation plan for your horse. A thorough ultrasound that examines the superficial digital flexor, deep digital flexor, suspensory ligament and its associated branches can be a long, painstaking process that causes a great deal of anxiety for most owners. Do not worry if your veterinarian is taking a long time scanning the leg without showing you any results – we just want to be thorough and often need to compare the injured leg to the opposite normal leg so we do not miss subtle injuries.

How can I prevent injury? There are many factors to consider when attempting to prevent tendon injuries in your horse: Conformation: horses with poor conformation are at increased risk. Consult your veterinarian on trimming/shoeing recommendations that can help relieve abnormal stress on your horse’s tendons and ligaments. roper hoof care: excessive pastern slope, improper shoeing and P toes that are too long may place extra stresses on the tendons.

Signs of tendon or ligament injury • Lameness • Heat • Swelling (typical “bowed” appearance) • Pain on touch

and loss of tendon stabilization. Remember to give your horses a break and do not push them when they are tired. Chiropractic: vertebral subluxation complexes predispose horses to muscle soreness and fatigue. This results in a loss of tendon stabilization and requires the horse to make compensations with the rest of his body in order to perform the movements asked of him. Boots and wraps: these offer protection from hard, blunt trauma, such as striking the tendon with a hoof from the opposite leg, but do not offer much support in preventing hyperextension of the fetlock. And if applied incorrectly, they can actually cause damage to the tendons in the form of bows and excessive heat.

Arena maintenance: uneven, slippery ground or sudden turns may disproportionately load one side of a tendon, causing excessive physical stress to it. Deep sand should be avoided as it puts extra stress on tendons and increases their workload.

Treatment options are numerous

Proper conditioning: muscle exhaustion/fatigue from long training sessions or hard workouts results in poor muscle response

The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation, maintain blood flow and decrease the formation of scar tissue within the tendon so your horse can return to his current performance levels.

equine wellness


tendon. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT): Involves the application of high intensity acoustic radiation in order to promote healing. It’s thought that the microtrauma from the repeated shockwave encourages the growth of new blood vessels into the damaged area of the tendon, allowing it to heal faster. Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein Therapy (IRAP): A blood sample is taken from the injured horse and incubated with special glass beads that promote the production of regenerative and anti-inflammatory proteins by the white blood cells. The serum containing these proteins is injected into the injured site to decrease inflammation and promote faster healing.

Forelimb suspensory ligament injuries are common in horses that have to brake quickly from high speeds and perform quick forehand turns.

The most important treatment in both traditional and integrative approaches is rest. Stall rest with hand walking is normally required for the first one to two months. Gradually increasing the workload provides stimulation to the tendon to continue the healing process. Healing progress should be monitored regularly with ultrasound examination. The decision to increase activity is made based on the progress seen. Advancing too quickly often results in a worsening of the lesion. Initial conventional treatment includes systemic and local antiinflammatory therapy: • Ice or cold water is applied for the first seven to ten days, depending on the amount of heat and swelling. • Phenylbutazone therapy for five to seven days is indicated as a systemic anti-inflammatory. • Some veterinarians advocate the use of DMSO, applied topically for seven to ten days to help reduce local swelling. • A properly applied bandage with adequate padding is necessary to support the injured tendon and fetlock joint while avoiding further injury from a constricting bandage.

Integrative therapies are numerous and include: yaluronic acid: The injection of hyaluronic acid around the H tendon or its administration intravenously can have a beneficial anti-inflammatory effect. How it works is not understood, but similar to its activity in the joint, it is thought to be antiinflammatory and reduces proteoglycan breakdown in the


equine wellness

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): A blood sample is taken from the injured horse and platelets are concentrated and then injected into the injured area. Platelets are rich in growth factors, which enhance the normal healing process. Stem cell therapy: A bone marrow sample is taken from the injured horse and stem cells are cultured from it. The isolated stem cells are then injected into the injury site. These cells can then differentiate into new tenocytes (tendon cells) and work to rebuild the tendon faster and more effectively. Acupuncture: Blocked energy or Qi is released when needles are placed along the invisible energy pathways of the body, called meridians, relieving pain. Transverse friction massage: A deep massage technique that helps reduce pain, improve blood flow, and prevent the formation of scar tissue and adhesions in the connective tissue. Reiki: A Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. The practitioner transfers healing energy by placing her hands on or above the recipient. It’s best to discuss all treatment options with your veterinarian. He or she will help you choose the options that’ll work best for your horse’s individual injury, and optimize his recovery. 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.

She completed an internship in Equine Medicine Surgery at Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital in Snohomish, WA this summer and is very excited to be starting as the new associate of Dr. Hannah Evergreen at Evergreen Holistic Veterinary Care. Dr. Taylor currently resides with her husband, cat and horse at their home in Monroe, WA. When not working, you can find her trail riding or hiking with her husband in the great outdoors of the pacific northwest. She can be reached via the practice website: evergreenholisticvet.com. and

Equine Wellness

Resource Guide •Barefoot Hoof Trimming

• Reiki


•Schools & Education

View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com



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


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

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

Non-invasive natural hoof care Custom hoof boot fitting services


Second Heart Hoof Care Cohasset, CA USA Phone: (530) 343-7190 Email:secondhearthoofcare@yahoo.com Serving Chico to Redding area.

