Bentonite Clay For Your Horse

 Bentonite Clay For Your Horse
I saw Dollar listed for sale in the newspaper.  We had just gotten started with horses and already had two... but I thought Skip (my husband) needed a nice, buckskin QH gelding!  Everybody needs a buckskin, right?!  Well I went to see "Mac" (his name at the time) and just knew I had to take him home, as I watched the little girl walk under his belly!

Dollar had been a ranch horse out west. He came to VT by way of Pond Hill Ranch.  Being new to horses there were so many signs of problems in his body, that a more experienced person would have seen, but I didn't know at the time.  And perhaps it was for the best, as I learned so much in caring for Dollar over the years he was with us.  I feel as though he came to us to help me in that way.  

Dollar was in shoes that were overdue to come off, he had a broken back axis in his front right foot and we would later learn that he had chronic problems with this, right up through his shoulder.   It was through these problems with pain and inflammation that I learned about the benefits of using Bentonite Clay as a poultice. 

Bentonite clay gets its name from Fort Benton in Wyoming where it is plentiful.  It is a clay formed from volcanic ash which contains calcium, magnesium and iron.  People have used it for thousands of years to remove impurities on the skin.  When used internally, the clay particles absorb and eliminate toxins.  It carries a negative charge so it binds to positive charged metals like lead.  Some cultures have used it for dietary supplementation as well as a remedy.

In the beginning, while learning to care for my horses, I was calling the vet for so many little things as I had not yet learned how to handle them.   I wasn't comfortable with the products I was told to use, by the vets, so I sought out other options.  I was fortunate to have been introduced to a local animal communicator/herbalist who shared with me the benefits of using bentonite clay.  She showed me how to mix it as a paste by adding cold water using a plastic or wooden spoon (not metal), then slather it over Dollar's hot, inflamed lower leg.  After, it was wrapped with a brown paper bag.  Later when I started trimming professionally, I carried the clay and supplies to use as needed.  

The next piece I added, to bring even more comfort after I learned how fast and well they worked, were Young Living Essential Oils.  I started using single oils and blends like Wintergreen, Clove and Copaiba or PanAway to apply couple of drops directly to the sore area then added the bentonite clay over it.  Wrapping as needed.  Applying a thin layer and allowing the clay to dry, without a covering, has a drawing effect that can be helpful in situations.

It is also helpful when used internally to benefit stomach issues in horses.  Mixing 1-3 tsp in cold water to make a slurry that can be added to their feed or given by mouth.  It provides a coating that may be beneficial to an upset stomach lining.  I've been using it lately for Saxon who has been a little runny on his back end (as we've been out of his Allerzyme and Life 9).  It seems to be helping, like when I started him on the enzymes, as his behavior became better.  This tells me that he's had some discomfort in his gut that has been remedied by the clay too.

This powder is a great thing to add to your barn health kit.  It's easy to mix up and apply.  You can even keep a container mixed up and just add a bit more water to make it smooth for application. I like for many of my herbal needs. 

Let me know how it works for you!

All the best,

Stand up for your horse's care to professionals

Stand up for your horse's care to professionals
Have you ever felt intimidated, overlooked or even minimized when it comes to working with your horse's health care professionals?
Interactions like this can leave you feeling helpless, frustrated and even angry.  Especially if you, as the  caregiver, have some reservations about what is happening or just plain disagree!  Early on I readily accepted the information from my professionals.  After all, I was new to horses and was learning!  But as time passed and I dove into a variety of aspects of caring for my horses, especially hoof care, there were many things I had been doing that just didn't feel right.  I now had options for new, different and what I believed were better things to do.  Things that felt better to me and were more closely in line with what I have for ideas on how I choose to care for my horses. 

 As I learned more, it became easier for me to speak up and ask questions and even disagree with what I may have been told by my professionals, who I had chosen.  At some point, we must realize when and if things may not be working with that professional and seek out another who is more in alignment with our beliefs.   Remember, you are the horse owner who hires the professional.  You get the last word.

 It is important for caregivers to realize that they are the decision makers for their horses.

Knowing we are the decision maker for our horse and actually speaking up and standing our ground, so to speak, are two very different things.  For some it comes easier to speak up while others may need some help and encouragement.  

Luckily, there ARE things we can do to BUILD OUR CONFIDENCE so that we feel empowered when talking with our horse's healthcare professional.  The first thing to do is learn more about the various areas of our horse's care.  Dive into books, watch videos, read blogs, go to seminars and webinars and learn from as many sources as you can.   I can remember when I first got started I was grabbing every book and dvd collection I could get my hands on, for nutrition and hoof care!  Luckily I had a great barefoot trimmer who was willing and happy to share her knowledge and resources with me.  

