V6I1 (Feb/Mar 2011)

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Equine wellness


Your natural resource!


Hydroponic farming Diet tips forfor 24/7 forage your easy keeper Achilles heel

Project Panda TIPS to 6 prevent & resolve

What to do about contracted heels

equine Wellness Magazine

Miniature horses for the blind

back pain


horses Making lives better

Heartland is a hit with horse lovers everywhere, and the TV series also raises awareness of alternative horse care. The show’s star talks about her passion for everything equine.

Is it colic?

Horse shopping?

Here’s help your horse awaiting the vet Advicehow ontoassesssing yourwhile new companion 80% 1.5 BWR PD 5.95CN / 5.95 US

Makingsteamed Getting


The nitty-gritty on soaking and steaming hay

Discover therapeutic ultrasound


Display Displayuntil untilJanuary April 19, 31,2011 2011

WEG IN REVIEW hits Holiday – our top 5 highlights! Creative gift ideas for every budget!

$5.95 USA/Canada


Yoga for riders



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Volume 6 Issue 1 Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Editor: Kelly Howling Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Graphic Designer: Meaghan McGowan Cover Photography: Shawn Turner Photography

Advertising Sales Equine National Sales Manager: John M. Allan (866) 764-1212 ext. 405 john@redstonemediagroup.com


Buy a 1-year subscription to Animal Wellness Magazine and get the first six years FREE on CD!


Sales Representative: Ann Beacom (866) 764-1212 ext. 222 annbeacom@redstonemediagroup.com

Columnists & Contributing Writers Kate Cocquyt Cheryl Detamore, DVM Isabella Edwards Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Scot Hansen Bob Jeffreys Jessica McLoughlin, REMT Joanne Neuteboom Neva Scheve Tom Scheve Suzanne Sheppard Kerri-Jo Stewart



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Sales Representative: Becky Starr (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 becky@redstonemediagroup.com Classified Advertising classified@equinewellnessmagazine.com

Administration 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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi.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.

To subscribe: Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. $15.00 and Canada is $22.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 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

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

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

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

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: February 2011

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


9am– 5pm E.S.T.


On the cover photograph by:

Shawn Turner Photography Amber Marshall plays Amy Fleming on CBC’s hit series, Heartland. The show’s popularity is bringing increased attention to horsemanship and alternative equine therapies – our editor never misses a show! Here Amber enjoys a special moment with her handsome young horse, Cash. Read about Amber on page 31. equine wellness




12 features 12 Getting steamed?

Here’s the nitty-gritty on soaking and steaming hay.

20 Dreams, drama and excitement

Top 5 highlights from last year’s World Equestrian Games.

28 Acres in a box Hydroponic farming gives your horse 24/7 access to healthy green forage.


equine wellness

31 Amber Marshall

52 Achilles heel

36 Horsepower plus

56 All aboard!

A good tow vehicle provides peace of mind and helps keep your precious cargo safe during hauling.

Going on vacation this winter? Stressed about leaving your horses behind? These tips will help give you peace of mind during your time away.

46 Horse shopping?

60 Don’t get your back up

The star of Heartland talks about her love of horses and acting.

Check out these suggestions for assessing the training level of your potential new equine, as well as some red flags and what to stay away from.

Contracted heels are a common health problem, but they don’t have to become your horse’s “new normal”.

Does your horse pin his ears when you saddle him? Is he difficult to get moving? His behavior may be justified if his back hurts!


46 Columns


8 Neighborhood news

6 Editorial

16 From agony to ecstasy

19 Heads up

24 Holistic veterinary advice Talking with Dr. Cheryl Detamore

42 Equine Wellness resource guide

39 Hot to trot 40 A natural performer 65 Did you know?

59 Book reviews 63 Marketplace 65 Classifieds 66

Events calendar


28 equine wellness


editorial Fresh starts appy New Year! As we enter 2011, we’re making a few changes to Equine Wellness. One we’re particularly excited about is our new equestrian fashion column – we hope you enjoy it! We’re also very excited to start the year with a special cover story on Heartland’s Amber Marshall, who talks about horses, life on the show’s set, and the balancing act that comes with being a busy actress. Speaking of balancing acts, many of us equestrians rarely “get away” as often as we should. Horses aren’t a hobby or a nine to five job ... they’re a lifestyle. Taking time away from these large animals that depend so heavily on us (and who can get into mischief faster than you can bat an eye) is no small feat. It leaves some people stressing throughout their “vacation” about how things are back home. It’s sort of like leaving your kids behind while you and your significant other get away for a weekend – except you can’t load your horses into the minivan and drop them off with your in-laws. The equestrian lifestyle (particularly when horses are your profession) relies greatly on balancing your duties with other areas of your life – important areas that allow you to relax, explore a creative outlet, and socialize. When you ignore that balance, it starts to take a toll on you – and your ability to deal with your horses and clients.


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If you’re lucky enough to get away for a few days or weeks this year, our article on making sure your horses are taken care of while you’re gone will be of particular interest. If you’re going to do some travelling with your horse, whether on vacation or to clinics or shows, you’ll want to read up on selecting the best tow vehicle for your trailer, and how to deal with tough loaders. And if you want to live vicariously through those lucky individuals who travelled to the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the pages of this issue are the place to be! Safe travels! Naturally,

Kelly Howling P.S. If you liked seeing Amber on our cover, let us know! We are interested in learning whether our readers would enjoy having more horsepeople on Equine Wellness covers.

Title photo: © Carrie Clarke Scott Photography



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Neighborhood news We’re so proud!


Equine Wellness Magazine is proud to announce that we made the final nominations cut for the Equestrian Social Media Awards. We have been nominated for Category 8: Best use of Social Media by a Magazine. Now it is up to you to decide who wins! To vote, please visit: abbeyviewequine.com/awards. Voting closes February 18, 2011.


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The mayor’s letter included an information package describing recent upgrades to the facility, such as improved drainage, electrical wiring, seating, water supply and state of the art footing. These improvements were made last year under the supervision of Leopoldo Palacios, the FEI’s current technical director. The package also included plans for a new 86,000 square foot building with 145 stalls and a 130’ by 330’ indoor arena capable of hosting reining and vaulting competitions.


equine wellness

Miniature horses for the blind


HORSES Making lives better

Is it colic?

Here’s how to help your horse while80% awaiting the vet 1.5 BWR PD 5.95CN / 5.95 US




Discover therapeutic ultrasound


Last October, Pauline Quinlan, mayor of Bromont, Quebec, hand delivered a letter to FEI Secretary General Alexander McLin in Lausanne, Switzerland. The letter expressed the city’s interest in hosting the 2018 World Equestrian Games and requested that the FEI convey to the city the necessary requirements and specifications. It wouldn’t be the first time Bromont has played host to competitions of this caliber, since the equestrian events were held in the city during the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. International level competitions continue to be held in Bromont every year and the Bromont Olympic Horse Park is the only former Olympic equine venue that has retained its vocation and is still active more than 30 years later.


Quebec to host 2018 WEG?


Holiday hits

Display until January 31, 2011

Creative gift ideas for every budget!

$5.95 USA/Canada


EWM_V5I6_Cover.indd 1


12/7/10 2:01:21 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the article Making Waves on page 24 of our Nov/Dec 2010 issue, Jennifer Brooks’ e-mail should have read:


App for acupressure Have you ever been at the barn with a colicky horse, wishing you knew some acupressure points to help him until the vet arrived? Tallgrass Animal Acupressure has found a way to blend this age-old healing therapy with the latest technology in their new equine acupressure iPod App. The “Equine AcuPoint iApp” includes clear images of all 12 major meridians and acupoints on a horse and will enable you to: • See all the meridians and point locations • Review acupoint energetics and functions • Determine acupoint selection on site • Be more confident in point location • Study acupuncture/acupressure whenever and wherever you wish! The App is now available on iTunes.



• Brilliant coat colors • Stronger hooves

Attention horsewomen! Mark your calendars! The 2011 Canadian Women’s Horse Industry Conference will be held in Toronto, Ontario on March 4 and 5. The two-day conference includes panels on a variety of equine related topics and features speakers from all areas of the industry. In addition to attending the panels and seminars, you’ll be able to visit with equine exhibitors showcasing an array of products and services. The WHIA was developed by entrepreneur Catherine Masters. “I understand how to market things and how to bring people together for the benefit of all, and that’s what I want to do for the women in the horse industry,” she says. “There is a lot of business that can be done if we can just find one another. I’ve formed this organization so we can do just that.” canadianwomenshorseindustry.com

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

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Neighborhood news Fatality rate down The Jockey Club has released an updated fatality rate for Thoroughbreds that includes two years’ worth of data from the Equine Injury Database, the North American database for racing injuries. Based on an analysis of 754,932 starts collected during a twoyear period from November 1, 2008 through October 31, 2010, the prevalence of fatal injuries declined to 2.00 per 1,000 starts, as compared to the 2.04 reported last March for the one-year period from November 1, 2008 through October 31, 2009. The analysis was performed by Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow, who serves as a consultant on the Equine Injury Database. Dr. Parkin noted that the change in the overall fatality rate stemmed from cumulative two-year data that revealed a statistically significant difference in the prevalence of fatality on both turf and synthetic surfaces versus dirt. The difference in the prevalence of fatality between synthetic and turf surfaces was not statistically significant. Here are some other trends gleaned from Dr. Parkin’s analysis of the cumulative two-year data: • The prevalence of fatality in two-year-olds continued to be significantly lower than in older horses racing on dirt surfaces. However, on synthetic or turf surfaces, there was no statistically significant difference. • The prevalence of fatality continued to be unaffected by distance, weight carried and movement of races off the turf. jockeyclub.com/initiatives.asp.

Slaughter plant update In an interview with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, horse slaughter promoter Sue Wallis recently announced yet another change in the plans for her proposed Wyoming horse slaughter plant. The plant will not use facilities in Cheyenne, it won’t sell horsemeat for human consumption, it won’t be designed by Temple Grandin – and the good news is that it won’t open this year as previously announced. Wallis had initially announced that she planned to open a horse slaughter plant to provide horse meat to Wyoming state prisoners and school children, but a published analysis issued by the Equine Welfare Alliance predicted that such a plan would not be feasible. That prediction was followed by an ethics complaint filed against Wallis by a Wyoming resident, and an announcement by Temple Grandin that she would no longer permit Sue Wallis to use her name in conjunction with the plans. The latest change is that the plans now concern “only” killing horses for zoo meat. Although there are several small operations in the US that kill horses for that purpose, there are almost no regulatory restrictions. equinewelfarealliance.org


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equine wellness


Getting steamed? Here’s the nitty-gritty on soaking and steaming hay. by Kerri-Jo Stewart

Many of us have had to deal with soaking a horse’s hay, whether because of an airway sensitivity or allergy, or for nutritional reasons. And we can relate to the “joys” of handling soaked flakes in sub-zero temperatures (though with new equipment such as the Haydrator, this is getting easier). Now that there are more advanced ways of soaking and steaming hay, it means a greater investment on your part – so does it matter what method you use?

The air they breathe Airborne particulates from hay can negatively affect a horse’s airways, causing respiratory disease and aggravating allergies. To improve air quality, the hay is soaked or steamed so that particulates can’t be released into the air while it is still wet. A Clements and Pirie study showed that although wetting the hay decreased airborne particles, there were many other airborne particulates that could negatively affect the respiratory status of stalled horses1. Air quality inside barns is directly related to ventilation and all the materials inside the barn, including bedding. Whatever was in the neighbouring stall was noted as being particularly important. So when searching for the reason your horse is coughing, make sure to look at all the surroundings.

Soak or steam? Soaking hay has long been a popular way to reduce the quantity of dust particles released when horses eat. Now, steaming hay is being touted as a more efficient way to do the same thing. Some research has been done to look at the most beneficial length of time to soak hay


equine wellness

in order to get the greatest particulate reduction, as well as the differences between soaking and steaming hay. Clements and Pirie found there wasn’t much difference between simply immersing hay in water and soaking it overnight1. A recent study by Kellon also found no differences between soaking times2. Their study also did not find any differences between steaming and soaking the hay. Kellon’s trials soaked the hay for ten minutes and 30 minutes, and steamed it for 80 minutes. They found that airborne particulates were reduced by over 90% while the hay remained wet, regardless of the trial. They found that the amount of particulate reduction was the same across all methods of soaking and steaming. Haygain, a steamer manufacturer, states that the primary reason for steaming hay is to control dust and mould spores that cause airway irritation3. They say steamers can eliminate bacteria like salmonella and the pathogens that cause botulism, thus preventing respiratory infections and allergies. Soaking does not completely remove these elements, but it does largely eliminate the possibility of spores being directly inhaled as small airborne particles. Ensuring adequate ventilation, preferably by keeping your horse in an outdoor space, is key to reducing exposure to airborne particulates. If a horse has to be kept indoors, the barn must have excellent ventilation and nothing used inside the barn should produce airborne particulates. But in general, if decreasing airborne particulates is the goal, soaking hay is as effective as steaming.

