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Elvis the Cart Pony Makes Amazing Changes

Elvis After

Editor’s Note: This article has been sourced via Riva’s Remedies.

I have a 27 year old pony named Elvis. But in the spring of 2015 my trainer and I decided to retire him as he had gone from being bomb proof on the road pulling a cart three times a week to nine rides in a row that were beyond scary from his constant spooking. If we would have kept going he would have hurt us both. Aside from his increasing bad nerves Elvis was obese no matter what we did or how little we fed him, he had a crested neck, constant gas, was very lethargic, his eyesight was bad and he had bloody white lines in his hooves.

Marijke came out to the farm in late spring and after spending a couple of hours with him she explained that he was insulin resistant and had erratic sugar levels. She assured me that he would be okay and also that his eye sight would likely come back. She formulated a complete program including soaking the hay, feeding all of it in the Nibble Net slow feeders and giving him specific supplements: Pro-Colon probiotics, Blood Sugar Formula (homeopathic), Vitamin B12, Hormone Boost and Happy Horse.

There was immediate improvement in him although he gorged himself on the hay bags at first and I was not allowed to let him run out of hay. I ended up having to put two large hay bags out for him and filling them three times per day. I never thought he would slow down but Marijke assured me again that he would eventually slow down his consumption of hay. It took about two months but he finally slowed down and now he eats normally.

 

Within two weeks after starting the program he was back hooked up to his cart and the little old man and I were back out. Only one time I did not soak his hay and the next day he was so obviously spooky – like he had been in past – that he backed me into traffic. So I knew it was so very important with him for me to follow the program to a tee to keep his blood sugar levels stable.

Now he has lost all his weight, there is no more gas, he has more energy, there is no more blood in the white line, and most importantly he is really happy. My trainer and I were amazed at the changes in him and I am so so grateful to Marijke and to her assistant Darla who is always such a big help when ordering. My only regret is not listening to Darla and contacting you sooner so I would know exactly what was wrong and what my horses needed. I have told everyone about you and Riva’s Remedies and the people that come here see the difference. I mean the changes in all my horses are truly amazing. I have done a lot of holistic stuff over the years but this is amazing. I want all my animals doing it and I have even started my parrots on the Pro-Colon probiotic!

Thank you again for changing one little old pony’s life!

Denise Aiello

 

The Skinny on Underweight Horses

starving horse

Editors Note: This article was sourced from Riva’s Remedies.

Helping Horses Gain Weight

Horses acquire over 75% of their energy used for weight gain or for energy from fibre; not from protein, sugars or fats.

Fibre

  • Ensure that the hay has enough digestible fibre: ADF (acid detergent fibre), NDF (neutral detergent fibre) and lignins refer to the cell wall portions of the grass which are not as digestible. Hay analyses for ADF should be less than 31% and the NDF less than 40%; the higher the values the more hay your horse has to consume to meet her energy requirements.
  • Other beneficial sources of fibre include soaked beet pulp, cooked oats and wheat bran. Soak beet pulp in water (1 part beet pulp to 2-3 parts water) for several hours or overnight. Start with 2 cups daily. Purchase whole oats and cook just like you cook porridge. Let cool. Feed one to two cups daily. Beet pulp and cooked oats can be fed separately or together. Wheat bran – add ½ cup to the above mixture.
  • Fibre is digested in the hindgut and relies on a healthy population of probiotics – i.e. friendly bacteria – to ferment it. Probiotics must often be supplemented to replenish adequate levels – always use probiotics which are refrigerated. Fermentation converts fibre from all feed sources to volatile fatty acids which are then used for energy.

