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Why is Educated Horse Care and Horsemanship so Important?

Understanding Why in Horse Health

Horse Care and Ham…

For many horse owners, myself included, our knowledge and understanding of horse care often was taught in 4H, pony club, or passed down from previous generations. Not saying that is bad, but here is a story that can shed insight on some issues that we may come across with this “passing down” of knowledge…

The Story of Grandma’s Ham

Excited for a holiday dinner with family, a daughter anxiously helps in the kitchen. Wanting to learn and share the traditions she has grown to love and cherish. As she watches her mother prepare her favorite ham, she is writing down the recipe and instructions meticulously so she can one day make it just like her mother, her grandmother, and great grandmother.

As her mother adds the spices, marinade, and finishing touches she cuts off two thick slices off each end of the ham.  “Mother, why do you cut off the ends of the ham?” asked the daughter.

“Because that is the what your grandmother always did.” replied the mother. The daughter wrote it in her instructions but decided when her grandmother arrived she would ask why cutting the ends of the ham was necessary, it just seemed like a waste.

After the rest of the family had arrived, and everyone was getting ready to enjoy the holiday feast the daughter asked her grandmother, “Grandma, why do we cut the ends off of our holiday ham?”

“Because that is the way I remember my mother doing it.” the grandmother replied.

With that, the daughter looked down the table to inquire to her great grandmother, who was smiling and laughingly said, “I only did that so the ham would fit in our tiny oven!”Natural Horse Health Principles

Horsemanship and Horse Care Practices

After working with horses for over a decade, I have seen many horse care and horsemanship habits that resemble the ham story. Even with my own horses, I would find myself asking why I was doing things a certain way and would often find no valid reason for many things I was taught to do over the years.

I was frustrated to learn that sometimes, I had put myself or even my horse’s safety or health at risk from silly habits and ideas that were taught to me by instructors, classes, judges, books, vets, etc.

So what is a horse owner to do? Learn it is ok to ask why… There are many horse care tips and tricks that should be respected, taught, and used on a regular basis with horses. Often when it is a truly necessary skill or practice it will have a practical reason behind it, and not a reason like the oven was too small or that is just what my trainer said, dad said, etc!

Our Mission to Share Natural Horse Health Principles

Did you know not too long ago I felt just like you…

My horses and those of my clients struggled with a long list of symptoms and health concerns. Medications, long lists of supplements and regular vet visits were normal. Although I was in the alternative therapy industry I saw little results at least that were consistent and tangible.

I was fed up and wondering what I was doing wrong. Where was the magic bullet hiding to help my horses live healthy, vibrant lives? The misery of these horses and my pocket book led me to what I know now. It is my mission to share with you what I have learned, help you on a path to a strong foundation and belief in what health is, and empower you with how to take action!

Click here or the image below to receive our FREE resource, Your Horse Care Naturally, this brief video is designed to give you simple actions you can take easily and effectively, to remove health hindering products and supplements. As well as begin your exploration into what natural care and health for your horse actually look like and why everything you have tried in the past has failed.

I hope you found value in this post. Please share via your favorite social media page to help us on our mission to promote horse health and wellness. You will find share buttons on the bottom of the post.

Life is better when you’re horsin’ around!


The title photo of this post is the work of professional photographer, Nadja Rider. She has a great passion for the mustangs of the Sand Wash Basin and her work brings awareness and life to the herds and horses there. I hope to further the efforts of her great work, through utilizing these beautiful images. If you would like to follow these horses on Facebook Click HereBe sure to check out Nadja photos, they share a story of the lives of mustangs in such an honest and authentic way.

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Knowing Your Horse’s Normal to Prevent Catastrophe

Horse Vital Signs

Knowing My Horse’s Normal Saved His Life!

