V9I1 (Feb/Mar 2014)

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$5.95 USA/Canada

February/March 2014



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VOLUME 9 ISSUE 1 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Kelly Howling EDITOR: Ann Brightman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Kathleen Atkinson SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: Natasha Roulston SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR: Jasmine Cabanaw COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Katy Driver COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Karina Becker, CEMT Zoe Brooks W. Jean Dodds, DVM Theresa Gilligan Susan L. Guran Joyce Harman, DVM Janine Jacques Eleanor Kellon, VMD Eryn Kirkwood Rachel Kosmal McCart Samantha Lacey, BSc, BHSII Guy McLean Shannon Olson Sherri Pennanen Karen Rohlf Karen Scholl Amy Snow Kelli Taylor, DVM, CAC, CVA Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION MANAGER: John Allan OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Sherri Soucie WEB DEVELOPER: Brad Vader

SUBMISSIONS Please send all editorial material, advertising material, photos and correspondence to Equine Wellness Magazine, 202-160 Charlotte Street, 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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi.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.

DEALER OR GROUP INQUIRIES WELCOME Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call John at 1-866-764-1212 ext 405 or fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail john@redstonemediagroup.com. ADVERTISING SALES National Sales Manager: Tim Hockley (705) 741-0817 ext. 110 tim@redstonemediagroup.com Eastern Sales Manager: Lisa Wesson (866) 764-1212 ext. 413 lisawesson@redstonemediagroup.com CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $24.00 including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext.405 US MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122 CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.


EquineWellnessMagazine.com Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2014. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: January 2014.

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

Our cover features Guy McLean and the number one horse on his Australia team, Quietway Abbey & Spin, on Cabarita Beach, NSW Australia. Quietway Abbey & Spin is an eight-yearold Australian Stockhorse mare. Guy has an amazing relationship with all of his horses – check out his article on page 22 to learn more!

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Contents 28



Which vaccinations does your horse really need, and how often?

14 ACUPRESSURE FOR STRONG IMMUNITY Try this simple session to give your horse’s immune system a leg up.


A commonsense approach to assessing and treating hoof punctures.


If you want the best from your horse, you have to give him your very best – every time you’re out.


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28 IS HE NEEDLE-SHY? Six steps to resolving your horse’s fear of needles.

32 PROTECT HIM FROM INFECTIOUS DISEASE Implement these bio-security protocols both at home and away.

35 FEEDING FOR OPTIMAL IMMUNE HEALTH Nutrient deficiencies can have an adverse effect on your horse’s immune system.

38 TRANSITIONS - IT’S ABOUT BEING PREPARED Discover how these very simple exercises can have a huge impact on your horse.

48 WILL YOUR SALE CONTRACT PROTECT YOU? When it comes time to sell a horse, a good contract is very important. Here are six key points to keep in mind.


This nutritious oil is becoming increasingly popular for horses.

55 DEBUNKING TREELESS SADDLE MYTHS Taking a closer look at some common misconceptions of treeless saddles.


If the recent outbreaks of neurological EHV-1 have left you wondering how to protect your horse, here are some practical suggestions.



COLUMNS 8 Neighborhood news

6 Editorial

27 The herb blurb

21 Heads up

31 Purica’s recovery corner

34 Product picks

42 To the rescue

40 Book review

44 Homeopathic column

45 Social media corner

52 Holistic veterinary advice

46 Equine Wellness resource guide

59 Marketplace


CMYK / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

CMYK / .ai

Tips, contests and more! Like us /EquineWellnessMagazine

61 Classifieds 62 Events

Updates, news, events @ EquineWellnessMagazine Product reviews and tutorials EquineWellnessTV

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am so excited about this issue! Late last year, the Equine Wellness team made the journey down to Equine Affaire in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was a great event, as always – we love having the opportunity to talk to our readers at the magazine booth, and meet with people who haven’t seen the publication before. It’s a wonderful way for us to get an idea of what you are interested in and looking for in terms of content – we love feedback! The clinicians and speakers also give us a good opportunity to gather ideas for the upcoming year, and I think you will enjoy what we’ve come up with. You will start to see some aspects of the magazine changing over the next few issues, in addition to our social media program. For this particular edition, as I’m sure you’ve already noticed, we’ve featured horseman Guy McLean on the cover. Next issue, we’ll be featuring Stacy Westfall. We are excited to be

partnering with these great leaders in the equine community for the upcoming year, and to bring you excellent information on horsemanship and natural healthcare from some of the top professionals. Guy McLean hails from Australia, and was unknown to me until a few years ago when I had the chance to watch one of his performances at an expo. Seeing what he accomplished with his horses and how happy and willing they looked, I wanted to know more. As I’ve watched his popularity in North America grow, and learned more about his message and philosophy, I knew we had to share Guy’s teachings with our readers. I hope you enjoy the first of this article series on page 22. And don’t forget the theme of this particular issue – the ever controversial topic of vaccinations and immunity. We’ve never shied from controversy, though – and within this issue you will find an article on updated vaccine guidelines and titer testing by veterinarian Dr. Jean Dodds (page 10). You can also help your horse’s immunity with an excellent immune-boosting acupressure session from Tallgrass (page 14). And if your horse tends to be the type that your vet can never get near at needle time, check out Karen Scholl’s tips for correcting needle-shy behavior on page 28. One of my mares used to take off at the sight of the vet’s truck, so I feel your pain and assure you it can be resolved! Naturally,

Kelly Howling 6

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NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS DRESSAGE FOR GAITED HORSES Attention dressage competitors! Friends of Sound Horses has launched an all-new annual Dressage for Gaited Horses program that recognizes, records and rewards the accomplishments of gaited horses in dressage competitions. The reward program is open to all breeds of gaited horses that are at least 48 months of age. Scores from gaited horse dressage tests assessed by licensed judges will be tracked. Recognized gaited horse tests include those published by FOSH, the International Judges’ Association, Western Dressage Association of America, National Walking Horse Association, North America Western Dressage Association, and Cowboy Dressage. Awards will be for Two Gait tests, Introductory Level tests, Training Level Sun’s Flaming Wildfire, a Tennessee Walking Horse owned and exhibited by Buddy Brewer, shows that gaited horses can do dressage too!

tests, and First Level tests in English, Western or Cowboy Dressage. foshgaitedsporthorse.com

Every two weeks, Paco, an eight-year-old Thoroughbred/Percheron gelding, accompanied by his human pal Ferd Powell, takes a trip to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech to undergo a new treatment for sarcoids. These skin tumors are almost always benign but they can be aggressive and treating them can make them worse. The new treatment being used is called H-FIRE, which stands for high-frequency irreversible electroporation. It involves a long needle that delivers a short burst of electricity into specific places

Dr. J. Michael Cissell (left) examines Paco’s lesions while Paco’s owner, Ferd Powell (right), looks on.

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech.


in the tumor.

various types of tumors. Paco is a veteran, having had the treatment

“Sarcoids are locally invasive skin tumors that we deal with often

a dozen times for lesions along his right jaw.

in equine medicine,” says Dr. J. Michael Cissell, the veterinarian

The bioengineering team that developed H-FIRE, and the veterinary

leading Paco’s treatment. “Due to sarcoids’ invasiveness, simple

team using it in the equine clinical trials, plan to start trying it on

removal is not always effective even when we remove wide

melanomas and squamous cell carcinomas, both malignant tumors

margins of tissue that may be involved.”

that both horses and humans can develop.

Currently, the researchers and veterinarians studying the treatment

More openings for the clinical test are available. The patients for the

have found that H-FIRE is effective at controlling the tumor’s growth.

trial are those horses for whom traditional treatments have been

In all, seven horses have been clinical trial patients for H-FIRE for

ineffective. vetmed.vt.edu

CORRECTION The article “Clay can detox your horse” by Sarah Mersereau on page 41 of our Dec/Jan issue (EW V8I6) should have included a link to ZenA-Min (a natural vitamin and mineral supplement for horses). For more information, visit Zenamin.com 8

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• The role that grass fructan may have in the development of laminitis. • The important influence of water temperature when soaking hay to reduce water-soluble

The results of four recent laminitis research projects have shed new light on management practices for owners trying to cope with the disease in their horses. The new work published by the Laminitis Consortium, the research body initiated by the Waltham Equine Studies Group, represents important progress in the Consortium’s mission to advance the understanding, prevention and management of laminitis.

carbohydrate (WSC) content. • A possible link between recurrent laminitis and reduced anti-inflammatory capacity. • The potential anti-inflammatory benefits of exercise. Laminitis is a debilitating condition that may be associated with altered insulin dynamics and/ or disrupted hindgut function, which may be

The four separate studies, two of which were funded

exacerbated by high intakes of simple sugars or

by The Laminitis Trust, have shed new light on:

fructans found in pasture.

NEW MENTORING PROGRAM WILL CHANGE LIVES There are 28 million children of alcoholics living among us, and Horses Healing Hearts (HHH) helps ease the pain of kids growing up in a home affected by substance abuse. HHH provides these children with the opportunity to help heal emotionally by working with horses, having fun and learning positive life-coping skills, responsibility and confidence. The non-profit organization recently announced their new Big Brother Big Sister Mentoring program, where equine experiential learning will work in tandem with building a healthy relationship with an influential role model. Created by Dreyfoos School of the Arts junior digital media major Amanda Chaplin, the program will help kids build lasting relationships that can positively affect their lives.

Students negotiate a stream crossing on the trail from Little Whitney to Big Whitney Meadow.

Photo provided by Bill Bealmear, Mountain Horsemanship: Veterinary Care and Horsepacking student.


mountain range serving as classroom for this once-in-alifetime experience. The programs combine a superb outdoor adventure with a rare opportunity to learn about wild horses, livestock management and hands-on veterinary medicine. Students spend “class time” immersed in either the rugged High Sierra country or the Inyo National Forest of California, surrounded by blooming wildflowers, mountain meadows and towering vistas. The four to seven-day courses give students the chance to explore the splendor of these pristine lands – an opportunity most may never experience – and embrace the beauty of the horse. “It was a life-changing experience,” says student Rose



Planning an equine adventure when the weather gets warmer?

Veterinary Care and Horsepacking in the Wilderness”.

UC Davis Extension’s summer horsepacking programs teach students from the back of a horse, with the Sierra Nevada

This summer, UC Davis Extension will be offering two classes – “Mustangs: A Living Legacy” and “Mountain Horsemanship: Extension.ucdavis.edu

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By W. Jean Dodds, DVM


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VACCINE S A ND T I TER T E S T I N G Which vaccinations does your horse really need, and how often?

National guidelines for animal vaccines have been around for more than a decade. So why is a vocal cohort still reluctant to embrace this knowledge? After all, the national policies are all based on scientific fact. Do vaccine industry representatives fail to inform veterinarians about the duration of immunity, and the true regional and local needs for some types of vaccine? Are the risks as well as the benefits of today’s vaccines adequately discussed, given the fact that the newer guidelines reflect concerns about over-vaccination? Veterinarians may not be inclined to “fix” what is perceived to be unbroken when it comes to vaccines. And vaccination programs are viewed as “practice management tools” rather than medical procedures, so a “more is better” philosophy still prevails. This article summarizes the current issues about equine vaccines – and the alternative of titer testing.

BENEFITS VS. RISKS Modern vaccine technology has afforded effective protection of horses against serious infectious diseases. However, this advancement brings increased risk of adverse reactions (vaccinosis) – some are serious, chronically debilitating and even fatal. As caretakers of our companions we must balance this benefit/risk equation. In the words of Dr. Ron Schultz: “Be wise and immunize, but immunize wisely.”

VACCINES AND HERD HEALTH In order to protect the population (herd), 70% of the horses should be immunized with “core” vaccines. However, horses receive more vaccinations on a more frequent schedule than any other domesticated animal. This practice has horse people from all walks of life asking questions. Vaccines are intended

to protect against disease. So why are we causing disease by weakening the immune system with frequent use of combination vaccine products?


The core vaccines for horses include: • Equine Herpes Virus • Equine Influenza Virus • Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEE /WEE)* • Potomac Horse Fever • Rabies Virus* • Tetanus* • West Nile Virus* *Vaccines considered as “core” by AAEP, 2012

• The WNV vaccine is stated as safe for pregnant

• Avoid vaccination in the period before estrus as well as during estrus, pregnancy, and lactation. mares, but in 2005, AAEP recommended vaccinating mares before breeding. • Vaccinating mares for EVA during the last two months of gestation causes increased risk of abortion (Broaddus et al, 2011).

VACCINES AND LATENT DISEASE Vaccine manufacturers seek to achieve minimal virulence (infectivity) while attaining maximum protection. This desired balance may be relatively easy to achieve in clinically normal, healthy animals, but what about those with compromised immune systems? Horses harboring latent viral infections may not be able to withstand additional immunological challenges induced by vaccines. Further, stress associated with weaning, surgery, transportation, and subclinical illness can also compromise immune function. Reports of vaccine reactions and vaccinerelated diseases are on the rise throughout the animal world. Health issues in horses attributed to adverse vaccine reactions include fever and nasal discharge, temporary blindness, thrombocytopenia, muscle wasting or weakness, and laminitis.

KILLED VS. MODIFIED LIVE VACCINES In contrast to dogs and cats, horses have traditionally been immunized with killed vaccines. Safe and effective MLV

(modified live) equine vaccines have more recently become available. MLV vaccines are less expensive to make and usually produce better and more sustained protection. A recent equine study compared killed and MLV equine herpes virus type 1 (EHV-1) vaccines, and found the MLV vaccine offered superior protection when tested by aerosol challenge. But another recent study comparing killed, MLV, and live-chimera West Nile Virus

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(WNV) vaccines found 100% protection with all three types following challenge with virulent WNV.