Fibre Alternatives

  • Adding alfalfa to the diet program is only useful if the horse is deficient in protein as may be indicated by a dropped top-line and/or a hay belly. Alfalfa supplements should be kept to a minimum – it is a supplement, not a staple.
  • Do not feed grains such as uncooked oats, barley or corn to add more calories. These are high-glycemic foods which eventually cause leaky gut and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) which includes insulin resistance, EPSM, laminitis, and Cushing’s disease.
  • Never feed concentrated fats or oils to add calories for weight gain. Vegetable oils, soybean oil, corn oil and safflower oil are unstable polyunsaturated oils which are a major cause of inflammation, liver congestion and free radical damage. And most of them are sourced from GMO crops. And remember, your horses do not have a gallbladder nor are they anatomically designed to ingest concentrated fats or oils.
  • You may use ¼ cup daily of fresh crushed flax or chia seeds which are stored in a cool place. Seeds provide fibre and essential fatty acids – feed temporarily as needed but to avoid excess fat intake do not feed long-term.
  • Many commercial feeds contain unhealthy ingredients however extruded feeds contain grains that have been processed with heat and pressure for high digestibility. Extruded feeds therefore, can be very beneficial for some horses (including senior horses) that are underweight, mal-nourished and/or have digestive/absorption problems. Use extruded feeds temporarily as long as necessary then discontinue.

Feeding Practices

  • Always, always use slow feeders and never let your horses run out of food. Slow feeders provide a natural feeding environment whereby they can eat small amounts frequently without running out of food which is very stressful for them. Slow feeders help to regulate weight, control insulin levels and hunger, and also prevent boredom, stress, and digestive ailments.
  • Slow feeders for underweight horses are intended to provide forage that is always available, not to slow them down as is the case with overweight horses. Therefore, underweight horses need to have “free” hay as well.
  • Don’t frustrate your horses by hanging slow feeders which are too high, unsecured and/or swinging in the air or around a tree.
  • Senior horses and horses without teeth will require soaked hay and/or soaked hay cubes but slow feeders are a healthy option for them as well.
  • Don’t accept herd dynamics as an excuse for why horses on the bottom of the hierarchy aren’t getting enough food. It is the horse owner’s responsibility to ensure that every horse has convenient access to forage 24/7.
  • Be aware of the underweight horse on grass. This horse may have Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and is a skinny diabetic, rather than an overweight insulin resistant one.

Exercise

  • Horse owners are often reluctant to exercise under-weight horses feeling that they are too fragile. Exercise benefits all horses no matter the age, breed, health condition and/or body score. Exercise improves appetite, digestion, nutrient absorption, immunity and lowers stress levels. Adjust the exercise program to fit the health of the horse.
  • Provide several different feeding stations by hanging slow feeders everywhere. This will encourage them to walk all day.
  • Never keep horses in a stall or small paddock on a long-term basis. This is an unnatural, disease-causing, highly stressful existence for ALL horses; horses need freedom to move, friends and forage.

Stress

  • Manage your horse’s stress levels. Stress alters a variety of metabolic hormones leading to increased weight loss.
  • Some horses come out of winter a little on the lean side. This is not a concern and is in alignment with the metabolic rhythm of the wild horse bands.
  • Be mindful of stomach symptoms such as heartburn, reflux and/or ulcers which will compromise digestion causing weight loss. And don’t use ulcer medications long-term – these depress hydrochloric acid (HCL) levels which is how horses digest their proteins. In addition, it can take a very long time for the HCL production to recover after the drugs have been discontinued.

Best Supplements & Remedies for Weight Gain

  • Pro-Colon – ¼ tsp daily for 3-4 weeks; twice per year
    • Probiotics to improve fibre digestion, nutrient absorption and immunity. Helps regulate weight. Prevents leaky gut.
  • Vitamin B12 – 1-2 tsp (= 6,000 – 12,000 mcg)
    • Stimulates appetite, supports digestion and detoxification and improves energy. Important nutrient for senior horses.
  • Pro-Dygest – 2 Tbsp daily (bentonite clay, Irish moss, papaya leaf, slippery elm)
    • Detoxifies and cleanses the intestinal tract encouraging optimum digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • Performance+Plus – ¼ cup daily (chia seeds, ginseng, spirulina, oatstraw)
    • Herbal blend to provide nutrition, proteins, minerals and fibre. Aids physical and nervous fatigue. Supports stamina, vitality and helps build muscle. Stimulates hoof growth.
  • Red wine vinegar – 1 Tbsp – twice daily for one to two months at a time.
    • Aids protein digestion, improves mineral absorption and helps regulate weight. Can relieve sore joints and arthritis.
  • Slow Feeders – See link for more information.