Heart n’ Sole Hoof Care Jennifer Reinke, PHCP El Segundo, CA USA Phone: (310) 713-0296 Email: jjreinke@hotmail.com Website: www.heartnsolehoofcare.com


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


Dawn Jenkins Hoof Coach Frazier Park, CA USA Toll Free: (611) 703-6283 Phone: (661) 245-2182

Richard Drewry Harrison, AR USA Phone: (870) 429-5739 Christina Cline Abbottsford, BC Canada Phone: (604) 835-1700 Diane Brown Lumby, BC Canada Phone: (250) 547-6391 Dave Thorpe - CBHA CP, FI Lumby, BC Canada Phone: (250) 938-3486 Email: barefootandbalanced@hotmail.com Scott Gain, CBHA CP, FI North Okanagan, BC Canada Phone: (250) 229-5453 Email: tsgain@columbiawireless.ca Servicing West & East Kootenays

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

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

Serving Sacramento and the Gold Country

Softtouch Natural Horse Care Phil Morarre Oroville, CA USA Phone: (530) 533-7669 Email: softouch@cncnet.com Website: www.softouchnaturalhorsecare.com Bare Hoof - PHCP Sally Hugg Oroville, CA USA Phone: (530) 534-4844 Email: barehoof@gmail.com Website: www.bare-hooftrim.com Good Hoof Keeping LLC Ramona, CA USA Phone: (619) 719-7903 Dr. Sugarshooz Farrier Services & Natural Hoof Care Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235 Serving southern CA

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

Specializing in natural trims and BLM Wild Mustangs

American Hoof Association - AHA Ventura, CA USA Email: eval@americanhoofassociation.org Website: www.americanhoofassociation.org www.americanhoofassociation.org

Pacific Hoof Care Practioners - PHCP Sossity Gargiulo Ventura, CA USA Email: sossity@wildheartshoofcare.com Website: www.pacifichoofcare.org

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

equine wellness


Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide


Cindy Meyer Carbondale, CO USA Phone: (970) 945-5680 MS Barefoot Equine Pueblo, CO USA Phone: (719) 565-9401 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com


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


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


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


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


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


equine wellness

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


Mark’s Natural Hoof Care Martinsville, IN USA Phone: (317) 412-2460 Official Easycare Dealer


Randy Hensley-AHA Natural Equine Hoof Orient, IA USA Phone: (641) 745-5576 Email: randy@naturalequinehoo.com Website: www.naturalequinehoof.com


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Equine Science Academy - ESA Derry McCormick St. Louis, MO USA Email: info@equinesciencesacademy.com Website: www.equinesciencesacademy.com Bruce Nock Warrenton, MO USA Phone: (314) 740-5847 Website: http://homepage.mac.com/brucenock/ Index.html


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


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

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


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

Natural balance trimming, rehabilitation, and education centre.

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

Jeannean Mercuri, PHCP Ridge, NY USA Phone: (631) 345-2644 Email: info@gotreeless.com Website: www.gotreeless.com Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com Website: www.hoofkeeping.com Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: joe@naturalhoofconcepts.com Website: www.naturalhoofconcepts.com

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

Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide


HossHoofHo Sandra Judy, Hoof Care Professional Gibsonville, NC USA Phone: (336) 380-5543 Website: www.hosshoofho.com

Hoofcare Professional Trimmer for performance & rehabilitation, providing education and clinics

Gill Goodin Moravian, NC USA Phone: (325) 265-4250 Natural Hoof Care Lisa Dawe, AANHCP Practitioner Oriental, NC USA Phone: (508) 776-6259 Email: Lisa@ibarefoothorses.com Website: www.ibarefoothorses.com

Anne Riddell CBHA CP, FI Lafontaine, ON Canada Phone: (705) 533-2900 Email: ariddell@csolve.net Website: www.barefoothorsecanada.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.

Natural barefoot hoof care; specializing in pathologic hoof rehab

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


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


Steve Hebrock Akron, OH USA Phone: (330) 644-1954 Emma Everly AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.com AANHCP CertiďŹ ed Practitioner

Sherry Eucker Cuyahoga Falls, OH USA Phone: (216) 218-6954


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


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

Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association - CBHA Carolyn Myre Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: info@cdnbha.ca Website: www.cdnbha.com Kate Romanenko Woodville, ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Website: www.natureshoofcare.com


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

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


Catherine Larose CBHA SP, Montreal, Quebec Canada Phone: (514) 772-6275 Email: serviceequus@hotmail.com Website: www.serviceequus.com

Servicing ST. Lazare, Hudson, Rigaud,Greater Montreal and area


Cori Brennan Horsense - Hoof/Horse care that makes sense Sharon, SC USA Toll Free: (704) 517-8321 Phone: (803) 927-0018 Email: brombie1@yahoo.com Natural barefoot trimming serving the Carolinas


Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Nexus Center For The Horse Greeneville, TN USA Phone: (423) 797-1575 Website: www.nexuscenterforthehorse.net 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

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

CertiďŹ ed hoofcare Professional Training, Rehabilitation, Education & Clinics

Natural Hooves Shelbyville, TN USA Phone: (931) 703-8149 Website: www.naturalhooves.com

Conde Pantoje Molalla, OR USA Phone: (503) 502-1102 Email: betteroffbarefoot@yahoo.com Website: www.betteroffbarefoot.us


