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10/27/13

  07:40:00 pm, by NHM   , 1362 words  
Categories: Uncategorized

Circles in Healing with Glen Dupree, DVM

Volume 15, Issue 3-Holistic Hall of Fame

TITLE: Circles in Healing with Glen Dupree, DVM
By Dutch Henry

"I'm committed to teaching the Homeopathic way of living, healing and empowering our animals, and ourselves," Dr. Glen Dupree said. The mission statement for his practice, "For the Animals", is "We are dedicated to the art and science of classical homeopathy and its application in veterinary medicine."

As a boy growing up on a small family farm in Louisiana, Dr. Dupree learned early that harmony is necessary for healthy living - for animals and humans. It would take years for him to fully understand and appreciate that all things are connected, that a truly holistic approach to life was better for the animals - and the world. A connection with animals in his early years made his choice to enroll in veterinary college an easy one; his grandmother once reminded him, "If you become a veterinarian you'll like your patients."
While pursuing his degree, Dr. Dupree worked at a local feedlot that was to be his first employer upon graduating from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982. By the end of the year, economic conditions caused the feedlot to close. Still needing to put groceries on the table, Glen opened his own practice in 1983.

Dr. Dupree set about the business of treating pets and livestock using all conventional methods of modern veterinary medicine. The economy slipped a bit more and in time his base of customers was almost exclusively companion animals and horses. His grandmother had been right - he did like his patients. He liked them so much that, as the years went by and he kept seeing the same animals and treating them for the same (and more serious) problems as they aged, he yearned for a better way to help them. He also began to notice an overall decline in the pet and horse population's general health as conventional medicine became more aggressive, placing more vaccines and drugs at the veterinarian’s disposal.

Disenchanted with treating and re-treating, and confident that there had to be something better - some connection to health, not simply treating issues and illness with ever stronger, more damaging medicines and steroids - he began a search for alternatives. The search led him to the American Holistic Veterinarian Medical Association (AHVMA) where he was able to study with, and learn from, people who were already practicing alternative medicine.

Dr. Dupree thought acupuncture would be a good start; it had been around a long time, people were using it, and he reasoned that it would be accepted in his practice most readily. He looked into the school only to find he was one day late to register for that year. They offered to put him on the list for the next year's class. He didn't have the patience to wait a year, so he continued to search for other avenues to help those in his care. His search led him to Dr. Richard Pitcairn and his Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy.
Glen attended a talk given by Dr. Pitcairn. It was at this lecture that Dr. Pitcairn explained that humans and animals are all the same; this cemented Dr. Dupree's understanding that the holistic approach to health and healing was the only way. It made clear in his mind the course he would follow.

Concurrently, the Duprees were trying to help their son who had been born with conditions that conventional medicine had been unable to remedy; conditions that, by now, had begun to worsen. Dr. Dupree's search for alternative treatments began to take on even more ferocity. He was not willing to accept the prognoses that their son would never be able to live on his own, would never have his own life. After all, if standard medicine was (often) unable to truly help animals, how could it truly help people?

1995 and 1996 are what Dr. Dupree called his "Jekyll and Hyde" years – those years when he practiced conventional veterinary medicine in the daytime and studied under Dr. Pitcairn at night. It was a most challenging and rewarding time. As he watched the frequent failings of conventional treatments he became more and more committed to the true health of the homeopathic way. Dr. Dupree was certified by the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy in 1996.

Circles of life continued to lead and guide Dr. Dupree along the path of learning the homeopathic way of healing and teaching when in 1997 Dr. Dupree was offered the opportunity to become part of an exclusively homeopathic practice in Pennsylvania. He sold his practice in Louisiana and moved north. For the next three years he learned and honed the skills necessary to truly live, teach, and practice homeopathic veterinary medicine. Then economic circumstances forced him back home to Louisiana to resume his old practice.
But he did not resume his old practice, entirely. He immediately began to make the transition toward total homeopathic care, education, and treatment, carefully and gently introducing the homeopathic ideas, methods, and practices. At first some of his clients resisted. They still wanted immediate "right now results for today's problems," such as steroid shots and other invasive treatments. Dr. Dupree explained that "Whatever's done today is going to be reflected in the future."

