V9I5 (Oct/Nov 2014)

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Recognizing & Reporting



Feeding to





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October/November 2014

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Equine Wellness

VOLUME 9 ISSUE 5 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: Debbie Garcia-Bengochea COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jasmine Cabanaw Mike Hughes Eleanor Kellon, VMD Jennifer Miller, DVM, CVSMT, CVA Nayana Morag Hannah Mueller, DVM Shelley Nyuli Mandy Pretty Anne Riddell Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CEE Stacy Segal Hilary Self, BSc, MNIMH Clair Thunes, PhD Anna Twinney Jennifer Warmke Camilla Whishaw, B. of Health Sc (Naturopathy) ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Karen Tice 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 We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi.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 Libby at 1-866-764-1212 ext 100 or fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail Libby@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.315 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: September 2014.

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

ON THE COVER Photograph By: DEBBIE GARCIA-BENGOCHEA The pint-sized equines from Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses are more than just cute! Read all about how they help bring comfort, support and motivation to children and adults in hospitals, orphanages, assisted living programs and more on page 30.

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Contents 52




Understanding the causes and diagnosis of this common condition.

behavioral issues can be avoided if we simply pay attention and listen to what our horses are trying to tell us.


13 REHABILITATION FOR SOUNDNESS Lameness issues benefit from the healing capacity of nature and time.


24 TTOUCH FOR TRAUMA These techniques can help your horse in times of injury or illness. And best of all – you can do them yourself!



If you suspect a horse is not receiving adequate care, it is important to take proper steps to report it.


MISUNDERSTOOD NUTRIENT Many people equate protein with energy, but it has many other important functions as well.

young, nervous, or sore need special consideration. Here’s how to help make them more comfortable.

This dream team of tiny equines is changing the lives of people across the globe.


hay analysis should form the basis for developing your horse’s nutrition program.

many benefits, including increased communication, trust, confidence and training.



HEALTH How they can ease these 4 common GI challenges.


MANAGEMENT The root cause of

cribbing, weaving and other vices is stress. Here are some tips to help your horse.


REQUIRED? Many physical or


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35 WHAT THE HAY? Why a

THE RESCUE These suggestions for emotional and physical healing can help your horse on the road to recovery!

46 RIDING FROM THE GROUND Long-lining has

Help stop this serious condition before it starts by implementing these management and feeding practices.




7 Neighborhood news

6 Editorial

50 To the rescue

29 Product picks

57 Holistic veterinary Q&A

39 Heads up

62 Homeopathic column

43 Equine Wellness resource guide 49 Social media corner


CMYK / .ai

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Tips, contests and more! Like us /EquineWellnessMagazine Updates, news, events @ EquineWellnessMagazine

59 Events 60 Marketplace 61 Classifieds

Product reviews and tutorials EquineWellnessTV

14 Equine Wellness



L earnin g experiences W

e often hear that all the experiences we’ve had in our past (whether positive or negative), prepare us for what is to come in our lives. For the majority of my horse ownership years, I had been quite lucky (and knew it) when it came to horse injuries or illnesses. Beyond the odd hoof abscess, scrapes or lumps/ bumps, my horses managed to get through life relatively unscathed (though sometimes, watching what they got into, I wasn’t quite sure how!). I counted my lucky stars as I helped others bring their horses back from tendon injuries, fractures, colic surgeries, and degenerative illnesses/conditions. This time last year though, it was my turn to put all that experience to use on a horse of my own. One of my mares came in from playing in turnout with a suspensory injury. Shortly after getting her back on the road to recovery, my other mare came in from the pasture with a fairly significant leg trauma, resulting in a shattered splint bone that would later require surgery to remove. What is always particularly interesting to me is how people react to difficult situations, and how that changes with time and experience. While no one wants to watch a horse go through an injury or illness, over time you learn better ways to handle it, and you can understand why veterinarians can stay so calm and cool in these situations. As my horse of a lifetime was walked into the barn on three legs, and I didn’t yet know whether the leg was completely broken or what the outcome might be, I nevertheless knew for her sake that I had to stay calm and

treat the incident like just another vet visit. To do otherwise would only upset her, and that is the last thing you need with a horse already barely able to stand or walk. Fortunately, my mare has recovered well with care and time. In the event you ever find yourself in a similar situation, there are articles in this issue to help you and your horse through it. Check out Mandy Pretty’s article on TTouch for trauma on page 24, and Nayana Morag’s great piece featuring essential oils for rehab on page 36. Both offer information that would come in handy while waiting for a vet to arrive, or during recovery. This issue is dedicated to rescue and rehabilitation, so you’ll want to find out more about our cute cover horse (page 30); read Mike Hughes’ second installment on retraining vices (page 20); and peruse our important article on recognizing and reporting equine abuse and neglect (page 40).


Kelly Howling


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NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS REPORT OFFERS HOPE FOR INDUSTRY A new report is shedding light on the ups and downs of the horse industry. The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA), with the assistance of the Animal Law Coalition, has released the first Annual Equine Welfare Report. It contains statistics and records obtained from federal and state agencies as well as breed registries. Of note: • The decline in new registrations that began in 2005 continued into 2013, with some breeds reporting registrations down as much as 75%. • The export of horses to slaughter declined in 2013, down from an almost two-decade high in 2012. • Hay prices over the last decade have risen dramatically in some states, with increases in many states of over 100%, and some showing increases of as much as 220%. Worst hit were the western and southwestern states, which were plagued by persistent drought. However, the report offers a glimmer of hope, with recent increases in the amount of land allocated to hay production, following the removal of corn ethanol subsidies that Congress terminated in 2011. This marks the first upturn in over a decade.

HELMET SAFETY TIPS Helmet safety starts with the choice to put a helmet on your head, but it doesn’t stop there. You also need to know how to properly secure your helmet and replace it at the appropriate time.

y Even a fall from a standing horse can be catastrophic. Your

At the 2014 IHAD, riders4helmets’ Lyndsey White shared these important messages that all riders should remember on a daily basis.

u Head injuries are cumulative. An original head injury can be

injury risk depends on the height from which you fall, as well as the speed at which you’re traveling.

made much worse by additional concussions.

q If you experience a hard impact blow while wearing your i Riding is considered more dangerous than downhill skiing and helmet, immediately replace the helmet. There may be damage that is not visible to the naked eye.

w Helmet manufacturers generally recommend replacing your helmet every four to five years.

e A

ponytail or different hairstyle can affect the fit of your helmet.

motorcycling. Approximately o

20% of accidents that result in head injury happen while the person is on the ground.

r If

you purchase your helmet online, check the date of manufacture. Purchasing a used helmet can be very risky and Riders4Helmets.com is not recommended.

t There

is no statistical correlation between skill level and injury likelihood. Professional riders are just as likely to sustain injuries due to a fall as less frequent riders. Equine Wellness


NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS BROMONT TO HOST 2018 GAMES Bromont/Montreal in Quebec will be the host city for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018, thanks to an unanimous decision by the FEI Bureau in June. The Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park, venue for the Montreal 1976 Olympic equestrian events, will be the hub for the games. The city is only the second host outside Europe, following the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2010, which were staged in Lexington, Kentucky.

ASSISTANCE FOR NICARAGUAN WORKING EQUINES Starving horses in drought-stricken Nicaragua are in desperate need of help, and global equine welfare charity The Brooke is stepping up to the plate with an emergency feeding initiative. Teams in Managua, Masaya and Rivas, where there is great need, are distributing over 7,500 bales of pressed hay to feed over 420 horses in the month-long relief program. A horse is the sole source of income for many poor families in deprived urban parts of Nicaragua, on average supporting six family members. If a horse is sick or dies, the impact can be devastating. The Brooke has worked in Nicaragua since 2013, training horse owners in equine welfare. While the charity’s focus is on providing long-term, sustainable welfare solutions for working equines, it also intervenes to offer emergency relief when disaster strikes. TheBrooke.org

AAEP CONVENTION CELEBRATES 60TH ANNIVERSARY The world’s largest continuing education event dedicated to equine veterinary practice will soon celebrate its diamond anniversary. The American Association of Equine Practitioners’ (AAEP) 60th Annual Convention and Trade Show convenes at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, from December 6 to 10. The five-day event will offer opportunities for equine veterinarians to grow their knowledge, practices, and careers through practical and comprehensive educational sessions, daily networking, and social events. The AAEP, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, was founded in 1954 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, the AAEP reaches more than five million horse owners through its over 9,000 members worldwide, and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.


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Equine Wellness



By Jennifer Miller, DVM


rthritis is a diagnosis no horse owner wants to hear. It conjures up negative images of lifelong lameness, stiffness and pain. In the first part of this article, we will look at the definition of arthritis, its causes, and how it’s diagnosed. In the next issue, we will cover prevention and treatment options, including both conventional and complementary/alternative measures.



Osteoarthritis is a group of joint disorders. Left untreated, the end result is degradation/deterioration of the articular cartilage. This is often accompanied by negative changes in the soft tissue surrounding the joint, and in the bone within and on the edges of the joint. In either case, the sign we observe is lameness. This lameness may be present all the time, or only in certain situations. In acute joint damage, there is often some swelling of the tissue around the joint. In chronic cases, there may actually be palpable bony enlargement around the joint. Arthritis can be loosely divided into two traditional categories, although there is some overlap between them.


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1. The first is an acute condition, the result of a traumatic or performance injury. It is commonly associated with acute swelling of the synovial membrane (synovitis) and usually occurs in high motion joints – i.e. the carpus (commonly referred to as the knee), upper tarsus (hock), or the stifle. 2. The second category is a more insidious disease and typically presents in low motion joints – i.e. pastern and coffin joints in the front and hind limbs, and the lower tarsal joints. We usually see this type in older horses, or those subjected to repetitive motion in their training.

TWO TYPES OF ARTHRITIS Synovitis (inflammation of the synovial membrane) can occur with an acute injury to a joint. It could be a strain or sprain and may be caused by a fall, landing “wrong” after a jump, or any other number of pasture or ridden injuries. The owner will most often observe swelling in and around the joint, and the horse will be lame. If extensive enough and left untreated, synovitis can lead to deterioration of the cartilage that lines the joint surfaces. This is because injured synovial cells produce substances that are toxic to the cartilage. In this acute phase, treatment should be focused on decreasing inflammation in the joint. Repetitive motion injury is a more insidious form of arthritis, and is caused by repetitive motion in low motion joints. This is more of a chronic use disease, and is often associated with horses that have had the same job their whole lives. This

BREAKING IT DOWN Let’s define some terms I will be using throughout this article. • A JOINT is an area where two bones meet. We commonly think of joints as being in the limbs, but there are also joints between the vertebrae, so horses can get arthritis in their spines too! • ARTICULAR CARTILAGE is a form of connective tissue that lines moving joints. Its job is to facilitate movement by providing a smooth, lubricated surface. It also helps cushion the forces transmitted through the bones as the horse moves. •S YNOVIAL MEMBRANE is the tissue that lines the joint capsule. It is composed of cells called synoviocytes. The main function of the synovial membrane is to produce synovial fluid (joint fluid), which lubricates and provides nutrition to the articular cartilage. Normal synovial fluid allows for smooth joint movement and healthy nutrition for the cartilage.

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form of arthritis is also seen in horses that have an uncorrected angular limb deformity. Abnormal limb angulation or poor conformation can place abnormal stresses on the joints in both the affected limb, and the rest of the horse as he compensates for the abnormal limb structure.

THE UNSTABLE JOINT If we look at these two forms of arthritis from a more holistic point of view, the picture is slightly different and each form has essentially the same cause. Osteoarthritis is caused by a chronically unstable joint. This instability can be so slight it often goes unnoticed by the owner/rider/trainer. Horses are designed to function optimally, but are masters at hiding decreased function. This is a necessary defense mechanism that developed so horses in the wild could stay alive. Optimal function dictates that all joints work perfectly to keep the horse moving efficiently. When the muscles and tendons that cross and support a joint are not functioning optimally, then the joint is less stable. This instability can cause a normal activity to become an acute trauma – i.e. landing after a jump, causing synovitis, or a normal activity repeated time and again to cause repetitive motion injury.

DIAGNOSING ARTHRITIS The diagnosis of osteoarthritis can be difficult, time consuming, and expensive. The first step is to isolate the lameness to a certain joint or joints. If the horse suffered an acute injury and a joint is swollen, this is an easy step! If not, a lameness exam will be performed. A thorough exam will start with obtaining a complete history, followed by palpating the horse’s limbs and watching him move. Depending on the degree of lameness, and when the owner/rider notices it, the veterinarian may watch the horse work on a lunge line, in a straight line, and/or under saddle (or hitched to a cart if this is applicable). The veterinarian may flex each of the horse’s limbs and watch him trot after the limbs are flexed. This “flexion test”, while not diagnostic, can help point the veterinarian in the right direction.