Windhorse Creations Mavis Pas Oakridge, OR USA Phone: (541) 782-3561 Website: www.windhorse-creations.com

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

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

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 ďŹ eld instructor and clinician for AANHCP in Texas


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

equine wellness


Communicators – Natural Product Retailers – Reiki – Schools and Training — Wellness Resource Guide Barefoot & Balanced Natalie Gombosi, AANHCP CP E. Poultney , VT USA Phone: (802) 287-9777


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

Barefoot Trimming, Hoof Clinic & Equine Wellness Center

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

Have faith in the healing powers of nature

Triangle P Hoofcare - AHA Chad Bembenek, AHA Founding Member Rio, WI USA Phone: (920) 210-8906 Email: chad@trianglephoofcare.com Website: www.trianglephoofcare.com

(Equine Sciences Academy Instructor) www.trianglep hoofcare.com

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


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

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


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




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Bite-sized nutrition They may be small, but ponies are tough and hardy and their nutritional requirements differ from a horse’s. Here’s how to feed your pony like a pony. Written and photographed by Kerri-Jo Stewart


onies aren’t horses. That means they can’t be fed the same way you would feed your horses. The obvious difference is in their smaller size, but ponies also tend to have more efficient metabolisms because they are designed to get maximum nutrition out of sparse coarse forage. They developed into tougher and more efficient keepers than most horses, and are adapted to conditions with harsher climates. Breeds such as Icelandic horses,

miniatures, donkeys and mules are also hardier than horses and require their own specialized diets.

Basic requirements Many horses only require a good quality forage, salt, minerals and constant access to clean water to maintain good condition. Ponies and easy keepers are best kept on lower quality forage (in terms of protein, energy and equine wellness


Most commercial concentrates are designed for horses and will often provide insufficient nutrients at the small serving sizes needed for ponies. nutrient levels). A sparse pasture or quality grass hay is the major component of a pony’s diet. The pasture should be one in which the ponies have to work at finding the grass. They also require salt and mineral supplements (which can be free-fed in a loose crushed form), and access to clean fresh water.

Managing forage An excellent idea for pasture is to try to reproduce conditions similar to those in which the breed originated. Add in dirt and/or gravel areas and sparsely use native grasses. All equids (horses, ponies, donkeys) prefer to eat small amounts of food steadily throughout the day. Six or seven hours of grazing per day on healthy dryland pasture can meet all their nutritional requirements. It is far better for ponies to be outside on pasture, but when or where there is none available, hay becomes the main feed. Generally, forages may be fed based on weight, about one pound of forage for every 100 pounds of body weight. Many people successfully keep their ponies in a bare-land pasture and supplement with hay. Multiple feedings throughout the day help keep the pony’s digestive tract healthy. Get your hay analyzed, then add supplements to correct it to what is needed. Some will add straw to a pony’s diet to increase bulk, but this should be limited to 10% of the total ration. Chaff is a mixture of chopped straw and added molasses for palatability. Like straw, it can be a good source of bulk but again should be limited to about 10% of the total ration. Feeding too much poor quality fill will deprive the pony of sufficient nutrients.

Pony power – supplements and concentrates Ponies don’t usually require concentrates, and grain can present unnecessary amounts of sugar and starch. A hard working pony or lactating mare may need some extra supplementation, but first increase the amount of forage and then provide a higher quality forage or hay. Beet pulp, which is lower in energy than grain, can be a good addition. If more energy is required, some oil can be added to top up the pony’s diet. If a hard working pony needs concentrates, a ratio of no more than 30%


equine wellness

concentrates to 70% forage is recommended. Most commercial concentrates are designed for horses and will often provide insufficient nutrition at the small serving sizes needed for ponies. The added nutrients are too dilute for the amount required in smaller feedings. If a pony requires concentrates, feed and supplements designed especially for ponies should be used. These feeds may be referred to as pony mix or “lite” feed. If the pony’s coat starts to lose condition, she may need a protein supplement. Soybean meal can provide good quality protein without adding calories.

The downside of diets We know being overweight is not beneficial for any animal and leads to a variety of problems. However, putting any animal on a feed reduced diet isn’t the answer and could create a situation in which the pony is being starved of nutrients. Caloric restriction, as well as not being able to feed for a sufficient time during the day, leads to problems that often manifest as behavioral issues. Instead, feed a good low quality hay throughout the day and increase the pony’s exercise program.

Keeping track It is important to track your pony’s condition carefully. If you are unsure they are the correct weight, check them against a body condition scale. You can also measure their “heart girth” with a tape measure. In general, 30” corresponds to about 70 pounds. Multiply every additional inch by 13 pounds and add it to the original 70 pounds. Ponies are tough little animals. They have their own requirements and thrive in conditions similar to those they evolved for. Otherwise, they may require more management and their caretakers may need some help ensuring they are getting sufficient nutrients. It’s always worth getting your pasture and hay tested so you can balance your pony’s rations. Keeping them on a natural healthy diet and ensuring they get lots of exercise means they will stay happy and healthy. Kerri-Jo Stewart has a Masters from the University of Guelph in equine physiology and nutrition. She lives with her family in Maple Ridge, has Akhal-Teke horses and does equine photography. You can find more about her at Argamak.ca.

equine wellness


Green Gifts

by Maya Cointreau

When planting your gardens this year, include your horses in your plans. Many of their favorite veggies, fruits and herbs can be easily and organically grown at home.


orses love fresh treats from the grocery store. Carrots, beets, apples and even bananas have been making their way into horse’s mouths for centuries. Horses also love many fruits, vegetables and herbs you can grow in your own backyard. When you’re planning your gardens this year, consider a perennial bed that that will suit your horse’s palate while pleasing your eye, or add vegetables to your kitchen garden that can go the extra mile to the stable.