In 2004 Dr. Dupree totally discarded the conventional philosophy that "everything has to be done right now to take care of today's problem without regard for future health." So committed was he to teaching and healing instead of "treating" that he closed his practice. For him there was no longer any other way. He would, from that day forward, focus on "wellness rather than treating the disease." It was a huge risk financially, but it, in the circle of life for Dr. Dupree, was no risk at all.

His practice began to branch out. He was able to begin touching lives and circles far from his home using a brand new website. Eventually he converted to a strictly consulting practice and began teaching weekend classes including an introduction to homeopathy, veterinary homeopathy, and animal homeopathy. He began to tour and give lectures. During one of those lectures a woman from the Texas Organic Farmers and Growers Association heard him and invited him to speak to their organization. Meeting them and understanding their desires, Dr. Dupree saw clearly how he must include agriculture in his practice.

At last his search had formed a complete circle. Dr. Dupree would still be dealing with companion animals and equine health and wellness. He could help the livestock farmers because homeopathy is more economical than conventional medicine, and he could help the consumer too, because the producers could now supply a more nutritious product.

Dr. Dupree didn't travel as much for lectures in recent years. In Feb 2011, he was diagnosed with stage 4 liver and pancreatic cancers. The best the doctors could offer was chemotherapy and 2 months. So he applied his own teachings of homeopathy to himself, adding almost 2 quality years to his life.

During that time he remained focused on education, continuing to write for many publications. On February 27, 2013 Dr. Dupree crossed the Rainbow Bridge. His spirit and teachings live on and will continue to inspire, motivate and heal for years to come. Dr. Dupree had been able to introduce people all over the world to lives of homeopathic wellness. Glen’s son is now grown, living his life, independent and healthy. Glen’s book Homeopathy In Organic Livestock is a how-to for those seeking a healthier way. Through his website, www.homeopathyfortheanimals.com, Glen offered webinars, seminars and courses for the study of homeopathy as well as consultations for individuals, groups and veterinarians.
The life circle that began with his grandmother's advice that he would like his patients has grown to include and change the lives of many, and we are all the better for it.

About the author:

Dutch Henry is a freelance author who writes about "People & Horses Helping Horses & People" and horse advocate and novelist who resides in Virginia with his wife, Robin, of 36 years, horses, dogs, cats and chickens. You can reach Dutch at dutchhenry@hughes.net. He would love to hear from you. His novel We'll Have the Summer is available on Amazon and Dutch’s website,
www.dutchhenryauthor.com.

10/20/13

  09:43:00 pm, by NHM   , 1063 words  
Categories: Uncategorized

The Whisper of a Horse: Life Transformations through Equine Therapies

TITLE: The Whisper of a Horse: Life Transformations through Equine Therapies
By Diana Gogan

For centuries people have written poems, songs, tributes, and books about the magic they experience with horses. I venture to guess that for every written tribute, there is an uncountable number that is never shared, only held dearly in the heart of the beholder.
What is it about horses that has such a powerful effect on us? Is it their physical presence? Their smell? The soft touch of a muzzle on our cheek? The power we experience when horseback? The vast depths of connection to be found when looking deep into their eyes? Perhaps we simply call it their “essence” - a magnificent blend of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual qualities.
The essence of a horse has the power to transform lives, create powerful moments of self-discovery, and touch us deep within our souls where we rarely let others in. Sometimes this essence presents itself as a whisper; other times it presents as a boisterous, attention-getting yell. No matter the volume, it often strikes a chord within us that can lead to transformation.

How can this be? After all, we don’t speak horse and they don’t speak our language. This isn’t a limitation. It’s an opportunity to expand our communication to a greater level of understanding, which includes body language, energy, and emotion. It’s an opportunity to experience a knowing that resonates deep within our body and our heart.