WSC and the insulin resistant horse The other major reason hay is soaked is to reduce the amount of water soluble carbohydrates (WSC), thereby decreasing the sugar content in the hay. Horses prone to laminitis resulting from insulin resistance and/or obesity should consume feed with less than 10% non-structural carbohydrate, composed of water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) and starch2,3. By soaking hay, the sugar content is leached out with the water and the hay is then believed to be safe for laminitis prone horses. In an older study reported in The Horse, Watts found that soaking can reduce the WSC content by up to 56%4. However, the range in WSC reduction was huge, varying from none to 56%. The researchers analyzed various types of hay, including straight alfalfa, alfalfa-grass mixes, straight grass of several varieties and oat hay, and equine wellness


soaked them for various times in hot and cold water. They found a 10% increase in WCS reduction between soaking the hay for 30 minutes in cold water (average 20% reduction), and 60 minutes in cold and 30 minutes in hot water (average 30% reduction). They also found more correlation between the maturity of the hay than its type when it came to WSC decreases. A 2009 study by the Laminitis Consortium analyzed nine different hay samples for WSC and soaked them for 20 minutes, 40 minutes, three hours and 16 hours5. They found a high variability of WSC in the soaked samples. Although the longer soak did lose more WSCs, very few samples fell below 10% even in the 16-hour soak. The greatest and most consistent loss of WSC was with hay soaked at 16˚C for 16 hours, averaging a loss of just less than 50%. The study’s conclusions were that soaking is an unreliable method for ensuring hay is safe for horses requiring a WSC content of less than 10%. Watts and Ralston found that the average sugar percentage for grass hay ranges from about 6% to 15% but can range anywhere between 3% to 40%3. Given the huge variability in WSC decreases with soaking, it is highly advisable to know both the original quantity of WSC, and the quantity after soaking. A core sample should be taken for analysis following the soaking. This is the only way to know the percentage of WSC in the hay.

Kellon’s study showed no decrease in WSC content with steaming. To efficiently extract water soluble sugars, large volumes of water are required. Steaming hay is therefore not beneficial for laminitic prone horses.

Nutrient loss Nutrient loss in any food during heating depends on the temperature, duration of heating, and the food type. In general, the longer a food is exposed to heat the greater its nutrient loss6. Current nutritional research typically covers steaming for up to ten minutes. Although testing for nutrient loss in steamed hay hasn’t been published, even 30 seconds in steam can alter the nutrient composition of a food and cause some nutrient loss. In general, however, short steaming times are not a practical problem. There is minimal nutrient loss, although temperature and type of food cause large variations in vitamin retention factors. The Laminitis Consortium study also found that greater quantities of protein, vitamins and minerals were lost with longer periods of soaking. Other studies by Haygain have looked at nutrient loss and found that more than ten minutes of soaking leads to considerable mineral loss, particularly sodium, potassium and phosphorus7. Other potential losses include B vitamins, potassium and sodium6.

Palatability and digestibility One touted benefit of steamed hay is that it is more palatable. Haygain states that horses are more likely to eat a poorer quality hay if it has been steamed. However, Kellon’s study found that horses did not prefer the steamed hay and required a few days to get used to eating it5. It is not known if steaming hay improves digestibility. A benefit of soaked hay may be performance related. Water soaked feeds increase fluid intake, and soaked hay is easier to chew. Many endurance riders soak their hay during competition for the increased fluid intake.

In conclusion

Many of us have had to deal with soaking a horse’s hay, whether because of an airway sensitivity or allergy, or for nutritional reasons.


equine wellness

Haygain consultants stated that 80% of horses who are stabled part of the time have some degree of airway inflammation that will affect performance3. Managing a stabled horse involves monitoring all materials in the barn to ensure a low level of airborne particulates, and ensuring the barn has adequate ventilation. Ideally the horse will spend the majority of his time outside.

RESOURCES JM Clements, RS Pirie, “Respirable dust concentrations in equine stables,” Res Vet Sci. 2007 Oct;83(2):263-8. Epub 2007 Apr 30


2. Kellon, EM, “Hay Steamers”, www.Horse-Journal.com, Vol. 17, Number 10, Oct 2010

Tietz, N, “Steam-Cooked Hay For Horses”, www.hayandforage.com, May 1, 2010


Walcott, K, “Feeding Horses With Laminitis”, www.thehorse.com, August 01 2004


5. Andrews, M, “Laminitis: value of soaking hay?” www.equinescienceupdate.co.uk, July 7, 2000

6. Wei Sheng, Yan Jiu, “Study on vitamin retention factors in vegetables”, Jan 2008; 37(1):92-6

7. Moore-Colyer 1996, Blackman & Moore-Colyer 1998, “Hay Steamers”, www.haygain.us/index.php?action=View&link=pudding

Haygain Hay Steamers, haygain.com Haydrator, haydrator.com

Steaming hay may reduce mould and dust, but it is better to buy good hay without any mould. Horses should not be fed mouldy hay; be aware that adding water to hay may in fact cause mould to form in it. Likewise, if your hay requires steaming in order to kill organisms like salmonella and those that cause botulism, it is better not to use that hay for horse feed. However, of the two methods, steaming will be better at this than soaking, and will yield minimal changes to the hay’s nutrients and sugar components. Since it is extremely important to feed laminitis prone horses a restricted sugar diet that’s less than 10% WSC, the content of WSC in the hay has to be known. Ideally, buy hay that has been tested and has the lowest WSC content. If the hay is over 10% WSC and is being soaked to lower the sugar content, then it needs to be sent for analysis after it’s dried to ensure that desired WSC levels are reached. This analysis also gives you the opportunity to balance your horse’s nutrient intake.

Kerri-Jo Stewart

Guelph in Maple Ridge, BC, with various animals including Akhal-Tekes. She has just published her first photography book, Dreaming in Gold. You can find more about her at Argamak.ca. has a


equine physiology and nutrition.

from the




lives with her family in

equine wellness


From Agony to ecstasy

Take it easy

Horses that back out of their trailers too fast can seriously injure themselves and the people around them. Learn to teach your horse to slow down when exiting the trailer. by Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard

Forward movement: Standing in front of the horse and slightly off to his side, point your hand and extended arm in the direction (forward) that you want him to go and begin to tap the point of his hip with a dressage whip.


oes your horse like to rush out of his trailer backwards? If so, it’s a serious accident just waiting to happen. If the horse is still tied and hasn’t been taught not to pull back, he could panic, break the rope or snap, andeitherseverelybanghisheadonthetrailerrooforflip overbackwardsashe’scomingout.Boththesesituations can cause severe injury or even death.


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Even if the horse has been untied, he poses a tremendous risk to anything or anyone near the rear of the trailer if he comesouttoofast.A1,000-poundanimalfleeingbackwards in a hurry can cause significant damage or bodily harm. So first we’ll issue a word of caution: always untie your horse before opening the back doors of the trailer

or disengaging the “butt bar”. This is important no matter how well trained he is.

horse’s feet move backwards, quit. Repeat on both sides.

The reason a horse hurries out of his trailer is simply because he feels trapped in it and is uncomfortable beingthere.Inthisstatementliesthe ultimate cure for the problem. You must show your horse the trailer is not a bad place to be, and that it can actuallybeanenjoyableexperience. Asinmosttraining,webeginbygetting control of the horse’s feet. We teach him to move forward on cue and back up and stand still on cue.

Now begin asking your horse to stand still by saying “whoa” and startingtowalkafewfeetawayfrom him.Ashestands,graduallyincrease the distance you walk away.

Three keys to success

1Forward movement

Beginbyoutfittingthehorseina halterandleadrope.Standinginfront ofthehorseandslightlyoff tohisleft side, point your hand and extended arm in the direction (forward) that you want him to go and begin to tap the point of his left hip with a dressage whip. As soon as he moves forward, quit tapping and let him walk off. Teach this on both sides (simply reversehands)untilit’ssolidandthe horsewillwalkoffasyoubeginyour pointing and tapping. Lighten your cues as he gets better. If the horse crowds you, tap his neck with the stickuntilhemovesitawayfromyou, then continue to drive the hip.


The backup

Teach the backup by standing about ten feet in front of your horse, slightly off to one side, and holding the lead rope in the hand closest to him. Run your hand down the rope while you’re approaching so your hand will be about six inches from the clip when you’re standing next to his head. At this point, move your hand slowly back and forth as you applybackwardpressure.Whenthe

3“Whoa” and stand Obstacle work

Now that you’ve got your forward, backward and stand cues in place, you’ll need to do a lot of ground work to teach the horse to go over poles, walk and trot circles and straight lines, go over a sheet of plywood,takesmalljumps,squeeze between two barrels or a fence and anotherobject,etc.Thisteacheshim thatwhereveryouaskhimtoputhis feet, it’s safe and he won’t get hurt. (To learn how to do these exercises, check out our DVDs.)

Step by step Nowyou’rereadytoloadyourhorse into the trailer. As always, be sure to do all prep work necessary for a safeexperience;ifalittlevoiceinside tells you there’s less than an 85% to 90% chance your horse is ready for the next step, do more practice first! Safety is always the top priority, and trailer loading a horse that hasn’t been properly prepared is about as dangerous as it gets. We don’t have space in this article to “teach” trailer loading steps, but we’ll discuss the steps required to prevent the horse from rushing out backwards. First,openupthedividerandsecure it in that position to make the space inside more inviting. Then use your “go forward” cue to get the horse to walk up to the back of the trailer. Use the same cue to have him put equine wellness


If a little voice inside tells you there’s less than an 85% to 90% chance your horse is ready for the next step, do more practice first! Safety is always the top priority. one or both front feet inside the trailer. Ask him to stand there for a minute or so, then use your “backup cue” to back him out. Do this many times so he learns to load and unload his front feet on cue. Next, have him go further into the trailer in increments of a foot or two at a time, making sure he’s relaxed at each level before moving on. Now fill the manger or hay bag with hay, and quietly walk all the way into the trailer with him. Pet him while he stands still and munches on the hay. This will show him the trailer is a nice place to be. After a few moments, before he tries to go out on his own, begin to slowly back him out, one step at a time, using your “stand cue” in between each step. Once he’s out of the trailer, continue to back him up until he’s about ten feet away to keep his focus on you and the job at hand. Then pet him big time!

Repeat this procedure several times, and practice as much as needed whenever you haul your horse to reinforce the cues and obedient safe responses. Eventually, you can close the divider and send your horse in by himself, and have him stand and back out slowly on command. He’ll become more responsive and comfortable with the whole trailering experience, and you’ll both be safer and less stressed!

Use your “go forward” cue to get the horse to walk up to the back of the trailer. Eventually you will be able to send your horse into the trailer all by himself!

Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard, founders of Two as One Horsemanship, appear 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 the best in people. Visit TwoasOneHorsemanship.com for their Canadian horsemanship clinic schedule, DVDs, books, Horsemanship Education Courses, ProTrack™ trainer certification program, and to find a Wind Rider Equestrian Challenge™ near you.


equine wellness

Natural and non-toxic A healthy horse is one that’s cared for as naturally as possible. Equinature makes that a reality with their safe, natural, eco-friendly products for horses. They include a selection of skin care items such as SkinMend, a vitamin-packed skin butter made with aloe and mango butter; Aloe & Tea Tree Lotion to soothe skin irritation and reduce inflammation; and HealthySuds Body Cleanser to shampoo your horse without stripping the natural oils from his coat. equinature.com

HEADS UP Do away with dust Dust is common in hay, and inhaling that dust can cause allergies and other respiratory disorders in horses. The Haydrator easily eliminates the problem. This robust semi-automated hay soaker is designed to soak and drain small bales of hay. It’s pneumatically powered, and controlled using a joystick to operate the grapple, lift and swing functions. It’s safe and simple to use – no more lifting wet, heavy bales by hand! haydrator.com

Achievement award ENRECO, Inc., manufacturer and innovator of stabilized ground flaxseed ingredients and custom grain blends, was awarded the 2010 Governor’s Export Achievement Award in the Small Agriculture category. The award was presented by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle during the 46th Annual Wisconsin International Trade Conference in Milwaukee. Thanks to ENRECO, Wisconsin is the leading producer of manufactured flaxseed products for human and animal consumption in the US. Under the ENRECO and Omega Fields brand names, flaxseed-based bulk ingredients and retail products are shipped to 14 countries around the world. enreco.com

Steamy idea Along with soaking, steaming is an established way to rid hay of harmful dust particles. Haygain consists of a manifold system that introduces steam in the most effective manner, an insulated container, and a steam generator. Steam is released from the generator into a multilayer construction hose, pushed evenly into the hay through the manifolds and distributed throughout the bale. The insulated box traps the steam, raising and maintaining the high temperatures needed to kill fungal spores and bacteria found in hay. haygain.com

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle gets ready to present the Export Achievement Award to ENRECO, Inc. equine wellness


Top 5 highlights from last year’s World Equestrian Games. by Isabella Edwards

Moorlands Totilas and rider Edward Gal celebrate their extraordinary accomplishments at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

Along with all the competition, the WEG also featured a large trade show and an Equine Village highlighting breed, discipline and industry demonstrations as well as


equine wellness

educational activities. Lexington was “the place to be”, with vendors and spectators arriving from far and wide to be part of the event.

