Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror
I believe horses, well, really any animal, come into our care for a reason. 

The reason could be to help us... to grow in some way, to change a behavior, to resolve hurt or trauma, to release feelings that are holding us back, to show us problems with our health or anything else that helps us to become better or whole again.  When I began to realize the significance the animals had in my life...on my emotional growth, it opened me up to a greater awareness that increases with each day.  And it encourages me to do a better job of being a better person for myself as well as for my animals.

One of my past experiences was with Dinah, a senior husky, who came into my life as a foster then I adopted her.  She had been surrendered, overweight with difficulty walking as well as getting up and down. She was the redemption for the regret I carried of not knowing how to help our last senior dog, Bryndall.  With all that I had learned using Young Living products, I was able to give this girl a couple more healthy, happy and vibrant years with our family.   Our horse Frannie came to help me to release emotional baggage. He showed me that sometimes there is nothing we can do to save them. This is from hurt I carried for many years over the death of my father.

So something happened this morning that was really kind of a slap in the face to wake me up out of my funk lately!  That I needed to do better and that my horse was showing me the error of my ways. I wanted to share it as I think we can all get caught up in our lives and need a reminder to be in the moment and pay attention to what our horses are telling us!

Here's what happened...

The horses had been out and about foraging.  I had put a flake of hay in each of the stall areas for when they came back in.  Each horse generally starts out having their breakfast in their chosen stall, then they move from stall to stall eating from the hay bags(in this hot/humid weather they have been choosing to stay in during the day).  Saxon always eats in the middle stall as his large dish and place mat are set up for him.  Calli happened to be in that stall when I headed down with the dishes of food.  Saxon started to go in, saw Calli and whipped his head to the side catching me.  It wasn't hard, but I did feel it and it brought up my anger.  With that anger and my hands full of feed dishes I sent Calli out of the stall so I could get Saxon set up to eat.   I then fed Maggie and Calli as both were then waiting in the other stalls.

I left the area to go make hay bags and on my way up to the barn, I heard a squeal and a bang on the wall.  I looked back to see Maggie running out of the stall and a bit upset.  Calli had finished her meal and had gone in to push Maggie out with the same kind of anger that I had just displayed to her.  I apologized to Maggie, then Calli for the blame of this situation was not on them or even Saxon, it was on me.  

My anger that came out is not something I am happy about, but I am glad that Calli showed me what I look like by doing the same thing to Maggie.  It made me realize that I must manage my emotions better...regardless of the heat, the bugs and any other things in life that may be bothering me.  Being in the moment with our horses is what they show us is important.  It's when we are off in our heads that problems arise.  So I have pulled out my Feelings Kit of oils to use to help myself feel more relaxed and balanced.

Kind of a coincidence (are there really coincidences?), just this morning I had a message from a friend asking for suggestions regarding a situation with one of her horses.  The last thing that she said when we finished talking was that she is noticing the horse is showing the same physical issues that she has!  That is the key, notice what our horses are telling us.  Our horses are our mirrors and will show us what we need to pay attention to and change to make us better or whole again.  

For more information on holistic horse care, be sure to join us over in our FB community The Hearts Of Horses; Empowering Through Holistic Care.

All the best,

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 mountainroseherbs.com 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,

Holistic Care Options for Bug Season

Holistic Care Options for Bug Season
It's here!  Bug season! 

The noseeums are out in full force here in VT and I have stocked up with my favorite things to keep my horses protected.  Having a variety of safe options for my horses is a priority for me at this time of year.  There are multiple ways I attack this, let me share with you what I use to keep my horses happy and protected from a variety of pests.

One of the things I've been doing for awhile, and attacks the problem from the inside, is feeding garlic.  I started feeding it seasonally but after learning all the benefits of garlic (read about that in my blog here ), I decided I to feed it daily, year round.  I think it makes a huge difference in keeping the bugs from biting my horses!  I like and use the SpringTime Bug Off Granules.  They are freeze-dried with just garlic as the ingredient.  I feed about a tablespoon per day to each horse.  Because it is so strong, this is something you really need to start off with very small amounts to introduce to your horses.  Gradually you can increase the amounts as they accept the garlic.  Mine have no trouble with it but I also add a couple of essential oils that may help the taste as well.  SpringTime even offers a great buy 2 get 1 free option, when purchasing, along with free shipping at a certain level of dollars spent.

For the face, ears, throat and undersides ( belly and back legs especially) I have had great success with using Young Living Insect Repellent.  It comes in a 6 oz container.  I can use it straight from the bottle as very concentrated as it is or cut it with some ACV and add it to an aerosol spray bottle.  These aerosol bottles are great for putting out a fine mist that works well on their underside area.   