Once it is determined what limb the pain seems to be originating from, the veterinarian will try to isolate the exact area. This is often done with sequential nerve blocks. An anesthetic agent is used to numb the nerves, starting with those that innervate the heels and working up. After the nerves are numb, the horse will again be asked to move as before. The blocking will continue until the lameness is at least 80% resolved. At this point, the area causing pain is located between the last two areas that were anesthetized, and imaging of the area can begin. There are different techniques we can use to image the body. The most widely known are radiographs (commonly and incorrectly known as x-rays) and ultrasound. • Radiographs are used to image bone. They are utilized to rule out fractures and recognize bony changes in and around joints due to chronic osteoarthritis. • Ultrasound is used to look at the soft tissue around and within joints. It is as much art as science, and needs to be performed by someone with experience in musculoskeletal ultrasound. If the area of lameness has been isolated and no abnormalities show up on radiographs and ultrasound, further diagnostics are warranted. Most often, acute joint damage will not show up on radiographs and ultrasound. In order to visualize the damage, the veterinarian may recommend CT (computed tomography) or MRI, which utilize different technologies to produce images. Arthroscopy may also be used; a sterile camera probe is inserted into the joint, allowing the veterinarian to visualize its interior in real time. All these imaging techniques require general anesthesia (there are standing MRI units that only require light sedation). They are considered advanced techniques and are available at large referral clinics and veterinary teaching hospitals.

Ultrasound is as much art as science, and needs to be performed by someone with experience in musculoskeletal ultrasound.

Once a diagnosis is made, treatment can begin. In the second half of this article, we will cover alternative and conventional treatments, and methods for preventing arthritis. Dr. Jennifer Miller owns Prairie Rivers Holistic Veterinary Service in Byron, Georgia. After practicing conventional equine veterinary medicine for a number of years she came to realize it did not offer all the answers to her patients’ needs. She obtained certification in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy from the Healing Oasis Wellness Center and in Veterinary Acupuncture from the Chi Institute. She has also studied Applied Kinesiology and Craniosacral Therapy. Dr. Jennifer is herself a student of the horse and studies classical dressage, lessoning as often as she can. She has a passion for functional neurology and loves being able to integrate functional neurology concepts with classical dressage. She lectures to groups on how understanding the neurology of the horse can make all of us more empathetic riders. PrairieRiversHolistics.com 12

Equine Wellness

By Eleanor Kellon, VMD



large percentage of horses that end up in rescues have soundness issues. On the surface, this may seem like something that greatly limits any possibility of re-homing them. But this is not necessarily the case.

A well-maintained and balanced trim can even stop the progression of incurable conditions like navicular disease. Many soundness issues involving the feet actually have their origin in poor trimming and balancing.



When people give up on a horse with a lameness problem, it is often because there is no available treatment that will give predictable results in a reasonably short period. However, there is an approach that costs little to nothing more than routine care, and that works for even severe problems – time and “Dr. Green”.

The diet can be simple. Pasture or grass hay is all most horses in rehabilitation need, with a vitamin and mineral supplement that complements the regional mineral profile. Strive to keep the horse at a moderate body condition, avoiding excess weight. The ribs should be covered but still easily felt.

I have rehabbed some “hopeless” cases by doing little more than turning them out for a year on several acres, preferably with varied terrain. Two examples are a racehorse that had several times bowed the superficial flexor tendon in both front limbs, and another horse with arthritis from fractures in his knee so extensive you could not even see the bones and joint spaces anymore. Both became sound after a year on turnout. The horse with the bows became a junior hunter champion on his first show out with his new owner!

Unless pain is severe enough to interfere with eating, it is best to avoid medications. A horse at liberty on turnout will adjust his activity levels to match his comfort. You will need to make sure that any companions are compatible and not bothering the horse or forcing him to move. Sometimes the best placement for these horses can be in a field with a herd of cattle or sheep. These animals provide companionship and herd structure in a very calm environment.

FEET FIRST A critical factor in the rehabilitation of a horse, regardless of the location or type of lameness, is hoof care. Barefoot is preferred, as there is nothing to prevent the horse from wearing the hoof and breaking over in the way he finds most comfortable. Meticulous attention to balancing is needed so that loads are distributed evenly through all structures of the leg. Failure to provide this solid, balanced base will sabotage efforts to restore soundness.

When arthritis is an issue, supplementation with basic joint nutraceuticals like glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid can help the joints quiet down more quickly, minimizing permanent damage. If the joints are severely inflamed, hot and swollen, the horse can also benefit from antioxidant herbs like devil’s claw and turmeric. These help quench inflammation without all the negative effects of medications. Nature has a remarkable capacity to heal, but it takes time. Because rescues are not under constraints to get results quickly, they can be the ideal place to get true and lasting natural healing. All you need to do is create the right conditions, then let time work its magic.

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 the owner of Equine Nutritional Solutions, a thriving private practice. A prolific writer, Dr. Kellon is the author of many best-selling books on a variety of medical and nutritional topics and has contributed to both lay and professional publications.

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By Anne Riddell

Horses that are young, nervous, or sore need special consideration. Here’s how to help make them more comfortable.


trim a lot of horses in a day and the one thing I

is the first time you are meeting a new horse, always introduce

always find consistent is their language and how they

yourself and give him a kind pat or rub all over the body.

communicate their feelings to me. Along with the sub-clinical signs in the hoof and body that tell about the state of a horse’s health and if his system is being compromised, the horse will also indicate soreness and inflammation through body language.

Since horses can’t speak to us with words, they do it with body movements. For example, dipping the head to the ground, swishing the tail, or engaging in an agitated behavior could indicate the horse is in pain. A subtle pulling away of a hoof while trimming can speak volumes. Not wanting to lift a foot up is often an indication that it’s sore or inflamed. When trimming a special needs horse, whether he’s elderly, young or nervous, laminitic or foundered, and/or body sore, it is important to listen and look for the little signs that indicate soreness, and trim appropriately.

THE YOUNG OR NERVOUS HORSE I like to trim a young or nervous horse with one of his buddies

If a horse is nervous or has had a bad experience, he can be volatile or dangerous. Establish leadership by gently but firmly moving the horse around you, or backing him up. Try not to hit or discipline him; but a little pinch can bring the horse’s focus back to you. Lots of kindness and a soft tone of voice can go a long way. I talk to my horses and let them know what I’m going to do. Believe me, they do understand. Next, set the horse up so he is balanced on his feet. Often, when you ask for the first foot, a horse will balance himself; be patient and give him a chance to get his feet organized under him. I don’t like to work on horses that are tranquilized because they can be even more dangerous and explosive. Bach Rescue Remedy or a mist of lavender oil helps to calm the horse. It is important that the horse’s owner works with him to help make him more comfortable and confident with his feet, as that makes the farrier’s or trimmer’s job easier.

nearby, or just outside the paddock where he can see his


friends. Some horses are more relaxed and comfortable with

For the elderly horse, take your time and allow him rest breaks during your trim session. As with some people, an older

space around them; others need the security of the barn. If this 14

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horse’s muscle tone, strength and balance aren’t what they used to be. He may have difficulty placing weight on one side of his body, or bending those arthritic knees and hocks. In these cases, I will often prop the hind foot on a block of wood and trim the hoof low to the ground. Hoof Jack makes a smaller stand that is ideal for these cases. For horses with arthritic knees, I will bring the leg forward and place it on a block or stand and do all my trimming from there. I know the older I get, the worse my own balance becomes. For the older horse, or one who is injured and body sore, let him find a wall to lean up against so he can maintain his balance.

TRIMMING FOUNDERED OR LAMINITIC HORSES When trimming the foundered or laminitic horse, use mats or pads to soften the ground and support the internal structure. Even the use of a washcloth under an inflamed foot will give the laminitic horse relief. If you need to, find a sandy place for that sore horse to stand, or trim in an arena. Placing the feet in a tub of cool water also helps reduce inflammation while supporting the bony column in the hoof. If the horse is foundering, pad the front feet and start your trim with the hind feet. Boots with pads are a life-saver in this business and can give a horse tremendous and automatic relief. Using pads in the boots helps lift the internal structures so the epidermal and dermal laminae aren’t pulling away from each other during a bout of severe laminitis or founder. This alone will give pain relief. Always have some boots and pads on hand. Don’t forget to address the importance of diet in these laminitic or foundered cases.

For the elderly horse, take your time and allow him rest breaks during your trim session.

In cases where a horse is so sore that he can’t pick up his feet, medications are sometimes required. If this is the case, use probiotics after the drugs are completed to replenish the gut with good bacteria. By paying attention to the little signs your horse is giving you, and having empathy for his changing needs, you can help make trim time a more comfortable and pleasant experience for everyone involved. Anne Riddell is an AHA Certified Natural Hoof Care Practitioner. BareFootHorseCanada.com

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FOR DIGESTIVE HEALTH By Hilary Self, BSc, MNIMH and Camilla Whishaw, B. of Health Sc. (Naturopathy)

How they can ease these 4 common GI challenges

A healthy digestive system is a big part of your horse’s overall well being. Good equine digestion relies on him being outside, moving around and constantly foraging for long fiber. These factors help provide the nutrients and conditions needed to facilitate optimal bacterial flora and digestive function. The equine gastrointestinal tract is not designed to cope with large quantities of concentrated feed multiple times a day without sufficient bulk. The increased reliance on both concentrated feeds and conventional medication has had a profound effect on the modern horse’s digestive system. Let’s take a look at some of the more common equine digestive ailments, and how herbs can help.



There appears to be an increase in the diagnosis of equine gastric and duodenal ulceration. This may be attributed to improved diagnostic techniques, but also to changes in equine management and feeding practices. Conventional medications can contribute significantly to the development and ongoing incidence of ulcers. Veterinary medication for gastrointestinal tract ulceration tends to focus on suppressing the normal function of the digestive system by inhibiting the release of digestive enzymes, which has further negative health implications for the horse.



In contrast, herbal medicine can offer a plethora of alternatives, through overall support of normal digestion, healing of damaged gastric mucosa, and reduction of inflammation, without negative side effects.

Specific herbs used in this context include: • Meadowsweet – It is interesting to note that a highly refined derivation of the very same herb used to produce aspirin (which is known to cause gastric bleeding) is specific for supporting the restoration of damaged gastric mucosa in its natural state (herb and tincture). Meadowsweet offers an anti-inflammatory action as well as balancing gastric pH. • Marshmallow root – This plant contains huge quantities of “mucilage”, which offers a slimy, soothing, cooling, healing action to the gastric mucosa, and protects ulcers from the painful and corroding effect of gastric acids. In addition, marshmallow root has been shown to modulate the transit time of food in the gastrointestinal tract, providing a further gastric buffer and encouraging the increased absorption of vital nutrients. 16

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•L iquorice root – In addition to providing many of the therapeutic actions of marshmallow, this tasty sweet herb is specific for healing gastric ulcers. It has an affinity for gastrointestinal tract mucous membranes and reduces inflammation throughout the whole of the GI tract. •S lippery elm – Offering very similar actions to marshmallow root, this beautiful herb made from the inner bark of the red elm is particularly appropriate for the very youngest and oldest horse; it is nutritive, therapeutic and extremely gentle on the gastrointestinal tract. It is particularly useful for helping to reduce inflammation, and is the premier herb for conditions such as IBS and diarrhea.



• Gotu kola – This herb offers support from a number of different angles. Its adaptogenic action can help reduce the effects of stress (known to be a major contributing factor to gastric ulcers), while supporting local healing of gastric mucosa.


This condition could be said to reflect the increasing incidence of Type II diabetes being seen in the human population. As with humans, this is a multi-factorial condition with diet and lack of exercise playing vital roles. There can be a very fine line between a horse or pony being in “good” condition, and an overweight horse or pony at risk of developing EMS or insulin resistance. Horses were designed to work for their food, storing energy as adipose tissue during times of plenty. These fat reserves are broken down during the hard, cold winter months when food is scarce and low in nutrients, enabling the horse to come into the spring lean but healthy, and ready to repeat the cycle. Horse owners can inadvertently contribute to the development of EMS Equine Wellness


by providing conditions that minimise this seasonal variation, so horses enter spring carrying excess fat.


• Psyllium husks – Montana State University conducted trials into the effects this plant has on post-feeding blood glucose levels in horses. The study demonstrated a significant influence on regulating and reducing blood glucose levels, thereby helping to manage the major contributing factor of EMS. The trials also found that, like marshmallow root, the plant offers a mucilaginous action, while regulating food transit time in the gastrointestinal tract and producing a sense of satiety. It should be noted that when ingested, psyllium husks swell to ten times their original volume, necessitating an increased water intake. Turnout is also vital to allow for the free passage of manure.

Artichoke, garlic and fenugreek help break down blood lipids that are present due to the metabolic changes associated with EMS.

• Goat’s rue – This is another herb used in the treatment of diabetes in humans. Research has shown that it has the ability to reduce absorption of glucose from the gut, thereby favorably modulating blood glucose levels. GO



In addition to the herbs detailed above, plants that exert a hypolipidaemic action should be used. These include artichoke, garlic and fenugreek, which help break down blood lipids that are present due to the metabolic changes associated with EMS. All the herbs previously recommended to treat/prevent ulcers can also be used in the effective management of EMS/IR.


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This is a complex multi-factorial condition. In the case of metabolically influenced laminitis, herbs have a significant role to play in its prevention and management. All the herbs discussed previously can be utilised in order to minimise the risk and impact of laminitis. Additionally, due to the circulatory changes associated with the condition, vasodilatory and circulatory stimulants such as bilberry, hawthorn, prickly ash, yarrow, ginger, turmeric, ginkgo and nettle, should be considered in any established case of laminitis.