Highlight #1 -- Opening day Zoe Brooks of Ontario, Canada, traveled to the Games to promote bitless riding, and as a proud sponsor of the Canadian Endurance Team. When asked what it was like to experience the games as both a vendor and spectator, she shared her story of the first moment she entered the grounds. “Day one was a day we will never forget!” she says. “It

Title photo: © Steve Faust


onths ahead of time, equestrians all over the globe were buzzing about the 2010 World Equestrian Games. From September 25 to October 10, horses and riders converged on beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky to compete against the best in eight different disciplines. Although the Games started in 1990, last year’s event was a landmark occasion because it was the first time they had ever been hosted in North America.

started at 7 am in a dark field with volunteers directing us to ‘walk toward the light’. It was like a scene from a science fiction movie. Vendors flocked like confused sheep toward the big spotlights that marked the half-mile path to the grounds. The day was supposed to end at 6 pm, but organizers asked us to stay open later as they would usher people through the vendor area after the opening ceremonies. After three hours, they changed their minds. So all the vendors joined the thousands going back into the dark fields -- no one could remember where they parked their cars! There was a symphony of cars beeping and alarms sounding, and lost souls laughing at the mass confusion as they tried to find their vehicles. Then it took about three hours to empty the parking lot. It was truly one of those experiences I am sure lots of people look back on and laugh at.”

Highlight #2 -- New discoveries The WEG offers a variety of unique learning experiences for horse enthusiasts. One demonstration in the Equine Village showcased a sport that was new to many attendees, even though it dates back to the time of Alexander the Great in 300BC. “A team from India was demonstrating the sport of tent pegging,” says Zoe. “Riders gallop as fast as possible with a lance or sword in one hand, lean over and pluck a tent peg from the ground. Then you need to bring your galloping horse back under control. Early in the second week, a rider fell off his horse, pulling the bit through the animal’s mouth. Since the horse was now too sore to take a bit, the owner approached us about trying a Nurtural bridle then rode bitless for the rest of the show.” Margaret Odgers of Crazy Horse Farm had the opportunity to present two rare breeds at the Games – the Nokota and Spanish Mustang. “This was very different from other events,” says Margaret. “In addition to enthusiastic spectators, our horses were seen by Olympic-caliber competitors from all over the world. The international flavor of WEG was amazing.” Thanks to the event’s vast layout – a necessity due to the sheer number of people and activities – getting around sometimes required creativity. “The funniest moment was trying to get Moonshine from the stabling area to his first rehearsal at the Outdoor Stadium for the Opening Ceremonies,” says Margaret. “Because of all the security, the park’s layout was completely changed. Many of the usual byways were blocked and we weren’t sure what route to take. In desperation, we ended up trotting down the side of the very busy main thoroughfare, full of cars and golf carts. Moonshine handled it like a rock star. And we made it on time, with only seconds to spare!”

Highlight #3 -- Sabotage! Last year’s Games were not without drama – early on in the event, the world was shocked to learn about an apparent act of sabotage against Dutch combined driver IJsbrand Chardon. His marathon carriage was vandalized one night – the seats were slashed, and it was feared the brakes had also been tampered with. Fortunately, IJsbrand and his team were able to overcome the crisis with a team Gold and individual Silver. equine wellness



Highlight #4 -- From dressage to reining At one point, well-known Dutch dressage rider Anky van Grunsven withdrew her horse, Salinero, from WEG consideration due to a wither injury. She then surprised many with an announcement that she would compete in reining instead. She had already been named as a reserve to the Dutch team, and when one of her teammates had to withdraw due to injury, Anky and her horse Whizashiningwalla BB were in!





























Highlight #5 -- World record





















Saudi Arabia




New Zealand




















One of the high points of the Games was watching Edward Gal and his mount, Moorlands Totilas, create dressage history. The pair had been the team to watch for some time leading up to the WEG, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. With a team Gold for the Netherlands, as well as Gold in the Individual and Freestyle events (plus a world record), Edward and Totilas certainly made an impression. Rumors swirled during the event that Totilas had been sold, and while Edward made a public statement that this was not the case, it was announced shortly after the Games that Totilas’s owners were indeed selling him and ending Edward’s successful partnership with the horse. Totilas now resides in Germany at Paul Schockemöhle’s facilities. While happy that the partnership was able to end on such an high note at the WEG, fans of the pair were heartbroken for Edward, who clearly had a wonderful partnership with the horse.

Equine community The 2010 WEG Canadian Endurance Team © Zoe Brooks

The sport of tent pegging was a favorite attraction. © Zoe Brooks


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Nokota horses like Moonshine were a featured breed. © Christopher Odgers

The World Equestrian Games encompassed an entire rollercoaster of dreams, drama, excitement, joy and heartbreak. You don’t have to be a world champion to know these emotions come with the everyday journey that is horses. However, the Games gave us an opportunity to come together as a community, learn from each other, and share special moments with some of the world’s greatest riders. As Zoe puts it, “It was wonderful to meet people from all over the world, all there to celebrate the horse!”

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.


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Holistic Veterinary advice Talking with Dr. Cheryl Detamore Cheryl L. Detamore, DVM, has practiced equine medicine for over 12 years, including a stint specializing in Thoroughbred horses in the heart of Kentucky’s horse country. A graduate of the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Detamore now practices in Virginia and West Virginia, where she developed and produces MeliHeal All Purpose Healing Salve™, a treatment for a range of equine ailments from skin infections and allergic reactions to serious wounds and soft tissue injuries.


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

Q: A friend suggested supplementing my Cushing’s horse with chasteberry. Is this becoming a more common treatment option? How successful is it? A:

Chasteberry is gaining in popularity as an herbal alternative for treating the symptoms associated with Equine Cushing’s Syndrome, which is caused by abnormal multiplication of cells in the pituitary gland, leading to a hormonal imbalance. Research has shown chasteberry’s effectiveness, especially when used in the early stages of the condition. However, if the horse does not show improvement within a month, he may not be a good candidate for this therapy. There is speculation that chasteberry may actually correct the condition (not just alleviate the symptoms), while others repudiate this claim. It appears to affect dopamine levels and help regulate the pituitary gland, similar to the effects of pergolide, the pharmaceutical of choice. At this time, chasteberry seems to be the most promising alternative therapy for treating Cushing’s in horses. It can be added to the diet in many forms – liquids, cap-


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sules, tablets – as well as purchased whole in bulk, the most economical approach. However, you must grind the seeds before adding them to feed. Some administer the herb every day, while others use a pulse therapy. While there are no documented adverse effects of chasteberry, it’s important to observe your horse for any changes. No matter the treatment approach, conventional or alternative, Cushing’s is a devastating and progressive condition for which there is no cure. Because symptoms worsen as the horse ages, it’s important to keep him comfortable, and that requires a dynamic approach – low starch diet, regular hoof and dental care, immune support, grooming and as little stress as possible.

Q: What causes a horse’s joint to “click”? A: Joints are enclosed in a capsule, and bathed in a slippery liquid called synovial fluid. This substance, along with articular cartilage, allows a joint to move with ease. Without adequate lubrication, joints become rough – a product of age, wear and/or conformation. If left unaddressed, articular cartilage begins to erode, the underlying bone surfaces become inflamed, and ultimately the horse gets arthritis. equine wellness


Once you hear noise coming from a joint, avoid taking the wait-and-see approach – discomfort and gait abnormalities may be close behind. When it comes to joint degeneration, it is easier to prevent a process, or slow it down, than to correct it once it’s established. Joint supplements provide the body with natural components that have been lost with time and use, and are a good option to prevent dryness or replace viscosity in the early stages of degenerative joint disease. Because nutraceuticals are not closely regulated, purchase a reputable brand to ensure quality and consistency. Most products recommend an initial loading dose, followed by a maintenance dose. It may take a month or more to see results, but most supplements become more effective over time. Do not discontinue use abruptly, and always consult a veterinarian about any lameness issues.

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Q: How accurate is it to age a horse by looking at his teeth? Are there any other, more reliable, ways? A: Age-related changes in teeth have been documented in horses since ancient times. Throughout the life of a horse, specific changes occur to the appearance of his teeth; therefore, dental examination provides a reliable means of age determination. The most appropriate teeth for aging horses are the lower incisors – the eruption dates and changes in appearance of the occlusal surfaces are the main criteria.





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Although there is a specific dentition formula, it does not always provide an exact age determination. It is most accurate early in life, a bit more subjective later in life, and declines mark-

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a normal horse. Upon returning to routine, ensure your horse is warm before work, and does not perform on surfaces where he could re-injure itself. And if you suspect your mount did not hold up to reasonable use, reconsider his athletic potential and adopt more modest expectations.

edly when evaluating very elderly horses. Nevertheless, it is still considered the industry standard.

Q: My horse sustained an injury that has resulted in a “dropped hip”. How will this limit his future, and what therapies would be beneficial for him? A: A dropped hip results from a luxation of the sacro-iliac joint, when the pelvis shifts out of place due to tearing of the attachment that holds it to the spine. It can result from a sudden twist or fall, but is generally the result of persistent trauma. This condition is most commonly seen in jumpers, giving the familiar name “hunter’s bump” due to the characteristic bump it leaves behind when healed. Conventional treatment consists of rest and anti-inflammatory medications. Activity is limited to stall confinement, with hand walking, for at least six weeks. There must be ample time for the fibrous attachment to solidify between the pelvis and spine. Hydrotherapy can increase circulation and minimize swelling, while temporary shoes with extended heels and a wedge may reduce discomfort and facilitate healing. Once the scar is stable, laser treatments and chiropractic adjustments might help keep your horse sound and comfortable. Massage therapy also has merit, as muscles play an important role in holding the spinal column in place. Shoes with extended heels and those that allow for easier breakover sometimes assist with restricted movement in the back end. Prognosis for a dropped hip is favorable; however, repeated injury can result in permanent lameness. It is acceptable to gently escalate activity once the horse no longer displays signs of pain and the characteristic bump is present on the rump (this indicates healing). But remember that even though he has healed, he will be more apt to re-injure than


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Q: There is so much talk about horses that are over or underweight. How do I know what my horse’s optimal weight should be? You can get a number by using a weight tape, but how do I know if that is a good weight/number for him to be at? Is there such a thing as body mass index for horses? A:

Weight has forever served as an assessment of overall health in the horse world, and has been a controversial issue for just as long. Numbers can be misleading and opinions vary – what seems desirable to one, can suggest neglect to another. There is no such thing as a body mass index for horses, and weight tapes can only offer a vague estimate of weight, as they do not compensate for differences in breed, age or sex. However, the Body Condition Score is an objective assessment of general health and is considered the industry standard for determining the appropriate level of condition for horses. The system assigns a numerical value, or score, according to fat deposition on various places on the body. This is done by assessing fat both visually and by touch in each of six areas – loin, ribs, tailhead, withers, neck and shoulder. Horses accumulate fat in these areas in a set order, and the order is the same regardless of breed, age or sex. Scores range from one to nine – most consider five to be “ideal”, with one classified as “emaciated” and nine as “obese”. It will not indicate how fit your horse is for training or performance, since it does not measure muscle. This system was developed to eliminate subjective opinions that have different meanings to different individuals. It is considered a scientific form of evaluating condition and is accepted in a court of law. References on body condition score are readily available and easy to interpret with a bit of practice.

Q: How useful is honey for wound treatment? A:

Dating back thousands of years, the healing power of

honey is well documented. It rapidly clears existing infection, while preventing additional invasion. This is because most bacteria are not capable of existing in the presence of honey due to its low-water content. That’s in addition to a low acidity that inhibits the growth of bacteria. An antioxidant, honey also gains woundfighting strength from another naturally occurring process: hydrogen peroxide is produced when honey is diluted by wound secretions, which aids in the natural debridement (removal of dead or damaged tissue) of wounds while preventing bandages from sticking. As a result, bandages can be left in place longer without being changed. This phenomenon is also responsible for reducing wound odors. A natural anti-inflammatory, honey reduces swelling while stimulating epithelial tissue to expand – contributing to rapid healing with minimal scarring. Honey also appears to alleviate pain and helps boost the immune system. When treating wounds, raw honey is best. Pasteurized honey has been heated to improve shelf life; however, this process also diminishes the healing constituents of honey. A visit to your local natural foods store will reveal a variety of raw honeys. The flowers from which bees collect nectar contribute to the flavor and aroma of honey, and also determine its variety. Don’t be intimidated by the many different varieties, it’s simply a matter of personal choice. As with anything else, organic is generally better. Don’t assume that just because it’s raw honey that it’s organic as well. Most raw honeys are sold in glass containers, but some producers offer the classic plastic honey-bear-bottle design. The small bottle (with tip) provides better precision over small or hard-to-reach areas, while a tongue depressor and a large jar work best for extensive conditions. Whatever your method, apply a generous coating of honey daily. After the initial cleaning, avoid cleansing the area between applications – this will disrupt the healing process and introduce contamination. Just continue to add honey over top of the existing residue. I’m such a believer in its healing powers that I created my own all-natural salve that combines the timetested curative properties of honey with lanolin and a blend of essential oils: MeliHeal All Purpose Healing Salve. By enhancing the honey with other natural ingredients, I’ve been able to expand my use of honey to a wide range of common equine ailments – pretty much anything that affects the soft tissue of horses.

