V6I4 (Aug/Sep 2011)

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Equine wellness


Your natural resource!


special issue:

natural hoofcare


Get your


Find relief from

sweet itch

Discover the fantastic benefits of free jumping

equine Wellness Magazine

Feeding for


A little nutrition knowledge goes a long way

Walkingthe beat R ead about the incredible journey of one mounted police unit as they took their patrol horses from shod to barefoot

Balancing Act Why the calc:phos ratio is so important

Riders are athletes too

Heading to a show? Here’s how to take care of yourself as well as your horse


trail riding

What’s biting you? Top four creepy-crawlies that bug your horse


Display until October 11, 2011 $5.95 USA/Canada




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equine wellness


Contents 24


features 14 Get your jump on!

Free jumping can be a fun and beneficial way to enhance your horse’s training and development.

18 Feeding for allergies

Pollen, bugs, mold...they’re everywhere. A little nutrition knowledge can go a long way to lessening your horse’s allergy symptoms.

22 4 tips to successful hoof soaking

Trying to soak the foot of a horse that wants nothing to do with it is almost impossible, not to mention extremely frustrating. These four suggestions will make the experience less stressful.

24 Walking the beat

Follow the journey of one mounted unit as they took their patrol horses from shod to barefoot.


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30 Balancing act Deciphering the correct balance between calcium and phosphorous doesn’t have to feel like a bad math class flashback!

36 Roch & Equi-Bow

How a student of this unique healing technique helped a lame, easilyspooked horse become a champion.

40 Riders are athletes too!

Competitive riders always ensure their horses are looked after at shows, but often neglect their own nutrition and hydration during the day. Here’s how to make some positive personal changes.

42 What’s biting you? Learn to recognize and understand the top four creepy-crawlies that can put the “bite” on your horse – and on you!

54 The nature of interference

Do your horse’s hooves hit one another when he’s moving forward? It’s a manmade problem that can be corrected using a natural hoofcare approach.

56 Tread lightly

We all enjoy a relaxing trail ride – but are you aware of the effect some riding practices have on the land, and how you can help conserve trails for future use?

60 That not-sosweet itch

It can affect any horse and there’s currently no cure. What can you do to give your equine friend some relief?


40 Columns


10 Neighborhood news

8 Editorial

21 Hot to trot

39 Heads up

34 Natural performer

50 Equine Wellness resource guide

45 Holistic veterinary advice Talking with Dr. Cheryl L. Detamore

63 Marketplace

48 From agony to ecstasy 65 Did you know?


65 Events 66 Classifieds

14 equine wellness




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Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Editor: Kelly Howling Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Graphic Designer: Meaghan McGowan Graphic Designer: Sarah Beranger Cover Photography: Karen Kennedy Columnists & Contributing Writers Valeria Breiten Amelia Connolly Cheryl L. Detamore, DVM Isabella Edwards Juliet M. Getty, PhD Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS Claire Hunter Jaime Jackson Bob Jeffreys Suzanne Sheppard Sandy Siegrist Lee Townsend Jill Willis Gene W. Wood, PhD

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

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

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


9am– 5pm E.S.T.


On the cover photograph by:

Karen Kennedy Natural care, including a barefoot lifestyle and plenty of turnout, results in a horse as healthy, sleek and happy as this vigorous bay. Our articles on natural hoofcare in this issue will get you off on the right foot!


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Volume 6 Issue 4


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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

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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.

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

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editorial Hoofin it look at approximately eight sets of hooves every day. I see and feel each surface as I’m cleaning, putting on boots, training for hoof handling, or treating chronic or acute issues. With this kind of daily interaction, you become very familiar with each horse’s feet, and notice much sooner when something out of the ordinary is happening. Cracks, chips, flares, thrush, abscesses, bruising, areas of heat, coronet band damage, mud fever – all become quickly apparent. It didn’t used to be this way – when I began taking riding lessons, my knowledge of feet didn’t go much beyond knowing basic hoof parts and picking out the pony’s feet before the lesson. So when I leased my first horse, hoofcare was left up to the farrier. I was fortunate that he was interested in educating his clients, but I really didn’t ask many questions – I didn’t know what to ask. With time, experience and good mentorship comes better knowledge. And when you know better, you do better. I am now very involved in all things surrounding the care of my horses, and of those I ride in training. I pay close attention to their feet, and I’m sure the farriers appreciate this. In turn, I appreciate the farriers I work with – their passion for what they do and the horses they work on, and their interest in educating their clients. I recently watched as a farrier visiting the barn willingly spent a


equine wellness

good hour addressing a client’s questions and concerns regarding her horse’s feet. Another worked closely with a veterinarian to resolve a chronic issue. So to all the farriers out there – thank you! This issue begins with hoofcare articles, including a great story about a Mounted Patrol unit going barefoot, as well as Jaime Jackson’s second column (“The nature of interference”) and some hoof soaking tips. We also welcome a few new writers. Claire Hunter, a great trainer who is local to me, offers a nice how-to piece on getting your horse started to free jump. Lee Townsend, an entomologist, talks about the main biting insects that can be a bother to our equine friends this time of year. And trail conservationist Gene Wood provides a timely article about rider impact on trails – just in time for the main trail riding season. Naturally,

Kelly Howling

Title photo: © Carrie Clarke Scott Photography


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Neighborhood news Cowboy race a first for Ontario This spring marked the first time Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy RaceTM was held in Ontario. The venue was Canada’s Outdoor Equine Expo, held at the Iron Horse Equestrian Centre in Burlington, Ontario. This exciting event is designed to showcase the bond between horse and rider and challenge the horse’s training and versatility. Obstacles at this year’s race included a bridge, tarp, jumps, ladder climb, tunnel, log drag, and pole bending. Each round was timed, and judges scored each team on its ability to accomplish the tasks. The first evening’s qualifiers were narrowed down to ten competitors who then participated in Saturday evening’s finals. Crowds cheered each horse-rider combination, with Camilla Willings and her Paso Fino stallion, Mercy, blazing through the course for the win. equineexpo.ca or craigcameron.com

AAEP Foundation helps horses affected by disasters

Photo: © Kelly Howling

As part of its mission to improve the welfare of horses, the AAEP Foundation accepts year-round funding requests to assist organizations responding to disasters and emergencies that affect the equine community. Organizations working to help horses in areas devastated by natural disasters can apply for funding from the Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund at aaep. org/disaster_relieffund.htm.

Camilla Willings reacts with delight as Craig Cameron announces the winners of the Extreme Cowboy Race.TM


equine wellness

After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, the AAEP Foundation formed an Emergency Relief Fund to aid horses. Since then, the Foundation has donated emergency funds to the Mounted Division of the New Orleans Police Department, the Louisiana State Veterinary Medical Association’s Equine Committee Foundation, the Mississippi State Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Disaster Relief Fund, hay and feed programs in the gulf region, and for emergency preparedness programs at the University of Florida and Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, among others. The AAEP Foundation is currently accepting donations for its Equine Disaster Relief Fund at aaepfoundation.org.

Helmet awareness

Doing away with double-deckers

The second annual International Helmet Awareness Day on June 11 was a huge success. It was organized by the popular Helmet Awareness Campaign Riders4Helmets.com. Hundreds of retailers from around the globe participated by offering discounts on their helmets to equestrians looking to either upgrade, replace or buy new helmets.

The ASPCA commends Senators Mark Kirk, R-Ill. and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. for authoring S. 1281, the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2011. The legislation seeks to make the transportation of horses safer by prohibiting double-decker trailers and preventing accidents caused by the instability of such vehicles.

Helmet Awareness Day began in 2010 to support the Riders4Helmets campaign, which was created to educate equestrians on the benefits of wearing properly secured and fitting certified helmets. Because last year’s event was so successful, it went global this year. “We are delighted at the support that has been shown by manufacturers, retailers, organizations and leading equestrians in the US, Canada, UK and Australia,” says Lyndsey White, co-founder of the Riders4Helmets campaign. “We are extremely grateful to everyone who participated and I am confident that the event will not only continue to grow but that we will see even more countries commit to participating in 2012.” riders4helmets.com

Recently, the Government Accountability Office issued a report recommending a ban on the use of double-decker vehicles for horse transport. Designed for cattle and shortnecked livestock, these vehicles do not provide adequate space for horses to retain their balance, leading to unstable footing, falls, injuries, trampling and death. “It is time that we put an end to the inhumane practice of using double-decker trailers to transport horses,” says Senator Kirk. “Stacking these animals one atop the other in a moving vehicle is simply an accident waiting to happen. It is not only a cruel way to transport horses, but it also puts human lives at risk.” aspca.org

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Neighborhood news Team effort Alltech will be the title sponsor of the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, say Laurent Beauvais, chairman of the Basse-Normandie Regional Council and Normandy 2014 Organizing Committee, and Alltech president Dr. Pearse Lyons. This joint signing represents an historic partnership in the world of equestrian sports with a commitment from Alltech to the value of ten million pounds. The seventh edition of the FEI World Equestrian Games will officially be known as the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Normandy 2014. “Alltech is proud to continue our partnership with the World Equestrian Games,” says Dr. Lyons. “These world championships of equestrian sport epitomize the values that we applaud: passion, excellence and performance.” Alltech’s commitment to supporting national and international equestrian sports began in 2006, when it agreed to become the first-ever title sponsor of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. More than half a million spectators from all 50 US states and 63 countries attended the 2010 event in Kentucky, and another 500 million television viewers around the world tuned in to watch the games. The countdown to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Normandy 2014 officially began on July 8 of this year. The date marked 1,136 days to the opening day of the event on August 17, 2014. More than 900 riders and 850 horses representing more than 60 nations are expected to convene in Normandy for the games. normandie2014.com

Hendra Virus outbreak has Australian horse owners concerned The Australian Veterinary Association says that veterinarians are eagerly awaiting a horse vaccine against Hendra virus, but in the meantime knowledge and vigilance are the way to stay safe. “Horse owners and vets in Queensland Horses can contract Hendra virus when they are feeling understandably come into contact with flying foxes. nervous with the latest equine Hendra case, but knowing what to look for and being careful around sick horses will help keep people safe from this virus,” said Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) President, Dr Barry Smyth. “Hendra virus cases are fairly uncommon, and it’s not terribly contagious, says Dr. Smyth.” People can only be infected by significant contact with a horse that has the disease. However, the consequences of infection are extremely serious. “Horse owners around Australia need to be very careful when dealing with sick horses. The signs of Hendra can be quite varied, and mimic other less serious conditions. “So you should practice good hygiene around sick horses, limit contact with their body fluids, and call a vet as soon as you notice any signs of illness. These include fever, depression, wobbly or unstable movement, trouble breathing or nasal discharge.”

Photo: © MC Chantrait

Hendra virus is found naturally in Australia’s flying fox populations and causes disease when horses come into contact with flying foxes. Horse owners can reduce the risks of Hendra virus in their horses by fencing off trees attractive to flying foxes, covering horse feed and water containers, and not feeding horses with food that could appeal to flying foxes such as fruits and vegetables. Laurent Beauvais, chairman of the Basse-Normandie Regional Council and of the Normandy 2014 Organizing Committee, and Dr. Pearse Lyons, president of Alltech, celebrating the announcement of Alltech as the title sponsor of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.™


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More information for horse owners about Hendra virus can be found at www.dpi.qld.gov.au/4790_2900.htm.

equine wellness


jump on!

Get your

Free jumping can be a fun and beneficial way to enhance your horse’s training and development. by Claire Hunter


ree jumping, if done correctly, provides fantastic benefits to horses of all ages. It is a means of evaluating a young horse’s jumping potential, and assessing his attitude and natural ability over a fence. Free jumping is also valuable for developing a horse’s confidence and balance, and for teaching him to adjust his own stride without the interference of a rider.


equine wellness

Before you get started Before free jumping your horse, there are a couple of things to keep in mind to ensure a safe and successful training session.


Is the horse mentally and physically able to do what is being asked of him? I will introduce a chute to my horses when they are as young as two years; however, fences are kept under two feet high, and sessions are short and not strenuous. The youngsters will run and jump and buck in the field, which is more physically strenuous than anything I will ask of them in an arena. As three- and four-year-olds, you can begin to ask a little more of your horse as long as you have laid the groundwork and built up slowly, in confidence and fitness.

Keep sessions short and positive. You want your horse to have fun and to progress and look forward to the sessions over fences.


Consider safety. I like front boots and back boots on my horses to protect their legs while learning to jump. If they are shod, I use bell boots on the fronts as well. Good footing is very important. Traction is imperative for a confident jumping horse, and the footing should not be too deep or too shallow – either can cause injuries. Build the complexity of your fences very slowly, making sure the horse is confident and going through the chute smoothly before adjusting them. Keep sessions short and positive. You want your horse to have fun and to progress and look forward to the sessions over fences.