Just having more knowledge gives us a more solid foundation from which to ask questions and feel more secure about having a conversation with a professional.  Whether the topic is nutrition, hoof care, vaccinations or parasite protocols it is beneficial for you to learn that there are a variety of ways to deal with and promote good health.  And you get to choose what you feel are the best ways to handle these for your horses.

The next thing to do is find and surround yourself with people who feel the same way that you do!  Whether it is the barn community you choose or an online community, finding groups who align with our beliefs goes a long way to helping us feel confident in the decisions we are making.  It gives us a sense that we are not alone, or crazy, for thinking and feeling the way we do.  Just because it's a bit different than the "norm", doesn't make it bad or wrong.   I have created an online community for exactly this kind of support and empowerment.  It's called The Hearts of Horses; Empowering Through Holistic Care.  Join us there if you're ready to feel empowered!

Now get started on these two tasks and see where your confidence journey takes you!  I bet even your horses will notice a difference in your demeanor and energy...😉

All the best,

Spring Cleaning For Your Horse... Inside and Out

Spring Cleaning For Your Horse... Inside and Out
With the passing of every winter comes the excitement and joy of spring…warmer weather, trees budding, plants coming up in their bright green colors and time spent getting our horses shed out and cleaned up.  There are a few items that have made my life a heck of a lot easier and helped to improve the health of my horses!  Let me share these with you…

Let’s take a look at cleaning up the outside first.  Sooo much hair to remove and hooves to check…

The first item is one that I discovered while in my trimming practice.  It became a staple of my business and I used it on all client’s hooves.  I used it for its effectiveness at cleaning hooves and for promoting  the healthy growth of the frogs.   The fact that I could make up a 28 oz bottle for a little over a dollar was a big deal too!  This spray is not only effective for cleaning hooves but it did wonders for the skin and coat of my horses.  It is one of the main things to help my horse Calli get over her springtime itching situation that I would deal with every year when I first got her.   This Thieves Household Cleaner has become a part of everything I clean in the barn and my home.  It’s toxin free ingredients and ability to promote wellness make it a perfect option for those looking for holistic care.  

With spring comes exuberant horses and with that comes minor injuries. This next item, while not so much on the cleaning side of things, it certainly goes hand in hand with them and does wonders on these injuries.  It’s the thing that I turn to for any cuts, scrapes, nicks or dings on my horses.  First they get the Thieves Cleaner spray, maybe an oil or two depending upon what has happened and then a finger full of the Animal Scents Ointment.  It goes on easy, almost melts into the skin and provides a protective barrier.  It contains powerful essential oils like Myrrh and Tea Tree, along with moisturizing base oils that make a dry, cracked frog feel better.  I shared a great hack on making the Ointment more user friendly in my holistic care fb community,The Hearts Of Horses, Empowering Through Holistic Care .  This is another of my must-have horse care tools and is always on hand!

With the warmer weather we can finally give a bath!  While I do not go overboard on this, it is still important to me to have something that will not harm my horses’ skin and immune system, but instead supports them.  I’ve been using the Animal Scents Shampoo for quite a few years now for both my horses and dog, and the occasional cat.  It is a deterrent to lice, ticks and other insects so that is a big gold star in my book, especially since my horses live in the woods!   This is very concentrated and only a small amount is needed.  I use one of my old Thieves Dish Soap bottles and add a bit to it then fill with hot water to mix it up.  This makes application and spreading it around a lot easier.  Their hair comes out smelling so clean as well as looking and feeling so soft and healthy.

This next item is one that I discovered works great as a mane and tail detangler!  It’s the Insect Repellent.  So while I’m untangling manes and tails, my horses are getting a treatment with Vitamin E and bug (mosquito, flea and tick)repelling properties from pure essential oils like Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Geranium, Spearmint, Thyme and Clove oil.  Sesame oil works on the tangles!  Double duty on one product makes this one a must have with my spring readiness.

Now let’s take a look at how we can “clean up” our horses’ insides…

When we talk about cleaning up our horse’s insides, it has everything to do with their digestive system health and their nutrition.  For awhile now I’ve used garlic granules for my horses.  First, I began just giving it to them in their feed seasonally as a bug deterrent but after writing a blog about the benefits of garlic, I decided to feed it year round.  From digestive support to fighting fungal infections to detoxifying heavy metals… garlic really helps to clean and maintain internal function.