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acres in a box

Hydroponic farming gives your horse 24/7 access to healthy green forage. by Katie Cocquyt


ou want your horse to be as healthy as possible. Equine nutrition is an essential part of that. The quality of food a horse eats is reflected in his performance, appearance and demeanor. However, much of what horses are fed nowadays has been roasted, steamed, extruded (pressure cooked) and force dried. Through processing, beneficial enzymes and bacteria are destroyed. Cuts of hay, meanwhile, can be inconsistent depending on climate conditions, harvest and supplier, and hay intake depends on the digestibility of the forage. A horse may feel full even if the forage is inferior; but if it is not quickly passed, it actually inhibits nutrient absorption because he does not continue to eat. To get back to a natural, effective feeding program, you need to give your horse live green food.

Creating a natural diet A horse’s digestive system utilizes small quantities of food


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eaten over long periods. In the wild, horses are migratory. They graze a little, walk a little, graze a little, walk a little. While they are walking, they are also digesting. This process is difficult to simulate with domesticated horses because they are generally fed large portions of hay morning and evening. What if your horse had a pasture of fresh homegrown sprouts to graze on throughout the day? This green food would be packed with vitamins, minerals and enzymes and formulated to be naturally balanced and highly nutritious. This is where hydroponic farming comes in. A new feeding system offers livestock owners “acres in a box”. It uses a portable hydroponic biomass chamber to force-sprout dry grains and seeds such as barley, flax, soy and wheat. Two quarts of seed produce a 15-pound mat of fresh sprouts called a “biscuit”. There is no dirt, herbicides or pesticides. The setup promises “seed to

feed in six days�. It also promises increased vitality, reduced recovery time after work, anti-inflammatory properties, no ulcers, colic or laminitis, and improvements in behavior, appearance and coat gloss as well as stronger hooves.

Three case studies In January 2010, a 90-day Equine Observational Study was done at Fieldstone Riding Club, a show barn in Moorpark, California, using Fodder Solutions green feed. Three performance horses were fed barley and flax seed sprout biscuits. Each horse was chosen because of various infirmities. The chosen horses also represented a cross-section of breeds.


Rubicon is a 14-year-old Oldenburg jumper. He had been a champion performance horse but his jumping career was over. He had acute ringbone in both front hooves, sore feet, swollen legs, an old suspensory injury, anemia and arthritis. He had not been in training for months.


Dixie is a Quarter horse mare. She had a hormone imbalance that was making her mean and extremely aggressive toward other horses. She was not on hormone therapy. She had been nerved in the front hooves three years before because of navicular. Now, inflamed neuromas were causing lameness. She also had a tendency toward obesity.


Pippin is a ten-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. He had ulcers, a bad attitude and could not gain weight. He was sulky under saddle, his ears were constantly pinned and

he did not get along with his neighbors in the barn. All three horses were taken off their regular feed regimen of orchard grass and alfalfa hay. Additional supplements of rice bran, senior pellets, oats and molasses, coat and hoof conditioners were also stopped. The only supplement they were allowed was a trace mineral block. The feeding program involved half a barley and flax seed sprout biscuit in the morning and half a biscuit in the evening. With that the horses were given a ten-pound flake of oat hay. The philosophy behind this was to simulate grazing. The horses would eat the biscuit as a main course and graze on the forage hay until their next feeding. This made them salivate more, creating more beneficial flora in their intestines and better nutrient absorption. It also made the horses feel full. Once ingested, the seed husks worked on the intestinal tract in the same manner as psyllium, and the water-soaked root mat provided good fiber and hydration. A veterinarian monitored the horses’ progress throughout the study, and blood tests were performed every 30 days.

Back to wellness Within the first 30 days, all the horses in the study showed a marked improvement, especially in their hooves. Their coats acquired a blush and started to dapple. They had more energy without being crazy. None showed any difficulty adjusting to the fresh food.

The quality of food a horse eats is reflected in his performance, appearance and demeanor. equine wellness


Rubicon, a 14-year-old Oldenburg with acute ringbone, anemia, and arthritis.


For Rubicon, the green sprouts were like water to dry land. Within the first two weeks, he became active and energetic. The light returned to his eyes. Always a smart horse, he turned into a prankster. The ringbone cooled off. The soreness in his hooves and the swelling in his front legs were gone. Within 60 days, his anemia was resolved without medication. His muscle mass increased by four inches. He started back in full training. At 90 days on the biscuits, Rubicon had found his form again and was happily jumping a three-foot course.


Dixie’s sore hooves stopped hurting within the first month. Within two months, there was no evidence of lameness from inflamed neuromas. She immediately started to lose weight without sacrificing endurance. She portrayed a good attitude toward work. Her bucking fits during lessons and her inclination to attack other horses were gone. By the end of the study, she was sleek, calm and sound.


Pippin’s ulcers diminished within 60 days. He was given no medication. Stimulating the salivation process did exactly what it was supposed to do. Pippin had no symp-


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Rubicon after starting on his sprout biscuits. Within 90 days his anemia was resolved and he was jumping again!

toms of any gastrointestinal problems. Gone was his malaise toward work. His ears went up. He became bright, attentive, energetic and even started to get along with his neighbors. While he initially dropped weight, he quickly started putting it back on. After 90 days on fresh sprouts, he was well toned and exhibited a higher level of performance and endurance. This study clearly shows that your horse becomes what you feed him. A natural diet of fresh sprouts offers greater health benefits than any combination of processed or dried feeds. Equine nutrition can seem complex, but when it is broken down into a fundamental, natural way of feeding, the results can be amazing.

Katie is the author of two middle-grade readers about horses; Little Freddie at the Kentucky Derby and Little Freddie’s Legacy. She has worked at Santa Anita and Del Mar Racetracks and rides jumpers. katiecocquyt.com

All photos courtesy of: Shawn Turner Photography.

The star of Heartland talks about her love of horses and acting.


sk any horse lover what her favorite TV shows are, and chances are Heartland will be on the list. The hit CBC series follows the lives of a family on a working ranch in Alberta, and focuses largely on main character Amy Fleming’s gift for working with horses. We at Equine Wellness have become avid viewers, excited to see a show that brings attention to horsemanship and alternative horse care!

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Amy is played by 22-year-old Amber Marshall, a native of London, Ontario. We were able to catch up with Amber in between filming series.

EWM: When did you first recognize your passion for horses? Was there a particular experience that drew you to them?

AM: When I was four years old, my family took me to a local fair where there was a pony roundabout. I was simply fascinated with the horses so my parents arranged for me to go out on weekends and ride that same pony. Sadly, not long after I started leasing him, his owners were forced to sell the farm. It wasn’t until my tenth birthday that I started riding again. I began taking English lessons and purchased my first horse, Monty, when I was 13 years old. EWM: Tell us about the horses you have now. AM: Pepsi has been with us since he was a weanling, which

No matter where you ride, be safe and be sure your horse knows how to handle the issues it will face.

brings it close to five years. My mom found him online, and decided she wanted her own project, since I had my AQHA Palomino mare, Laney, at the time. When I got the role of Amy on Heartland, I moved to Calgary to be close to the set. I sold Laney to a girl I knew growing up because I was just too far away to give her the attention she needed. Pepsi stayed in Ontario, where my mom looked after him until he was greenbroke and ready to head west! He now lives with me and my two other horses: Tango, a seven-year-old black Quarter Horse, and Cash, my baby buckskin.

EWM: Were you always interested in a more natural approach to horse care and training, or has the show been influential in that regard? Did you have to research any particular trainers, methods or equine therapies to help you portray Amy?

AM: I have always been interested in learning a variety of

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different training methods. I feel everyone has different energy they put out to animals, and certain ways of animal communication will work differently depending on the person. I practiced a lot of natural horsemanship on my Palomino mare, and found it very effective. I think for me, it is getting to know the horses individually, since like people, every horse is different. Once you gain their trust and respect, they are much happier to work with you as a team.



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How has what you’ve learned through Heartland changed the way you work with horses, or your relationship with your own horses?

AM: Heartland has given me the opportunity to try so many

different disciplines and training techniques. I have learned so much about myself over the course of the series’ four seasons as well. It is funny how a work environment can really change your energy and how horses react to you. I have been around animals all my life, but it was always on my own time, at my leisure. No pressure to perform, just pure bliss.

EWM: Did you read the Heartland books growing up? AM: I always had a shelf of horse and animal books, and yes the Heartland series was among them. I remember reading a couple, but to be honest reading wasn’t my favorite activity. I was always outside acting out adventure stories instead of reading about them. I would play for hours in the yard with my dogs, pretending they were wolves and I was the only human member they allowed into their pack. As I grew older, I would always hope to do a project in school about days long ago. I figured then I could make an educational video for the class and include my horse in it, since that would be how I traveled back then. Luckily I did get to film one in Grade 10. My horse Monty was my escape from a sheriff who wanted to take me down. I’m sure the class quite enjoyed it.

5:30 am when I get showered and dressed, brush my teeth and head out to the barn to do chores. I feed my horses, steers, cats, chickens and my two dogs, then I jump into a vehicle that comes to pick me up every morning. Once at the location where we are filming, I get into the proper clothes for the first scene, have my hair and make-up done and then head to the set to rehearse and block out the scene. This is repeated several times in a day depending on how many scenes are scheduled. Once we finish, I return to my own clothes and get a lift home. I then head straight to the barn to feed and clean pens. After all the animals are put to bed I head to the house to study my lines for the next day, then fall into bed. When I am not working, my time is much more relaxed. I wake up around eight, go do chores and spend more time bonding with my animals. I spend lots of time catching up with friends who I don’t get the chance to see during the spring, summer and fall. I also try and get home to see my family and friends back in Ontario, and maybe even plan a trip somewhere hot.

EWM: Did you always want to combine acting and horses? How did you land the role on Heartland?

AM: I think the only answer to that could be “yes”. From my homemade “horse and bandit” video to acting out survival scenes with my dogs in the yard, I have always tried to bring acting and animals together. Heartland makes everything I have enjoyed doing come together. The director and producers must have seen that love of animals in my audition tape, as they seemed to think it was a perfect fit and hired me after seeing only a taped audition.

EWM: Take us through a typical day in the life of Amber Marshall/Amy Fleming.


My daily routine varies drastically from the off-season to months working on the show. Heartland films every year from May until mid-December, then we all have January until late April off. When we are filming, my day begins around equine wellness


vista that surrounds us here in southwestern Alberta.

EWM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

EWM: Speaking of scenery – you get to work with some very

AM: After four years on Heartland and countless interviews, I

handsome male co-stars, like Graham Wardle and Kerry James. Any off-screen chemistry there?

always find it hard to come up with something that fans would be surprised to know about me. I love animals – we all know that. That I really enjoy my time on Heartland we have also come to know. My best friend is a border collie cross I rescued a couple of years ago, and I love the outdoors. It’s funny how this answer is turning out to sound like a dating ad – after those answers I don’t know how many “dates” I would get!

EWM: Who are your greatest role models and why? AM:

For me, a role model is anyone who is living life for themselves and those they love; a person who enjoys what they do and those who surround them. They are polite but assertive and always find the positive. Anyone who can contentedly find an inner balance is a role model to me.

EWM: The scenery on Heartland looks so fantastic – how do you enjoy it in Alberta?

AM: I feel very at home here. When I first came out here four years ago to film the Heartland pilot episode, it was my first time seeing the mountains. I will never get sick of the gorgeous


From day one, Graham, Kerry and I hit it off. During the second season we all lived very close to one another in downtown Calgary. The three of us were inseparable. We’d work together all day, and come home only to head out for dinner or a game of football toss in the park. I do miss those times, but now that I have moved out into the country and have animals to care for, it is not as easy to get together after a long workday.

EWM: We’ve seen your great new clothing line – is fashion also a strong interest of yours? AM:

For me, fashion comes second to comfort. It is pretty difficult to muck out stalls in a blouse and stilettos. And fashionable skinny jeans with moccasins are great for the mall, but don’t hold up so well to chasing steers into a pen. Therefore I wanted to bring out a line of clothes that was both fashionable and made sense for daily outdoor activities.

EWM: Your family is obviously very supportive and involved in your work. Is it difficult to be away from them during filming? Are you able to visit Ontario often? AM: My family understands that being in Alberta allows me to live my dream of acting and working with animals. My parents and brother come and visit me here and I try to make it home when my schedule permits. I have started a life out west and have many friends and activities to keep me busy.