Setting up Building a chute is easy. Keep it simple, and make sure it’s not optional. You will need eight standards, eight poles, and a roll of yellow caution/attention tape. • Set a line of two fences 18 to 24 feet apart (depending on your horse’s stride) along one side of your arena walls. There should be three poles at the first fence, three at the second, and two spares. • The second fence will have the option of being an oxer, so place four standards there. • The remaining two standards will be used to build a lead-in and a landing chute. Place one about 20 feet before the first jump, and the second about 20 feet after the second jump. • Use caution tape to rope off the inside of the chute, starting at the lead-in standard, wrapping around the standards of the first and second jumps, and ending at the landing chute standard. Sometimes two lines of tape will be needed for a bolder visual barrier. I prefer building a barrier with caution tape as it is quicker, easier and safer than building the side of the chute with more standards and rails. equine wellness


Laying the groundwork Begin the exercise by hand walking your horse through the chute. To start, the jumps should be set as just poles on the ground. You can have your horse wear either a halter or a bridle with the reins removed. Make sure he has proper protective leg gear. Let your horse step over each grouping of poles, and understand that he is to travel through the chute without stopping. Once he has walked through and is calm and stepping over the poles correctly, let him loose and start him trotting and cantering through the chute, over the poles on the ground.

Start small Ideally, you will need two or three people helping you. You want to teach the horse to travel around the outside of the arena with a steady rhythm, not rushing but not being too lazy. Once he has trotted and cantered through the chute, you can start to build some fences. I like to start by building an X on the second fence. Send your horse through the chute, ideally trotting over the first jump (poles on ground), then cantering one stride and popping over the X. Sometimes this will take four or five goes to become nice and smooth. If your horse is a youngster that has never jumped before, stop the session here and call it a day. It is very important to praise him when he gets it right and does well, as it helps build confidence and lets him know he’s on track!

Building blocks If you are working with an older horse, or a youngster that is more experienced in a chute, you can continue to build and add a jump at the first fence. Again, start with an X. Encourage the horse to trot in to the first fence, canter one stride between, and canter the second. Once this is flowing, you can build up the height on the second fence, add jump fillers, and possibly create an oxer. The first fence will be your placing jump and should remain an X.

If your horse ever stops in the line, it is very important that he does not run back out of the chute. If you will be doing a free jumping competition with your horse, it is important to prepare him for a chute with three jumps. You’ll need a placing pole nine feet from your first jump, an X, then 21 feet to your second jump, a vertical, then an oxer placed 24 feet from the second jump. Again, build up slowly as your horse develops and understands the exercise.

Troubleshooting If your horse ever stops in the line, it is very important that he does not run back out of the chute. He needs to learn that he has to try and go through the chute no matter what. Sometimes you will need to lower the second jump, so he can just step over it and exit the chute properly and safely. Never let him stop, turn and run back out of the chute. Build the exercise slowly, and really make sure your horse is confident and keen before proceeding with more technical jumps. If you ever see that he’s nervous or worried, take a step back. If you have a horse that rushes his fences, lead him in by hand instead of letting him work loose in the arena. Using landing poles can help a horse shorten or lengthen his stride accordingly. It is important to adjust the chute to your horse’s stride while building his confidence in jumping; then you can proceed to setting the fences at show ring distances so he learns to adjust his stride and lengthen or compress if need be. As with most training exercises, if you are inexperienced or doing something new, it is best to seek the help of a professional. For a happy, confident, successful horse, it is imperative that new lessons are taught correctly and finish on a positive note. Happy free jumping!

Claire Hunter is a trainer who specializes in backing and starting young horses. For a period of time Claire worked for other equine establishments and soon recognized there was a need for a service to bridge the gap between breeders and the show ring. From there, Braecrest Stables was created. Claire has started and retrained many horses which have gone on to become successful hunters, jumpers, dressage horses and field hunters. Claire also has a breeding program and has prepared and shown many young horses successfully on the line and under saddle for both herself and her many clients.

Front and back boots can help to protect your horse’s legs.


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She has also written a chapter for Nanette Levin’s Turning Challenging Horses into Willing Partners. braecreststables.com new book,

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Feeding for allergies

Pollen, bugs, mold…they’re everywhere. A little nutrition knowledge can go a long way to lessening your horse’s allergy symptoms. by Juliet M. Getty, PhD


his time of year is especially challenging for horse owners. Heat and humidity are certainly issues, but you also have an environment brimming with insects, pollen and mold. Your horse suffers, and so do you. Perhaps you’ve found that antihistamines offer some relief – but they can lose their effectiveness over time. Or you may have succumbed to corticosteroids – these “big guns” work quickly but cannot be used for the entire season. And steroids such as dexamethazone can induce laminitis in the insulin resistant or Cushing’s horse.

A taxed immune system Anything that produces an allergic response stimulates your horse’s immune system to combat the problem. Histamines are released, along with inflammatory prostaglandins, leading to respiratory and skin reactions. If your horse has a healthy immune system, he may not be affected by environmental allergens such as grass pollen or insect stings. But even the best immune system can become exhausted from the constant bombardment of allergy-producing substances.


equine wellness

This is where nutrition comes into the picture. The goal is to bring your horse’s overactive immune function back into balance. Key nutrients can go a long way toward protecting him against allergies. The following nutritional approaches are worth considering during allergy season: • Quality protein: Antibodies that counteract allergens are made of protein. In order for your horse to produce enough antibodies, he needs to have an adequate variety of amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Grass hay offers some amino acids, but is not complete. A legume, such as alfalfa (clover and soy are also legumes), will boost the overall protein quality because it contains different amino acids. • Omega 3s: These fatty acids actually stabilize the immune system. If your horse is grazing on healthy pasture for at least eight hours a day, he is getting enough Omega 3s. If not, Omega 3s can easily be provided by adding flaxseed meal or oil to the diet. The best way to feed flaxseeds is to grind them. Do not feed whole flaxseeds since most

will not be digested. And do not soak them, since water promotes oxidation (destruction) of these fatty acids. Instead, feed a commercial flaxseed meal that is stabilized against rancidity. Dosage: √ Flaxseed meal – 1/2 cup per 400 lbs of body weight √ Flaxseed oil – 2 tablespoons per 400 lbs of body weight √ Chia seeds are also a good source of Omega 3s use 1/3 cup per 400 lbs of body weight √ Fish oils can be added in extreme cases – Reduce flax or Chia seeds by half and add 2,000 mg fish oils per 400 lbs of body weight • Minerals: A comprehensive vitamin/mineral supplement will generally cover all your bases regarding mineral intake, but disproportionate amounts can occur when the hay and/or pasture is out of balance. Copper and zinc in particular are important players in immune function; they should ideally have a 4:1 ratio of zinc to copper. Iodine and selenium need to be present in the proper amounts. Too much iodine, without enough selenium, can damage the thyroid gland, while too much selenium can be toxic. A safe iodine level is between 1 and 6 mg per day. Selenium levels can safely range from 1 to 3 mg per day for maintenance (up to 5 mg per day for intense activity). • Antioxidants: Many antioxidant supplements contain beneficial ingredients like quercetin, lipoic acid, grapeseed extract, and even coenzyme Q10. These are all worthwhile. But several vitamins also have the ability to neutralize damaging free radicals (the role of an antioxidant). A healthy pasture is the best source of vitamins for your horse. Once cut, dried and stored to make hay, it loses many key vitamins, including C, D and E as well as beta carotene (your horse uses this to make vitamin A). Omega 3 fatty acids are also virtually non-existent in hay. Vitamin C is not only an antioxidant but also has antihistamine properties. Dosage: √ Vitamin C – 20 mg per lb of body weight √ Vitamin E – 8 IU per lb of body weight √ Vitamin A – 50 IU per lb of body weight • B vitamins: The microbial population in your horse’s

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hindgut is capable of producing B vitamins. But when the immune system is compromised, additional B vitamins offer protection for many bodily systems. Though not scientific, there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that vitamin B1 (thiamin) at 1,000 mg a day repels insects. A B- complex preparation (without added iron) is an excellent choice. • Herbs: Spirulina has been shown to be especially effective for upper respiratory allergies, as well as itching and skin allergies. Give your horse 2 grams per 100 lbs of body weight, twice daily – that’s equivalent to two level tablespoons, twice daily, for the 1,000-lb horse. Another herb, Jiaogulan, at 2,000 mg twice daily, is also helpful. Stay away from garlic, as it can cause Heinz Body Anemia. Commercial garlic preparations often heat the garlic, which makes it safe but less effective at repelling bugs (though it has just as strong an odor!). • Apple cider vinegar: This is another ingredient that many horse owners have been using over the years to reduce insect bites. You can add 4 ounces to a 5-gallon water tub or to your horse’s meal.

Hydration is key Water is needed to thin mucous secretions and allow irritants to be expelled from the horse’s lungs. A full-sized horse will drink between eight and 12 gallons of water each day. Always have fresh, clean water close by (without algae growth, dead insects or bird droppings). Keep your horse’s thirst mechanism working properly by adding salt to the diet. A minimum of two tablespoons of plain white table salt is required every day. Many horses do not adequately lick a salt block, and therefore should either have granulated salt offered free choice, or one tablespoon added to each meal. Salt provides sodium – an electrolyte in which hay and pasture are deficient. It also provides chloride, to further promote fluid balance.

Beware of moldy hay If you see an area of hay that’s clumped together, is black or even white with lots of dust, that’s mold, and spores

are likely to be dispersed throughout the entire bale. The ideal situation would be to discard the whole thing. This may not be the budget-friendly thing to do, but it is the only way to eliminate risk. You could discard the moldy area from that bale and offer the rest of it along with hay from another bale to see which one your horse will eat. If provided with a choice, you may find he won’t eat from the hay bale that had mold.

Pay attention to hindgut microbial population The microbes that live in your horse’s hindgut (cecum and large colon) are not only responsible for digesting fiber and producing B vitamins, but they also protect the immune system. Promote good numbers by providing yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) as well as oligosaccharides. A good pro/prebiotic formulation will contain these two ingredients.

Genetic factors Allergies may be linked to the genetic predisposition of your horse. But that doesn’t mean the gene has to be “activated” to reveal symptoms. A horse with a healthy immune system may go unscathed by environmental irritants, while another horse of similar genetics may be miserable because his immune system just cannot handle the onslaught of allergens.

Finally, reduce stress Nutrients are “tools” that help your horse battle the pollens and insects to which he’s exposed. But don’t forget his stress level – stress suppresses the body’s ability to fight infection, making him more susceptible to developing allergies. Hot humid weather is stressful. Take means to protect him from heat-related illness. And most importantly, respect his need to graze on forage continually throughout the day and night by offering hay and/or pasture, free choice. Keep your horse happy. Fresh air, exercise, good food and the company of other horses all do wonders in keeping the immune function at its peak performance. A happy horse is a healthy horse!

Juliet M. Getty, PhD is a consultant, speaker, and writer in equine nutrition. A retired university professor and winner of several teaching awards, Dr. Getty presents seminars to horse organizations and works with individual owners to create customized nutrition plans designed to prevent illness and optimize their horses’ overall health and performance.

Based in beautiful rural Bayfield, Colorado, Dr. Getty runs a consulting company, Getty Equine Nutrition, LLC (GettyEquineNutrition.com), through which she helps horse owners locally, nationally and internationally. The well being of the horse remains Dr. Getty’s driving motivation, and she believes every horse owner should have access to scientific information in order to give every horse a lifetime of vibrant health.


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HOTtoTROT New, trendy & comfy gear for you and your horse

Want to keep cool this summer? Cool Canuck Equine’s new apparel line features fabric technology that helps create a ‘cool zone’ to regulate body temperature. Our editor is smiling in this great polo shirt, available in white or black, and sizes S, M, L. Retail: $67.00 therightdiagonal.com

And don’t forget your horse!