Continuous beauty: the perennial horse garden This tasty horse garden contains hardy herbs and flowers in a variety of heights and colors. For easy maintenance and


equine wellness

lasting beauty year after year, place taller plants towards the back or to the north, smaller plants in the front along the border, and medium-sized plants in the center.

The back row Valerian

(Valeriana officinalis) grows 3’ to 4’ tall, and is available in pretty pinks or traditional white flowers. It blooms June through September, and will attract many butterflies to your garden. It calms horses and controls spasms, making it very good in colic situations. Note: due to its calming properties, valerian is an AHSA banned substance; do not feed it for a week

Yarrow photo: © Kriss Szkurlatowski

before showing. Yarrow (Achillea millefollium) reaches 2’ to 4’, comes in several colors, and flowers May to June. It is a great all-round cleansing and healing herb with sweet tasting flowers that horses adore. Try the leaves to stop internal or external bleeding, or as a general tonic against illness.

Rosehip plants (Rosa rugosa, Rosa canina) produce the largest and tastiest fruits after the plants have flowered. Beautiful and easy to grow, they create a flavorful horse treat packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. Recent studies show the hips are also anti-inflammatory, reduce joint pain and may be good for fighting cancer. Rosa rugosa reaches 4’ to 6’, while Rosa canina can grow 3’ to 15’, making it perfect for climbing stone walls or arbors. Both varieties come in various pinks and whites, and flower all summer.


(Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea purpurea) comes in a variety of heights from 2’ to 4’ tall, and can flower in striking colors from July to September – from the traditional pink to deep purple, red and yellow. Horses enjoy eating the whole plant, which gives a boost to the immune system.

The middle chorus Fenugreek (Triganella foenum-graecum), at 2’ high, sports pretty blue or yellow clover-like flowers. In India, it is a very common treat for horses, which love the maple-like flavor. It is good for digestion and increases lactation in nursing mares. Catmint (Nepeta grandiflora) is very hardy in most conditions, stands 2’ to 3’ tall and sends up masses of stunning blue flower spikes from May to September. It is calming, good for fevers, and can be made into a poultice for bruised or swollen areas. After a long hard ride, try sprinkling the tasty leaves and flowers over your horse’s feed to soothe tired muscles. equine wellness



For long term garden planners, consider adding orchards to your property. Not only are they a wonderful gift for generations to come and a step towards sustainable self-sufficiency, but horses adore almost every fruit found on a tree -- just be sure to remove pits and any large seeds, as they are generally toxic to horses.

(Mentha piperita) is an understated green perennial with tiny white flowers on 2’ to 3’ spikes. It’s a favorite of horses and gardeners alike – just be sure to plant it in a pot or contained area or it will soon take over your garden! Use it to benefit all manner of digestive and inflammatory issues.

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is a potent healer for aches, nerves and colic. Horses love the apple flavor of the small daisy-like flowers. Growing 1’ to 2’ tall, it will attract butterflies to your garden all summer.

Along the border Thyme

(Thymus) can be planted along the border or within gently-treaded walkways and garden stairs for a pleasing accent. It comes in many varieties and colors, from 4” to 12” tall, and all are strong anodynes or pain relievers. A little in your horse’s feed can go a long way towards his general comfort.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) can easily grow 2’ wide per plant, sending up a beautiful carpet of white flowers on 6” to 18” spikes all summer long. This hardy herb is antibacterial and antimicrobial, and is used by many herbalists to combat parasites, tumors and growths.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is hardy only in southern climates, but it is easy to sow and grow anywhere, and horses love the flowers. Calendula ameliorates many skin conditions and can be used as a general liver detoxifier. The eye-catching orange blooms are 6” to 12” tall and will flower from July to October in most areas.

Insulin resistant and foundered horses should have restricted access to fruits and certain high sugar vegetables such as carrots. Always get veterinary advice before feeding your horse new foods. 54

equine wellness


Whenever you feed vegetables to your horse, cut them into manageable pieces. Root vegetables are best cut into 2” to 4” strips rather than rounds, which may lodge in the throat if not chewed properly by an over-eager horse.

From table to trough: vegetables for your horse A wide variety of the vegetables you eat are also pleasing to a horse’s palate. Many riders already feed their horses carrots or beet pulp as treats. But did you know beet greens are also very tasty and nutritious for horses? Some of the easiest veggies to grow for horses are summer squash and green beans. For a sure crowd pleaser, try cantaloupe (remove the seeds first) or watermelon (most horses love both the rind and the pulp, and the extra fiber in the rind will slow the release of sugars into the system). Turnips and lettuce are regular treats in many barns, as are sweet potato greens.