EWM: What are you hoping to pursue in the future? AM: I know something exciting will find me. I’m not quite sure yet what that “something” will be, or if it will even be animal or acting related. I will always have animals in my life – that is a given. And I know I will always enjoy where I am and what I am doing. EWM: If you could give one piece of advice to young riders about developing a solid relationship with their horses, what would it be? AM: As I said before, everyone is different, and every horse is different. Just like when you meet a new group of friends, you can find a horse you see something in, one you want to build a relationship with. Never forget to have fun in the process!


equine wellness

equine wellness



A good tow vehicle provides peace of mind and helps keep your precious cargo safe during hauling. by Tom and Neva Scheve

One of the most common reasons riders end up with the wrong tow vehicle is because they buy it before they get the trailer. A common example is when someone needs a new everyday vehicle but would also like it to double as a tow vehicle for their future trailer. They end up on a car lot with a salesman who claims a Ford Bronco or Toyota 4 Runner will “pull a house down”. You say, “Wow! I’ll take it!” only to find s/he was must have been talking about a dollhouse.

Top 5 questions to ask yourself If you don’t already have your trailer, think about which one will meet the needs of you and your horses.


How big – or small – are my horses now, and am I planning to buy something larger in the future?


equine wellness

2)How many horses do I want to carry at one time? 3)Will I be hauling a tag-along (bumper pull) or a gooseneck? 4)Will it have a tack compartment, or living quarters? 5)I already have a trailer. Will I be getting a different

trailer in the future, and what will it likely be?

How much am I towing? Just like a truck, a horse trailer has a “curb weight” (CW). It’s what the trailer weighs empty. The weight of a trailer fully loaded with horses and tack is the “gross vehicle weight” (GVW). The trailer will also have a maximum weight at which it can be fully loaded and still safe – this is the “gross vehicle weight rating” (GVWR). The GVWR is determined by the manufacturer, based on the axle and coupler rating. The GVWR is stamped on the trailer, usually on the inside of the door or on the tongue. This is not the actual weight

Photo : Neva Kittrel Scheve


oad safety is important at all times, especially when you’re transporting your horses. The perfect tow vehicle is one you can trust to deliver your horses to and from your destination safely and without stress.

of the trailer. Sometimes the curb weight is stated on the MSO, but in order to get the real weight, it is best to take the trailer to a scale and have it weighed. Then add the weight of your horses, and any tack, feed, water and other cargo. Alternatively, just load the trailer up and take it to the scale. Once you know the GVW and the GVWR, you can intelligently shop for the right tow vehicle. There are three important things to consider when choosing the right tow vehicle: towing capacity (how much the tow vehicle is rated to pull); wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear axles); and curb weight (how much the tow vehicle weighs).

1. Towing capacity SUVs and trucks are rated to pull a certain weight, which can usually be found in the specific model’s brochure or a manufacturer’s towing guide. The capacity can vary on the same model depending on the size of the engine and the rear axle size. For example, a Ford 1500 truck with a 5.2 liter engine and a 3.72 rear axle can tow 8,600 pounds, whereas the same model with a 4.6 litre engine and a 3.5 rear axle ratio will pull 7,700 pounds. The best and easiest scenario for determining the towing capacity necessary to pull your horse trailer is to work with the trailer’s GVWR. For example, if the GVWR is 7,000 pounds then the trailer’s GVW will never be more than that, and will probably be less. By using this number you will have a safety margin – which we recommend since towing a horse trailer is more demanding than towing a boat or cargo trailer. If you decide you want to be as accurate as possible with your weights, you can determine the actual GVW and choose a tow vehicle rated to pull about 20% more. This will also give you a safety margin.

2. Wheelbase The longer your tow vehicle’s wheelbase, the more stable it will be from front to back. Whether you’re towing a gooseneck or tag-along, the nose of a horse trailer (tongue weight) will put a certain amount of weight over or in back of the rear axles. Since the tongue weight of a tag-along trailer puts more weight behind the axles, it pushes down on the rear of the tow vehicle. This creates an action like a teeter-totter, pushing the front end up. The longer the wheelbase, the less this is likely to happen.

Canadian Women’s Horse Industry Conference The Canadian Women’s Horse Industry Association is hosting its first business and networking conference at the Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel in Toronto. At our WHIA conferences, you can network with other women working in the horse industry to gather the latest information and find the right contacts to help you become even more successful. From our speakers and panel discussions to our exhibitors and open networking sessions, this event will give you everything you need. The two day event will feature speakers and panel discussions, exhibits from companies offering all kinds of products and services, door prizes and lots of “open networking.”

Save money by registering early! Registration and exhibit information can be found by visiting:

canadianwomenshorseindustry.com Or contact: CATHERINE MASTERS 615-730-7833 WHRA44@YAHOO.COM




March 4th-5th TORONTO, ONTARIO P L AT I N U M M E D I A S P O N S O R :

equine wellness


Weight distribution hitches will correct this. These should definitely be used for short wheelbase SUVs. Gooseneck trailers put the tongue weight right over the rear axles or a few inches forward so the teeter-totter effect is considerably reduced.

3. Curb weight Weight is good. A tow vehicle is less likely to be pushed around by the trailer if it has substantial weight. It will give you greater control, especially in emergency situations such as sway. There are some lightweight vehicles out there with very high rear axle ratios on smaller engines that will give them more towing capability. But you don’t want a 4,000-pound vehicle pulling 6,500 pounds of live weight when you need to stop quickly or swerve to avoid hitting something. To be more specific, if you’re looking to pull a two-horse tag-along with or without a tack compartment, you should be looking at fuller size SUVs such as the Ford Expedition or Excursion, Chevy Tahoe, Toyota Sequoia, Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade or Escalade EXT. If you are looking for a truck to pull your two-horse tag-along, all full size American half-ton trucks and up will do the job, as will Toyota Tundra as long as the towing capacity (engine size and axle ratio) matches or exceeds the GVWR of your trailer.


equine wellness

If you are looking at a two-horse gooseneck with a tack room, you will need to scrutinize the 1500s a little more closely for towing capacity, wheelbase and curb weight, but some will work. As you get into larger trailers that carry more horses, you should look at the 3/4 ton and one ton trucks (2500/3500/250/350). Whichever tow vehicle you choose, it should always be kept in top running condition with good tires. If you buy used, make sure it’s in A-1 condition so you won’t have to worry about breaking down on the road. Safe hauling! Neva Kittrell Scheve, along with her husband Tom, is the author of the nationally recognized textbook The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer. Neva also has two other horse trailer books to her credit including Equine Emergencies On The Road with Jim Hamilton DVM. Besides being authors, clinicians, and writers of numerous published articles on horse trailer safety, both Tom and Neva have designed and developed the EquiSpirit and EquiBreeze line of horse trailers manufactured in Kinston North Carolina. For more info, contact Tom: 1-877-575-1771, tom@equispirit.com or visit them on line at equispirit.com

Hot to trot

You might not associate spending time in the barn with looking great, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Throughout 2011, we will be on the hunt for new, trendy and -- most importantly -comfortable gear for you and your horse. These boots made our editor’s heart skip a beat when she first saw them – she falls head over heels for anything in Baker plaid!

Westchester Paddock Zip Baker

PRICE: $149.95 USD Style #: 10007742

• Premium full grain leather with Signature BakerTM black/tan tartan plaid fabric • Moisture wicking and breathable lining • Refined stitching • Piping treatment • Elegant last shape • Traditional styles DuratreadTM outsole

Sweater with Custom Embroidery

Windermere Baker

PRICE: $29.99 CDN

These sweaters are made in Mississauga, Ontario • 13.5 oz 50/50 Cotton/Polyester • AirJet spun yarn for a softer feel and no pill performance •Pouch pocket •Rib knit cuffs and waistband •Double needle stitches throughout for increased durability •Dyed to match drawstring Sizes S - 3XL Colors: Hunter Green, Red, Navy, Chocolate Brown, Dark Grey, Light Grey, Maroon, Black, White, Pink, Powder Blue, Purple Custom embroidery available for a small additional charge – personalize the sweater with your or your horse’s name!

PRICE: $239.95 USD Style #: 10007740

A rider’s boot with a signature style. Completely waterproof, this boot features the BakerTM tartan on the shaft. Full-grain leather with a suede inner panel, elastic gusset at the knee. 4LRTM technology absorbs shock, and the stirrup-friendly DuratreadTM sole resists the elements and provides a secure grip.

Westchester Baker Dress Boot

PRICE: $379.95 USD Style #: 10007658

• Hybrid/field dress boot • Premium calf leather with Signature BakerTM black/tan tartan plaid fabric • High Spanish cut topline • Elegant piping details at toe topline, swagger tab and toe cap • Stitch detail on swagger tab • Contoured fit through ankle • Plain stitch on toe cap • DuratreadTM outsole

Go shopping! ariat.com letzgetpersonal.com

Does your company have a “hot” new item you’d like to see featured here? Help keep us on top of trends by contacting kelly@equinewellnessmagazine.com! equine wellness



a natural performer

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

The horse: Josh


19 years

Awards and accomplishments:


“Josh has placed in the Stock Horse Show and Florida Fair Mule Show, but our greatest accomplishment was being awarded the Level 5 ribbon at the Parelli Celebration in 2009!”


Physical description:

Blond sorrel 15.1hh gelding with a star and scars on his nose

Owner/Guardian: Nancy Slater


Parelli Level 3 partner


equine wellness

How you met: “I purchased Josh from a mule trader in Kentucky in 2001. Josh was ‘damaged goods’ when we bought him. He was forced to comply with humans, but was a bomb waiting to go off. We soon found out he was a runaway and that he bucked. He was terrified of anything to do with humans – saddles, ropes, sticks, hats, gloves – basically everything! He had no ground manners. He was extremely unpredictable and dangerous. You couldn’t catch him, and he would hide in the bushes so you couldn’t find him.

Natural care principles and positive results:


“Josh participates in Parelli natural horsemanship training, and receives a natural barefoot trim, 24/7 turnout, free choice pasture and good quality grass hay. Attention is paid to saddle fit, and regular bodywork including essential oils.

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!

“Josh is my greatest teacher – he is the one who got me to become the person I am today. Traditional methods of training did not work for him, but Parelli did. A lameness issue turned me to the natural trim, and then I began looking for more ways to make Josh happy so we could move forward. People who don’t know Josh and I will never completely understand the trouble we were in before I made the switch towards a more natural approach to care and training.

For more information, contact Kelly@equinewellnessmagazine.com.

“Today I am a certified American Riding Instructor in riding and driving, and a NARHA Instructor in Training. I use natural horsemanship methods while helping physically challenged children at a special needs riding therapy program. I share with horse owners how to communicate with their horses, and suggest natural horse keeping and remedies to get better overall results. “Josh is a happy, healthy mule with good feet, body condition and disposition. That to me says it all!”

Personality profile: “Josh has a sense of humor: he loves treats, but knows he has to earn them. For example, he has freely gone up on the seesaw and teetered to get my attention while I was working with another horse. I have seen him startle people when backing up to have his butt scratched, but he’ll only do it if he likes you. He is very shy with people he doesn’t know, except for little girls – he feels no threat and will snuggle with them. “Josh is my herd’s caretaker and protector – he quietly watches over each one, especially my 38-year-old mare.”

Future goals: “My goal is to continue striving for excellence for Josh and myself; to achieve nothing less than our personal best. I see true unity in our future, and the only way to get it is naturally.”

Advice: “I love this saying: don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t – especially you!”

Nancy and Josh participate in a Parelli clinic.

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Equine Wellness

Resource Guide • Associations


•Barefoot Hoof Trimming

• Reiki

View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com


Equinextion - EQ Lisa Huhn Redcliff, Alberta Canada Phone: 403 527 9511 Email: equinextion@canada.com Website: www.equinextion.com www.equinextion.com


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

Association for the Advancement of Natural Hoof Care Practices - AANHCP Lompoc, CA USA Phone: (805) 735-8480 Email: info@aanhcp.net Website: www.aanhcp.net Pacific Hoof Care Practioners - PHCP Sossity Gargiulo Ventura, CA USA Email: sossity@wildheartshoofcare.com Website: www.pacifichoofcare.org


Equine Science Academy - ESA Derry McCormick Catawissa, MO USA Phone: (636) 274-3401 Email: info@equinesciencesacademy.com Website: www.equinesciencesacademy.com


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


equine wellness

Natures Barefoot Hoofcare Guild Inc. - NBHG Woodville, ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Email: kate@natureshoofcare.com Website: www.natureshoofcare.com


Equine Soundess - ES Hopkins, SC USA Phone: (803) 647-1200 Email: info@equinesoundness.com Website: www.equinesoundness.com


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


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

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

Dave Thorpe - CBHA CP, FI Lumby, BC Canada Phone: (250) 938-3486 Email: barefootandbalanced@hotmail.com 250-938-3486

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

Scott Gain, CBHA CP, FI North Okanagan, BC Canada Phone: (250) 229-5453 Email: tsgain@columbiawireless.ca Servicing West & East Kootenays


Bare Hoof Sally Hugg, PHCP Oroville, CA USA Phone: (530) 534-4844 Email: barehoof@gmail.com Website: www.bare-hooftrim.com California Natural Hoof Care Aaron Thayne - AANHCP Laguna Hills, CA USA Phone: (949) 291-2852 Email: californianaturalhoofcare@gmail.com Website: www.californianaturalhoofcare.com Dawn Jenkins Hoof Coach Frazier Park, CA USA Toll Free: (611) 703-6283 Phone: (661) 245-2182

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

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

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

Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide

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

Serving Sacramento and the Gold Country

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

Specializing in natural trims and BLM Wild Mustangs

Michael Moran Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235 Natural Hoof Care Alicia Mosher, PHCP Cottonwood, CA USA Phone: (530) 921-3480 Email: naturalhoofcare@wildblue.net Website: www.hoofjunkie.com Second Heart Hoof Care Cohasset, CA USA Phone: (530) 343-7190 Email: secondhearthoofcare@yahoo.com Serving Chico to Redding area

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


Cindy Meyer Carbondale, CO USA Phone: (970) 945-5680 Sarah Graves Pueblo, CO USA Phone: (719) 406-2354 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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



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

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


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


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


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

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


Also serving West Tennessee & East Arkansas


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


Hoof Authority Asa Stephens, AHA, PHCP Las Vegas, NV USA Phone: (702) 296-6925 Email: asa@hoofauthority.com Website: www.hoofauthority.com www.hoofauthority.com


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

equine wellness


Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide 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


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.