These cute Chill Wraps provide the same ‘cool zone’ for your horse’s legs – perfect for after a workout. Retail: $69.50 therightdiagonal.com

LOVIN’ IT! The All Weather RiderTM jacket

We love the innovative new apparel from Asmar Equestrian. The All Weather RiderTM jackets are as flattering as they are functional. Available in black, navy, camel, plum, charcoal, and brown plaid. Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, and 2XL. Retail: $330.00

Stay cool while still looking ‘hot’ Irideon Piping Hot Issential boot cut tights

Stay cool while still looking ‘hot’ in these great Irideon Piping Hot Issential boot cut tights. Available in graphite/geranium, graphite/meadow, storm/carolina, sizes S, M, L, XL. Retail: $84.95

The Rider’s Vest

Irideon Radiance Tee

You can pair your new Irideon tights with the Irideon Radiance Tee. Available in graphite, meadow, and geranium. Sizes S, M, L, XL. Retail: $39.95 irideonridingwear.com

The Rider’s Vest offers a feminine fit with a weatherproof outer layer and fleece lining. Available in red, plum, navy, camel, black, charcoal, and brown plaid. Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, and 2XL. Retail: $146.00 asmarequestrian.com

Want to see your line featured in Equine Wellness? Tip us off to any new trends at kelly@equinewellnessmagazine.com equine wellness


4 tips to successful

hoof soaking

Trying to soak the foot of a horse that wants nothing to do with it is almost impossible, not to mention extremely frustrating. These four suggestions will make the experience less stressful. by Kelly Howling


’ll never forget my initial hoof soaking experience. The first horse I had been able to purchase for myself came up extremely lame less than a week after arriving at the barn. We had done a thorough pre-purchase exam, so we knew it was not a chronic issue. A farrier and vet exam, including hoof testers and nerve blocking, revealed little. So the plan was to soak the offending foot in warm water and Epsom salts twice daily, and hope an abscess would reveal itself. Now remember that this horse was fairly new to me, and we were still getting used to each other. He really did not


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want his foot soaked, at first – I think more water ended up on the floor and on me than stayed in the bucket. Looking back, I would have done a few things differently to make both our lives a little easier.


Plan for success

Naturally, my first tip would be to get your horse used to having his legs hosed and his feet soaked/wet as early on as possible. Horses are horses, and at some point they will injure themselves – it is so much easier on everyone if they are prepared in advance to be relatively calm about first aid and therapy processes, rather than trying to “train on

the go” after the fact. I am currently dealing with a newly acquired rehab horse who has an injury that requires clipping, needling and cold hosing – none of which he readily accepts. It can make an already traumatic event so much more difficult, and I do not recommend it. A little prep work can go a long way later on!


Boot or bucket?

There are a few options to choose from when determining what you are going to soak the horse’s foot in. When using an open container, I usually find the shallower the better. Some horses tend to worry less if they don’t feel their foot is “trapped” in something. I usually use a shallow Fortiflex rubber feed pan. Specific hoof soaking products involve a strong plastic bag that can be put over the horse’s foot and tied around the leg, or just a boot that goes over the foot and can hold a poultice. What you use depends entirely on your horse’s preference and what you have available to you. Regardless of what you are using, first check to make sure the horse is comfortable standing in it dry.



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Just add water

How much water you need, what you are adding to it, and what temperature you use will depend on what your goals/needs are. Ideally the horse should not be afraid of standing in water, or getting his feet/legs wet – if he is, it makes things much more difficult. The first time I soak a foot, I have someone hold the horse rather than putting him in crossties, just in case something goes bad or the horse needs a little more support.


The soaking process

Once you have everything set, pick up the foot you need to soak, place the container under it, and lower it into the water. I find it helps to keep my hands on the horse’s leg for a bit at first, until he settles with the idea – one hand on the knee, and the other on the tendon. Sometimes I’ll take this opportunity to do a bit of acupressure or massage work to make it a nice experience for the horse and help with whatever issue he is experiencing. If the horse gets antsy or removes his foot from the soak, I don’t make a big deal of it – I just start over again from the beginning. Eventually he’ll figure out that he can stand nicely and have it become a pleasant experience, with his rider by his side.

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By mid-2008, all 38 horses of the Houston Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit were working successfully barefoot, or in hoof boots.

Walking thE

Follow the journey of one mounted unit as they took their patrol horses from shod to barefoot. by Jill Willis


id you know that every single horse in the second largest police mounted patrol unit in the US is ridden barefoot, or in hoof boots instead of shoes? It’s truly admirable how this group of police officers – one lieutenant, four sergeants and 24 officers – began taking these courageous (barefoot) steps even though all traditional forces were pushing against them.

A need for change

in the first place. So it was one-part logic and one-part hunch on the part of Houston Police Sergeant Gregory Sokoloski that led him to consider a completely different approach to caring for the Houston Police Department’s Mounted Patrol horses. This began back in 2003 after completing a thorough review of the medical histories, vet and farrier records – and the accompanying bills – of all retired four-legged employees since the Unit first started with 14 horses back in 1983.

Many of those traditions are the very reason a great majority of people do not know how to keep a horse healthy. You can find a lot more information on treating disorders or their symptoms than on preventing problems

Sergeant Sokoloski says he was initially trying to understand why so many of the horses had health and lameness issues instead of being sound and healthy, when


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they were presumably receiving all the proper care. “What was really starting to get to me were the bad answers I was getting,” he says. “But the more questions I asked, the more isolated I became.” At the time, Sergeant Sokoloski was being encouraged by a friend (an endurance rider who had watched her own horse successfully move from lameness to soundness after she removed his shoes) to consider barefoot alternatives. Although he was not inclined to believe that police horses could go barefoot, he was aware that changes were needed. “The city was spending a lot of money and just getting poor results and ongoing problems with our horses.”

Testing a theory In December 2003, Sergeant Sokoloski and his supervisor, Lt. Randall Wallace, agreed to attend a barefoot trimming seminar and demonstration where an equine cadaver leg was also dissected. “I was stunned and fascinated by the importance of the hoof mechanism and the idea that so many of the injuries and behavioral problems could be attributed to the metal shoes,” recalls Sergeant Sokoloski. After a bit more exploration and investigation, the sergeant asked for and received permission from the lieutenant to remove the shoes from his new personal mount, Shadow, a four-year-old Warmblood. They took the plunge just one week before the 2004 Super Bowl in Houston. It was not only Shadow’s first time being ridden without shoes; it was also his first time out in an official working capacity as a police horse.

Bucking the trend “The vet and farrier both contended that going to work without his shoes was dangerous and bad for the horse,” says Sergeant Sokoloski. “But we worked five 14-hour days in a row and it was amazing how much better movement Shadow had and how much more confident he was going in all gaits over the different road surfaces downtown. “His traction was excellent, he was confident with every step he took and there was no wear of his hooves after riding,” adds the sergeant. It had rained throughout the week and the wet, trash-filled streets were a slippery obstacle course, but Shadow moved through them flawlessly, frequently at a run. The only issue afterwards was a little soreness that was quickly remedied by a pair

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

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.” (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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of “Old Mac” hoof boots. “This further convinced me that barefoot was the way to go, even if there was the occasional need for hoof boots.”

Success stories Lt. Wallace was also fully convinced. “Before this, I was like most people and believed that horses were supposed to wear shoes – simply because everyone was doing it and I didn’t know any better,” he explains. “When I was introduced to barefoot, I felt my eyes were opened to the truth and it became crystal clear to me that shoes were not only unnecessary, but also detrimental to the horse. I saw that [horses had been given] all the protection they needed in the hoof, but humans had screwed that up by nailing metal shoes to [their hooves].” The two officers immediately decided the next horse to have his shoes removed would be Barney. He had been diagnosed with navicular syndrome, was chronically lame, and had been abscessing for several years. He was considered one of the best in the unit for dealing with large crowd-control situations but only worked on special occasions – no more than once a month (at the most) and then only if he was medicated with Bute. In less than two months after having his shoes pulled and being naturally trimmed, Barney astonished everyone on the force with his “sudden” soundness. He happily returned to working full time, and continues to work five days a week.

Learning curve “At the beginning of our barefoot journey some horses

took longer to transition than others and the process had a few ups and downs,” recalls Sergeant Sokoloski. “Some of the horses went through a lengthy and painful transition process; however, this gave us the opportunity to continue learning and get better with each horse. In the beginning I was the only officer trimming the horses and was generally given the ‘last chance’ on frequently lame ones. Luckily, those in charge at the HPD recognized the benefits of our barefoot program and supported us by providing the necessary resources for our program to be a continued success.” Two more police officers were encouraged to learn how to help trim the barefoot police horses. As many others have discovered, they soon learned there are differences in various methods of barefoot trimming. In 2005, the police officers attended another hoof care clinic that promoted a barefoot trimming method developed by former farrier turned natural hoof care advocate, Jaime Jackson, who uses the hooves of wild, free-roaming mustangs as the ideal model. Given the demands on working police horses and the varied terrains they travel on, the officers agreed it was logical to use this method so their horses would have the same strong, tidy, rock-hard hooves of wild mustangs. By late 2007, Officers Danny Pryor and Scott Berry had enrolled in Jackson’s AANHCP Natural Hoof Care Training & Certification program and, along with Sergeant Sokoloski, successfully transitioned 21 horses to barefoot. By the middle of 2008, the entire herd of 38 horses was working either barefoot or in hoof boots.

Visible benefits

“We prove day in and day out that a barefoot horse is just as capable, has much better traction, will not wear his hooves down, and is quite comfortable doing it six hours a day, five days a week -- or longer -- barefoot,” says Sergeant Sokoloski.


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Once the police officers began using the “wild horse model” as their method of trimming, they began making changes to naturalize other parts of the horses’ lifestyle. While watching the health of their horses consistently improving, they also saw their veterinary and farrier expenses steadily decreasing. “We used to have problems with the horses tripping, stumbling and abscessing all the time,” says Sergeant Sokoloski. “The medical logs were filled with comments about these issues along with notes about tendon and back problems and poor hoof quality with the shoes. What is amazing is that all these conditions have stopped. It is incredible to see the medical logs with months and months of various medical conditions – and then no more entries after ‘barefooting’.”

Prior to beginning this journey, none of the police officers was inclined to think horses could function without shoes. “Although I had racing Quarterhorses of my own at the time, I was originally ignorant and thought that horses had to wear shoes,� said Sergeant Leslie Wills who, along with Sergeant Sokoloski, trains both the horses as well as the police officers when they are first learning how to ride. “Greg gave me one of his books on barefoot horses and it all made perfect sense to me. I immediately went into the Mounted Patrol Unit after reading that book and had Greg pull the shoes off my assigned horse, Suzy Q. I have never looked back since! I believe we are making great strides in the barefoot movement. The horses at the Houston Police Mounted Patrol have never been happier or healthier since going barefoot.�

In addition to all 38 horses being barefoot, most are also ridden bitless -- usually in rope halters.

“The ability the horse has to heal and reshape his hooves into their [natural] form is amazing,� says Sergeant Sokoloski. “During the process of healing, enormous changes are occurring, not only outside, but also inside. The most important part of this process is to allow the horse to heal by keeping the hoof form correct and providing turnout so that the horse can move as much as possible. We prove day in and day out that a barefoot

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horse is just as capable, has much better traction, will not wear his hooves down, and is quite comfortable doing it six hours a day, five days a week – or longer – barefoot.”

Living the barefoot life “The greatest testament of departmental backing we have received with our barefoot program was the planning and construction of our new state-of-theart facility, which was specifically designed with the barefoot horse in mind,” says Sergeant Sokoloski. In fact, a substantial portion of the savings in vet and farrier bills helped fund the new 15-acre facility to house the Mounted Patrol and Canine Units. Completed in early 2009, the new facility is five times larger than the previous one and designed to help naturalize the horse’s lifestyle. Of course, some traditional elements have remained in place. Although each horse does get stalled part of the time, every stall has an attached 50-foot run with crushed granite footing and is equipped with a “slow feeder” to give the horses free choice access to grass hay. The slow feeders encourage the horses to work harder at getting to their hay; this provides them with more mental stimulation and emulates the natural nibbling aspect of eating smaller amounts over a longer period. During their “off days”, the horses are turned out together on dirt pastures with minimal green grass but 24/7 access to grass hays. Most equipment and tack for the HMP horses is purchased through donations by private individuals and companies. For more information or to make a donation, email Sergeants Sokoloski or Wills at Gregory.Sokoloski@cityofhouston.net or Leslie.Wills@ cityofhouston.net.

Jill Willis is a Natural Hoof Care/Horse Care advocate and Board Member of the AANHCP (Association for the Advancement of Natural Horse Care Practices) and a partner of Jaime Jackson’s at the Institute for the Study of Natural Horse Care Practices. Her oldest horse, ZA Apollo+ (now 24 years) spent most of his first 19 years shod on all four feet as a result of her ignorance, and gets all the credit for her shifting to a different and better paradigm.

