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,

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.

Thrush… How to Avoid It and How to Deal With It!

Thrush… How to Avoid It and How to Deal With It!

As horse care givers we know the damage that thrush can do.  Or do we?  There are so many horses out there who have back foot pain.  It could be that slit up the back of the frog into the heel bulbs, maybe it’s the gooey, smelly junk in the collateral grooves, or perhaps it’s just a small frog that does not seem to grow. This pain causes the horse to land on the toes first creating all kinds of tearing and trouble for the hoof. 

Much of the time this lameness is due to untreated bacterial and fungal infection.  If let go, unnoticed for a long period, it creeps deeper into the hoof causing pain and more damage.

Needless to say, thrush is a big deal and we, as horse caregivers, need to be aware of it!

Because I am a huge proponent of a prevention philosophy when it comes to the care of my horses, I’m going to share the one big thing that you can do to help your horses to avoid thrush!  The one thing that has the biggest impact on PREVENTING THRUSH is MOVEMENT!  

Getting your horse out and moving on a track system is ideal for the health of their hooves.  It offers stimulation to the hoof for growth, the ability to clean itself out and helps to wear the foot depending upon the terrain.  If you’ve never heard of a track system or would like to learn more, I invite you to check in with our The Hearts of Horses, Empowering Through Holistic Care community.  Guide 2 is all about the benefits and features of a track system.

You can get started helping your horse to move simply by giving them multiple places to eat hay, whether its from piles of hay or hay bags.  They will move from one area to another.  Setting up other features such as their water and salt in other areas will encourage even more movement.  With a little bit of creativity and imagination, its easy to set it up for the horses’ benefit!

Another key piece in the prevention of thrush puzzle is the importance of nutrition.  Sugars are food for the bacteria so removing the sugar from the diet will benefit the health of the foot.  If you’ve had a stubborn case of thrush, look to changing this piece and see what happens!  Sugars will be in hay, grains, supplements, mineral licks and more!  Take a look at the suggestions in this guide to get your horse started off with a good nutrition foundation.

Alongside the nutrition piece comes adequate minerals. They are key to hoof growth and quality. Minerals like zinc, copper and selenium are necessary for healthy growth.  You’ll want to make sure your horse’s diet contains these.  I have seen tremendous growth with my own horses hooves and hair when I started them on a supplement !  The supplement, Sulfurzyme, contains sulfur which is loaded with the vitamins and minerals needed for hair and hoof growth.  I started giving it for joint support to my older guy, but needless to say I was pretty happy with the hair and healthy hoof growth as well!

Another piece you’ll want to be aware of, is making sure there is no added iron in your horses diet.  This can come from a variety of places including hay, water and feeds.  There are barns who have discovered high iron in their water sources when they couldn’t get rid of the thrush (and other hoof troubles) issue for the majority of horses at the barn.   It’s easy enough to have your water tested to figure this out.  You’ll also want to check your feed labels for the word ferrous (and another word after it).  These are iron related and will add to the problem.

One of the most valuable products I learned about when I had my trimming practice was Thieves Household Cleaner.  I started carrying it when trimming and used it to spray every clients hooves when I finished trimming.  It is a great way to keep the hooves in great shape as it promotes healthy growth while keeping trouble at bay.  

If you’re dealing with thrush and working toward removing it, put these other factors that I wrote about above into place. Then, use the Thieves Cleaner as a soak in a soaker boot.  Mixed with an essential oil like Melrose, it does a terrific job of clearing things up!  For the really bad feet that have that painful crack in the back of the foot, I have found Animal Scents Ointment to be incredibly soothing and helpful in making the horse more comfortable.  

And isn’t that really what it’s all about…?  Making them more comfortable so they can heal faster. That is definitely my goal!

Thanks for reading and I hope this information is helpful to you.

All the best,


5 Easy Things to do to Avoid Colic this Winter... (really anytime!)

5 Easy Things to do to Avoid Colic this Winter... (really anytime!)

My girl, Calli, came to me with a predisposition toward showing signs of colic when the barometric pressure changed.  With any storm coming, she was giving the usual signs of a curled lip and looking at her sides.  This was in the early days of my learning about horses and how best to care for them.  It was a crash course!

I’ve learned so much over the years and we no longer deal with those bouts of stomach upset. It’s been pretty smooth sailing for all my horses simply by keeping these 5 habits as part of their healthy, holistic lifestyle...

  • First and foremost, allow your horses the freedom of movement!  The more they can move and forage for their food, whether it’s on the ground or in hay bags, the better their digestive system functions.  A track system is ideal, but if you’re not there yet at least spread the hay out in their space to encourage them to move to new areas.
  • Make sure your horses are drinking plenty of water.   In the cold temperatures adding a heat source to keep the water drinkable is necessary.  Even making the water more enticing by adding a favorite oil flavor like lemon or Citrus Fresh would help them to drink but would also support their immune system function.
  • Free choice granulated salt or adding it directly to their food is necessary for many body functions but will also encourage drinking more water.  The average horse needs at least 1 oz of salt per day in the winter.  It is responsible for such things as intestinal movement and fluid balance, absorbing nutrients and muscle and nerve function.
  • Get rid of the processed grains!  They are often loaded with sugars and ingredients that are hard on the gut.  Go to forage-based feeds and whole foods like flax, chia and hemp to add to your horse’s nutrition regimen.  Adding water is a benefit year-round but adding a bit more, and making it warm, for the extra cold weather is a good thing.  If you have a hard keeper, of course splitting meals into more and smaller proportions is the safer thing to do for them.
  • Adding the essential oil blend of Digize, from Young Living, has been the saving grace for us.  I use it daily in their feed, year-round.  I believe this is a big part of why Calli no longer has stomach discomfort.   The blend of oils serves to help the gut to achieve a homeostasis or balance.  We are never without it!

Wishing you a safe and healthy winter with your horses. And if you’re looking for more holistic care information to help you care for your horses, join us in our community in the fb group The Hearts of Horses, Empowering Through Holistic Care.

All the best, 

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.


Read Older Updates