Hoof Nutrition for Healthy Hooves

nutrition for healthy hoovces

Editor’s Note: This article has been sourced from Riva’s Remedies and has been originally written by Equine Health & Nutrition Specialist, Marijke van de Water

Horse hooves require a tremendous amount of nutrition including protein, sugars, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients are delivered by a generous blood supply through hundreds of blood vessels to stimulate growth and repair. The hoof wall is composed of 95% keratin, a tough insoluble and colourless protein that is rich in sulphur-containing methionine (an amino acid). The formation of keratin also requires adequate amounts of zinc and biotin. It is for this reason that many traditional hoof supplements contain these specific nutrients to support and strengthen the hoof wall. If these nutrients are truly deficient then these supplements will be helpful; however if there is no deficiency present benefits will be negligible. At this point it is useful to seek out other nutrients that can make a difference to hoof strength and structure – minerals such as sulphur, selenium, and silica are significant in overall hoof health. Silica promotes bone health, strengthens collagen and hardens the hoof wall, while selenium and sulphur contribute to collagen production and strengthen the cross link bonds in the keratin.

Sulphur is a critical nutrient for strengthening the amino acids (protein units) that serve as major building blocks in healthy collagen to form a strong hoof wall. Collagen fibres are naturally occurring proteins found exclusively in animals and they are the main proteins in all connective tissues. Collagen fibre makes up 25% to 35% of the whole body protein – its main function is to support and give structure to all the tissues around the cells. Since it has excellent tensile strength, collagen is the main component of cartilages, tendons, ligaments, skin and hoof wall. The fibres in hoof wall are very compact and dense. The strength of these fibres is increased by their unique structure – they twist, intersect and cross with each other. Sulphur molecules create very strong cross-links that hold the fibres together.

Obvious signs of sulphur deficiency include poor hoof growth, dry and cracking hooves, poor hair coat, skin conditions and allergies. Sulphur can be supplemented using Riva’s Flower Power which is pure ground sulphur fed at one tablespoon daily which equals 14 g of sulphur. This is also an excellent supplement for “scratches”.

Riva’s Circu+Plus contains pine bark extract which not only has natural levels of both sulphur and silica for strengthening and repairing hoof tissue but is also an anti-oxidant and natural anti-inflammatory that improves hoof circulation. Circu+Plus also contains Magnesium to relax any hoof tension, reduce pain and improve metabolism. Circu+Plus is an excellent supplement for acute and/or chronic laminitis. Feed one to two tablespoons daily: one tablespoon contains 200 mg of pine bark extract and 1,000 mg of magnesium citrate.

Sulphur is also very beneficial in homeopathic form as it helps to improve the metabolism of existing sulphur by increasing its absorption and utilization at the cellular level. Give one dose of Sulphur, 200C (5 pellets) – twice daily for 4 days.

A selenium deficiency in the hoof can appear as horizontal cracks near the top of the hoof below the coronet band, a yellowing frog and/or lameness due to either weak hoof structure or strained ligaments and tendons. Systemic symptoms of deficiency can include poor hair coat, fatigue, depression, poor immunity, low appetite, and muscle weakness. Selenium toxicity, on the other hand, is often characterized by similar symptoms as a deficiency – poor hair condition or loss of hair around the mane and tail, poor immunity, stiffness and lameness. In cases of chronic selenium toxicity, the hooves are almost always affected with deformities, overgrowth, horizontal ridging, cracking, and in advanced cases it will cause the hoof wall to separate from the foot resulting in a loss of the entire wall.