It’s especially impressive that a unit patrolling a city as large as Houston has gone barefoot with their horses, but other police departments in the country have also removed the shoes from their police horses -- including those in Austin, Texas, Tampa in Florida, Las Vegas, and Madison, Wisconsin. 28

equine wellness


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Balancing act

Deciphering the correct balance between calcium and phosphorous doesn’t have to feel like a bad math class flashback! By Sandy Siegrist


et me begin by saying I was a math geek in high school. I loved formulas and complicated equations. Remember those word problems that made everyone groan? Yup, while the rest of the class rolled their eyes and complained, I imagined zipping along on Train A while it hurtled toward Train B at 800 mph, trying to figure out when we would collide. But let’s start this discussion of the proper ratio of calcium to phosphorus in your horse’s body and food by agreeing to keep things as simple as possible. We can understand how the minerals work and how much our horses should be consuming without having to tackle any complicated math!

What theses minerals do for the body Calcium and phosphorus, like all the essential minerals, provide nutrients that assist our bodies in functioning properly. Think about them like oil in your car. If your oil level is too low or too high, the engine doesn’t work


equine wellness

properly. Likewise, if you don’t have minerals in your body, it won’t work well.

Calcium This is the most abundant mineral in the body. It’s found mostly in the bones and teeth – it is needed by the body for healthy outer layers of bone. It’s essential for the heart to function and for normal blood clotting. For obvious reasons, it’s critical in pregnancy and lactation. The body also needs calcium to facilitate appropriate nerve conduction, muscle contraction, temperature regulation and glandular activity. If the body doesn’t have adequate calcium, the following issues may arise: • Muscle cramps • Numbness in the arms or legs

• Porous or fragile bones (most often in the horse’s jaw – you may see loose teeth as a result) • Joint pain • Tooth decay • Nervousness • Depression or irritability

Phosphorous This is the second most abundant mineral in the body. Phosphorous is required to metabolize calcium properly and is regulated in the body by the parathyroid glands. It is also critical for the construction of bones and teeth – it’s used to build the inner structure of bones. Phosphorus assists in synthesizing lecithin and cerebrin, which are needed by the brain. It stimulates hair growth and maintains bone density. It also functions as a pH buffer in the body, preventing the blood from becoming too acidic or alkaline. It plays a role in how the body stores and uses energy and helps reduce muscle pain after a hard workout. Inadequate phosphorus levels in the body can result in: • Arthritis • Loss of appetite • Joint stiffness • Fragile bones or bone pain • Fatigue and weakness • Anxiety • Irritability • Decreased bone and tooth development in foals

Why is the ratio important? Life is all about balance. And optimal health is all about balancing nutrition, exercise and emotional happiness. Calcium maintains balance between sodium, potassium and magnesium in the body. And it’s essential for the proper utilization of phosphorus and vitamins A, C and D. Phosphorus helps balance iodine, magnesium and zinc, as well as vitamin D. In addition, for every gram of phosphorus that enters the small intestine, the body requires one gram of calcium to accompany it before the phosphorus can be effectively absorbed. If there isn’t enough calcium in the horse’s food to “match up” with the phosphorus being consumed, the body will use calcium from elsewhere – most likely by demineralizing the bones. So you can see that calcium and phosphorus are married to each other – they depend on one another for proper balance in the body. equine wellness


Four steps to balance 1. Test your hay to determine the calcium to phosphorus ratio. 2. Read feed labels on grain products, paying attention to the quantity of calcium versus phosphorus. 3. Be cautious with the use of high phosphate wormers. 4. Offer free choice minerals to allow your horse to balance his calcium/ phosphorus levels appropriately.

of 5:1 or higher – that’s way too much calcium for horses. Most grass hays have higher calcium than phosphorus without having too much calcium, so they are the forage of choice. Also be careful using high phosphate fertilizers on your pastures, as that can throw off the balance of minerals in your horse’s grazing ration. Carefully read labels on any grain products you feed your horse. You will have to do a little math, but just be sure that the feed contains about twice as much calcium as phosphorus. Many processed feeds have too much phosphorus – remember if there is too much phosphorus, the body will begin to de-mineralize the bones to compensate, resulting in long-term health issues and a risk for skeletal problems. Grains, wheat bran and rice bran are all very high in phosphorus and should only be fed at low levels, if at all.

For horses, most experts recommend a ratio of 1.1 to 2.5 parts calcium to one part phosphorus. This is written as 1.1:1 to 2.5:1 calcium to phosphorus. Mature horses can get by with the lower end of 1.1 to 2.0 parts calcium to one part phosphorus. It makes sense that they don’t need as much calcium over the one part required for phosphorus utilization since they are no longer growing bones and teeth. Younger horses and pregnant or lactating mares require the 2.0 to 2.5 parts calcium.

Free choice minerals

Be aware that your horse can consume too much calcium as well. Excessive calcium interferes with the body’s ability to absorb other minerals like magnesium, copper, zinc and iron. In addition, the body will have to work to eliminate the excess calcium via the kidneys, which can result in additional health issues and stress on these vital organs. A ratio higher than 2.5:1 calcium/phosphorous can produce the following:

Finally, be aware that some chemical wormers are high in phosphates, specifically some of the boticides. This will impact how much calcium is required by the body to compensate. Once again, offering free choice minerals can help the horse maintain an appropriate mineral balance.

• Poor hoof and hair quality • Sore back • Soft tissue injuries (e.g., suspensory tears and bowed tendons) • Decreased reproductive ability • Over-calcification of joints • Kidney stones

How do you know if your feeding program is balanced? The majority of your horse’s food should be in the form of forage – grass hay or pasture. It’s wise to have your hay tested to determine what the ratio of calcium to phosphorus is. Be aware that alfalfa typically has a ratio


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I offer my horses an assortment of free choice minerals so they can balance their own bodies. It’s amazing to see what they tend to eat during different seasons when they’re eating more hay versus pasture. And they will often dip into one of the minerals when we get a new shipment of hay – they have to balance their calcium/ phosphorus ratio to accommodate the changes in mineral levels in the feed.

And there you have it! You’ve survived what you thought would be a painful discussion of complicated math! Just remember that your horse needs balance in his life – and it’s up to you as his steward to help him achieve it.

Sandy Siegrist is a lifelong horsewoman who practices natural horsemanship, healing and horse care techniques. She works with clients throughout the U.S. to evaluate their feeding and horsekeeping programs based on their horses’ specific needs.

She also does

energy work and overall health analyses, often taking in horses for more extensive rehabilitation.

Sandy’s approach to horse care is based on

natural and alternative therapy techniques and incorporates bio-energy testing, cranio-sacral therapy, acupressure, kinetics, herbs and flower essences, among others. Her lectures and articles address nutrition, hoof care, bodywork, worming, vaccinations, and emotional wellbeing, grounded in maintaining a more natural environment and healthcare practices. perfectanimalhealth.com

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a natural performer

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

The horse: Le Baronet Terry Figaro 2 (Figaro or “Fig”)

Breed/Ancestry: Le Cheval Canadian Physical description: 16.3hh black stallion

“I have not shown Figaro for ribbons, but we do participate in charity events (SPCA, tsunami relief), and breed demonstrations for the Canadian horse.

Owner/Guardian: Laura Luszczek-Dubreuil

“His biggest accomplishment thus far is catching the eye of the film industry – you may see him on TV in the near future!”

Discipline/area of expertise: Figaro participates mainly in classical dressage, but has also done some endurance, jumping and barrel racing. He is also trick-trained for movies and commercials.


Awards and accomplishments:

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How you met: “I acquired Figaro 11 years ago from Quebec. I found him with the help of a broker. I had looked at many horses, but something about Figaro just jumped out at me. He was four at the time, and when I first met him he knew nothing – you could barely lead him. He was never mean, but was quite the handful. Many potential buyers had turned him down for this reason. With time and patience we found the diamond in the rough – he just needed someone to guide him. These days most people don’t

Photos: Laura Sperduti

Age: 15 years

believe me when I tell them he is a stallion, because he is so good natured.”

Natural care principles and positive results: “Figaro performs barefoot, and we do a lot of liberty work as well as riding bitless and bareback. Both my husband and I believe in letting him be a horse. As a result he is very happy and laid back, as can be seen through our training and showing.

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.

“I believe that while it is good to work a horse, he needs to know he can enjoy himself with you as well. I work with Figaro through riding and trick-training, but we also have days when we just play or spend an hour together with a good grooming. It is amazing how much you can bond with your horse doing this type of thing, but it requires time and patience. People see what Figaro and I have, and want to achieve it, but it isn’t something you can teach – it is earned. Figaro does things for me because he wants to, not because he has been trained – we have mutual trust and respect.”

Personality profile: “Figaro really is a big teddy bear who loves to perform for people. If he sees someone new in the arena, I sometimes can’t get him to stop showing off his Spanish walk, or bowing to get their attention. If there is a camera anywhere he loves to stop and pose. He also loves licorice and some Guinness on his birthday!”

About you: “I believe in more natural management for one reason – it allows the horse to connect with you on a better level, while at the same time letting him live and communicate in a way he understands and enjoys. In the long run, this is better for horses, mentally and physically. I have been working with horses for over 20 years, participating in various disciplines, and have worked with racehorses for 13 years. At the end of the day, I appreciate the work our horses go through in any sport. We ask so much of them, and it is nice to see them have a chance to live more naturally for the betterment of their physical and mental health.”

Advice: “There are lots of training techniques out there to help you achieve a

better connection with your horse, and that’s great. But if you want to create an even better bond, there is nothing more beneficial than lots of quality time spent together. It is amazing how much you can learn from your horse by just spending time with and around him.”





Roch & Equi-Bow How a student of this unique healing technique helped a lame, easilyspooked horse become a champion. by Amelia Connolly

After many ups and downs, Dara and Roch are able to return to the show ring.


met Dara and her horse Roch after finishing my first unit of the Equi-Bow Canada practitioner’s course. Dara was using a heated massager on Roch’s back to help him relax, and we got into a conversation about some of his problems. Dara asked me about Equi-Bow and I managed to stammer out a feeble explanation of the technique. Having only just completed Unit One, I knew it worked but wasn’t very good at explaining how. Dara told me a little more about her horse and asked if I would be interested in using Roch as a case study for my course. I was delighted to have a horse to practice on so I agreed.

A complicated case My excitement dwindled and turned to nerves when


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she brought out “The Binder”. Inside this very thick binder were copies of every vet bill, write-up, suggestion, x-ray and ultrasound result. She had it all – dates, times and suggestions from each and every professional who had been hired to help her horse. She also handed me a timeline that summarized his diagnostic journey, which, while easier to follow, was still eight pages long! When I got home, I read through the binder, poring over all the different veterinary and specialist reports that referred to Roch. I don’t need to tell you that the costs totaled into the high thousands. Roch had vague, intermittent level one lameness from the time he was purchased two years earlier. But it was a roving lameness – difficult to pinpoint. Although his pre-purchase

x-rays revealed nothing, he was very tight, guarded and uncomfortable, with explosive spooking episodes. Although it appeared he had stifle issues, x-rays and ultrasounds were clear. It looked like he might have had neurological issues, but a visit to the neurologist ruled that out. So did neck x-rays. Hocks were also x-rayed clean. Kissing spine and a spinal impingement were also ruled out after a nuclear scintigraphy at the Ontario Veterinary College revealed nothing of clinical significance.

A lesson in belief After reading through the binder, I felt decidedly overwhelmed and thought it might be best to talk to my instructors, Cheryl Gibson and Simone Usselman-Tod, to see if they could help Roch. After all, who was I to be performing Equi-Bow on Roch? I was only a student and Roch was one of the first horses I ever worked on. I felt totally out of my league. Handing the binder over to Cheryl and Simone, I asked them if they could help Roch. They handed the binder back to me and said, “No, but you can.” I was in shock and disbelief! A million thoughts swirled through my head: Me? Are they sure? How can they be so sure when I’m not? We talked about my strategy for Roch’s first session, discussing the different procedures we had learned in class. All the while, Cheryl and Simone reassured me this was something I could do and was ready to do. I wasn’t so sure, but decided to give Roch and Dara my best efforts.

First steps I met with Dara at her barn a few days later with my Equi-Bow manual in hand. She had Roch groomed, ready and waiting in the crossties. I explained the process to her: I would be making a series of light movements on various parts of his body, then stopping and waiting for him to process the information. This processing time allows the brain and body to connect with one another and recognize that a change is occurring. All eyes were on us. I could feel other boarders looking, watching and judging. I pushed them out of my mind – there was only Roch and I. We worked together. I made the moves and Roch let me know when he needed a few more minutes to process, or when he was ready for more moves.

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Saddle fit tips

Tip #3 – Gullet channel width Is your horse reluctant to bend laterally, or use his back correctly? Do you frequently need an equine chiropractor? It could be his saddle. There is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to the gullet channel of your horse’s saddle. The width of each horse’s spine determines how wide the gullet channel must be.

