Archive for the ‘Healing Horses Naturally’ Category
You can lead a horse to water….
Let’s hope they have a drink! It’s easy to neglect this key element in our health when it comes to considering nutrition and “fuel”. When I feel slightly out of sorts, relief usually comes in the form of a tall glass of water (with ice, warm, cold…your choice!). This is a great piece from Canadian Horse Journal on the importance on hydrating your horse:
Hydrate for a Healthy Horse
By Jess Hallas-Kilcoyne/Canadian Horse Journal Staff
For all the time we spend deliberating about what type of hay to feed, or whether to add this supplement or that, the majority of horse owners tend not to spend a great deal of time thinking about the most important nutrient of all – water.
Water helps maintain the healthy functioning of all the organs and systems in your horse’s body. Among many other things, it is essential to aiding digestion, regulating body temperature, eliminating toxins from the body, and lubricating the joints.
The average 1000-pound horse requires a minimum of five to ten gallons (19 to 38 litres) a day to stay properly hydrated and maintain body functions. Water requirements increase with warmer weather and increased work, and are also affected by management and diet. A horse that is turned out in a dry lot and fed dried forage will consume more water than a horse that is turned out on pasture, as fresh grass has a high water content. Pregnant and lactating mares also have increased water needs.
Without adequate water intake, a horse can become dehydrated very quickly, and dehydration can rapidly lead to colic. Reduced water consumption is sometimes thought to be a concern exclusive to the colder winter months, but the increased traveling, temperature, and workload that accompany spring and summer can also wreak havoc on your horse’s hydration. The most effective way to prevent your horse from becoming dehydrated is to make sure he always has access to fresh, clean water, regardless of the season or weather.
There are two principal ways to check if your horse is dehydrated. The “pinch test” consists of pinching the skin on the neck in front of the shoulder, then releasing it. The skin should return to normal in less than two seconds. You can also check your horse’s capillary refill time by pressing your thumb firmly against his upper gum for two seconds and timing how long it takes the pink colour to return to the area after you release. A capillary refill time of longer than two seconds is a possible indication of dehydration.
If you ever suspect that your horse is dehydrated, contact your veterinarian immediately. He or she will also be able to advise you if you are concerned that your horse’s water consumption is low.
Another great resource is Madalyn Ward’s Holistic Horsekeeping. I highly recommend subscribing to her newsletter…as well as updates from Passion for Horses!
I’d like to share with you her post on using Traditional Chinese Medicine in assessing your horse’s health. If you’ve ever visited a Chinese pharmacy or herbalist, you’ll be amazed by the results that can be seen just by combining the right and different amounts of herbs and essences. Chinese medicine takes into consideration not only your outward physical symptoms but what your energies are like inside.
Read on for some great insight!
Pain Explained with Traditional Chinese Medicine – Part 1
Ever wonder why the miracle product that works on so many horses does not do a thing for your horse? Or why the wonder cure you found and shared with all your friends did not help their horses one little bit. The reason is not all pain is the same. Western Medicine tends to lump all pain symptoms together and treat them the same. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) divides types of pain into 5 types and treats each type quite differently.
According to TCM, except for acute injury, all pain is the result of an underlying weakness in the immune system. A healthy body should have an abundance of defensive Qi (Wei Qi) circulating through the meridians to protect against external pathogens such as Wind, Cold and Damp. Qi represents the life force of the body and meridians are the pathways through which this energy flows. TCM looks at pathogens and Wind, Cold, Heat, and Damp where Western Medicine looks at viruses, bacteria and parasites. Anyone who has experienced the achy joints and muscles with the flu, a sinus headache or Lymes disease understands how viruses, bacteria and parasites can cause pain.
Pain in TCM is referred to as a Bi Syndrome. Bi means obstruction in the meridians caused by the invasion of Wind, Cold and Damp. Bi
syndrome may show as pain, soreness, numbness, or swelling of the joints, bones, muscles, and connective tissues. Western Medicine would
label these conditions as rheumatism, arthritis, osteoarthritis, bursitis, fibromyalgia, sciatica, etc.
The 5 types of pain according to TCM are Wandering Bi(Wind), Painful Bi(Cold), Fixed Bi(Damp), Febrile Bi(Heat) and Bony Bi(long standing Damp).
Wandering Bi acts like wind with rapid onset of pain that moves around in the body. The soreness and pain can be in the joints or muscles and movement will be limited. Western Medicine would look at this type of pain as fibromyalgia or sciatica. This is the horse that is off but for no apparent reason. Lameness exams can be frustrating in that flexion tests and blocking will not identify the area of pain.