Selenium can be supplemented in either an inorganic form (known as sodium selenite, which is actually a by-product of copper mining) or in an organic form. Sodium selenite is the most common supplement available but is also the toxic form of selenium which is why it cannot be given in extreme doses. Toxic dosages can also be ingested by grazing in selenium toxic areas. However, there are many more horses with selenium deficiencies than horses with selenium excess since the majority of grazing areas in North America are low in selenium. Organic selenium is commercially produced by using yeast to incorporate inorganic selenium into amino acids. Organic selenium has no known toxicity and is absorbed and utilized much more effectively than the inorganic form. Allorganic minerals, including selenium, can be supplemented at a much lower dosage than inorganic minerals because they are metabolized much more effectively. Organic selenium can be effectively and safely dosed and most horses do not need more than 1,000 to 2,000 mcg daily. It is very beneficial for hoof health, liver detoxification, bone and muscle strength and a healthy immune system. It is never necessary to supplement any nutrient by injection – it is invasive and horses have a very efficient ability to absorb minerals through the intestines.

Silica is an under-valued and under-utilized mineral for hoof health. Silica is not only critical for the early stages of bone formation but also plays a major role in the formation of the collagen matrix of bone and cartilage. And it prevents these tissues from becoming brittle and rigid – a significant factor in the health of coffin and navicular bones. The formation of glycosaminoglycan, the main substance of the bone matrix, also relies on silica. Normally horses obtain small amounts of silica from grass and hay as all plants use silica to provide rigidity and structure to their leaves and stems. However, it is apparent that many horses do not receive adequate amounts to prevent hoof breakdown and/or bone problems. Of course, this is the case with so many nutrients since the lifestyle of most domesticated horses has not only limited the nutrients available to them, but has radically changed their nutritional requirements.

Deficiency symptoms of silica include weak and brittle hooves, sand cracks, abscesses, lameness, inflammation of tendons, and bone weakness with loss of density.

Some of the best plant sources for silica and sulphur supplementation is horsetail and oatstraw. Horsetail has a number of other benefits: strengthens the respiratory system, improves skin and hair coat, aids urinary function and increases calcium absorption. Horsetail is not toxic to horses as some sources suggest – most ‘weeds’ are beneficial and only toxic when horses don’t have enough to eat and have to resort to weeds as a food staple. Dried horsetail can be fed at one to two tablespoons daily. Oatstraw is an ingredient in the Riva’s Happy Foot as well as the Happy Horse and Happy Horse Senior. The Happy Horse herbal blends are a plant based source of over sixty-five trace minerals including selenium, vitamins and fibre and address the nutritional requirements for a variety of different health conditions.

Poor hoof circulation is always a factor in unhealthy hooves since improper hoof mechanism constricts blood supply and therefore the delivery of oxygen and nutrients. The most common causes of poor hoof circulation are lack of regular exercise, poor trimming practices and inappropriate diets – grain, sugar, excess grass and/or excess alfalfa. Riva’s Remedies Happy Foot provides herbal minerals (including silica, sulphur and selenium), improved circulation with cayenne pepper and natural pain relief.

Horse hooves are very much a reflection of the whole and the treatment of the hoof should always consider the whole health of the horse. Conversely, treating the whole health of the horse will always benefit the hoof.

 

Horses Don’t Need to Chew Fences

equine-horse-supplements-wood-chewing-e1349445245703

Editor’s Note: This article has been sourced from a content shared by Riva’s Remedies via their newsletter.

 

Chewing fences is not the same as eating wood or cribbing. Chewing fences is a way that horses try to communicate with their human caretakers. What might a fence chewer be trying to communicate? Here are the most common: boredom, loneliness, lack of companionship or a meaningful relationship, dissatisfaction with diet, infrequent feedings, dental problems or teething, lack of exercise, anxiety, and/or symptoms of pain or discomfort. I have owned many horses over many years and I have never had one tooth mark on any one of my fence rails no matter how small or large the area. Learn to listen to your horses!

 

Treating Stringhalt with Nutrition

Editor’s Note: This article has been sourced from a content shared by Riva’s Remedies via their newsletter.