RISK-BASED GUIDELINES (FROM AAEP, 2012) The following vaccinations are included in a vaccine program after the performance of a risk-benefit analysis. The use of risk-based vaccinations may vary regionally, from population to population within an area, or between individual horses within a given population. Disease risk may not be readily identified by laypersons; it is important to consult a veterinarian when developing a vaccination program. • • • •

Anthrax Botulism EHV EVA

• • • •

Equine Influenza Potomac Horse Fever Rotaviral Diarrhea Strangles

WHY THE RESISTANCE? So why is there resistance to current vaccination guidelines? Possible reasons include: • Failure of veterinarians to offer options (titers) to horse owners • Poor horse owner awareness and education • Lack of trust in veterinarians • Perceived conflict of interest in veterinary settings (profit versus options) • Failure to recognize or denial of adverse events • No legal mandate standard for rabies vaccination

PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS Given this troublesome situation, and the lack of evidence for the need of yearly booster revaccination, what are the experts saying about these issues? In 1995, a landmark review commentary focused the attention of the veterinary profession on the advisability of current vaccine practices. Discussion of this provocative topic has generally led to other questions about the duration of immunity conferred by the currently licensed vaccine components.

MORE ON SEROLOGIC VACCINE TITER TESTING Except where vaccination is required by law, all animals can have serum antibody titers measured triennially or more often, as needed, instead of revaccination. Reliable serologic vaccine titering is available from several university and commercial laboratories and the cost is reasonable. 12

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When an adequate immune memory has already been established, there is little reason to introduce unnecessary antigen, adjuvant, and preservatives by administering booster vaccines. By titering triennially or more often, as needed, one can assess whether a given animal’s humoral immune response has fallen below levels of adequate immune memory. In that event, an appropriate vaccine booster should be considered. But some veterinarians have challenged the validity of using vaccine titer testing to assess the protection status of animals against the clinically important infectious diseases. With all due respect, this represents a misunderstanding of what is called the “fallacy of titer testing”, because research has shown that once an animal’s titer stabilizes it is likely to remain constant for many years. You should avoid vaccinating horses that are already protected.




Equine Arteritis Virus (EAV)



Equine Herpes Virus (EHV)-1 and -3, SN



Equine Influenza Virus (EIV), HI “ “ “

1:20-1:32 1:40-1:64

Good Very good

Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEE,WEE) 1:100


Potomac Horse Fever Virus, IFA

1:40 1:80

Good Very good

Rabies Virus, RFFIT

0.1 IU/mL (1:5)

Adequate for humans per CDC

West Nile Virus, Capture Ab, ELISA “ “ “ , SN

1:100 1:32

Good Good



Equine Arteritis Virus


Equine Herpes Virus-I and -3, SN

Six to 12 months

Equine Influenza Virus, HI

Intranasal MLV, six months; recombinant MLV, one year, if given a third booster

Equine Encephalitis Virus, HI – EEE,WEE

One to two years

Potomac Horse Fever Virus, IFA


Rabies Virus, RFFIT

At least one year; likely three to five years

West Nile Virus, Capture Ab, ELISA “ “ “ , SN

One year; six months in endemic areas


Equine Herpes (EHV-1, and -4) (rhino) Potomac Horse Fever Equine Encephalitis (EEE, WEE, VEE) Equine Viral Arteritis Equine Influenza Rabies Virus (RFFIT: non export)

• West Nile Virus Antibody Titer

Furthermore, protection as indicated by a positive titer result is not likely to suddenly drop off unless an animal develops a medical problem such as cancer or receives high or prolonged doses of immunosuppressive drugs. Viral vaccines prompt an immune response that lasts much longer than that elicited by classic antigen. But, interpreting titers correctly depends on the disease in question. Some titers must reach a certain level to indicate immunity. A positive titer test result is fairly straightforward, but a negative titer test result is more difficult to interpret, because a negative titer is not the same thing as a zero titer and doesn’t necessarily mean the horse is unprotected. Finally, what does more than a decade of experience with vaccine titer testing reveal? In general, serum antibody titers to the “core” vaccines along with any natural exposures last considerably longer than suggested by the vaccine label booster recommendations. This corresponds with what we see clinically as the number of cases, illnesses and deaths due to these diseases has decreased in the vaccinated population. So in contrast to the concerns of some practitioners, vaccine titer testing as a means to assess vaccine-induced protection will likely result in the horse avoiding needless and unwise booster vaccinations. REFERENCES AAEP. Guidelines for vaccination of horses, 2001; WNV vaccination. Supplement, 2005. AAEP, Vaccination Guidelines, 2012. Boone TJ. Respecting equine herpes virus-1. Calif Vet 61(2):18-19, 2007. Broaddus, CM, Balasuriya, UBR, White; JLR et al. Evaluation of the safety of vaccinating mares against equine viral arteritis (EVA) during mid or late gestation or during the immediate postpartum period. J Am Vet Med Assoc 238:741–750, 2011. Desmettre P. Diagnoses and prevention of equine infectious diseases: present status, potential, and challenges for the future. Adv Vet Med 41:359-375, 1999. Dodds, WJ. Big shots ! Vaccination-Parts 1-3. Equine Wellness Magazine, 2 (4, 5 & 6), 2007 Dodds, WJ. Titer testing in horses. Natural Horse Magazine 11(2): 41-44, 2009. Goodman LB, Wagner B, Flaminio MJ et al. Comparison of the efficacy of inactivated combination and modified-live virus vaccines against challenge infection with neuropathogenic equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1). Vaccine 24:3636-3645, 2006. Hustead, DR, Carpenter,T, Sawyer, DC, et al. Vaccination issues of concern to practitioners. J Am Vet Med Assoc 214: 1000-1002, 1999. Minke JM, Toulemonde CE, Coupier H, et al. Efficacy of a canarypox-vectored recombinant vaccine expressing the hemagglutinin gene of equine influenza H3N8 virus in the protection of ponies from viral challenge. Am J Vet Res 68:213-219, 2007. Morgan, KD (Chair), Biological & Therapeutic Agents Committee. Vaccination Guidelines, American Association of Equine Practitioners, 2012. Rosenthal M. Practitioners, concerned about safety, embracing new vaccine recommendations. Product Forum & Market News, Spring 2007. Smith, CA. Are we vaccinating too much? J Am Vet Med Assoc 207:421-425, 1995. Seino KK, Long MT, Gibbs EP et al. Investigation into the comparative efficacy of three West Nile Virus vaccines in experimentally induced West Nile Virus clinical disease in horses. AAEP Proceed 52:233-234, 2006. Tizard I. Risks associated with use of live vaccines. J Am Vet Med Assoc 196:1851-1858, 1990. Tizard, I, Ni, Y. Use of serologic testing to assess immune status of companion animals. J Am Vet Med Assoc 213: 54-60, 1998.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM received her veterinary degree from the Ontario Veterinary College. After working for several decades in upstate New York doing non-invasive studies of animal models of inherited bleeding diseases, she moved to southern California in 1986 to start Hemopet, the first non-profit national animal blood bank. Today, Hemopet’s range of nonprofit services and educational activities include: Providing canine blood components, blood bank supplies, and related services; adopting retired Greyhound blood donors as companions through Pet Life-Line; contributing to the social needs of the less fortunate in our society by volunteer and interactive programs with the Greyhounds; specialized diagnostic testing using all “green” patented technology and consulting in clinical pathology through Hemolife, Hemopet’s diagnostic division; teaching animal health care professionals, companion animal fanciers, and pet owners on hematology and blood banking, immunology, endocrinology, nutrition and holistic medicine. Hemopet.org

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STRONG IMM Y our horse’s immune system is vital to his well being. Any deficiency means his health is compromised. A healthy, balanced immune system supports his capacity to avoid disease and rebound quickly from injury. It also enhances his overall vitality.

By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis


Long before people knew what a germ was, ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctors knew that the human and animal body needed to defend itself from exterior pathogens. They understood that when the vital energy that animates all living beings (“chi”, also seen as Qi and Ki), is weak, the body is vulnerable and not balanced. If this condition remains for any length of time, the odds are the human or animal will become ill.

The TCM concept of immune system health makes a lot of sense. Defensive or Protective Chi is known in Chinese as Wei Chi. It is created and circulated by the Lung and flows just beneath the skin. This type of chi is responsible for keeping environmental elements from invading the body. When wind, cold, dampness and heat break through the body’s defensive barrier, the body becomes imbalanced and susceptible to illness. Supporting Defensive Chi is considered key in the body’s ability to function properly. 14

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MUNITY There are other ways in which the horse’s immune system can become weak. These include overwork, poor diet, not enough exercise, and emotional stress. His immune system must be strong enough to withstand internal and external pathogens. Internal pathogens can take the form of being socially isolated or in a paddock with an aggressive horse – anything that disrupts your horse’s capacity to be in a good frame of mind. As well, good nutrition and exercise are absolutely essential to maintaining a strong immune system.

HORSES IN THE WILD Wild horses know how to acquire what they need for a robust immune system. They’re exposed to the elements every minute of their lives. Their natural Defensive Chi automatically builds by virtue of exposure, and functions to protect them. The boss mare knows where to find the best forage and herbs for the equine wellness


IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOST POINT/LOCATION BI 13 - At the back edge of the scapula, about 3 inches lateral to the dorsal midline. LI 11 - On the lateral side of the elbow. St 36 - Lateral aspect of hind leg, one finger width from the tibial crest and head of the fibula.

REMEMBER: Your horse has two sides – stimulate the acupoints on both his right and left sides. herd to ingest. Another part of her job is to maintain peace within the herd to minimize emotional stress. And horses in the wild travel 20 to 40 miles in a day, so their bodies are

kept well toned. Their survival is completely dependent on the strength of their immune systems. Domesticated horses, in contrast, depend on how well we, as their guardians, can replicate a natural equine lifestyle. As close as we try to come to their needs for exercise, proper nutrition, exposure to the elements, and suitable social interaction, it can’t match the wild horse experience. We have to seek other resources to support our horses’ immune systems. Acupressure is an excellent method of enhancing and maintaining your horse’s immunity.


1. Thumb technique Gently place the soft tip of your thumb on the acupoint and count to 30 very slowly. Then move to the next point. This works best on the horse’s trunk and neck. 16

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Visit the Equine Wellness Facebook page to cast your vote on which of two dressage horses are going bitless.

2. Two-finger technique

Place your middle finger on top of your index finger to create a little tent. Then lightly put the soft tip of your index finger on the acupoint and slowly count to 30. This technique is good for working on the lower extremities, because the legs are harder to reach.

By Zoe Brooks

While one hand is performing the point work, your other hand should be resting comfortably on the horse’s body. He may exhibit some energetic releases during the session; these let you know that energy is moving in his body and he is benefiting from the session. A release can include stretching his neck, yawning, licking, breathing out dramatically, shaking, rolling or even falling asleep.

ACUPRESSURE SESSION Acupressure is based on TCM. Its intent is to create balance, so that chi and blood can flow harmoniously to nourish internal organs and tissues. When the body is balanced and chi is performing optimally, the horse’s immune system is defending his body, internally and externally. According to TCM, energetic pathways called meridians run just between the horse’s skin and muscles. Along these pathways are pools of energy called “acupoints” that we can stimulate to help create the smooth and harmonious passage of chi and blood throughout the entire meridian network. During an acupressure session, you can influence the flow of energy and nutrients that promote balance and nourish your horse’s body. Each acupoint affects the horse’s body differently. Specific acupoints can be stimulated to boost and maintain your horse’s immune system. The chart opposite provides you with a way to help his immune system do its job, so he can stay healthy and perform at his best. Nancy Zidonis and Amy Snow are the authors of Acu-Horse: A Guide to Equine Acupressure, AcuDog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass, which offers books, manuals, DVDs, apps and meridian charts. Tallgrass also provides hands-on and online training courses worldwide, including a 300-hour Practitioner Certification Program. Tallgrass is an approved school for the Dept. of Higher Education through the State of Colorado, an approved provider of NCBTMB CEs, and is accepted by NCCAOM. 888-841-7211, AnimalAcupressure.com or Tallgrass@animalacupressure.com


BITLESS BRIDLE Can you do dressage in a bitless bridle? This is a very common question asked by competitive riders. The answer is yes. Many people do, and they do it very well. But the question you should be asking is: “May you do dressage bitless?” Like most countries, the USA and Canada do not allow bitless bridles in dressage at FEI level events. But the petitions and proof supporting the benefits of bitless bridles are growing rapidly.

SIGNS OF A CHANGING WORLD? • The Dutch Association of Bitless Riding recently announced that starting April 1, 2014, you will be allowed to ride bitless at official KNHS dressage competitions. The Netherlands has been pioneering bitless competition since 2009, and beginning in April of 2010 there were separated classes at competitions. The goal is to open up to higher classes as soon as current riders at the first level test advance higher. The Dutch are probably the first who will allow such an integration. • The first Bitless Dressage Competition held in Australia was a huge success. A wonderful group of people came together for an amazing day. We had 27 competitors. The Bitless Dressage Competition will now be an annual event. If you would like to compete bitless in dressage, check out Interdressage.com. Nurtural Horse is owned by husband and wife team, Gerry Guy and Zoe Brooks. They designed and patented the Nurtural Bitless Bridle at their 500 acre farm in Northern Ontario in 2005. Nurturalhorse.com

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NAIL in his


Puncture wounds to your horse’s foot can either be a minor issue, or a big problem, depending on how deep it is. Here’s a commonsense approach to assessing and treating these injuries.


ou’re getting ready to go for a trail ride or do some arena work. You lift your horse’s hoof and start to clean it – when you see a nail. It seems like such a minor problem – a nail or splinter lodged in tough hoof. The solution also seems very simple. Just remove the object, clean the hoof, and give the horse a day or two off, right? In minor or superficial cases, this course of action might work. But a deeper puncture that penetrates underlying structures may be more complex and difficult – even life threatening – if not treated by a veterinarian. So let’s explore a no nonsense approach to hoof puncture wounds. 18

equine wellness

By Sherri Pennanen

ASSESS THE DAMAGE Early recognition of the problem is important in determining the outcome of any hoof puncture wound. If the sharp object is still in the hoof, it is easy to determine that the issue is a puncture wound. Another easy history comes from watching the horse step on something sharp and pull off of it (such as a board with a protruding nail or screw). Other times, the diagnosis is not as clear unless you can visually see the damage. But the most common clinical sign of a puncture wound to the hoof is lameness. So start out by performing a thorough inspection. If the object is still in place, where is it? What do you see? What kind of damage to the hoof is visible? The further away the puncture is from the hoof wall, the more chance there is that it may have damaged deeper structures. The same is true

if the object penetrated the frog and/or the rear portion of the hoof where softer structures lie. As you assess the damage, be mindful of where the object is imbedded. It’s helpful if you know how long the object is, but unless you know specifically what it is, you will likely not have this information. This is a good time to take a picture with your cell phone to send to your farrier or vet.