• Brilliant coat colors • Stronger hooves

California Trace is a concentrated trace mineral supplement specifically formulated to support the total health of your horse. Each serving contains: • Zinc• Copper • Selenium • Biotin • Lysine • Methionine • Vitamin E and Vitamin A Find a distributor near you:

www.californiatrace.com or call 1-877-632-3939

Exercise caution when considering feeding cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts, broccoli and other gas-causing vegetables. Some horses are known to enjoy and tolerate them well on a regular basis, but there have also been reported cases of colic from these vegetables. To increase yields in your vegetable garden, don’t forget to include your horse in the process and work composted manure into your soil early in the season. Or, if you have an old, aged compost heap you’d like to see disappear quickly, try planting squash and melon vines all over it – you will have prolific yields, and the heap will be dramatically reduced in size by the end of the season. Creating a garden for yourself and your horse is a great way to connect with nature and give back to the earth. It also allows you to grow food and treats organically, so you know exactly what you and your equine friends are consuming.

Maya Cointreau is the Herbalist and Vice-President of Earth Lodge (earthlodgeherbals.com) and author of Natural Animal Healing, Equine Herbs & Healing and Grounding & Clearing.

equine wellness


Tolease or not to lease? Follow these three tips for creating a worry-free lease arrangement. by Rachel Kosmal McCart


he start of a new show season inspires many competitors to lease or purchase new horses. If you’re a horse owner considering leasing your horse, following the steps below will help minimize the risks and maximize the benefits for both you and your horse.

What’s in it for you? Income – In many lease arrangements, the lessee pays the owner a monthly fee, and you can use those funds to help offset the cost of keeping your horse. Grooming, exercise, and training – Maybe you’re not getting out to the barn every day, and your horse is climbing the walls of his stall. Maybe his mane looks like a Thelwell pony’s, but you don’t have the energy to do anything about it. Perhaps your horse is green and you don’t have the time to finish his training. Depending on your lease agreement, your lessee may be able to help serve these needs. A new horse buddy – Tired of that glazed look on your spouse’s face whenever you mention your horse? Depending on the relationship you have with your lessee, you may have a companion to go with you to horse events and take pride in your horse’s progress.

Consider the risks

Don’t have the time to be with your horse as much as you’d like? A lease situation can help.


equine wellness

Training – Each person rides differently and brings a different set of beliefs and experiences to the barn. If your lessee’s riding and training style is different from yours, it could undermine some of your own efforts.

Injury to your horse, your property or others – Even if your lessee is an experienced horse person who treats your horse with lots of TLC, accidents will probably happen. To help minimize them, make sure your lease agreement spells out any specific care your horse requires and who will be responsible if anything happens to him, your equipment, the lessee or anyone else. The lease may ultimately not work out – Even if you follow every step in this article, your lease arrangement might not end up being long term. Maybe your lessee loses interest or has to move away from the area. Maybe you suddenly have more time to ride or want to send your horse away to a trainer. The lease agreement should cover all the circumstances under which either party might terminate the agreement, and how the termination should work.

Top three steps to success


Weigh the risks and benefits. Before leasing your horse, evaluate your goals for you and your horse. Consider carefully what you have to gain and lose from a lease arrangement. Plan how you want the lease arrangement to work and consider carefully whether your plan is realistic and practical. As a planning tool, you may find it helpful to write down your goals and the key points of the lease arrangement.


Be picky about who leases your horse Your lease relationship can be a valuable partnership that benefits you and your horse – or it can be a nightmare. Just like selecting a roommate, you can control some of the risk by choosing your leasing partner carefully. Ask them lots of questions about their experience and what they want from the lease arrangement. Make sure they understand exactly what your expectations are for the leasing arrangement, and determine whether your expectations match up with the lessee’s goals and experience. If the lessee will be riding your horse, make sure you see him/her put your horse through his paces, noticing whether or not your horse seems happy with his new rider. If the lessee will be taking your horse off your property, schedule a time to go and inspect his/her barn before you agree to lease the horse. Don’t be afraid to ask for references that include veterinarians and farriers, and actually call them (don’t assume all references are good; you’d be surprised how many people don’t take the time to check their own references before they give them out!). You may even want to run a credit check to avoid leasing to someone who will not pay you. You may also wish to build a trial period into the lease agreement so that it’s

In many lease arrangements, the lessee pays the horse owner a monthly fee, and you can use those funds to help offset the cost of keeping the horse. equine wellness


A lessee can give your horse the extra attention you may not be able to.

If the lessee will be taking your horse off your property, schedule a time to go and inspect his/her barn before you agree easy for you to cancel on short notice if things don’t work out from the beginning. Don’t worry about offending any potential lessees. Experienced horse people should understand your need to take these precautions – if they give you a hard time at the interview stage, imagine what they would be like as lease partners! Trust your gut feeling about who would be best for you and your horse.


Put your lease agreement in writing. Unless you put the entire lease agreement in

writing and have all parties sign it, you will have nothing to prove what your agreement is later if/when trouble arises. If you are leasing to or from a friend, having a good agreement in place will go a long way to help preserve your friendship by preventing misunderstandings. For example, what happens if your horse goes lame and can’t be ridden – does the lessee still have to pay the lease fee? Can the lessee take the horse off the property, and if so, who is financially responsible if the horse injures himself in the trailer on the way home? Your lease agreement should be comprehensive, addressing every element. Equine Legal Solutions’ website, equinelegalsolutions.com, offers several different equine lease agreement forms for your consideration. It’s not expensive, and can save you a lot of stress and heartache down the road.