Painful Bi acts like cold with contraction and congealing. The pain is severe and stabbing in nature. It can be in the muscles or joints with limited movement and coldness of the tissues. Bursitis and early stage arthritis would fit the Western Medicine model. This is the horse that starts out very lame and then moves better as he warms up. Flexion tests and joint blocks may identify the area of pain but little will show up on radiographs or ultrasound.
Fixed Bi acts like damp with edema, numbness and stiffness more than pain. Wet weather will aggravate symptoms. Western Medicine would call
this type pain rheumatism. Stocking up in the legs would also be a characteristic of Fixed Bi. This horse will have sound days and lame days depending on the weather. The area of concern may be obvious due to swelling but other times no outward symptoms are seen.
Febrile Bi acts like fire with rapid onset of redness, swelling and severe pain. The pain can be in more than one area and movement will be very restricted. Pressure will increase the pain and the patient may be irritable. Joint infections fit into the category of Febrile Bi. Joint infections can occur from tiny punctures that don’t show up as a wound. If you suspect a joint infection call your vet immediately. Hoof abscesses are another example of Febrile Bi. They are less of an emergency but still require immediate attention to relieve suffering.
Bony Bi is the result of long term invasion of Wind, Cold and Damp. You will see muscle atrophy, joint deformity and joint degeneration. Osteoarthritis is the Western equivalent of Bony Bi. Bony Bi will show up on radiographs but at this stage the condition is very difficult to treat.
Types of TCM Pain:
Treatment and prevention for all Bi syndromes should begin with a strengthening of the Wei Qi. Overall health and nutrition should be examined. Nutritional products such as Citrus C/Q, Bleeder’s Blend, PrePro and APA blend will support the Lungs(Wandering Bi), Spleen(Fixed Bi) and kidneys(Painful Bi). General supportive accupressure points include, LI 11, GV 14, SP 6, ST 36 BL 11 and GB 39.
Treatment for individual Bi syndromes will be discussed next month.
For further information about accupressure points visit
Please also enjoy all of Dr. Ward’s web resources:
I received this reminder from Riva’s Remedies – a great resource for healing your horse.
Marijke van de Water (B.Sc., DHMS) is an Equine Health & Nutrition Specialist, Homeopathic Practitioner, Medical Intuitive & Healer and naturally…a teacher and author! Many thanks to her for spreading her great work and guidance.
Homeopathy to the Rescue
Homeopathy is a natural system of medicine dating back 200 years ago. While North America is slowly accepting homeopathy as an established form of medicine it is a widely accepted modality in Europe, UK, India and Latin America. Homeopathic remedies are highly diluted doses of substances to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanism to promote health.The use of homeopathic medicines – popularly known as remedies – is based on the discovery that natural substances are capable of curing the same symptoms that they can cause – “The Law of Similars”.
For example, homeopathic (or diluted) onion treats eye and nose allergies, homeopathic ipecac treats nausea and vomiting and homeopathic influenza virus treats cold and flu symptoms.
Riva’s Remedies homeopathics are formulated as easy-to-use combination remedies to address common situations.
Visit Riva’s Remedies for more information.
Sharing a story from Marijke van de Water of Riva’s Remedies…
Holly is a 6 year old Arab mare from B.C., Canada who was afflicted with severe laminitis in all four hooves in May 2012; she was unable to walk or even stand some days and spent days laying with ice packs on all four feet. By June of the same year both Holly’s progress and prognosis were poor. Thus Holly’s owner Diane Armitage contacted Marijke for help in healing Holly’s very sore hoof condition. This case was of interest to Marijke because while the majority of cases of laminitis are caused by feed imbalances, leaky gut, Equine Metabolic Syndrome, lack of movement and/or poor hoof trims, Holly’s case was more complex and her laminitis was multi-factorial.
In addition, other than a two week overdue trim, Holly’s hoof angles and hoof mechanism were acceptable. Because Holly and Diane live several
hours from the Riva’s Remedies health clinic, I conducted Holly’s health assessment by distance using The Marijke Method™, a specific method of kinesiology to identify underlying health issues and to formulate successful health programs. I found that Holly had three issues directly relating to her laminitis:…
Marijke works from her naturalhealth clinic in Armstrong, B.C. where she specializes in helping horses and people. She holds a B.Sc. in Clinical Nutrition and a Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine and Science. She blends her vast knowledge of science, health and nutrition with natural medicine, kinesiology and energy healing. She is considered one of the foremost experts in therapeutic nutrition and equine natural medicine with a special interest in digestive disorders, immunity, laminitis, metabolic syndrome, and emotional and spiritual wellness.
Marijke is also the founder, formulator and CEO of Riva’s Remedies, a herbal and homeopathic product line for horses.
In my practice, I am often asked about arthritis, in particular with older horses. In this article I will explore some of the symptoms, causes and basic treatment principles applicable to this condition. In future articles, we will explore some of the herbs, homeopathic and essential oil remedies that can be used in cases of arthritis. Your comments and stories are welcomed below.