FOR THE MINOR INJURY Puncture wounds in the sole near the hoof wall can be removed. If they are relatively “short” and there is no active bleeding or other obvious injury, the wound should be thoroughly cleansed. This will involve soaking with a solution such as Epsom salts and warm water several times a day. You might consult with your farrier, who may expand more of an area for drainage. Poultice may also be recommended, and wrapping the foot or using a boot as suggested by your farrier may help keep manure, urine and dirt out of the wound. Your horse should be allowed to move freely to promote good circulation to the affected area.

FOR THE MORE EXTENSIVE OR SERIOUS INJURY Deep puncture wounds may affect the underlying structures of the hoof. Tendon injuries or navicular bursa injuries are serious. With trauma to deeper structures, damaged blood supply and devitalized tissue can promote bacterial growth deep in the hoof, compounding the problem. The horse may even become septic, and this can be life threatening. If you suspect a deep injury – one that involves the central or rear part of the hoof and associated soft structures such as the frog – or if you know the sharp item is/was very long, the vet should be contacted immediately. There are mixed reviews about whether the foreign body should be removed, but either way, a picture is worth a thousand words. Snap a photo, send it to your vet with an SOS message, and he will advise you. He may wish to take an x-ray with the offending object still in place, but if he cannot get to you promptly, he may recommend removal. If the wound has been undetected for a time, the limb may already be swollen with some drainage of pus from the wound. This should also be treated as an emergency and the vet called at once. Continued on page 20.

Because the horse may not immediately display lameness, regular hoof inspection is paramount.

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Continued from page 19.

WHAT NOW? If the injury was minor or superficial, you may expect an abscess to result. You will need to be faithful about keeping the area clean and open to drainage. Any concerns of a deeper infection should result in a call to the vet.

help prevent these wounds by keeping barns and arenas clear of debris, and watching where your horse walks.

If the injury was more significant, the vet will remove the object, debride the area, irrigate, and perhaps give antibiotics. At times, packing may be used. In extreme injuries, surgery may be required. Time is of the essence in deep or severe injuries. Septic conditions can occur in a matter of hours.

Sherri Pennanen of Better Be Barefoot is a veteran natural trim farrier serving western New York and southern Ontario. She offers balanced barefoot trims, lameness evaluations, and holistic/rehabilitation services on her farm. BetterBebareFoot.com

It is always recommended that tetanus immunizations be kept up to date. If the horse has not been immunized, there are short-term tetanus preventives. Even if the injury is minor, you may need to update your horse’s tetanus status. At times, it may not be obvious that lameness is due to a puncture wound. In the absence of a visible penetrating object in a lame horse, the vet will nevertheless include evaluation for a possible puncture. Hoof testers, pain response, and/or nerve blocks may lead to an in-depth search for a puncture wound. Additional testing may be utilized, when indicated, to determine the depth, direction and structure involvement of the wound.

The further away from the hoof wall the wound is, the more chance there is that it may have damaged deeper structures. PROGNOSIS IS VARIED The prognosis for a full recovery for a minor hoof injury is good and your horse can resume his normal activity in five to seven days. It’s important to note, however, that he should be allowed turnout to keep circulation optimal at all times. For wounds that penetrate deeper structures, the outlook may not be as optimistic. Severe injuries can take months to resolve, and residual damage is always possible. A lot rides on accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment. Lameness that progresses or does not resolve quickly should be given serious and timely attention. As mentioned previously, catching puncture wounds to the hoof at an early stage is crucial. Check your horse’s feet regularly, address lameness issues promptly, and

How did it happen? Once treatment is underway you need to reflect on how your horse was injured. Stalls and turnout areas should be inspected and checked for any sharp objects. Any time you are having construction or repairs done around the farm, be careful to pick up all debris. Many times, the source of the sharp object will not be known. It could have been picked up on the road or a trail. It could be anything from a splinter of wood to a piece of glass, a nail or screw. So where you ask your horse to travel should be always on your mind. Because the horse may not immediately display lameness, regular hoof inspection is paramount. The sooner you know about a puncture wound, the faster you can react and mitigate the damage.


equine wellness

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Photo courtesy of Katy Driver

If you want the best from your horse, you have to give him your very best – every time you’re out. By Guy McLean


equine wellness

or many years, I have marveled at the great horse and rider combinations throughout the world, and indeed any individual who has attained ultimate success in their chosen career. I have noticed one glowing similarity – in that special moment caught in time for all to see, they are giving “Their Very Best”.

THE TRUE GIFT This may seem like an obvious statement, and yet I believe it goes a lot deeper than those three little words. Throughout my life and professional career with horses, I have been labeled many things (“gifted”, “naturally talented”, “born to ride”). And although these statements sound nice, I have never believed them to be true, because on many occasions, I have struggled to understand the equine mind, I have fought to improve my knowledge and physical attributes to better my riding, and I have spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out how I could be the True horseman I had always dreamed of becoming. It is quite amusing to me now, that wherever I go across America, I am labeled as an “overnight success”. All I can think is: “It has been a very long night.” Looking back at the years of toil and joy, happiness and tears, that my life with horses has brought me, I now realize I do have a gift, and that gift is the burning desire to continually improve as a horseman, to glean more knowledge, gain more compassion, show more patience and grow more imagination. These tools of horsemanship, coupled with my silent creed “To give my Very Best” have enabled me to accomplish all I have. As I work with any horse, young or old, uneducated or truly finished, I make a solemn promise to give him my very best at all times, and all I ask in return is that he gives me his.

PUSH YOUR LIMITS I know in my heart that this is why, as a little boy with very little knowledge or few life skills, I could get more from a horse than an adult could. It wasn’t that I was stronger or braver or more convicted, but more because I was doing all I could to understand horses and give them a genuine reason to believe in me. Looking back now, I can see so many things I would now consider fundamentally wrong, yet those wonderful horses said to me in every movement of their bodies and minds: “You believe in me and so I believe in you.” In saying that, if I were to ride now as I did back then, it wouldn’t be enough, for my level best has risen. And a horse knows when you are giving your all or not, and will act accordingly. To give “Your Very Best” is to push the limits of what you know and are able to do, and what you are prepared to give in return. This includes sweating, struggling and striving in order equine wellness


to succeed. Giving your best will not be easy – it will take concentration and willpower and true conviction, and speaking from experience I can honestly say the rewards are truly worth it. We have all seen on many occasions when the great have fallen from grace. It is not because they have lost their skill or physical and mental awareness, or they have suddenly become un-great. It’s more that they have lost the desire to give it their very best. This one important ingredient was the only thing separating them between being the best, and being just another competitor chasing the lead. The great thing about a horse is that if asked properly, he will give his all on any occasion. Once he has learned how to perform at the highest level, he will do his level best to return to it at a moment’s notice. In the early days of a young horse’s training, his very best will seem small; but with every day, he will strengthen in body, mind and spirit until his best sees him giving everything he has in a common cause to join with you to ensure his safety and comfort. The humble horse is not born with the natural desire to attain perfection as we humans are, and yet he will willingly give moments of perfection and pure quality for his simple and yet justified needs. Guy’s daughter April rides Teddy while Guy and Spinabbey pose beneath.

I now realize I do have a gift, and that gift is the burning desire to

continually improve as a horseman, to glean more knowledge, gain more compassion, show more patience and grow more imagination. YOUR HORSE IS YOUR MIRROR I believe that the horse is the world’s truest mirror, and as such will only reflect the level of commitment and quality work that is presented to him on a daily basis. Just as you cannot frown into a mirror and expect a smile in return, it is also true that only when you give your very best can you expect the horse to return the favor. However, to give your best can be quite tricky, as there are so many variables involved, such as your health on a particular day or many other outside pressures. But as long as you know you are giving your all in that moment, your best will be enough for your horse. On several occasions throughout my performance career, I have been less than 100% either emotionally or physically. I have found that although my best on those days was less powerful than normal, my wonderful team of horses more than filled in and ensured a successful performance. I have always been mystified at the humble horse’s ability to read the intentions of man; to have my horses perform at their physical peak for me and then instantly soften in body and mind to protect my precious daughter or someone else less capable has always endeared me to these incredible creatures.

Because both he and his horses give their best, Guy can achieve complete control.


equine wellness

In a world of ever increasing access to knowledge through books, DVDs or the ever popular internet, it is interesting to note that even though someone can follow a trainer’s method from start to finish, they never end up with exactly the same results as the horseman who developed Continued on page 26.

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Continued from page 24.

it. I believe the reason for this is not the way they swing the rope or how hard they pull or kick, but how much they believe in the method and how important the right response is to the individual trainer. I have always judged myself as a human being by the way my horses see me in their lives, and because of this it is of optimal importance to me that I do my very best in order to earn my horses’ respect and trust, body, heart and mind.

COMMIT TO THE MOMENT Because we all lead such busy lives, it can be hard to give your all when your horse needs it most. Yet whenever I ride or ground work a horse, I seem to go into this silent world where only the horse and I reside – I will quite often not hear people talk to me as I commit to the moment and give my horse my very best. I can explain this as being akin to having a deep conversation with someone in which your eyes never leave theirs, and you’re concentrating on every word in an effort to understand and communicate the thoughts and feelings between the two of you. The commitment I give to the moment is like some sort of trance in which I commit my body and mind to connecting with my equine student, and shut out all outside influences until it feels as though only the two of us remain.

Guy’s horses trust him to get them in and out of any situation!

Photo courtesy of Berni Saunders

It is this mindset that allows my wonderful horses to perform in front of fireworks, monster trucks and rock music. Whenever I ride, I expect my horses to ignore everything except for me – “believe in me and I will keep you safe.” It is only when we become true leaders that the horse will choose to follow us through fire and mayhem and commit their bodies and minds to all our requests. So with this, I leave you to test your best, to raise the bar of your expectations, and to give your all in order to capture your wildest dreams. And just remember “Your Very Best” will always be enough for your horse.


Top: The Australian team sees fireworks for the first time. Bottom: Spinabbey performs Guy’s fire act at Equitana 2008. Guy McLean is a self-taught Australian Horseman who has entertained, inspired, and educated millions of audience members from all walks of life. After achieving top honors in his field at home, Guy decided it was time to take on the international stage. In June of 2010, Guy arrived in the US with four of his Australian bred horses to commence his first American tour. Guy and his team have had the honor of performing at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, 2011 Breyerfest, Dressage At Devon, The Royal Winter Fair and the National Rodeo Finals, and competing (and winning) the 2012 and 2013 Road to the Horse colt starting competition. GuyMcleanusatour.com


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a little goes a long way! By Theresa Gilligan

WOULD YOU BELIEVE THE LEAF OF A BEAUTIFUL Mediterranean tree could significantly alter the future of antibiotics? It could very well be true. Behold the olive leaf, which has gained international attention thanks to research that has revealed its extract possesses antioxidant content two to three times more powerful than green tea extract, and over 400% more powerful than vitamin C! KNOWLEDGE IS POWER We all want to make informed decisions concerning our health and that of our horses. Because our animals rely on us to make these decisions for them, we must utilize the resources available to us through every possible channel. For example, I was recently introduced to the writings of a well-known cardiologist, Dr. Morton Walker, who has done leading research into olive leaf. His scientific evidence and research has shown olive leaf to be one of the most important antimicrobials of our time. He asserts that it’s a leader in the fight against infectious disease. Wow! BENEFITS FOR YOUR HORSE The research has shown that olive leaf is by far one of the best immuneboosting, antibiotic, antifungal herbs you could possibly give your horse. Its wonder compound is called oleuropein, enhanced by flavonoids and polyphenols. Olive leaf’s powerful active compounds have successfully treated EPM, shingles, herpes and many more debilitating conditions. And I can personally vouch for the efficacy of olive leaf in healing gastrointestinal ulcers, exceptionally quickly. Furthermore, olive leaf is a very effective antiparasitic and can rid your horse’s body of painful parasitic conditions. There is an abundance of wonderful healing herbs in the world. They are unparalleled when given in the correct dose and format. I believe, as do both Western and Eastern medical professionals, that olive leaf is one of them! It definitely belongs in your horse’s health cupboard.