As any species ages, physiological changes can lead to a decrease in digestive efficiency. The process of digestion begins in the mouth, both through mechanical and enzymatic means. Regular dental checks are vital to ensure your horse can effectively start the process of digestion comfortably and efficiently. Gastric enzyme production can be reduced in the older horse, which makes it harder for him to break down and absorb energy and vital nutrients. Herbs with a “bitter” action, such as burdock, dandelion root, barberry, and globe artichoke can gently and safely increase the production of digestive enzymes while providing other health benefits. Some older horses may be prone to cases of diarrhea, or poorly-formed droppings. In these cases, the use of soothing, healing, anti-spasmodic, astringent and anti-inflammatory herbs such as slippery elm, chamomile, mint, fennel, aniseed, valerian, meadowsweet, marshmallow, liquorice, rosehips, flaxseed and dandelion root can be of great benefit without placing additional strain on the gastrointestinal tract. Herbal medicine offers a broad spectrum of therapeutic, preventative and treatment applications for common digestive conditions in horses of all ages, without the attendant side effects of conventional medicine. Herbs are a gentle, safe, effective, affordable gift from Mother Nature that can be used either independently, or in conjunction with conventional veterinary medicines.

Research has shown that goat’s rue has the ability to reduce absorption of glucose from the gut.

Hilary Self is co-founder of Hilton Herbs Ltd, a company that for the last 25 years has been at the forefront of manufacturing and formulating herbal supplements for animals. Hilary is a Medical Herbalist and a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. Hilary’s experience with the use and application of herbs for horses spans over 30 years, she is responsible for all the company’s formulations and for additional clinical research into the use of herbs for animals. Hilary sits on the USA’s National Animal Supplements Councils (NASC) Scientific Advisory Committee. HiltonHerbs.com Camilla Whishaw BHSc (Naturopathy), is a board certified naturopath, with a passion for facilitating optimal health, wellbeing and performance through the use of lifestyle advice, nutrition, Western herbal medicine, flower essences, aromatherapy and homeopathy. She has spent a lifetime riding and working with horses. Her involvement in the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry has seen her gain worldwide equine experience in The USA, Australia, Ireland, the UK and Dubai, through the prestigious Darley Flying Start program. Millz.Whishaw@gmail.com


SAVE YOUR HORSE’S LIFE By Reba Martinez There are many types of colic, but it seems the main one we often face is impaction colic. To save time and pasture space, we have placed horses in stalls, pens and paddocks where grass is not available. Through manmade intervention, we have designed concentrated feeds to replace the nutrition of fresh growing grass. The horse’s digestive tract is designed for him to graze on grass all day. Thanks to manmade feed, horses are now consuming approximately one to six pounds of concentrated feed in 30 minutes or less. After they eat their concentrated feed, they then munch on dry hay. That one big meal is now being pushed through the digestive tract with the help of saliva. No wonder there are so many impaction colics! However, even horses on pastures have impaction colics. These are due to: • Weather changes • Riding for long periods without offering water • Feeding poor quality hay • Rapidly changing feeds • Irregular de-worming program SayWhoa!, a formula from Stops Colic, LLC, reverses the process of dehydration of the intestine and assists in stimulating the smooth muscles so peristalsis may return. The reason it works so quickly is that as soon as the horse swallows it, it is absorbed into the bloodstream. This way it does not need to travel all the way to the impaction site. The ingredients work with the horse’s body through osmosis to help draw body fluids back into the intestine, thereby softening the impaction. This also helps replace the ionic solutions that work to restore peristalsis. Reba Martinez grew up around horses. As a young adult, she worked as a pharmacy technician and exercised racehorses early in the morning. She went on to a professional career in the horse racing industry as a jockey for 8 years and licensed trainer for 10 years. She and her husband, Larry, founded Blue Streak Stables, a horsemanship camp for young girls. Reba has seen her share of colic cases. Through the many losses in lives over the years of our four legged family members, these losses propelled us to find a solution. SayWhoa! by Stops Colic, LLC is a revolutionary formula that every horse owner should keep on their shelf. It is effective on impactions, light sand, spasm, gas and also treatment of watery stools. StopsColic.com

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Vices &

The root cause of cribbing, weaving and other vices is stress. Here are some tips to help your horse.


By Mike Hughes

Sooner or later, most of us will have to deal with one or more vices in our horses. The fundamental cause of behaviors such as cribbing, weaving, stall walking, and others is stress. Stress is the emotional and physical way the horse’s body responds to pressure from the outside world. When stressed, his nervous system releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. These hormones give the horse the extra energy and strength he needs to escape from personal threats.


A low level of stress is good for the horse. It helps keep the immune system under control, speeds up soft tissue repair, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. But when a horse is chronically stressed, it has a severe effect on his health and behavior.

Chronic stress leads to health and behavior problems such as stall vices, ground and saddle problems, digestion issues (colic) and reproductive conditions (miscarriage). The immune system can become impaired, leading to chronic muscle tension, increased blood pressure, heart disease and other ailments. These problems can lead to serious life-threatening illness such as colic, kidney disease, muscle damage, and even death.

COPING WITH CHRONIC STRESS Chronic stress can encourage the horse’s body to find a “coping method” to relieve the source of the problem. These coping methods manifest themselves as stall vices like cribbing, weaving, and stall walking, and ground problems such as pulling back while tied, an inability to stand still in the trailer, breaking into a dead sweat, or playing hard to catch. This can translate into riding problems like rearing, bucking, bolting, etc. In any of these cases, your horse is looking for a way out, or a way to deal with the stress. The stall vices, ground problems, and riding issues can turn into habits similar to smoking or drinking. As I discussed in a previous article (“Got a Vice?” Volume 8, Issue 1), you first have to break the habit, and then solve the problem at hand. 20

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DEVELOPING A PROGRAM In this article, we are going to look at how to change the way your horse sees the situation, and then change how he controls his stress. Ideally, the more stress and the more the situation is out of control around your horse, the more you want to see him relax. The market is flooded with supplements, shots and medications that advertise a calm and stress-free horse. For the most part, these are just gimmicks and a waste of money. True stress management addresses the root causes of stress, behavioral issues, and health issues caused from stress, to solve the problem. There are two components to this program:


Change how your horse sees the situation Horses don’t understand about getting hurt. They only understand life and death situations in which their instinct tells them to take flight or fight. For example, your horse sees a bike rider on the trail, does a 180 and bolts. Teaching him to face what he fears will change how he sees the situation. Training your horse to see the situation differently starts on the ground in a round pen or small arena. I like to start with round penning basics. After the horse understands how to face me anywhere I go in the round pen without walking up to me, I am ready to start changing how he sees the situation. Start with a tarp or something else that makes the horse a little nervous. It is important for him to feel uneasy in order to teach him how to control that emotion. If he doesn’t feel nervous, you can’t teach him how to control that emotion. Keeping well back from the horse, I will start dragging the tarp around the pen, making sure the horse is facing me (and the tarp) while I move. Next, I start waving the tarp. It is important to go gently at first – you do not want the horse to blow up. I will then slowly increase the intensity of the tarp movement. After awhile, you can add in new stimuli and Equine Wellness


have your horse accepting each situation as non-threatening – be creative. The goal is to get the horse to accept each new stimulus and learn to control his fear. You cannot teach him not to be afraid, but you can teach them how to control his fears.


Change how your horse reacts to stress

Now that you have changed how your horse sees the situation, it is time to change how he controls his stress. When he is facing a situation that makes him nervous, scared or excited, he is starting to learn how to control that level of stress. Always start off with low-level stimuli until your horse becomes comfortable and able to handle that quantity of stress. As time goes on, you can add more stimuli to create higher stress situations and more stimuli at the same time. As you add each new stimulus, look to see if your horse is starting to lower his head and exhibit licking and chewing behavior – a sign he has relaxed and is controlling his nervousness.

THE FIVE SENSES In changing how our horses see and react to stressful situations, we must train them on all their senses. Like people, horses have five senses – sight, sound, feel, smell, and taste. Each sense can alert the horse to danger, causing him to take flight and bringing on stress. Horses, like people, may use more than one sense at a time.


unfamiliar Police horses are placed in many unfamiliar situations, but what they will actually encounter on the job can never really be simulated. Their training is more about how to handle the stress of unknown situations. I have trained many police horses, and the key is teaching them to cope. From this, the police horse learns to react to each situation in a calm, relaxed manner. After you change how your horse sees the situations you create in the round pen, you can begin riding him and adding in more unfamiliar objects

In the beginning, I train by stimulating one or two of the horse’s senses at a time. Then I work my way up to stimulating all five senses at once. You should create 30 or 40 different situations using all the horse’s five senses. Start small and build up. You will know when your horse is accepting and controlling the stress you are putting on him when he lowers his head and licks and chews. In closing, teach your horse how “to see the situation differently”. Exposing him to many different stressful situations and stimuli will teach him to control his stress in any given situation. Besides helping him cope with stressful situations, he will be better able to work through stall vices, ground problems, and saddle problems.

This horse had a bad bucking problem on the ground and under saddle. I spent an hour changing how he saw the situation and teaching him to control his stress levels. I was able to get him in a good frame of mind, ears forward and happy, and was able to get into the saddle with no problems.

Mike Hughes has been a horseman since birth; a family friend gave his parents a horse for him the day he was born. Mike grew up next to a poorly managed cattle ranch where his early exposure to horsemanship was rough handling and intimidation to create submission. Even as a young man Mike knew there had to be better way. Mike has specialized in problem solving, training for the Sacramento Mounted Police Association, and he has done demonstrations in the U.S, Ireland, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Mike has spent the last 7 years specializing in solving stall vices such as cribbing, weaving, stall kicking/ walking etc. after a dear friend’s horse ultimately died from colic brought on by cribbing. 916-218-8136, Crib-Free.com 22

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isREHABILITATION ? d e r i u q e r Many physical or behavioral issues can be avoided if we simply pay attention and listen to what our horses are trying to tell us. By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CEE

This horse is standing with his hind legs splayed and out of body alignment, indicating that the animal is in pain even when motionless.


ecently, I was called out by the owner of a horse who said she was having difficulties with him under saddle. I was supposed to perform one of my 80-point diagnostic evaluations on site, and determine the possible cause for some of his issues. I was shocked when the groom brought out a beautiful, but somehow incredibly sad-looking horse. I have rarely encountered such a picture of absolute dejection. With some probing, I learned that the owner rode her horse maybe twice a month. It was the trainer who rode for the most part – with his own saddle, used for pretty much every horse he trained. This saddle was clearly too narrow in the gullet channel, and was constantly pressing on the horse’s spinal vertebral processes and causing nerve damage. The saddle was also much too long for this horse’s saddle support area, and lay on his back about 1½” behind the 18th thoracic vertebra. As I watched the groom ride, the saddle began sliding forward on the shoulder during the walk – which at best affected the horse’s freedom of movement, and at worst could cause chipping at the cartilaginous cap.

Getting to the bottom of things

What really saddened me was that this horse was being sold because he was “difficult to handle for the owner” and just “too much horse”. Too much horse? He was simply reacting in a way that would lessen or eliminate the pain. In many years of experience as both a rider and a saddlemaker and fitter, I have discovered that for the most part, a horse will

always try to indicate to us that something is amiss before “bad behavior” becomes the norm. Horses cannot speak, so we need to learn to read their signals. Unfortunately, many riders are too inexperienced and the trainers too “self-absorbed” to listen. Defensive actions from the horse are often his last resort, but these behaviors are often considered simple stubbornness or contrariness, and are punished. The horse really has no chance, and resigns himself to the reality of the situation. If horses could react with tears or by voicing their discomfort, they might get more empathy from their riders. These difficulties in crossspecies communication often result in owners getting rid of horses because they are manifesting “unpredictable behavior”; there is no consideration that the cause could actually be our fault and have nothing to do with the horse’s character. In this sad but relatively common situation, a number of unfortunate factors came together: an absolutely inappropriate saddle that wasn’t fitted to this horse nor even made for this horse; poor training methodology; and insufficient empathy and knowledge from both the trainer and the owner. Education and cooperation between owners, trainers, veterinarians, farriers and other equine professionals is critical if something is to change. Jochen Schleese is a Certified Master Saddler who graduated from Passier and came to Canada as Official Saddler at the 1986 World Dressage Championships. He registered the trade of saddlery in North America in 1990. Jochen’s lifelong study of equine development, saddle design, the bio-mechanics of horse and rider in motion, and the effects of ill-fitting saddles, led to the establishment of Saddlefit 4 Life in 2005 (saddlefit4life. com), a global network of equine professionals dedicated to protecting horse and rider from long term damage.

Equine Wellness


By Mandy Pretty

These techniques can help your horse in times of injury or illness. And best of all – you can do them yourself!

TTOUCH for trauma As horse owners, we spend countless hours and dollars preventing injury and illness in our equine friends. Unfortunately, these precautions can only go so far. If you have horses for long enough, you will likely encounter some form of injury or trauma. The Tellington TTouch Method offers some simple techniques that can help reduce healing time, ease handling for treatment, and stabilize a colicking horse while awaiting veterinary assistance.

TTOUCH FOR INJURIES One of the most wonderful things about TTouch Bodywork techniques is that they can be applied lightly enough to be used around wounds, bruising, swelling or other traumas to the tissue, without causing pain. Doing small, gentle TTouches all around the point of an injury has been found to increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote blood flow to the tissue. Spending just a few extra minutes each day doing this will help speed healing and relieve discomfort.