Equine therapy, a growing field, comes in many shapes and sizes. It’s powerfully effective in many situations from personal development to addiction, for people with special needs to programs for returning military veterans. Its applications are vast, the results profound. Equine therapy taps into wordless communication between two beings that results in new insights and understanding. It helps us experience and discover new ways of “being” and is often a catalyst for empowering life changes.
There are many ways people experience the power of equine therapy, from personal sessions to group activities. It often occurs in formal settings dedicated to this type of work. To better describe the power and insight of working with horses in this type of setting, I’d like to share with you a couple of experiences from our program at Fire Horse Ranch in Phoenix, Arizona.

Stand By Me
The full moon lit up the night as Ann approached the round pen. Butler and Princess, two of our horses at Fire Horse Ranch, waited inside. As Ann entered the pen, these normally friendly and curious horses immediately moved away. When she walked toward them, they again moved away, wanting nothing to do with her. No matter her approach, their response was the same. This scenario continued for several minutes, with Butler and Princess clearly shunning her repeated attempts at contact.
It was clear Ann was bothered by the reaction of the horses. Her shoulders slumped and tears began rolling down her cheeks. “I finally get it,” she said in a wavering voice, “If I’m not willing to stand by me and commit to myself then why would anyone else?”
You could see the weight lifting off her shoulders as her heart, mind, and body realized and accepted this new awareness. Within a few short minutes, in a form of communication far more effective than words, Ann discovered the answer to a question she had sought for a long time. It was going to change her life forever.

Boundaries
Dealing with divorce is a life transition that can leave one feeling vulnerable and uncertain. Shelley was experiencing just that, and was drawn to work with the horses.

In a large stall, Shelley was instructed to walk slowly toward Princess and interact with her in a manner that was comfortable. It was Shelley’s responsibility to keep the interaction safe and within the boundaries she set. She could stop the experience whenever she felt uncomfortable. Shelley walked up to Princess and touched her shoulder a few short moments after entering the stall. Princess softly leaned into her, causing Shelley to take a couple of steps backward. Shelley continued to stay with Princess, enjoying the attention and closeness.

Princess gently herded Shelley around the stall during their time together. Every now and then Shelley found herself quickly moving her feet out of the way, taking an extra step to catch her balance, or being moved into a corner or fence. Not once did she ask to stop because she felt uncomfortable or concerned about being pushed around.

Afterward, Shelley shared that she had, indeed, experienced moments of concern about being stepped on, knocked over, or pinned against the fence. Yet, because it had happened so gently, she allowed Princess to push her around. As soon as those words crossed her lips an empowering new understanding came into being.

When others assertively and aggressively tried to cross Shelley’s boundaries it was easy for her to resist and hold her ground. When someone nicely or gently crossed them, however, she allowed it to happen.

We discussed what had happened as she embraced this new insight. You could see her stand a little taller as her confidence grew. She asked to repeat the exercise. This time she quickly came to recognize the signals she felt in her body, and became aware of her emotions when Princess pushed her around. Embracing her new awareness and confidently standing her ground enabled her to clearly restate her boundaries and make corrections with Princess if they were ignored. Due to her clarity and confidence, Princess would quickly oblige when corrected, shifting the dynamic of their interaction.

The Whisper of a Horse
The possibilities are endless, and the experience unmatched. The touch of a horse on your heart makes a lasting impression and creates beautiful moments of self-discovery. The essence of their presence knows no bounds. No two experiences are ever alike, and the effects are far reaching into all aspects of your life. An anonymous quote, I believe, says it best: “Let a horse whisper in your ear and breathe on your heart. You will never regret it.”

About the author:
Diana Gogan is the founder of Fire Horse Ranch, a Reiki Master, a teacher, and a writer. She combines traditional and metaphysical resources with teaching and mentoring to bring women, animals, and nature together to connect and heal. www.FireHorseRanch.com Join her on Facebook at Fire Horse Ranch.