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.

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 Michelle Collins Galway, NY USA Phone: (518) 275-3260 Email: balancedbarefoot@yahoo.com Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: joe@naturalhoofconcepts.com Website: www.naturalhoofconcepts.com


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

Natural barefoot hoof care; specializing in pathologic hoof rehab


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


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

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


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


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

Natures Hoofcare Kate Romanenko - NBHG Woodville, ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Email: kate@natureshoofcare.com Website: www.natureshoofcare.com Serendales Equine Solutions Trimming, Education, Resources Campbellford, ON Canada Phone: (705) 653-5989 Email: serendales@accel.net Website: www.serendalesmorgans.com Vanderbrook Farm and Natural Horsemanship Center Marie Reaume CEMT - Natural Trim Specialist Killaloe, ON Canada Phone: (613) 757-1078 Email: barefootvbf@gmail.com Website: tba


ABC Hoof Care Cheryl Henderson Jacksonville, OR USA Phone: (541) 899-1535 Email: abchoofcare@msn.com Website: www.abchoofcare.com

Certified hoofcare Professional Training, Rehabilitation, Education & Clinics

Back to Basics Natural Hoof Care Services Carolyn Myre, CBHA, CP, FL Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: carolyn@b2bhoofcare.com Website: www.b2bhoofcare.com

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

Barefoot Horse Canada.com Anne Riddell, Certified Natural Hoofcare Practitioner Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net Website: www.barefoothorsecanada.com

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

equine wellness

Cottonwood Stables Chantelle Barrett - Natural Farrier Elora, ON Canada Phone: (519) 803-8434 Email: cottonwood_stables@hotmail.com

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

CBHA Field Instructor


Natural horse care services, education and resources

Anne Riddell CBHA CP, FI Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net Website: www.barefoothorsecanada.com

Servicing Greater Ottawa Area, Upper Ottawa Valley and some areas of Quebec.

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

Barefoot with BarnBoots Johanna Neuteboom, Natural Hoof Care Practitioner Port Sydney, ON Canada Phone: (705) 385-9086 Email: info@barnboots.ca Website: www.barnboots.ca

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


Bellwether Farm Katrina Ranum Shady Side, Maryland USA Toll Free: (443) - 223-0101 Phone: (410) - 867-0950 Email: info@ladyfarrier.com Walt Friedrich Nescopeck, PA USA Phone: (570) 379-2964

Barefoot Hoof Trimming, Communications, Reiki — Wellness Resource Guide


Catherine Larose CBHA CP, Rigaud, Quebec Canada Phone: (514) 772-6275 Email: servicesequus@hotmail.com Website: www.servicesequus.com

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

CertiďŹ ed Hoof Care Professional Miriam Braun, CHCP Stoke, QC Canada Phone: (819) 543-0508 Email: Hoofhealth13@yahoo.com Website: www.soinsdessabots-hoofcare.com

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

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 Hoofmaiden Performance Barefoot Hoof Care Elizabeth TeSelle, EQ Leipers Fork, TN USA Phone: (615) 300-6917 Email: www.blue-heron-farm.com/hoofmaiden Website: www.blue-heron-farm.com/ hoofmaiden Servicing Middle Tennessee and online

Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Natural Hooves Ben Fortkamp Shelbyville, TN USA Phone: (931) 703-8149 Email: ben@naturalhooves.com Website: www.naturalhooves.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.


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

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


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

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

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


Autumn Mountain Sue Mellen Danby, VT USA Phone: 802-293-5260 Barefoot & Balanced Natalie Gombosi, AANHCP CP E. Poultney , VT USA Phone: (802) 287-9777


Elizabeth Swank Harrisonburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 434-5286 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

FHL Horse Care Mark Stuber Ridgeland, WI USA Phone: (715) 949-1002 Email: fhlhorsecare@chibardun.net Website: ww.fhlhorsecare.com Scott McConaughey Houlton, WI USA Phone: (715) 549-6380 The Natural Hoof Monica Meer Waukesha, WI USA Phone: (262) 968-9499 Email: monica@thenaturalhoof.com Website: www.thenaturalhoof.com Triangle P Hoofcare - 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


Barefoot Trimming, Hoof Clinic & Equine Wellness Center

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

Have faith in the healing powers of nature

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


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Cameron Bonner Wauna, WA USA Phone: (360) 895-2679 Leslie Walls RidgeďŹ eld, WA USA Phone: (360) 887-0529 Email: barehoocw@yahoo.com

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



Equio, llc Jennifer McDermott, RMT Equine Reiki Guilford, CT USA Phone: (203) 434-9505 Email: jennifermcdermott@mac.com

Servicing Connecticut & South Eastern New York. Offering barn visits, lectures, rider performance www.AnimalParadiseCommunication.com • 703-648-1866 coaching

equine wellness


Horse shopping?

Check out these suggestions for assessing the training level of your potential new equine, as well as some red flags and what to stay away from. by Scot Hansen When it comes to horses with certain “quirks”, to buy or not to buy is really based on your ability to train them.


uying a new horse is a complicated endeavor. Along with deciding on breed, size, color, bloodlines, age and sex, you must also decide if the horse’s training is sufficient to meet your needs.

Know what you’re looking for If you are an advanced rider looking for a performance horse trained to an upper level (be it jumping, dressage or


equine wellness

reining) you should already know what you are looking for or be able to enlist the help of your coach/trainer to help you find what you need. If you’re after a good basic horse, perhaps one at a novice competitive level or a recreational horse, and you do not have anyone to help you, then you need to know how to assess the horse’s training for yourself before buying.

Having purchased horses for a police unit, I can tell you that finding out what a horse knows is critical to your success down the road. Be aware that not everyone will tell you the whole story about their horses. When that happens, a little sleuthing on your part can determine where the horse’s training is at and whether he will be suitable for you.

Don’t get caught by catch phrases Whether I’m reading a classified ad or talking to someone about a horse on the phone, there are a few phrases I watch out for. These phrases try to sum up a horse’s training without actually really telling you anything. • “This horse is kid safe.” Plenty of horses are kid safe, but many others are not, even though the picture in the ad might show a child sitting on the horse. I can put children on a lot of horses that wouldn’t necessarily be the best riding animals for you. One reason is that a lot of kids don’t ask much of the horses they’re riding – and the horses are more tolerant as a result. Just because the horse will take a kid on a trail ride doesn’t mean anything. “Dude ranch” horses will take almost anyone on a trail ride. However, try riding that “dude ranch” horse away from the herd, and you might find a different animal under you.


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• “He has bad ground manners, but he rides fine.” This is a real red flag for me. If a horse’s ground manners are poor, there’s a good chance that sooner or later you’ll find out just how bad his riding manners are. What happens on the ground usually repeats itself from the saddle when the conditions are right. • “He’s a little underweight, but he’s docile as a lamb.” When a horse like this gains back 250 pounds of lost

If the seller has to try five times to get the left lead and tells you it’s because the horse just needs to warm up a little more, he/she is fibbing. equine wellness


muscle and actually has the energy for an argument, you might be surprised just how determined he can be to get his own way.

20 questions Wherever possible, during the initial interview and before going to see the horse, ask some basic questions about his training. When I was horse shopping, I used an extensive questionnaire that I developed. I asked questions in a relaxed manner, and made light of most bad behaviors/ vices. I found people were more honest in their answers if they thought bad habits weren’t a big deal to me. Inquire about the following: Ground manners • Does the horse have nice ground manners? • Does he ever rear, pull back or bolt while being led?

• Does he value your space, or is he “kinda pushy”? • Does he bite? • Does he ever strike or kick out? • Is he good with farriers and vets? • Does he bathe, load and tie nicely? • How often have you bathed him? • When was the last time you loaded him? And more importantly, when you haul the horse to a new location, does he “reload” into the trailer easily? I have known horses that would get on a trailer at home, then not want to leave the new location. More than one person has spent hours loading a horse at the end of a competition. Make sure the horse ties to the type of tie system you use. Some will stand quietly in cross ties, but pull back when tied to the side of the trailer. Don’t assume anything – ask questions so you know. Pre-ride • How does he accept the saddle? • Does he stand still for mounting? • How well does he accept a bit? • What is needed before you ride? This is a loaded question and very subjective, so you need to ask some detailed questions. Start with: “Do you have to lunge him before you ride him?” If you have to lunge the horse every time you want to ride there is something missing in his training as far as I’m concerned. There is lunging to warm up, and then there is lunging to get the kinks out. Lunging to warm up is one thing and quite honestly shouldn’t take 20 minutes. You can warm him up while riding him. Lunging to get the kinks out is another matter, and a bad habit to let a horse get into. • Also ask if he is “lazy”, “headstrong”, “stubborn”, “energetic” or “flighty” and determine his go-to reaction when frightened. From the saddle Next, ask about all the signals and movements you hope the horse knows for your particular discipline.

Just because a horse is labeled as kid safe, doesn’t necessarily mean he is the best horse for you. Kids tend to ask less of their horses, and the horses are more tolerant as a result.


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The trail mount Your horse needs to know basic gaits – walk, trot and canter. But he also needs to know how to move laterally, since this is

important for avoiding trees and other “knee capping” obstacles. Most importantly, he needs to know his “whoa” cue. Also ask if he spooks easily, and what he does when spooked. Some horses spook in place, some whirl, some jump out of their skin, etc.

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The competitive horse If you have been competing for any length of time, you know the specifics of your sport. If not, you need to have your trainer or coach help you. At the minimum, your trained horse should know two speeds at every gait – walk, trot and canter. He should be able to pick up both canter leads. He should have a soft backup. Additionally, he should have good lateral movement and be able to side pass left and right equally, as well as turn on the fore and haunches. Beyond these basic movements, the rest is discipline specific. But any horse with these basics can move forward quite well.

The test drive Now you get to go and test ride the horse you have chosen. Make sure the seller does not lunge him or warm him up ahead of time. You want to make sure what he/she has told you is accurate. Go see it all: watch the horse being haltered, groomed, saddled, warmed up and ridden. Then ride the horse yourself and see if you can get him to do everything you want. This is not meant to be a 45-minute ride. You can find out what the horse knows in 15 minutes or less. He either can or can’t do movements like spins, side passing, shoulder in, turns on haunches or fore, picking up leads, etc. If the seller has to try five times to get the left lead and tells you it’s because the horse just needs to warm up a little more, he/she is fibbing. There is either something physically wrong, or the horse does not know his leads.

Mixed messages Now is the time to notice any discrepancies between what the sellers told you on the phone and what the horse can actually do. Just because the horse may not be a perfect match with how they described him doesn’t mean you don’t want him, but it does mean “buyer beware”.