THE RACCOON TTOUCH The Raccoon TTouch is probably one of the most useful techniques to apply around any kind of injury. It’s simple to learn. Curl your hand so that just the tips of your fingers make contact and pick a point to make contact with the tissue. It is important to start as far away from the actual point of trauma as necessary to maintain your horse’s trust and let him know you are listening and are not there to inflict pain. Using the lightest pressure you can while still moving the tissue, move your fingers in a circle-and-a-quarter motion without sliding across the hair. You will feel as though the circle is tiny and that the skin hardly moves under your fingertips. In many cases, you may feel as if the tissue in your own fingertips moves more than the horse’s. Using light, fast circle-and-a-quarter motions, move all around the injury, backing off a bit if the horse seems uncomfortable. Be sure to pause for a moment between each circle-and-aquarter, and remember to breathe. This circular motion ensures that the tissue is lifted and supported at the beginning and end of each TTouch. Taking just a few minutes each day 24

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to do Raccoon TTouches all around an injury can go a long way towards supporting the healing process.

SIMPLIFY VETERINARY TREATMENT In many cases, one of the most trying aspects of having an injured or sick horse is administering the prescribed veterinary treatment. Taking a few moments to prepare your horse can make the entire procedure much easier and less time-consuming, while maintaining a good level of trust with your horse. Before you administer an injection or eye medication, take a moment to prepare your horse by doing Raccoon TTouches all around the area you will be treating. Sometimes it is the surprise that creates the most resistance in horses. Taking 30 seconds to make mindful contact can begin to relax a tense horse and put a positive spin on an otherwise unpleasant situation. Excessive tension in the tissue will make injections more painful and set up a negative experience for future applications. The more relaxed your horse is for an injection, the better future procedures will be.

THE NOSTRIL SLIDE Should you find yourself in a situation where your horse needs to be tubed for colic, a simple Nostril Slide can make this unpleasant experience a little easier. While your veterinarian is preparing his instruments and solution, take your fingers and gently make contact with your horse’s nostrils. If the horse is suspicious, take 30 seconds to apply Raccoon TTouches around the muzzle to help him relax. Take your thumb and forefinger and gently slide down and forward along the flare of the nostril. Many horses find this technique very relaxing and it helps trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation. Experiment with speed and pressure, as each horse is different. If your horse has enjoyed this technique previously, he will relax more readily and give your vet an easier animal to deal with. Continued on page 26.

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Continued from page 25.

EAR STROKES Finding your horse showing the telltale signs of colic – off his feed, despondent, rolling, pawing, and agitated – is the last thing you want. When faced with a situation of colic or severe distress, two simple exercises can help reduce agitation, stabilize heart rate and respiration, and prevent the onset of shock while you await veterinary assistance. Once you have called your vet and recorded heart rate and respiration, begin Ear Strokes right away. Facing the horse’s head, or from the side if you are walking the horse to keep him up, place your hand at the base of the ear and firmly stroke the ear out to the side and slightly forward, from the base all the way to the tip. The ear will fold slightly in your hand and your thumb will end up at the tip of the ear. The tip of the ear is an acupuncture point for shock. Shock is often as lifethreatening as the colic itself, so it is imperative to keep your horse in as stable a condition as possible while awaiting professional help. Alternate Ear Strokes between the right and left ears as often as you can. Ear Strokes can help lower heart rate and respiration, so be sure to stop while you or your vet are measuring vital signs.

BELLY LIFTS These are another excellent tool to use when faced with a bout of colic. Using a towel, girth, sheet, or anything you can get your hands on, stand across from


Equine Wellness

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another person right behind the elbow of the horse. If you are alone, use a large sheet, towel, girth, or surcingle that is large enough to encircle the horse’s entire barrel. Place the towel at the girth and, counting up to three or four, slowly lift. Pause, and then release the pressure twice as slowly as you went up. For instance, if you counted up to three, count down to at least six. You should notice your horse expand his diaphragm and alter his respiration. Continue, slowly moving as far back as the horse will allow. Be sure to stay clear of the kick zone, should he become uncomfortable as you move further back. Repeat from front to back as often as you can. Belly Lifts seem to reduce some discomfort and help increase movement through the body. Often, you will find that gas (and even manure) is released after several Belly Lifts. No one wants to be faced with injury or illness in their horses, but the more tools you have to deal with these situations, the better. Remembering these few simple exercises can give you some proactive, beneficial things to do to improve your horse’s well-being in a situation that otherwise renders you helpless. Mandy Pretty is a certified Tellington TTouch and Connected Riding Practitioner. She has taught workshops throughout North America and Australia helping horses and their humans achieve wellbeing, performance and harmony through low-stress, bio-mechanically healthy methods. Her articles have appeared in several publications around in various countries. intouchwithyourhorse.com


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THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF PRESSURE Try the Raccoon TTouch on yourself first, testing the pressure by placing your fingertips just under your eye. Supporting your elbow with your other hand, allow the tips of your fingers to make contact over your cheekbone. Now make the circle-and-a-quarter motion, noticing how little pressure is required to move the tissue without sliding across the skin. A “1” pressure, or the lightest pressure on the TTouch pressure scale, would mean you would not even feel your cheekbone under your fingers.

GETTING COMFORTABLE For any type of injury, the most important thing to remember is to let your horse dictate what is comfortable or not. It is often useful to do what you plan on doing around the injury on the opposite side of the horse first (for example, if the right forelimb is injured, start by spending a minute on the left forelimb). Be sure to use the same light pressure that you plan on using around the injury. This gives the horse a chance to know what you are going to do, without having the added defensiveness of pain, and will help build trust when handling the injured area. If your horse is suspicious of what you are doing, experiment with different parts of your hand in making the light circle-and-a-quarter – sometimes starting with the back or palm of your hand can diffuse the feeling of contact.



Helping to correct nutritional deficiencies in the horse’s diet, Zenamin supplies a wide range of vitamins, minerals and trace elements from different clays, including Montmorillonite, Bentonite and Diatomaceous Earth. Zenamin targets respiration, feet, performance and condition. It has been energized by applying a proprietary technology to enhance bioavailability and to assist in nutritional conversion. GMO free, Zenamin is safe and legal for racing and competitions. Ask for Zenamin at your local tack or feed store!

Our Icelandic kelp is all natural and the very finest available. Amazing health benefits for your horse and other animals. Hand harvested from the cleanest kelp beds on earth and contains over 60 trace minerals and vitamins. Boosts the immune system and provides healthy metabolic function. Aids in digestion and promotes efficient feed utilization. A wonderful product no animal should be without! Order yours today!


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WHOA Dust is a professional grade arena additive for indoor or outdoor arenas that reduces watering frequency and volume by up to 80%, Moisture is more evenly distributed and the tensile strength of the footing is increased for better traction and concussion support. The product is easy to apply using a hand-broadcast seeder.

Preferred by stable managers, Red Brand’s Keepsafe® V-mesh Horse Fence is the safest fence for horses. The close v-mesh spacing flexes on impact, preventing breakage or fence failure. The continuous weave means no sharp wire ends to cut hides and the tight mesh pattern prevents hooves from becoming entangled. Plus, it’s excellent for predator control. A great value compared to other fence styles, Keepsafe® can last 20 to 30 years when properly installed.

WHOA Dust provides effective and economical dust control that is chloride-free and scientifically proven to be safe for the environment, animals and humans. WHOA Dust – “What is your horse breathing?”

(800) 248-0330 WHOADUST.com


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Photos by Debbie Garcia-Bengochea.


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Therapy horse Magic makes dreams come true.


Making the rounds at an assisted living home, Magic, a miniature therapy horse, came upon a female resident who seemed to need her attention. The horse gently placed her head in the woman’s lap. “Isn’t she beautiful?” the woman exclaimed. “It’s a horse!” Others in the room looked up in surprise. It was the first time the resident had spoken in over three years. It’s this kind of magic the miniature therapy horses of Gentle Carousel bring to children and adults in hospitals, assisted living programs, hospice care, and orphanages, as well as to families who have experienced traumatic events.

SMALL HORSES, BIG HEARTS Gentle Carousel helps old and young alike.

There’s no better therapy than equine therapy.

This team of tiny equines touches the lives of over 25,000 people a year, and that’s not counting the 150,000-plus fans that follow Gentle Carousel on social media. “The first Gentle Carousel horses worked with young children who had backgrounds of neglect or abuse,” says Debbie Garcia-Bengochea, the organization’s Education Director. “A large horse can be intimidating to a small child, but the miniature horses were easier for the children to trust and befriend.” That was over 18 years ago, when Gentle Carousel was founded by a single family. It was one of the first organizations to take therapy horses to people who couldn’t travel. Today, the organization is managed by volunteers, and has bases in Tennessee, California and Florida. There is also a program in Athens, Greece, where six horses are involved with orphanages and hospitals.

MAKING REHABILITATION FUN Don’t let their small size fool you. The Gentle Carousel horses are involved in complex therapy programs that produce big results. Their tiny size allows them to go indoors, enabling them to assist physical, occupational, and speech therapists. The horses motivate patients in rehabilitation programs to walk for the first time since their Equine Wellness


accidents; demonstrate rehab training on stairs and ramps; and provide people with emotional support. Most of all, the horses make rehabilitation fun. And that’s just part of what these remarkable equines do. Gentle Carousel’s award-winning Reading is Magic program pairs miniature horses with at-risk kids in schools, foster care, and hospitals, to help them learn to read. “One of the founders of Gentle Carousel was a school principal,” Debbie explains. “So a reading program was created for libraries and schools that focused on young and at-risk readers.” The horses also provide comfort for families who have experienced trauma. One of Gentle Carousel’s biggest projects was to visit the children and first responders of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. The excitement surrounding the horses’ visit marked one of the first times since the shooting that the traumatized families felt a return to normality. Continued on page 34.

IT’S MAGIC! Just how powerful is miniature equine therapy? After visiting with Magic, a little boy who was losing his sight due to a brain tumor said: “It is like she can see inside my soul.” He held Magic close to his face so he could always remember what she looked like. TIME Magazine named Magic one of “History’s Ten Most Heroic Animals” for the many miracles she has provided for people in need. She even inspired a book about the Gentle Carousel horses called The Power of Magic. For every book sold, one is given to a child in hospital. 32

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Continued from page 32.

BIG SHOES TO FILL All this therapy work requires rigorous training. The horses go through a two-year basic training program during which they learn how to safely walk up and down steps, ride in elevators, navigate various types of flooring, and move through different kinds of doors and small rooms with very little space. They also learn to be gentle with fragile patients and to deal with crowds of people. They need to be housetrained and not be spooked by loud noises, such as ambulance sirens and helicopters. Currently, only horses born at Gentle Carousel are trained for therapy work. They begin their training at a young age, but the foals also spend regular time with their mothers. “It is a rare miniature horse that feels both happy and safe in very challenging indoor situations,” Debbie explains. “And we want the horses to have happy, healthy lives.” Needless to say, only positive training methods are used. The handlers use clicker training to gently guide the horses through all the steps they need to learn. The horses wear harnesses instead of bits, and are also shoeless. Despite the rigorous training, the horses are never overworked. “They are not pets,” says Debbie. “We want them to live as horses.” Outside of training time, they live on private farms.

BIG THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES Once the horses finish training, they are usually only required to do two therapy sessions a week, and to attend the occasional event. This past summer, two miniature horses named Magic (see sidebar on page 32) and Hamlet were special BreyerFest guests at the Kentucky Horse Park, as well as 2014 Breyer portrait model horses! These Breyer models will allow even more children to experience the joy of Gentle Carousel miniature therapy horses. Bringing comfort to trauma victims, assisting with rehabilitation programs, and helping children learn to read are just some of the amazing things these unique horses lend a hoof with. But perhaps the greatest gift from these inspiring equines is the lesson that even the smallest among us can accomplish great things!

Gentle Carousel’s literacy program Reading is Magic brings the horses into schools and libraries to inspire children and motivate at-risk youth. Learn more about Gentle Carousel by visiting Facebook.com/TherapyHorses. 34

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What the


Why a hay analysis should form the basis for developing your horse’s nutrition program. Properly cured hay is unquestionably valuable if pasture is not available. But most of us assess hay quality by looking for a light green color and a sweet fresh smell. If it fits these criteria, and the hay is free of mold or dust, we figure we’ve hit the jackpot. The most nutritious hay would have been cut at prime maturity, showing fine stems, green to light green in color, and a high ratio of nutrient-rich leaves if alfalfa is present. Avoid hay that is largely sun-bleached with thick/stalky stems, and/ or that smells musty, is dusty, or shows signs of fermentation.

THE NEED FOR HAY ANALYSIS These days, it may not be adequate to buy good-looking hay, especially if your horse has metabolic challenges or performance needs. The true test lies in the laboratory hay analysis. It is more important for you to know that the sugar content (NSC/ nonstructural carbohydrates) should be lower than 12%, and at a rate of 2% of body weight if your horse is overweight, showing symptoms of equine metabolic syndrome or Cushing’s disease, or is susceptible to founder and laminitis. In these cases, most owners tend to steer toward what looks like a lower quality (pale or stalky) grass mix or timothy hay, but that is not a guarantee of low sugar content. Even straw (oat straw) can be high in non-structural carbohydrates. Surprisingly, an alfalfa (lucerne/ legume) is acceptable during the acute stage, and offers an added calcium and phosphorous value that traditional grass hay types (orchard, timothy, brome) no longer have once harvested and cured.