Olive leaf (Olea europaea) Parts used: Leaf Actions: Antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory

Theresa Gilligan has been involved in riding and training horses for 25 years, including racing and breeding Thoroughbreds. She also has over 14 years in the financial industry and a bachelor and graduate degree in International Business. She has dedicated the last five years to research in alternative medicinal practices, with a specific focus on Ayurveda. Neachai (Neachai.ca) is the first Equine Ayurvedic-specific alternative practice in North America.

equine wellness


By Karen Scholl



A LOT OF FOLKS have owned a horse that’s “needle-shy”. They dread it when the vet comes out to do vaccinations, and pray their horses won’t ever need injectable medications or blood tests, because it’s such a challenge to place the needles properly. Needle-shy behavior is so common that it’s become standard practice to use a nose twitch as part of the procedure. I don’t disagree with this – veterinarians need to minimize the risks of handling a large, powerful and fearful animal. But the approach I’ll describe in this article is proven to make “needle-shy” behavior a thing of the past. CREATE A POSITIVE ASSOCIATION WITH NEEDLES I’d like to offer a simple yet effective technique that the average horse owner can use to create a positive association with needles in their equines. Ideally, this approach should be taken well before it’s needed; the time to teach a horse how to relax with needles is not when he’s sick, hurt, or while being examined by a busy vet. Practice first with a horse that isn’t needle-shy, to build your skills and confidence. Begin with the horse haltered, and hold the lead short enough to “help” but with zero pressure. Resist the urge to have someone else hold the horse, as this kind of restriction can feel threatening to a prey animal.


equine wellness


Start in an area with good footing and that’s large enough so the horse won’t feel confined. Even a large driveway or good sized paddock will work – you just need an area

where the horse can move and “drift” without feeling boxed in by walls, other horses or vehicles.

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Begin by standing behind the jaw, next to the neck. Using the palm of your hand, rub the neck in the location where you would normally give an injection. Stroke with the hair, not against it. The exact location isn’t critical, as you’ll be repeating this process on both sides of the neck, and along the jugular on either side of the esophagus, to simulate a variety of procedures.

The horse’s head may or may not rise, but if it does, put a slight pressure or “drag” on the lead line and keep rubbing until he relaxes by lowering his head even slightly. Then immediately take your hand away. Wait a moment, then begin rubbing again, taking your hand away when the horse lowers his head. When a horse feels suspicious, his head may stay high for a while and he may even move his feet, so just “drift” with him until he realizes nothing’s happening. He’ll eventually stand still and lower his head. The timing of the release creates a cue for relaxation to human touch and/or perceived pressure. It seems as if this would be natural for a horse, but being a prey animal by nature, there is nothing in herd dynamics that involves “petting”, so touch from a predator species is instinctively foreign to him.


When things are going well, take a fold of skin with your fingers and hold it enough to keep the skin folded (but not painful). Hold this position until the horse relaxes or ideally lowers his head. Again, if he moves his feet, usually away or backward, just put a little drag on the lead but stay with him, still holding the

WHAT ABOUT EXTREME CASES? As an equine behaviorist and educator, I can more easily explain this approach by demonstrating it with a horse, so if you have a difficult case, know that there is an educational DVD that demonstrates this technique on one of the most extreme cases I’ve ever worked with. Several veterinarians had declined to treat this horse again, even for routine vaccinations, and the vet who told me about him expressed surprise and concern when I said this horse was ideal for the video. I don’t want to scare you away from resolving this behavior yourself, but after you read through this article, you may still want to consider employing a reputable equine behaviorist to help you. But it’s been my experience that after watching my video on this subject, most folks find the approach so practical, that with a little time, patience and effort, they see an immediate improvement in their horse that gets better and better every time they practice. It’s my desire that you can read this article, apply the approach and get the same results. equine wellness






It’s important to know how extreme this behavior can become if left unchecked. I’m reminded of the poor vet who was watching my needle-shy demo at a horse expo while standing on crutches from a broken leg after a customer’s horse struck him from under a barrier used to protect him from this behavior. Or worse, the vet assistant who was crushed when a horse receiving an injection pulled back then lunged forward into her when she was standing between the short-tied horse and the hitching rail. I’m sorry to say she did not survive. Even if your own needle-shy horse isn’t this extreme, it can easily become a worsening behavior when the same forceful approach is used time after time. The horse gets better at evading the situation, even if the human “won” last time!

fold of skin, until his feet slow or stop and the head lowers (any improvement, really). Then, instantly release the fold and rub that spot on the neck. One person holding the lead makes it easier to follow the horse and allow him to “drift”. Let him relax a minute, take a nice long breath, then begin again. Should the horse move toward you (especially with his shoulder), you may be better off going back to basics and teaching him to respect your personal space with either your touch or rhythmic pressure, until he can keep a respectful distance from you. A horse moving away from you is much safer than a horse that has developed the habit of moving toward you as a way to gain comfort. (See the Cornerstone for Communication DVD for these techniques.) You’re looking for the horse’s head to lower and his feet to stay in place when he feels pressure on his neck. Waiting for him to give an expression of understanding is important. Between holds, just wait a little until you see his expression change – he might blow his nose, blink his eyes, lick his lips or waggle his ears. Each of these is a signal that the horse is processing a new pattern of behavior toward pressure, something foreign to the nature of a prey animal!


equine wellness


Because horses are quick to create new associations, you’ll find you’re soon ready to move to the next stage, which involves introducing a foreign object to this new pattern of relaxation. I like to use a ballpoint pen that I can click to have the pen tip extended or retracted. Start with the pen tip retracted and push it into the horse’s neck – just lightly at first. Most vets insert a needle before attaching the syringe, whether for an injection or blood draw, so if you can get a nonneedled syringe to replace the pen, great, but it’s not necessary. Follow the same steps as before, holding and putting “drag” on the lead rope, and releasing when the feet stop and the head lowers. Rub, wait, and begin again.


Repeat this approach on different areas of the neck. When you see acceptance from the horse, click the pen open so you’ll have something pointy but not sharp. Continue the exercise. When the horse remains relaxed while you’re pushing a pen tip all over his neck on both sides, along the jugular area, etc., he’s ready to accept a needle.

Purica’s Recovery Corner

The key to equine longevity By Eryn Kirkwood The average lifespan of a horse is typically between 20 and 30 years. Yet feral horses are said to live well into their 30s and beyond. This dramatic difference has led researchers to conduct studies comparing the lifestyles of feral and domestic horses.

With a little time and patience, your horse will learn to stand relaxed for all of his needles. This gelding is so good now that his owner can needle him without anyone else having to hold him!

When we talk about equine anti-aging, we’re referring to high quality of life, a calm and centered state of mind, sustained energy, and painless mobility, well into the horse’s senior years. Research reveals that not only are the diseases and ailments associated with progressing age treatable, but they can actually be prevented. How? By creating an environment for your horse that mimics the wild.

Walk with your horse on the “wild side” THE BENEFITS OF A RELAXED PATIENT Because horses are designed by nature to adapt quickly, it won’t be long before the average horse lowers his head (almost to the ground) to receive release from the pressure. This is ideal, because the neck muscles are so relaxed in this position that needles are virtually painless when inserted. Compare this to attempting to insert a needle into the neck of a tense horse – it’s actually possible to bend a needle when trying to inject even a tiny needle into tense muscle! Every single horse I’ve used this approach with has achieved complete relaxation and acceptance of needles without even a swish of the tail. It may be hard to believe now, but just imagine the surprise and relief your vet will feel when your “needle-shy” horse becomes his new favorite at vaccination time!

Karen Scholl is an Equine Behaviorist and Educator who presents her program “Horsemanship for Women” throughout the United States, Canada and Brazil. Learn more about her psychology-based approach at KarenScholl.com or call 888-238-3447.

1 Encourage socialization. Horses are natural herd animals. Their state of mind is heavily reliant on the socialization and hierarchal structure of the herd. 2 Give him freedom of movement. Allow your horse the opportunity to enjoy grass pasture and free roaming. 3 Go for free-choice feeding. Giving your horse the opportunity to eat when he or she chooses is psychologically rewarding, most akin to his hereditary impulses, and ideal for overall digestion. 4 Provide him with a stimulating environment – it’s crucial to your equine partner’s happiness and well being. Mother Nature provides for all our needs, and our horses’. What the earth provides in abundance forms the foundation for all Purica products. Eryn Kirkwood is a freelance writer and editor residing in Ottawa, Canada. As an animal lover and health and wellness aficionado, Eryn publishes humorous and informative articles across a breadth of topics.

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orses have always been at risk for infectious disease. But nowadays, they’re moved around a lot more than they used to be – from one competition or clinic to the next, from barn to barn, and from barn to veterinary clinic. All this mobility increases the chance for diseases to spread among horses. When transporting horses within North America, it’s up to the owners, handlers and barn owners to limit the risks to both their own horses and others in the vicinity. But when traveling with horses internationally, mandatory quarantine procedures have to be followed.

KEEP NECESSARY VACCINES UP TO DATE The first preventative step against infectious disease is vaccinations. It’s vitally important that necessary immunizations are kept up to date and records are maintained. Providing vaccination records for showing at the professional level has been a necessary requirement for some time. However, providing proof of immunizations is now becoming more commonplace at local shows and boarding facilities across North America. Seek the advice of your local veterinarian to establish what vaccinations your individual horse needs, as this depends on a number of factors such as his age and use, as well as your geographic location and environment.

PREVENTATIVE MANAGEMENT Contagious diseases such as herpes, influenza, strangles and salmonella are spread through physical contact, or from direct contact with objects that have been contaminated. Having biosecurity measures in place when traveling with your horses; when new horses come into the barn; or when resident horses 32

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By Samantha Lacey, BSc, BHSII are returning from competitions, is crucial to help prevent the introduction of disease.

NEW ARRIVALS – QUARANTINE AT HOME When a new horse arrives at the barn, or a resident is returning from competition, he should ideally remain in a quarantine area for up to 30 days, with no physical contact with other horses. Prior to the horse’s arrival, and throughout the period of quarantine, the stall and all related equipment such as buckets, halters, lead lines, tack, blankets, grooming supplies and stall cleaning paraphernalia should be cleaned and disinfected – with special attention paid to wheelbarrows because infection can easily be transported around on the tires. All this equipment should be used solely for the horse in quarantine and kept away from any other horse’s equipment. Handlers also have to be careful not to contaminate via their person or clothing, and should wear gloves/overalls when possible. If the handlers have to deal with other horses as well, then the quarantined horse should always be attended to last. His owner should also avoid any contact with other horses in the barn during the quarantine period.

AWAY FROM THE FARM When you’re away from home with your horse, it’s imperative to maintain a clean environment to limit any risk of infection. The best precautionary measure is to effectively treat the horse the same as if he were in quarantine at home. Only use your own equipment, avoid contact with other horses yourself, and prevent any horse-to-horse contact. It is inevitably more difficult to control the environment when you’re away from home, but steps should still be taken. Remove any hay or bedding that may be present in the stall on your arrival, and

thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces, paying particular attention to waterers, handles and latches. One of the most often overlooked times of potential contamination is when the horses are being transported. Infection can occur either through direct contact with other horses also being moved, or through contact with contaminated surfaces within the vehicle. Clarifying the bio-security measures taken by haulage companies is of great importance, as is establishing the history of any horses that may be accompanying yours on any journey.

CROSSING THE US/CANADA BORDER When traveling between the US and Canada, health papers prepared by a veterinarian must be presented at the border. The papers must detail the identities of the horses in transport, and their respective owners, and also include a signed declaration from a vet that the horse(s) appeared in good health when examined. Horses must also be confirmed to be free of Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). EIA (or swamp fever) is a viral disease for which

TRAVELING OUTSIDE NORTH AMERICA If your horses are going to be jet-setting around the globe, know that there are specific regulations in place to protect both your horse and those he may come into contact with. Prior to leaving the country, your horse will have to be isolated for 30 days in a specified quarantine facility that has been approved by the federal government (either the USDA or CFIA). The exact vaccination and blood test requirements will depend on the country you’re travelling to, as is the quarantine period on arrival. The same 30-day period of quarantine is also required on re-entry to North America.

there is no vaccination, so it is necessary for horses to have a Coggins Test and have paperwork that states they are not infected. Some horses can be carriers of EIA without showing any obvious

own and your horse’s contact with other people, horses and equipment, while maintaining a clean, sanitary environment.

symptoms, which is why testing is a necessary precaution. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to implementing bio-security measures at home or when travelling. But the key to preventing the incidence of disease is to limit both your

Samantha Lacey is a British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor and hails from England where she worked as a facility manager and chief instructor at a number of equestrian centers. Since moving to Canada in 2008 she has continued to fulfill her passion of working with horses and is currently working as part of the care team at an Equine Hospital in the Greater Toronto Area. In addition, Sam is also studying for an MSc in Equine Science through an online distance learning program with the University of Edinburgh.

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New to the PUREFORM lineup of All-In-One Products, Full Stride is a highly absorbable and natural full spectrum vitamin and mineral powder. It includes a very effective joint formula, and something extra to reduce muscle soreness caused by lactic acid buildup due to overtraining. A very palatable supplement that can be fed with all hay, grass or alfalfa diets.


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SLOW DOWN Slow feeding is quickly being accepted as a commonsense way to feed horses, because it comes closer to how nature intended. This healthier system regulates feed consumption while making sure feed is continually available. It reduces waste, herd issues, and health problems. With Slow Feed Nets, any size of bag can be custom made to suit your horse. The webbing won’t shrink when left in the rain or snow, and the nets have an added UV inhibitor.



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For visible results that horsemen throughout the world depend on (for all ages, breeds and activities), turn to Source Micronutrients. Legendary support for superior hoof condition (texture and growth), hair gloss and coloration, skin tone, body weight, stamina and temperament. Essential to thrive!

FRESH FROM THE GARDEN Repellents work by smell, not poison! It Works Green is an all-natural bug and insect repellent that’s 100% organic from the garden. Carefully chosen essential oils make up this effective safe and nontoxic blend. The pest-repelling ingredients are citronella, lemon grass and clove. Cod liver oil is added to help the product adhere to the skin of your horse.

