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!

Chronic Abscesses... What You Need to Know!

Chronic Abscesses... What You Need to Know!
There were many times during my full-time trimming days that I felt like a broken record, saying the same thing over and over to clients when it came to taking care of their horses’ hooves…

Often when something is happening to our horses, we just want to make them feel better.  So doing something quick, easy and topically is the norm.  But there is usually more going on and if we just look a little deeper, we can get at the cause of the problem. Then take steps to remedy it.

Before we get into the solutions, let’s take a look at what is happening in the hoof in terms of an abscess.  The connection between the hoof wall and internal structures is made up of laminae. These are finger-like protrusions that when healthy, have a very strong bond and hold the outer wall tight to its internal structures.

When we look at a healthy hoof, we can see smooth, tight hoof wall growing down from the top at the coronary band.  When the hoof is fed well with adequate minerals it is a work of art!  It is when imbalances occur that inflammation can result causing the laminae to become weak and lose their strong connection.  In this weakened state, it is easy for an overgrown hoof to work as a lever to pry the wall away from the sole at ground level.  When this happens, it is easy for dirt and debris to make its way up into the hoof.  

If you’re a little fuzzy on some of this and would like to know and see more, check out the free workshop in my The Hearts of Horses: Empowering Through Holistic Care community.   There are videos that introduce you to the parts of the hoof as well as the internal structures as shown on a mustang cadaver hoof.
In order to get at the source of the abscess issue, we must deal with the inflammation first and remove the cause of it.  The number one thing, that many do not realize, is the amount of sugar in our horses' lives have everything to do with their hoof health.  Finding the sugars in their hay, grass, grains, supplements, trees containing sugar in their bark within their living space, treats… and removing them will stop the inflammation.  Each horse will be different in their thresholds but as their caregiver, it is up to you to figure out their specific needs.
Once the sugar has been removed, make sure your mineral levels are good.  Test your hay to see what may be low or missing in your area.  Feeding a good supplement is helpful (we cover this in the holistic care community too!).  Feeding the hoof is everything!

Another helpful piece to this abscess puzzle is movement.  A key part of helping a horse to move out of the discomfort of an abscess is to allow them to move (vs. stall rest).  The more the movement, the more the blood flow, the quicker it resolves.  Generally, an abscess will last 7-10 days.  Set up your horse’s environment so that he is allowed to move yet protected from harm from the other horses.   

A third, key piece to this puzzle is their trimming schedule.  Getting your horse trimmed based upon their rate of growth and how much they self-trim is beneficial to them.  Knowing when the hoof needs to be trimmed is something you must learn to recognize (check the free workshop for help here too!).  This will help you to know the appropriate time frame for trimming your horse.

 Learning more about the hoof so that you can have a conversation with your hoof care professional will be a huge benefit.  You see your horse daily, do all their care and can recognize subtle changes in them.   Being able to have a conversation with your hoof care provider about any changes will be most helpful to them for your horse’s care. 

If you’re interested in learning more or would like to learn to trim your own horses, grab my course here. It will give you all the tools and information you need for you to learn to trim your own horses’ hooves. When you use the code 50off you can purchase at half price. 

Finally, soaking the hoof that is experiencing an abscess.  I have found soaker boots extremely helpful and easy to use.  As a former EasyCare dealer, I started with the Easy Soaker and really like it. I also use an Rx boot when I need to keep things clean and covered up.

 A few of the items I have found most helpful in the soaking process are Epsom Salt, Thieves Household Cleaner, an essential oil blend called Melrose for cleansing and Wintergreen to help with the discomfort.  Just a ¼ cup of the salt, half a capful of the Thieves Cleaner, 4-8 drops or so of Melrose and the same for Wintergreen. Add warm water (about a quart) and pour into the boot (which is already on the foot!).  I let them soak for 20-30 minutes. 

I hope this has been helpful for you and if you haven't already, I hope you will join us in our holistic care community.