V6I2 (Apr/May 2011)

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Equine wellness


Your natural resource!


Ireland Diet foryourtips easy keeper

– land of horses Explore the Emerald Isle and its love of all things equine

Project Blue-green algae


Good nutrition in a small package

equine Wellness Magazine

Miniature horses for the blind

Titan’s Therapy triumph


Understanding an “aggressive” horse

Making lives better

Don’t get Is it colic? mushy!

What how to dotoabout softhorse feet while awaiting the vet Here’s help your

Making Horses & heavy metals


Out on a limb Leg swelling and what it means

Yoga for riders

Discover therapeutic ultrasound How to protect your equine VOLUME 65 ISSUE 26

Know your herd hits Holiday

What we can learn from herd dynamics

Display Displayuntil untilJanuary June 14, 31,2011 2011

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Contents 14


features 14 Titan’s triumph

When your equine partner starts acting out, is it pain or a training problem? Follow one horse’s journey from being labeled as aggressive to revealing his discomfort and showing his guardians what he needed to thrive.

18 Knowing your herd

How studying the way of the horse can help people with corporate leadership and teamwork.

22 Don’t get mushy! Ever wonder what your farrier means when he says your horse has “soft feet”? We spoke with hoofcare expert Jaime Jackson for the answers.


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28 Out on a limb

There are several reasons for leg swelling in your horse. Knowing the difference between lymphangitis and lesser causes can save his life.

34 Ireland – land of horses

Explore the Emerald Isle and its love of all things equine.

50 Is he herd bound?

It’s a common and challenging issue. But increasing your awareness of herd dynamics and developing a more effective leadership role can help it become a distant memory.

54 Horses and heavy metals

No, we’re not talking about rock music. These toxic substances are everywhere and can negatively impact your horse’s health. Learn what to do about it.

56 Good things in a small package

Blue-green algae is a single-celled food that’s brimming with nutritional value. It can give your horse’s health a big boost.

60 Crystal clear

These stones aren’t just pretty to look at – they have healing properties too. Horses can be especially open to their beneficial energies.


18 Columns


10 Neighborhood news 26 Holistic veterinary advice Talking to Dr. Cheryl Detamore 32 A natural performer 42 From agony to ecstasy 66 Did you know?

8 Editorial 21 Heads up 46 Equine Wellness resource guide 59 Book reviews 63 Marketplace 65 Classifieds 66 Events calendar


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Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Editor: Kelly Howling Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Graphic Designer: Meaghan McGowan Cover Photography: Tim Hockley

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On the cover photograph by:

Tim Hockley Irish horses are friendly, sturdy and strong, and our cover horse Yeats is no exception. Known in Ireland as a “Tinker”, Yeats is a cross between an Irish Draught horse and a Piebald (think Gypsy Vanner). These Gypsy horses have a long history in Ireland. Here Yeats enjoys a bit of pasture at An Sibin Riding Centre, where he lives outside 24/7 with his herd of other Tinkers, Irish sport horses, Cobbs, and Connamaras. A sheepdog from An Sibin looks on approvingly. See full story on page 34.


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Advertising Sales Equine National Sales Manager: John M. Allan (866) 764-1212 ext. 405 john@redstonemediagroup.com Sales Representative: Ann Beacom (866) 764-1212 ext. 222 annbeacom@redstonemediagroup.com Sales Representative: Becky Starr (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 becky@redstonemediagroup.com Classified Advertising classified@equinewellnessmagazine.com To subscribe: Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. $15.00 and Canada is $22.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212

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


Volume 6 Issue 2

Columnists & Contributing Writers Kay Aubrey-Chimene, RMT Mercedes Colburn, ND, PhD Cheryl Detamore, DVM Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Jaime Jackson Bob Jeffreys Lynn McKenzie Wendy Pearson, PhD Karen Scholl Suzanne Sheppard Kelli Taylor, DVM Anna Twinney Deborah Weiss

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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, 202-160 Charlotte St. Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. Email your articles to: submissions@equinewellnessmagazine.com.

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

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


Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2011. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: March 2011

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Spri n g fever ith spring in the air, it seems only fitting that this issue include a few extra training and behaviorrelated articles. This season can sometimes seem to bring out our horses’ spunky side – everyone is excited for the warmer weather and fresh grass. Hormones are often raging, and you can feel the energy in the air. And as we riders look forward to a new show season, we may realize how lax we have become over the winter with our horses’ fitness and training schedules – and our own. Upping the ante for our equines can often be met with a bit of an attitude: “But I was enjoying my vacation, thank you very much!” This is usually the busiest time of year for those of us who offer colt starting and equine tune-ups. Everyone wants to get a jump on the riding season, but they don’t necessarily want to be the first ones up on the horse! And I certainly don’t blame them – getting up on a horse that has essentially become a pasture puff hanging out with his buddies all winter can be a little exciting if he’s got some pent-up romps in store – or a little trying if he has become somewhat lazy and herd-bound in his time off.

the issue. This article says pretty much everything I’ve ever tried to explain to a client with a herd-bound horse – only much more eloquently. You’ll also find a captivating article by Anna Twinney, who relates the story of a misunderstood horse whose behavioral issues were finally “heard” and resolved. Bob and Suzanne’s column explains how to teach your horse to stand properly for mounting – a skill you might need to revisit this spring! We also have great articles on Equine Assisted Leadership Development, hoofcare with Jaime Jackson, and much more. And check out our feature article on an amazing trip to Ireland our publisher and editor-in-chief embarked on late last year. As you can probably tell, I’m pretty excited about this issue! Happy reading and safe rides!

Kelly Howling Karen Scholl has written an excellent article for this issue on dealing with the herd-bound horse – it helps the rider thoroughly understand why her horse is behaving the way he is, and what she needs to improve upon to overcome


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Title photo: © Carrie Clarke Scott Photography


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Neighborhood news Strides towards safety Head injuries are a serious risk among riders. During the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Annual Meeting in January, the Board of Directors approved new helmet rules for riders in both eventing and dressage – just two weeks after dozens of stakeholders in equestrian sport met with the goal of improving rider safety across disciplines. Briefly, riders must wear an ASTM/SEI-approved helmet at all times while mounted at US nationally rated eventing competitions. Dressage riders must wear protective headgear except those age 18 and over while on horses competing only in FEI levels and tests at the Prix St. Georges level and above. Sara Ike, USEF managing director of eventing, says that while riders have been moving toward tougher rules, it wasn’t until Olympic dressage rider Courtney King Dye was seriously injured in an accident last year that the dressage world began to seriously consider stricter helmet use. Courtney, who remained in a coma for a month following her accident, was not wearing a helmet at the time and is currently undergoing rehabilitation. “Dressage riders called the Courtney King accident their ‘9-11’,” Sara says.

And the winner is … A huge thank you to everyone who voted for Equine Wellness Magazine in the Equestrian Social Media Awards! We were thrilled to be selected as finalists out of the thousands of nominations from all over the world. Our category, Best Use of Social Media by a Magazine, was said to be one of the most “hotly contested” – congratulations to the final winner, Chronicle of the Horse. We’re already gearing up our social media campaign for next year! We’re continuing to develop and build our Facebook page to be a better centralized forum for you, our readers. Join us for photo fun, event updates and contests, and be the first to know about any “insider” Equine Wellness news. facebook.com/EquineWellnessMagazine


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Premiere conference a success! Equine Wellness Magazine was proud to be the media sponsor for the premiere Canadian Women’s Horse Industry Association conference on March 4 and 5 in Toronto. Ontario chapter director Lucie BurdonSereda of J’Equine Sport and EBPM, as well as WHIA global representative Nannette Levin, J’Equine Sport assistant volunteer Kathryn Hendriks, and our own associate publisher John Allan, pulled together a successful event with support from WHIA founder Catherine Masters. The conference offered networking and educational opportunities to women in the equine industry. Attendees had access to valuable panel speakers, including Equine Guelph’s Gayle Ecker, OEF marketing manager Melissa Monardo, director of REACH Huron Melanie Prosser and many other “heavy hitters”. Panelists spoke about social media and business savvy, better horse health and industry trends, and offered inspirational stories on how they became successful in their fields. Visit our Facebook page for photos from the event. canadianwomenshorseindustry.com

2011 Global Networking Expo


PANELS & SEMINARS • How To Use PR To Grow Your Business • Using Social Networking & Online Marketing • Effective Horsemanship • Marketing your horse Industry Business • New Products & Services • Holistic Health Techniques & Products • Making Your Business Profitable REGISTRATION FEES: BEFORE MAY 1ST, 2011 Members :





Non Members: Attendee


Exhibitor $400.00

BEFORE AUG 1ST, 2011 Members:





Non Members: Attendee

$175.00 Equine Wellness associate publisher John Allan, WHIA global representative Nanette Levin, Ontario chapter director Lucie Burdon-Sereda, and J’Equine Sport assistant volunteer Kathryn Hendriks.

Exhibitor $500.00

womenshorseindustry.com equine wellness


Neighborhood news Class Act Timeless actress Elizabeth Taylor has passed away at age 79 from congestive heart failure. She was the first actor – male or female – to receive one million dollars for a single movie, and won Oscars for her performances in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Butterfield 8. Many equestrians will remember her most prominently for her role in National Velvet (1944) at the age of twelve. National Velvet remains a classic, following one girl’s passion for horses and determination to ride her favorite horse in England’s Grand National. How many of us dreamed that one day we would look out our window to find our very own “Pie”?

Star Returns to Hometown Amber Marshall (“Amy” on CBC’s hit series, Heartland) returned to her hometown of London, Ontario on March 20 for the CanAm All Breeds Equine Emporium. Fans began lining up as soon as the show opened for a chance to meet their favorite star. We were proud to have Amber as the first personality to appear on the cover of Equine Wellness, and editor Kelly Howling was able to catch up with her at the event. The event was a great success, with fun additions this year such as the Superdogs, RAM Stallion Avenue, and a full roster of educational clinicians and speakers. canamequine.ca

If your horse has equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), you have a chance to contribute to an important study that aims to better understand the syndrome. The equine genetics research group at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine is collaborating with specialists at three other universities to investigate the occurrence and genetics of EMS. EMS is characterized by obesity and/or regional adiposity (cresty neck), elevation of blood insulin levels and increased risk for laminitis. Horses that seem predisposed to EMS are often referred to as “easy keepers”. They are very efficient at utilizing calories and often require a lower plane of nutrition to maintain body weight than other horses. This difference in EMS susceptibility among horses under similar conditions is likely the result of a genetic predisposition. The goal of the investigation is to better understand the roles of breed, gender, age, environment (diet and exercise) and genetics in EMS. The success of the study depends on the collection of data from as many horses with EMS as possible; therefore, horse owner and veterinarian assistance is critical.

Amber photo: © Libby Sinden (page 12)


Understanding EMS – you can help!

To learn how you can take part, visit: cvm.umn.edu/ equinegenetics/ems/home.html. equine wellness

Visit the OEF website: www.horse.on.ca, click on membership and subscribe on your EOF membership application Ontario Equestrian Federation 1.877.411.7112 905.709.6545

www.horse@horse.on.ca or www.horse.on.ca intercity Insurance Services Inc. is the OfďŹ cial Insurance Provider of the OEF

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When your equine partner starts acting out, you need to determine whether it’s pain or a training problem. Follow one horse’s journey from being labeled as aggressive to revealing his discomfort and showing his guardians what he needed to thrive. by Anna Twinney

ROTH instructor Robert Raine working with Titan.


first noticed his unusual facial swirls as he walked down the aisle and into what would be his new stall for the upcoming week. They had me intrigued, since the meaning behind equine facial markings has been an ongoing study of mine. Titan’s suggested an intelligent horse. His guardian followed us closely. This vivacious blond woman with a body brace was trying to ascertain whether her precious horse was more than she could handle. Labeled as aggressive, Titan, a rather large five-year-old Paint, had just been accepted into my Holistic Horse Course at Ray of Light Farms in Connecticut. He had been assessed by a reputable trainer who reported he had reared, bucked and kicked towards her. He displayed aggressive behavior and an unwillingness to cooperate. In fact, it appeared he lacked any motivation or enthusiasm to work or engage at all. What I initially saw was a bright, outgoing individual, very well nourished, full of energy and rather pushy.


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I did not see aggression in his eye or feel a threatening approach. But there certainly was no ignoring Titan – he made his presence known. He offered my students a perfect opportunity to witness a full equine assessment.

Titan’s history I was told Titan had cleared a small jump, only to buck right afterwards and throw his rider, landing her in the hospital. Many were intimidated by his size and demeanor, and Titan was led with a chain or pressure halter. He lived alone without equine companions, but turnout was provided.

