Happy New Year Everyone! I hope all of you had a joyous holiday
season with friends, family, pets and of course, your horses.
Now that the holidays are behind us we can enjoy a couple of quiet
months before the Spring season begins. Even if it is difficult
to exercise your horses during these cold weather months, go out
and give them attention.
Horses need and enjoy healthy circulation and you can help generate
blood flow through massage, acupressure, magnet blankets and stretches.
You have the ability within your hands to generate energy, circulation
and health while your horse is just standing around. Hopefully
your horse is able to go outside everyday and has plenty of air,
space and light in his or her life. You can add to these grey,
wet days by spending time with your horse even if only for a few
minutes, they appreciate it and look forward to your visits.
currently writing an article for Equine
Wellness Magazine on rider confidence. If you haven’t
seen this magazine yet be sure to check it out. It is an incredibly
comprehensive magazine for the horse, pony and the rider and
it covers so many topics of interest to us all.
had a fascinating experience recently that I wanted to share with
you. I was a presenter at the Equine Affaire Expo in West
Springfield, Massachusetts and met a fellow presenter named Lydia
Hiby. She is a professional animal communicator and I attended
one of her clinics. It was amazing to listen to her communication
with several different horses and see the amazement on the face
of the owners as she revealed so many insights into their horse's
I decided to introduce myself to her and asked her about a session
with my horse. She told me to go to her website and follow the
instructions. I sent her a check for $40, which gets me a 15 minute
phone session, plus a photo of my horse and some information including
his name, age and how long I had owned him. I called Lydia on
the following Wednesday during her session hours and after a few
busy signals was able to reach her.
Before I even had a chance to ask Lydia a question she said quickly,
"He (my horse Redge) wants you to know right away he thinks
it is so cool that you consider him a gift. And, oh, he wants
you to introduce him to people as "Sir Redge" not just plain
Redge." I was astounded and had to laugh. It sounded so much like
his personality. I told Lydia to send a message back that I think
the world of him and I would be happy to oblige on the introductions.
Then she asked me what I wanted to know. I asked her about his
fussiness about being quiet and content "on the bit." I told her
he is a million times better since I have been working with him
than he used to be but I haven't had that breakthrough yet of
knowing the he is really comfortable and happy about his mouth.
I told Lydia he has had the best of dental care every 6 months
and has been chiropracted and massaged for alignment. Lydia then
told me that Redge had had an undershot jaw as a foal and his
TMJ/jaw joint had been sensitive for awhile as he grew up. Even
though his jaw had leveled out over time, he never forgot the
sensitivity of his jaw and the funny feeling it gave him. She
said his TMJ needs to be adjusted by a chiropractor right away
and he wants a Full Cheek snaffle bit. Needless to say I was interested
in this information and couldn’t wait to try it all out.
She went on to tell me that he had always felt like he was in
first grade when everyone else was in fourth and it has taken
him a long time to catch up. Lydia noted that his body and mind
are fine now but it has taken him a long time to mature. She told
me Redge was willing to do anything I wanted and was looking forward
to our future together.
I also asked about the puffiness that occurs around his throatlatch
when he grazes for several hours. She revealed that there was
something sour or not right about his mother's milk that had caused
him to have allergic reactions which affected his lymph glands.
I told Lydia that I had spent six months de-toxing Redge and hoped
that would help him. I shared with her that he is less swollen
than he used to be but his glands still slightly swell with lots
of grazing. Lydia did not have a solution but at least gave me
the source of the issue.
I finished up the session by asking about his food, saddle, environment
all of which she said were fine. She said he is a very happy horse
now and has a big smile on his face.
The next day I called Dr. Deb Schultz a local veterinarian who
specializes in chiropractic and acupuncture. She was able to come
out the following Tuesday to give Redge an exam. I told her about
my conversation with Lydia and Deb was as curious as I as to what
she would find. Sure enough, Redge’s body was out of alignment
in many places including his TMJ. Deb worked on him and found
painful spots in his head and jaw, Atlas joint at the poll, a
couple of ribs and both hips were locked up and tight. She made
the needed adjustments then applied acupuncture needles all over
his body to increase the healing.
In the meantime, I went to the tack store and bought a full cheek
snaffle bit with a copper roller in the center along with keepers
to attach to the cheek pieces on his bridle.
I started riding Redge the following day with Deb's instructions
but he was really sore from the treatment, so I just hand walked
him for about 30 minutes. I walked him under saddle for 45 minutes
for the next 4 days until I felt like he was loose and free in
his movement. By the end of the first week I started trotting
and by the end of the second week I added in canter work. Redge
absolutely loves the new feeling that he has in his head and neck
and we have finally found the perfect bit for him!
I have tried so many bits I can't mention them all; I have a big
pile of steel in my trunk to prove it. He has been happy to go
on the bit, to stretch into the bit and to work in self-carriage
with the bit now for 4 weeks without fussing or trying to escape
from any mouth pressure. I am amazed and delighted to have my
horse be so happy in his body, mind and soul and enjoying his
He has another check up on January 11 with Deb and we will see
how he is doing but from everything he is telling me, he is doing
great. I am so appreciative to Lydia for her communication skills
and providing me with this helpful information. And I will contact
her again when and if I have future questions for her.
Whether you are a skeptic or not, I have found animal communicators
to be a valuable tool when we are just not quite sure how to pinpoint
the origin of an issue. If I had called Lydia a long time ago
I could have saved a lot of money that I spent on bits. Oh well,
live and learn.
