Arthritis In 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. Read the rest of this entry
Herbs and Alternatives in Equine Practice
Joyce C Harman, DVM MRCVS October 2000.
The following information is taken from the article ‘Herbs and Alternatives in Equine Practice.’ The first section of this article appeared in the April 2011 HATO Journal.
Signs of chronic disease
Signs of disease manifest as mental or physical symptoms that range from mild to severe. Any deviation from health can be considered a sign of disease, but may only indicate an imbalance in feed. It is important for humans as guardians of animals to become more observant of the following signs of disease. Mental signs that chronic disease may be present include excessive fears, nervousness and inability to adapt to change. Horses with repetitive behaviors such as weaving, stall-walking, self mutilation or cribbing appear addicted to these behaviors and are probably not dealing with the stresses of confinement very well. If a horse is having a hard time adapting to the stress of confinement, the immune system is probably being compromised and the horse’s health may deteriorate. Typically horses that are either consistently underweight or overweight have a problem with chronic disease. Underweight horses may have trouble digesting or utilizing food, or they may have low-grade liver disease or cancer. Horses chronically overweight, especially those with fat deposits and cresty necks, may have metabolic problems but may simply be overfed and under exercised.
The respiratory system is commonly affected in the chronically ill horse. Allergies usually manifest as heaves and allergic coughs (although allergies with itchy skin are commonly seen in the warm climates). Allergies are a sign of immune system imbalance Read the rest of this entry
What our horses teach us …
The feel of a horse’s spirit can be felt when we are ‘still’ with them. A lot can be understood when we quietly ‘be’ with our horses and feel the presence they emanate. Doing this enables us to really share in the gifts of our equine friends.
A great way to connect with our horses is to learn to telepathically communicate with them. Although this can feel like a foreign approach for people, it is easy for the horse. Horses are in fact very good at this, and unlike people, sound is their least dominant form of expression.
Horses are wonderful teachers of silence. In the busyness of our modern lives where our senses are assaulted with an avalanche of sounds, smells, movements and information, our time with our horses can be a time to let the complications of the world melt away. It can be a time when we can re-connect with our own silence and simplicity.
If you’ve ever been to a horse’s paddock on sundown, when the last of the light is slipping away and the horses are quietly grazing. There is a preciousness about this time, as the human world retreats indoors and the animal kingdom is left to quietly be in the presence of nature. Often in the twilight evening there is the sweet smell of grass, and the gentle snorting of a contented horse. And as the sunlight fades and descends beyond sight, the quietness that unfolds has the abillity to refresh and still anyone in its presence.
It is both dawn and twilight Read the rest of this entry
For those who believe in the comfort and physical/psychological health of their horse, a bitless bridle is a natural choice.
My choice of Bitless Bridle is the LightRider which I use on my 16.2hh warmblood. I find he is soft, responsive and comfortable at both slow and fast speeds and he holds himself in light self carriage, responding gently and happily to my suggestions and directions. I would highly recommend this bridle to anyone who is wanting to promote natural, non-violent communication with their horse.
Benefits of LightRider Bitless Bridles
With the reins attached in a similar position to a bit, the Light Rider Bridle delivers a much clearer, more direct message to the nose.
Some horses get confused or resist ‘whole head’ pressure so they respond better to the simple but effective chinstrap of this unique bitless bridle.
It works by the horse receiving release from pressure as the chinstrap slides through each noseband ring.
“I just love it! It has a snug fit for direct and clear communication, it doesn’t close down on the horse when you are having a conversation about what you would like them to do.” Jenny Pearce (International Author and Clinician).
Read the rest of this entry
From the Horse’s Mouth ….
Ever want to know what your horse is really thinking?
To get inside your horse’s mind and really hear their thoughts?
Anyone who is a horse owner will know how possible it is to read our horse’s body language and surmise what it is they could be thinking. But imagine not having to simply guess or predict, but to really know, to be able to have an intimate two-way conversation where you can really hear them, and they you.
Horses have a number of ways of communicating: facial expressions, the placement of different body parts, their individual behaviours and mannerisms, sound, their body structure, touch and importantly, their presence. It is possible to refine all of these means of communication, so that one can freely and deeply connect with your horse.
We can learn to heighten our knowledge of the different communication styles. And we may also find we are better at one style than another. If you are finding your relationship with your horse is not as good as it could be, you might want to experiment with growing your abilities to communicate visually, verbally, kinaesthetically (through touch) or auditorily (through sounds). By taking the time to watch and hear our horses, with an open and neutral mind, we are able to learn may things.
Read the rest of this entry
Horses are very social animals and in a natural setting will form harem groups or bachelor groups. Harem groups are typically one dominant male and a number of females and foals.
Living in a herd is what horses do best. As horse owners, we need to take this into consideration. To provide domestic horses with the best opportunity for happiness, both play and social stimulation is desirable. As a general rule, the best social environment for your horse is the company of one or more horses in a large open environment. However, this may not always be possible. As a horse owner of a solo horse, you will need to provide your horse with the company and stimuli they would otherwise get from horses. Regular riding, opportunities to socialise with other horses, companion animals and regular care and affection can help to ease the loneliness blues. There are of course some horses that seem to cope better on their own than others, though nearly all horses prefer an opportunity for some company and connection.
Where possible it is good to provide your horse with good visual stimulation of other horses and/or humans. Horses are naturally curious, playful animals and like people, they enjoy variety. An environment that minimises stress but maximises variety and allows for maximum socialisation with other horses is ideal. When considering the formation of a harmonious herd dynamic, you may need to Read the rest of this entry
One Horses fight for Survival
I am sorry, I don’t know the origins or author of this story. It was something that was emailed to me, one of those stories that gets passed around on the internet.
I think its a great story of courage and willpower, and the amazing resilience horses have to adapt as well as there amazing generosity of spirit. I think its a story that is meant to be read by many.
My blessings to Molly and I hope you enjoy this read as much as I have. Read the rest of this entry
How to treat a horse with back pain:
If your horse is very sore it is best to get professional advice and the help of a qualified equine therapist to assist your horse.
If your horse has minor muscle soreness, you can practise some gentle massage and acupressure techniques. By principle, begin very slowly and watch your horse carefully for signs of pain or annoyance. Allow your horse to guide you as you work and if your horse is not happy with what you are doing, it is probably for good reason. You may need to stop what you are doing or seek further help with your technique, or with your horse’s back.
Begin your connection with your horse by relaxing your own body with some deep breaths and making sure you are not carrying any tension into your treatment.
Before focusing your attention on your horse’s back region, open your treatment with long slow sweeping strokes down the whole of your horses body, feeling for tension, heat or cold. Repeat this process 3 times attuning yourself to your horse. Read the rest of this entry
Identifying Back Pain in Horses
In today’s blog I am going to talk about Back pain in horses. Unfortunately, it is something that is common, and that often goes unrecognised. It is something I see a lot in my clinic. Riding horses who have pain in their back region can have a big impact on their happiness and comfort.
A horses back is dividable into three regions. The Thoracic (spanning from the withers to just past where the last rib attaches to the spine), the Lumbar continuing on from the thoracic section (this region spans to the point of the croup) and the Sacrum (the region spanning to the tail). The tail is an extension of the back, where beneath the dock the coccygeal vertebras continue to the point of the tail.
In today’s blog I am going to discuss Lumbar pain. The Lumbar Area is an area that is often sore in horses. These back muscles receive a lot of use, and even unridden horses can be stiff and sore across the lumbar region. Read the rest of this entry