Reaching out I began my process – first gain Titan’s trust, earn leadership, understand his story, assess his health, determine his character and speak to him in a language he could understand. I could do all this by “Reaching Out” to him in a round pen environment where he would be at liberty. It remains the best method I have found, and gives me a true read of my equine student. Reaching Out involves communicating through body

language, energy and interspecies communication. (For more information about the value of the round pen, watch Volume 3 of the six-volume DVD series “Demystifying the round pen”.) Aware of Titan’s history, I placed a reliable instructor student at the gate. In the event I needed immediate assistance, she would be able to open the door and distract Titan from any threatening actions. The only tools I took with me were a pressure halter (Dually) and a long-line. This was my time to prove my abilities as a true leader, not to intimidate or dominate. Using his language, Titan showed me he was willing to respond to subtle cues as he moved smoothly and rhythmically through gaits. His power was evident as he kicked up his heels, increasing his body length to almost double. Occasionally he would kick out towards me, but the size of the 50-foot round pen ensured I was safe. His behavior was more a factor of exuberance and energy than angst. Titan also bucked when asked to canter. Through this action and an ongoing visual scan, it was clear to me that he was not moving naturally, but instead was indicating pain in his hind end. He was asked to perform speed and direction changes and transitions. We interacted through visual gestures, visualization and energetic exchanges. He responded to all my cues. At no time did Titan rear, charge or challenge. He didn’t hide his past – he showed exactly who he was and what needed to be heard. I gave him a voice, and what appeared was an uneducated, creative, willing individual who required an experienced handler. Variety, along with interesting and challenging exercises, would keep him on the desired learning curve. Titan’s facial swirls proved to align with what I imagined him to be on our first encounter. He was one smart individual.

Addressing his discomfort 1. Adjusting saddlefit We verified my visual assessment of Titan’s hind end through hand palpations and muscle testing, both of which backed up our initial suspicions that he was experiencing pain in that area. I asked my client to bring her saddle to check the fitequine wellness


I gave him a voice and what appeared was an uneducated, creative, willing individual who required an experienced handler. ting. Although we are not licensed master saddle fitters, we would at least be able to give our professional opinions. Just seeing the saddle helped us quickly identify problems. The saddle would only properly fit a teenage rider and not an adult. It was simply too small for my client’s butt. This meant her weight was not distributed evenly across Titan’s back and was causing additional pressure points. Additionally, the saddle was too narrow for Titan’s shoulders – he needed something larger and wider. Basically, the saddle didn’t fit either the horse or his rider.

2. Bridle fitting Another reason for Titan’s behavior was revealed when his bridle was placed on his head. We immediately noticed that it pinched his ears around the browband. The bit was placed quite high in his mouth, while the rings pinched the sides of his mouth. Comfort was out of the question, and we immediately made changes. We removed excess leather with only the throat latch remaining, and lowered the bit, releasing pressure. It was a short term solution, but we were definitely making progress.

3. Under saddle

4. Ground manners Now that we had a thorough understanding of Titan’s needs, he entered the remainder of our program. Due to his suspected pain issues, we kept him off riding. Throughout his stay, Titan was exposed to the round pen, ground driving, spook-busting, trust-based leadership,


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Our recommendations The following was our assessment of Titan, and what we recommended the client do: 1. V eterinary consultation (pain related issues) 2. C hiropractic adjustment 3. B ridle fitting 4. S addle fitting 5. S ocialization (turnout with horses required) 6. D iet review (for weight and energy management – Titan is an easy keeper) 7. T raining program to include groundwork 8. R ider support (green and green makes black and blue) Many things came together to ensure Titan’s success. His guardian consulted a natural horsewoman, his trainer was open to additional support and the farm made more space for him. Also instrumental were the timing of the course and the Reaching Out To Horses staff, as well as a whole community of health practitioners. Not every horse is this lucky. Remember that pain is by far the highest cause of behavioral problems. Don’t jump to conclusions and don’t take things personally! Our horses communicate through their language – body language. Their intentions are not to hurt you, but to try and tell you they need to be heard. They begin in whispers that are often missed, and that eventually escalate to screams. Remember to give your horse a voice and a chance to be pain free. If you don’t know how, seek the help you need. Horses are the most forgiving creatures. For everything they give us, the least we can do is ensure they are comfortable.

Anna Twinney is an internationally recognized Equine Specialist, Natural Horsemanship Clinician, Animal Communicator and Reiki Master. She is also the founder of the Reach Out to Horses® program, focusing on gentle communication techniques (reachouttohorses.com). Anna travels the world teaching people how to work in the horse’s language and create a trust-based partnership with their horses. She can be heard each week on her own podcast show, Reaching Out with Anna Twinney, where she interviews partners, peers and pioneers in equine behavior and training, animal communication, alternative healing modalities and more.

Anna Twinney photo: © Ray of Light Farms & Dana Uzwiak (page 16)

With our initial fixes in place, Titan rode around the indoor arena like a pro. He willingly accepted my instructor student, who is an amazing rider. I even heard a spectator say, “I wish I could read a horse that well with my butt.” The student remained at a walk throughout and identified Titan’s soreness through his stride, movement, moments of tension and neck brace. Titan showed us what he needed in a rider – clarity and confidence. He could not handle a tight frame, for his knowledge was lacking and his topline was not built for such requests at this time.

compassionate communication (TLC), motivational exercises and trailer loading. He displayed extremely “green” behavior, and needed to learn manners and protocol.

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Knowing your herd

How studying the way of the horse can help people with corporate leadership and teamwork. by Deborah Weiss


ne by one, four horses were led into the arena. They did not know each other and had never been together before. Their riders hoped the trainer could teach the horses to be safe and reliable partners, while also learning to be safe and reliable leaders.

Setting the stage The horses bucked and reared and made lots of noise, and their personalities emerged in the drama of the arena. One was clearly the bully and was chasing and posturing relentlessly. One of the others moved wherever the bully moved, staying close enough to mimic him but far enough away to avoid getting kicked herself. Another was repeatedly being charged by the bully yet kept coming back for more. The fourth remained disengaged from the drama, moving away from the noisy display throughout the entire performance. I didn’t know these horses, but I knew the characters well: the bully, the bully’s sidekick, the underdog and the observer were all playing out their roles. The arena had


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become the stage for a metaphorical group of individuals trying to learn how to successfully coexist. The trainer that day was Chris Irwin. He explained that in order to train the horses, they would have to accept him as a safe and reliable leader. Employing an acute awareness of his own body language and intentions, and of his environment and the beings (horses) within it, Chris succeeded in attaining join up from the four horses. He was then in a position to affect change in their behavior as he went on to work with them over the weekend.

Equine assisted learning The demonstration fascinated me, and the concept of using herd dynamics as a model to teach humans has become my life’s work. With a number of Equine Assisted Learning certifications under my belt, I began to create personal development programs, both for special needs children and corporate groups. There is a lot of overlap in what is effective for both of these populations, as diverse as they may seem. A troubled child and a troubled corporate team

can both flourish when they can truly “know they’re heard” and “know their herd”. The double entendre is clear, and the Knowing Your HerdTM workshop was developed by Horses At Heart Equestrian Adventures Inc., so that learning life lessons from horses could now be accessible to a broad population.

Applications within the workplace “Improving leadership capability and embedding a new culture in a junior supervisory team was key in moving our business forward,” says Tracey McKillop, Operations Manager of a medical insurance company. “I had the right people in place, and I now needed to instil confidence and allow for personal and professional development. I was looking for something different, individualized, challenging and not your typical sit around a boardroom table approach.” Tracey brought her team to the workshop with clear goals. I provided them with a debriefing on horse and herd behavior – enough for them to employ safe horsehandling techniques and establish themselves as safe and reliable team players and leaders during several hands-on activities. A thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all, and at the end, Tracey’s group was able to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their team skills. We had wonderful discussions. Tracey summed it up in a follow-up letter: “Working with the horses was a positive experience helping us identify how and why we lead the way we do, seeing and experiencing in the moment how we function with others, while allowing us to appreciate the impact of new behavior in order to break past experiences and quickly build new ones.”

Horses as mirrors It is so simple to see the results of our behavior when we are around horses. Their feedback is in the moment and they have no hidden agendas. Horses provide a clear mirror in which we can see how our interpersonal and leadership skills affect our environment. Heavy handed leadership can quickly translate to a resistant horse exhibiting what we interpret as “misbehaviors”. Inconsistent leadership results in any number of issues. An unsure leader or rider can produce a horse that seizes control of the leadership role. The flow chart of possibilities in this scenario is virtually endless. A leader/rider with a horse in control often becomes aggressive while attempting equine wellness


the corporate world make choices to help their teams become aware of what mutual respect looks like.

A group participates in the Knowing Your Herd TM workshop.

to regain that control. A frightened leader/rider with a horse in control tenses up, creating a nervous animal, and this results in the leader/rider sending any number of mixed messages to the mount. These messages can create both short and long term problems, not only in the way the horse interacts with the leader/rider in the moment, but even in his physiology as he braces against an insensitive rider. In a human team of people working towards common goals, these kinds of issues can erode productivity and morale.

Maintaining respect What we really want in our work relationships is mutually respectful partnerships – the same thing we want with all our relationships and with our horses. We want join up, the elegant state of multiple beings choosing to move as one. Successful leadership and teamwork depend on mutual respect, and it is wonderful when enlightened individuals in


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Linda Kohanov, a pioneer in the field of Equine Assisted Personal Development and author of The Tao of Equus and Riding Between the Worlds, says that horses have “an extraordinary ability to awaken intuition in humans while mirroring the authentic feelings people try to hide”. The next step after awakening intuition on a personal level is to awaken intuition on the group level. With all our equine friends have already given us as beasts of burden, as military partners, as athletic partners, and as barnyard friends, how nice is it that they are also now contributors to the evolution of human consciousness. Thank you to Leo and Evelyn Weiss for being wonderful models for respectful human relationships. Deborah Weiss is a leader in Equine Assisted Personal Development and Therapy programs, with multiple certifications and 8 years as Executive Director of Horses At Heart Equestrian Inc. She has developed programming for corporate coaching, family counseling, and group and individual programs for autism spectrum disorder. Horses At Heart operates from WaterStone Estate & Farms in Newmarket, Ontario. Program information can be found at www.horsesatheart.com

Laser healing Muscle and tendon problems are common in horses and can ruin their athletic careers if not properly addressed. The Theralase super-pulsed laser system can deeply penetrate through the hair and skin of an equine, promoting cellular regeneration at the source of the injury. Laser light energy helps repair damaged cells by accelerating the body’s natural healing mechanisms. theralase.com

HEADS UP Summer comfort Help your horse get through the hot summer months with these products from Zephyr’s Garden. Pure & Simple Fly Spray is an effective, all-natural product that harnesses the bug repellent properties of herbs and apple cider vinegar. Meanwhile, Stop The Itch Spray provides natural defense against seasonal itches, bug bites and sweet itch. It contains herbs and aloe vera to relieve itching, soothe the skin, start healing and regrow hair. ZephyrsGarden.com

Water on the go What’s the best way to keep your horse hydrated when you’re taking him to shows and events? HydraHorse solves the problem. Designed to be installed in a wide range of trailers, this complete hydration system includes a tank, pump assembly and a spill-proof bowl, ensuring that your horse always has access to fresh water while on the road. The system can also be used in barn stalls and paddocks. hydrahorse.com

High performer Lameness, injury, surgery and over-training can take a toll on your horse and his performance levels. Recovery EQ is a proprietary mix of ingredients purified from grapes and decaffeinated green tea. It’s formulated to help prevent and reverse many lameness-related conditions while improving the quality and rate of recovery after trauma. It does this by increasing the resistance of cells to damage while improving their ability to repair damage. recoveryeq.com

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Ever wonder what your farrier means when he says your horse has “soft feet”? We spoke with hoofcare expert Jaime Jackson for the answers.


What do people mean when they say their horse has “soft hooves”?

inside of the paring, where it was most hydrated before being trimmed away, it shrinks.

I think there’s an easy explanation, but we first need a little background in hoof structure.

But…because the keritinized horn of the hoof wall (the sole and frog too) is structured to release moisture, it can also absorb moisture – and, as a result, “soften”. Just like your own feet will begin to “shrivel” if you soak them too long in the bathtub! This is why horses standing around in mud will have softer hooves than if they were running around in the desert. This is the hoof’s biological response to its environment.