Here’s how to calculate how wide your horse’s spine is: Stand on his left side and place your hands on his spine in the area where his saddle will sit. Then, with the tips of your fingers, gently palpate downward towards the ground. You will first feel bone (the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae), then a slight rigidity (the supraspinal ligament), and finally, an area where there is a bit more give. This is his back, or longissimus dorci muscle. Mark the start of this muscle and then do the same thing on your horse’s right side. Next, take your right hand and make a bridge over your horse’s back from mark to mark. Put your left hand inside that “bridge”. The number of fingers you can get inside your bridged hand will determine how wide the gullet channel of your horse’s saddle must be.

The importance of consistent width It is very important that the width of the gullet channel be the same throughout the entire length of the saddle. Too often we see saddles with gullet channels that are the appropriate width at the front, but then progressively narrower towards the back. The result is a saddle that has a four to five finger-width gullet channel under the pommel, but only two to three fingers at the cantle. If you consider the anatomical structure of the horse’s back, this makes no sense. Your horse’s spine and surrounding ligaments do not get narrower over the length of his saddle-support area; in order to ensure adequate spinal clearance, neither should the gullet channel of his saddle.

Too wide or too narrow? We don’t often find a saddle that is too wide through the gullet channel for a particular horse. But such a saddle will have an inadequate weight-bearing surface, may start to strip muscle away from the top of the ribs, and the back of the tree may actually rest on the spine. A much more common problem is a saddle with a gullet channel that’s too narrow. This saddle will sit on the horse’s spine and/or ligaments. This is especially noticeable when the horse goes around a corner. If he is tracking to the left, you will see the saddle shift to the right, so that the left-side panel rests on the horse’s spine/ligaments. This is something we must avoid at all costs.

Consequences of poor channel fit In the short term, a saddle that sits on the horse’s spine/ligaments will cause him to tighten his back muscles and hollow his back. This produces the very opposite of the nice rounded back we want to see, particularly in dressage. In the long term, a saddle with a gullet channel that’s too narrow will cause permanent, irreversible and often career-ending injury or damage to the horse’s back. The most severe forms of such damage are spinal stenosis (compression and narrowing of the spinal canal) and spondylosis (degeneration of the vertebrae). Proper saddle fit is crucial for preventing these conditions. 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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After about ten minutes, it was evident he was beginning to drop his guard and relax. He was starting to trust me and seemed to know I was there to help him heal. The session ended with lots of yawning, licking, chewing and deep breathing – all wonderful signs of relaxation as his nervous system went from “fight/flight” to “rest/digest”.

Success! I made a commitment to Dara to come and perform EquiBow on Roch every five days. Since his problems were so chronic and so complex, I worked with him every five days for the next three months, then every seven to ten days after that. As I progressed with my studies and learned more procedures, Roch reaped the benefits – he was becoming less stiff and moving more freely. His dangerous spooking behavior was decreasing. He appeared to be “one horse” again rather than disconnected. I continue to see Roch and Dara every other week and had the honor and pleasure of watching them dominate the show ring at Fallfest 2010, where they became Grand Champion Amateur in First Level dressage. What a feeling of accomplishment to see such a dramatic change in a horse that months earlier had been written off as dangerous, unrideable and never likely to be sound again! He is more comfortable now and the spooks are less frequent. They have not stopped completely, the lameness still is roving, but their good riding days are easily outnumbering the bad. Dara has kept up with Roch’s Equi-Bow maintenance and he is a much happier horse because of it.

A change for the better Equi-Bow has changed the way I see and handle horses. Cheryl and Simone’s guidance, along with their trust and gentle nudges, have helped me expand my skills and knowledge to a much higher level. Since I started this journey, I have helped many people reconnect with their horses, and have helped lame horses find soundness, stiff horses become suppler, and head-shy horses love having their faces scratched again! The fulfillment I take from being a practitioner is far-reaching. I feel I can be a catalyst to help any horse’s body find healing. I would not trade these experiences for anything!

Amelia Connolly is a recent Equi-Bow Canada graduate (equi-bowcanada.com). She may be contacted at straightarrowstables.com.

Treat without sweets The founder of Skode’s Horse Treats Inc. wanted to create a goody that her Insulin Resistant and Cushing’s horses could enjoy. And so the company was born, creating a line of specialty low sugar/low starch carbohydrate treats using fresh ingredients, whole foods and organic herbs. Their new Salt Squares are the first equine salt supplement in treat form, and include organic apple cider vinegar, ancient sea salt, rosehips, flax, and more, with a combined sugar/starch level of only 4.1%. Tasty, and good for your horse’s health, too! skodeshorsetreats.com

HEADS UP Fenced in We all love the look of pristinely painted post and rail fencing – but it can require so much upkeep. System Fence offers an alternative with their popular Flex Rail fencing system. High-grade polymer surrounds three high tensile wires in 5.25”, 4.25”, or 1” widths. This durable, flexible, and highly visible fencing can sustain the wear and tear of horses while maintaining its shape and keeping your property looking beautiful. Never paint a fence again! systemfence.com

In the shade Anyone with a pale-nosed horse knows the difficulty of keeping that sensitive area from becoming sunburned and sore. Sunscreens can be ineffective or require multiple applications. Enter the NagTM Horse Ranch Nose Shade & Full Face Shade line! Made of durable 90% UV proof materials, you can choose from simple nose-only coverage to full-face shades. There is also a model that can be worn with the horse’s bridle for trail riding. naghorseranch.com

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Riders are athletes too! Competitive riders always ensure their horses are looked after at shows, but often neglect their own nutrition and hydration during the day. Here’s how to make some positive personal changes. by Dr. Valeria Breiten

magine if we expected horses at a competition to do without adequate water or food for the day? Someone would be sure to complain about inhumane treatment. Yet riders sometimes treat themselves inhumanely when they skip breakfast, eat junk food on the run, and don’t drink enough water. Studies conducted on schoolchildren have shown that their brains don’t function well when they skip breakfast. Riders and trainers are no different!


state, digestion becomes a low priority for the body. Foods that you can prepare the day before include wraps or a vegetable frittata. Some people find protein smoothie drinks easier to digest under pressure. Regardless of what you select, you will need to prepare or buy the food the night before, enjoy eating it cold, and make some quiet time during the first several hours of the day to actually eat it. You’ll be glad you did!

How can you improve your nutrition during a show to help yourself think more clearly, enjoy more energy, and keep your nerves settled? And do you value these things enough to change bad habits?

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It starts with breakfast The first issue is finding time to eat breakfast – horse show mornings can be early, and hectic! The ideal breakfast is one that balances carbohydrates, protein and fat. I find breakfast is better digested if it’s real food – not a highly processed protein bar. For example, eggs, potato and spinach cooked together the night before can be chilled and eaten on the go next morning. Add something like orange slices and you have a nice balance. I would encourage a warm beverage to round out the meal. If you take even ten minutes to sit down and eat, your digestion is greatly improved. When you are in a stressed


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The next point to focus on is hydration – it is essential for top functioning. Preparing bottles of water the day before will help you gauge how well you are doing on water consumption. If you have four 16-ounce bottles set out to drink during the day, then you will have a clear visual reminder if you fall behind. If you like, you can add various flavor powders to the bottles when you’re ready to drink them. You may need to experiment with protein powders and vitamin C boosters (like Emergen-C) to determine which flavors suit you best. Do this ahead of time – it’s not something you’d want to do for the first time at a show!

A different take on fast food Improving the foods you eat throughout a show day is important. I recommend bringing a cooler of fast and easy finger foods such as apple slices, sliced melon, hard boiled

eggs, cheese sticks, nuts and nut butter, celery, carrots and cucumbers. Any of these can be a great supplement to the “fast food” options most vendors offer at competitions. If you buy a hamburger from a vendor and add some of the carrots, celery and apple slices you brought along, it will greatly improve the overall nutritional value of your meal. Fruits and vegetables are easy to digest, have enough fiber to prevent blood sugar spikes, and help maintain electrolyte balance. Watermelon is a crowd favorite – it tastes great and replenishes your electrolytes after you have been working hard and sweating. If you eat a good breakfast within a couple hours of rising, and drink plenty of water through the day, your body will let you know when it is hungry. Your cooler of food will allow you to sit down for a few minutes between classes and make good food choices.

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Settling the nerves The last area to discuss is calming your stomach – shows can be nerve-wracking and that results in poor digestion. Our bodies aren’t made to endure prolonged and intense stress. Calming the nerves is important for good health and performance. If your stomach is upset it can also affect your mood – most of our serotonin and melatonin are manufactured in the gut. Keeping your stomach happy keeps you happy! Yoga breathing can calm the whole system without intruding on the limited time available during the day. It can be as simple as taking in deep breaths and letting out equally long full breaths, with a slight hold when the lungs are full and empty. I especially like the herb Bacopa from India for competition situations. It calms and clears the mind. Two capsules the evening before a show, and then every four hours as needed after that, can be very helpful for keeping things in balance. Bach Rescue Remedy can also help keep you effective without any drowsiness or negative effects. Create a plan for your own personal care that’s equal to the one you have for your horse. He can’t compete to his best potential if you’re not also at your best. Dr. Valeria Breiten is a licensed naturopathic physician and registered dietitian. She is excited to now be offering in her office Scenar therapy for healing and pain relief. Scenar is an affordable and effective treatment developed for the Russian astronaut program. Her office is in Chandler, Arizona and her website is DrValeria.net for more information.

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What’s biting you? Learn to recognize and understand the top four creepy-crawlies that can put the “bite” on your horse – and on you! by Lee Townsend


hey may be small, but there are insects out there that can affect the health and comfort of your horse – and even your safety as a rider. Can you recognize these pests and the symptoms of their bites or stings, and do you know how to manage them safely and effectively?

The hit list Let’s start with a quick review of the blood feeders. Most of these groups have representative species in every region of the country. The importance of each can vary by location, and even from year to year based on weather patterns. Their bites are often painful, and some are potential disease vectors. While it may take many bites to bother a horse, a single bite from an infected insect can transfer a pathogen that may result in illness, debilitation, or in some cases even death.


Mosquitoes (Family Culicidae) are at the top of the list. Some species are vectors of encephalitis (Eastern Equine, St Louis, and West Nile), while others are just an annoyance. Some can be a problem during wet years, while others thrive under dry conditions. Excessive spring rains over much of the country this year led to


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large populations of floodwater mosquitoes. The eggs of these mosquitoes can survive for years in low-lying areas, hatching quickly when covered by pooled water. While floodwater mosquitoes are generally not disease vectors, huge numbers can develop quickly and move up to ten or 20 miles as they disperse and search for blood meals. Because of this, there is no opportunity to deal with breeding sites – a key strategy in mosquito management. The best way to protect horses is to keep them inside during prime feeding times for mosquitoes, or apply protectant insecticide applications or sprays. Fortunately, floodwater mosquitoes tend to be active for only a relatively short period. Several mosquito species breed in the green water that accumulates in artificial containers. Reduced rainfall results in a small number of sites, but the abundant microbes in the “dirty” water provide food for mosquito larvae (wrigglers). Several of these species feed on birds and mammals, providing a bridge to move the encephalitis virus to horses or humans. These mosquitoes stay near the breeding sites, so riders can help manage mosquitoes locally by eliminating or treating standing or collected

water around stables and paddocks.


Horse flies and deer flies (Family Tabanidae) are persistent, painful biters that attack horses and riders during the day. These flies use their excellent eyesight and strong flying ability to dart to hosts from resting sites on vegetation. Blade-like mouthparts slice the skin, creating small pools of blood for the flies to take up. These noisy insects can make horses difficult to handle as the animals try to stop or escape the incessant bites. The flies’ blood meals are often interrupted by defensive actions from the horse – consequently, a fly may have to visit several animals in order to get a complete meal. This pattern of interrupted feeding increases the chances of disease transmission. Tabanids are very signifcant vectors of equine infectious anemia in some parts of the US. Tabanid larva are semi-aquatic – they develop in soils along creek banks, seepage areas, or other moist sites. This means there is no practical means of controlling breeding sites. Protection must be focused on the animal. Insecticides or sprays may provide some temporary relief from bites, but flies must land on the treated coat to come in contact with the product. They may land and attempt to bite before the product has a chance to work. Horses are bothered even if the flies don’t feed; protective applications appear to be ineffective.


Ticks, relatives of insects, are particularly troublesome for horses that are pastured or ridden in overgrown brushy areas that provide the protection and small animal hosts needed for blood meals. Hungry ticks wait on vegetation along trails and the margins of wooded areas with their front legs extended to cling to passersby. They move upward in search of a suitable feeding site and insert their barbed mouthparts. A cement-like substance holds them in place until they are engorged. Then they detach and fall to the ground.


Tick numbers are generally lowest in open, sunlit areas with scarce or short vegetation. They soon perish in hot, dry areas. In some cases, it may be possible to ride in areas that are not obvious “tick country”.