Symptoms: Arthritis can be classified under two categories: septic and aseptic. Septic arthritis will show visible and obvious lameness and immobility, with swelling and pain. Its onset will be sudden and joints will feel hot to touch. Aseptic on the other hand can take longer to develop and the lameness will come and go initially. The joint will gradually become enlarged and flexion will be restricted.
Stiffness, pain and inflammation in the joints occur indicating degeneration within the joints. Arthritis is often called Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). It can involve all the structures forming the joint, including the bones, ligaments, capsule and cartilage of the joint. Resistance to movement and lameness is often found increase in both cold and overly damp conditions.
The inflamed joint can appear swollen, warm to touch and resistant to flexing. Erosion of the cartilage and bone can be seen, with the addition of internal bony growths or spurs indicating a more long-term arthritis.
Cause: The causes can be many, but the most common is repeated jarring on hard working surfaces and the wearing of the joints in exercise.
About the author
Zoe Dodds is an Equine Acupuncturist & holistic healer from Australia and the founder of Natural Horse Therapies. www.naturalhorsetherapies.com
We are back! After a few weeks of technical problems with the blog all is resolved and we are back to bringing you articles every week…Enjoy!
This article was featured in Riva’s Remedies March 2012 Newsletter and I wanted to share it with all of you. I’m sure we have all, at some point dealt with a moody mare! We have a very hormonal mare that greatly benefits from these herbal treatments. Hope this helps you too!
Helping Hormonal Mares
By Marijke van de Water, B.Sc., DHMS
Many mares exhibit hormonal problems through mood and behaviour changes. This is often seen during a mare’s cycling days, however many mare owners report this behaviour even when they are not cycling. Unfortunately, too many times we have simply attributed this to “mares being mares”, and have not recognized that these horses are not feeling well and that they can suffer from the same anxiety, irritability, aggression, sadness and depression as women do during PMS or an unhealthy menopause. These emotional symptoms can make it very hard for mares to tolerate being handled or ridden, or to cooperate with other horses. And, unfortunately it often gets dismissed as a training problem.
Hormones are powerful chemicals that have a profound effect on the neurotransmitters of the brain: estrogen has an excitatory effect on the brain, increasing serotonin and acetylcholine levels whereas progesterone has a more calming effect. Serotonin is responsible for creating positive moods and acetylcholine is necessary for focus and memory.
As with humans, diet can be an important factor – high-sugar feed such as oats or sweet feed will exacerbate hormonal symptoms. Horse owners also report that high quantities of alfalfa can negatively affect behaviour as well. (For humans, caffeine and dairy products are the most common culprits with PMS and menopausal symptoms.)
For a hormone balancer and calmer the Riva’s Herbal Blend for Mares is an effective remedy. It contains Blue Cohosh, Black Cohosh, Licorice Root and Chamomile to tone the ovaries and sooth the nerves. This blend will also help to regulate erratic cycles, ease uterine cramping and/or to increase fertility – although it is not advisable to feed it during pregnancy.
Vitamin B6 is essential for the synthesis of both hormones and neurotransmitters and has the added benefit of regulating blood sugar levels. It will also support pituitary and thyroid function.
Riva’s Primrose Oil also helps to synthesize hormones, and is a natural anti-inflammatory and immune stimulant. Both of these nutrients can be used with the Herbal Blend for Mares and are also safe to feed during pregnancy.
If the thyroid or pituitary glands need extra support, use Riva’s Hormone+Boost to stimulate and tone the entire glandular system, to optimize metabolism, improve immunity, relieve stress, and enhance mental and emotional well-being. It contains Ashwaghanda, Chaste Berry, Kelp, Licorice Root and Raspberry Leaf.
Once the hormones are stabilized but a mare is still uncooperative then the training program should be assessed. Some horse owners have allowed their behaviour to become a pattern, in which case competent but compassionate handling will help them re-learn a healthier attitude. And don’t put food down in front of “cranky” mares until their ears come forward – this might take time at first but they will learn to “smile” to get fed. In fact, don’t let them eat at any time during handling or riding as many horses will consider this as dominance. With good food, supplements and common-sense handling most mares will become happy and healthy partners.
Some moody mares are simply trying to express that they want to have a baby, after which their hormones “settle down”. There are no guarantees though…and if you choose to breed make sure that you can provide the foal with a permanent home for life; we already have too many unwanted horses that end up in situations of neglect and/or abuse.
Click here to see this article in its entirety on Riva’s Rememdies Website: http://www.rivasremedies.com/hormonal_mares.php
Marijke van de Water, B.Sc., DHMS
Equine Health & Nutrition Specialist
Medical Intuitive & Healer
Author of two books:
Healing Horses: Their Way!