The very epidermal (horny) structure of the hoof is designed to express moisture from the vascular system outward, which is to say the hoof “perspires”. This constant outward flow of moisture through the hoof’s protective armor is what gives the entire hoof resilience and protection from concussional trauma as the hoof strikes the ground and loads during support. At the same time, the outer epidermis (the hoof capsule) is necessarily hard and dry in order to withstand the impact. This makes sense, since the hoof needs this hard outer shell to protect itself, and the resilience within to put the brakes on shock. You’ll notice when the practitioner trims the hoof that the parings on the ground shrink towards the sole as they dry. This reflects – inversely – the moisture gradients of the hoof: as moisture dessicates towards the


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It’s what happens to horses’ feet in the wild too. In my 1982 to 1986 studies of our Great Basin free-roaming wild horses, I sampled over a thousand hooves in both summer and winter seasons. While hoof size, shape and proportion did not change, I reported (in my book The Natural Horse: Lessons From The Wild) that the character of the hoof was somewhat different in the winter months. To quote myself: “The hoof wall and the entire hoof capsule are dry as a

bone in summer, and most of the rest of the year too. The surface has a dull, matte finish, not unlike the patina of fine grain leather. During wet spells, the wall’s ‘hard-as-plastic’ surface … and matte finish convert to a dullish, slightly softer, hard rubber finish (e.g. like the white thermoplastic, Sanalite). Yet, the horses do fine, negotiating the same difficult terrain as in the drier times of the year.” [p. 72] These physiological and environmental factors must be taken into consideration when describing a hoof as being “hard”, “soft”, “too soft”, or even “too brittle”. How is the horse being managed, and what are the conditions of his habitat? There is no other way for a hoof to become soft unless we are somehow obstructing its natural circulation within, or adding things to the hoof wall that preclude the release of moisture trying to perspire. Clearly, these are problems in the horse-using community, because I’ve seen them many times in my 30-plus years as a professional.


What issues arise from “mushy” feet, in terms of hoof function and the horse’s performance?

The horse is probably going to have hypersensitivity issues if circulation is impaired, if hoof dressings or other substances are painted on the hoof to obstruct perspiration, or he is kept in mud or “muck” most of the time and then taken out to ride on hard ground before the hooves can dry and harden off. As likely, and assuming this is the way he is kept, he will begin to develop capsule weakness and opportunistic fungal/bacterial infections (thrush), especially if his diet is triggering laminitis due to proteolysis.


What causes this problem – diet, environment and/ or trimming?

All of these are causes. So is shoeing, which adversely impacts hoof structure and circulation.

It’s okay for horses to stand in water/mud part of the time. In the wild, they tromp around in it for weeks at a time, and during every day when they drink water and bathe. What is not okay is if the horse lives in mud or muck most of the time. equine wellness



How do you recommend riders deal with soft hooves, both short term and long term?

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Prevention is probably the best way to go. Providing dry turnout 24/7 in an area large enough for the horse to move freely and run with other horses is ideal. If your climate makes this difficult to impossible, use Paddock Paradise and its tracking and pathing system to get the horse to hard ground. People are doing this all over the world – especially in wet climates – so there is no doubt it is possible. Remember though, it’s okay for horses to stand in water/mud part of the time. In the wild, they tromp around in it for weeks at a time, and during every day when they drink water and bathe. The horse’s foot is adapted to this, so it’s okay. What is not okay is if the horse lives in mud or muck most of the time. If the hooves are temporarily “soft” due to weather, use boots and you can ride anywhere. My trimming recommendations (based on the wild horse model) will spare your horse any sensitivity issues since it is safe, proven and noninvasive 100% of the time. This leaves diet, and this is a big issue. I am now convinced that upwards of 75% of hoof sensitivity issues are due to diet-based laminitis. I believe that horses as a species are biologically insulin resistant (IR) and must not be fed non-structured carbohydrate diets of any kind. Unnatural boarding (e.g. fructan-rich, green grass pastures) is a huge part of the diet-based problem too. Invasive or unnatural trimming is another big problem, I hate to say, and a lot of poorly trained and confused people – albeit some quite well known – are contributing to the problem among barefooters. Unless the trimmer is using a wild horse-based model, I would decline the service and look elsewhere. If your horse is coming up with “mushy” or sore feet after the trim, get someone else who knows what they are doing. (And of course, if the hoof wall is thinned, weakened or trimmed away completely – frequently seen at the toe by some barefoot methods – that will cause soft hooves and a host of other issues!)


Are the commercial hoof dressings said to harden hooves any good?

My advice is to avoid every hoof dressing known to man, regardless of its purpose or the manufacturer’s claim. Nutrition and moisture are delivered properly through diet and responsible hoof care. That also means no shoes and no invasive trimming that leaves the hoof sore. If you put something on the hoof other than mud or water “to help it”, there will be problems as I’ve described above. Go with nature, and your horses will do just fine! Jaime Jackson is a 35-year veteran hoof care professional, lecturer, author, researcher and noted expert on wild and domestic horse hooves. In the early 2000s, Jaime created the American Association of Natural Hoof Care Practitioners, now called the Association for the Advancement of Natural Horse Care Practices (aanhcp.net). He has written two books: The Natural Horse: Lessons from the Wild, and most recently, Paddock Paradise: A Guide to Natural Boarding. Jaime resides in central California and continues to maintain a trimming and rehabilitation client base.


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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: Are there any good fat sources for a PSSM horse, other than corn/vegetable oil? Our mare doesn’t seem to find the oil (used as a topdress on her special grain) very palatable.

A: Horses generally exhibit a particular sweat pattern – usually front to back. Abnormal sweating patterns can be a result of exercise intolerance, metabolic disturbance, nervous system abnormality, disease or injury. A more pronounced or isolated sweat zone may be symptomatic of an old injury, which can often be alleviated by a chiropractic adjustment.

A: Treating Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy requires a low

The character of the sweat can also offer clues to an underlying condition. For example, a fit horse will release clear sweat while a nervous or unfit horse will produce frothy sweat. A good medical history and physical exam by a veterinarian will reveal any abnormalities.

starch, high fat diet. While oil is convenient to administer, some horses don’t like the taste. For those with a persnickety palate, more expensive oils – canola, wheatgerm and flaxseed – could be the answer. Rice bran, beet pulp and black oil sunflower seeds are other options for adding fat to the diet. You may also want to consider dry fat products, which usually require some moisture to avoid being left in the feed pan. Ultimately, it may take a small quantity of juice or a few bits of produce to encourage your horse to eat any of these supplements. But no matter the source of fat, stick with grass hay and avoid legumes.

Q: The first place my horse starts to sweat is on his hindquarters – only on one side, and in a very isolated area (about the size of my fist). Does this mean anything? 26

equine wellness

Q: I have an ex-racehorse whose hocks were pin fired. What are the long term effects of pin firing, and do they affect future performance? A:

The objective of pin firing is to introduce a new inflammatory process at the site of an old injury, in an effort to facilitate healing. A controversial treatment, it is considered a last resort for refractory cases when conventional treatment has failed – most often for splints, bowed tendons and hock problems. Just as the name would suggest, pin firing is not an aesthetically pleasing process, leaving behind unsightly white

hairs at the points of contact. In pin fired horses, it is not uncommon to find symmetrical marks on both the front or hind legs; however, this symmetrical scarring does not necessarily indicate an injury in both legs. The process was likely repeated in both limbs to prevent similar injury in the unaffected leg. Pin firing, when done correctly, generally has no detrimental effects. However, the blemishes left behind serve as a reminder of a serious non-healing injury that could resurface or create other issues in the future.

Q: What are people referring to when they say they are having their mares “hot shot”? Why would people do this with no intention of breeding the mares? A: Injecting the hormone Prostaglandin F2 alpha to bring mares into heat is known as a “hot shot”. This is only effective during the second phase of the cycle after ovulation has occurred and progesterone is being secreted by the ovary – it will not work during times of the year when the mare is not cycling. The sole purpose of a hot shot is to create a shortened cycle, as a matter of convenience. Within a short time after the injection, the mare will become anxious and uncomfortable, and begin to sweat profusely – hence the term “hot shot”. She will come into heat two or three days following the injection and ovulation will occur near the end of the heat cycle as usual. While a good tool for synchronizing breeding in cycling mares, and for other limited legitimate medical treatments, hot shots should never be used indiscriminately or without veterinary supervision.

Q: Strangles has been going around in our area, and heading into show season it has been recommended that we start our horses on an immune boosting program. Is it safe to feed vitamin C over a period of six to eight months? I have heard it can upset a horse’s digestion. A: Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in pure form is highly acidic and can cause digestive upset. A better option is Ester C (calcium ascorbate), a potent form of vitamin C that is buffered with calcium and can be added to the diet at high doses over an extended period without digestive upset. In addition to being easily transported to areas of need throughout the body, Ester C is known to enhance the immune system.

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By Kelli Taylor, DVM

There are several reasons for leg swelling in your horse. Knowing the difference between lymphangitis and lesser causes can save his life.


our horse was fine when you brought him into his stall for dinner last night. This morning, his right hind leg is so swollen it looks like a stovepipe. It’s hot to the touch, and he’s very sore. What happened?

What causes leg swelling? Limb swelling in horses can be caused by a variety of issues, including lack of exercise (stocking up), trauma (blunt, fracture or open wound), infection (bacterial or viral) and immune-mediated diseases (purpura hemorrhagica, pemphigus, etc.). Swelling caused by cellulitis or lymphangitis, however, results most commonly from a break in the skin’s protective barrier that allows bacteria to enter the body. Once the bacteria have established an infection in the skin’s dermal and subcutaneous layers, the horse has cellulitis. If the infection progresses to involve the lymphatic system, it becomes lymphangitis. These are both very serious and potentially life-threatening diseases that need to be addressed by your veterinarian as soon as possible.


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Opportunity knocks In western Washington and other wet climates, horses are unavoidably housed on wet pastures or in muddy paddocks, which means their skin is continuously exposed to moisture. This creates the same type of hyper hydration effect (known as skin maceration) that you observe on your own wrinkled fingertips after spending too much time in the bath. Macerated skin has increased permeability. Opportunistic pathogens normally found on the skin (usually the bacteria Staph. aureus in horses) can invade the weakened barrier and establish an infection. Mild infections are known as pastern dermatitis (scratches, mud fever) while infections that spread into the dermis and subcutaneous layers lead to cellulitis or lymphangitis. More obvious trauma, such as a laceration or puncture wound, can also result in cellulitis or lymphangitis. Less obvious causes include spider or other insect bites. But most of the time, the actual cause of a specific case

Cold hydrotherapy will help counteract the heat and reduce the swelling caused by inflammation. of lymphangitis is difficult to determine. This is because by the time we recognize there’s a problem, the leg has already swollen two to three times its normal size, which makes finding the initial wound virtually impossible.

Signs and symptoms Lymphangitis usually only affects one limb, more commonly a hind leg than a foreleg. The leg can be swollen to twice its normal size from the hock down (sometimes even from the stifle down). The leg loses all normal definition, hence the common names for the disease: stovepipe leg or fat leg. Often, the affected horse is off his feed, depressed and/ or running a high fever (103°F to 104ºF). The swollen leg is warm and tender and the horse is most often lame, usually only willing to rest a toe on the ground. If left untreated, the swelling will progress and the skin on the affected leg may crack or split over pressure point areas. The leg may also ooze serum, a honey-colored constituent of blood. The infection can spread deeper to tendons and joints, resulting in scarring and permanent lameness. Once the lymphatics are involved, the lymph vessels may become scarred, making your horse more prone to recurrent swelling, especially after long periods of rest.


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The lymphatic system and what it does The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that runs through the entire body, similar to arteries and veins. Its job is to drain extra fluid and substances (proteins, dead cells, toxins, etc.) known as lymph from around your cells and bring them back into the blood to be further processed. Bacteria or viruses collected in the fluid are filtered out by the lymph nodes. The lymphatic system is therefore closely associated with the immune system. Think of the lymphatic system as the body’s “cleanup crew”. This process not only protects the body from toxins, but also allows cells to function at their best. When bacteria or fungi invade the skin, a series of events begins leading to inflammation – the body’s equine wellness


Think of the lymphatic system as the body’s “cleanup crew”. This process not only protects the body from toxins, but also allows cells to function at their best. second stage of healing. Swelling and heat progress as the circulatory system increases blood supply to the affected area. Vascular permeability also increases, allowing white blood cells to leave the circulatory system and directly combat the infection. The increased blood supply causes heat and redness, while the increased vascular permeability causes swelling. All this leads to pain, the fourth hallmark of inflammation. Normally, the lymphatic system collects the excess fluid and returns it to the circulatory system as discussed above. But when the lymphatic vessels themselves are inflamed, they become much less efficient at their job and the fluid is left around the cells. The swelling increases further, causing the characteristic “stovepipe” leg.

Waiting for the vet You’ve found your horse with a swollen leg – what do you do? Call your vet! Cellulitis and lymphangitis are both very serious and often require systemic antibiotics. This may mean a trip to the referral hospital for several days of IV antibiotics. Or your veterinarian may elect to perform a regional limb perfusion on the farm to try and get the infection under control quickly. Treating the infection aggressively avoids involvement of the tendons and joints

and gives your horse the best chance of returning to his previous athletic level. Begin to cold hose the leg while waiting for the vet to arrive. Cold hydrotherapy will help counteract the heat and reduce the swelling caused by inflammation. Your vet will probably instruct you to continue the cold therapy for the first 48 hours (15 minutes twice daily) then alternate heat with cold after that.