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However, that is often just not practical, so regular tick checks allow you to detect and remove the pests, hopefully before they have a chance to attach. Check protected areas where the hair coat is thin, especially along the mane and around the tail head. Embedded ticks should be removed carefully. Grasp them with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull slowly and steadily until they detach. A thorough grooming after the ride can help locate ticks that were missed.


Stable flies may be last on this list but they could also be right at the top, especially based on their painful bite. Stable flies usually feed once a day, preferring to land on the lower leg or along the belly of the horse. Horses bothered by stable flies frequently stomp their feet in an attempt to stop the relentless attack. As with horse and deer flies, this results in interrupted feedings. Stable flies can be vectors of equine infectious anemia. Stable flies breed in decaying feed, vegetation, and hay or straw mixed with feces or manure, so they can be abundant around stables and barns. The life cycle from egg to adult can be as short as three weeks, so regular sanitation and


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waste management around your facility can play a major role in managing this insect. As large mammals, horses present attractive targets to many blood-feeding arthropods. It is difficult to protect them when pest populations or the threat of disease are high. Knowing the behavior and activity patterns of pests, along with management practices and potential protectants, can help maintain a comfortable and healthy horse that can be handled safely.


Lee Townsend is an extension entomologist in the UK College of Agriculture. He is responsible for extension programs with livestock, forage, and tobacco insects and is coordinator of the Kentucky Pesticide Safety Education Program.

Holistic Veterinary advice Talking with Dr. Cheryl L. Detamore

Cheryl L. Detamore, DVM, has practiced equine medicine for over 13 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™, an effective treatment for a wide range of equine ailments – from skin infections and allergic reactions to serious wounds and soft-tissue injuries, and MeliHeal Canine Wonder Salve™ for dogs. MeliHeal.com Send your questions to: Holistic veterinary advice. email: info@equinewellnessmagazine.com Our veterinary columnists respond to questions in this column only. We regret we cannot respond to every question. This column is for information purposes only. It is not meant to replace veterinary care. Please consult your veterinarian before giving your horse any remedies.

Q: My new mare is terribly needle-shy. It makes it very difficult for the veterinarian to do even routine work on her. Do you have any suggestions to help make horses more comfortable with needles? I’d like to make things easier on both my horse and vet.

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Once you establish a trusting relationship with your new mare, you can begin the process of desensitizing her to intramuscular injection and intravenous puncture. I recommend the following steps: • Begin by massaging, rubbing or scratching the injection area with your hand — whatever she finds pleasant. Do not use any tool or device, just a gentle touch and reassuring words. Watch her ears and body language for signs of stress, backing off when necessary. • After she appears at ease and seems to enjoy the attention, introduce a syringe, without the needle. Let the horse see the syringe and begin establishing a relaxation routine by first running the syringe gently over her face and body, then working your way to the neck area.

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• When she is comfortable with the syringe, attach the needle (with cap), repeating the above process. The next step is to pinch the skin over the intramuscular injection area and push your thumb into the intravenous

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A: With three distinct phases, most tendon injuries take at least a year to heal.

1. The acute stage is the first month after injury, when the

main objective is to minimize inflammation. This generally involves compression, hydrotherapy, non-steroidal antiinflammatories, and limiting the horse’s activities.

2. This is followed by the subacute stage, which usually

lasts up to three months after the injury occurs. At this stage, the goal is to repair the tendon. As far as exercise goes, light walking is okay as long as the inflammation has dissipated.

3. Approximately three months after the onset of the injury, the so-called chronic phase begins. During this period, the aim is to take the necessary steps to prevent re-injury once the tendon is healed. Indeed, the tendon injury will leave a scar, but the objective is to leave the best scar possible, with the fibers arranged longitudinally (instead of crosswise). Controlled exercise is permitted during this time, but the tendon should be monitored by a veterinarian to ensure proper healing.

Q: Why are there white, blue and red salt blocks, and which is best for our horses?

jugular groove. End the exercise by gently poking the capped needle over the injection area. Use this routine to desensitize both sides of the body.

A: White blocks generally contain salt only, while colored blocks typically contain both salt and minerals. With so many choices, it is imperative to choose a product made specifically for horses. Never use a product made for cattle or multiple kinds of stock. Each species has different needs, and what is good for one can be harmful to another.

It’s important not to rush the desensitization process. It may take days, weeks, or months until your horse is comfortable around needles. And keep in mind that just because your horse trusts you during these exercises, it doesn’t necessarily mean she will allow another person to perform tasks that make her feel uncomfortable. But having you near during those times will hopefully offer some reassurance.

When choosing salt and minerals for horses, read labels carefully and choose a supplement that corresponds to the needs of your area. For instance, some regions of the country are deficient in selenium and thus require additional supplementation. Meanwhile, other regions have excessive selenium in the soil — and adding more to the horse’s diet could result in toxicity.

Q: Why is it that tendon injuries require so long to heal? It seems odd that something so “small” can put a horse out of commission for so long.

While blocks are convenient and easy to use, loose salt and minerals are actually better for horses, which unlike cows, grasp food (or any substance) with their lips rather than their tongues. Although horses that eat a balanced diet generally don’t have salt or mineral deficiencies, make


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these nutrients available throughout the year – not just during the warmer months of spring and summer.

Q: Does cold hosing actually do anything? It seems hard to believe that hosing a horse’s leg for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day offers a significant benefit. Sometimes it feels like my vet is just trying to give me something to do so I feel better? A: Hydrotherapy is a great way to increase circulation, which can reduce swelling and ease discomfort. And when done properly, it can aid in healing an injury or wound. It is particularly beneficial for the legs, as circulation is poor on the lower parts of the body. For optimal benefits, use hydrotherapy at least twice a day, for a minimum of 15 minutes per session. Removing the spray nozzle (never use pressure) and using a gentle stream from the hose, start directing water well above the area you are treating, allowing it to run down the length of the limb or over the affected area. Take care to avoid spraying the affected site directly. It may take a few days to see improvement, especially with a difficult wound or injury; but your vet is right, hydrotherapy really does offer a significant benefit.

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From Agony to ecstasy

Saddle up! Horses that dance and fidget while being saddled can be frustrating and dangerous to deal with. These tips will help teach your horse to stand patiently for saddling. by Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard


ave you ever gone to the barn, full of anticipation for a great ride, only to spend half your time attempting to saddle up as your horse dances around? Saddling problems range from being simply annoying to downright dangerous. You can correct these problem yourself by following the sequence of steps described below.

Fit matters First, check to see if the saddle fits your horse properly. If you are not sure how, get help from a saddle fitter, or someone else who has experience with this skill. Then check your horse’s back and girth area to be sure that pain is not an issue – get help from a veterinarian if needed.

Back to basics If the saddle fit is good and your horse is pain free, yet you still have a problem saddling him, it’s probably because there’s a “hole” somewhere in his basic training. Let’s just put the saddle down for now and get back to basics. Begin by working in an enclosed area like a round pen, where your horse can work loose yet feel secure. Outfit him in a halter and lead rope, and pet him all over his body while working in the open area. If you find any spots where he’s uncomfortable with your touch, you’ll have to work these sensitive areas first using an approach and retreat method (next step). Don’t rush this step; it’s the most important part. You need your horse to feel comfortable with your touch anywhere on his body – including inside the mouth (rub his gums), his nostrils, under his tail and so forth.

Approach and retreat Start putting pressure with your hand and arm in the cinch


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area of your horse. If he accepts this, go and get either a lariat or other lead rope and begin to rub him all over with this new object. Start by facing and walking toward your horse with the rope in your right hand down at your side. When you reach your horse, pet him with your left hand (the empty hand) then turn around and walk five feet away. Approach again, but this time just show him the rope (hold it about one foot in front of his nose and allow him to sniff it), pet him with your other hand, and leave again. Re-approach and just touch him with the rope on top of his nose. Leave and come back, then touch the nose and the side of his neck before leaving again. Continue this process, adding the shoulder, barrel, hip, etc., until you can rub all over the horse with your rope. You must also be able to do this from both sides of your horse.

Bring on the blanket Now you are ready to move on to the saddle blanket. Again, start out in front of your horse and fold the blanket

Glow so that its size approximates that of the rope you were using. This will make it a little easier for your horse to accept (it’s a different object but at least it’s the same size). Go through all the steps we used with the rope – approaching, rubbing and leaving. Then unfold the blanket halfway – do this while you’re standing at least five feet in front of the horse so he sees you doing it. This way, if he’s frightened, at least he won’t strike at the blanket. Repeat all the steps with the half-folded blanket on both sides of the horse. Now completely unfold the blanket and rub it all over your horse. Then throw it up on his back, his rump, his neck, etc., from both sides. Place the blanket on the horse and squeeze a little on both sides of the withers (where the saddle will lie). Also use the full length of the blanket to make a sling under him and lift upwards, putting pressure in the cinch area to further desensitize your horse to this sensation. Throw the blanket right over his back and off the other side, letting it land on the ground to get him accustomed to an accidental drop. When all these steps have been accomplished and your horse is not only accepting, but also comfortable with what you’re doing, it’s time for the saddle.


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Adding the saddle Walk nonchalantly up to your horse with the saddle (not like a predator stalking a prey animal). Show it to him, then place it gently on his back, taking care that the stirrups and cinch straps do not bang against him. Now take the girth strap and manually apply just a bit of pressure to the cinch area of your horse. When he accepts it, go ahead and cinch him up. Don’t cinch too tight; just enough so that when he moves the saddle is stable and won’t rotate. Ask him to move around you in a circle a few times each way, and then cinch up again before you mount. This last step allows the horse to relax, knowing you’re not going to pinch him and tighten so much that he can’t move or breathe correctly. If you follow each of these steps, your saddling problems should be over and you’ll have more time to enjoy your ride! Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard, founders of Two as One Horsemanship, appear at expos and clinics across

North America. Their mission is to

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

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Equine Wellness

Resource Guide • Associations

• Equine Shiatsu

• Reiki

• Barefoot Hoof Trimming

• Iridology

• Thermal Imaging


• Massage

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


American Hoof Association - AHA Ventura, CA USA Email: eval@americanhoofassociation.org Website: www.americanhoofassociation.org 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 Liberated Horsemanship - CHCP Warrenton, MO USA Phone: 314-740-5847 Email: BruceNock@mac.com Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com


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

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


equine wellness

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


Equine Soundness - 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


Diane Brown Lumby, BC Canada Phone: (250) 547-6391 Christina Cline Abbottsford, BC Canada Phone: (604) 835-1700 Scott Gain, CBHA CP, FI North Okanagan, BC Canada Phone: (250) 229-5453 Email: tsgain@columbiawireless.ca Servicing West & East Kootenays

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

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


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

Dino Fretterd - CEMT Norco, CA USA Phone: (818) 254-5330 Email: dinosbest@aol.com Website: www.dinosbest.info Second Heart Hoof Care Cohasset, CA USA Phone: (530) 343-7190 Email: secondhearthoofcare@yahoo.com Serving Chico to Redding area

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

Specializing in natural trims and BLM Wild Mustangs

Kimberly Ann Jackson - LH & AANHCP Calabassas, CA USA Phone: (818) 522-0536 Email: KAJ@kimberlyannjackson.com Website: www.kimberlyannjackson.com Serving Agoura to San Diego

Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide 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

Michael Moran Sunland, CA USA Phone: (818) 951-0235 Softtouch Natural Horse Care Phil Morarre Oroville, CA USA Phone: (530) 533-7669 Email: softouch@cncnet.com Website: www.softouchnaturalhorsecare.com Natural Hoof Care Alicia Mosher - PHCP Cottonwood, CA USA Phone: (530) 921-3480 Email: info@naturalhoofcare.com Website: www.hoofjunkie.com Serving Shasta & Tehama County

Heart n’ Sole Hoof Care Jennifer Reinke - PHCP El Segundo, CA USA Phone: (310) 713-0296 Email: HeartnSoleHoofCare@gmail.com Website: www.heartnsolehoofcare.com Serving Los Angeles County

California Natural Hoof Care Aaron Thayne - AANHCP Laguna Hills, CA USA Phone: (949) 291-2852 Email: californianaturalhoofcare@gmail.com Website: www.californianaturalhoofcare.com Hoof Savvy Folsom, CA USA Phone: (916) 201-7852 Email: hoofcare.specialist@yahoo.com


Sarah Graves - CHCP Pueblo, CO USA Phone: (719) 406-9945 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com Cindy Meyer Carbondale, CO USA Phone: (970) 945-5680


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


Dawn Willoughby Wilmington, DE USA Website: www.4sweetfeet.com Advertise your business in the Wellness Resource Guide 1-866-764-1212


Brett Barteld Havana, FL USA Phone: (850) 391-4733 Email: masterfarrier@gmail.com Jeff Chears Natural Hoof Care Dade City, FL USA Toll Free: (813) 967-2640 Phone: (352) 583-2045 Email: jchears@founderrehab.com Website: www.founderrehab.com

Servicing the central Florida area and willing to travel.