Stringhalt is a condition of the hind leg where horses, while walking, turning or backing up, pull their leg up very high to the belly and can’t seem to release it in time to take the next step. Upon observation it looks like the digital extensor muscles are contracting for too long or that the digital flexor muscles are not relaxing. Veterinary science has no explanation but theorize that neurological problems, injuries, toxicity and/or muscle diseases could be the cause. Therefore, standard treatments include the use of drugs with sedative effects such as muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants, and other drugs that act on the central nervous system. Some practitioners even try surgery by doing a resection of the tendon running along the hock! Both of these extreme treatments – the drug therapy and the surgery – have no evidence of success.

I have long maintained that this is a nutritional problem and have had many success cases just by supplementing calcium with the Riva’s Bone-Up. Calcium is a critical macro-nutrient required for the transmission of information between nerve fibres and the neuromuscular cells. Without adequate calcium muscles cannot efficiently contract nor relax. For Yahtzee we had to add extra vitamin B12 and potassium as well, both of which are also important for healthy muscle function.

Thank you to Stacey Peters for sending in these videos of her horse Yahtzee with a severe case of stringhalt. After a course of Bone-Up, Potassium, Vitamin B12 and Joint-Clear he slowly and gradually improved – see his before and after videos. Good job Stacey!

 

The Do’s & Dont’s of Laminitis

Editor’s Note: This article has been sourced from Riva’s Remedies and has been originally written by Equine Health & Nutrition Specialist, Marijke van de Water

The Don’ts

Don’t put a laminitic horse on pasture – fresh grass is very high in sugar, especially in the spring, summer and the hottest part of the day.

Don’t feed oats, barley, corn, COB, grains or any other commercial grain feeds including extruded feeds – these (as well as grass) are all high in sugar and non-structural carbohydrates which increase blood sugar, insulin levels and cecal acids and toxins – all major causes of lamina inflammation.

Don’t feed high fat feeds or added oils. While current popular opinion promotes feeding horses poor quality fats for “cool” energy and for lowering the glycemic index of forage and grain, fats and oils congest the liver and lymph system, slow down digestive transit time, impede nutrient absorption, contribute to leaky gut, have no nutritional value and increase cortisol levels which elevates blood sugar.

Don’t feed alfalfa. While the high protein levels in alfalfa will lower the glycemic index and stabilize blood sugar in SOME horses, excess alfalfa will exacerbate laminitic symptoms in most horses by contributing to a leaky gut and/or by increasing the deposition of acids into the hoof joints.

Don’t soak your hay for longer than two to three weeks – any longer than that could increase hunger and stress levels as the sugar and/or protein levels may become deficient. Any hay that needs to be soaked long-term to maintain weight or soundness is not the right hay.

Don’t starve the overweight laminitic/metabolic horse – this creates stress causing unbalanced insulin levels, increased cortisol production, poor immunity and an increase in hoof inflammation. Feed small amounts of forage frequently by using slow feeders.

Don’t confine a laminitic horse no matter how sore they are – horses need movement and exercise to improve circulation and deliver nutrients to toxic and damaged hoof tissues. Let the sore horse decide how much movement he/she needs. Metabolic horses with laminitis need exercise to regulate blood sugar levels and to reverse their condition.

Don’t use glucosamine long-term, if at all – glucosamine is a type of sugar that strains the liver and depresses insulin production in sugar sensitive, overweight and/or metabolic horses.

Don’t accept hoof pathologies as normal (no matter what breed): flaring walls, bell-shaped hooves, cracking, splitting, soft soles, flat soles, long toes, high heels, contracted heels and/or under-run heels are all abnormal and can be fixed with a professional barefoot trim, exercise and a good diet.

Don’t always accept the label of “navicular” – this is an over-used diagnosis to explain unexplained symptoms. Many cases of so-called navicular are actually sub-clinical laminitis.

Don’t listen to well-meaning people who tell you that your horse won’t recover – they are misinformed.

The Do’s

Do feed horses a high fibre diet (e.g. hay, beet pulp, soybean hulls, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, wheat bran, wheat germ) – fibre detoxifies the liver and hindgut, regulates appetite, lowers the glycemic index of all feeds and encourages weight loss.