Traditional and alternative treatments • Poultices or sweat wraps are often used to help decrease swelling and protect skin from cracking. So if your horse is suffering from lymphangitis, you will inevitably become an expert leg wrapper. Poultices and wraps also help make the horse more comfortable. Traditional veterinarians often reach for DMSO gel because of its purported ability to reduce swelling and help control tissue damage on a cellular level. Holistic veterinarians, however, will most likely recommend gentler clay poultices that are kinder to your horse’s skin, not to mention less toxic. • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (Bute, Banamine) are prescribed to help reduce inflammation and therefore swelling and pain. In cases of extreme swelling, some veterinarians will also prescribe diuretics to speed urine formation and output and therefore the absorption of excess fluid. •P hysical therapy is another important part of treatment. Movement, both passive and active, increases the efficiency of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system relies on the contraction of muscles to help push fluid through the lymphatic vessels and back into the circulatory system. Limb massage performed from distal to proximal or “towards the heart” may be very beneficial in re-establishing lymphatic drainage. Acupuncture is another technique that according to traditional Chinese medicine can be used to restore proper lymph flow; it may also help with pain management.

More obvious trauma, such as a laceration or puncture wound, can also result in cellulitis or lymphangitis.


equine wellness

•H omeopathics (Gallium-Heel, Lymphomyosot) and herbal medicines (solidago, milk thistle, etc.) encourage

Can lymphangitis be prevented?

Saddle fit tips

Because the exact cause of lymphangitis is not the same in every case, it’s difficult to prevent. But there are things you can do to help minimize risk. • Proper hydration and nutrition are critical for correct immune system function. • Horses with chronic or recurrent swelling may benefit from supplementation with lysine and/or vitamin E. • Regular exercise helps maintain lymphatic health. • It’s very important to avoid excessive moisture on the skin. • Any wound or skin disorder should be promptly treated and monitored for swelling.

lymphatic drainage but may be more appropriate for chronic or recurrent cases. After the infection is under control, an herbal cleanser or detoxifying agent may be prescribed to rid your horse of residual antibiotics and bacterial toxins. Herbs to boost the immune system while your horse is fighting off the infection may also be beneficial and include Echinacea, wild indigo and goldenseal. It is best to discuss treatment options with a holistic or integrative veterinarian so that all medications, including homeopathics and herbs, are working together instead of against each other to help your horse.

What’s the prognosis? Uncomplicated cases of massive swelling due to lymphangitis usually take time to resolve and can be quite impressive, but the horse normally returns to full function with proper and timely treatment. Open wounds from complications such as sloughing or cracking of skin take longer to heal. If the infection affects a tendon or joint, damage during the healing process may leave fibrosis or scarring and permanent lameness. Hopefully, we will one day better understand why this disease occurs in some horses and not others, and prevent it from happening at all!

Dr. Kelli Taylor is a 2008 summa cum laude graduate of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Just after graduation, she completed an internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery at Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital in Snohomish, Washington and obtained certification in animal chiropractic through the IVCA. She will be completing her certification in veterinary acupuncture this year. Dr. Kelli opened her own mobile veterinary chiropractic and acupuncturepracticein WashingtonStatethispast winter. Whennot working, you can find her trail riding or hiking with her husband in the PacificNorthwest.Shecanbereachedatkellitaylordvm@gmail.com.

Tip #1 – Balance Are you struggling with your position? Is your horse lacking in his performance? You may be facing a saddle balance issue. Here are two common problems and what to do about them. Too high in front. You’re struggling to get balanced in the saddle and/ or are feeling tipped back. You’re having a tough time getting your horse engaged, and he’s experiencing back pain. These are all signs your saddle is too high off your horse’s withers, or too low in the back, causing a lot of excess uneven pressure on his loins. This not only puts you in the wrong position, but makes it very difficult for your horse to engage because he will be unable to come through with his back and correctly step underneath himself into an engaged frame. Too low in front. Do you feel tipped forward in the saddle? Is your horse resistant? If your saddle is too low in front, it will pinch his shoulder – and that’s very restrictive for him! In this situation, your saddle may be too wide in the front or too high in the back. Not only will this cause discomfort for your horse but you will be forcing yourself to sit in an unnatural position that may affect your riding, or strain the discs in your lower back.

Steps to check balance First, remove your saddle pad and stirrup irons. Place your saddle over the withers and slide it right back behind the shoulder blade. On a dressage saddle, the cantle should be a little higher than the pommel. Now take a small rounded object (like a pencil) that will roll. Place it on the seat of the saddle and observe. If the saddle is balanced, the pencil should rest in the center of the seat. If it rolls forward, the pommel is too low (cantle too high). If it rolls back, the saddle is too low in the cantle (pommel too high). It’s very difficult in either of these situations for both horse and rider to balance properly!

Balanced saddle, balanced rider, balanced horse Your horse will be much more comfortable wearing a well-balanced saddle because the weight of the rider (you) will be distributed over a larger area. The saddle will not be driven into the shoulder or back onto the loin. With correct balance, you will be able to use the four curves in your back as natural “shock absorbers” and will sit balanced on your seat bones. This good posture means you will be able to lean forward and backward without the lower or upper leg swinging back and forth. This article is courtesy of Schleese Saddlery Service, partner in Saddlefit4Life and the United States Dressage Federation. Saddle balance is one of 36 points analyzed in a Schleese saddle fit session. The company offers onsite personal saddle fit evaluations, saddle fit demonstrations, trainer education days, female saddle designs, saddle fit to the biomechanics of movement, and comfort and protection against pain and long term damage.

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a natural performer

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

The horse:

Watson’s Whistler (Whistler) Age: 9 years

Breed/Ancestry: Canadian Sport Horse, by Galant Mel, out of a Cosy’s Commander mare

Physical description: 16.2hh bay gelding with a star and one white pastern Discipline/area of expertise: Hunter jumping, Eventing

Owner/Guardian: Janice Joad (Watson Farm)


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Awards and accomplishments: • 2 009 at Fiddler’s Green Stables in Green Hunter; 3rd in Hack class, 4th and 6th Over Fences • 2 009 at Fiddlers Green Stables in Child/Adult Hunter; 6th in Hack class, 4th, 5th, and 6th Over Fences • 2 009 at Touch a Rainbow in Open Entry Senior, 2nd place • 2 009 at Touch a Rainbow in Open Entry Senior, 3rd place • 2 009 at Oakhurst horse trials in Open Entry Senior, 7th place • 2 010 at Nepean National Equestrian Park in Open Entry Senior, 4th place • 2010 at Canterdown Horse Trials in Pre-Training Senior, 1st place

How did you acquire him?: “Whistler was bred at Watson Farm in Priceville, Ontario and grew up with his cousins in a massive field full of hills and a creek. He is the second horse I have produced for the farm.”

Natural care principles and positive results: “My best friend is Chantelle Barrett, a natural barefoot professional. She has long been explaining to me how nature intended the hoof to work. After years of producing horses and listening to Chantelle’s advice, I finally decided when I got Whistler that I wanted to give barefoot a try. I got him in the fall in 2008 and found a natural barefoot farrier close to where I boarded Whistler. “With a natural barefoot trim, Whistler was able to travel easily across even the most horrible, chunky pitted patches of field. The following summer at an event, I saw horses wearing shoes with corks slipping on the wet grass in the rain. Whistler was able to balance and jump around the same course without slipping. His barefoot trim has given him excellent traction on wet and rough terrain. I couldn’t be happier with the way his feet look and how comfortable he is with his trim.

COULD YOUR HORSE BE A NATURAL PERFORMER? Equine Wellness Magazine is looking for natural performers to feature in 2011. Your horse does not have to be a national champion to be featured – local heroes are welcome, too! For more information, contact Kelly@equinewellnessmagazine.com.

finishes on his dressage score, which puts him at the top of the placings.”

Future goals: “I would eventually like to find Whistler a good home with a rider who will love him as he deserves. And I will continue producing young horses with a natural perspective.”

Advice: “Listen to your horse, ask questions, vary references and do everything you can to allow him to reach his full potential.”

“Whistler lives outside 24/7 and is fed round bales when there’s no grass. We roll the round bales out, so the horses naturally eat with their heads down, moving often to graze. I feel this is why Whistler is so easy to warm up when I ride him – he is always moving in the field, and always in a head low position. “To keep him performing at his best, Whistler gets Herbs For Horses HYALcare and Mego for natural joint and muscle health.”

Personality profile: “Whistler loves people, and follows me around at my hip like a puppy. At his first event, a tiny eight-yearold girl groomed him for me, and Whistler stayed by her side the whole time. “He loves the water, and has improved my confidence going down banks on course. He hacks around the rest of the course, and over ditches. Whistler often equine wellness



Trekking through the Emerald R

iding through a field of mauve heather high atop Ireland’s Slieve Bloom Mountains, our guide Noel Cosgrove brings us to a halt to experience another stunning view. It’s a panorama of emerald green fields bordered by crumbling stone walls that stretch to the horizon. “You can see five counties from here,” explains Noel in his lilting Irish accent. I can’t help but wonder if there’s anything more romantic, more perfect than this moment. I know I’ve asked myself that question a dozen times since landing on this magical island. And only four days into the trip, I expect it won’t be the last. Ireland is like a photo album of perfect pictures and there’s no better way to embrace its sometimes rugged, always peaceful beauty than from the saddle of an Irish horse. The country offers something for every level of rider and every pocketbook, as my husband Tim and I found out on our recent tour. While Irish equine adventures usually range

from seven to 14 days at one or two locations, we enjoyed a sampling of four different tours and venues over a week and a half. Along the way, we met up with families, groups and other couples who, like us, were looking for a memorable riding experience as well as a chance to step back in time. Ireland delivers both in heaping measures.

An Sibin Riding Centre Ireland’s horse country, for the most part, is located in the southwest and south-central part of the island. We flew Aer Lingus from JFK in New York directly to Shannon Airport in County Limerick. Our first stop was An Sibin Riding Centre in County Clare, a family-run operation set deep in the countryside. “An Sibin” is Celtic for “The Speakeasy”, explained host Bertie Cummins as he chauffeured us from the airport to the farm. Apparently, the property was locally infamous for its potcheen stills – potcheen is a form of Irish moonshine! These days, An Sibin is a friendly, cozy spot that draws guests from all over the world. The original 300-year-old farmhouse has been lovingly restored and added on to by Bertie and his wife, Nicola, and now boasts 11 rooms.

Photos clockwise from top left: A picture-perfect cottage at An Sibin; horses grazing in front of the romantic main “house” at Mount Juliet; the author takes in the views atop the Slieve Bloom.


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An Sibin’s 50-horse herd is made up of Irish tinker horses (which look very much like Gypsy Vanners), Cobbs, Connemaras and various crosses. The first day out, we drove to the field where the horses were grazing, easily caught our mounts and tacked them up ourselves. We headed straight into the surrounding forests of the Slieve Aughty mountains, meandering through neighboring farms and down gravel roads with views as far as the eye could see. Our sturdy horses seemed to enjoy the ride as much as we did and when our guide motioned for a trot, they simultaneously burst into a big, athletic gait that took me a bit by surprise (never mind that they understand sign language!). I have to admit this was a far cry from the easygoing, sometimes lazy quarterhorse I ride back home.

An Sibin offers three packages: Residential: For beginners or those getting back into riding, this one sticks close to home. Castle tour: This takes you further afield as you explore buildings from centuries past. Galway and Clare Trail Ride: This extended ride meanders through the Slieve Aughty mountains, with views of Lough (Lake) Derg, the River Shannon, working turf fields and the Connemara Mountains. It eventually ends at the famous cliffs of Moher on the Atlantic coast. You’ll spend several nights in wonderful little Irish villages as you make your way to the shore. An Sibin’s horses live a pretty natural lifestyle. They enjoy 24/7 turnout in the pastures on and adjacent to the farm. Nicola ensures the horses are fitted with gel pads so they’re comfortable on long rides. In high season, they work two weeks on and have one

week off, so they’re never overridden. Any breeding is done the old-fashioned way, with An Sibin’s Connemarra stallion turned out with the appropriate mare. So far, it’s working very well, according to Nicola. An Sibin’s intimate atmosphere and communal seating at mealtimes means you get to know your fellow riders. We met some European women traveling on their own, a couple from Germany, and a group of women who belonged to a Hunt Club back in the States.