Elimination offenses When it comes to horses with certain “quirks”, to buy

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Finding out what a horse knows is critical to your success down the road. or not to buy is really based on your ability to train them. If you have never dealt with a problem horse, then you should stay away from those with any type of issue that needs to be retrained. If none of the following issues was disclosed before you came out to test the horse, then I suggest you walk away. It’s different if they were disclosed and you went out anyway, because it means you are interested in buying these problems and fixing them. • Rearing: If I see the horse rear for any reason, it is a huge red flag and odds are good I will walk away. I can fix it, but I also know if the sellers did not tell me about it before I came out to see the horse, then they are likely hiding other issues. • Bucking: A buck going into a lead pickup can simply mean a sore stifle or psoas muscle. However, bucking


– yesterday’s pond-scum is today’s allergy treatment I don’t know about you, but I always thought blue-green algae (BGA) was that yucky stuff that grew on the wall behind the washing machine. Not generally something I would ever consider eating myself, much less something I would give to my horse. But it turns out that BGA is actually GOOD FOR YOU and is a great bet for something that’s good for your horse too. Research publications – while admittedly hideously dull at times – hold quite a story about blue-green algae and allergies. In a human research trial BGA has reduced many symptoms of allergies including sneezing, runny nose, coughing, nasal congestion and itching.1 How BGA creates these beneficial effects is not entirely clear but some rather unfortunate lab rats that had their allergic symptoms chemically induced have shed a bit of light on how BGA works. Those who had the good luck to be in the group that got BGA had lower levels of histamine and inflammatory TNF-α, and higher levels of protective cyclic AMP.2 Other studies in humans have shown that dietary BGA reduces inflammatory IL-4 from immune cells3, which may be another mechanism by which BGA helps allergies. So what does all this mean for your horse? Well, if your horse is one of the countless that suffer from seasonal allergies BGA might be a great way to help reduce his/her symptoms. Economical, packed with vitamins and minerals and antioxidants, and easy to feed, BGA is a healthful and natural way to protect against lost training days due to those pesky seasonal allergies. And just for the record, it grows in ponds and is NOT that stuff behind the washing machine. 1. Cingi C, Conk-Dalay M, Cakli H, Bal C. The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Oct;265(10):1219-23. 2. Kim HM, Lee EH, Cho HH, Moon YH. Inhibitory effect of mast cellmediated immediate-type allergic reactions in rats by spirulina. Biochem Pharmacol. 1998 Apr 1;55(7):1071-6. 3. Mao TK, Van de Water J, Gershwin ME. Effects of a Spirulina-based dietary supplement on cytokine production from allergic rhinitis patients. J Med Food. 2005 Spring;8(1):27-30. Wendy Peason, PhD


equine wellness

How does the horse accept being bridled?

because the horse doesn’t want to do something is an elimination offense. • Standing still: If the horse won’t stand still and seems to pace and dance around for mounting and/or saddling due to anxieties, then you can bet those anxieties will be worse away from the barn. • Refusing to load into a trailer: I can come back when he knows how to load. • Severe herd bound issues: If you can hardly ride him away from the barn then you will have bigger issues on the trail, and maybe in competition too. Can these issues be resolved? Absolutely, and I have fixed them all. But if you can’t fix them or don’t know someone who can, then walk away or get the price lowered so you have the money to spend on fixing the problems (if you like everything else about the horse). Horse shopping can be an exhausting endeavor, but it’s very rewarding when you finally find the perfect partner. By covering all your bases and getting to know each horse’s strengths and weaknesses before making a final purchase, you have a better chance at setting yourself up for a long-lasting partnership. Scot Hansen is a natural horseman and retired mounted police officer, and has trained both riders and horses to work the streets. His award-winning Self Defense for Trail Riders clinics and training video have been widely accepted as the principal resource for safe trail riding and self protection. He has extensive knowledge of how horses think and learn, and offers professional training and clinics in Thinking Horsemanship and other topics for both adult riders and youths. Find out more at HorseThink.com. To ask about hosting a clinic in your area, call 425-8306260 or e-mail Sandy@HorseThink.com.


equine wellness


Achilles’ Contracted heels are a common health problem, but they don’t have to become your horse’s “new normal”.


by Johanna Neuteboom


ead any horse care literature these days and you’ll come across a myriad of information about the importance of proper hoof care. Traditionally, it’s been the primary responsibility of the farrier and veterinarian. Now, thanks to a growing recognition of the importance of natural horse care and the barefoot movement, more and more riders are taking an active role in their horses’ hoof health. Horse care professionals should certainly remain a valuable resource and point of contact, of course, but in order to do the best by our horses, we should know what a properly functioning hoof looks like, and be able to identity some of the most common problems.


equine wellness

Identifying contracted heels One of the most common hoof ailments is “contracted heels”. It’s become so prevalent, in fact, that many of us don’t even recognize it as a problem – quite often a contracted hoof looks “normal” to us. When viewed from the bottom, a healthy front hoof is fairly round and symmetrical; a healthy hind hoof is somewhat more oblong. The frog takes up about 2/3 the hoof’s length, and over half the space across the back. Contracted heels are usually defined by a narrowing of the hoof’s entire back area so that it appears longer than

wider. The heels appear to be pinched towards each other and the heel bulbs and frog get compressed. In some cases, the heels actually curve inward at the bars. From behind, the hoof looks as if the walls have been put in a vice and squeezed together. The base and heel bulbs create a v-shaped pattern, instead of a horizontal line.

Without the frog’s support on the ground, proper hoof mechanism and shock absorption can no longer function properly.

The frogs have it The frogs of healthy front and hind hooves should be fairly wide at the back, and touch the ground along with the heels when the hoof is bearing weight. You should not be able to slip anything underneath the frog from the back of the hoof when the horse is standing on firm level ground. A healthy hoof’s central sulcus (middle of the frog’s widest part) resembles a shallow diamond shape. The frog of affected hooves gets squeezed between the now narrow heel and bar area. Quite often, the frog will be lifted up out of a weight-bearing role and begin to atrophy through lack of use. When this happens, the central sulcus resembles a narrow slit, which more often than not will become infected with thrush. An easy way to quickly identify contracted heels is to draw a line from the frog’s apex through the collateral groove, out past the heels. The extended line should pass on the outside of the heel bulb, not dissect it. If it does the latter, the hoof is contracted!

What are the implications? Without the frog’s support on the ground, proper hoof mechanism and shock absorption can no longer function properly. The back part of the hoof – frog, heels and bars – is designed to take the impact of each stride and dissipate the shock. Once contraction starts, the hoof becomes narrower during its weight-bearing stage instead of widening. This in turn constricts the nerves and blood vessels, puts improper pressure on the bones, ligaments and cartilage of the hoof, and compresses the heel bulbs.

structures within the hoof), and the front edge of the coffin bone presses down on the inside of the sole. Blood flow through the sole corium is reduced, resulting in the production of poorer quality hoof horn. Because the horse stands and moves in a way that reduces pressure on his heels, they begin to grow more quickly through lack of wear, making the hooves steeper. This change in hoof angle affects tendons, joints and ligaments further up the leg. Steep heels can no longer expand properly and contract the hoof even more with each step. Many common hoof ailments are thought to be associated with the resulting pinched heels and bars: corns, navicular and clubfeet, to name a few.

Causes of contracted heels Shoeing and/or incorrect trimming of unshod hooves, combined with unsuitable ground (too soft and/or wet) and insufficient movement appear to be the major causes of contracted heels. Shoes are said to restrict proper hoof mechanism and do not allow for the proper expansion of the back of the hoof, regardless of the trimming method used. If the toe has been allowed to grow forward and the bars have been left unattended, this can pull the entire hoof capsule forward, which in turn can pull the heels together. Long toes and low heels as well as unbalanced feet and overgrown hooves can all contribute to contraction.

In an attempt to relieve the pain, the horse will begin to stand forward on her toes, and move so her toes hit the ground before her sensitive heels do. This in turn overloads the front regions of the corium (the vascular and nerve equine wellness


Moving forward

A non-contracted hoof belonging to a barefoot horse, who is kept out 24/7 on appropriate footing.

If your shod horse is showing evidence of contraction – go barefoot! Have the hooves trimmed so the horse can comfortably land heel first. Usually this means backing off a toe that has grown too far forward, and bringing the heels back to the widest part of the frog, without invading the hard sole at the heel/bar junction. It may mean using pads and hoof boots to keep your horse comfortable during the transition period. It is important to get the foot to take proper weight as soon as possible, yet keep it tolerable for the horse – this will start to reverse the destructive process of contracted heels. If your horse is already barefoot, review trimming methods with your farrier or trimmer. Perhaps the toe is left too long, or the heels too high? Are the bars unaddressed? Discussing proper trimming methods is beyond the scope of this article, but don’t be afraid to talk about options with your hoof care professional, and do some qualified research. Trimming the feet regularly with a natural non-evasive trim should result in heel expansion after a few sessions.

An overgrown contracted hoof, belonging to a horse whose shoes were just recently pulled.

This foot demonstrates elevated and contracted heels. It also has pinched heel bulbs -- notice the v-shape to the back of the coronet and heel bulb area.

Dealing with thrush Thrush is an underestimated cause of lameness in horses, and no hoof can be properly rehabilitated if it is infected. Most contracted heels will have thrush in the central sulcus of the frog as well as the collateral grooves on either side. Be aggressive about treating the infection, but do use a solution that does not harm viable tissue. Powerful remedies (i.e. bleach) may kill thrush bacteria, but they also damage viable tissue, and in essence create more “food” for bacteria to thrive on. The horse’s environment also plays an important role in hoof health. Ideally, most footing should be firm and semi-abrasive. This allows for the hoof to expand against a solid support with each step, and the hoof wall to wear appropriately. If your horse lives mainly on soft ground, try to make a point of walking up a road or on other firm surfaces as much as possible.

In conclusion

Here’s the same foot as above, after a trim. Severe contraction is still evident, but the bulb and frog can now make contact with the ground and begin to rehabilitate.


equine wellness

Reshaping contracted hooves into healthy, natural hooves can take weeks, months or years, depending on individual circumstances and existing damage. Contracted hooves are a serious and complex problem.

Many common hoof ailments are thought to be associated with pinched heels and bars: corns, navicular and clubfeet, to name a few. While it’s more often seen in shod horses, even barefoot horses can suffer some form of hoof contraction. Make sure your hoof care professional is dedicated to a chosen method that focuses on total soundness and longevity for your horse, rather than just covering up problems. Learn about proper hoof shape and function, what the tissues need to heal and be healthy, and discuss the process with your farrier/trimmer. Each hoof is different – forged by diet, exercise, environment and breed – but it follows a basic parameter and ideal form that allows it to function efficiently. A wide frog and heel base are paramount to proper hoof function, and any deviation should be noted and addressed.

Thrush is an underestimated cause of lameness in horses.

Johanna Neuteboom is a professional barefoot trimmer and natural horse care advocate, living and working in the

Muskoka region of Ontario. For more information on her services, visit barnboots.ca.

equine wellness


All aboard! Going on vacation this winter? Stressed about leaving your horses behind? These tips will help give you peace of mind during your time away. by Kelly Howling


orse people tend to take vacations a lot less than they’d like to. Horses are much more than just a hobby, and leaving them behind when you go away can make things more worrisome than relaxing.

The boarded vs. “at home” horse If you board your horse out, things will be a little easier for you. Hopefully he’s at a facility with owners and staff you can trust to care for him in your absence. Perhaps you


equine wellness

even have equestrian friends at the facility who can keep an extra eye on your horse. If you keep your horses at home, it may be a bit more difficult to leave with total peace of mind. Hopefully you have a trustworthy horse-smart friend, neighbor or farmsitter you can employ in your absence. Or maybe you’re able to ship your horses to a friend’s facility for the time you’re going to be gone.

Regardless of where your horse is housed, a little preparation goes a long way towards a worry-free vacation. Here are some things to put in place before you hop on the plane.

The boarded horse checklist √ Ensure barn owners and staff have

the necessary emergency numbers. These include numbers for your vet, insurance company, farrier, ways to reach you, and an alternate contact should a decision need to be made if you are unreachable. Make two copies, in case one gets misplaced.

√ Make sure your barn owner, veterinarian and alternate contact understand what your wishes are for your horse in the event of a medical emergency. Have this set out in writing, preferably. √ Have an account set up with your veterinarian and closest emergency equine hospital, so your horse can receive any necessary treatments. √ Ensure your horse will have enough feed, supplements and medications for the duration of your holiday. Ensure medications are clearly labeled, with the medication label and prescribing vet information legible.

√ Make sure your first aid kit is well stocked with the basics – poultice, wraps, scrubs, ointments, etc.

√ Try not to change your horse’s feed or routine, or give him any new medications (unless necessary) just before you depart. √ Make sure your horse’s blankets and other gear (turnout boots, flymask) are easily accessible and well labeled.

√ If you have arranged for someone to exercise your horse while you’re away, inform the barn owner and staff that this person has permission to do so. Lay out your horse’s exercise plan for the rider. Make sure an appropriate liability release is signed. √ If you do not have someone exercising your horse, perhaps arrange for someone to stop in every few days to look him over and give him a brushing.

√ Make sure all your bills are paid up before you leave, and leave checks for any services to be rendered during your time away. The “at home” horse checklist √ Make sure you have a trustworthy person to look after your horses at home – if you are hiring a farmsitter, check references and find out if he or she is appropriately insured and bonded. If you have any concerns, arrange for a secondary person to check in once in awhile to make sure all is well.

√ Have at least one “backup” person who can be called in the event your farmsitter is ill, or doesn’t show up. equine wellness


√ Write up all instructions and make at least two copies. Include a basic profile of each horse, including any pertinent health issues/history and behavioral quirks. Include all emergency numbers (vet, insurance, farrier, backup sitters, alternate contact, how you can be reached, maintenance help, feed store, local emergency numbers for police, fire department, etc.). Include your wishes in the event of an equine medical emergency or life/death decision. Provide a step-by-step outline of your daily routine.

Ensure your horse’s medications and/or supplements are clearly labeled.

√ Set things up to be as easy and basic as possible. Pre-bag and label grain/supplements for each feeding, if possible. Make a diagram of your facility/fields, labeling where each horse lives and gets turned out. Make sure your horses’ names are on their stalls, feed buckets, etc. Ensure all medications are very clearly labeled, and that the medication label and prescribing vet’s information is legible.

Make sure all fencing, equipment and so on is in good repair, and that there are supplies to fix things if necessary (or leave the number for your maintenance professional).