Knowing our horse’s normal is a very important responsibility! One of the first things we as horse owners often say to our veterinarian is my horse doesn’t seem normal, then we follow with a description of our observations. Whether we are describing something that felt off in the rhythm of a gait as we rode, the horse being off feed, the temperature in the horse’s limb, etc.

horse health Peppy's Story

 

I just recently experienced this in full force with my gelding Peppy. Luckily for both of us, I caught him being “off” very early and he just pulled through a major impaction colic. The veterinarian was clear that had I not caught it as quickly as I did the result would not have been as positive. Peppy’s recent illness did bring an awareness to me about knowing each horse’s normal vital signs.

Most of us are educated on how to take our horse’s vitals but how often do we do it? Do we know what our individual horse vital signs are? Do we take vital signs on our horse on a regular basis so that the horse is comfortable and prepared when we need to take vital signs in a time of stress, injury, or illness?

Horse Vital Signs

Horse vital signs have an average range, but if we take our horse’s vitals on a consistent basis we will know for sure how “off” the horse truly is. It also gives us and the horse practice, so that in a time of stress, injury, or illness the horse is not alarmed by any of the steps we take to check their vitals.

Here is a great video to show how to take a horse’s vital signs.

Horse’s Normal Checklist

So in light of my recent scare with my horse I thought I would share with you the updated “normal” list, I am now will implement for my personal horses and horses being boarded or in our care at our facility:

  • Temperature
  • Pulse– Heart Rate
  • Respiration Rate
  • Capillary Refill Rate
  • Gum Color Description
  • Gut Sounds
  • Fecal Observation- quantity and consistency
  • Skin Tent Test for Dehydration
  • Hoof and leg observations temperature and texture
  • Eyes Description and Observation
  • Nasal Discharge Description and Observation

We often mention on our posts and to clients that observing your horse is very important to understanding and maintaining their health and wellness. This case with Peppy is a prime example!

Scheduling to Take Vital Signs

We plan to implement a weekly routine with a written checklist from the list above, for horses in our care. What gets tracked gets done!

What will you choose to implement to promote your horse’s health and wellness?

Please share in the comments or reach out to us and share any current measures you take to know your horse’s vital signs and “normal” or if this post has inspired you to implement something new.

Horse Vital Signs

For more natural horse care tips and information check out the links below.

I hope you found value in this post. Please share via your favorite social media page to help us on our mission to promote horse health and wellness. You will find share buttons on the bottom of the post.

Life is better when you’re horsin’ around!

 

 

PS Are you ready to naturally improve your horse’s health? Get our FREE audio series How to Naturally Promote Horse Health and take your horse’s health to the next level! Click Here to get this great series today!

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Exploring the Top 5 Challenges of Horse Ownership

Anything Worth While is a Challenge…

This is a topic that I was discussing with a client the other day where she was expressing her frustrations and what she felt was the challenges of owning a horse…

What I thought was interesting was the true raw emotion that she had, I could tell she really was trying to decide if horse ownership was for her. After our conversation she shared with me that the viewpoints I expressed to her, had helped her find some peace and so I thought, “Well, if I could help one person find some peace and purpose in owning their horse, then maybe other people were struggling with it as well.”

Surprisingly, when I researched online for a little bit, I discovered that challenges of horse ownership is a common unease that people were struggling with or experiencing.

Top 5 Challenges and Some Ideas on How to View Them Differently-

The top five things that came up as a stress of owning horses were:

1. Money- I think many of us would agree that money can be a challenge of owning horses. Horses cost money in a lot of different ways… but if you care for horses more naturally and true to their nature, it has been my experience that horse ownership can actually be more affordable, vs choosing to feed a diet of food options that are high in chemicals, additives, fillers, and things that are not natural for the horse. Also increasing risk and expense are choices that go against the horse’s nature  and design altogether. Although, I don’t have any science to back this up, I know for me personally, my horses really haven’t cost me a lot as far as injuries, vet bills, non-routine exams, medications, or other costs that I hear some people expressing.

I did have one large vet bill about two years ago. My horse Peppy experience severe colic, I didn’t opt in to colic surgery but he was at the clinic for an extended time and he actually ran me up a vet bill that cost me more than he did!