ItWorksGreen.com 34

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By Dr. Eleanor Kellon, VMD HERE ARE MANY WAYS TO STIMULATE your horse’s immune system. It can be done with drugs or natural substances. But the success of either depends on his

immune system having all the nutrients it needs to operate. All nutrients have important functions within the immune system. Even a calorie deficit causes metabolic stress, with adverse effects. The satiety hormone, leptin, is very low in undernourished horses. Drops in leptin occur in malnutrition and lead to severe suppression of cell-mediated immunity and the ability of T lymphocytes to proliferate. This occurs long before nutrients are depleted, literally within a day or two, and is just as rapidly reversed by feeding or leptin administration. Deficiencies of total protein intake have very negative effects on immunity but are relatively uncommon, though specific

UNDERSTANDING AMINO ACIDS • Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid in humans, meaning it can be both synthesized and obtained from the diet, but that diet and/or synthesis may not always be enough to support normal development, or in disease states. Very little is known about arginine requirements in horses, but it is interesting to note that mare’s milk is high in arginine and increases in the later stages of lactation, suggesting dietary arginine from grasses is likely not enough for horses under one year old. Arginine in hays averages in the neighborhood of 4.5% of the crude protein, so a horse eating a 10% protein hay would be getting 0.4% arginine in the diet. Grains and grain products contain 0.5% to 1% arginine. The arginine requirement of horses is unknown. The rabbit is used as a model for non-ruminant herbivores, and rabbit requirements have been estimated at 0.6% to 1.2%.

amino acid deficiencies might not be. The issue is greatly complicated by the fact that we know very little about the horse’s requirements for specific amino acids.

In the immune system, a key role of arginine is in the generation of large amounts of nitric oxide. This uses up the

equine wellness


local arginine, depriving the cells lining the blood vessels and causing vessels in the area of injury or infection to contract. With circulating organisms (e.g. bacteremia, bacteria in blood or toxemia, toxins in blood – aka “blood poisoning”), the reaction is body-wide. Severe blood flow restriction occurs, which can cause shock or laminitis. Because of this, arginine should not be supplemented when there is active infection or inflammation. Arginine also feeds herpes viruses and cancers. • Glutamine plays several important roles in the immune system which are described in detail in this review at jn.nutrition. org/cgi/content/full/131/9/2515S. Because glutamine can easily be converted back to glutamate, it is also an important substrate for the synthesis of the antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione is synthesized from glutamate, cysteine and glycine. Selenium is incorporated in the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which allows the glutathione to neutralize oxygen and hydroxy (OH) free radicals. It is one of the ways in which the white blood cells and other body tissues are protected from damage while the immune system is chemically attacking invading organisms, cancer cells or dead tissues.

SUPPLEMENTING FOR IMMUNE FUNCTION • The best way I have found to support immune function from the protein end is with supplemental whey protein concentrate or isolate. This is the highest quality protein on the face of the earth. If there is a known protein deficiency in the diet, from diet analysis, feed 50% of the calculated deficit (the high bioavailability lets you feed less). Otherwise, for general support, feed 30 to 50 grams/day. • Antioxidants protect immune system cells and tissues from damage when the system goes to work to destroy organisms or dead tissues. The antioxidant nutrients most likely to be


is a sequence of a chain of amino acids.

Amino Acids

deficient in equine diets are vitamin E (horses not on fresh pasture), selenium, copper and zinc. • Supplement vitamin E at 1 to 2 IU/lb of body weight when not on pasture, and selenium 1 to 2 mg/day in areas known to be borderline or deficient. Copper and zinc are best supplemented based on hay analysis, but if that is not available, 150 mg/day of copper and 375 mg/day of zinc per 22 lbs of hay is an acceptable minimum. • Adequate intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs) is critical to good functioning of the immune system. They are used in the manufacture of inflammatory mediators as well as the anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit them. The relative amounts of Omega-3 versus Omega-6 fatty acids incorporated into lymphocyte cell walls even influences how sensitive they are to signals for secreting inflammatory cytokines. • Omega-6 is rarely deficient, being abundant in grains, commonly used fats, and surviving the drying of hay better than the antiinflammatory Omega-3 fats do. To help restore balance for horses not on fresh pasture, feed flax seed at 4 to 6 oz/day. • Normal functioning of the immune system is highly dependent on the ability of lymphocytes and other white blood cells to rapidly increase their numbers by cell multiplication, and also to generate energy to produce cytokines, antibodies and cytotoxic substances. This is where the B vitamins come into play. Their pivotal roles in these functions lead to a suppression of the immune system’s ability to respond if they are deficient; for example, the dramatic effects on lymphocytes with folate deficiency (jimmunol.org/cgi/reprint/173/5/3186.pdf). B vitamin deficiencies are highly unlikely with horses on generous amounts of hay or pasture, but could be a factor with high grain feeding or in horses with intestinal tract upsets. What this all boils down to is that adequate and balanced nutrition, which guarantees that all classes of nutrients are present and in the correct proportions, forms the scaffolding for good immunity. However, that does not mean more is better. There is really no convincing evidence in any species that routine megadosing improves the immune response. On the other hand, what constitutes optimal intake for immune function is a bit unclear for horses since so little work has been done specifically on equines. Adequate protein with 150% of the NRC recommended minimums for vitamins and minerals is a good first step in supporting your horse’s immunity.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Proteins, including antibodies, are assembled by stringing together different amino acids in a chain, according to directions in the genetic code. 36

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Eleanor Kellon, VMD, currently serves as the Staff Veterinary Specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition. An established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, Dr. Kellon is a valuable resource in the field of applications and nutraceuticals in horses. She formerly served as Veterinary Editor for Horse Journal and John Lyons Perfect Horse and is owner of Equine Nutritional Solutions, a thriving private practice. Founded in 1962, Uckele Health & Nutrition has been a trusted leader in the formulation, development and manufacture of quality nutritional supplements for 50 years.

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IT’S A BOUT BEING By Karen Rohlf

You want your horse to be POWERFUL, BALANCED AND SUPPLE. One of the most effective ways to achieve these qualities is through transitions between and within gaits.

transitions between gaits and within each gait. A Grand Prix test asks for five different kinds of trot!

1. Flexibility exercises require changes of bend (serpentines and figure eights) and develop suppleness.

What this tells us is that the ability to transition in and out of a movement is as important as the movement itself – and the transition is only going to be as good as how well the horse was prepared for it!

2. Mobility exercises are otherwise known as lateral work and lead to greater straightness.


There are three categories of gymnastic exercise:

3. Collectability exercises lead to more carrying power and mostly involve transitions. It’s important to recognize this in order to know what the intended result of an exercise is. You could do a million transitions with no gymnastic benefit; or you could do just a few in a way that creates a horse who is more powerful than he was moments ago. From a dressage/biomechanical point of view, I am not talking about explosive power, but the power of being in a mental, emotional and physical state of preparedness. As you move up the levels in dressage competition, you are not given more time to prepare – you are given less. There are also many more frequent 38

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We can ride in a way that develops this skill of preparedness for transitions. First, we want to establish what are called the working gaits. They are called working gaits because they are in a balance where things work as in function (not because you and your horse are working hard). The best way to check to see if your gaits are functional is to check that you can easily transition in and out of them. For example, while riding at a trot, my first priority is to be at a trot I like, meaning that it is rhythmic, aligned, relaxed, energized, connected, and that I am in active neutral (not having to hold it together with strong aids). I call this place the sweet spot. As soon as I am in the sweet spot, my next questions are: “Do I feel ready to walk?” and “Do I feel ready to canter?”

PREPARED I will test myself by doing the transition I feel most prepared for. What happens when I ask for the transition will give me a lot of information about my state of preparedness and the quality of my working gait prior to the transition. A quality transition is one in which my horse is ready and waiting. My aid allows the transition to happen. The horse is able to start the new gait with no loss of quality in the gait he is transitioning out of. After a transition attempt, I may end up revising my definition of what it feels like to be prepared! Once my horse and I are confident about what it feels like to be prepared for one transition, then I focus on the other transition until I know what it feels like to be prepared for that one. You may find that you have the trot that is ready to walk, and the trot that is ready to canter, and they may be two different trots! In the end, we want to be able to ride at the trot and feel ready to walk or canter at a moment’s notice. Ask yourself if you feel ready to walk or canter from the trot you have – whichever one you feel least prepared for is the one you must do! You can also play with this from the walk, thinking: “Could you halt, or back up, or trot, or canter from the walk you have?” You may be surprised at how much power, engagement and balance you can achieve by simply raising your standard for this state of preparedness. Continued on page 40.

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Continued from page 39.

PRACTICING TRANSITIONS Whether practicing transitions between or within gaits, keep these points in mind: • Establish a working gait in a sweet spot where you are not holding your aids strongly. • Transitions test the quality of the gait. • Sustain a state of preparedness. Memorize the feeling of it, then test it by doing transitions. • The state of preparedness is where your horse is ready and waiting to do a transition. • Your seat allows and shapes the transition.

TRANSITIONS WITHIN THE GAIT The next layer of transitions is within the gait. In general, a lengthening of the stride comes as a release of the potential energy built into the working gait. Ideally, the tempo and balance stay the same, but your seat shapes a longer stride. Even before your horse has powerful engaged lengthenings, he can learn to “go more” and “go less”. The willingness to accelerate and the respect of coming back are important communications to have in place. If there is an issue with the way in which the horse lengthens (falling on forehand, running faster, getting sprawled out), I often don’t work on the lengthening, but instead see it as an indication of deficiency in the working gait. This means I go back to more “spring coiling” exercises (transitions between the gaits). Another way to practice lengthening and shortening before you have a balanced lengthening is to do it the other way around. Shorten and then lengthen (back to where you started). This is a great way to practice how to use your seat to shape the length of the stride, and it will tend to increase engagement. Every transition is an investment in the gymnastic bank. Maintaining a high standard for quality transitions and focusing on creating a state of preparedness will give you the highest return on that investment! Karen Rohlf has been helping students transform their connection with their horses for 30 years. Her background in competitive dressage and immersion in natural horsemanship combine to give her a unique perspective called Dressage, Naturally. It is her mission to create stronger partnerships and healthy biomechanics by combining the principles of natural horsemanship with the art of dressage. Karen lives in Ocala, Florida but reaches students around the world through clinics and her online Video Classroom and Virtual Arena. She has developed a teaching style that focuses on empowering students to progress through independent learning. You can begin your transformation immediately via DressageNaturally.net

BOOK REVIEWS TITLE: Smart Start – Building a Strong Foundation for your Horse AUTHOR: Stacy Westfall with Sue M. Copeland How a horse is introduced to being handled and ridden profoundly shapes his future. In Smart Start, Stacy shares the techniques she uses to both start young horses, and re-start more mature horses that need a refresher course. The methods described in this book are the same ones she used to win the Road to the Horse coltstarting competition in 2006. In the progressive step-by-step photos and explanations, you will see Stacy working mostly with Popcorn, the horse she was given for the competition and which she purchased afterwards so she could continue his education. The book offers insights on how to read and communicate through your horse’s body language, and develop responsiveness, confidence, respect and trust in the horse while maintaining safety. With lots of photographs and step-by-step guidelines for everything from bridling to ground driving to trailer loading, this book is helpful for anyone looking to build on their horsemanship skills.

PUBLISHER: Cruz Bay Publishing 40

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CANADA’S LONGEST-RUNNING all breed equine show is returning to the Orangeville Agricultural Society Event Centre in 2014. Now in its 11th year, the Can-Am All Breeds Equine Expo is Ontario’s most complete springtime show for horse enthusiasts. This year, it runs from March 28 to 30.

HERE ARE SOME HIGHLIGHTS: • Catch two-time Road to the Horse Champion Guy McLean in intimate and entertaining performances.

• For

youth, Equine Guelph will be onsite with EquiMania, an award-winning interactive experience.

For buyers and collectors, the Great Can-Am Tack • and Trailer Sale, the largest of its kind in Eastern Canada, is your one-stop shop for new and used trailers, tack and accessories.

• For horse owners, over 30 world-class clinicians will be speaking and demonstrating all weekend long.

Experience the RAM Breeds Parade, an excellent networking opportunity showcasing top breeds • and demonstrating Ontario’s world-caliber horse breeding programs.

Plan to spend the weekend at one of the many hotels, inns, and scenic bed and breakfasts in Headwaters Horse Country. Details regarding admission prices, local accommodations, and clinician information is available at CanAmEquine.ca.

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TO THE RESCUE Forgotten Horses Rescue, Inc

Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA056 to Forgotten Horses.

Location: Homeland, CA Year established: 2013 Staff/volunteers/foster homes: “There are six of us that make up Forgotten Horses. We have various weekly volunteers and several people that foster for us,” says president Trisha Geltner. Types of animals they work with: “We go to local auctions and rescue slaughter-bound horses. We take abused, abandoned and emaciated horses as well as network Craigslist horses.” Fundraising initiatives: “We fundraise every day! We would love to have a covered arena. East Texas summers are so tough; an arena would allow us to do more training.” Fundraising targets: “We are currently fundraising for feed.” Favorite rescue story: “Earlier last year, we rescued an older, emaciated gelding from a horse tripping situation. He could barely walk to the trailer. We were sure we were rescuing him to perform a last act of kindness. Within a week, he perked up and the sparkle came back to his eye. We recently adopted him out to a little girl named Amethyst whose mother contacted us. For her ninth birthday, Amethyst didn’t want presents; she wanted her friends and family to donate to Forgotten Horses. When Amethyst came out and visited Blue and the other horses, we found out from her mother that they wanted to get their daughter her first horse. On Amethyst’s birthday, we were able to deliver Blue as a surprise, and because of our amazing supporters, supply her with a saddle, saddle pad and full bridle. He went from an emaciated, defeated little Paint horse, to a thriving boy with a whole family that adores him.”


Central Virginia Horse Rescue

Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA058 to the Central Virginia Horse Rescue

Location: Brodnax, VA Year established: 2010 Staff/volunteers/foster homes: “We have a staff of one, 15 regular volunteers, and two foster homes,” says Cindy Smith, who is on the board of directors. Types of animals they work with: “We work with every breed and type of horse. We love to work with Standardbreds because of their versatility, athleticism and great temperaments.” Fundraising targets: “We are currently trying to raise money to purchase a farm that will not only allow us to rescue more horses, but also offer more programs such as riding lessons, camps, youth outreach, horse shows, etc.” Favorite rescue story: “In mid-November of 2012, we were asked by the Tazwell County Sheriff’s Dept. to take in an abandoned horse. Doug had been tied out in a pasture at an old mine. With a severe respiratory infection and a body score of one, the vet did not think he would live.