Rachel Kosmal McCart is the founder of Equine Legal Solutions, P.C., a law firm dedicated to the horse industry. Equine Legal Solutions offers a full range of legal services for horsemen, from business planning and transactional work to litigation. Its website, equinelegalsolutions.com, also features a wide selection of ready-to-use equine legal forms.

A Duke University School of Law, Rachel has 15 years of experience as an attorney, and is licensed to practice law in California, New York, Oregon and Washington. Prior to specializing in equine law, she practiced securities law at major law firms in New York and Palo Alto, California as well as in-house at Intel Corporation. Rachel is a lifelong horsewoman and shows American Paint Horses at a national level. graduate of


equine wellness

Book reviews Title:

Healing Horses Their Way!


Marijke van de Water

“Horses have a unique and elegant digestive system,” writes Equine Health & Nutrition Specialist Marijke van de Water in her book Healing Horses Their Way! This comprehensive volume is a must for anyone interested in healing their horses by learning about healthy, natural nutrition and holistic care. The book opens with a detailed discussion of equine digestion and what happens when horses eat. The next chapter addresses what can go wrong with the digestive system, from the foregut through the hindgut, and also includes important information about laminitis and metabolic syndrome. Also read about the role of exercise, as well as general health conditions such as food allergies, weight loss, developmental orthopedic diseases, and emotional or behavioral issues. A large part of the book is devoted to the natural equine diet, focusing in turn on grass, hay, fiber, grains, fats and oils, as well as vitamins, minerals and herbs. Find advice on homeopathic remedies, and refer to natural treatment programs for a wide variety of problems, including colic, parasites, skin conditions, thrush and much more. If you want to feed and care for your equine partner as naturally and holistically as possible, Healing Horses Their Way! would make a valuable addition to your library.

Publisher: Sapphire Publishing

Title: Equine Author: Jec




You want to keep your equine partner fit, happy and eager to perform. Equine Fitness: A Conditioning Program of Exercises & Routines for Your Horse by dressage trainer Jec Aristotle Ballou is the answer. Designed to improve equine strength and agility, the exercises in this book give every horse, regardless of age, ability or discipline, the fitness training to perform at consistently high levels. The exercises include everything from spiralling in and out, to legging up, waltzing with your horse, gymnastic jumping, cantering on uneven terrain, and lots more. There are sections on schooling versus conditioning, posture, warming up and cooling down, stretching and more. The book also offers 48 tear-out cards that can be used to follow the programs as outlined, or rearranged to create a customized routine. Last but not least, the author presents methods for assessing and monitoring your horse’s fitness. Illustrations, anatomical diagrams and step-by-step how-to sequences help enhance your learning experience. Equine Fitness is a no-fail program that can work with any horse.

Publisher: Storey Publishing

Natural HOOF CARE Natural

and the


The Institute for the Study of Natural Horse Care Practices (ISNHCP) in conjunction with the Association for the Advancement of Natural Horse Care Practices (AANHCP) is conducting two more ‘training camps’ the two-week classroom/workshop/ practicum portion of the

Natural Hoof Care Practitoner training program taught by legendary natural hoof care pioneer Jaime Jackson, in 2010.

The two training camps will take place in July and December in Lompoc, California – just an hour’s drive north of Santa Barbara. For information, please go to www.isnhcp.net and click on the NHC Training link or email us at info@isnhcp.net www.aanhcp.net www.isnhcp.net



arm No H

ct the Respe owers ing P l a e H ture. a N of

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Track your horse’s progress – and your own -- with the aid of a riding journal. by Kelly Howling


ver the years, several riding instructors have tried to convince me of the importance of keeping a log or journal to track my rides – especially my lessons. While it sounds like a great idea, and makes so much sense, I was at first admittedly quite horrible about doing so. It has taken me awhile to find a format that works for me, as the traditional “notebook in the tack box” method was just not productive. So, fellow riders, read on to discover how to make a journal work for you!

Why bother? Keeping a riding journal is beneficial for several reasons: • It allows you to track your horse’s progress and your own. It’s nice to be able to go back, read over your notes, and see the general upward trend after a particularly frustrating ride. • You can look back and see when your horse began having a certain difficulty, and how you solved it – was it something you were doing, a soundness issue, did you need to experiment with a few different riding techniques? This can be helpful down the road if you have a similar issue.


equine wellness

•Y ou will have a record of any tips or techniques that stood out for you, and any lightbulb moments. • It can help keep you motivated and on track. •Y ou will be able to see the general plan and exercises your instructor has used to help develop your horse. This is a great resource if you are developing another horse down the road, are helping a friend, or just need to backtrack with your horse when coming back from a layup. • I t will allow you to track your horse’s physical fitness, if you are looking at entering an event or race.

Writer’s block The question of how to get started in writing your journal is not a silly one. Sometimes when you are sitting there with all those blank pages in front of you, it can feel daunting, as if you are supposed to know how they will all be filled. Your journal does not have to be a novel. It certainly can be if you’d like – you never know, there could be some publishing potential in there one day! However, most people just jot down a few notes or

Some people like to leave their journals at the barn with their tack, and write in them right after each ride. bullet points after each ride. Some use shorthand to help keep things brief.