That was one of the first times I had experienced something like this personally, but I know a lot of you have. It was really frustrating because I provide such meticulous care and I really couldn’t pinpoint why he suffered the impaction. I am certain you can relate to that mystery as well…. But owning horses for over 20 years and only having minimal stories like that is, I believe, is a testament to natural care!

2. Time–  There could be two sides to this challenge-

  • My horse takes up too much time.
  • I don’t have enough time with my horse.

I would like to err on the side of people are more often frustrated with not getting more time with their horses because I would spend all day with my horses if I could! Check out this previous post 3 Quick Tips for Increasing Your Horse Time to get some strategies to help you if you need to find a way to get more time with your horses…

We all have the same 24 hours in a day but making time for my personal horses is something that I struggle with. It seems like I always put my horses on the back burner because they are more my recreation at this phase and stage of my life. That was what inspired the blog post referenced earlier and those are tips I still use to get my horse time set and happening!

But if you feel frustrated with your horse time, I encourage you to reach out to a coach or mentor to pinpoint why that is and what can be done to resolve it. There isn’t much sense to the responsibility that is involved with horse ownership, if you have no fulfillment or purpose behind what you are doing! Contact us if you are open to support on this topic.

3. Energy-  I have to be honest the only thing I could think when I saw this mentioned was the chores side of horse ownership. For me, I’m really not the type to choose exercising at the gym or in a more organized fashion… So the chore side of horses has become a positive for me because I view it as keeping me more fit and active than I might otherwise be, if left to my own devices. If your horse ownership or horse time feels energy draining in a negative way again reach out for a coach or mentor!

horsemanship quote

4. Opinions-  This is one of the most common I have heard people be stressed over. There is a wide array of opinions out there in the horse world for sure! Here is an approach I like to use to keep me from stressing out on the opinions of others-

Check the source- is the person sharing the advice someone that you would want to trade horses with? Do they have the relationship or achievements with horses that you would like to have? Is their horse healthy and what is the “track record” of maintenance and care look like?

I do try to keep an open mind to the thoughts of others who are where I want to be or at least are where I am now traveling the same path… DO NOT stress or lose sleep over the thoughts of those who do not understand or are clearly on a different journey.

5. Buying the Right Horse- Yes, I’ve seen this happen to people where maybe you’re a beginner and you end up buying a horse that is way beyond your current skill level and not the right fit…

Oftentimes, when I see people who are in this category, they’re constantly buying and selling horses and they’re always the wrong horse. If that’s happening to you, I would encourage you to ask, “Am I the right person for this horse and how can I become the right person for this horse?”

I had experienced this with my horse Peppy that I talked about having colic. When I first got him, he was not really what I thought he was going to be. I never knew when he was going to explode. I never knew when he was going to take off and I didn’t find that exciting anymore (I did when I was younger…).

I almost got rid of him because I dreaded riding him and he scared me a bit. After he pulled through the colic episode, there was something that switched between us and we connected. With that connection established I did not want to sell him and I began to focus on becoming the person that he needed me to become.

When I look back now, it cracks me up that I even thought of getting rid of him. He’s an amazing horse but I had to become a different rider and a better leader for him.

If you get a horse that is beyond your skill level, that is dangerous, then yes, seek help or think of getting rid of that horse but maybe, just maybe, you need to learn, grow, and get out of your comfort zone.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic… comment below your favorite part of owning horses. If you struggle with the challenge of owning horses, or stress about it like this post discusses feel free to share that too.

Our Mission Here at Equine Essential Wellness is Promoting Natural Horse Health-

In a lot of my content I share the story of supporting my mare through health concerns, naturally, after traditional methods had failed and euthanasia became the only recommendation veterinarians had for her. Part of our mission has to do with the success I had in helping her, and wanting that for your horse…


But I now understand, that there were simple lifestyle shifts I could’ve made prior to Pokey’s condition that could have reduced her risk of concern. That is something I can’t go back in time and change, but I can pay this hard learned lesson forward in hopes of helping someone else not experience the “if someone had just told me “that” was harming my horse.”