Adding a potent probiotic will benefit the intestinal system and support proper bowel function.  The bowels are so important to immune system health and without their proper function, the body is susceptible to a variety of illnesses.  Probiotics are necessary to rid the body of the harmful bacteria and yeast.  From personal experience with our oldest gelding Saxon, the Life 9 probiotics have been a saving grace.  Saxon was experiencing very loose stools and even liquid dripping marks on his back side.  Once I incorporated the Life 9 into his daily regimen, he was back on track! He gets one per day and that seems to work well for him.

The last “inside cleaning” item I will share are enzymes.  Enzymes are necessary for proper digestion, nutrient utilization and waste elimination.  They can help to combat such things as gas, allergies, lethargy and even behavior changes.  This last thing is what caused me to try Allerzyme with Saxon.  He was really acting out of sorts and being down right grumpy, which is not his usual demeanor.  As soon as I started him on Allerzyme, he went back to his old, happy self.  I am currently using Essentialzymes for him now with the same good results.  He may even like them better as they have a peppermint coated bilayer for dual time release during digestion.

Wishing you all the best as we kick off spring!

Equine Ulcers: 3 Ways to Avoid Them!

Equine Ulcers: 3 Ways to Avoid Them!
Horses are a herd animal meant to live and roam with their “family”.  This offers safety, emotional comfort and a feeling of belonging within the “family”.   When we put them in living situations that are very different from their instinctual norm, we are immediately setting them up for problems.  How much, what and even when we feed our horses has a huge impact on their stress level, gut health and even their emotional well-being.  At the heart of all dis-ease is stress in the body.   There is no greater culprit than emotional stress for wreaking havoc in the body.  Soothe the animal, set up their life as nature designed for them and release the stress…

Let’s look at how we keep our horses.  Horses are built and wired to move and eat continually on a daily basis.  In the wild, it is normal for a herd to cover around 25 miles in a day.  They browse on a variety of grasses, tree bark and plants while moving over a variety of terrain that proves beneficial for their hooves as well as the rest of their being.  When its rest time they hang as a group, with a few of the mares standing watch over the herd.  The track system lends to this lifestyle, mimicking how horses live in the wild.

Does your horse’s daily routine look like this?  If it does, congratulations to you!  Your horses are likely ulcer free and happy in their herd!  Getting horses out of the long days and nights in a stall and getting them moving with the herd will increase their feelings of safety and trust.  It will allow them to tap into the energy of their herd dynamics and serve to settle them within their group, relieving stress.

Browsing for food!  Allow your horse to move about to access their food.  Standing in one spot to eat hour after hour does not help their gut or the rest of their body!  Offering a variety of whole foods is your best bet for keeping your horses gut balance.   Avoiding things like processed grains and instead substituting foods like flax, chia seeds, Timothy/alfalfa cubes will go a long way for providing the nutrients needed while avoiding the stomach upset.

  Adding in enzymes like Allerzyme and Essentialzyme has been a game changer for one of my guys!  Clearly his gut balance was off and he was acting like a grumpy old man.  He is now back to his gregarious, silly self (that’s him in the photo)!   Other items like pre and probiotics, Life 9, are beneficial to keeping the gut balanced and have a place in our horse care.  There are also products like aloe vera juice or bentonite clay that can offer a soothing solution to the problem gut.

By incorporating some of the things I’ve talked about above, chances are your horse is already feeling better.  If there are still troubles, checking in on their emotions by evaluating their energy centers is a helpful thing to do.   When the solar plexus is blocked there is a connection with feelings of not belonging, fear of abandonment, defensiveness, feeling trapped, anxiety and even feeling tired.  With this knowledge, you can utilize a selection of essential oils to support your horse emotionally.  I have a great chart and mini course that outlines how to identify the emotions based on the body and suggested oils to use.  Grab it HERE.

If you suspect your horse does have ulcers and would like to confirm that, there is a non-invasive test that can be done.  It uses fresh fecal matter to check antibodies to detect two equine specific  blood components.  It's called Succeed.  Positive results for this test confirm the presence and potentially location of inflammation, lesions and/or ulcers.  It is necessary to use fecal material within 30 minutes of it leaving the body.  Results show as quickly as 5 minutes but not longer than 15 minutes.  It is only available to veterinarians, so contact your vet to access this product.

I would also incorporate Healing Touch For Animals techniques  to help clear the energy. There are other holistic tools that can be used as well.  Tools like red light therapy, PEMF and more!

Interested in learning more about some of these areas I’ve touched on?  There’s loads of information in the Guides section of my group The Hearts of Horses; Empowering Through Holistic Care.

Join our community HERE and feel empowered as you care for your horses!
All the best,