Paper or plastic? What format should your journal take? We have advanced beyond the basic pen and paper format of traditional journals and diaries. If you are keeping your journal at the barn, this format is probably your best bet, since you don’t necessarily need to worry if you misplace it, or spill saddle soap on it. You can also keep track on your Blackberry or iPhone. At home, you can save your journal on your computer – whether in a special file or document, a blog, or using a program specifically designed for such purposes, such as Rendaivu.

What do I write? The content of your journal depends on what you feel is important. Certainly include things like equipment changes, new techniques, lightbulb moments, hints of unsoundness, development of behavioral issues (however small), and any tips or comments that really stuck with you during a lesson. Make notes of any extra “little” things you notice in your horse – uneven sweat patterns, taking a longer time to cool down, etc. Include the date for each entry, and whether you had a lesson (and with who). You can also include things such as the length of session, what exercises and movements you focused on, how much time was spent on a particular exercise, or the number of repetitions.

depends on you! Some people like to leave their journals at the barn with their tack, and write in them right after each ride. I discovered this option is not for me, as trying to scribble out notes in a freezing cold barn does not do much to motivate my persistence in record keeping. Others like to keep their journals in whatever vehicle they usually take to the barn, or at home. I personally prefer the “home” option, though this can sometimes lead me to put off my writing and eventually forget to do it. In the beginning, writing out your notes may seem tedious, and you may have to work at sitting down and doing it before you get into the habit.

The real motivation In the grand scheme of things, though, you need to keep up with your journal because you want to, or else you simply won’t continue with it. If you constantly feel like you “have” to, if it becomes a “chore” you resent, then I encourage you to re-evaluate your methods until you find something that really works for you. Try an online program. Try an application on your phone. Make it fun! Perhaps for some that might be stretching it a bit. I am still not perfect. I still sometimes put it off. It is not always my favorite thing in the world to do. But it does come in handy, and I have found a method of journal keeping that works for me. I encourage you to do the same. It can be fun, not to mention instructive, to sit down once in awhile and go back through your notes, remembering certain moments and lessons, and tracking your progress over time.

If you are rehabbing your horse back from a layup, keeping track of how much time is spent at various gaits is valuable. Many will also use this type of tracking in disciplines where condition is absolutely vital to performance. It can be fun to paste in photographs every once in awhile, if you have someone who can record your ride for you.

Getting to it When is the best time to write in your journal? Well, this equine wellness



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Did you know?

by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS

Nutrition nugget


quine connective tissue proteins are vital to your horse’s health and ability to perform. These important proteins are made up of a microscopic framework of amino acids. This framework gives form and strength to all the major organs and tissues in your horse’s body. Collagen, elastin and fibrin are the most common of these proteins. They are long chains of amino acids and together make up over half of all body protein. The chains are “welded” together by the sulfur component of the amino acid cystine. Your horse’s bones, tendons, teeth, hooves and other structural components contain the highest amounts of connective tissue proteins. The strength of the connective tissue depends on the “welds” or crosslinks provided by the cystine. Cystine can be derived from the diet or from dietary methionine. Copper and ascorbic acid are necessary co-factors for

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building connective tissue. Insufficient dietary copper leads to inadequate connective tissue formation and a slow growth rate of hooves, hair coat and tendons. Strong healthy connective tissue can only be built through proper nutrition. This means a balance of nutrients that not only includes amino acids such as cystine and methionine, but also copper and numerous others. Dr. Frank Gravlee graduated from Auburn University School of Medicine and practiced veterinary medicine for several years before attending graduate school at

MIT. During

a three-year residency in nutritional pathology, he received a masters degree in nutritional biochemistry and intermediary metabolism. In 1973, he founded Life Data Labs to determine equine nutritional deficiencies through laboratory testing, and developed individualized feeding programs to correct the deficiencies he discovered. After ten years of research, he launched Farrier’s Formula. lifedatalabs.com

and your relationship. Emotional healing, animals in spirit. Consultations by phone/in person, lectures, workshops. Call (519) 896-2600 suebecker@cyg.net www.suebecker.net INGRID BRAMMER – On-line classes, on-site workshops, and home study programs available that will teach you how to intuitively communicate with animals with explanation of how it is possible.  Contact Ingrid 705-742-3297 or ibrammer@sympatico.ca or www.animalillumination.com LYNN McKENZIE, International Animal Intuitive, offers nationwide consultations in animal communication and energy healing. Create harmony and awareness in your relationships, restore health, improve behavior, enhance performance, resolve conflict, connect with animals that have crossed over. Workshops and lessons available. Coming soon, correspondence and internet training in Animal Energy Healing. www.animalenergy.com, lynn@animalenergy.com, (214) 615-6506, Ext. 8642.


healing essences

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

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

SUE BECKER – Interspecies Communication, Registered Practitioner of Tellington TTouch and Bach Flower Remedies. Resolve problems and stress, improve behavior, deepen understanding