10/13/13

  08:03:00 pm, by NHM   , 1468 words  
Categories: Uncategorized

Feed Facts and Fancies

 

Volume 15, Issue 3-Feed Facts and Fancies

Boswellia Serrata and the Management of Equine Inflammation

By Stephanie Krahl

Managing your equine partner’s inflammation, especially that of a senior horse who has chronic pain, can be challenging. Some level of inflammation in the body is needed in order to stay healthy, but more often than not it persists and leads to chronic disease. Chronic inflammation is commonly referred to as “The Silent Killer” because it has been linked to an array of conditions such as cancer, allergies, diabetes, arthritis, etc.

Combating Your Horse’s Inflammation in a Clever Yet Strategic Manner

Good horse care practitioners use supplementation to reduce and combat the damage inflammation causes. You have to be clever and strategic in your approach to reducing inflammation in order to balance the goal of alleviating your horse’s pain with not compromising the healing mechanism of the body. For example, although non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can assist in reducing inflammation, your horse pays the price for their use due to the risky side effects. This type of approach is neither clever nor strategic but is simply a short-lived band-aid that can put unnecessary stress on your horse’s body.

NSAIDs - Side Effects and Toxicity

NSAIDs are commonly used in the equine industry for treating inflammation and chronic pain. Although there is an exception to every rule, I intentionally choose not to give my horse toxic substances, such as NSAIDs, because one common side-effect is ulcers. In addition to causing stomach bleeding, they also deplete trace minerals such as selenium and zinc as well as important B vitamins needed to naturally reduce inflammation. It’s important to weigh out your options. These drugs have issues with toxicity as well as side effects that contradict their intended value.

A Common Challenge When Addressing Equine Inflammation

A common problem for most horses is poor digestive health - such as inefficient nutrient assimilation and ulcers. If you compromise the digestive system, it’s downhill from there. Giving a drug to your horse that degrades digestive health usually results in the detrimental cycle of having to give another drug for the side effects of the initial drug. I speak from experience - you don’t want to go down that path. If you can’t get high quality nutrients into a compromised horse, then it’s often a losing battle. Even some common herbs used as an approach for reducing inflammation, such as devil’s claw, may cause digestive upset.

The first principle to adhere to before choosing a product for managing inflammation (for the short term or long term), is to take digestive health into consideration. Without it, your horse will experience less than ideal results from any anti-inflammatory substance you choose for her.

Naturally Decreasing Inflammation - A Guiding Principle

Did you know your horse’s diet is key to fighting inflammatory reactions?  The next principle to consider is evaluating your horse’s diet for foods that can cause inflammation such as processed supplements, commercial feed stuffs, food stuffs high in sugars, and rancid/poor quality fats. The quality of the food you give your horse is the most important first step to reducing inflammation. Other causes of inflammation include excessive stress on the body through unnatural workloads, and the intentional use of excessive toxic substances that have a cumulative effect on your horse’s system over time.

When you naturally decrease chronic inflammation using an appropriate diet for your horse, and a whole-istic approach to equine health, your horse’s body will work with her in order to heal and rebuild. With all that being said, choose substances for managing inflammation wisely and strategically. In other words, don’t make choices for your horse based on clever advertising or pressure from external influences. It’s important that you come to your own conclusions. Don’t listen to the experts. Listen to your horse first and the experts second. You know your horse better than anyone.  

Suppress Your Horse’s Inflammation Using this Ancient Superfood

Although there are many wonderful food substances that can assist in managing inflammation in your horse, one such food is an herb and a superfood (foods that have a dozen or more unique properties) shown to have extraordinary healing and anti-inflammatory capabilities - boswellia serrata (frankincense).

Boswellia is a moderate to large branching tree native to India that has a long standing history in Ayurvedic medicine. The gum resin secreted by the boswellia tree has many pharmacological uses, particularly as an anti-inflammatory. For thousands of years it has been used extensively in Ayurveda to manage a wide range of conditions - such as joint pain and gastrointestinal irritation. Much like other special foods, this time-tested Ayurvedic herb is one of many that are being rediscovered in our present-day culture.  