In our free video and resource Your Horse Care Naturally, you can learn how to shift your horse’s lifestyle to a more health supporting and natural path in simple and easy steps. Click Here or the image above to get the link in your inbox and get started improving your horse’s health today!

I hope you found value in this post. Please share via your favorite social media page to help us on our mission to promote horse health and wellness. You will find share buttons on the bottom of the post.

Life is better when you’re horsin’ around!

PS

Are you feeding your horse a clean and health supporting diet? 

Your horse’s diet and nutrition plays a major role in their health and wellness. It is one of the major areas that contains undesirable chemicals, synthetics, and fillers in our horse’s lifestyle. Our Equine Digestive Health Pathway is empowering horse owner’s with the steps and information they need to clean their horse’s nutrition and start promoting not just digestive health but overall well-being. Click Here to get started today.


The title photo of this post is the work of professional photographer, Nadja Rider. She has a great passion for the mustangs of the Sand Wash Basin and her work brings awareness and life to the herds and horses there. I hope to further the efforts of her great work, through utilizing these beautiful images. If you would like to follow these horses on Facebook Click HereBe sure to check out Nadja photos, they share a story of the lives of mustangs in such an honest and authentic way.

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Horsemanship is About Partnership

A Journey of Becoming a Balanced Partner-

This post will wrap up my learning experience at the Forge a Deeper Bond clinic, I attended at the beginning of June. Of course my understanding and growth continues through my horses, but the last few posts have focused on sharing what the horses that I worked with during the clinic have taught me.

The last, but certainly not least of the trio of mares that helped facilitate learning that weekend, was Lil’ Shadow… she is the black mare in the image below. This image was provided by Eagle and Wild Horses Ranch, who was also the host of the great clinic taught that weekend by Elsa Sinclair of Taming Wild.

Horses used for Elsa Sinclair ClinicWhen Resistance Finds You – Increase Your Awareness-

I often share in my horse health consultations and online training courses that resistance is a tool and guide on our journey that needs to observed and studied, not simply heeded and listened too. I have experienced this many times and in particular in the case of essential oils. (You can get my full story on essential oils in the Chapter 1 Preview of my eBook), but simply put had I looked into my resistance to essential oils when it reared its ugly head, I believe my journey would have undergone a monumental positive shift much sooner!

Moving into or inspecting resistance was not a new concept for me… so at the clinic when I felt resistance towards Shadow, I responded by increasing my awareness and understanding of her. For that I am grateful because she painted a picture of transformation and partnership over the weekend that I will not soon forget.

I Want it Now!

One thing Elsa repeated throughout the weekend is her belief and view that the dominant horse or a horse that goes into dominant behavior desires connection and they want it right now! She also explained, that is the basis of her brand of Taming Wild… it was not chosen on the premise of her taming a wild horse. But that she sees a need for both us and the horse to balance and tame that wild streak that wants everything right now.

I resonate with this and find it is often something I face when promoting natural horse health principles. Natural remedies and care take time, where as traditional or pharmaceutical options can bring results right now… because of this I often have to “tame the wild” out of horse owners in the same sense.

Shadow was very clear and loud in her expressions of dominance over the herd she was in, and it was no different when we (the participants and Elsa would work with her). Because of her high energy and loud behavior, I naturally resisted working with her. Here are a few thoughts to that resistance, as I observed and looked at where it came from:

  • I am calm by nature, enjoy and strive to maintain that calm, and prefer to not increase my energy if I don’t need to.
  • I need processing time (thinking time), especially when I am learning new things. Being a participant in this clinic already took a fair amount of my energy and focus, I did not want to meet her energy at this time, as it would drain and distract from my overall goal. These points also did not make us an ideal partnership or set us up for success…
  • If I chose to work with her, it was likely she would be 2 miles ahead of me in thoughts and action. Because she easily was 1 mile ahead of her surroundings most of the time.