Birr Equestrian Centre Our next stop took us to Kinnitty Castle on the outskirts of the lovely village of Birr. Kinnitty is a Gothic revival castle hotel situated on a large well-kept estate on the lower slope of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The impressive red-carpeted stairs leading up to the check-in desk are lined with a series of standing candelabra and suits of armor, which set the tone for the décor throughout the hotel. No wonder it’s a favorite with certain rock band members! One of our favorite spots was the nook in the dining room, where dramatic windows look out over a field of grazing horses. Next morning, we met up with Noel, the charming country gentleman who owns Birr Equestrian Centre, and our guide for the Slieve Bloom mountain ride. In an effort to protect the area’s natural beauty, he explained, Irish authorities control the number of people allowed on the range. Noel has one of the coveted trekking licenses. The mountain trail leads through replanted forests and past ancient stone homes in various states of collapse. Unbelievably, the last inhabitant didn’t leave here until 1962. Our big horses made the ride easy. When we came to a partially buried stone wall, we were up one side and equine wellness


down the other before I had time to worry. “These guys are really sensible,” said Noel, a claim that proved true when we came upon a park worker in full gear doing some “weed whacking”. My horse stopped about 20 feet from the man, eyed him up for a moment, then clearly deciding this was just another human enigma, carried on down the path.

Photos from top: The author and her husband Tim enjoy refreshments overlooking the golf course at Mount Juliet; some of the fine fare served up; the impressive entrance at Kinnitty Castle


pub grub

I always envisioned Irish fare as hearty, heavy, bland food. Too many Irish Stew commercials, I suppose. In fact, the opposite is true. From homemade breads and fresh seafood to flaky savory pies and scrumptious desserts, Ireland serves up wonderful cuisine for every appetite. The Lady Helen dining room at Mount Juliet, for instance, boasts such delights as “turbot served on shiraz risotto with a balsamic vinaigrette reduction” and a “chocolate and strawberry marquise with Guinness jelly” (where else but Ireland!). Even the pubs served up lovely seafood pies and home concocted sweets to accompany our pints of Smithwicks and cups of tea. Servers were obviously more casual in the pubs, and highly professional in the hotels establishments, but everyone we talked to was very warm and friendly.

After our climactic view of the five counties, we headed back to the trailer and off to Noel’s equestrian centre, a 140acre farm where locals and guests can take advantage of a huge indoor arena and outdoor paddocks set up for jumping. While I watched the guests riding, Tim learned how to play fetch, Irish style, with the farm dogs. “Irish style” means using a hurley stick, a cross between a hockey stick and a baseball bat, to send the ball flying out into the field. Hurling is Ireland’s national sport and it’s not for the faint of heart; we watched a few games on TV in local pubs and it seems there’s an injury every three minutes.

Mount Juliet For people looking for exquisite accommodation combined with a variety of amenities, nothing beats our next destination. Mount Juliet, located in County Kilkenny in the south-central part of Ireland, could be the setting for a Jane Austen novel. The graceful Georgian style manor was built in the 1760s by Somerset Butler, first Earl of Carrick. It sat adjacent to his existing property, Ballylinch Castle, on the other side of the River Nore. Butler first built a stone bridge over the river then tackled the manor house, which he named for his vivacious wife, Juliana, whom everyone called Juliet. The estate changed hands many times over the years but remained private until 1989, when the fiercely sports-minded McCalmonts sold it to Dr. Paul Moloney for development into a hotel. The 1500-acre estate boasts a world-class golf course (designed by Jack Nicklaus), which has twice hosted the World Golf Federation (WGF) championship. It also offers fishing, stunning flower and herb gardens, a full service spa, archery, clay pigeon shooting, and of course, a newly renovated equestrian facility. The staff are attentive, friendly, helpful – and maybe even telepathic, Tim and I joked. At one point we were dining alone in a small lovely room overlooking the grounds. After the food was served, Tim casually glanced around for the pepper. Within 15 seconds, a server appeared out of nowhere with the missing herb. Mount Juliet gives couples and families the opportunity to “do their own thing” for a few hours, and then reconnect later. “We planned our entire trip around staying at Mount


Continued on page 38 equine wellness

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Photos clockwise from left: Kids come from all over to attend horse camps in Ireland like the one run by Noel Cosgrove of Birr Equestrian Centre; Irish sport horses, like the one here with Tim, are big, sturdy sensible mounts; the beautiful bedroom at Dunraven Arms is a perfect combination of period & modern.

Continued from page 36 Juliet,” explained New Jersey native Becky Simpson over a glass of wine in the lounge. “We noticed it had so many activities and it’s a good base from which to see other sites.” While Becky enjoyed some of the holistic spa treatments, her husband and son took in a round of golf, and daughter Clair, an avid rider, checked out the equestrian activities. “Clair shows competitively in the States but there’s so much pressure to be absolutely perfect,” says Becky. “Here, she’s been able to rediscover why she fell in love with the sport in the first place.” Clare strolls in looking happy and relaxed. On her own today, the teenager has cycled around the estate, tried her hand at archery, and ridden a 16.3 hh Irish sport horse named Harold over the cross country course, taking 3’9 jumps effortlessly. She’s been so busy she hasn’t even had time to text her friends. The equestrian center is managed by Jennifer Reid, who has completed British Horse Society (BHS) Levels 1, 2 and 3 and holds a teaching certificate. She likes to keep riding groups small and focuses on individualizing the experience for each rider. In addition to an indoor and outdoor arena and cross country field, the estate offers 16 miles of professionally-planned trails. The tree-lined bridleways are spectacular, and when Tim got off his 17.1 hh mount to take photos, we learned a lot about how to find natural mounting blocks in Ireland. Best tips: put your horse in a ditch or climb up the side of a steep slope!


equine wellness

If you like watching foals, you’ll see plenty here at Mount Juliet. The world-renowned Ballylinch Stud Farm is located across the river, and mares and babies pasture in the fields in front of the manor. What a pastoral setting in which to eat your breakfast! Not surprisingly for an estate this size, fox hunting was once a popular sport. In fact, the McCalmonts enjoyed it so much they would host up to three hunts a week. The Kilkenny hounds still reside on a remote part of the property, where they now belong to the Kilkenny Hunt Club. Watching huntsman Charlie Gundry lead and exercise 100 English foxhounds at once is something to see. The nearby town of Kilkenny, anchored by the famous Kilkenny Castle, offers great shopping and pubbing. Live entertainment ranges from trad music (traditional Irish) to 70s hit covers, and no matter where you land, you’re bound to have fun. When we left Mount Juliet, our driver, Dave Stapleton, arranged a tour of the renovated Kilkenny Castle, originally built eight centuries ago and gifted by the Duchess of Ormond to the townspeople in 1967. Like many Irish, Dave had the gift of the gab and entertained us for hours with stories about Irish lore, the economy (which is very poor right now), and some of the celebrities he’s chauffeured

around (think American actors). The former pub owner made sure we hit all the highlights, including a stop at the Jerpoint Glass Blowing Studio and a tour of the Rock of Cashel, the original seat of the High Kings of Munster. The buildings date back to the 12th and 13th centuries when the land was gifted to the Church. It’s spellbinding to stand beneath the intriguing ancient frescoes and medieval art recently discovered during the restoration.

Yo u r H o r s e a t a Lynn McKenzie, Animal Intuitive

Clonshire Equestrian & Polo Centre After a quick trip to the Woolen Mills outlet (a must when you visit Ireland) we returned to County Limerick and arrived at our final destination, the Dunraven Arms Hotel in Adare. This elegant, charming inn dates back to 1792, making it one of the oldest hotels in Ireland. It sits smack in the middle of the Adare, a breathtaking upscale village filled with thatched roof cottages and flowers at every turn. Originally built to house the workers of Adare Manor up the road in the 1830s, many of the cottages have metamorphosized into fashionable shops and trendy restaurants. The Dunraven Arms was a nice contrast to the other hotels situated in the countryside. We explored the village on foot, including the lovely park on the River Maigue. Our room looked out into the courtyard so even though we were in town, we still felt in touch with the beautiful Irish scenery.

Animal Communication & Energy Healing (Training & Self Study Available) www.AnimalEnergy.com | (512) 827-0505 x 8642

The hotel specializes in organizing fox hunting holidays and has an arrangement with the Clonshire Equestrian & Polo Centre. While the centre is owned by the County Limerick Hunt Club, who run the prestigious County Limerick Fox Hounds, the facility offers a host of other riding activities. If cross country is your thing, the Clonshire offers 120 acres with 60 jumps. We were thoroughly impressed with the natural setting of the course and the variety of sizes in the jumps, which made the course accessible to everyone. The happy faces on the group of young girls enjoying one of the courses told the whole story. Run by Sue (certified BHS and EFI) and Dan Foley (showjumping trainer), the facility is a home away from home for locals, travelers and campers alike. In addition to teaching, Dan specializes in producing quality horses (especially Irish sport horses and Connemaras), which he trains up and either sells or brings into the school. While there, we ran into Tom Collins, a Chicago businessman who travels to Dublin and then makes the trip to the Clonshire. “I also come for the Galway races and always try and stop in here to ride afterwards,” Tom told us. equine wellness


Then there was the 18-year-old boy from Barcelona, who comes to take jumping instruction from Dan. The giggling girls we ran into were from all over the world and had come to attend camp. “The kids ride four hours a day as well as at night sometimes,” explained Sue, “and they live together as our extended family.” Children don’t need riding experience. We talked with a girl from Geneva, Switzerland who had never ridden before attending the camp, but who was happily hacking out with her pony and the

rest of the kids. The indoor arena is absolutely huge, a bonus for when rain hits, as it often does in Ireland (though we had rain only one day out of the nine we were there). Our guide, Wendy van der Velden, left her native Netherlands to work in Ireland after falling in love with the island. She took us out on the cross country course, which consisted of fences, logs and crumbled stone walls. Our Irish sport horses took it easily in stride. We felt an incredible sense of freedom riding over the grounds, and a real connection with nature. All too soon, our trip came to an end, and after an afternoon wandering around historic Limerick, we boarded our flight for home. We felt absolutely full after this incredible experience. Ireland is everything we ever imagined, and seeing it from horseback was the icing on the cake.

Photo Above: A rider and her mount enjoy the acres of cross country trails at the Clonshire Equestrian Centre. Photo Below: A map shows the various destinations visited on this tour.

Regardless of what you’re looking for in your own riding adventures, if you choose an Irish getaway, one thing’s for sure – you’ll rediscover your passion for horses and come away feeling more relaxed than you have in years. Many thanks to Stacey Adams of Active Travel for organizing an amazing trip! Stacey’s attention to detail was absolutely incredible and we highly recommend her. Contact Stacey at activeridingtrips.com or 800-973-3221 for information and to book your next riding holiday.

For more information on the properties in this article, please visit: www.birrequestrian.ie www.mountjuliet.ie


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www.clonshire.com www.dunravenhotel.com

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or years horse enthusiasts across North America have commented on the high quality and leading edge content of Equine Wellness. The new EW has attracted a unique and rapidly expanding market of women that are interested in a more natural approach to horsemanship.


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From Agony to ecstasy

Wait for me! Does your horse start to walk off when you’re halfway in the saddle? Have you played too many games of “around the mounting block we go” just to get a foot in the stirrup? Teach him to stand still for mounting and dismounting. by Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard


ou might assume most riding injuries occur while out on the trail or in the arena. Not so. Statistics show the majority of accidents occur when we are mounting or dismounting. We’re neither fully on or off the horse during this time, so it’s easy to become unbalanced if the horse moves.

Saddlefit first The first step in resolving the issue is to determine whether the horse is experiencing discomfort or even pain during the mounting process. If so, we must figure out exactly what is causing the pain. The most common cause is a poorly fitting saddle. Sometimes the pommel of the saddle will actually press on the spine at the withers. “Bridging” could cause pain at both the front and back of the horse’s back where the saddle sits because it is not lying evenly across the muscles on either side of his spine. The saddle may also be pinching somewhere (usually on the withers, where the appearance of white hairs is a telltale sign). The flocking underneath


equine wellness

may be old and lumpy, or a nail may be popping through. We need to check for and fix these problems first.

Make the right idea easy Now we’re ready to teach the lesson. The best way to get your horse to stand still is to make him want to stand still. This is actually accomplished by not trying to get him to stand still. Instead, get him to move forward. You can do this at liberty in a round pen, or by training in hand, using a 12 to 14-foot lead rope and a well-fitting halter. Move him forward at a trot and make him frequently change direction for several minutes. (The trot is the best gait for teaching since a horse can sleepwalk through the lesson at the walk, while a lope or canter will raise his emotional level too high for him to concentrate.) This forces him to pay attention, and also reinforces that you are the leader and are controlling his movement. Then, when you “allow” him to stand still and rest, he will appreciate it.

Praise and petting are a good idea while he is quiet. Don’t get angry if he moves off; rather, make him think the movement was your idea by immediately getting him to trot and change direction again for a few more minutes. Then offer him another chance to stand and rest. Eventually he’ll get the idea and seek this release of all pressure.