Healing People: The Marijke Method
This past weekend’s workshop with world reknown animal Healer & Communicator, Magrit Coates, was a fantastic success. We spent 2 full days learning from Margrit’s vast experience and wisdom. Our August newsletter will feature more information on how the weekend went, so today I want to focus and give a background on what exactly “healing” is…
*All information below is from Margrit Coates website www.thehorsehealer.com. Please visit her site from more information.
What sort of horses need healing?
All horses can benefit from hands on healing and which you can give yourself. Any horse which has been traumatised in the past (for example through injury , accident, illness, bad handling, abuse, neglect etc) no matter how long ago, can benefit, as healing aims to restore balance top the energy field and discharge negative energy.
Disturbed energy can lead to disease and disorder and all physical illness will have an emotional element to it. Pain and stress are very upsetting for a horse and lead to, so-called, behavioural problems.
Healing and communication is not horse whispering – it is more powerful
Hands on healing, and communicating with horses, is not horse whispering because it works through unseen energies. Healing is a communication energy that you can connect with, which works deeply with your equine using soul language to rebalance and harmonise the energy field .
You can use healing energy for Read the rest of this entry »
A Herbalists Perspective: The Care and Management of the Laminitic and Insulin resistant Horse or Pony
By Catherine McDowell
Spring is with us, and so is the dreaded laminitis! Over the last 2 weeks Herbal Treatments staff have been inundated with requests for information and treatment of the laminitic horse or pony.
Step 1: Day 1
Remove the cause of the laminitis
Green grass (especially from fresh small fast growing grasses) is critical. Do not re-introduce the horse or pony to pasture until you have full knowledge of the degree of the condition. Do not feed Lucerne hay.
Feed 3 hour soaked dry grass hay or oaten hay, Speedi-beet and appropriate herbs.
Weight must be reduced and appropriate feeds given to restore metabolic harmony. A natural mineral supplement with a magnesium and chromium supplement is advised here. We at herbal treatments prefer Khonkes Mag E and Life Springs Colloidal Minerals or Seaweed (kelp). Do not fast (starve) your pony or horse for longer than 12 hours. Read the rest of this entry »
by Marijke van de Water, B.Sc., DHMS
Spring Grass and Probiotics
Are you concerned with your animal companion’s state of health? Does s/he just not have that glow of good health?
Are you tired of having to treat the same conditions over and over again only to have them return as soon as the medicine runs out?
Worse yet, are you tired of seeing your companion get sicker and sicker as you give more and more medicine?
Maybe what you need is not more diagnostic tests and medicine but a different medical approach and philosophy.
A MORE HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HEALTH MAY BE YOUR ANSWER
In the holistic approach to health and wellness, the patient is at the center of the treatment plan. A truly holistic approach treats the patient with the intent of increasing the level of vitality and well-being, rather than treating to simply subdue the symptoms of an artificial diagnosis.
The result of this approach is a patient who is healthier, more resilient, and less susceptible to the common maladies of life.
VETERINARY HOMEOPATHY – THE APEX OF HOLISTIC MEDICINE
No other approach to medicine better fulfills the philosophy of holistic medicine than does Homeopathy.
Homeopathy is founded on the premise that symptoms seen in a patient are the result of an imbalance or disharmony in the Life Force.
Rather than divide the symptoms into separate diagnoses and prescribe a different medicine for each diagnosis, the Homeopath seeks to find the common cause of all the symptoms and to find the single medicine which will bring the entire patient to health and wholeness.
With this premise, there is no condition in any patient which is not treatable with Homeopathy. The Homeopath is not dependent on finding a diagnosis before treatment can begin but instead uses the entire complex of symptoms produced by the patient as a guide to the single medicine which will treat the entire patient.
The Homeopathic approach catalyzes health and wholeness in the patient. The end result is a patient who is not compromised by chronic, recurrent disease.
THE HOMEOPATHIC PROCESS
To treat a patient Homeopathically, the Homeopath must gather as much information about the patient as is possible. This will require an in-depth examination of the patient and interview with the care-giver.
Sometimes in complex cases, diagnostic tests may be run or the services of other individuals such as body workers or animal communicators may be used to gather more information.
Once all the details about the patient have been gathered, the Homeopath, following the specific techniques of Homeopathy, searches for the single medicine which will address all the symptoms seen in the patient. By treating the patient with a single medicine, the Homeopath can avoid the complications caused by multiple concurrent medications so common in conventional medicine today.
When this single medicine based on the complete array of symptoms of the patient is found, it is given in the least dose at the greatest interval necessary to catalyze healing changes in the patient.
After the medicine is selected and given, the care-giver observes the patient for changes in the symptom pattern and reports these changes to the Homeopath. In this way, and only in this way, can the Homeopath be directed to the appropriate therapeutic measures in the future.