Teaching Your Horse to Help Themselves Feel Better

The first day of the clinic I chose not to work with Shadow, but I observed her often, both with the participants that did, when Elsa worked with her, and when she interacted with the other horses. During her clinic Elsa said that passive leadership is about teaching your to help themselves feel better. Shadow did an amazing job presenting that to anyone open to seeing that weekend!

By day 2, Shadow was much softer, calmer, and easier to get along with both for us and the other horses. There were still times that she chose to barge into their spaces or resort to a more dominant conversation. Even then it was far less rude and dramatic.

Observing her upon my arrival on day 2, I knew that it was a good day and time to work with Shadow, equally for her and myself. Over the course of the weekend, Shadow was bringing everything Elsa shared full circle in my mind.

Elsa Sinclair Horsemanship

She helped solidify, that partnership takes balance, understanding, and support. The participants and Elsa offered support and guidance through passive leadership to encourage Shadow to seek balance and make herself feel better. We must remember it takes understanding and decisions to be in relationship and connection to our horses. One of the principles that Elsa taught was, I am in control of my body and the horse is in control of theirs.

The ultimate goal of partnership is to be together, this togetherness should equal in energy, thought, and movement. It is up to us to be the best partner we can be, assuring we are fair, reasonable, and setting things up for success. The horse being an equal partner must do the same for the relationship to work and passive leadership offers a non-manipulative or coercive conversation to accomplish it. For me this was the path I was looking for and after the positive shifts and changes I saw in such a short amount of time with Shadow, helped clarify the path and next part of my personal horsemanship journey.

Begin Naturally Promoting Horse Health

Our mission here at Equine Essential Wellness is to help you promote your horse’s health naturally. We invite you to get our FREE The Secrets of Equine Naturopathy PDF Guide, click here or the image below to get this guide sent to your inbox today! Balancing your horse’s lifestyle with the 8 Laws of Health is crucial to their overall health and wellness!

Equine Health through Naturopathy

I hope you found value in this post. Please share via your favorite social media page to help us on our mission to promote horse health and wellness. You will find share buttons on the bottom of the post.

Life is better when you’re horsin’ around!


The title photo of this post is the work of professional photographer, Nadja Rider. She has a great passion for the mustangs of the Sand Wash Basin and her work brings awareness and life to the herds and horses there. I hope to further the efforts of her great work, through utilizing these beautiful images. If you would like to follow these horses on Facebook Click HereBe sure to check out Nadja photos, they share a story of the lives of mustangs in such an honest and authentic way.

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Horsemanship – You are Enough

horsemanship

Gravitation to  a More Passive Approach to Horsemanship-

For those of you who are wondering why is the horse health lady, blogging about horsemanship again 😉

It is important to remember that horses are herd animals. Connection and bond have a big impact on a horse’s health, and trust happens to be one of the 8 Laws of Health… it also has a lot to do with the two mustangs I recently adopted and the journey that it seems to be leading on.

Including the recent clinic I attended, graciously hosted at the Eagle and Wild Horses Ranch and taught by Elsa Sinclair. I am currently sharing a series of blog posts from my experiences from that clinic.

One thing that Elsa talked about at her clinic was how the more dominant based methods ( which utilize a majority of dominant conversations) of horsemanship when not balanced with other types of conversations can lead to more consequence delivering from the horse. Or maybe more simply said can lead to a more dominant behaving horse.

Which can prove to be problematic to the less dominant or less confident horse owner… She clarified often, as I would like to as well, that dominant styles or even a more assertive approach is not necessarily wrong. It is just we need to be aware of the various types of communication and conversations that can be had with horses and approach with what works best for each horse and even for ourselves.

When I was in high school I was confident and quiet comfortable with the more dominant approach, as I could handle the more dominant side that it would or could bring up in my horse without a concern. As I get older, my confidence is not as solid as it used to be, and raising the risk of having a horse deliver their own dominant consequence is far less appealing.