Researchers discovered in the late 1970s that boswellia provides notable anti-inflammatory effects. It has been shown in studies to reduce inflammation by blocking the pro-inflammatory enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). Through its action in blocking 5-LOX, boswellia demonstrates effects that may help combat cancer, atherosclerosis, and asthma. Clinical studies reveal that boswellia also relieves the symptoms and discomfort of arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Boswellia’s Extraordinary Health Benefits

This unique superfood has the ability to help with a wide range of health conditions that include but are not limited to:

  • Allergies
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
  • Asthma
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Cancer

Although each of these conditions I’ve listed seems different from each other, they all share one thing in common - inflammation. The primary cause of virtually every major disease is inflammation and oxidative stress (free radical damage). It’s important that your natural horse care program promotes a healthy lifestyle that decreases and potentially eliminates these two causes of disease. I like to think of it as “stacking the odds in my horse’s favor.”

Some benefits of sustained use of boswellia for horses are:

  • Maintaining steady blood flow to joints
  • Normal and comfortable range of motion
  • Natural anti-inflammatory properties
  • Minimal or no side effects
  • That it is a good alternative to devil’s claw (if your horse has a sensitive digestive system)

The amount of boswellia to feed will vary depending on your horse’s size. You can start with 4 teaspoons/day (2 teaspoons twice/day) of 100% pure boswellia serrata for an average size horse. As with any food substance you choose for your horse, sourcing and quality matters. Boswellia may interact with some medications so consult your veterinarian if you have a concern. I tend to not mix boswellia together with other supplements used to treat joint diseases such as glucosamine or chondroitin because it may decrease boswellia’s effectiveness. However, it does work synergistically with other herbs such as turmeric, ginger and ashwaghanda.

Not a Silver Bullet but a Silver Lining

Boswellia has a long standing history and has been heavily researched and proven effective on multiple levels against fighting inflammation. It’s used as a safe and effective remedy for a number of conditions. Unlike NSAIDs, the long-term use of boswellia doesn’t cause stomach irritation or ulceration.

As with any approach to your horse’s health care, there’s never a silver bullet solution. You don’t simply say, “Feed this herb or food and everything should magically get better.”  It’s important to always address the underlying cause of any health issue. For example, one of the main causes of arthritis is digestive concerns. Therefore, search for solutions that work with the body’s healing mechanism and not against it. If it’s chemically manipulated in a lab, it’s not the best choice. Solutions to health issues can be found when you continue to use approaches that move toward Mother Nature, not away from her.

If you would like more information, I’d recommend digging into some of the resources I’ve provided that point to countless studies about this exceptional superfood.

About the author:

Stephanie Krahl is a natural horse care specialist, co-founder and CEO of Soulful Equine® and author of the book Guiding Principles of Natural Horse Care. She teaches horse guardians about natural concepts that help their horses THRIVE. When she's not with horses Stephanie loves watching movies, reading, and going to the gun range. Connect with her at: www.soulfulequine.com

Boswellia Information and Resources

 

10/08/13

  03:09:00 pm, by NHM   , 1076 words  
Categories: Uncategorized

NITRATES IN HAY EXPOSED

NITRATES IN HAY EXPOSED

The purpose of this article is to inform equine guardians of the potential for unhealthy levels of nitrates in hay to increase awareness that will lead to change. You can’t see smell or taste nitrates. They can lurk in the prettiest, greenest best smelling bale of hay. The only way to know the levels you are feeding is to test your forage. It is optimum to test prior to purchase.

After being introduced to the practice of testing hay prior to purchase ensuring low sugars and starches and formulate a custom supplement to balance the major and trace minerals, I thought I had all bases covered nutritionally. I would buy enough hay to last a year. During the second year of this practice, my horses were not doing well. My mare was out of breath on a 20 minute hike; her allergies were the worst they had ever been. My gelding had old scars reappearing from years previous that the hair had fully regrown back in after healed. When my vet came out for annual dental work and drew back the syringe to administer an IV sedative, his blood was dark and brownish. When searching for answers, it was suggested that I test my hay for nitrates. The results came back 4,700ppm and they had been ingesting the same hay for 7 months.