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


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


Mackinaw Dells II Ida Hammer Congerville, IL USA Phone: (309) 448-2212 Website: www.mackinawdells2.com No Hoof - No Horse Cheryl Sutor, M.H.G. Kirkland, IL USA Phone: (630) 267-0357 Website: www.NoHoof-NoHorse.com 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 Sharon Sanford Campbellsville, KY USA Phone: (270) 469-4481


Triple S Farms Julie Sanders Altamont, MB Canada Phone: (204) 744-2487 The Naked Hoof Trimming Services The Parkland Region and Surrounding Areas Ochre River, MB Canada Toll Free: (204) 572-0866 Phone: (204) 572-0866 Email: thenakedhoof.herrenbrueck@gmail.com

Natural Barefoot Hoof Care for all breeds by Equine Soundness Practitioner expected to graduate in spring 2012


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


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


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


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


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

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

equine wellness


Barefoot Hoof Trimming — Wellness Resource Guide

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


Michelle Collins Galway, NY USA Phone: (518) 275-3260 Email: balancedbarefoot@yahoo.com Serving Eastern Upstate NY

Jeannean Mercuri - PHCP Ridge, NY USA Phone: (631) 345-2644 Email: info@gotreeless.com Website: www.gotreeless.com Serving Long Island, NY

Better Be Barefoot Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 432-2218 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com

Natural balance trimming, rehabilitation, and education centre.

Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com Website: www.hoofkeeping.com Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: joe@naturalhoofconcepts.com Website: www.naturalhoofconcepts.com.


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


Sherry Eucker Cuyahoga Falls, OH USA Phone: (216) 218-6954 Steve Hebrock Akron, OH USA Toll Free: (330) 813-5434 Phone: (330) 644-1954 Natural Barefoot Trimming Emma Everly, AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.com Barefoot Trimming


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


Serendales Equine Solutions Trimming, Education, Resources Campbellford, ON Canada Phone: (705) 653-5989 Email: serendales@accel.net Website: www.serendalesmorgans.com Barefoot with BarnBoots Johanna Neuteboom, Natural Hoof Care Practitioner Port Sydney, ON Canada Phone: (705) 385-9086 Email: info@barnboots.ca Website: www.barnboots.ca

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 Serving Ontario

Gill Goodin Moravian, NC USA Phone: (325) 265-4250 Bruce Smith Raleigh, NC USA Phone: (919) 624-2585 Email: bruce@father-and-son.net Website: www.father-and-son.net HossHoofHo Sandra Judy, Hoof Care Professional Gibsonville, NC USA Phone: (336) 380-5543 Website: www.hosshoofho.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


Serving Eastern Ontario, Ottawa Valley

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

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


equine wellness

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

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 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

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

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


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


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


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


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


Cynthia Niemela Hill City , South Dakota USA Toll Free: 612-481-3036 Phone: 605-574-2469

Barefoot Hoof Trimming, Communicators, Equine Shiatsu, Iridology, Massage, Reiki, Thermal Imaging


Nexus Center For The Horse Greeneville, TN USA Phone: (423) 797-1575 Website: www.nexuscenterforthehorse.net Natural Hooves Ben Fortkamp Shelbyville, TN USA Phone: (931) 703-8149 Email: ben@naturalhooves.com Website: www.naturalhooves.com

Hoof Rehabilitation Services - Natural Hoof Care Serving - All across Tennessee

Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349 Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Website: www.maryannkennedy.com Hoofmaiden Performance Barefoot Hoof Care Elizabeth TeSelle, EQ Leipers Fork, TN USA Phone: (615) 300-6917 Email: hoof_maiden@hotmail.com Website: www.blue-heron-farm.com/ hoofmaiden Servicing Middle Tennessee and online

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

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


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


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

Natural Hoofcare Services Anne Buteau Shipman, VA USA Phone: 434 263 4946 Email: annebuteau@yahoo.com


Have faith in the healing powers of nature

Erin Pearson Castleton, VA USA Phone: (540) 987-9507 Lei Ryan Mount Jackson, VA USA Phone: (540) 477-2489 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

Barefoot Trimming, Hoof Clinic & Equine Wellness Center


Cameron Bonner Wauna, WA USA Phone: (360) 895-2679 Pat Wagner Rainier, WA USA Phone: (360) 446-8699 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


Triangle P Hoofcare Chad Bembenek, AHA Founding Member Prairie Du Sac, WI USA Phone: (920) 210-8906 Email: chad@trianglephoofcare.com Website: www.trianglephoofcare.com Equine Sciences Academy Instructor


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



www.AnimalParadiseCommunication.com • 703-648-1866

EQUINE SHIATSU PENNSYLVANIA Kristina Fritz Catasqua, PA USA Phone: (610) 739-9024 Email: equinshi@gmail.com




Your Health 321, LLC www.AnimalParadiseCommunication.com • 703-648-1866 Merritt Island, FL USA Toll Free: (321) 432-0174 Phone: (321) 432-0174 Email: lrubin@yourhealth321.com Website: www.yourhealth321.com



Equi-Lutions Niagara Falls, ON Canada Phone: (905) 394-0960 Email: equi-lutions@live.ca Website: www.equi-lutions.com EQmassage.ca Peterborough, ON Canada Phone: (705) 872-2526 Email: lindsay@eqmassage.ca Website: www.eqmassage.ca



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

Reiki therapy & Reiki practice for both horse and rider. CertiďŹ cation classes offered for Reiki Master/ Teacher level.



Dayment Ranch Longview, AB Canada Phone: (403) 988-8715 Email: tobi.mcleod@backontrack.com Website: www.backontrack.com


Equine Wellness Canada , Ontario Canada Phone: (905) 503-0549 Email: ann@equinewellnesscanada.ca Website: www.equinewellnesscanada.ca Thermal Bridge Kirkton, ON Canada Phone: (519) 709-4071 Email: info@thermalbridge.ca Website: www.thermalbridge.ca

equine wellness


The nature of interference Do your horse’s hooves hit one another when he’s moving forward? It’s a manmade problem that can be corrected using a natural hoofcare approach.


o one likes interference. In terms of equine health, interference refers to the hooves colliding with one another or with the legs above the hoof. There are as many types of interference as there are purported causes. The two most common causes are forging (over-reaching hind to front), and clipping (aka brushing, wherein the left and right feet strike each other). There are countless reasons given for these and other types of interference, ranging from the horse’s conformation to poor riding skills, lameness and the type of work the horse must endure. Accordingly, remedies may entail “corrective shoeing” (e.g. for forging, you “roll the toe” of the front shoe and “square the toe” of the hind shoe), using “bell boots”, changing bits or the saddle to “correct” the horse’s frame and forward motion, and so on.

A different take NHC practitioners like myself see interference through a somewhat different lens and, not surprisingly, treat the matter differently (if less conventionally) than described above. First, let’s begin with a different definition of interference, then move to cause and elimination. From the NHC perspective, inter-

Common terms & myths

by Jaime Jackson

ference is not at all natural to the horse. It is entirely “manmade”, and correctable when we better understand the cause and how to resolve the issue.

Natural gaits I define interference as an obstruction of the horse’s natural gaits. Of course, you must know and appreciate what natural gaits are before you can address the problem. Fortunately this is not hard to do and, for the sake of discussion, I will assume the horse is not clinically lame. Follow these simple steps:

1 2

Make sure the hooves are naturally shaped; this will entail the services of a professional NHC practitioner.

Turn the horse loose with other horses, unbridled/ unsaddled and without a rider, in a large turnout so they can engage each other vigorously in “horse play”. This will give you a moving picture of the horse’s natural gaits. Spend time studying them. In my many years since giving up shoeing and becoming a dedicated NHC practitioner, I have not witnessed a single instance of interference under these circumstances. The horse’s conformation and his temperament, regardless of what they are, will make no difference. As I said before, interference is manmade – it is not natural.

“Ewe/upside down neck”

“Excessively large/fallen crest”

“Mutton withers”

Myth: A ewe neck is counter-productive to collection and proper transitions, as the horse only elevates his head and doesn’t engage his hind end.

Myth: An excessively large crest not only looks bad, but puts more weight on the forehand.

Myth: If mutton withered, the horse has less range of motion when extending the head and back muscles, so is less able to elevate his back with his head and neck extended, affecting his ability for collection.

J. J.: The unnaturally shaped hooves on this horse compromise natural stance and movement. Stress rings suggest chronic laminitis, further contributing to gait obstruction.


equine wellness

J. J.: This clearly anguished horse is over-bent by the rider’s hands/bit, which forces the horse onto his forehand. He is also shod, and faintly visible stress rings in hind foot indicate sub-clinical laminitis, corroborated by his “cresty neck” -- more the product of carbohydrate overload than conformational defect. But the leg wraps are telltale of gait obstruction.

J. J.: More nonsense. This horse is perfectly capable of raising his head and neck, and collecting himself as needed to support shifting body weight to his hindquarters.

Classical horsemanship If your horse is interfering, try the above two steps. If he stops interfering then it is simply a matter of addressing your horsemanship. I do not recommend trying to analyze the type of interference, nor do I recommend conventional remedies. Instead, I recommend the tenets of classical horsemanship, which parallel my own construct of natural horsemanship based on the wild horse model. As a lead in to the subject, I recommend highly Alois Podhajsky’s Complete Training of Horse and Rider.

A natural resolution The problem with interference, if not corrected the natural way, is that it invariably leads to lameness. This is enough to bring riding to a halt for most horse owners. But where does this leave the horse? Hopefully not devastated. Particularly extreme (e.g. competitive) riding, unnatural boarding conditions, mechanically obstructive shoeing and unnatural trimming methods cause the most damage and are of the greatest concern. Interference need not plague any horse. But it is up to you to use nature’s way to get him going again, sound and happy!

Dr.Valeria Breiten

practices Naturopathic medicine and nutrition in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Learn more about her and purchase her book, Naturally Healthy at Home, at


Mutton Withers Photo: © Malene Thyssen | http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Malene Ewe Neck Photo: © Rafael Moreira, Fallen Crest Photo: © BS Thurner Hof

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 published five books – The Natural Horse: Lessons from the Wild; The Horse Owner’s Guide to Natural Hoof Care; Founder: Prevention & Healing the Natural Way; Paddock Paradise: A Guide to Natural Horse Boarding and The Natural Trim (formerly the Official Trimming Guidelines of the AANHCP). Jaime resides in central California.

Other terms & myths Too long humerus -- This fault occurs when the shoulder muscles become overstretched and the movement of the forearm is decreased. Movement is constricted and the horse is more likely to be clumsy. Turned in/tied in elbow -- This conformation will make the horse toe out, and tend to wing in when the knee is flexed. The feet may cross over, and the horse could stumble as a result. Pasterns short and upright -- The horse has reduced mechanical efficiency for lifting and breaking over the toe, so he may trip or stumble. Pasterns long and sloping -- There is a delay time to get the feet off the ground to accelerate. Toed out/splay footed -- Causes winging motion that may lead to interfering injury around fetlock or splint. As horse wings inward, there is a chance he may step on himself, stumble and fall

Breeding, development and sales of elite sport horse prospects.

Base narrow in front/toed out or toed in -- Causes a winging motion, leading to interfering.


Stands close behind/base narrow behind -- The hooves tend to wing in, so the horse is more likely to interfere.

Claire Hunter, Loretto, Ontario 705.435.0330 | claire@braecreststables.com equine wellness


Tread lightly

We all enjoy a relaxing trail ride – but are you aware of the effect some riding practices have on the land, and how you can help conserve trails for future use? by Gene W. Wood, PhD


equine wellness


onewalker”, my good friend of almost 50 years, visits every year for a spring ride. He rides my horses and we set out for a couple of days of camping. Since we met as graduate students at Penn State in 1963, Lonewalker and I have shared each other’s values, philosophies and many outdoor experiences. As natural resource scientists, we always hunger to know more, but most fundamentally, we know it’s not science and technology that drives our enduring love of the land.

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We communicate without words as we sense the mystique of a cold mountain stream rushing through shades of sunshine and shadows. We note mammal and bird tracks in soft places along the trail, and stop to photograph wildflowers. A bird feather here or there, a tuft of hair, scratchings in the leaves, a muskrat or beaver slide on a streambank, a buck rub or scrape from last fall, tracks of a doe and her fawn or of a turkey hen and her brood…all speak to us of the ecosystem dynamic we have studied and researched and love so deeply.