Do use slow feeders to lower stress levels, ease digestion and provide forage 24/7.Slow Feeder

Do treat horses for a leaky gut if present – hindgut bacteria, acids and toxins are a major cause of laminitis. Use Pro-Colon probiotics, Pro-Dygest, Para+Plus and/or Vitamin B12.

Do treat horses for parasites – parasitic toxins exacerbate hoof inflammation and/or laminitis.

Do ensure a proper barefoot trim with good hoof mechanism. Note: a pasture trim is not a barefoot trim. A pasture trim is done to nail a shoe on, a barefoot trim is done to maximize proper hoof growth and performance. Educate yourself on different trimming methods.

Do also educate yourself on sub-clinical laminitis – this is a type of laminitis that shows no clinical signs of separation, digital pulse or hoof tenderness. It is a common cause of hoof soreness and is absolutely under-diagnosed!

Do know that the most common hoof nutrient deficiencies are selenium, silica and sulphur – all minerals which strengthen hoof wall, lamina and joint capsules.

Do also know that rotated hooves will correct themselves if the horse is fed an appropriate diet with the right supplements and is trimmed with a professional barefoot trim. Marijke has guided hundreds of laminitic horses in varying stages to 100% soundness – many of these horses were considered untreatable.

Do use boots and/or casts to relieve pain and encourage movement in the acute stages.

Do practice prevention – good food, good trims, good exercise!

Do read Healing Horses Their Way for an extensive resource of information on laminitis…and much more.

Happy Hooves, Happy Horses!

10 Good Reasons to Use Homeopathy

Referenced from Riva’s Remedies. Originally posted on the Canadian Society of Homeopaths at www.csoh.ca

1. Natural Action

Homeopathy works by stimulating the body’s own natural defence mechanism to promote health and to resist infection and susceptibility to disease.  Although gentle, the results can be powerful and long lasting.

2. Health & Well-Being

Homeopathy improves health generally, rather than merely alleviating localized symptoms. It treats the whole individual, acting on the mental and emotional levels as well as the physical level, providing a balance in overall health and an increased sense of well-being and quality of life.

 3. Effective Medicine

When used correctly, homeopathy can be an extremely effective system of medicine, providing long-lasting relief from many acute and chronic conditions and illnesses.

 4. No Harmful Side Effects

Homeopathic treatment offers a gentle and non-invasive approach to health, producing no toxic side effects, no dependency or addiction, and no withdrawal.

 5. Cost Effective

Homeopathic medicines are surprisingly inexpensive to purchase, especially when compared to over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

6. Fast-Acting First-Aid Relief

Homeopathy can be safely used at home or on the road to provide rapid relief for minor problems such as bruises, simple burns, sprains, insect bites, gastric upsets, etc. However more serious or long-lasting complaints should be treated by a qualified homeopath.

7. Not Tested on Animals

Homeopathic medicines are tested only on healthy humans in order to determine the range of action of each remedy.

8. Complimentary Medicine

Homeopathic medicines can be used independently or along with conventional drugs and other therapies (with the full knowledge of your other healthcare providers). It can often alleviate unpleasant side effects of conventional treatments (e.g., chemotherapy).

9. Environmentally Friendly

Homeopathy has no adverse impact on the environment. There is not waste of energy or natural resources in the manufacturing process and no pollution of the water supply, oceans, or dump sites when used. In fact, homeopathy is the ultimate Green Medicine!

10. Medicine of the Future

Homeopathy is the second most widely-used system of medicine in the world. It is available in most countries and is gaining in popularity as an alternative to conventional medicine.

 

Five Ways to Impress Your Horse…Emotionally

Reference: This article originally appeared in the Riva’s Remedies newsletter.

1. Be emotionally fit

Don’t allow your horse to push your buttons, raise your blood pressure; make you yell or cause you to lose your temper. Horses are fully aware of your emotional state at all times and some of them have complete mastery over your reactions. They’re in control; you’re out of control. Every time you become unglued they win and you lose. It’s a life lesson for everything you do – let them teach you well.

2. Communicate with your horse

If your horse is showing signs of impatience, un-cooperation and irritability seek out the underlying cause be it physical, emotional and/or spiritual. Too many times it’s blamed on attitude but attitude always has a reason. Horses, like all sentient beings need to be listened to – on all levels!