Nitrogen is one of the main chemical elements required for plant growth and reproduction second to water. When more soil nitrogen is present than needed for optimum growth, the plant can store what it does not utilize. Nitrate levels can increase to toxic levels in forages any time the nitrogen supply in the soil exceeds the nitrogen needs of the plant.

Nitrates can be present in high levels due to over fertilization or triggered by environmental stress such as drought, freeze or even cloudiness, where plant growth is restricted but absorption of nitrate from soil continues. Irrigation by water high in nitrates, run off from other water sources, certain herbicides and deficiencies of essential nutrients like phosphorus, sulfur and molybdenum can also contribute. Improperly cured or stored bales of hay with too much moisture; bacterial action can convert available nitrate to nitrite which is 7 to 10 times more toxic than nitrate. Never assume that organic equates to low levels, over fertilization from any nitrogen source and poor field management can occur in any crop.

Nitrate is converted to nitrite in the large intestine of the horse. Nitrites in blood oxidize the iron atoms in hemoglobin from ferrous iron (2+) to ferric iron (3+), thus compromising the ability to supply oxygen to tissues in the body. Nitrite converts to ammonia, if there is more nitrite than can be converted it leads to hypoxia (deprivation of oxygen supply). The result is Acquired Methemoglobinemia; a blood disorder in which an abnormal amount of methemoglobin (a form of hemoglobin) is produced. Hemoglobin is the molecule in red blood cells that distributes oxygen to the tissues. Methemoglobin cannot release oxygen.  It occurs after exposure to certain chemicals and drugs, including nitrates. In simpler terms, your horse’s tissues are being suffocated to some extent depending on exposure.

Clinical signs from sudden ingestion of highly toxic levels may include difficulty breathing, weakness, tremors, ataxia, rapid heartbeat, foaming at the mouth, grey/blue or brown discoloration of blood and tissues, seizures, and rapid death. Abortion can occur in animals that survive the initial clinical signs. Chronic exposure to lower levels of nitrate has not been well researched in horses. Associations between chronic nitrate exposure and infertility, poor growth, hypothyroidism, frequent urination and other disorders have been claimed. Minimizing nitrates in the diet is the most logical “cure” to these symptoms. We want our horses to thrive, not just survive.  Knowing that nitrates deprive the tissues of oxygen affirms they are of no benefit.

“Safe” levels of nitrates are certainly debatable and published within a variety of ranges. For unadapted animals averaging 2,500ppm, slight risk (feed as 50% maximum of total forage for pregnant animals) with 2,500-5,000ppm, moderate risk (feed as no more than 50% of diet, not safe for pregnant animals). These levels are not necessary. In fairness to the growers, it would be impossible to produce crops at less than 1ppm on a consistent basis. I don’t think it unreasonable to require less than 1,000ppm to send any crop to market. The growers I purchase from are consistently less than 500ppm. The test results also indicate well balanced soil with ideal calcium; magnesium and phosphorus ratios.

Some plants are known accumulators of nitrates such as Fescue and Johnson grass, Barley, Flax, Sudan grass, Sorghum, Sugar beets, Soybean and Wheat. Non-accumulators include Bermuda, Rye, Fescue, and Orchard grasses.  None though are immune to high levels of nitrates.

Fields that are flood irrigated tend to be more risky in regards to pre-purchase tests. The lower lying areas in the field can be especially high in concentrations while the higher parts of the field are at acceptable limits. I tested 12 bales of hay from the top of a block of 82, the results were 800ppm prior to purchase, bought 60 bales from the same block and re-tested. It was 4,500ppm. The only way to know is by testing the actual hay you are buying, even if it the same field or stack.

Test results can be very confusing and difficult to decipher. For simplicity purposes use the % nitrate number. If results show % of nitrate at .30, multiply by 10,000 to convert to ppm (.30 X 10,000 = 3,000ppm).