√ Make sure all feed, supplements and first-aid supplies are stocked up.

√ Make sure each individual horse’s equipment is separate, labeled and easy to find – blankets, boots, wraps, flymasks, etc. √ Have an account set up with your vet and emergency equine hospital in the event your horse needs sudden care. Perhaps have something set up at the feed store as well. √ Make sure your sitter knows about any boarders or regular staff (barn, maintenance, landscapers) who come out to your farm, and what their vehicles look like, so they can identify any suspicious vehicles. √ Have a truck/horse trailer ready in case of emergency, or the number of an emergency shipper.

√ Have the sitter come out ahead of time to go over the facility, horses, your routine and expectations/rules. √ If you have arranged for someone to exercise your horses while you are away, make sure they know where all the equipment is, and what your expectations and exercise schedule are. Have things set up so they do not have to ride by themselves with no one else on the


equine wellness

property. Make sure everyone has appropriate liability insurance. Make sure the sitter knows this person is permitted to ride your horses.

√ Try not to change any horse’s feed, routine, supplements or medications before you leave. You don’t want your sitter to be left with a potentially negative aftermath when they don’t fully know your horses. Great expectations Be careful of your expectations. No one ever thinks others can look after their horses as well as they can – and perhaps it’s true, for we know our own horses best. But if you are too over the top, you will drive away even the best farmsitter. Find someone whose care expectations are as close to yours as possible, but be careful to put into perspective that small scrape on your horse, the ripped blanket, etc. Realistically, as long as everyone gets appropriately fed, watered and turned out, with specific care instructions met, and still has a leg at each corner on your return, it’s all good! Vacations are only vacations if you leave the responsibility of your horses in capable hands. Sure, things can go wrong while you’re away – these are horses we’re talking about. But the reality is, things happen whether you’re there or not, and if you have the appropriate arrangements in place before you depart, they can be dealt with in your absence. It can be hard to trust others with your precious equine friends, but it’s sometimes necessary – the equestrian lifestyle demands balance, and that means taking time off once in awhile!

Book reviews Title:

Hope … From the Heart of Horses


Kathy Pike

“Lama Surya Das said: ‘Our lack of compassion stems from our inability to see deeply into the nature of things,’” writes Kathy Pike in Hope…From the Heart of Horses. “When I returned to work with horses after an accident in my twenties, I shifted my perspective from what I wanted horses to do for me, and began to see what horses were offering to me. I needed to see the nature of horses instead of asking them to fit into my world. Thus, my real journey with horses began.” A life coach, Mind Body Method founder, and Equine Experiential Learning leader, Pike offers a book that delves into the bond we all wish to share with our horses. She explores how, by following our instincts and being honest with ourselves, our horses can teach us life lessons and help us grow in positive ways. Fifteen stories take us on the personal journeys of others who have walked the same path. Foreword by Linda Kohanov.

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing



Another racehorse hit the big screen last year in Secretariat, the heartening story of the 1973 Triple Crown winner, and Penny Chenery Tweedy, the woman who never gave up on him. The film was released on DVD in January.

Secretariat follows housewife Penny who, with little experience in the racing industry, takes over her father’s racing stable. Despite the many trials and obstacles she faces, including navigating a male-dominated industry and balancing family with her newfound responsibilities, she never gives up on what she believes to be a very special horse – Secretariat, fondly known as “Big Red”. This feel-good film is a family treat that both equestrians and non-equestrians will enjoy. The stellar cast includes Diane Lane, John Malkovich, James Cromwell, Dylan Walsh and many others.

Publisher: Walt Disney Pictures, Mayhem Productions

equine wellness


Don’t get your

back up Does your horse pin his ears when you saddle him? Is he difficult to get moving? His behavior may be justified if his back hurts! by Jessica McLoughlin, REMT

Always mount your horse using a block, fence, or other obstacle to avoid damaging the withers.


f you’ve been around horses for any length of time, you’ve probably heard the term “cold backed”. It’s often used to describe back pain in horses. The word “cold” refers to a state prior to warm-up in which the horse exhibits negative responses. Back pain is invariably a symptom of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed before the discomfort can be resolved. The three areas you need to investigate are behavioral issues, structural pathology, and muscular insult or injury.

Then and now In the past, horses were used for pulling and carrying heavy loads, working the land, and as the primary mode of transportation. Although sometimes still used in a working capacity, today’s horses are predominantly used for recreational purposes. We now ask them to perform: to jump over fences, run as fast as they can


equine wellness

down the backstretch, spin at lightning speeds, and stop and turn on a dime. And we ask them to do all these things willingly. The horse’s back is not naturally structured to take the degree of downward pressure that modern riders apply. The long muscles in the back are poorly designed for such force. However, through conditioning, specialized exercise and riding techniques, we have encouraged these areas to become stronger.

Deciphering the signs Horses are limited in their ability to communicate with their riders. That means it’s our job to differentiate between problems with attitude and problems arising as a result of physical ailments. Certain behaviors such as balking, rearing, bucking, ear pinning and tail swishing are all obvious signs of discomfort. What may not be quite so clear is the cause of the discomfort.

Form and function A horse’s spinal column is made up of 51 to 57 individual vertebrae. Together, these vertebrae house the spinal cord. The equine spine is said to run in an almost straight line. The individual vertebrae vary in length from one horse to another. This determines the length of the individual’s back, which is why horses of the same breed can vary so much in the conformation of their topline. The superficial muscles, being close to the surface, make up the bulk of the back and support most of the weight burden. It is the smaller deeper-seated muscles that connect and support the vertebrae that give the horse’s back its stability and core strength.

Signs and diagnosis Some symptoms you may notice when suspecting back problems include: • Irritability • Canter lead issues, or disunited canter • Bucking within first minutes of exercise • Balking or resisting forward motion • Sinking or dropping when groomed or palpated over the back • “Cinchy” or “girthy” when saddling If you suspect your horse is experiencing back issues, a consultation with your attending veterinarian should be a first priority to rule out any other differential diagnoses. With the use of x-ray machines, if necessary, your vet will be able to determine if there are any structural changes to your horse’s spine. Consultation with a qualified chiropractor and Registered Equine Massage Therapist should also be a consideration. The importance of a well-fitted saddle can also not be over stressed. If it is indeed a saddle fit issue, addressing the cause will take care of the symptoms. A qualified saddle fitter will provide you with all the necessary information about therapeutic saddle pads that may be beneficial for your horse.

Sprains, strains and compensatory problems Every muscle, tendon and ligament in the horse has the potential to become strained or sprained. Some of the more common causes of strains and sprains are: • Fatigue • Poor imbalanced riding • Mounting from the ground without assistance or the use of a mounting block equine wellness


• Ill-fitting tack and blankets • Compensatory problems Horses, like humans, are prone to fatigue. Under ideal conditions, the back muscles carry the rider’s weight. Once fatigue sets in, the muscles weaken and drop, thereby putting additional strain on the spinal column and its associated structures. The back muscles become taut and tense. If the cycle is repeated, chronic back pain sets in. Any physical ailment brings with it compensatory issues. For example, when there is a chronic hock problem, the horse will adjust his movement to alleviate the pain. This in turn puts additional strain directly on other areas, with the lumbar or loin region being the primary target for compensatory strain because it’s the pivotal point of the horse’s back.

If your horse pins his ears, swishes his tail, kicks out when you do up his girth and/or drop his back to avoid your touch during grooming, he is trying to tell you something.

Six tips for preventing and resolving back issues As a rider, you can take measures to prevent putting stress and strain on an already compromised area of your horse’s back.

1 2

First and foremost, always use a mounting block to prevent pulling vertebrae out of alignment.

An adequate warm-up is essential. It takes roughly 15 minutes for muscles to be warmed up enough to withstand the workloads we ask of our horses. Be sure to allow your horse to walk freely with his head and neck stretched down, and incorporate suppling and flexibility exercises, as well as lateral work and circles, before you launch into a schooling routine.


Along with your warm-up, a proper cool down is just as important. Allow another 15-minute walk after your riding session. Hacks are a great way for your horse to warm up and cool down both physically and mentally.


A regular regimen of stretches can help ready the muscles for the task ahead. Although stretching looks and sounds easy, a lot can go wrong with a “simple stretch”. It is your responsibility to learn how to do the job right, both for your safety and the horse’s health.

5 6

Hydrotherapy can be hugely beneficial when treating muscle and joint pain (see Equine Wellness, V5I5).

When a muscle’s overall health is compromised, it is imperative that you take immediate action to prevent further damage. Massage therapy involves specific


equine wellness

manipulation techniques to help maintain optimal muscle health. As a Registered Equine Massage Therapist, I have yet to treat a horse with a problem that doesn’t ultimately show up in his back. Massage therapy plays an important and necessary role in preventing and treating many soft tissue injuries that could result in a horse being labeled “cold backed”. A qualified equine massage therapist will be able to structure a care program that addresses your horse’s individual needs. There are no easy answers when it comes to the health of your horse, but there are many options to choose from. As an educated horse person, you can make informed choices about the type of care your horse requires. Read up on the literature, ask questions and choose your professional caregivers wisely. Jessica McLoughlin graduated from D’Arcy Lane School of Equine Massage Therapy in London, ON in 2003. She is an active member of the International Federation of Registered Equine Massage Therapists and completed a four-month internship — followed by a one-year work term — at the Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center (KESMARC) in Lexington. Jess returned to Nova Scotia as an enthusiastic advocate for equine rehabilitation. She established Atlantic Equine Massage in 2007, and is now the Maritimes’ only registered equine massage therapist, serving Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. (902) 275-7972 www.atlanticequinemassage.com

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Events Feb. 26-27, 2011 Northern Virginia & Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary, Spotsylvania, VA Reiki I & Animal Reiki Through lecture, enlightening discussion, exercises and practice, you will be led through the basic steps. In this Traditional Japanese Reiki course students will experience Reiki energy and learn different ways that Reiki can be used as a healing tool for both humans and animals. Upon completion of the two-day course you will be able to do a Reiki self treatment, hands on healing for friends and family and be able to offer Reiki to your own animal companion(s), other animals and even wild animals. For more information: Janet Dobbs (703) 648-1866 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com Thursdays at 8pm Eastern Time March 3, 10, 17 & 24 tele-conference Animal Reiki: The Essentials by teleclass Requirements: At least Reiki level One You have taken Reiki I for humans and animals

and would like to go deeper with your practice and experience with the animals. This course is designed to do just that no matter what level of Reiki you are. You will go deeper with the system of Reiki as you work with your own animal friends and other animals. You will feel more confident when working with animals, offering Reiki.

suitable herd health program and team will ensure less bills and more riding or driving time. One program is not suitable for all barns, so come to learn how to assemble the best team and program for your horses. Dr. Katie Crossan, veterinarian for the REACH herd will provide an overview and answer your questions at this seminar.

There will be meditations, discussion, review and question and answer time during each class.

For more information: REACH Huron 519.606.1482 www.reachhuron.ca/equine

This teleclass meets once a week for 4 weeks via phone and computer. Don’t worry if you are not able to make the live teleconference calls. You will receive a recording of the class by the following day along with the next week’s homework assignment and lesson(s). For more information: Janet Dobbs (703) 648-1866 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com

Tues. Mar. 22, 2011 REACH Huron Clinton Ontario Learn About Performance Horse Injuries As footing and genetics improve, we are asking our horses for faster times or higher jumps. Performance Horses, regardless of discipline, have higher risks for some injuries. Join Sharon McMaster of McMaster Equine Massage to learn about the most common injuries, and ways to prevent them.

Tues. Mar 8, 2011 REACH Huron Clinton Ontario Learn About Herd Health Programs Whether your herd is one or one hundreds, a

For more information: REACH Huron 519.606.1482 www.reachhuron.ca/equine

Post your event online at: equinewellnessmagazine.com/events

did you know?

by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS

Too many supplements?


roper supplementation provides numerous benefits, but certain nutrients in excess can be toxic.

A typical horse’s nutritional needs are met with a diet of hay, pasture and a grass/hay fortifier designed to balance hay and pasture diets. Oats as an additional calorie source may be given to maintain body weight. The quantity of whole oats does not significantly impact the intake of most nutrients since whole oats are non-fortified. The daily supplemental nutrient requirement is satisfied with the hay/pasture feed concentrate. This feeding method eliminates the problem of unknown, duplicated nutrients. The horse’s need for any additional


equine wellness

supplements for specific problems can be assessed following a three-month period of feeding this simplified diet.

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, 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 he founded

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Barn Bag® pelleted feed concentrate balances minerals, adds vitamins, phospholipids and Omega 3 fatty acids, and provides the building blocks for efficient protein production.


Barn Bag® from Life Data Labs, Inc. is designed to balance the hay and/or pasture diet of pleasure and performance horses without adding starch or extra calories.

If your horse needs an additional source of calories to maintain body weight, simply add oats.


Providing your equine partner with optimum nutrition isn’t always easy. Under and over supplementation are common problems, and often result from feeding the easy keeper very little or the hard keeper a substantial quantity of a fortified feed.