CentralvaHorseRescue.com 42

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Equine Wellness is committed to donating $100,000 to rescues and shelters through our Ambassador Program. When you subscribe, you support the rescue of your choice by using the unique promotion code assigned to each organization, and we will donate 40% of your subscription directly to the cause. To become an Ambassador and be featured in our magazine, please have your organization contact Natasha@EquineWellnessMagazine.com.

Ohana Horse Rescue

Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA073 to Ohana Horse Rescue.

Location: Brooksville, FL Year established: 2007 Number of staff/volunteers: “We have around ten volunteers that help us often,” says Carrie Young, president. “We have several reasons why people come out (community hours). We also work through the misdemeanor court system in our county. Most people like to come and get their horse fix, and it brings an inner reward to those who help.” Fundraising targets and types of animals they work with: “We are always doing some type of fundraiser. We are known for taking in the untouched, ill, pregnant, untrained horses, so the horses that come into the rescue, for the most part, stay quite a long time. We make sure that their minds, bodies and souls are rehabbed before they pick their forever humans.” What do you enjoy most about what you do: “What I feel when I listen to these horses speak to me, or see the lost look in their eyes, or see how they react to just the simplest of movements from being beaten…it’s horrible, but when I watch the life come back into their eyes, and the trust that they learn all over again, it’s very rewarding. To see the horses live again – that is why I do what I do. It is the hardest yet the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life.”


Davy Jones Equine Memorial Fund Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA064 to the Davy Jones Memorial Fund.

Location: Santa Barbara, CA Year established: 2012 Number of staff/volunteers: “There are no staff,” say Davy Jones’ daughters Talia, Sarah, Jessica and Annabel. “The owners and employees of the ranch where the herd is boarded help care for the horses, but they are not on staff. We provide hands-on oversight and care for the herd, and administration and marketing/communications are handled by ourselves and a few volunteers.” Types of animals they work with: “Right now, the DJEMF herd consists of 14 thoroughbreds, primarily racehorses rescued from abuse or retired with an uncertain future, and many with special needs.” Fundraising targets: “The objective is to keep the herd healthy, safe and together with the help of our supporters. It costs thousands of dollars each month just to meet the most basic needs of the herd, without factoring in many of the “one-off” supplies and services that are needed from time to time.” Favorite rescue story: “Part of our mission is to use able herd members to work with underprivileged and disabled communities. Recently, we hosted a visit from a gentleman who suffers from advanced dementia. He came to the ranch with his primary caregivers, his daughter and granddaughter. He was a bit hesitant at first, but absolutely lit up when he saw the horses, and was soon smiling, brushing them, and giving them water. The horses were so patient and gentle with him – we were very proud of them! The gentleman’s daughter and granddaughter said it was the first time in a very long while that he had shown such enthusiasm for something.” What do you enjoy most about what you do? “The love we get from the herd is just amazing – they have all come so far in such a short time, and it’s really gratifying to see them all becoming better, healthier, happier horses every day. We also really love the community outreach we have been able to do thus far, and are planning to expand in 2014. And last but not least, being able to connect with Dad’s fans in conjunction with something he was so passionate about – it really makes us proud.”

Djemf.com equine wellness



Homeopathy extends the minimum influence of matter to stimulate the maximum level of cure without harm. All homeopathically prepared remedies have repeating characteristics that can be found across systems. Understanding this, instead of relying on symptoms alone, makes it easier to spot the essence of the ideal remedy, since many remedies share similar symptoms.


Some vaccination is necessary to protect your horse from infectious disease, but it can also cause unpleasant side effects. Homeopathy, in the form of Thuja Occidentalis, can help.

tumors and growths, hardened stools, difficulty swallowing, hardness in the abdomen, or short respiration from restriction in the chest. “Aversion to touch” is a keynote symptom here.

The cycle of symptoms that distinguishes the remedy Thuja

Finally, one or more systems become weakened and the horse seems fragile or vulnerable. You might notice weakness or trembling in the limbs, for instance. It is particularly unique to Thuja that hardness and fragility are a part of the same picture.

The cycle of the Thuja remedy begins with an “intrusion” of some sort – a vaccine being just one example. Following the intrusion, a state of duality emerges. In the case of vaccines, the two parts would be the virus and the individual, but this also could be two, non-integrated selves or something more physically evident, such as a splitting of the hoof wall.

Thuja symptoms The body or mind attempts to rid itself of the other part through discharge or by hiding what cannot be assimilated. This could present as profuse sweating, diarrhea or suppression. A keynote symptom here is “voiding large quantities of urine” (symptoms related to the urinary system are common for Thuja). The body’s effort to rid itself of the “alien” part results in some form of “hardening”. Examples include rigidity in the personality,

To form an accurate picture of Thuja, you will need to find examples of each of the following concepts, which together form a repeating cycle of similar symptoms. There are many more potential symptoms in the materia medica, so please do not rely on these examples only.. • I ntrusion

Examples: Fear of wind; ailments from vaccination (directly following); intolerance to cold; violent biting, itching. •S plitting/duality

Examples: Twitching or spasmodic movements of body parts such as the lower lip, ear, etc.; frequent starts or jerks of the upper body; split urinary stream.

CAN THUJA BE USED PROPHYLACTICALLY? If you have great trepidation about vaccinations and would like to use Thuja alongside each administration of a vaccine, I recommend repeated doses of 30c, 2x daily for 3 days directly following vaccination. 44

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•D ischarge, expulsion, suppression

Examples: Boils, sudden uncontrollable urination, abortion near the third month; conjunctivitis after vaccination; diarrhea after vaccination; hair dry and falling out; urethra agglutinated by mucus. •H ardness, rigidity, tumors

Examples: Hard stool followed by soft stool; considerable swelling of salivary glands; edges of eyelids dry and scaly; styes; wart-like granules on lids; tumors. •W eakness, fragility

Examples: Weakness, twitching and trembling of limbs; rear leg weakness or paralysis following vaccination; asthmatic breathing; excessive sleepiness; loss of appetite.

DOSING RECOMMENDATIONS Thuja derives from an evergreen coniferous tree in the cypress family. As with all homeopathically prepared remedies, it cures the symptoms that it might produce in toxic measures. In my experience, it is rare for a horse owner to use homeopathy by itself as a treatment, even though this would be the ideal scenario. I am making recommendations with the assumption that other treatments are being used alongside homeopathy. •G ive 12c doses, 2x daily for three weeks. If symptoms remain or return, repeat. •U se 30c doses, 2x daily for three days at a time, repeating only if symptoms were resolved but then return. •U se 12c doses, 2x daily for three weeks, wait at least two weeks (no treatment), and if symptoms remain or return within or by that time, use 30c doses, 2x daily for three days. (Repeat 30c dosing if symptoms return beyond this.)

Challenges when treating horses One of the greatest challenges in using homeopathy to treat horses is setting up the dosing to avoid antidoting (particularly from steroids and antibiotics). The second biggest challenge is avoiding “relapse”, which is brought on by too many stressors being present at once. This is why I do not recommend using single, high potency doses – there are too many factors in a horse’s life that can set this method up for failure. Even when treating with small, repeated doses, by committing to reduce environmental stressors you will allow the remedy to complete its action more effectively.

Susan L. Guran is a Homeopathic Practitioner treating animals in Vermont. She owns and operates The Horse’s Touch as a PATH certified instructor.

WHAT’S HAPPENING CONGRATS TO OUR RESCUES OF THE MONTH! We choose a new rescue organization each month based on nominations we receive on our Facebook page. Nominate a rescue by posting a comment on our wall. We donate 40% to these rescues when people subscribe using the rescue’s promo code. DECEMBER: Iron Gait Percherons! This organization saves Percherons by purchasing them at auctions, assisting in authority seizures, and taking in owner surrenders. Their promo code is EWA062. JANUARY: Ohana Horse Rescue! Ohana is run by three generations of the same family who have deep roots in Florida and a deep commitment to rescuing horses. Their promo code is EWA073. See their profile on page 42.


By Janine Jacques, MBA, MSCIS, PH.D, Equine Rescue Network

The legal debate over the slaughter of American horses continues as the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver lifted an emergency injunction, allowing three U.S. slaughter plants to move forward with production plans. When horse slaughter was banned in the U.S. in 2007, many believed this was an end to the cruel practice of slaughtering American horses. Sadly, horsemeat brokers simply began shipping horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. In fact, in 2012, over 160,000 horses were loaded onto trailers and transported across the border. Anti-slaughter advocates have now introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1094/S. 541). Proponents of the SAFE Act explain that horsemeat is unsafe to eat since horses are treated with medications that are toxic when ingested by humans. They further argue that the practice of shipping horses across the border is inhumane since the horses may spend days in trailers without food or water. If approved, this Act will end slaughter in the United States and prohibit the transport. The SAFE Act is in review with the Agricultural Appropriations Committee as this issue of EW is in production. To see how the legal battle is unfolding, check in with our website – EquineWellnessMagazine.com. Got an opinion on this debate? Join the discussion at Facebook.com/EquineWellness/Magazine or at Facebook.com/EquineRescueNetwork.

THANK YOU! Thank you to Coldflex Self-Cooling Products for donating to these rescues with us!

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RESOURCE GUIDE • Associations • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Communicators

• Chiropractors • Equine Practitioners • Integrative Therapies

ASSOCIATIONS American Hoof Association - AHA Ventura, CA USA Email: eval@americanhoofassociation.org Association for the Advancement of Natural Hoof Care Practices - AANHCP Lompoc, CA USA Phone: (805) 735-8480 Email: info@aanhcp.net Canadian Barefoot Hoof Association - CBHA Carolyn Myre Renfrew, ON Canada Phone: (613) 432-3620 Email: info@cdnbha.ca

• Resource Directory • Saddle Fitters • Schools and Training

Anne Riddell - AHA Anne Riddell, Certified Natural Hoofcare Practitioner Barrie, ON Canada Phone: (705) 427-1682 Email: ariddell@csolve.net

Cynthia Niemela Rapid City, SD USA Toll Free: (612) 481-3036 Phone: (612) 481-3036 Website: www.liberatedhorsemanship.com

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

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

Becky Goumaz Tulsa, OK USA Phone: (918) 493-2782 Email: pulltheshoes@yahoo.com Better Be Barefoot Lockport, NY USA Phone: (716) 432-2218 Email: sherri@betterbebarefoot.com Website: www.betterbebarefoot.com

Equinextion - EQ Lisa Huhn Redcliff, AB Canada Phone: (403) 527-9511 Email: equinextion@gmail.com Equine Science Academy - ESA Derry McCormick Catawissa, MO USA Phone: (636) 274-3401 Email: info@equinesciencesacademy.com Liberated Horsemanship - CHCP Warrenton, MO USA Phone: (314) 740-5847 Email: BruceNock@mac.com Natures Barefoot Hoofcare Guild Inc. NBHG Woodville, ON Canada Phone: (705) 374-5456 Email: kate@natureshoofcare.com Pacific Hoof Care Practioners - PHCP Sossity Gargiulo Ventura, CA USA Email: sossity@wildheartshoofcare.com


• Thermography • Yoga

Bruce Smith Raleigh, NC USA Phone: (919) 624-2585 Email: bruce@father-and-son.net Certified Hoof Care Professional Miriam Braun, CHCP Stoke, QC Canada Phone: (819) 543-0508 Email: Hoofhealth13@yahoo.com Charles Hall Elora, TN USA Phone: (931) 937-0033 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 Cottonwood Stables Chantelle Barrett - Natural Farrier Elora, ON Canada Phone: (519) 803-8434 Email: cottonwood_stables@hotmail.com

Gill Goodin Moravian, NC USA Phone: (325) 265-4250 Gudrun Buchhofer Judique, NS Canada Phone: (902) 787-2292 Email: gudrun@go-natural.ca 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 HossHoofHo Sandra Judy, Hoof Care Professional Gibsonville, NC USA Phone: (336) 380-5543 Website: www.hosshoofho.com Jeannean Mercuri - PHCP Ridge, NY USA Phone: (631) 345-2644 Email: info@gotreeless.com Website: www.horseguard-canada.ca Kel Manning, CP, Field Instructor, NTW Clinician Knoxville, TN USA Phone: (865) 579-4102 Email: naturalhoofcare@me.com Lost July Natural Hoof Care Nina Hassinger Bridgetown, NS Canada Phone: 902-665-2151 Email: nina@lostjuly.ca

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

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View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com

EW WELLNESS RESOURCE GUIDE CONTINUED Margo Scofield Tully, NY USA Phone: (315) 383-6429 Email: thehoofchick@hoofkeeping.com



Mary Ann Kennedy Fairview, TN USA Phone: (615) 412-4222 Email: info@maryannkennedy.com Marie Jackson Jonesborough, TN USA Phone: (423) 753-9349 Natural Concepts Joseph Skipp Wynantskill, NY USA Phone: (518) 371-0494 Email: joe@naturalhoofconcepts.com Natural Barefoot Trimming Emma Everly, AANHCP CP Columbiana, OH USA Phone: (330) 482-6027 Email: emmanaturalhoofcare@comcast.net Website: www.barefoottrimming.com Natural Hooves Ben Fortkamp Shelbyville, TN USA Phone: (931) 703-8149 Email: ben@naturalhooves.com Website: www.naturalhooves.com Natural Horse, Natural Hoof Sarah Graves Boone, CO 81025 Phone: (719)557-0052 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com Steve Hebrock Akron, OH USA Toll Free: (330) 813-5434 Phone: (330) 644-1954


INTEGRATIVE THERAPIES The Happy Natural Horse Lorrie Bracaloni Boonsboro, MD USA Phone: (301) 432-6216 Email: naturalhorselb@gmail.com Website: www.happynaturalhorse.com University of Guelph – Kemptville Guelph, ON Canada Phone: (613) 258-8336 Website: www.kemptvillec.uoguelph.ca


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


Virginia Natural Horsemanship Training Center Blacksburg, VA USA Email: sylvia@NaturalHorseTraining.com

THERMOGRAPHY Thermal Equine New Paltz, NY USA Toll Free: (845) 222-4286 Email: info@thermalequine.com Website: www.thermalequine.com

YOGA Yoga with Horses Pemberton, BC Canada Toll Free: (604) 902-4556 Email: yogawithhorses@gmail.com Website: www.yogawithhorse s.com

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contract By Rachel Kosmal McCart


P R O T E C T YO U ?