I have tested my hay for 5 years and reviewed numerous results from other sources. Nitrate test results have been as high as 6,500ppm and less than 1ppm. Which one would you choose if you had the choice? You as the consumer do have a choice. Ask your grower or feed store for a hay test including nitrates or test it yourself prior to purchase.  The majority of horse owners take great pride in reading nutritional analysis labels of supplements and bagged feeds. Would you buy a bag of feed or supplement without a label? A nutritional analysis should accompany the hay you purchase for a multitude of reasons including but not limited to nitrates, sugars, starch and protein, major and trace minerals.

Monique Warren is the owner of Hay Pillow Inc. (www.thehaypillow.com) and has been an equine guardian for forty years. Studying equine nutrition and horses feet is her passion. She resides in Southern California.

References:

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. Methemoglobinemia. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001588/

Whittier J.C. (2011). Nitrate Poisoning. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/livestk/01610.html

10/01/13

  09:56:00 pm, by NHM   , 573 words  
Categories: Uncategorized

Fall/Winter Considerations to Keep Your Horse Healthy

 

Fall/Winter Considerations to Keep Your Horse Healthy

By Lisa Ross-Williams

While you create your natural environment, there are seasonal considerations to keep in mind. Your geographical region will dictate specific challenges, but for most the basics are the same.

 Just as the high heat and humidity of summer present challenges, winter also requires some strategic thinking and planning. By keeping these seven basic tips in mind, winter can be a wonderland rather than worrisome.

  1. Provide plenty of fiber and fat in the diet. Free-choice grass hay promotes not only essential digestive system activity but also generates more body heat than grain or sweet feed. Digestible Energy  (DE) requirements rise in cold weather, so feeding free-choice allows each horse to meet his individual needs. Adding a high fat source such as rice bran or flaxseed can improve energetic efficiency and help maintain body weight during these colder times.

Hint: A few extra pounds going into winter is beneficial, especially for senior horses.

  1. Don’t short the salt. Even though most horses are not sweating in winter, adequate salt is crucial for proper hydration. Provide free-choice loose white salt 24/7 and add 2 tablespoons per day in feed.
  2. Ensure proper water intake. Although it’s normal for a horse’s water intake to decrease in the winter, proper hydration is still important to health. According to the Nutrient Requirements of Horses, 6th revised edition, “Very cold water temperature reduced water intake by 6-14%.”  Offering warmed water, 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit, entices horses to consume adequate water, helping to reduce the chances of impaction colic and dehydration.

Hint: Heated tubs and buckets and bucket or tank heaters are affordable and available at most feed stores.

  1. Allow your horse to grow a natural coat. Horses are naturally able to deal with climate changes because their coats provide insulation against both heat and cold. Caretakers should allow them the benefits of this natural process without interference.By clipping, blanketing and controlling their indoor climate, we are taking away their natural defenses against the elements.

            5.  Allow free-choice movement which generates body heat and keeps muscles loose and          warm.

6.  Proper hoof care is still a necessity. Even though hoof growth does slow slightly in cold weather, trimming on an appropriate schedule is still important. Often horses are not moving as much so natural wear may be decreased. Pick hooves out and examine the hoof as frequently as you do in the summer.

Hint: A light coat of vegetable or olive oil on the soles can help decrease excessive snow or ice packing which most often happens in shod or long-walled hooves.

            7.  Provide shelter from the cold wind and snow. A barn with free access or run-in shed allows your horse to escape the cold, snow or freezing rain if he chooses.

 

Summary for Fall/Winter Considerations

            *  Allow a natural hair coat

            *  Provide free-choice shelter from the cold, snow and freezing rain

            *  Ensure proper salt and water intake

            *  Give free-choice access to grass hay and add extra fat sources to the diet

            *  Schedule in normal hoof trimming

About the author:

Lisa Ross-Williams is a natural horse care consultant and host of the If Your Horse Could Talk webcast available at www.naturalhorsetalk.com. She has completed the Basic Veterinary Homeopathy course through the British Institute of Homeopathy, holds a degree in Environmental Plant Science, and is an Equine Iridology Technician. Lisa is the Publisher/Editor-In-Chief of Natural Horse Magazine and the author of the award winning book, Down-To-Earth Natural Horse Care available at www.down-to-earthnhc.com.

 

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