By Shelley Nyuli

UNDERSTANDING THE CALCIUM TO PHOSPHOROUS RATIO Long overlooked is the role calcium and phosphorous have, beyond supporting important growth functions. Calcium, highly absorbable through the upper section of the small intestine, also plays major roles in nerve transmission, blood clotting, and temperature regulation, as well as healthy muscle function, including the heart. Phosphorous is needed for various cell functions and energy metabolism. Though calcium shows no adverse effects if given in higher levels, too much phosphorous limits the absorption of calcium, giving risk to thyroid issues, weight loss and possible skeletal problems. Most performance breeds, as well as breeding, lactating or growing horses within their first two years, will do better on a higher protein ratio (14% to 18%). It is important that the roughage choice provides the preferred ratio of calcium and phosphorous (2:1) along with the other significant macro-minerals needed to support a healthy, competitive, reproducing or growing horse. Hay analysis is a key tool that allows you to quickly adjust the overall nutrition spectrum. Talk to your vet or an equine nutritionist to assess your horse’s personal nutritional needs, and if a quality vitamin/mineral supplement is recommended, choose one with the ratios described within this article. Feeding the whole horse naturally should be the priority of every owner.

Shelley Nyuli is co-owner and President of SciencePure Nutraceuticals Inc. and makers of Pureform Equine Health Supplements, VetForm Animals Health Supplements, Breeders Best In Show Pet Supplement as well as Protocol Human Health Supplements. She has been successful in the Standardbred racing industry through breeding and racing with as many as 30 horses per year. Longevity through health and study is her focus with her animals and self. SciencePure.com Parts of this article was taken from Advances in Equine Nutrition.

Equine Wellness



These suggestions for emotional and physical healing can help your horse on the road to recovery! Essential oils are a wonderful tool for rehabilitation work. They act on the emotional and physical levels at the same time. You can use them to relieve pain, release trauma, and reduce the stress of medical intervention and stable rest. And because you don’t need to make physical contact when working with essential oils, you can use them to build trust with unapproachable horses.

SHORTCUT TO TRUST In 1997, I was helping people solve problems with their horses. Often, it was just a matter of explaining horse language and teaching people to “speak horse”. However, some horses were traumatized by accidents or past treatment, and had no wish to talk to humans at all. With these horses, it could take weeks or months of patient work until they were ready to give people another chance. But then I was introduced to essential oils! 36

Equine Wellness

The first time I offered essential oils to a horse, he transformed in front of my eyes. He had been injured in transit from his first home to a training stable. After a month of box rest and unsympathetic treatment, he was labelled crazy. Now, three years later, I was his last chance. When I met him he was spinning around his stable, sticking his head out each time he passed the door, but never standing still. In the space of ten minutes, just by inhaling Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) from an open bottle, taking a whiff each time he spun past, he became calm and relaxed. As he stood with his head dropped over the stable door, eyes half closed, I could see him reconnect with his body. Then he sighed, looked me quietly in the eyes, and recognized me as someone who was there to listen to him. This was not the end of his rehab, but it was a great beginning – the usual weeks of building trust had been reduced to minutes.

This powerful experience inspired me to train in essential oils for animals. Since then, I have seen hundreds of horses heal from trauma, abuse and accident with the help of essential oils. I will share some stories, but first a little about the method I use (and recommend), as it is the key to this transformation.

THE BENEFITS OF SELF-SELECTION Every animal seeks to keep his body in a healthy balance (homeostasis). In the wild, animals will seek out medicinal herbs to correct any imbalance or invasion of pathogens. Scientifically, this is known as zoopharmacognosy. With domestic animals, we apply this instinctive mechanism and offer a selection of essential oils so they can choose what they want. One of the great benefits of this method is that it tells the horse you are respecting his choices and recognizing his right as a self-determining being. This is the first step to building a full relationship with him, and a strong trigger for the healing process.

OLFACTION, THE DIRECT ROUTE TO THE BRAIN Essential oils are the fragrant parts of plants – they are designed to interact with the world around them by scent. Intuitively (and biologically), it makes sense that inhaling an essential oil is a powerful and effective way to use it. Even when a horse licks the oil, it is mostly absorbed through the olfactory system (part of which is in the back of the mouth) – very little makes it into the digestive system. The olfactory system offers the most direct route to the brain. Essential oils are volatile and evaporate quickly. When you open a bottle near a horse, the oils have an immediate effect on his physical and mental well-being. Continued on page 38.

HOW TO CHOOSE OILS FOR YOUR HORSE • Make a short list of four or five essential oils that suit the problem and your horse’s character and history. • Hold the open bottle in your hand about two feet away from your horse, so he has space to move towards you, and let him smell each oil briefly. • Observe which oil(s) your horse smells most. • Separately dilute each of the oils he selected – three to five drops in 5 ml (1 tsp) of cold-pressed vegetable oil (sunflower is ideal). • Offer each essential oil separately and let your horse smell or lick it. Equine Wellness


Continued from page 37.

PAINFUL EXPERIENCES LEAVE SCARS Negative experiences create mental scars (trauma) that can lead to behavioral changes after the pain has passed. Several aromatics can help clear trauma and any behavior it has triggered. Benzoin resinoid (Benzoin styrax) is one. I was asked to help a horse who had run into a barbed wire fence some years before, resulting in 34 stitches along his torso. Although he had recovered physically, anything that caused him to think about this area of his body, including being groomed or having the rider’s leg touch it, triggered an angry reaction. He bucked his rider off almost every day.

After five weeks, I invited him into the arena with me – he was happy to start gymnastic exercises, and went on to be happily re-homed. Essential oils offer a wide range of actions that can heal on many levels. When you offer them for self selection, you increase their healing power. Sharing this healing space together is uplifting for both you and your horse.

When I first stood and looked at the scar, the horse became fidgety and tried to bite his owner. I offered him benzoin. He breathed deeply, going into a slight trance. I then applied a few drops of diluted benzoin to my hands and very lightly ran them several times along the scar.

Nayana Morag is one of the world’s foremost experts in the use of essential oils and aromatic extracts for animals and author of the book, Essential Oils for Animals: Your complete guide to using aromatherapy for natural animal health and management. She has developed a system of animal wellness called Animal PsychAromatica, which uses essential oils, TCM and the reduction of stress through natural management to create true well-being. EssentialAnimals.com

The horse released his breath, then touched the scar with his nose. From then on, it was as if there had never been a problem, and he stopped bucking. Not all cases resolve this easily, but it is quite common to clear behaviors arising from a traumatic incident in one or two sessions of inhaling essential oils.


PROLONGED PAIN CAN BE TRAUMATIC A huge percentage of horses that come to me with problematic behaviors are in pain. One race horse was very shut down, reared over backwards when pushed, and had soft crumbly feet that couldn’t hold a shoe. His muscle patterns suggested he had an ulcer. For the first few weeks he was with me, he was given an herbal ulcer treatment, and turned out barefoot with some friends. The only human interaction we had was when I offered him essential oils. He licked a little diluted carrot seed (Daucus carota) daily for a week. Carrot seed repairs cells, particularly smooth muscle (digestive system), stimulates healthy hoof growth, and relieves feelings of abandonment or failure. He also inhaled undiluted yarrow (Achillea millefolium) for three days. Yarrow is anti-inflammatory and releases past trauma. After a few days, this horse started to seek me out when I appeared in the field. Slowly, the pain wrinkles around his eyes relaxed and his musculature improved.

1 Angelica root (Angelica archangelica): Opens to healing, liver stimulant, immune stimulant, steadies heart, balances pancreatic function, reconnects you with inner security after traumatic experiences. 2 Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Antiinflammatory, anti-allergenic, releases trauma from accident or abuse. 3 Carrot seed (Daucus carota): Repairs damaged cells, increases self-esteem, good for any animal who has been starved of food or attention. 4 Lemon (Citrus limon): Immune stimulant, focuses the mind, helps increase trust in self and others. 5 Violet Leaf absolute (Viola odorata): Analgesic, heart soother, helps build trust and reduces suspicious behavior, good for those who have become over-reactive or bad tempered due to chronic pain.


Equine Wellness


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Serious scratches problems on Brian Bell’s top Reining horses set him searching for a solution. “We work our horses in wet dirt and wash them often, which made scratches difficult to control,” says Bells. “Nothing worked until WellHorse Antibacterial Resin and Foam. It cuts the days to clear up extreme scratches, and acts as a preventative by building a moisture barrier on horses prone to break-outs. WellHorse heals wounds faster and allows the hair to grow back the same color.”

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Slow feeding is quickly being accepted as a commonsense way to feed horses, as 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 for the customer. The webbing won’t shrink when left in the rain or snow, and the nets have an added UV inhibitor.



Flexible, portable PEMF therapy units put healing power right on the site of an injury. Every rider’s first aid kit should have a HealFast Therapy loop or patch unit and tape at the ready to provide quick relief for swelling and pain. It reduces swelling in soft tissues and relieves pain quickly. The device increases blood flow to the injury, thus reducing inflammation and stimulating sensory neurons to reduce pain.


Equine Wellness


& reporting By Kelly Howling

If you suspect a horse is not receiving adequate care, it is important to take proper steps to report it.

We’ve all been there, though no one ever wants to be. You take a new back road route on your way to work, and notice a small herd of horses that look underweight. Or you’re walking through a barn, and observe someone reprimanding a horse too harshly. Any horse lover in these situations starts to have questions and concerns run through their minds. Do the skinny horses have access to food and water? Are they elderly, or ill? What did the horse being reprimanded do, and was this a one-time occurrence, or regular treatment? It’s not unusual to feel somewhat helpless as well. What can you do? Who do you tell? How do you find out if the horses are at risk, and how do you prove it?

Are they at risk? If you are concerned about a particular situation, it is first important to familiarize yourself with what constitutes reportable abuse and neglect. Stacy Segal, director of equine initiatives for the ASPCA Equine Fund, says: “The key to assessing if a horse is in need of assistance is having an understanding of basic equine care. Having knowledge about what constitutes appropriate feed and water, basic equine care (hoof care, dental care, parasite control) and even herd behavior will help determine whether a horse is in need of assistance. Definitions of abuse and neglect can vary, depending on the jurisdiction. Neglect typically refers to a failure to provide food, shelter, water and necessary veterinary care.” “Abuse, on the other hand, translates into the intentional physical abuse of an equine animal,” explains Jennifer Warmke, president of the Northwest Equine Stewardship Center. “According to the legal dictionary, animal cruelty is defined as ‘the crime of inflicting physical pain, suffering or death on an animal…beyond necessity for normal discipline. It can include neglect that is so monstrous that the animal has suffered, died or been put in imminent danger of death’.”

Examining things in context It is very easy to become extremely concerned when you see an animal receiving anything less than the best of care. So how can you tell if you are really witnessing equine neglect or abuse? “The first step is to 40

Equine Wellness

consider the situation in context,” cautions Jennifer. “For example, seeing a person hit a horse once might not be animal cruelty, but seeing it over and over again changes the context. However, repeated incidents of cruelty are often signs of abuse because a pattern forms. “The same is true for equine neglect,” she adds. “In the example provided at the beginning of this article, neglect was in the form of inadequate food, water and shelter. Again, it is important to consider the context of the situation. If a horse kept on pasture runs out of water one day, it might be an honest mistake. But if a horse is constantly without water and has no access to a potable water source, this probably constitutes neglect.”

Involving the authorities If you have examined the situation and feel that further action needs to be taken, the next step is contacting the appropriate authorities. “In most cases, local law enforcement will be the agency that has the ability to investigate, and if necessary, intervene on behalf of neglected or abused animals,” says Stacy. “Let them know you would like law enforcement to do a welfare check on the animals in question. Be sure to ask for the name of the person you’re speaking with and make a note of the time and date of the conversation. While you can request a follow-up call, understand that law enforcement cannot always disclose the details of an investigation, and they need time to build a case. “In some states, animal welfare agencies have law enforcement authority when it comes to animal concerns. This is why it’s important to have an understanding of who has jurisdiction in your community. Even if the local animal shelter or horse rescue does not have jurisdiction, it’s always good to notify them of your concern as well. Often, they have relationships with law enforcement and can act as an advocate for the horses, or offer additional resources.” Continued on page 42.

Reporting an incident

“First and foremost, it is important to remember that it is never a good idea to trespass when trying to help an animal,” warns Stacy. “If an animal appears to be in immediate need of intervention, call law enforcement, describe what you’re witnessing, and if possible, wait at the scene until they arrive. “If you have legal access to the property or can gather information from a public road, here are the types of things that are important to share with local authorities when reporting an incident:

• Geographic location of the animal (exact address, if possible). • Date, time and weather conditions; note the temperature if possible. • Description of the animal: any distinguishing markings, other important features (e.g. injuries).

• Description of the physical surroundings: type of enclosure, type of footing (e.g., muddy, pasture), if food and water are available, type of food and water, if shelter is available and if so what kind, the state of the enclosure (e.g. clean or cluttered).