The ecologic consequences of trail riding Unfortunately, our rides are not imbued solely with natural beauty.

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• We are often jerked up short by the sight of a tree completely girdled or irreparably damaged because someone tied a horse to it. It’s a real downer for us when that tree is a dogwood, which is already disappearing from the Appalachians and Piedmont provinces due to dogwood anthracnose. Was it really too much trouble for the rider to have come prepared to either crosstie or high-line her/his horse and thus preserve the tree? My own conscience flashes back to the day I was hurriedly breaking camp and tied my horse to a small hemlock. A few minutes later I turned to see that my horse had girdled the tree. More than a decade has passed, yet that moment remains clear in my memory. • Sometimes we approach a switchback in the trail and find it has been shortcut by a number of riders. Storm waters from the trail now run down the shortcut, thus creating the gully the trail builders were trying to prevent in the first place. Were the riders in that much of a hurry? Or did they just lack the knowledge and horsemanship to do the right thing and stay on the trail? • On occasion, we have come upon groups of riders whooping it up as they let their horses charge up a trail equine wellness


grade. If the grade is not already eroding, it surely will be now as the horses’ hooves loosen soil and rocks that will run off downhill after the next storm. • We have seen some gullies cut so sharply and deeply that our stirrups drag on the sides. Such situations are in fact set up by incorrect trail design, but abuse by riders exacerbates the problem. • At stream crossings, we sometimes see the evidence of someone who might have shouted out to his/her fellow riders: “Look what my horse and I can do!” Then they proceeded to demonstrate they had no need to use the crossing specially constructed to ensure rider safety and stream protection. In situations like this, the horse claws his way up the bank, and the subsequent streambank destabilization results in additional silt loads in the stream.

Poor riding practices contribute to soil erosion and gully formation.

• Last but not least, we often find cans, bottles and other items that were convenient enough to pack in, but once emptied were too inconvenient to pack out. Lonewalker and I muse that while few riders are comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s rednecks at home, quite a few seem to slip into that role when on the trail!

Land ethics Lonewalker and I inevitably spend time discussing the paucity of a land ethic among the many people who claim to love the outdoor experience, including riding a horse on a wildlands trail, but who treat the land with disrespect. After a lifetime spent on the land, we both know you don’t need to be a professional ecologist to have an ecological conscience. An ecological conscience and a sense of ethical behavior are concomitant forces if we are to honestly seek a harmonious relationship with the land. As ecologist and environmentalist Aldo Leopold said: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Our “amen” for the trail rider is: “Ride with a smile, a light hand – and lightly upon the land!”

Dr. Gene W. Wood is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina. He is also a consultant for Windwalker Horse Trails, Inc. in Seneca, South Carolina. Contact ETACA.info or gwwindwalker@gmail.com.


equine wellness

equine wellness


That not-so-sweet itch It can affect any horse and there is currently no cure. What can you do to give your equine friend some relief? by Isabella Edwards


esterday afternoon I was in the stable when another boarder called me over to take a look at her horse’s tail. He had begun to rub the top of it raw, much to his rider’s distress – this horse has a long, thick, luxurious tail that is a source of great pride to her. The idea that her horse might have sweet itch practically sent her into a full blown panic attack. And that may not be an overreaction given how badly this condition can plague a horse, especially as there is presently no cure for it.

An itch by any other name… Sweet itch has many different names, including summer itch and Culicoides hypersensitivity. It is caused by an overreaction of the horse’s immune system (an allergic response) to the harmless proteins in midge saliva when these insects bite the horse. It results in a localized reaction at the bite site. The midges are especially drawn to horses with a depressed immune system. Stress, toxins, poor nutrition and more can affect the acid mantle of a horse’s skin. This layer protects the horse from midges as well as parasites and bacteria, and once damaged, it leaves the horse open to developing hypersensitivities.


equine wellness

The condition otherwise has no favorite victims – it affects horses, ponies and donkeys all over the world. You will most commonly see sweet itch begin between the ages of one and five, although there is some evidence that a stressed immune system can tip the horse into reactivity at any age. There may also be hereditary and environmental factors that predispose the horse to the condition. Luckily, it is not contagious.

Know thy enemy The offending midges are tiny, with a wing length of approximately 1.4mm. They like to breed in moist soil or vegetation, and cannot fly more than few hundred yards from where they originate. They favor calm, twilit conditions, and will not fly in heavy rain, clear sunshine, and windy or drought conditions. The females are the offenders. While the males feed on nectar, the females seek out a blood meal to mature their eggs. Dorsal feeders are the most common, and will bite the horse around the ears, poll, mane and tail head. Ventral feeders are less common, and will feed around the horse’s face, chest and belly.

Because sweet itch is caused by midges, it is at its worst during the life cycle of the insects – mainly the spring and summer months. The severity of the horse’s reaction can vary from season to season, depending on the number of midges – and that is linked to whether the weather conditions that year are favorable for breeding.

Signs and symptoms Diagnosis is fairly simple, and signs/symptoms include: • Lesions • Broken hairs • Bald patches • Bleeding and/or exudative dermatitis (weeping sores) • Potential secondary infections, which can require antibiotics • Affected skin can become thicker and wrinkled, with fewer, coarser hairs • Flaky dandruff

Tummy troubles? Stomach ulcers are becoming a common concern for both performance and pleasure horses. Here are some herbs that can help soothe your equine’s stomach. by Wendy Pearson, PhD


magine, if you will, your nine-year-old daughter at the starting line of the 100-metre dash at the track and field meet. All that stands between your little girl and schoolyard glory are those 100 meters. Now imagine she has four bleeding ulcers in her little tummy. She probably hasn’t had a drink since breakfast yesterday, and her breakfast this morning was a plate of gummy bears and chocolate chip granola bars. Her odds of winning this race look pretty bleak unless, of course, all the other kids in the race are also running dehydrated with little holes in their tummies.

Ulcers aren’t just for racehorses Horses will be intensely itchy and will often swish their tails aggressively, stomp their feet, roll, pace the field, seek mutual grooming, develop head shaking and scratch themselves excessively on whatever they can find, resulting in self-trauma. Many riders report understandable personality changes in their horses during the worst periods. These include irritability, impatience and a short attention span for work. Overall, this can make riding difficult and unpleasant for both horse and rider.

Prevention and relief There is currently no cure for sweet itch, so helping your horse get some relief revolves around three main points: reducing your horse’s exposure to midges, managing the pests that do get to your horse, and reducing the resulting itchiness. Once your horse has been bitten, irritation begins, so prevention is key. Start developing a plan well before midge season starts. 1. Reduce your horse’s exposure • Midges cannot travel far from their breeding ground, so managing your horse’s environment is key. If possible, keep your horse away from boggy areas where midges like to live and breed. Be vigilant about dumping standing water in containers around the barn, keep water troughs clean and fresh and pastures well drained.

Once your horse has been bitten, irritation begins, so prevention is key.

Although this scenario is unlikely when it comes to children, it’s not at all uncommon among racehorses (except maybe for the gummy bears part). Juvenile horses stand in the starting gate, very likely dehydrated by Lasix and fueled by a calorie-dense concentrate meal with relatively little hay, their tummies peppered with gastric ulcers. In fact, gastric ulceration is known to affect more than 90% of racehorses – and it affects 60% of sport and pleasure horses too.

Symptoms and conventional treatment

What does this mean for your pony pal? Well, gastric ulcers can result in a poor hair coat, reduced exercise tolerance, impaired attitude (i.e. grumpy pony syndrome!) and even colic. A number of drug treatments are used for gastric ulcers in horses, including histamine H2-receptor antagonists (e.g. cimetidine, famotidine and ranitidine) and the proton pump inhibitor omeprazole. The latter heals about 75% of ulcers in horses, but it is very expensive. So if you’re like me and would rather not spend thousands on ulcer medication, what’s a gal to do?

Natural solutions

One option is to modify your horse’s diet to include larger amounts of “bioflavonoids”. These are the pigment compounds in plants that give maple leaves their beautiful diverse colors in the fall. Bioflavonoids are present in a huge variety of plants, and some pretty compelling scientific evidence says they can prevent and heal gastric ulcers. Bioflavonoids have treated non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced ulcers in rats with an effectiveness equal to omeprazole. They also prevent inflammatory cells from attaching to the stomach lining, thereby protecting the stomach against further inflammatory damage. Bioflavonoid-rich plants that have been demonstrated effective in preventing and/or treating gastric ulcers include licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and ginseng (Panax ginseng; Panax quinquefolium). Interestingly, marshmallow (Altheae officinalis) has recently demonstrated excellent anti-ulcer activity in rats. Marshmallow? Hmm, maybe those gummy bears weren’t such a bad idea after all!

equine wellness


Manage your horse’s diet for a better immune system. Do not give him sugary feeds or treats. • Keep your horse inside during times of the day when midges are at their worst – one hour before and after both sunrise and sunset, or even overnight. You can install fans to keep a breeze moving through the barn, which will make it less pleasant for the midges to hang around your stable. You can also install fine screens over the doors and windows. Note that in severe cases, some horses will be so itchy that they may use their downtime in the stall to do even more damage to themselves. 2. Managing the pests that do get to your horse • A full coverage blanket or sheet specially designed for horses with sweet itch is likely your best bet to help prevent midges from biting the parts of your horse they find most tasty. • Insecticides and repellants can be used, but for good, long-lasting coverage, heavy chemicals are recommended, such as DEET, permethrin and benzyl benzoate. However, when such products are needed and used daily, they can eventually have the opposite intended effect by damaging the horse’s immune system. There are natural fly repellants out there, and some people have reported success with a dilution of Avon’s Skin So Soft. • You can try coating smaller affected areas of your horse with something midges do not like to land on – products formulated for this purpose are usually an oil or grease substance. They can be effective but messy. • Manage your horse’s diet for a better immune system. Do not give him sugary feeds or treats. You can supplement with fatty acids, such as flax seed and fish oil. Vitamin C and/or blue green algae are great for boosting immunity, and garlic or apple cider vinegar can help make your horse less palatable to midges. Helpful herbs may include chamomile, calendula, meadowsweet, Echinacea, rosehips and dandelion. Talk to a holistic veterinarian about developing a program for your horse.

• BioEos Ltd. has developed a promising immunotherapy program for horses based on a new sweet itch capsule. 3. Nix the itch • Antihistamines can offer some relief for some horses. • Corticosteroids may be used in severe cases but they can have side effects, only offer temporary relief, and require higher doses over time. • Topical creams, lotions or sprays can offer some relief to irritated areas. They may include steroid creams, Calamine, or products that include chamomile, calendula, chickweed and/or aloe vera. • The homeopathic Apis can assist with acute swelling, itching and pain. A diagnosis of sweet itch can be difficult to adjust to at first – it isn’t easy to watch your equine friend struggling with so much discomfort. And it can make riding and other activities frustrating if your horse becomes irritable and fussy. But if you follow the above suggestions, there is some relief in sight!

Isabella Edwards is an equine enthusiast and avid competitor living in Ontario, Canada. She and her mare compete at the provincial level in both dressage and hunter/jumper.

Sources: maccvets.co.uk/fact_sheets/fact_sheets_equine_sweet_itch.htm rivasremedies.com/articles/sweet_itch.php 62

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sweet-itch.co.uk sweet-itch.org

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Reiki. There will be meditations, discussion, review and question and answer time during each class. This teleclass meets once a week for 4 weeks via phone and computer. Don’t worry if you are not able to make the live teleconference calls. You will receive a recording of the class by the following day along with the next week’s homework assignment and lesson(s). For more information: Janet Dobbs (703) 648-1866 janet@animalparadisecommunication.com www.animalparadisecommunication.com October 27, November 3, 10 & 17, 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. Discription: 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

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did you know?

by Dr. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS

Whole oats and laminitis


aminitis and colic are often the result of undigested starch entering the caecum of the horse, where it is broken down and fermented by microbes. It is this fermentation process, along with alterations in gut flora, that produce the toxins that enter the bloodstream and damage the sensitive blood vessels within the hoof.

So how do whole oats fare when it comes to starch? Actually, the starch in oats is highly digestible. It is quickly broken down into sugars in the small intestines and usually absorbed long before reaching the caecum. Feeding smaller portions more frequently is safer and they will be more easily digested than infrequent larger meals. The average 1000-pound horse should not receive more than five pounds of a grain per feeding. Give a supplement that will

balance the hay or pasture diet and feed the whole oats as a calorie source to maintain proper weight and body condition. As always, when making adjustments to your horse’s diet, it is important to change things gradually.

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

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