If you’re selling a horse, you need to know how to protect yourself from potential legal action. That means you need a carefully drawn out sale contract. We regularly consult with horse sellers who have unhappy buyers threatening to sue them, and the most important factor in the sellers’ defense is the written sale contract between them and the buyers. Here are the elements we look for.

DID THE BUYER SIGN THE CONTRACT? This sounds obvious, but horse sales often happen quickly, and it can be easy to overlook getting the buyer’s signature on the sales contract. However, if the buyer didn’t sign the contract, the seller will have a very difficult time trying to enforce its terms against the buyer.

Seller makes no warranties, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Seller expressly disclaims any statements that may have been made to Buyer regarding Horse, except for any statements that may be contained in this contract. Note that all disclaimer language should be in a font size that is at least as big as the rest of the contract, and in bold, italics or all caps. The idea is to make the disclaimer language so prominent that it would be nearly impossible for the reader to miss.

DOES THE CONTRACT DISCLOSE THE HORSE’S PROBLEM? In some cases, a buyer is unhappy with a horse because of a behavioral quirk or soundness issue that the seller says he/


she disclosed to the buyer at the time of sale. If the seller

For all horse sellers, disclaimers can provide an affirmative defense to breach of contract claims. For trainers, breeding farms and others who regularly sell horses as part of their business, warranty disclaimers can also provide a defense to claims brought under the Uniform Commercial Code, such as breach of the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. Note, however, that no disclaimer can provide an effective defense to fraud claims.

disclosed the problem to the buyer, and the buyer decided to

While almost any disclaimer language is better than not having a disclaimer at all, detailed disclaimers provide a much better legal defense than simple ones like “as is”. Here is an example of a more detailed (and therefore more effective) disclaimer:

serious injuries. While the seller has observed this behavior at feeding


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purchase the horse anyway, that disclosure provides the seller with a legal defense. To make sure it’s easy to prove what they disclosed about the horse, smart sellers put all disclosures in the sale contract. The more detailed the disclosures are, the better protection they will provide for the seller. For example: Horse has a history of biting other horses, and some bites have caused time, the horse may bite at any time. Accordingly, the buyer should take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of other horses.

ARE ALL THE TERMS IN THE CONTRACT? In most horse sale transactions, before the sale occurs, the seller and buyer exchange phone calls, emails, texts and/or Facebook messages about the horse. Without a clause that says all the sale terms are in the sale contract, the buyer may be able to assert a claim that any representations the seller might have made during these calls, emails, etc. were important terms of the sale. Here’s an example of a “four corners” clause: This contract contains the entire agreement among the parties. Any modifications must be in writing and signed by all parties to the agreement. No oral modifications will be effective unless reduced to writing and signed by all parties.

IS THERE AN ATTORNEY FEE CLAUSE? In most states, winners of breach of contract lawsuits don’t automatically get to collect their attorneys’ fees and costs from the loser. As a result, a horse seller who successfully defends a lawsuit over a $12,000 horse might spend $70,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs, with no hope of ever recouping those expenses. For that reason, a seller might choose to settle a horse sale dispute, even if the buyer’s claims have no merit. However, that all changes if the sale contract at issue contains an attorneys’ fees and costs clause like the following: In any legal action brought in connection with this agreement, the prevailing party(ies) will be entitled to prompt payment of expenses from the non-prevailing party(ies) following final adjudication in favor

of the prevailing party(ies). For the purposes of this section, “expenses” will include the following costs actually incurred by the prevailing party(ies): Reasonable attorneys’ fees, retainers, court costs, transcript costs, fees of experts, witness fees, travel expenses, duplicating costs, printing and binding costs, telephone charges, postage, delivery service fees and all other disbursements.

WHERE CAN THE BUYER SUE THE SELLER? Without a clause in the sale contract saying where the parties must bring any dispute, an unhappy horse buyer will probably have some choices about where to sue the seller, and some of those choices may be very inconvenient and expensive places for the sellers to defend a lawsuit. Here’s an example of what is called a “venue” clause: This agreement shall be governed by the laws of X state. The parties agree that any legal disputes brought in connection with this agreement must be brought in X County, X State. By keeping the above points in mind, you can develop a better sale contract (ideally with the help of an equine attorney) that will help protect you should difficulties arise after you have sold a horse.

Rachel McCart is a lifelong horsewoman, an equine attorney and the founder of Equine Legal Solutions, PC, a law firm dedicated to the equine industry. Rachel is a member of the New York, California, Oregon and Washington State bars and is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. For more information about horse sale contracts, including ready-to-use equine legal forms and customized contracts, visit Equinelegalsolutions.com.

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OIL FOR HORSES Adding oils like hempseed to equine diets is becoming increasingly common as we learn more about their health benefits. “Dietary fats are required to facilitate absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and as a source of the essential fatty acids (EFAs) Omega-3 and Omega-6, which are not synthesized by the body,” says Dr. Jo-Anne Murray. “Using oils in the diet reduces the need for high levels of cereal grains, which are detrimental to gut health, and are ideal for pregnant mares in late gestation with reduced appetite but increased energy requirements.”

BALANCED OMEGA PROFILES While hempseed oil has been used for thousands of years for its natural healing properties, it is more recently being introduced to equine diets for its unique and highly nutritious Omega oil profiles. What sets hempseed oil apart from the rest? It contains GLA (gamma linolenic acid), which naturally delivers the correct ratio of Omegas 3 to 6. Finding this perfect balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is important because too much of one fatty acid can stop the formation of the other, with potentially negative effects. Hempseed oil has the highest level of polyunsaturated fats and one of the lowest levels of saturated fats in the plant kingdom. It is a very efficient source of dietary energy because it is cold-pressed from the seeds at low temperatures, thereby retaining all its nutrients and requiring only spoonfuls a day. It is not chemically refined or genetically modified, and naturally contains Vitamin E (a natural preservative and antioxidant).

By Karina Becker

HEMPSEED OIL AND PERFORMANCE “Dr. Tim Ober, USET veterinarian, conducted a small study in Florida in 2009 on hemp oil for the high performance jumpers,” says Tigger Montague, Formulator. “What he found was that hemp oil helped to maintain muscle glycogen reserves, thus reducing muscle glycogen depletion and fatigue.”

Evidence suggests that many horses on high grain diets, with joint problems, dull coats or allergic skin conditions, are likely to benefit from a supplement of optimally balanced Omega oils, as found in hempseed. And the best part of all is that horses love the taste of hemp. Don’t be surprised if you hear them nickering as you prepare their feed pails!

REFERENCES Montague, Tigger, Formulator. “Using Hemp Oil for Horses.” Murray, Jo-Anne, PhD, PgDip, BSc, RNutr, BHS II.“Summary – Use of Hemp Oil and Hemp Ingredients in Equine Diets”. Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Karina Becker is an Advanced C.E.M.T. and co-owner of Keheilan Winds Farm in Lindsay, Ontario where Omega Naturals Hempseed Products are prepared and distributed. Karina studied and became certified in Equine Massage Therapy in 2011 and further studied Advanced Equine Massage Therapy in 2012. Advocating for the feeding of hemp to horses led her to launching an all-natural hempseed product line called Omega Naturals in June 2013. OmegaNaturals.ca 50

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Talking with DR. KELLI TAYLOR

Dr. Kelli Taylor is a native western Washingtonian who grew up cultivating her love of horses from a very young age. Working hard to realize her dream by putting herself through both undergraduate and veterinary school, Dr. Kelli is a 2008 summa cum laude graduate of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Just after veterinary school, she completed a year-long internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery at Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital in Snohomish, WA and has continued her education in equine athletic rehabilitation by completing certifications in veterinary chiropractic and acupuncture. Dr. Kelli is currently working toward becoming the first Certified Equine Rehabilitation Therapist in Washington State. She can be reached via e-mail at DrKelli@MindfulHealingVet.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.


My elderly mare has arthritis in one knee, and this winter is starting to struggle a bit with the colder weather. Is there a way to keep her comfortable and manage her pain level without the use of steroids or other serious medications?


There are many available options to try for your arthritic mare, from the traditional Western approach of using low dose non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs such as Equioxx or Bute) and/or joint injections, to the Eastern approach of herbs and acupuncture. I find that many older horses with arthritis can be kept comfortable without the use of daily NSAIDs (which can be quite harsh on the already fragile senior digestive system), by using injectable joint supplements (i.e. Adequan, Legend, or Pentosan), oral joint supplements (i.e. glucosamine/ chondroitin, MSM, etc), acupuncture, chiropractic, cold laser therapy, heat therapy, and/or herbal anti-inflammatories. Each horse needs to be assessed as an individual, and it may take some trial and error until you find the right combination of treatments that work best for your mare. Your holistic veterinarian is an excellent resource for discussing the pros 52

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and cons of each supplement/treatment to better determine which approach will be best for your mare.

I have a gelding that keeps getting bouts of diarrhea. When it happens, we start him on Bio-Sponge – it resolves for a few weeks, then starts up again. Nothing in his routine has changed – he is out on pasture daily, and has free choice hay in his stall. He is supplemented with a probiotic. Do you have any other suggestions for what we might try? Assuming that you have ruled out internal parasites, dental problems, medications/supplements/herbs/de-wormers administered just prior to the bouts, sand in the GI tract, and GI ulcers as all possible causes of the diarrhea, I think it is time to take a good look at his nutrition. Bio-Sponge, for those who don’t know, is a type of clay (smectite) that is fed to help absorb toxins in the GI tract. The fact that it works for your gelding while he is taking it directs my attention to his diet, specifically to something that is compromising GI tract health and triggering the diarrhea. Has he always been on pasture? Does the diarrhea worsen through any particular season? Does the bout of diarrhea follow the

start of a new batch of hay? Some horses have very sensitive GI tracts that are upset by switching from one batch of hay to the next (i.e. timothy from the same farm, but grown in a different batch/season than the one previously being fed). They need to be transitioned very slowly from the old batch to the new, just as if you were introducing a new feed. Alternatively, if the pasture and/or hay contain high levels of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC), this may be enough to cause some digestive upset. If this is the case, I would try to find a fiber source that is less than 12% NSC, which may mean taking your gelding off pasture during high sugar times (frosty weather, afternoons, etc). In addition to looking at the above questions, I would have an analysis done on the hay that he is being fed, and possibly the pasture. Take this information and use it to properly balance his diet. Once the diet is truly balanced with adequate fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, I would then support his digestive function with a good probiotic – one that contains prebiotics and probiotics, as well as Saccharomyces yeast, such as LMF Digest 911 or HorseTech GutWerks, etc. The yeast really seems to make a difference in the microbial hindgut digestion of horses and I have found it to be very effective in aiding horses with both acute and chronic colitis. One last thought – your gelding may also be allergic to something in his diet, as allergies can develop at any time in life, and the gut and immune system are intimately linked. This may mean you need to start an elimination trial diet to rule out certain grasses/ hays, supplements and/or grains as the problem. If you think his immune system may be weak or compromised, it would be a good idea to provide support to his immune system as well via adaptogenic herbs.


My mare has recently been diagnosed with a bone bruise after taking a nasty kick to one of her hind legs. She is now on rest – but is there anything else I can do to help this injury along, or is it just “wait and see”? Immediately following the injury (within the first 48 to 72 hours), the application of ice to the affected area of the leg will help reduce inflammation and ease her discomfort. Systemic anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs or herbs) will also help bring the inflammation down and therefore decrease pain. I really like arnica for skin bruises, but bone bruises are usually too deep to be reached by topical ointment alone unless they are on the bones of the legs. Cold laser therapy or therapeutic ultrasound are also great modalities that will help move inflammation through the body more quickly, and stimulate tissue repair, resulting in a quicker recovery. equine wellness



When I made my last trip to the feed store, I saw a supplement for horses based on bee pollen. What is this good for for? Bee pollen is the pollen that bees collect from flowering plants while they are also harvesting nectar. The pollen provides the bee colony with protein and fats, while the nectar is an excellent source of carbohydrates. It is considered by many to be nature’s most perfect complete food as it is loaded with vitamins and contains nearly all known minerals, trace elements, enzymes and amino acids. Bee pollen has been promoted for many years as a nutritional supplement for humans, and has now found its way into supplements for our horses. It is said to improve athletic stamina, and has been used to treat a range of conditions, including allergies, constipation, aging, and wound healing in humans. However, claims of bee pollen’s nutritional benefits have not yet been verified by scientific research. One study in horses, looking at whether or not bee pollen improves equine athletic stamina, found that though it does not seem to have any performanceenhancing effects, it does have the potential to be an appetite stimulant for horses. The researchers theorized that the increase in appetite seen was due to the high concentration of B vitamins found in bee pollen. Be aware that even though bee pollen sounds like a wonderful addition to your horse’s daily supplement regimen, it also has the potential to cause allergic reactions. Humans have had severe reactions to the point of anaphylaxis after consuming only a teaspoon of bee pollen. In my opinion, if your horse is being fed a balanced, forage-based diet, bee pollen is not a necessary addition.