• Note any other animals in the enclosure. If there is more than one animal you’re concerned about, use the guidelines above to make notes about each.

• If possible, take photos. Again, be mindful not to trespass or endanger your safety.”

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 41.

The horse world is a small place, and depending on the situation, it is understandable that some people may want to remain anonymous when contacting authorities. “While you can report anonymously, it is recommended that you actually file a report,” says Jennifer. “This is important because ultimately it is up to the authorities to determine whether or not a particular equine abuse or neglect situation is actionable. This process typically involves a thorough investigation, often while the animal(s) remain in the custody of the owner.” “Be sure to mention up front that you desire to remain anonymous,” adds Stacy. “However, we encourage individuals to provide their contact info in case local authorities need more information or can’t locate the animal at the specified address.”

Going through the proper channels With the advent of social media, it has become quite easy to spread news quickly. And while it is important to take swift action in animal cruelty or neglect cases, it is also important to do things properly and respectfully. From time to time, you see someone being unnecessarily vilified because there is a skinny horse in their pasture – only to later discover that the horse is a recent rescue being rehabilitated, or is recovering from an illness or surgery. Going through the authorities first will ensure that the case is investigated properly.


Equine Wellness

“It may be that the authorities are already aware of the situation and are monitoring it,” says Jennifer. “It could be that the authorities have placed the animals in a foster situation for rehab or that the ‘new’ owners have recently acquired a rescue animal. It is important not to put yourself in harm’s way, but if you feel comfortable approaching the owner and talking to them about what is going on, in some instances this can help clear up the situation as well.” “If they are truly providing adequate care for a horse who is recovering from previous neglect, they should be happy to provide documentation to local authorities,” adds Stacy. Our horses don’t have the ability to speak for themselves, so we need to look out for them and be their voice. By swiftly following the appropriate steps to report an abuse or neglect situation, you can help promote the health and welfare of our equine friends. Stacy Segal is the Equine Initiatives Director for the ASPCA Equine Fund. Her work focuses on producing a quarterly e-newsletter, developing a national workshop series for equine welfare professionals, and producing communications and other materials aimed at improving the professionalism and enhancing the sustainability of the equine rescue community. Prior to joining the ASPCA, Stacy worked for the Humane Society of the United States for five years, serving needy equines as part of the Equine Protection program and the HSUS Animal Rescue and Response team. aspca.org Jennifer Warmke is a freelance writer, author, and web designer who has worked at various capacities in the animal field for several years. She is an avid trail rider with a focus on dressage and horsemanship and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest. JenniferWarmke.com. Northwest Equine Stewardship Center (NWESC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing professional level rehabilitative care (veterinary, hoof care, training) to rescue horses. NWESC is committed to building programs that provide educational and therapeutic opportunities for people and promotes the prevention of unwanted horses and neglect. NWESC.org


RESOURCE GUIDE • Associations • Barefoot Hoof Trimming • Communicators

• Chiropractors • Integrative Therapies • Resource Directory

• Saddle Fitters • Schools and Training

• Thermography • Yoga

AS SO C I AT I O N S 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 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

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

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 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

View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.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

Equine Wellness


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

Kathleen Berard San Antonio, TX USA (210) 402-1220 Email: kat@katberard.com Website: www.katberard.com The Oasis Farm Ingrid Brammer Cavan, ON Canada (705) 742-329 Email: ibrammer@sympatico.ca Website: www.animalillumination.com


Dr. Bonnie Harder, D.C. Ogle, IL USA (815) 757-0425 Email: drbonniedc@hbac4all.com Website: www.holisticbalanceanimalchiro.com


Natural Hooves Ben Fortkamp Shelbyville, TN USA Phone: (931) 703-8149 Email: ben@naturalhooves.com Website: www.naturalhooves.com

The Happy Natural Horse Lorrie Bracaloni Boonsboro, MD USA Phone: (301) 432-6216 Email: naturalhorselb@gmail.com Website: www.happynaturalhorse.com

Natural Horse, Natural Hoof Sarah Graves Boone, CO 81025 Phone: (719)557-0052 Email: msbarefootequine@yahoo.com

Healfast Therapy North Caldwell, NJ USA Phone: (551) 200-5586 Email: support@healfasttherapy.com Website: www.healfasttherapy.com

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

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

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

COMMUNICATORS Animal Energy Lynn McKenzie Sedona, AZ USA (928) 282-9800 Email: lynn@animalenergy.com Website: www.animalenergy.com Animal Paradise Communcations & Healing Janet Dobbs Oak Hill, VA Canada (703) 648-1866 Email: janet@animalparadisecommunication.com Website: www.animalparadisecommunication.com Communication with Animals Kristin Thompson Newfane, NY USA (716) 778-6233 Email: kristen@communicationwithanimals.com Website: www.communicatewithanimals.com Claudia Hehr Georgetown, ON Canada (519) 833-2382 Email: talk@claudiahehr.com Website: www.claudiaherh.com


Equine Wellness

SADDLE FITTERS Action Rider Tack Medford, OR USA (877) 865-2467 Website: www.actionridertack.com Happy Horseback Saddles Vernon, BC Canada (250) 542-5091 Website: www.happyhorsebacksaddles.ca


your business in the



Equine Wellness 44 View the Wellness Resource Guide online at: EquineWellnessMagazine.com


The Misunderstood Nutrient Many people equate protein with energy, but it has many other important functions as well.

Horses require five main classes of nutrients to survive. These include water, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. After water, protein is the most important – and the most misunderstood. Protein provides the building blocks for bones, muscles, and virtually all the body’s soft tissues. It is essential for growth and repair.

THE FUNCTION OF PROTEIN Long assumed to be an energy source, protein actually has quite a different function – it provides amino acids. In fact, proteins are made up of a chain of amino acids. The types of amino acid, as well as the length of the protein chains, differentiate the proteins. To be more concise, horses require amino acids rather than protein.

UNDERSTANDING AMINO ACIDS There are 22 so called “primary amino acids”. Only ten are presumed necessary for the horse because his body doesn’t manufacture enough of them, but needs them in order to function. 10 NECESSARY AMINO ACIDS 1. ARGININE 2. LYSINE 3. HISTIDINE 4. METHIONINE 5. ISOLEUCINE 6. LEUCINE 7. VALINE 8. PHENLYALININE 9. THREONINE 10. TRYPTOPHAN NRC, 1998

Specific requirements of individual amino acids have not been established with the exception of lysine. Lysine is considered the “first limiting amino acid”. If there is not enough lysine in the diet, the horse’s system will have difficulty utilizing all the other amino acids.

PROTEIN AND LYSINE REQUIREMENTS To help explain, here are a few examples of how to calculate protein and lysine requirements for horses. The following requirements were determined by the Nutritional Research Council in 2006. Lysine requirements for maintenance of a 500kg horse (1,100lbs) Lysine (grams per day) = Crude protein requirement x 4.3%. The crude protein requirement set by NRC for maintenance horses is: Minimum

Body weight x 1.08g = 540g of protein/day for a 500kg horse and 23.22g lysine/day


BW x 1.26 g = 630g of protein/day for a 500kg horse and 27.09g lysine/day


BW x 1.44 g = 720g of protein/day for a 500kg horse and 30.96g lysine/day

To demonstrate the highest protein demands in a class of horse, we will show NRC’s requirements for lactating mares of 500kg bodyweight in their first month of nursing: Nursing mare in first month of lactation: 500 x 3.07 = 1,535g of protein/day and 84.8g of lysine/day.

MEETING PROTEIN DEMANDS Most protein demands are met with a good quality forage. Alfalfa cubes or a good quality 15% protein alfalfa hay, if fed at 1.5 % body weight, will give 1,000g of protein. A 12 % alfalfa/timothy mixed cube or hay will yield approximately 800g of protein. Analyze your hay, and balance it with a complete feed or a vitamin mineral balancer.

Great Lakes Agra Corporation is the leading producer and supplier of premium, high quality forage products and other emerging feed and food products for domestic and international consumption. GreatLakesAgra.com

Equine Wellness



By Anna Twinney

Long-lining has many benefits, including increased communication, trust, confidence and training.

from the ground

ong-lining is an extremely powerful tool. Often referred to as ground-driving or “riding from the ground”, it bridges the gap between foundational ground work and riding. It’s also invaluable for helping your horse reach his full potential in a safe and effective manner. By incorporating this practice into your horse’s training, you can gain a better feel and connection with her. It can also:

• Teach your horse (and probably yourself) the significance of proximity, positioning, and intricate movements • Develop, strengthen and clarify the communication between you and your horse • Bridge the gap between your non-verbal conversation (body language and physical cues) and your communication in the saddle • Create a confident, well-rounded, balanced horse (both physically and mentally) • Safely introduce your horse to cues from the halter or bit (if you choose to use one). The combination of body language and lines allows your conversation to flow naturally, in a language your horse already knows, as you communicate non-verbally with her while simultaneously influencing both lines. And the best part is that long-lining is useful regardless of where your horse is in her life or career. This is also your opportunity to be creative and add some fun and partnership into your horse’s training. You can create your course specifically for your circumstances, choreograph each lesson, and incorporate your horse’s needs, desires, learning style and more into it. The options are virtually limitless; ground-driving has something to offer everyone, regardless of weather, environment or time constraints!


Equine Wellness

STEP 1: GROUND– DRIVING IN THE ROUND PEN The safest place to introduce double lines to your horse is in the round pen! Take the time to get to know her capabilities, understanding and knowledge of this exercise or, if she is new to long-lines, teach her the complete process – from accepting the lines through to understanding the communication of the line aids. With the correct use of the lines, you can both desensitize your horse to alarming motions, or sensitize her to listening and coming off the pressure. The inside line acts as the inside leg and can both influence forward motion as well as a yield to the outside. The outside line will focus on creating stimulus from behind to engage the hindquarters. The outside line influences speed as it does when taken into work under saddle. Soft hands will either introduce or reinforce direction to the left and right as well as speed control for downward transitions, stops and backing up. Working in the round pen will create an environment for your horse to understand all the cues that will later be taken into work under saddle. Creativity is key as you explore your horse’s capabilities with turns, circles, serpentines, transitions, and for the adventurous – flying changes!

STEP 2: GROUND-DRIVING IN THE ARENA Out of the round pen and into the arena! As you remove the confining boundaries of the round pen, your horse will begin to seek and explore, and can be easily distracted. For safety’s sake, first teach her to circle on a 50’ circle without the walls of the round pen for support. This movement can easily be turned into the “one rein stop” if you need it. Once a round circle has been achieved in both directions, and preferably at both a walk and trot, its time to expand to the whole arena. The arena is your classroom. Be creative and work from the ground just as you would in the saddle.

FOR EXAMPLE, YOU CAN INCORPORATE: • Forward motion • Straight lines • Half halts • Transitions • Turns • Stops

• Circles • Serpentines • Side-pass • Pole work • Obstacles • Anything else you think is needed!

TOOLS FOR GROUND-DRIVING 1 Halter (to prevent hard

hands on the horse’s mouth)

2 Surcingle or saddle

(preferably a light racing training saddle to start)

3 Set of long lines

(preferably 30’ in length)

4 Leather strap

(to tie stirrup irons together)

5 Gloves to protect your hands

HORSES WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM LONG-LINING • Young horses being started under saddle

• Those being trained for carriages, sleighs and buggies

• Performance horses in

training and conditioning

• Equines in rehabilitation • Those being brought back

into work from an extended rest

• Geriatric horses who can

no longer be under saddle, yet would benefit from the attention, connection and exercise

• Horses with issues such as biting, bolting, bucking, rearing and balking, and those lacking attention, motivation or a spark in the eye

• Those who enjoy and

appreciate variety and connection!

Continued on page 48.

Equine Wellness


Continued from page 47.

In our Reach Out to Horses® classes, the obstacle courses are invaluable. From utilizing the courses at liberty, through in-hand leading, grounddriving, and right up into the saddle, they have become places of higher learning. In Step 2, you can teach your horse a whole array of movements to build confidence, creativity and condition.

STEP 3: GROUND-DRIVING IN NATURE A common training exercise in England and Europe involves long-lining young horses away from the confined spaces of the round pen and arena. Done on paths, tracks, roads, and through villages, it can be some of the best preparation for the horse before starting work under saddle. Many horses will benefit from exploring the outdoors and being away from home. You will also challenge your skills and build on the trust between you and your horse as she leaves her herd and ventures into an unknown environment with you. This is the moment in which you must step up as leader of your herd of two. If you are unsure, the safest way to ground-drive in the open is to have a companion walk alongside your horse, just as in the arena. Everything changes when exploring new territories so expect the unexpected. Remember to keep it easy for you and your horse. If you are both having fun, the learning happens naturally! Ground-driving is an art that spans colt starting all the way to working with top performance horses. Unquestionably, it requires a lot of time to learn the intricacies. However, once you master this often misunderstood skill, you will never want to be without it because you’ll experience perfect feel, timing, and balance, and gain trust, respect, leadership, and focus from your horse. It will enhance your training, fill in many holes, and give you a safe and effective way to translate your foundational groundwork right into the saddle. For a more in-depth look at the art of long-lining, check out Uncovering the Art of Long-Lining, Volume 4 of the six-volume Reach out to Natural Horsemanship DVD Series from Reach Out to Horses®.