The Insect Repellent also comes in the form of wipes.  These are especially effective and easy to use on the face, ears and neck area.  I also have reused the wipes by adding more of the repellent from the bottle!  They are so handy to throw in a saddle bag, keep with grooming tools or toss in the Holistic Care Equine Emergency Kit.

Last year I discovered the following recipe from a friend and have found it very effective.  I'm not sure if it's the catnip tea, the essential oils or the combination of all of the ingredients but I do like how well it works.  And using the Cleaner, Dish Soap and so many oils for everyday life just makes it easy to whip this up!  I make and keep plenty available so that my spray bottles never run out!  

Spray Recipe from Cherie Ross

1.  Steep 1/2 cup catnip in 1/2 gallon of water, cover and cool to room temp.   Then strain.  A coffee filters works great for final straining.
2.  Add catnip tea to a jug.
3.  Add 1 TBSP Thieves Household Cleaner , 1 TBSP Thieves Dish Soap , 1.5 TBSP neem oil.
4.  Add 20 drops each Citronella, Lemongrass, Kunzea (known as tick bush where it grows native), Basil
5.  Add 10 drops each Hinoki, Copaiba, Peppermint, R.C.  
Shake to mix and shake before each use. 
Pour into a 28-30 oz. spray bottle. Keep out of sun.  

As needed, I also use the Animal Scents Ointment on areas of the skin that may be open but I need to keep the bugs off.  A finger full of this ointment, whipped up, and it soothes the area while keeping pests away.  I have even slathered it on lower legs when the bugs seemed very bad and were bothering Saxon.  It was amazing how well it protected him!

Perhaps this is not what you want to hear but giving your horses a place to roll in a sandy or even muddy area allows them to get relief from the bugs as well.  Having areas like this to indulge in offers them more of the natural lifestyle features that promote balanced horses.  When horses are able to live like horses they tend to be happier with fewer of the problems we see in traditional horse care.  

Looking for more information on holistic care for your horses?  Join our community The Hearts Of Horses, Empowering Through Holistic Care and learn more about supporting your horse's wellness!

All the best,

Change This One Thing and Your Horse Will Be Happier and Healthier

Change This One Thing and Your Horse Will Be Happier and Healthier

There’s a great saying from entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn that has stuck with me since I first heard it… “For things to change, you must change. For things to be different, you must be different.”  

This sentiment can be life changing when put into practice.  And that means life changing for our horses too when we do change for the better!

Like so many of the things I have learned on my horse discovery journey, I have found most to be lessons that have expanded my understanding of myself.  It was the Parelli program that first helped me to understand that being with our horses involves being a better version of ourselves.  Our horses serve as our teachers and offer us a very distinct set of rules that we must learn and live up to.  Without learning these ways of interacting with them, we cannot connect.  What happens next is the horse is blamed, it needs to be “fixed” and when nothing changes, the horse is sold to make way for the new, better model.

If we look to ourselves to open our minds to new ways and new opportunities, the detrimental experiences that keep happening can now be replaced by positive new patterns!

Better solutions and improvements all come down to us doing and being better!  Being open to new ideas, listening to others, learning new ways and trying new things.  Remember what Jim said…“for things to change, you must change…”

Our horses require us to change and get better in order for us to be worthy leaders and partners.  Now let’s take this one step further and incorporate it into their care… 

  •  What if we change the way we look at keeping our horses?  

  •  What if we took into consideration the nature of the horse?  

 When we look at these factors and know that horses are designed to live in a herd, to move many miles throughout the day, browse for their food, eating grasses, leaves, flowers herbs and a variety of other plants, then we can look to adapt these qualities to their lifestyle.   

We can do things like…

  • Trade the stall for track life. Horses are movers!

  • Let them live and move as a herd.  They are herd animals and get a great sense of purpose and security knowing their place in the herd.

  • Switch out the processed grain for a forage based diet with whole foods.  Removing toxins from the diet goes a long way toward better physical and emotional health.

  • Let ‘em go barefoot.  Allow the increased movement to help develop and condition the feet to be their best.

The one thing to change, our minds!  Let's be open to making changes that are with the horse’s benefit, comfort, safety and security at heart … and not just for the ease of the human!

If you'd like to learn more about these natural horse keeping ideas and more, check out  the videos and posts in Guide 2, in our community... join The Hearts Of Horses, Empowering Through Holistic Care.