MARIJKE van de WATER, B.SC., DHMS Equine Health & Nutrition Specialist, Homeopathic Practitioner, Medical Intuitive & Healer. Marijke is a knowledgeable, experienced and gifted healer

medical intuitives

who has worked with thousands of horses (and their people) in restoring health and wellness. Distance consultations, seminars, conferences, natural products, books. Author of “Healing Horses: Their Way!”. Call Riva’s Remedies Equine Health Line 1-800-405-6643, rivas@nowcom.ca www.rivasremedies.com

NATURAL PRODUCTS ZEPHYR’S GARDEN - All natural, herbal based products for horses.  Award winning products for thrush, scratches, rain rot, sweet itch, wounds, dermatitis, hoof care, liniments, calmatives, and natural fly sprays. www.ZephyrsGarden.com 805969-7059  http://www.facebook.com/people/ Zephyrs-Garden/1394377524 http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=TDqTqs21Flw

RESCUES AND SHELTERS JOURNEY’S END RANCH ANIMAL SANCTUARY - Caretaker is a disabled veterinary technician. Please help rescued dogs, mustangs, burros, pigs. Also, consultation in holistic health care/Lyme disease. Arizona non-profit. www. jeranimalsanctuary.org. www.journeysendranchanimalsanctuary.org

SCHOOLS AND TRAINING TREETOPS (est. 1991) - Offers comprehensive certification programs in canine massage, equine massage, first aid, herbal remedies. Distance learning and online instruction available. Details at www.treetopsweb.com or www.e-trainingfordogs. com or 1-866-919-TREE (8733)

equine wellness


Events Various dates and locations - California, Michigan, England, Australia and Canada EQ100: Equine Body Worker® Certification Join us for our signature certification course which offers a unique blend of sports massage, MFR , stretching, and point therapy. Presented by international clinician and Equinology founder, Debranne Pattillo, MEBW.

information@rmsaam.com www.rmsaam.com

For full course details please visit the website and click onto EQ100 or cut and paste this address: www.equinology.com/info/course.asp?courseid=5

For more information: Joann Hayssen 978-682-5155 jhayssen@usa.net www.rideforthecurema.org

For more information: Paul Hougard 707-884-9963 office@equinology.com www.equinology.com April 18-24; May 10-24; June 13-27; July 8-22; August 15-29; Sept 11-25 - Longmont, CO Animal Acupressure Level 1 & 2 Our Large and Small Animal Acupressure is based on Traditional Chinese medicine, taught in a 7 day on-site class in Longmont, CO. We also offer electives in Equine Anatomy, Essential Oils and others. For more information: Joan Akiyama 866-903-6462 information@rmsaam.com www.rsaam.com April 21–May 1; May 19–29; June 22–July 2; August 18-28; September 20–24 LIttleton, Colorado Equine Massage Level 1 & 2 The Equine Massage program curriculum includes Muscle Anatomy and Physiology, Massage Techniques, Pathologies, Animal Handling and an inclusive Business Lesson in a 5 day on-site intensive hands on class in Littleton, Colorado. Our Large and Small Animal Acupressure is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, taught in a 7 day on-site class in Longmont, Colorado. We also offer electives in Equine Anatomy, Essential Oils and others. For more information: Joan Akiyama 866-903-6462

June 6, 2010 - Barre, MA Massachusetts Ride for the Cure Come ride with us on this scenic trail ride and help continue the amazing work being done by the Komen Foundation.

June 12-13, 2010 - Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary Animal Reiki Level Two Workshop In this class you will continue on your healing path with Reiki and continue your work with animals. The focus of this class is on more advanced traditional Japanese meditations and Reiki practices. This course is unique because we focus on both humans and animals. For more information: Janet Dobbs 703-648-1866 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com July 10-11, 2010 - McLean, VA & Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary Basic Animal Communication Workshop Janet Dobbs will lead your through the basic steps of animal communication with guided meditations, enlightening discussions and telepathic exercises. This two-day workshop will give you an overview of what animal communication is and how you already communicate with your animal companions, animal friends and even wild animals. For more information: Janet Dobbs 703-648-1866 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com

July 10-14, 2010 Michigan State University Equine Myofascial Release Instructor and author Ruth Mitchell leads this five day course. Those already in the business will appreciate this new dimension to their current practice. Those who are just starting out will find it an easy approach for understanding and applying the techniques. Participants are trained in the theory, concepts, application and practice of MFR as it pertains to the equine population.Make profound and long lasting postural as well as structural changes with MFR in addition to breaking patterns of adaptive movement. Cost: $995 For more information: Paul Hougard 707-884-9963 office@equinology.com www.equinology.com July 23-26, 2010 Michigan State University Saddle Fitting and Shoeing Dynamics Our instructor for this course, Dr. Kerry Ridgway, DVM, a household name worldwide, is also certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. He presents this 4 day clinic with slides, examples of trees, pads, saddles, shoes, wedges, measuring devices, templates, demonstrations, and a variety of horses with saddle fitting and shoeing issues. Saddle fit topics and practicals encompass 85% of the course. The remainder of the course addresses farrier issues. This includes issues we should look for in the foot and how it can also affect saddle fit. Because most of us cannot run out and buy a new saddle if it no longer fits, Dr. Ridgway addresses this common problem by offering ideal, existing, and temporary solutions. For more information: Paul Hougard 707-884-9963 office@equinology.com www.equinology.com

Post your event online at: equinewellnessmagazine.com/events 66

equine wellness

equine wellness



equine wellness