Stepping up The next step is to put a little weight in the stirrup with your foot while holding the lead rope or reins for safety. If he stands still, remove your foot and pet/ praise him (remember to do this on both sides). If he moves, and you feel safe doing so, keep your foot in the stirrup and hop along with him until he stops. The instant he stops, remove your foot, thus “making the wrong thing difficult, and the right thing easy”. Once this part of the lesson is solid, put your foot in the stirrup and begin to mount, but stop before throwing a leg over. Be sure to center your weight over the saddle – if all your weight is in the stirrup, the pressure on his withers will make him uncomfortable. Pet him on his neck and rump, move the offside stirrup leather back and forth, then get down. If you did a good job prior to this, he should accept your movement while remaining at the halt. If he moves, go back and do more preparation work. Again, teach this on both sides. Now you’re ready to mount up fully, so put your foot in the stirrup, push off the ground with the other leg, and land gently in the saddle. Pet your horse for standing, take a breath, then get off to reward him. Doing this a few times from both sides will teach him to stand still when you mount, and to wait for a cue to move forward.

From the mounting block Many people like to use a mounting block to reduce strain on their knees and the horse’s back. The following steps will teach your horse to stand quietly alongside the block.


Begin by outfitting your horse with his saddle, pad, bridle and a halter with a 12 to 14-foot lead rope attached. The latter can be over or under the bridle, depending on what is more comfortable for your horse.

Caution: Please do your homework before you begin studying!

There is a growing demand for competent Natural Hoof Care (NHC) professionals! If you are interested in a career providing quality NHC services, you should do your homework before making a final decision about where to go for training! As NHC becomes increasingly popular, many ‘barefoot’ instructors are promoting themselves, or their schools, as teaching a variation of natural hoof care when, in reality, they do not even know what a natural trim is or what is involved in the method. It is for this reason that NHC pioneer Jaime Jackson returned to teaching in 2009 and formed the Institute for the Study of Natural Horse Care Practices. The ISNHCP arm. provides quality, competent, hands-on, non-invasive, No H Cause authentic natural hoof care instruction and training based upon Jackson's world renowned research on the hooves of the sound, healthy wild horses in the U.S. Great Basin. The ISNHCP will hold its next NHC “training camp” in Lompoc, California in July 2011. NHC is a whole-horse approach to having sound, healthy, happy horses. For information on our comprehensive and in-depth NHC training program, please go to the NHC Training page at www.ISNHCP.net. To learn more about NHC in general, please go to: www.AANHCP.net. “Mr. Jackson, you gave us the proof there is nothing more beautiful than a natural hoof. You opened our minds on this amazing course to learn the spirit of The Natural Horse.”

ct the Respe owers g in P Heal re. u t a of N

(Excerpt from a poem presented to Jaime Jackson from ISNHCP students on the last day of their December 2010 training camp.)

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2 3

Position the mounting block nearby, allowing a circle of space about 60 feet across – this is the area you’ll be working in.

Holding the end of the lead rope, drive the horse onto a circle at the trot, going away from the block. As he passes the point of the circle that’s as far away as possible, he’ll begin to approach the mounting block. The instant he trots in the direction of the block, immediately stop driving and release all your pressure.

Drive if your horse moves away from the mounting block.


If he halts before getting to the actual block, just gently encourage him forward. If/when he stops right next to the block, let him rest – this is the ultimate reward! Should he go past the block, drive him onto the circle again, and keep driving him until he begins to approach the block again.

5 6

If your horse moves, hop along to “make the wrong thing difficult”.

Keep repeating this exercise until he realizes that the only place he can stand still and rest is next to the block!

As with any new lesson, be sure to praise and pet your horse effusively in the beginning. But remember that too much praise once he understands can be a distraction, or even an annoyance (“Treat me like an adult!”). After the initial stages, the release is truly all he needs.

Place one foot in the stirrup from the mounting block.


When this step has been accomplished and he’s standing alongside the block, step up onto the block, pet your horse, and step down. Do this several times, then briefly put your foot in the stirrup, take it out, and praise him heartily for standing, just as you did before. Be careful here – if he moves off, you’ve advanced too far too soon, and you’ll need to create the desire to stand still by going back to step one, what he thinks of as “those silly little circles”!


When you’re sure he has learned to maintain the halt next to the block, it’s time to get on. Step up onto the block, pet your horse and mount softly. The next step is to reinforce “stand still” by waiting ten to 15 seconds (while petting your horse) before giving him the cue to move forward.

When half way on, distribute your weight across the saddle. Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard, founders of Two as One Horsemanship, appear at expos and

North America. Their mis-

clinics across

sion is to teach people how to bring out the best in their horses, and to train horses to bring out the best in people.

You will now have a horse that understands what you want, and who realizes it’s easier to stand still while you mount rather than having to trot in circles!


equine wellness

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.

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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: 719-406-9945 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 HossHoofHo Sandra Judy, Hoof Care Professional Gibsonville, NC USA Phone: (336) 380-5543 Website: www.hosshoofho.com

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

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


equine wellness


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 CBHA Field Instructor

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

Natural horse care services, education and resources

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


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

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

Barefoot Hoof Trimming, Communications, Reiki — Wellness Resource Guide

SOUTH CAROLINA 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.


Born to Fly, LLC Argyle, TX USA Phone: (940) 455-7219 Website: www.miniaturesforu.com Eddie Drabek El Campo, TX USA Phone: (979) 578-8913 Website: www.drabekhoofcare.com


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

Erin Pearson Castleton, VA USA Phone: (540) 987-9507

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

Barefoot & Balanced Natalie Gombosi, AANHCP CP E. Poultney , VT USA Phone: (802) 287-9777 Elizabeth Swank Harrisonburg, VA USA Phone: (540) 434-5286

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


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


Cameron Bonner Wauna, WA USA Phone: (360) 895-2679 Leslie Walls RidgeďŹ eld, WA USA Phone: (360) 887-0529 Email: barehoocw@yahoo.com Maureen Gould Stanwood, WA USA Phone: (360) 629-5153 Email: maureen@forthehorse.net Website: www.forthehorse.net Pat Wagner Rainier, WA USA Phone: (360) 446-8699


Anita Delwiche Greenwood, WI USA Phone: (715) 267-6404

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


Mike Stelske Eagle, WI USA Phone: (262) 594-2936

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


Barefoot Trimming, Hoof Clinic & Equine Wellness Center

FHL Horse Care Mark Stuber Ridgeland, WI USA Phone: (715) 949-1002 Email: fhlhorsecare@chibardun.net Website: ww.fhlhorsecare.com

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

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

Scott McConaughey Houlton, WI USA Phone: (715) 549-6380

The Oasis Farm Cavan, ON Canada Phone: (705) 742-3297 Email: ibrammer@sympatico.ca Website: www.animalillumination.com


www.AnimalParadiseCommunication.com • 703-648-1866

Animal Paradise Janet Dobbs Communication & Healing Oak Hill, VA USA Phone: (703) 648-1866 Email: janet@animalparadisecommunicatio n.com Website: www.animalparadisecommunicatio n.com

Reiki Master Teacher, Consultations, Workshops


www.AnimalParadiseCommunication.com • 703-648-1866


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 coaching

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equine wellness


Part one It’s a common and challenging issue. But increasing your awareness of herd dynamics and developing a more effective leadership role can help it become a distant memory. By Karen Scholl


can’t remember ever conducting a clinic or speaking at a horse expo where the question of how to deal with herd bound behavior hasn’t come up. Aside from spooking, it’s one of the most common and frustrating challenges people face with horses. Unlike other behaviors such as trailer loading or being needle-shy, herd bound behavior can surface at any time and with any horse. Even the most “seasoned” horse can suddenly decide to return to what feels safe when certain conditions arise. If you find you’re faced with this challenge, know you are definitely not alone! I wish I could tell you that when your horse wants to return to his herd you can circle him, back him or get off and “get after” him – but you probably already know none of this really works. It might get you through a spot, but herd bound behavior requires much more than a band-aid approach.

Understanding survival It’s important to first understand why some horses are herd bound. Because they are prey animals, their survival


equine wellness

depends on the herd environment. The herd mentality is the ultimate example of “safety in numbers”. A herd contains multiple individuals using their keen senses of sight, smell and hearing, and who are always on full alert for possible danger. To escape perceived danger an entire herd can go from browsing for grass to a full stampede in an instant. Because their instinct for survival is so strong, horses that feel they need to get back to the herd are actually fighting for their lives in their own minds. That’s the bad news. Now for the good news – horses can and will bond to a human just as strongly as to the herd! It may seem impossible at this point, but conditioning a horse to bond with us requires only three things: a high level of desire, a greater understanding of herd dynamics, and adaptability on our part. By reading this, you’ve already demonstrated the first requirement! As we explore herd dynamics more deeply, it’s common to observe horses instantly forming opinions of one

another. Because all relationships shift and change based on ongoing interactions, those opinions remain in a state of flux – that’s what makes them dynamic rather than fixed. When observing horses interacting with each other, it’s fairly easy to recognize behaviors that reflect everything from “falling in love” to downright hostility and everything in between.

Part of the herd Make no mistake – horses perceive people as another individual of their perceived herd, and the philosophy of my entire educational program revolves around recognizing and accepting the fact that horses have a natural attraction to the lead horse. It’s nothing new, really. How old is the advice: “You have to show a horse who’s boss!” It’s unfortunate that this saying implies aggression rather than assertion, and why I believe many people, especially women, avoid accessing the natural dynamic of herd leadership and try more “nurturing” ways to interact with a horse – from treats or baby-talk to avoiding situations that would require the horse to be more connected to her than the other horses. Don’t let this observation offend you. We’ve all tried to bond with a horse using treats (myself included) but what we find is that the horse bonds to the treats and not necessarily to us! When a horse decides that his survival is dependent on the presence of other horses, all the treats in the world won’t change his mind – I wish it would! At the heart of herd dynamics is a very specific hierarchy sometimes referred to as the “pecking order”. This term

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originates from a similar survival instinct among chickens, where the top chicken can peck all the other chickens. Chicken number two can peck all the chickens except number one, chicken three can peck all the chickens but the top two, and so on down the line. The chicken at the very bottom of the pecking order is pecked by all the other chickens – literally to death. Though this may seem cruel, it’s nature’s way of ensuring only the strongest chickens survive to pass on the genetics of strong, healthy and intelligent offspring. This natural dynamic is why we commonly see both chickens and horses kept separate from each other – it’s to prevent injury or even death from the others. With that understood, it’s important to know that a natural horse herd is led by a matriarch – a lead mare. This individual has the athleticism, intelligence and character to make decisions for the herd, and is usually (but not always) an older individual with more experience for survival than others. The stallion has multiple responsibilities, but his primary job is to keep the herd gathered up and following her. In herds outside of nature, it’s not uncommon to see a gelding take the lead role, and if there’s a pony in the mix, well, most people will report the pony runs the whole show! This is why leadership has little or northing to do with size, breed or even species. To a horse, members of the herd include any individual that interacts with the herd, including other horses, dogs, goats and people. So here’s the catch. Just like humans, our horses are designed by nature to feel more relaxed and confident when the individual they perceive to be in the leadership role is present, especially when in unfamiliar situations. Most of us are extremely uncomfortable at gatherings where we don’t know anyone else. Many women will

Karen teaches riders how to gain their horses’ trust through leadership.


equine wellness

cancel their plans if their friends are suddenly unable to go with them somewhere, because of a lifetime of conditioning of “safety in numbers” – just like horses!

Taking a leadership role This brings us to the final stage that’s most challenging yet most rewarding – adapting our behavior to earn the leadership position in the horse’s mind. I agree this is easier said than done, and I wish this was where our love of horses would automatically be reflected in our skills with horses. But the process of changing the mind of a horse is ongoing, just like raising children or managing employees. We all wish kids, employees and horses would just do what needs to be done without question, but this is our opportunity to guide others toward a greater good, even (or especially) when they are unable to see what that greater good might be! The basis of leadership is about making little decisions so that when big decisions arise, the horse is patterned to defer leadership to us. This is why someone can go along very well with a horse under certain conditions, but when those conditions change – even if it’s something as simple as riding away from another horse on a trail – the opinion of who’s making the big decisions will be instantly revealed.

Surrender or submission? It’s important to be very specific when defining leadership. We cannot gain trust and respect from a horse (or a child or employee) by using the term “dominant”. The best way I can describe it is that leadership invites surrender, while dominance demands submission. Most people have worked for bosses with these two very different styles, and can imagine how a horse would trust, respect and appreciate one more than the other. Though it may not be second nature to us now, we can learn to be assertive

without being aggressive, and to be kind without being a wimp. While there are many qualities of leadership, there is one skill that makes them all work, and that’s effective communication. It’s very difficult to trust and respect someone who speaks a different language than we do. That’s why we have interpreters, yet how much gets lost in translation? Remember playing the “telephone game”? And that’s using the same language!