3. Know what fun is

All horses have a big play drive which motivates much of their behavior. If you don’t have a sense of humour you will not only misinterpret their actions but you will miss out on a lot of fun and adventure. Smile at everything they do whether it is desired behavior or not. Then play with them.

4. Just be

Horses spend the majority of their time “hanging out” with the herd. Since they see you as a herd member (albeit with two legs, bare skin and weird body coverings) they rightfully expect you to you to be a “being”, not a “doing”. Spend quality time with them with no demands, no commands and no tasks.  “To be” is a state of mind that horses clearly understand.

5. Raise your consciousness

Know that horses are divine beings but are also driven by biological instincts and urges which can cause them to be unkind and inconsiderate to their herd members at times, including you. The Animal Kingdom is not perfect. Surprise them by setting your intention to change their behaviour from negative to positive and then show them ways to bring out their goodness by raising their vibration…and yours.

 

To Blanket or Not to Blanket

Reference: The original article was published by Carole Herder in Cavallo Horse & Rider.

To blanket or not to blanket – that is the question. That time of year is coming around again, the season is changing, the days are getting cooler and the nights are getting colder. All I see is horsey people running in and out to the paddocks and barns, taking blankets off, putting blankets on, holding different blankets up and trying to decide which weight to use. All of my friends are on their smart phones constantly checking out the weather to see if blankets are needed that night. Bordering on crazy!

The blanket question is almost as heated as the barefoot hoof question (but not quite!). Personally, I think there are pros and cons for each argument. Yes, we want to keep our horses more naturally and they have evolved to survive all kinds of weather, without human interference. And yes, there are many wild and feral horses across the globe who manage perfectly well without our rugs. But what if your horses aren’t kept naturally, what if you need them clipped or clean or dry, what if they are old and sick?

Horses are naturally equipped to deal with all kinds of weather. They have amazing inbuilt thermo-regulation devices! Thick winter hair will replace thin summer hair in order to help with insulation and act as a windbreaker. These layers will stand up when it is cold and lay down when it is warm. Raindrops and snowflakes literally fall off the downward tilted hairs. They have lightly muscled lower legs which consequently require less circulation and heat. Their large digestive tracts process a mostly fibrous diet when generates large amounts of heat. Long nasal passages warm the air before it reaches the lungs. Their relatively thick, blocky bodies retain heat for longer. They use their own rumps for wind blocks! Their blunt equine muzzles contain so much blood that the cold finds it hard to get in. If they choose to stand still rather than run around, they will shiver to keep warm – this is genuinely a highly effective heating device.

Consider the above pros and cons before donning your horse with a blanket this winter.

 

Easing grief with the Bach Flowers

bach flower remediesReference: Article sourced from the Bach Flower Email Bulletin by Inner Harmony Healing.

Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed.

Everyone deals with grief in different ways, and it also depends on if the grief has come on because of a sudden death in the family.

The Bach Flowers can offer a gentle way to help our emotions in times of grief, and meet individual needs. Here are some remedies that may help…

Suffering from shock and/or trauma? 

Star of Bethlehem assists with the distress and unhappiness following a shock (which can be timeless).  It can provide comfort and consolation.

Feeling guilty about something you thought you should have done or not done?

Pine is for guilt and self-blame and can relieve us from guilty feelings.

Just want to feel miserable and shut yourself off from the outside world?

Water Violet is for when you just have to withdraw and seek solace in isolation. It can help bring on the desire to interact with others.

At at end of your endurance with grief and feel as there is no hope in feeling happy again? 

Sweet Chestnut is for when you have reached the end of your endurance, and can liberate us with optimism and a peace of mind.

Worried about how the loss can impact other family members of pets? 

Red Chestnut is for those who are over-concerned for the feelings of loved ones and provides calm and rational concern.

Feeling that all the joy and happiness has been sucked out of your world? 

Wild Roseis for feelings of apathy, resignation and disinterest in life. It can bring about a lively and enthusiastic interest in life again.