Those hesitations are part of what led me to other options, along with a desire to find a more peaceful less resistant path. My mustangs are both decent sized just over 15 hands and solid built, I would prefer to work with them as much as possible to reach my goals. Rather then trying to convince or force them into anything. Although the natural horsemanship I have used and loved for many years works well with them, there was a piece that still felt like it was missing… this more passive leadership approach, for me, I believe was that piece.

Eagle and Wild Horses Ranch - Roheryn

Judging and Assessing Less, Trusting and Moving Forward More-

I mentioned in the first post of this series that Elsa’s clinic helped clear some of the fog that was in my mind.

I am curious can you relate to the fog I described? The feeling of swimming in a sea of too many opinions, methods, and options.

Do you get lost in a clutter of ways or methods you could use to work with your horse? Possibly you just don’t even know where to begin, because there are plenty of opinions on that as well…

Looking back on when I was younger, I simply just didn’t care of what others were doing or what they thought! I was still very open to learning but happy to do things however I felt they needed to be done. I am on a mission of finding that side of me again, as it seems she is in that fog in my head.

The lovely Roheryn helped me through some of that fog at the clinic. She was a great horse to partner with and I told her current adopter George, that if he decided to ever part with her, I might need to know… She like my mustang Marshal had spent most of her life in the holding facility. When you meet her it is so hard to understand, because she is great! Curious, friendly, and ready to be a partner.

I had the opportunity to work with her a few times at the clinic and the last session I had with her made a positive shift for me, reminding me that I am enough and I can accomplish what I plan and set out to do. That when I listen to my intuition and get out of my head, things can just flow and be.

Eagle and Wild Horses Ranch - Roheryn

Progression and Movement-

The session in which Roheryn helped me the most, we were working on the horse moving through Elsa’s steps of tolerance, acceptance, and enjoyment with rocking or movement of our initiation. Elsa suggested I work with Roheryn’s legs, as I had mentioned Marshal’s leg issues.

I was nervous at first, as her owner had mentioned that although she was good with him she did not do well with the farrier and when Elsa went to show me where she would start, Roheryn was not very tolerant or accepting.

After observing where her “no” spot was, I chose to start at a more comfortable space (for both of us) at her withers, then I progressed to her shoulder, continuing to move down the leg. I rewarded and recognized any sign of enjoyment she offered, and would then begin again where it was easy and move down the leg. My goal was to do the rocking motion and have Roheryn accepting it; moving into enjoying it all the way to the hoof.

As I moved past the knee I forgot to continue with a pattern I had began further up the leg, this did upset her and she chose to leave promptly. But after connecting with her again and restarting at the easy place and moving down with the continued pattern I started with, I was able to get to her hoof in a short matter of time. After a good yawn and release I chose that was a place to end the session with her.

Horsemanship Quote

Mindset Shift and Focus Change-

Even after practicing this work with my horses for only a short time, it surprises me how a simple mindset change from, how do I get this horse to complete the task to how does the horse perceive and at what level do they accept or enjoy this task, has done for the connection and desire in the horse.

Although for many years I was aware it is best to end a session  on a positive note… ending on a sign of enjoyment is much better. This new idea is helping me be less skill or task focused and yet has me excited to try more things then I was before.

For those curious on what Elsa Sinclair teaches check out her blog Equine Clarity and her movie Taming Wild. Thank you again Eagle and Wild Horses Ranch for the photos of the horses we worked with and for hosting such a great clinic!

Begin Naturally Promoting Horse Health

Our mission here at Equine Essential Wellness is to help you promote your horse’s health naturally. We invite you to get our FREE The Secrets of Equine Naturopathy PDF Guide, click here or the image below to get this guide sent to your inbox today! Balancing your horse’s lifestyle with the 8 Laws of Health is crucial to their overall health and wellness!

Equine Health through Naturopathy

I hope you found value in this post. Please share via your favorite social media page to help us on our mission to promote horse health and wellness. You will find share buttons on the bottom of the post.

Life is better when you’re horsin’ around!