Effective communication I find the easiest way for a horse to become clear about what’s being asked of him is to use the kind of communication familiar between horses – posture, pressure and physical touch. Horses don’t have to take communication classes to understand each other because they learn what-means-what from day one. A good dam will use a fair but firm approach to raise a well-mannered youngster. She knows her role is to respond fairly, effectively and immediately to the behavior of her playful foal. She never worries whether the foal is going to like her or make any attempt to be friends – that’s simply not her role. As with people, the occasional dam will let her foal run wild without any discipline. In a herd, other individuals will respond appropriately to the young horse, just as I would kindly and directly ask a child to go sit down in a restaurant if the parents are letting him wander around to visit other tables! Every foal has his own nature, but it’s these types of horses (and kids) that end up in serious trouble when in environments necessitating guidance from others. I like to say that horses are just like teenagers – they’re great until you ask them to do something they don’t want to do! With a greater understanding of leadership as a key ingredient for herd dynamics, the next part of this article on responding to herd bound behavior will provide more details on how to build confidence with and gain the ultimate trust of even the most herd bound horse.

Karen Scholl is an equine behaviorist and educator, presenting her program, Horsemanship for Women, throughout the United States and Canada at horse expos and clinics. Find out more at karenscholl.com or call 888-238-3447. Click on TELESEMINARS on the home page and select Sept 2010 to hear Karen’s answer to a listener’s question on herd bound horses.

The grass is always greener…

Herbal help for laminitis and insulin resistance. by Wendy Pearson, PhD

After a long dreary winter, nothing looks more beautiful than fresh, rich springtime grass. It’s also a tempting treat for our horses – unless they’re insulin resistant. Laminitis and insulin resistance (IR) are troublesome conditions in and of themselves, so it’s all the more frustrating that they tend to travel together. Horses prone to these conditions are relegated to standing resigned and glum on the wrong side of the fence in spring, as their well-intentioned owners toss them last year’s browning hay. Why are some horses insulin resistant?

IR can occur in horses just as easily as in humans, and in many cases for the same reasons. The IR horse is typically rather round, has enjoyed too much sugar and starch in his diet, is a bit of a couch potato and may have some mineral imbalances. These predisposing characteristics help the cells in his body become resistant to the presence of insulin. This causes the pancreas to produce excessive quantities of insulin (turning up the volume on the radio, so to speak) in an effort to get cells to respond to the insulin.

The laminitis link

Clinical signs of IR include rather odd fatty deposits in various places on the horse’s body, excessive drinking and urination – and laminitis. Laminitis is frustratingly robust; after an episode, it can take many months before the horse returns to his functional livelihood. To understand why laminitis is so frequently co-morbid with IR, we need only look to human diabetics who struggle with poor circulation in their feet, hands and legs. This occurs because insulin-resistant cells are also defective in producing and secreting nitric oxide -- a key molecule that regulates blood vessel dilation. When less nitric oxide is present, the blood vessels cannot dilate properly, typically in metabolically active tissues like those in human feet -- or horses’ hooves. This creates a breeding ground for fatty deposits in capillaries, causing a release of inflammatory compounds and further exacerbating the problem.

Herbs for horses

The most effective way to prevent IR-dependent episodes of laminitis is to treat the IR. A number of herbs have shown excellent efficacy in treating IR in humans. One of the most well-studied is fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum). Enriching your horse’s diet with high-quality fenugreek, along with herbs that promote peripheral circulation such as ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), will help regulate his blood sugar and increase circulation to those sensitive bones in his hooves. And that may let him finally go where the grass is greener! NOTE: Never attempt to treat IR without the assistance of your equine veterinarian, and never let an IR horse feed on spring grass without your vet’s knowledge and blessing!

equine wellness



& heavy metals

No, we’re not talking about rock music. These toxic substances are everywhere and can negatively impact your horse’s health. Learn what to do about it. by Mercedes Colburn, ND, PhD


s with most of you, horses are the love and passion of my life. My career of some 30 years involves helping people make good alternative healthcare choices for their horses. That includes making them aware of heavy metals and the toxic effects they have on the body.

The silent four Our environment has been under attack by heavy metal contamination for years. This pollution is in our air, food chain and water sources. It has become a silent killer, and is debilitating to our horses. The four heavy metals of most threat to horses are: 1. Arsenic – organic and inorganic, used as pesticides and weed killers in pastures and nearby agriculture 2. Mercury – contaminates water 3. Lead – contaminates water 4. Aluminum – in large containers used in fields to hold water for horses I believe toxic metals are the number one barrier to good long term health in horses. They poison every system in the body – today’s horses are facing diseases we have not seen before, such as equine herpes and an overabundance of cancers. Until we clear the way through these toxic


equine wellness

metals, our horses will not be able to absorb the nutrients needed for health, healing and longevity. A horse’s body is made up of trillions of cells. These cells make up tissues, the tissues make up organs, and the organs make up systems. These systems are in charge of your horse’s ability to breathe (respiratory system), his structural system and so forth.

As seen through the eye I use iridology with all my clients – especially my equine clients. Iridology scientifically and systematically analyzes and interprets the structure of the eye, revealing a “blue print” of the body. Markings that show up within the iris nerve fibers are compared to charts or grids that show the areas of the eye and their connection to corresponding physical systems within the body. My friend and veterinarian, Dr. Dena Eckerdt, and I developed the first accurate and proven equine iridology grid. It’s designed to show different areas (systems) inside the horse’s body through the eye. It essentially detects inflammation within the body and what stage the inflammation is in. Any discoloration marked inside this grid shows you damaged

tissue in that area. This grid has been an exceptional tool for veterinarians and has been used by people all over the world to improve and expand the lives of their horses.

Progressive tissue degeneration Heavy metal contamination shows up in the eye as a dark toxic veil, covering a large part of the iris. This marking seems to spread through the different systems of the horse, destroying healthy tissue as it travels (i.e. kidney, lung, respiratory, etc.). The following picture illustrates the color changes a horse’s eye goes through, showing the damaged tissue in the body and how it can spread.

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Zeolite – ridding the body of heavy metals We have been able to stop the spread of PTD by using a liquid mineral called zeolite. This mineral draws (or cages) the toxins to it like a magnet and then removes them from the body. After we have removed the toxins, we can then use any healing modality to replenish and restore the damaged area. Zeolite cannot repair the damage done by heavy metals, it can only stop them from spreading. You must add your own knowledge of healing to restore the areas of concern. There are several companies in the US (such as Waiora) and Europe that can help you get rid of heavy metals in your horse. If you feel heavy metals could be a concern in your area or horse, contact a holistic or integrative veterinarian to discuss diagnosis and treatment. As a practicing herbalist, owner of the Herb Farm Company and Through The Eye International, Mercedes Colburn, ND, PhD, was in the business of alternative medicine. She studied with top iridologists in human iridology, but when she lost two of her prized horses to colic her mission changed. She went into research to find the reason for colic, how to prevent it, and how to see it coming through the use of iridology for horses. Iridology was a familiar tool used by Mercedes and has been used as a diagnostic tool since ancient times. Mercedes needed a veterinary consultant; she collaborated with Dena Eckerdt, DVM in creating the “equine iridology grid”. The biggest, and most powerful discovery made was in the intestinal system. Proving the equine iridology grid by means of veterinarians, necropsies, and pathology labs has been a journey of great value. Through The Eye International now offers this ‘Equine Iridology’ grid as a much-needed tool for equine veterinians and therapists. equineiridology.com

equine wellness


Blue-green algae is a single-celled food that’s brimming with nutritional value. It can give your horse’s health a big boost.


ne day last year, quite suddenly, Deseo could barely move when coming in from the pasture. Other than a few shoulder issues in earlier years, the 16-year-old Peruvian Paso gelding was a beautifully sound barefoot horse with few health challenges. An easy keeper, he received no grain, just Bermuda grass hay, free choice minerals, a daily vitamin/mineral supplement and access to Arizona’s sparse rocky pasture.

The problem and the approach Working with our vet, we determined Deseo had pulled his shoulder out of alignment and, perhaps due to the sudden lack of movement, his front coffin bones had rotated about five degrees. After adjusting his shoulder, the vet ran an insulin resistance test, which came back negative. Deseo has always been heavily crested over his neck, with a heavy body that looks as if he might have been gelded late, so a hormonal imbalance was not out of the question. Expressing some concern about a potential insulinoma, the veterinarian wanted to run more


equine wellness

by Kay Aubrey-Chimene, RMT tests. However, given the owner’s lack of a bottomless pocketbook, and the possibility that the founder was caused by the sudden stress to Deseo’s metabolic system, I convinced the vet to give us 90 days to show we could stabilize him nutritionally. We protected Deseo’s tender hooves with Hoofwing boots and fed him Amazon Herb’s Recovazon to lower his pain levels. Along with his daily Dynamite vitamin/ mineral supplement, we gave him blue-green algae added to dampened Bermuda pellets. Within a few days, Deseo exhibited no more pain. The heat in his feet quickly dissipated and our trimmer was delighted with how rapidly the obvious rotation grew out. Deseo is now back to normal and being ridden barefoot through the rocky Arizona terrain.

Blue-green algae – what does it do? Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) has been growing in popularity as a supplement for horses. Most of the discussion revolves around how well it can support the growth and repair of damaged hooves. It provides an

As with any supplement, it is important to find a reputable harvester and check what you are buying is 100% pure, without any added fillers, chemicals or additives. amazing amount of nutrition packed into a concentrated form. But bluegreen algae does much more than promote hoof growth. Scientific studies have shown that the highly digestible nutrients in blue-green algae provide a wide variety of health benefits: • High quantities of chlorophyll help the blood carry more oxygen through the body. • Essential fatty acids transport oxygen, assist with elimination, and reduce inflammation. • B vitamins lower stress, support digestion and a healthy nervous system, and aid in the assimilation of nutrients. • Detoxification agents bind up heavy metals and aflatoxin and cleanse them from the body. Blue-green algae also improves the function and circulation of immune cells. It has powerful antioxidant capabilities that protect healthy cells and promote cellular repair.

The big three Blue-green algae refers to three primary single-cell foods. There is some confusion about the differences between them. All contain significant amounts of chlorophyll, essential fatty acids, active enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, proteins, complex sugars and phytonutrients. The main three forms used by humans and horses are:

1 2

AFA (aphanizomenon flos-aquae), a fresh water cyanobacteria. In the US, the primary source of AFA is Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon.

Chlorella, a dark green algae with the distinction of having the highest concentration of chlorophyll of any natural substance. Primarily grown and harvested in warm water cement ponds, the crucial factor for chlorella users is that the tough cell walls must be physically broken down, without heat, so as to retain the high nutrient levels.


Spirulina, a micro salt water algae. Most cultivated spirulina is produced in open channel warm water raceway ponds, with paddle wheels used to agitate the water.

Know your source For me, the primary determination for which blue-green algae we use is sourcing. I am a big believer in both the nutritional and energetic benefits of wild-crafted and harvested foods. As with any supplement, it is equine wellness


Good for your horse •N ot enough “green” in the spring? Is your horse boarded away from green grass and pasture? Mother Nature provides a wonderful “spring cleaning” with fresh green grass in the spring, but boarded horses rarely get this infusion of fresh enzymes and chlorophyll. Blue-green algae can help clean out the body, reducing hives and overresponse to fly bites.

Blue-green algae also improves the function and circulation of immune cells.

•G ot a “cranky” horse? Blue-green algae has been shown to cleanse and detoxify the body. A clean liver means a calmer, happier horse! •D oes your horse have large or slow healing wounds? Blue-green algae provides the repair materials for quicker healing. Some studies indicate it increases the production of stem cells, which the body can use to promote healing – even in the spinal cord! important to find a reputable harvester and check what you are buying is 100% pure, without any added fillers, chemicals or additives. After reviewing the blue-green algae sources available to us in recent years, we chose E3AFA for Horses by E3Live. It comes as a loose flake, which means it has not been subjected to the heat and pressure of processing, like wafers or tablets have. It is wild harvested and cold processed, which does not break down the nutrients.