If your horse begins to pull or ignore the line cues, circle her to regain your composure and influence her feet. If you feel like you are losing “control” or becoming too hard on your horse’s head, you can always ask a handler to support you. Have the handler clip onto the halter with a 14’ rope and walk next to your horse to provide clarity. The additional person provides guidance at a slight distance and can be a calming influence on the situation. Anna Twinney is the founder of Reach Out to Horses® – the most unique and comprehensive equine training program in the world. She is known around the globe for her highly acclaimed work as an Equine Specialist, Natural Horsemanship Clinician, Animal Communicator and Karuna Reiki Master. Anna has an extensive library of instructional DVDs and offers exclusive equine experiences at ReachOutToHorses.com. 48

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IN SOCIAL MEDIA! CONGRATULATIONS CROSSFIRE RESCUE! Crossfire Rescue was our Rescue of the Month for July. This small charity and network of friends saves all breeds of equines all over Texas. Learn more at Facebook.com/CrossfireRescue

CONGRATULATIONS SAFE HAVEN HORSE RESCUE! Safe Haven Horse Rescue was our August Rescue of the Month. This organization is located in California with a mission to provide shelter, care, and rehabilitation for abused and abandoned horses. Check them out at Facebook.com/ safehavenhorserescue and see their profile on page 50.

FACEBOOK.COM/EQUINEWELLNESSMAGAZINE Receive a free BONUS issue of Equine Wellness Magazine! Keep it for yourself or give it to a friend. Just LIKE us on Facebook.com/ EquineWellnessMagazine and click on the FREE MAGAZINE tab!




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Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA180 to The Gentle Barn. Location: Santa Clarita, CA Year established: 1999 Staff/volunteers/foster homes: “We have 12 full time staff, around 1,000 volunteers, and about 15 foster homes,” says founder Ellie Laks.

Types of animals they work with: Horses, donkeys, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, llamas, turkeys, chickens, peacocks, dogs, cats and parrots.

Fundraising targets: “We are open to the public every Sunday from ten until two so people can meet the animals, hear their stories and see that we are all the same, we just look different. We also invite people to sponsor an animal through the virtual barn on our website.”

Favorite rescue story: “Andrew was used as a stud horse for 25 years. When he was no longer able to ‘perform’, he was left in a ravine to die. The animal shelter found Andrew 100 pounds underweight, malnourished, scared, and very depressed. Because he was in such bad shape, the shelter scheduled him for euthanasia. Just before they were about to put him down, a shelter volunteer called us and asked if we would save him. We went to get him and

he seemed so hopeless. We explained to Andrew that we had a place called The Gentle Barn that is a home to older animals. He didn’t have to carry us, or make money for us, and we would love and care for him. “As we were explaining this to him, he raised his head, and by the end of our conversation, he was looking us straight in the eye and seemed to be perking up. He then turned around and motioned with his head to another horse that was standing near him. We asked the shelter volunteer about this other horse and she said he was being euthanized the next day. So, of course, we took them both home. “Andrew and Patrick are now best friends and we are sure Patrick knows that Andrew saved his life. The two of them are inseparable.”



Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA024 to Safe Haven Horse Rescue. Location: Cottonwood, CA Year established: 1999 Staff/volunteers/foster homes: “We are an allvolunteer organization, and we’re always looking for more!” says volunteer Cori Madrigal.

Types of animals they work with: “Horses, but we do have a few goats, pigs, cats, dogs and birds.”

Fundraising targets: “At this moment we are fundraising for hay/feed.”

Favorite rescue story: “Linda Richards, our president and founder, had been called by a friend regarding a horse just south of her that looked like a skeleton. It was obvious the horse’s owners did not or could not take proper care of him, so Linda agreed to take on the job of caring for and loving this extremely emaciated horse. “Under the watchful eyes of Linda, the local veterinarians and our volunteers, Buddy has blossomed since arriving at Safe Haven, gaining over 200 pounds in the first two 50

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months! You can see how being loved and cared for has breathed life back into him as Buddy now runs and rolls in the arena and enjoys all the attention he gets from so many volunteers!”


Equine Wellness is committed to donating $100,000 to rescues and shelters through our Ambassador Program. Subscribe and 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.


Equine Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code EWA101 to Go and Play Stables. Location: Douro, ON Year established: 2009 Number of staff/volunteers: “We have five board members and five barn staff volunteers who help us on a daily basis,” says founder Sarah Merriam-Waldram. “We are very low on foster homes, with only two horses currently in foster care. We are always looking for new volunteers and foster homes.”

Types of animals they work with: Specializes in Standardbred horses. Fundraising targets: “We have two to three big fundraising events throughout the year. We have an open house in the planning stages as well as a poker tournament and our second annual ‘a night at the races’ gala event at Woodbine racetrack. So far this year, we have had a comedy night in February and a Fishing Tournament in July. We also sell T-shirts, and auction donated items and bracelets made from the hair of horses in our program.” Favorite rescue story: “Joey, or U R So Incredible as he was known as, looked like a warhorse when we got him. He was underweight, had a very enlarged hock, and sore feet. He was a rescue off a feedlot in Ottawa. When Joey arrived, I discovered he was actually the wrong horse – I had purchased another Standardbred, but the two got mixed up so Joey ended up at the farm instead. But he needed a home as well, so we went to work on those terrible feet and his hock, and he is now sound and plump. He has been adopted by our very dedicated volunteer and vice president, Julie Craib. He rides and drives; we put all our new drivers on the cart behind him.”


Equine Wellness


PREVENT COLIC Help stop this serious condition before it starts by implementing these management and feeding practices

By Clair Thunes, PhD The thought of colic can strike fear into the heart of even the most seasoned horse owner. Since it’s the second highest (14.6%) cause of death in horses in the United States, according to a NAHMS survey in 2005, this fear is perhaps justified. Colic comes in many forms, and while we typically think of issues relating to the digestive tract, it may not be digestive distress that is causing the symptoms – “colic” is a general term used to refer to pain in the abdomen. There is no doubt, though, that an understanding of equine digestive tract anatomy and physiology can help you make informed management decisions that will reduce the risk of colic symptoms that do result from digestive issues.

AS NATURE INTENDED Approximately 17 million years ago, the ancestors of today’s horse came out of the forests onto the plains of North America. Over the millenia that followed, horses have perfected their ability to live while eating grasses of low nutritional value. Think about modern day wild horses, for example. Their diets are still comprised of forages, and due to both the plants’ sparse nature and low nutritional value, they must eat for most of the day, sometimes travelling considerable distances in order to meet their nutritional needs. As a result, the horse’s digestive anatomy is designed to consume large quantities of poorer quality forage. Horses constantly secrete stomach acid and bile in anticipation of the almost constant supply of forage. The stomach is small, and the small intestine secretes relatively little amylase (the enzyme necessary for starch digestion) due to the low starch nature of the diet. The cecum and large colon (hindgut), which make up almost 60% of a horse’s digestive tract volume, is dedicated to the fermentation of forage, and a symbiotic relationship exists with a host of bacteria. In fact, without these digestive tract bacteria, horses would be unable to digest the complex carbohydrates that make up the bulk of their natural diet.

FEEDING FORAGE When you feed your horse forage, you are actually feeding the digestive tract bacteria that reside in his hindgut, which through a process of fermentation, break down the complex chemical bonds in the forage carbohydrates. The bacteria then utilize the released energy for their own survival. The volatile fatty acids (VFAs) released by the bacteria during this process are absorbed by the horse and converted into various sources of energy. Without the bacteria, this energy would not be available to the horse. In fact, for a horse consuming an all-forage diet, about 80% of his energy intake comes from VFAs. When evaluating the horse’s digestive anatomy, it becomes clear that these animals are designed to eat forage of relatively low nutritional value, and lots of it. When access to forage is restricted or higher amounts of processed feeds are given, less chewing is necessary, resulting in less saliva production. Saliva contains buffers such as bicarbonate, which act as natural protection from the constantly secreted stomach acid. Stomach acid is secreted by the lower portion of the stomach, where the cells also secrete protective mucin. The cells in the upper portion do not secrete mucin and are susceptible to ulceration should 52

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they come into contact with corrosive stomach acid. It is not surprising then that the majority of gastric ulcers in horses are found in the upper portion of the stomach. However, forage forms a mat that floats on top of the stomach acid, preventing the latter from splashing into the upper sections. When forage consumption is restricted or long periods pass between meals, this mat becomes depleted and ulcer risk is increased. Gastric ulceration can sometimes lead to colic symptoms.

THE DANGERS OF TOO MUCH STARCH While the majority of bacteria in the equine digestive tract exist in the hindgut, some do exist in the stomach, and they ferment starch and other easily digestible carbohydrates. Similar to the hindgut bacteria, the end products of this process are VFA gases. If rapid fermentation occurs, as can be the case when large amounts of starch are fed, gas can build up, leading to colic symptoms. Another problem with feeding large amounts of starch at one time is that it is possible to overwhelm the small intestine’s ability to digest and remove it. When this occurs, starch escapes into the cecum and colon where it is rapidly fermented, producing lactate, a very acidic VFA, and gas, which can cause colic. There are other bacteria that will use the lactate, but if lactate production exceeds removal, the environment in the hindgut can become increasingly acidic. Bacteria that ferment the complex carbohydrates found in forage need a neutral environment, and when this is not maintained they may be killed off, causing loose manure and, in severe cases, colic.

AVOID SUDDEN CHANGES A similar situation can occur when sudden feed changes are made, or horses are grazed on rich pastures high in fermentable sugars. The bacteria in the digestive tract are specific to the diet being fed, and must change as dietary substrates change. Sudden shifts can lead to bacterial disruption. All feed changes should be made gradually over a seven to ten-day period; this will help reduce the risk of colic and other digestive disturbances.

FINDING A BALANCE It should be clear by now that management practices can increase a horse’s risk of developing colic, and that frequent exercise, access to pasture, unrestricted access to forage and reduction of starch in the diet will all help reduce colic risk. The question then becomes: how do we offer unrestricted forage if it causes some horses to gain too much condition. Conversely, how do we maintain condition on the hard keeper if we can’t feed large amounts of high starch grains?

FEEDING THE EASY KEEPER For the easy keeper, the trick is to find low calorie forages so that a greater amount can be fed before the horse’s calories needs are met. Avoiding higher calorie alfalfa and grain hays, and feeding a grass hay that was harvested in a more mature state so the proportion of leaves to stems is lower, will allow you to feed larger amounts. When the amount of hay fed needs to be restricted, using one of the many slow feeders currently on the market is a great choice, as it will slow consumption and make what hay is fed last longer. Obviously, hay should

Equine Wellness


not be so mature as to be a risk for impaction colic. In general, impaction risk increases if a horse is dehydrated, so ensuring that he is consuming enough water is vital.

THE HARD KEEPER For the hard keeper, or the horse in work that cannot maintain weight on unlimited access to forage, high starch grains can be fed – but depending on the discipline the horse is used for, lower starch options may be a better choice. Any supplemental feed should be given in small meals at no more than four to five pounds at a time for an 1100-pound horse. This is especially true for higher starch feeds – the more small meals, the better. This will help ensure that the small intestine does not get overwhelmed.

A safer option than high starch grains is a high fat feed, or a feed that utilizes so-called “super fibers” such as beet pulp and soybean hulls. These super fibers require microbial fermentation in the hindgut like traditional forages, but yield levels of energy that are more similar to oats. A caution, though – more fat is not always better, because while horses do utilize it very well, it can disrupt microbial fermentation when fed in large amounts. Given that many of us live in urban areas and wish to enjoy our horses for riding and other disciplines, it is not possible to keep them on the open plains from which they evolved. However, by having an understanding of digestive tract function, and keeping their heritage in mind, it is possible to make management decisions that honor the equine digestive system and thus reduce the risk of scenarios that might lead to colic. Dr. Clair Thunes, PhD, takes the guesswork out of feeding horses by helping horse owners create personalized diet plans optimized for health and performance. As an independent equine nutritionist and owner of Summit Equine Nutrition LLC, an equine nutrition consulting company, she has clients across North America, including breeders and performance horse owners. summit-equine.com, facebook.com/ SummitEquineNutrition.


The level of sodium in the blood is one part of the thirst mechanism, so ensuring adequate salt intake is a critical management technique to reducing dehydration and impaction risk. Horses should always have access to plain salt, and additionally, one tablespoon per 500-pound body weight can be added to the ration per day to ensure maintenance sodium levels are being consumed. Fresh grass has very high water content, where hays may only be 10% water. Therefore, another way of increasing water intake and reducing impaction risk is to soak hay before feeding. This has the added benefit of reducing dust and soluble sugar.


Equine Wellness

Equine Wellness





orses are highly sensitive to their environment and surroundings. Because of this, fear is considered a normal response in the horse. Fear can be managed by teaching horses not to overreact when faced with new or unexpected stimuli, such as traveling, loud and sudden noises, new environments, clipping or various healthcare procedures including hoof trimming/shoeing or dental treatments.