Lydia’s website is www.lydiahiby.com
and her book is Conversations with Animals.
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I thought you would find the information below educational and
enjoyable. I received this from my vet, Dr. Nancy Loving, and
with her permission I am passing it along to you.
A few highlights from the 2006 American Association of Equine
Practitioners (AAEP) Annual Conference:
On the subject of oral joint supplements, everyone agrees that
you want to get the best value for your money. Careful scientific
studies evaluated bioavailability of oral glucosamine products,
and found that in the best case, it is only at 6%. And of that
small amount of uptake, the concentration of glucosamine in the
joints is less than 10% of the level in the blood. This means
that any glucosamine that gets absorbed does not readily diffuse
from the circulation into the synovial fluid of the joints. And,
there is concern that even if glucosamine makes it into the joint
fluid, cartilage cells cannot use it as substrate for producing
glycosaminoglycans, whereas cartilage cells may be able to form
glucosamine from normally available glucose in the joints. Not
only that, there is concern that not all glucosamine manufacturers
have scientific evidence to support their products, and in many
cases (14 of 23) the amount of product listed on the label was
not in fact present, at times containing less than 30 % of the
expected amount. These products are poorly regulated by the FDA.
The conclusion: Be wary of which glucosamine products you buy,
and do not rely solely on glucosamines to manage joint problems.
Its efficacy has not been proven while other joint therapies (intra-articular
injection, Adequan, and Legend) may yield far better results.
is becoming more obvious that overly judicious use of antibiotics,
particularly when not absolutely necessary, is spawning more resistant
strains of prevalent bacteria. This has become one of the greatest
public health issues facing human medicine, and antibiotic use
in veterinary medicine contributes to the problem. I will be working
on an article for The Horse Magazine next year discussing
the rational and ethical use of antibiotics, so stay tuned. In
the meantime, keep in mind that antibiotics should not be used
indiscriminately, and only used with careful selection of appropriate
antibiotics to address a bacterial problem.
Normally, Staphylococcus aureus resides on skin and nasal passages
in people, but it can invade and infect soft tissue, or elicit
overwhelming, life-threatening systemic infections. This bacteria
has now mutated to be resistant to the most potent antibiotics,
and represents a major cause of illness and death in human hospitals.
There is on-going concern about methicillin-resistant Staph aureus
(MRSA) bacterial infections as an occupational risk for veterinary
professionals, as well as being a concern for horse owners, particularly
on breeding farms or farms with large herds. Regionally, it appears
that horses are showing more colonization with this bacteria.
This pathogen of domestic animals can be transmitted between animals
and humans even if a horse or person shows no clinical signs.
Excellent hygiene measures (hand washing, cleanliness) should
be followed by everyone when handling horses.
viral arteritis (EVA) has become seriously important as a rapidly
emerging infectious disease in horses in the United States. A
mare bred with infected semen then sheds the virus and can spread
it to others. In non-breeding horses it causes a fever and limb
edema, but can be catastrophic to the breeding industry by its
abortion rate of about 50%. Currently, all states are formulating
control measures to restrict transmission of this disease. Stay
tuned for another article I am writing in The Horse Magazine
about EVA. At this time, only breeding mares and stallions should
be tested and immunized. I will update you as more information
becomes available about the logistics of immunizing and the rationale
for doing so.
with any of the West Nile vaccines results in 100 percent survival
of exposed horses. A new vaccine is also now available that combines
portions of the human yellow fever virus with West Nile virus
to produce a "chimera." It is reported that this vaccine provides
fairly rapid onset of immunity with a single injection, with immunity
lasting up to 12 months in 95% of horses.
The focus of this year's conference was on the equine foot, and
most of the information corroborated the trimming and shoeing
recommendations you've heard me suggest for a long time: Back
up the toes, maintain a cup to the sole, maintain sufficient sole
depth, balance each hoof, align the hoof and the pastern axis,
and provide ample heel support if shod. Very importantly, it is
now recognized that there is a period of several years in the
life of a young horse that the foot, particularly the complex
structures in the heels, has the opportunity to mature and develop
provided a horse is allowed regular turnout and exercise. Couple
these strategies with good genetics, and you're on the right track
to lasting hoof soundness!
in-depth lecture of the conference was on Colic, presented by
Dr. Nat White reviewing risk factors, the physiology of intestinal
injury, and appropriate medical and surgical treatment. Dr. White
confirmed all those prevention points I have been recommending
in regards to feeding:
feed slowly over 7 – 10 days
feeding of grains and supplements
- Feed at
least 60 % of the diet in the form of roughage
- If supplements
are necessary, use high fat and high fiber and low starch feed
when possible, avoiding grain
- Test different
diets for recurrent colic cases
free choice forage to minimize gastric ulcers
free choice water at all times
regularly for sand, and use psyllium as preventive strategy
routine parasite control measures
use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like bute
a rigid feeding schedule, keeping to routine
plenty of exercise and turn out
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Keep doing your stretches, Pilates and Yoga work
during January and February in preparation for more focused riding
in the Spring. It will pay off and your horse will greatly appreciate
I will be presenting seminars and demonstrations
at the Equine Affaire in Pomona, California January 31-February
3. I will also be a presenter at the Equine Affaire in
Columbus, Ohio in April. Go to www.equineaffaire.com
for more information.
Hope to see you at one of my presentations soon.