We have several vets who come to our boarding facility to tend to the horses. I have noticed that when it comes to injections, some will swab the area they are going to inject with alcohol beforehand, and others will not. Is it necessary/good practice to swab with alcohol before injecting? The practice of swabbing the hair/skin with alcohol prior to injection or venipuncture in veterinary medicine is borrowed from the human medical field. The alcohol swab is used to clean and disinfect the skin in preparation for the injection. However, research in people over the past 30 years has questioned the need and efficacy of using alcohol to clean the skin. Studies have shown that a fivesecond alcohol swab on human skin (after gross contamination has been removed) does indeed reduce the bacterial count on the skin by 82%, but the incidence of skin infection following injection does not decrease with the additional prep. So even though the bacterial count decreases, the risk of injection site infection is exactly the same as when the skin is not prepared in this way. Gross contamination, however, does dramatically increase the risk of injection site infection. Given the nature of horses and their tendency to roll in mud and manure, I prefer to first brush off any gross contamination. I then swab the area with alcohol to get an idea of how dirty the skin still is at the chosen site. This allows me to choose a site that is less grossly contaminated, or further prepare the injection site by using a disinfectant, which will hopefully reduce the risk of an injection site infection.


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Debunking Treeless SADDLE MYTHS By Shannon Olson

When my husband and I go hiking, he prefers a rigid frame backpack. I prefer a soft one with no frame at all. His pack feels awkward and cumbersome to me, restricting my freedom of movement and causing painful pressure points. But he has quite a bit more muscle than I do, and it acts as cushioning I don’t have. He also often carries more weight in his pack. My soft pack is really for lighter loads. These same principles apply to our horses and saddles. Horses have their preferences too, driven in part by temperament and sensitivity, but also by their physiology, fitness level, the demands of a chosen sport, and even the rider’s weight.

MYTH #1 – Treeless saddles hurt horses’ backs.

A saddle does not hurt a horse’s back because it is treed or not treed. A saddle hurts a horse’s back because it is not appropriately fitted to the horse and/or engineered to support the chosen purpose. A treeless saddle needs to be properly padded and fitted to the horse, just as a treed saddle does. The saddle structure also needs to be appropriate for the chosen use – you would not tie a roped steer to a very flexible treeless saddle, even if it had a horn! Rigidity should be optimized for the rider’s weight. A quality treeless saddle brand should have a weight limit set by the manufacturer. Use this as a guide. More weight requires

more rigidity, in order to distribute the pressure out to the full length of the saddle.

MYTH #2 – All treeless saddles are the same.

Almost all treed saddles are made very much in the same traditional way, with variations in materials and proportions. In contrast, the one thing all treeless saddles have in common is that they are not made in the same traditional way. Any two treeless models may be completely dissimilar in their design and construction, so they would barely compare at all. You cannot generalize about all treeless saddles based on a bad fitting situation with a few – you really have to evaluate each type/brand individually. Treed or treeless, a saddle that does not work for one horse may work beautifully for another. Also, a saddle that could work for a particular horse may hurt him if it is not fitted properly, so you must look at whether it is a saddle problem or a fit problem. It’s wise to find a saddle fitter who has experience with treeless saddle fitting when looking for sound advice on the appropriateness and fit of a particular treeless saddle for your horse.

Shannon Olson is an instructor and trainer specializing in Classical Dressage. In 2006, she imported her first Heather Moffett SoftTree Saddle from England for her own hard-to-fit horse. She serves North America, providing Saddle Fitting Services for Heather Moffett’s line of high quality flexible leather tree saddles. SoftTreeSaddle.com

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If the recent outbreaks of neurological EHV-1 have left you wondering how to protect your horse, here are some practical suggestions.



IT’S HARD TO KEEP YOUR HORSE FROM getting sick occasionally. But you can dramatically reduce the risks if you understand something about the disease in question and how to prevent it. Equine herpes virus (EHV-1) is one of those diseases, and it’s common in the horse industry. There are other herpes viruses, but this one occurs most frequently and is often misunderstood. It shows up clinically in two major forms – the respiratory form, and the less common but much more severe neurological form (see sidebar page 58). We will examine both in this article and take a holistic approach to dealing with them. Herpes viruses have a special trait that sets them apart from many other viruses. It can hide inside the body, waiting for 56

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the immune system to become weak. Then the virus comes out and causes an illness. Stress is one factor that can suppress the immune system, so horses that travel are usually more susceptible. Any other illness and many drugs can also weaken the immune system. Pay attention to things that can stress your horse, since each animal is different.


Infectious diseases such as EHV-1 are best dealt with by having a strong immune system that will fight the virus. However, not every horse has strong immunity, and many have quite a bit of stress in their life. Horses on a show circuit travel frequently, so are often very susceptible. They may come home from an event with an upper respiratory infection, despite efforts to protect them with vaccination.

Conventionally, we are told to vaccinate, yet horses still seem to acquire infections when competing regularly. This is because the immune system is weakened by the stress and overuse of vaccines. Vaccines on their own present a stress to the immune system. Show horses are often vaccinated on a quarterly basis, since immunity is not believed to last long. This frequent vaccination actually weakens the immune system, leaving horses more susceptible to infections. Vaccines are not available for the neurologic form of EHV-1. No one really understands why the neurologic form occurs, and why its incidence is increasing. However, there is some evidence that over-vaccinating for the respiratory form of EHV-1 is not helpful and could possibly contribute to a worse neurologic case. Even the experts are noticing this, and it really supports the holistic view of improving the immune system rather than increasing vaccinations (vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ceh/ehv1_ vaccination.cfm). To help prevent EHV-1 on your farm, quarantine every new horse for at least ten to 14 days before putting him in contact with other horses. Keep your horse away from strange horses at events, and wash your hands and change your clothes if you have been near infected animals. If a horse on your farm shows signs of neurologic EHV-1, your veterinarian will help with planning a quarantine program until the danger of spread is past.


The best way to prevent EHV-1 infection is to keep your horse as healthy as possible by feeding whole foods rather than processed grains, managing stress, and giving him as natural a lifestyle as possible. Supplements that support good immune health can be used on a regular basis, or at selective times of the year when your horse is going to be under stress or exposed to outside animals, such as at a show, trail ride or clinic. • Vitamin C is well known to help support the immune system and prevent upper respiratory infections, and it’s quite cheap to feed. Use pure vitamin C, without added filler, and feed adult horses 4 gm to 6 gm per day. This can be done all year long, or for about ten days before, during and ten days after a stressful event. • The basis for a healthy immune system (even in the respiratory tract) is to have a healthy gut. Use pre and probiotics if there is any question about good gut health. Do not use products with preservatives and fillers as they decrease the effectiveness of the good bugs. • Echinacea is an herb that helps support the immune system. It is safe for long-term use or during the time surrounding an event. Depending on your source for the herb, use about two to four times the human dose on the label, or use a quality brand labeled for horses. • Omega-3 essential fatty acids (found in flax, hemp and chia seeds) are excellent for overall immunity, and are easy to feed. Many products are touted as being high in Omega-3s, but if they are processed heavily, the quantity of Omega-3 may be reduced. If feeding the above seeds, use about four ounces twice a day for an average horse. The dose can be increased very safely.

Continued on page 58.

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THE TWO FACES OF EHV-1 1. Respiratory form EHV-1 in the respiratory form is called rhinopneumonitis. It’s an upper respiratory infection that looks a lot like the common cold. Horses run a fever, usually have a runny nose, and may go off their feed. It is contagious between horses. Equines most affected by “rhino”, as it is commonly called, are young ones whose immune systems have not been exercised by exposure to different organisms. Older or immune-compromised horses are also susceptible. Horses with a healthy immune system may get the infection, but are able to fight it off with minimal ill effects, although they become carriers.

2. Neurologic form The neurologic form of this disease can easily be fatal. Horses may show a mild upper respiratory infection before they begin to display neurologic signs. In some cases, neurologic problems such as ataxia (weak and wobbly movement) are the first signs. Horses can rapidly go down and have trouble standing. If this happens, the prognosis is often poor, no matter how you treat the horse. Continued from page 57.

• Minerals such as zinc and selenium are used in the immune response to viral infections. Be sure your supplements contain absorbable forms of these minerals.


If your horse becomes ill with respiratory symptoms, homeopathic remedies or a few herbs will in most cases help him recover. An experienced homeopath may need to help you decide on a remedy if you see no response to the remedies you select. If there is some nasal discharge, Pulsatilla 30C or 30X is an excellent starting point. Give six to eight tabs twice a day for two to three days. The horse should be recovering by that time. If you are able to catch his fever early, before too many other symptoms are showing up, several doses of Aconite can often prevent an infection or keep it milder than it would otherwise be. Antibiotics may be offered by a veterinarian, but they have no effect on a viral infection, so they should not be used. The homeopathics will stimulate the immune system to do its job. A holistic veterinarian can help you get through most infections quite easily. The neurologic form of EHV-1 is much more serious and requires the help of a holistic veterinarian, often along with a conventional vet to give supporting treatments such as fluids. Do not try to treat this form of EHV-1 by yourself. In conclusion, most cases of EHV-1 are mild or preventable respiratory diseases, similar to the common cold. In young horses, the disease is often just a bit of exercise for the immune system, while in older horses it may be insignificant. Horses under stress or with a weakened immune system are more likely to become sick. The neurologic form is rare and very serious. The take-home lesson is to work on the immune system of your horse. Dr. Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS, graduated in 1984 from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She is certified in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic and has completed advanced training in homeopathy and herbal medicine. Her practice in Virginia uses holistic medicine to treat horses. Her publications include The Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book – the most complete source of information about English saddles. 58

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EVENTS Horse Expo Pomona February 7-9, 2014 - Pomona, CA This event features demonstrations, shopping, lectures, competitions and breeds as well as saddles, horses, trailers and trucks for sale. Come on out and enjoy the fun!

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course February 28 - March 2, 2014 – Phoenix, AZ Introduction to Healing Touch: Friday 6:00pm - 10:00pm. This class is a prerequisite of the Small Animal Class.

Road to the Horse March 13-16, 2014 – Lexington, KY Road to the Horse is a one-of-a-kind experience that combines education and entertainment for an amazing horsemanship Small Animal Class: Saturday 9:00am - experience. The goal of Road to the Horse is For more information: 6:00pm. This class is a prerequisite of the to teach horsemen and women that natural horsemanship is a kinder, gentler way of letters@horseexpoevents.com Large Animal Class. working with horses. Don’t miss this year’s www.horseexpoevents.com Large Animal Class: Sunday 9:00am - 10th Anniversary Celebration Party! 6:00pm. This class is required in order Scottsdale Annual Arabian Horse Show For more information: to apply to become a Healing Touch for February 13-23, 2014 – Scottsdale, AZ (325) 736-5000 In its 59th year, this Arabian show has set the Animals® Certified Practitioner. Working www.roadtothehorse.com pace in the Arabian horse world. This show with the horses’ large energy systems has grown from 50 horses to nearly 2400 benefits students with greater energetic All Equine Show horses over the years and brings top owners, awareness and a well-rounded experience. March 14-16, 2014 – London, ON trainers and breeders from all over the world Registrations & payments in full must be This show is for horse trainers, riders, to compete for a chance to win. received and/or postmarked by February 2, professionals and enthusiasts who want to 2014, to qualify for the Early Bird Tuition enjoy three days of clinics, demonstrations, For more information: entertainment and shopping. This 2nd prices. (480) 515-1500 annual event features interactive equine info@scottsdaleshow.com For more information: education by participating and speaking www.scottsdaleshow.com (602) 502-3065 with breeders and product experts as well Phoenix@HealingTouchforAnimals.com Washington State Horse Expo as watching the live competitions and www.healingtouchforanimals.com February 14-16, 2014 – Washington State demonstrations and having an opportunity This year Dan James, winner of the coveted Rocky Mountain Horse Expo–Holistic to meet the animals. Road to the Horse International Colt Starting Horse Fair. March 7-9, 2014 – Denver, CO For more information: World Champion title, will be a featuring After four successful years, the “Ride with the contact@westernfairdistrict.com headliner as well as Craig Cameron and Steve Experts” program will continue with new and www.westernfairdistrict.com Rother and many others. You won’t want to returning clinicians. As well this year the expo miss out on the Equine Extravaganza, the will be featuring Anna Twinney, Dick Pieper, Can-Am Equine All Breeds Emporium Extreme Cowboy Race and so many other Larry Whitesell and many more. March 28-30, 2014 – Orangeville, ON events and demonstrations! Can-Am is Canada’s largest Equine For more information: education and recognition Event. Creating For more information: (303) 292-4981 awareness of the Horse Industry through info@wastatehorseexpo.com expo@rockymountainhorseexpo.com educational seminars and clinics, breed www.wastatehorseexpo.com www.rockymountainhorseexpo.com recognition and trade events. This year you 12th Annual Horse World Expo find appearances from Guy McLean (2012 Illinois Horse Fair February 27 - March 2, 2014 – Road to the Horse Champion), Jonathan March 7-9, 2014 – Springfield, IL Harrisburg, PA At this 25th annual event you will find Field (2012 Road to the Horse Finalist) You will find top quality seminars and clinics, demonstrations and over 140 as well as Stacy Westfall, the only female clinics. Different mounted demonstrations. commercial vendors open for the entire winner from Road to the Horse. You can take a stroll down Stallion Avenue day. Tickets are now available and children For more information: and of course there is plenty of shopping! under the age of 8 may enter for free when (519) 942-3011 rmillar@rmillargroup.com accompanied by an adult. Great family fun and entertainment! www.canamequine.ca For more information: For more information: (217) 529-6503 (301) 916-0852 HCI@horsemenscouncil.org info@horseworldexpo.com www.horsemenscouncil.org/HorseFair/ www.horseworldexpo.com

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