Breeze’s story One of our recent success stories involved Breeze, an eight-year-old Morgan mare who was referred to us

because she had not passed manure on her own for almost a month. She was originally diagnosed with an impaction, but subsequent evaluation determined that she had broken her spine and damaged the spinal cord below the sacrum. Her tail could be laid flat along her spine and she showed no lower intestinal peristalsis. Her anus was completely flaccid. The owners had been flushing her daily with a hose and Breeze had developed a successful technique of stretching and rolling to pass manure balls while lying down. We started her on a daily regimen of Photopuncture Light Therapy and added three tablespoons a day of blue-green algae to her food. Within 30 days, she was able to poop normally and could move her tail to one side. By day 90 she had about 85% use of her tail. She came back to being a strong, healthy mare. I credit the blue-green algae with both repairing the spine on a cellular level and helping to lower pain and inflammation in the area. Any horse in our care that shows coat or hoof problems, endocrine issues, or is simply older and having difficulty maintaining weight, has blue-green algae added to his diet. When you try it, watch your horse’s feet. They are a great indicator of health. You will be amazed by the speed and health of the new growth! Kay Aubrey-Chimene, RMT, is the Director of Grand Adventures Ranch, a Holistic Equine Wellness and Recovery Center specializing in helping horses with cancer, DSLD, founder and other severe illnesses. On-site internships and classes teach a holistic approach while working with ozone, bodywork, light

therapy, detoxification and nutrition. GrandAdventuresRanch.com


equine wellness

Book reviews TITLE: Beyond AUTHOR: Lynn

the Homestretch

3rd Annual All About Horses & Extreme Rodeo May 28th & 29th, 2011 At the Lindsay Fairgrounds


“The subtitle of this book is ‘What I’ve Learned from Saving Racehorses’,” writes Lynn Reardon. “But the reality is that the horses saved me – from a dull, ordinary life lacking purpose, adventure, and growth.” This sentence admirably sums up Beyond the Homestretch. Once you pick this book up, it is very hard to put down again as you are drawn into Lynn’s journey and the story of each special horse that galloped into her life and heart. Follow Lynn as she leaves her corporate position in Washington, DC and moves to Texas, where she opens the LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers (LOPE). From here, she hits the ground running, and what was initially intended as a small thoroughbred transitioning program has rapidly grown into one of the most well known organizations of its kind in North America. Each horse that comes into our life has a lesson to teach us. This is very evident in Beyond the Homestretch as Lynn tells the tale of the horses she has come to know, past and present.

• Light & Heavy Horse Breed Display • Canadian Cowgirls • English & Western Riding Demos • Bronco Riding • Bull Riding • Rodeo Clowns

• Stallion Avenue • Terry Grant The Mantracker • Miniature Horse Show • EquiMania • Trade Show • Wagon Rides

Advance Tickets 3/ $50.00 or 5/ $75.00

www.lindsayex.com bev@lindsayex.com 705-324-5551 354 Angeline St. S. Lindsay

You don’t have to be a racing fan to enjoy this book – it is a must read for all horse lovers.

PUBLISHER: New World Library

TITLE: Turning

Challenging Horses into Willing Partners

AUTHOR: Nanette


Nanette Levin has worked with her share of challenging horses. With more than 40 years of experience galloping racehorses, starting young horses, and retraining “problem children”, she has put her experiences to paper to help equestrians with similar issues.

Turning Challenging Horses into Willing Partners is a refreshing book written in an honest and straightforward fashion that many riders will appreciate. It starts off exploring the challenges that horses present, and their root causes, and goes on to explain how to deal with those common issues. Included are tips from top professionals such as Denny Emerson, Jutta Heinsohn and Kels Bonham. A favorite chapter (“Sometimes They’re Just Plain Crazy”) touches on a topic many trainers seem to shy away from – horses that seem to have a learning challenge or different brain chemistry -- and how to safely resolve such situations. If you’ve ever had a challenging horse in your life (and all of us have!), look for this book.

PUBLISHER: Book Conductors, LLC equine wellness


Crystal clear These stones aren’t just pretty to look at – they have healing properties too. Horses can be especially open to their beneficial energies. By Lynn McKenzie


ome people roll their eyes when they hear about crystal healing, but they shouldn’t. There’s really nothing “New Age” about it. Crystals have been used in healing for centuries – ancient cultures including Egyptian, Tibetan, Native American and Aborigine are known to have used them. These naturally occurring “gifts” from the earth come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes.

Crystals work on issues related to all levels of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. This means not only injuries, disease, pain and other physical conditions can be treated, but also issues such as fears, stresses, anger and apathy. Crystals are multifunctional – they are known to heal and balance, and absorb and transmit energy. They can also cleanse and transmute negative energy.

Understanding crystal energy

Clear intentions

The word “crystal” refers rather loosely to any precious gem, mineral, stone and sometimes even fossil or resin that has a measurable charge and produces an electrical pulse. “The crystal is a neutral object whose inner structure exhibits a state of perfection and balance,” adds crystal researcher Marcel Vogel, a longtime scientist with IBM. In fact, a crystal is the most stable and unified structure in the entire universe. Vogel goes on to describe how crystals work like a laser to “radiate energy in a coherent, highly concentrated form” and explains how “this energy may be transmitted into objects or people at will”. He even declares that experienced crystal healers can “release disease patterns that have been created by negative thought forms”.

Because crystals can be used to direct, amplify, absorb, reflect, clear, transform, transmute, balance and focus energies, it is always advisable to have a clear intention of the results you want from your crystal healing work. Since the impact of crystal healing reaches the cellular level, it can even be used to help unhealthy cells move toward a state of health. An example would be using a crystal such as selenite to help a horse heal from cancer. In this situation, as well as establishing a goal of 100% healing, my intention might be to create systemic detoxification as well as help all non-healthy cancer cells move toward a state of perfect well being.

To appreciate how crystal healing works on horses, it is important to understand that all living beings have energy bodies and possess electromagnetic fields. Each crystal, gemstone or mineral resonates at a specific vibrational frequency and amplitude. When used in healing, that frequency attracts the energies of particular traits and qualities that then mix with that horse’s energy field.

Crystals act as storage batteries for information and energy and can therefore become saturated. It is advisable to cleanse and recharge them on a regular basis, especially when they are first acquired. There are a variety of ways to do this. The most common is placing them in the sunlight for a number of hours or setting them in a bowl of sea salt


equine wellness

Using crystals

continued on p.62

Healing stones for horses Crystal



Generally healing on all levels, releases negative energy, calming, helpful for aging issues, arthritis, respiratory problems, depression and digestive issues.


Helps with pining and separation issues, useful for pain relief (physical and emotional), calming, grief, allays fears, training issues, heart and respiratory conditions and blocks geopathic stress.

Blue lace agate

Calming, cooling and soothing, good for overly vocal or heated animals, helpful for inflammation, bites, stings and founder.

Clear quartz

Amplifies all other crystals, enhances immune system, cleanses, purifies, rejuvenates, helpful for inflammation, pain, nerves, scar tissue and circulation.


A natural gait balancer and detoxifier, helps with assimilation of nutrients, arthritis, conditions of the bones and teeth and training issues.


A fabulous grounding stone, boosts vitality, helpful for blood disorders and bleeding, shock, hysteria and panic.

Herkimer diamond

Enhances animal communication, eliminates stress and tension, helpful for metabolic issues and cellular disorders.


Used for protection, helpful for headaches, respiratory and digestive issues, and for dispelling fears and releasing negative energy in horses prone to absorbing it.


Helps eliminate obsessive/compulsive patterns, useful for arthritis, weaving, cribbing, facilitates foaling and stimulates the liver to release toxins.

Rose quartz

Helps abused or abandoned animals, reduces fears, brings forth love, helpful for anger, tight muscles and nervousness.


Useful for all types of cancer, helpful for aligning the spine and enhancing flexibility, great for broodmares who are nurturing a foal.

Smokey quartz

For stress, it’s grounding, calming, soothing, helpful for shock, accidents, emergencies and adjusting to change.



• Brilliant coat colors • Stronger hooves

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

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*Certain crystals such as malachite and cinnabar are toxic due to their metal content. Do not allow your horse to lick them or use them in water buckets! equine wellness


The Aura of a Horse Spiritual Body (three layers) Mental Body (two layers) Emotional Body Etheric Double

continued from p.60 overnight. I like to “dedicate” crystals to a specific horse and “program” them to help heal that horse’s specific condition or ailment. There are many ways to use crystals. You can place them on the body, use them in massage (with crystal wands) or in the form of crystal elixirs dispensed into the horse’s water (or very large pieces placed in his water bucket). They can also be used in stalls and paddocks, attached to a halter or tack, and worn on the body of a handler or rider.

Physical Body

Each crystal has many healing properties and quite often a number of different crystals may be helpful for one specific condition. The table on the previous page presents some of the crystals I use frequently in my healing work with horses.

Selecting a crystal

Lynn McKenzie | www.AnimalEnergy.com

Here’s an example of how I might choose a crystal for healing. If a particular horse has suffered abuse, I would use a crystal such as rose quartz that energetically resonates with the qualities of healing, love, comfort, relaxation and trust. The horse will most likely not currently possess these traits, so our goal with the crystal is to have the horse’s energy field move more into resonance with those traits. This is a very gentle form of healing and one that horses appreciate as they are naturally more connected to nature and the earth’s energies than we are. King of the Wind, a children’s book written in 1948 by Marguerite Henry, documents how the Bedouins used crystals with horses. These desert dwellers were said to have created crystal amulets in goat skin pouches that were worn by each horse. The crystals were believed to relate to and enhance all the information (or “medicine”) for each individual horse – information relating to his/her sex, purpose, and any special traits the horse required for his/her specific mission. Crystals are a holistic, gentle, non invasive way to heal horses by shifting their energy physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As an animal communicator and healer, I feel it’s absolutely necessary to have these wonderful healing tools on hand at all times. Disclaimer: Crystal healing is not a replacement for veterinary care. Lynn McKenzie is an internationally acclaimed Animal Intuitive and publisher of the free Divine Mission of Animals newsletter and the free Making the Heart Connection audio course. She is a world leader in the field of teaching Animal Communication and Animal Energy Healing. AnimalEnergy.com


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Communicators JANET DOBBS – WORKSHOPS AND CONSULTATIONS. Animal communication, Animal/human Reiki. Deepening the bond between animals and humans. For information about hosting a workshop in your area. janet@animalparadisecommunication.com, (703) 648-1866 or www.animalparadisecommunication.com SUE BECKER – Interspecies Communication, Registered Practitioner of Tellington TTouch and Bach Flower Remedies. Resolve problems and stress, improve behaviour, deepen understanding and your relationship. Emotional healing, animals in spirit. Consultations by phone/in person, lectures, workshops. Call (519) 896-2600 suebecker@cyg.net www.suebecker.net INGRID BRAMMER – On-line classes, on-site workshops, and home study programs available that will teach you how to intuitively communicate with animals with explanation of how it is possible. Contact Ingrid (705) 742-3297 or ibrammer@sympatico.ca or www.animalillumination.com HORSES HAVE EMOTIONS TOO! - Canadian

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Events May 13, 14, 15, 2011 Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary, Spotsylvania, VA Animal Communication Advanced Level One This class is for those who have completed the Basic 2-day Animal communication course and wish to continue to deepen their connection with animals. Leave the hustle and bustle of your day to day life behind for a few days and connect deeply with all that is. This class is for those who want more knowledge, direction and inspiration to deepen their connection and experience. As you continue to open your heart to heart connection with animals and all that is, you will gain more experience, knowledge, guidance and inspiration. You will learn from the master teachers: the animals themselves. Janet will guide you, but the animals will teach you. We won’t stop there. That is just the icing on the cake. As we continue to go deeper you will earn how to open to all that is, including domestic and wild animals, plants, trees, and all of creation. This will be a time of fun and surprises. Discover your power animal. Come experience the magic. PREREQUISITES: The Basic 2-day course. You may also take this workshop if you have

completed a beginning animal communication course with another teacher. For more information: Janet Dobbs (703) 648-1866 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com June 16, 23, 30 & July 7, 2011 via teleclass, tele-conference Animal Communication: The Essentials Requirement: The Basic 2-Day Animal Communication Workshop or a course with another animal communication teacher. Description: So you have completed the Basic 2-Day Animal communication Workshop and you would like more practice and experience. Maybe you are not feeling confident enough to participate in the student practice group on-line. Maybe you are ready to go deeper with your communication with the animals. No matter what level you are, this is the course for you. This course consists of 4 lessons and corresponding homework assignments. Lessons will be sent to you via email once a week, giving

you enough time to complete the homework before the next class. Each lesson will help you deepen your connection with animals as you learn what ways you receive information from the animals best. Each week you will practice with different animals, build your confidence as well as your ability to connect with the animals on a very deep level in any situation. On the day/evening of the class meeting students will call into a teleconference line (long distance charges may apply). 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). Upon completing all of the homework assignments students will receive a certificate of completion. For more information: Janet Dobbs (703) 648-1866 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com

Post your event online at: equinewellnessmagazine.com/events

did you know?

by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS

Does your hoof supplement work?


he quality of your horse’s hooves are affected by several things, including genetics. Nutrition, hormone status, environment and mechanics are other contributing factors.

If your horse is not responding to supplements, consulting with your veterinarian and farrier can provide the most useful information. Keep in mind that over-supplementing can unintentionally create poor hooves!

Hoof supplements are formulated to provide the nutrition needed to create the best hooves genetics can dictate. With good nutrition, a glossier coat and a denser band of hoof wall should be seen below the coronary band within two months.

Dr. Frank Gravlee graduated from Auburn University School of Medicine and practiced veterinary medicine for several years before

Environmental factors that can contribute to poor hoof quality include wet or dry conditions. Mechanical factors include hoof damage from previous episodes of laminitis, founder or trauma. Hormone imbalances such as low thyroid function or metabolic syndrome can predispose horses to bouts of laminitis and hoof problems.


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attending graduate school at

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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.