A BIT ABOUT PHEROMONES Nursing mares naturally produce an appeasing pheromone, which provides reassurance to their new foals. This pheromone helps the foal feel safe and secure when encountering new situations and unknown environments. CONFIDENCE EQ® is a copy of this equine-appeasing pheromone. In horses, the presence of this pheromone is a signal that the environment is safe and secure. This is groundbreaking technology and a fantastic non-drug solution to help horses manage new or unexpected stimuli. Recommended for equines of all ages, this synthetic pheromone is used to help build confidence in horses faced with new or troubling situations, including:


Equine Wellness

• Traveling/trailering, recovery after arrival • Environmental changes: moving to a new stable, going indoors/outdoors, new owner/caretaker • Training events, introducing new exercises • Social situations: foal weaning, meeting new stable mates or pasture mates • Healthcare procedures: farrier visits, veterinary visits, dental visits • Dealing with loud noises: large crowds, thunderstorms, fireworks, gunshots, motor vehicles This product is extremely easy to use. Simply mix the contents before use by kneading the gel within the packet for 30 to 40 seconds. Tear open one end of the packet and expel approximately half the gel on your index finger. Apply the gel to the bottom edge of the horse’s nostril (not too deep, or in the mucosa). Apply the remainder of the gel in the packet to the other nostril, using the same procedure. For optimal results, this product is best when applied 20 to 30 minutes before the stressful situation. Repeat the application every two to twoand-a-half hours if necessary. For more information and to get a free sample, visit confidence-eq.ca.



Dr. Hannah Mueller, DVM is a 2004 graduate of Oregon State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. She strives to provide the best care possible for her patients and believes her unique holistic approach allows her to do so. Dr. Hannah has a solid foundation in sports medicine and lameness. This, along with her training in acupuncture, chiropractic, stretch exercises, massage techniques and other hands on healing modalities, allows her to rehabilitate horses to their fullest potential. Cedarbrookvet.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 horse appears to have injured something in her shoulder (we’ve ruled out anything lower in the leg). We’re not sure how, as there are no marks or swelling, just abnormal movement and lameness. It appears to be soft tissue. My vet is not equipped to do further diagnostics as the shoulder is such a large area. What would be your next step? The shoulder area is a difficult and expensive area to definitively diagnose, so a treatment plan is often based off a tentative diagnosis, or a diagnosis of rule-out. If you have ruled out the lower leg, then I can assume flexion tests and nerve blocks have been done up to the level of the carpus (knee). The carpus can be ruled out with a flexion test and joint block; however, blocking the joint (ie going into the joint with a needle and lidocaine, not blocking a nerve) is fairly invasive. In some cases, we will do x-rays (+/- ultrasound) to determine if a joint block is warranted. Assuming the carpus has also been ruled out, you have worked the lameness up to the forearm, elbow, shoulder and scapula region. There is a lot you can determine by palpating this region, and it sounds like your vet suspects the shoulder. As a veterinary chiropractor, I regularly and thoroughly evaluate this region and can pinpoint problem areas based on a pain response to palpation or restricted range of motion. I would need to do my own palpation to give you a treatment plan, but I can give you some general ideas here. There are techniques available for taking x-rays of elbows and shoulders, but they are difficult and understandably outside of the scope of some equine practitioners. At this point, your choice is to treat the proximal limb based on palpation and rule-out, or

go for more diagnostics. In making this decision, you need to factor in your budget and the stress of further diagnostics on your horse. If the workup so far has been relatively low stress for your horse, and further diagnostics are in the budget, then go for it. I always want to know what I’m dealing with before making a treatment plan. A bone scan (nuclear scintigraphy) is a good place to start for lameness that is difficult to localize, and x-rays can be taken based on the results. For sake of discussion, let’s assume a bone scan is not in your budget and you choose to treat the area without a definitive diagnosis (some people choose to start with this, and then if progress is not being made, go for further diagnostics). I would start with a series of chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture/ SCENAR treatments (check out my website for more information on SCENAR therapy). Often, these treatments can help pinpoint the problem area and get you closer to a diagnosis, and help determine when it is safe to go back to riding. Based on the treatment and your budget, a treatment interval will be determined. A rest program should also be initiated depending on the degree of lameness. Stall rest with controlled hand walking is ideal if your horse is quiet in the stall; if s/he isn’t, you will need to determine what type of living space will keep your horse as still as possible (walking slowly/quietly with minimal circling, trotting, or high impact maneuvers). Some horses do best in a small outdoor paddock with a run-in stall next to or with a quiet buddy, while others need herbal calmers in any situation. A hand walking program will be set up, with the frequency and duration depending on the degree of lameness and rate of progress. Your homework will likely be a series of leg stretches after the walk warm-up. Equine Wellness


In addition to bodywork, anti-inflammatories are often used in shoulder injuries. Depending on the severity, you would use an herbal product (such as Ani-Motion from Equilite) or a NSAID drug such as Bute or Equioxx. In some cases, steroids (or other medications including hyaluronic acid) are injected directly into the joint or bursa to bring down acute inflammation. However, they should be used sparingly over the long term and a definitive diagnosis should be obtained prior to this treatment. Ice packs and cold hosing can also be used to decrease inflammation. If there was swelling, I would use a topical poultice such as Dynamite Miracle Clay. Other topical treatments to consider would be Surpass (a topical NSAID) or Traumeel (a homeopathic cream for acute and chronic trauma). Any time there is an injury involving a joint, supplements are important. I would consider putting your horse on Cosequin ASU (glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM) and starting an Adequan loading dose. This gives the joint the best chance of complete recovery without the later development of arthritis as a result of the initial injury. A re-check lameness exam should be performed before your horse is released into a controlled conditioning program and then started back into regular turnout and work. Progress can also be monitored with quarterly chiropractic and acupuncture treatments. With treatment, most moderate shoulder injuries take two to three months to recover from, but it can vary greatly depending on the horse and the injury. Without treatment, shoulder injuries are more likely to become chronic, and lifelong lameness can result.


Can horses get concussions? Yes, horses can get concussions from head trauma. Knowing what commonly leads to head injuries, and preventing them from happening in the first place, is key. I have seen a number of these injuries occur when horses pull back while tied and break the halter or rope. The horse then rears up, flips over backwards, and hits their head because of the pullback momentum. These injuries can be avoided if you always use a blocker tie ring or something similar that prevents the horse from breaking a halter/rope. Trailering injuries are also common. Use the blocker tie ring in the trailer and never tie a horse even to a blocker ring until the doors/butt rope are secured. This prevents them from trying to back out of the trailer while tied, causing them to rear up and injure their head. The use of a head bumper is of utmost importance, even when trailering a “been there, done that� horse. Lunging with side reins and dealing with behavioral/training issues on the lunge line or under saddle are other common culprits for rearing/flipping-induced head injuries. Avoid the use of fixed side reins, especially in a green horse or a rearer, and work with a trainer who can help you anticipate and avoid rearing behaviors. With this said, injuries can happen even in the best of situations, and when they do, it is an emergency situation that most likely requires veterinary intervention. Symptoms of a concussion include confusion, poor coordination, dullness/ depression, bleeding from the nose or ears, circling, blindness, convulsions, or even death. Treatment is aimed at decreasing brain swelling (steroids, diuretics) and providing supportive care to allow time to heal.


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EVENTS The Mane Event October 24-26, 2014 – Chilliwack, BC This is an event you won’t want to miss! Tickets include admissions to 81 + hours of Clinics from Barrel Racing to Reining & Dressage as well as Demo’s, the Trainer’s Challenge and the Saturday Night Equine Experience. For more details on featured clinicians, exhibitors and show hours, please visit our website. For more information: (250) 578-7518 info@maneeventexpo.com www.maneeventexpo.com Alltech National Horse Show October 28 – November 2, 2014 Lexington, KY This prestigious show returns to the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park to feature a full array of Junior Hunters, Amateur-Owner Hunters, and the High Performance Hunters, Green and Regular Working Hunters and the Conformation Divisions. Each year, the top hunters from around the country are invited to compete during the National Horse Show, America’s oldest indoor horse show. For more information: (859) 233-0492 hakshows@earthlink.net www.alltech.com Healing Touch for Animals® Level 2 Course November 6-8, 2014 – Chicago, IL Fundamentals Class: Friday / 6:00pm 10:00pm. This class is a prerequisite of the Small Animal Class. Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9:00am 6:00pm. This class is a prerequisite of the Large Animal Class. Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9:00am - 6:00pm. This class is required in order to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner. Working with the horses’ large energy systems benefits students with greater energetic awareness and a well-rounded experience.

The Royal Winter Fair November 7-16, 2014 – Toronto, ON The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian competition in the world. This is Canadian and International breeders, growers and exhibitors that are declared champions and where hundreds of thousands of attendees come to learn, compete, shop and have a great time with friends and family. For more information: (416) 263-3400 info@royalfair.org www.royalfair.org AQHA World Championship Show 2014 November 7-22, 2014 - Oklahoma City, OK This event is the pinnacle event for American Quarter Horse owners and exhibitors around the world. Each horse owner must qualify for the event by earning a pre-determined number of points to compete in each of the classes representing Halter, English and Western disciplines. For more information: (806) 376-4811 www.aqha.com Equine Affair November 13-16, 2014 Springfield, MA Equine Affaire’s legendary educational program forms the cornerstone of the event. Soak up information and advice at more than 230 clinics, seminars, and demonstrations on a wide variety of equestrian sports and horse training, management, health, and business topics. Enjoy one-stop shopping at Equine Affaire’s huge trade show with more than 475 of the nation’s leading equine-related retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and organizations.

EQ700: Saddle Fitting for the Equine Health Care Professional November 13-16, 2014 – Petaluma, CA As an equine health care professional, you need to be able to look at the horse and assess whether or not the horse/rider combination is on the right track with their current gear and back up your findings to the owner or trainer for the welfare of the horse. The instructor for this course, Dr. Kerry Ridgway, DVM, a household name worldwide, is also certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. He presents this 4 day clinic with slides, examples of trees, pads, saddles, measuring devices, templates, demonstrations, and a variety of horses with saddle fitting issues. For more information: (707) 884-9963 equinologyoffice@gmail.com www.equinology.com Novi Equestrian Expo November 14-16, 2014 – Novi, MI This year’s expo promises to be bigger and better than ever! Come on out to see world class clinicians, take part in family activities, check out the animal displays and much more. To learn more about how your Non-Profit Organization can be part of the Novi Equestrian Expo and raise money to support your group, contact us! For more information: Andrea Picklo (248) 348-5600 info@NoviEquestrianExpo.com www.noviequestrianexpo.com

For more information: (740) 845-0085 mhanna@equineaffair.com www.equineaffair.com

For more information: Kay Hurley 757-377-8816 VirginiaBeach@HealingTouchforAnimals.com www.healingtouchforanimals.com

Email your event to: info@equinewellnessmagazine.com Equine Wellness




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Equine Wellness



By Susan L. Guran


rnica is a common, readily available treatment that few people realize is homeopathically prepared. It’s easy to find in ointment form for application to areas where bruising is anticipated or has occurred, or for injuries similar to those that cause bruising. It is used in this form for people, horses and other animals. But Arnica injuries are not always limited to blows to the body, nor are they necessarily only physical in nature.

THIS REMEDY HAS MANY USES Arnica is a substantially useful homeopathic remedy, with a full cycle of expression and a much broader base of application than is generally known. It can be given orally (in pellet form) for physical traumas, such as falls, blows and contusions, as well as to accelerate the healing of compound fractures and to reduce the trauma from surgical procedures. It is also useful for other types of trauma, including grief from sudden loss, rough handling or abuse.

also show signs of oversensitivity to sound or other stimuli. You will also see signs of confusion, lack of presence or other indications of weakness. The horse might seem drowsy, have delayed reactions or show sudden weakness at the joints when merely standing. Simply walking can lead to inflammation, and overexertion can cause excessive soreness. Even standing quietly may cause sudden pain in the spine. Specific muscle groups, particularly in the neck, will show sustained weakness, regardless of conditioning. If left untreated, a trauma “event” will occur repeatedly in various forms and the horse will seem to be “accident prone”. Because Arnica traumas are similar in nature, the need for this remedy is easy to spot. I would urge you to try Arnica whenever it seems fitting and to keep it on hand at all times in a 30c or 12c potency.

The summary of the cycle of Arnica, with examples, is expressed in its simplest form as the following: Injury, trauma – From falls, blows, contusions, fractures, surgery, grief, abuse

Shock or loss of self


– Apathy, slow responses, functioning on “automatic”, out of it, nerve damage

Whatever the trauma suffered, an animal that needs Arnica will show signs of chronic shock, often in the form of persistent apathy, slow responses or an overall lack of alertness. Pain can have a paralyzing effect and the whole body may show signs of oversensitivity. Most notably, the horse develops an aversion to touch or a fear of being approached. The slightest touch may cause pain. In this case, sympathy is not reassuring and the animal prefers to be left alone rather than doted upon. She may

Pain from touch


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– Pain, aching, soreness, oversensitivity

Aversion to touch and sympathy

– Fears touch or approach, wants to be alone, sensitive to sound, irritable

Weakness, confusion, vacancy

– Drowsy, joints buckling after stillness, loss of strength, numbness, asthma


– Quickly fatigued or inflamed limbs, weak muscle groups, prone to illness and injury

Susan Guran is a Homeopathic Practitioner and Therapeutic Riding Instructor living and working in Vermont. HomeopathyHorse.com

Equine Wellness