Wildfire Season = Smoke…. Things you can do to support your horse….

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   June 16, 2012 06:51


Robin Davis is a lifelong horse lover who founded of the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative (www.Holistic-Herd.com) and, alongside of her husband, is owner/operator of a holistic horsekeeping ranch in Northern Colorado called Mustang Hollow.  Robin loves to spend time with her horses any way she can.  Her current herd of six consists of 1 Mustang, 1 Warmblood, 1 OTTB, 1 Quarter horse, 1 Arabian and 1 Welsh cross.  Robin loves to trailride, has competed in Dressage and has started and tuned up many horses using natural horsemanship methods.
When we live with horses we get used to shifting our agenda based upon the energies that present themselves at the time they do.  My agenda was to continue the conversation about the feet in this next blog, Mother Nature’s agenda was to present a HUGE wildfire to the west of us and, therefore, get me exploring and taking action with ways to support my horses through smoke inhalation.  Yup, pretty big shift. 

 


It ‘s wildfire season all across the western United States, as I type this, record level fires burn in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.  Even if you are not directly affected by the fire itself, you may be dealing with smoke from the fires.  We sure are.  It settles on our ranch just like a fog. 
If you can move your horses away from the smoke, by all means, do so.   No matter if your horses stay in place or move, a little support can go a long way to maintain their wellness.  The first thing I did for my horses was to offer them a dose of Bach’s Rescue Remedy to ease their stress.  You can drop a couple of drops from the eyedropper directly into their mouth, or put it on top of a treat or in their grain. 
The next thing I do is to place a few tablets of Ignatia Amara homeopathic remedy in their water tank, so they can free choice whatever they may need.  When offering water with a remedy in it, I always make sure they also have access to water without a remedy in it too.  Once your horses become accustomed to you offering them support they learn how to choose what they need, when they need it.  If they don’t need the remedy I sure don’t want to discourage them from drinking.  Homeopathy has no taste or smell, but the horses can feel the vibration and whether or not they are attracted to it.
Last, but certainly not least, I stimulate a few acupressure points.  I’m running out of space here, but for an article about some specific acupoints , you might see this article:  http://holistic-herd.com/article/breathing-easy-equine-respiratory-support/
I hope all of this is helpful, and I hope our wildfire season is as bad as it will get now, I sure cannot imagine it being worse.  We’ll continue our discussion about hooves later.  Until next time, enjoy your ponies. 

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Holistic Horsekeeping

The Fundamentals of Foundation –Part 2 – Getting in Timing with the feet

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   June 2, 2012 09:30

 

 

 

 

 

Robin Davis is a lifelong horse lover who founded of the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative (www.Holistic-Herd.com) and, alongside of her husband, is owner/operator of a holistic horsekeeping ranch in Northern Colorado called Mustang Hollow.  Robin loves to spend time with her horses any way she can.  Her current herd of six consists of 1 Mustang, 1 Warmblood, 1 OTTB, 1 Quarter horse, 1 Arabian and 1 Welsh cross.  Robin loves to trailride, has competed in Dressage and has started and tuned up many horses using natural horsemanship methods.

 As we begin to take a stronger interest in the foundation of our horse, the feet, one easy and very impactful way to get started is to get in timing with the feet.  Take time to watch your horse move.  Watch the pattern of footfalls at each gait.  Walk is: Right hind, right front, left hind, left front….   Trot is the diagonal pairs together.  Left front and right hind, right front and left hind… The canter depends upon the lead.  Left lead pattern is right hind, reach with left front, left hind and right front together.  Backing is a slow ‘trot’ backwards.  They back in diagonals when allowed to move surely and freely.
Understanding how the horse uses its feet is an important way to begin building a stronger relationship with the hoof.  I like to spend a lot of time on the ground with my horses in a way that helps them know that I am interested in everything they are interested in, and boy are they interested in where their feet are and how fast and how far they can move them.  
Often times I’ll look at the way they are standing and determine which foot I think they will move first if I ask them to lead up or to move off.  I like to spend time with each of us at opposite ends of a 12’ lead rope and see if I can get them to move one foot towards me…only one… and then can we place that foot back where it was before - using visualization, body language and as minimal lead rope cue as possible.  This is a great way to keep them light and responsive to your every aide and translates directly into a responsive and light ride.
I use these same exercises while on their back too.  I love to play “hokey pokey” with my horses both on the ground and on their backs.    Or to sit on them while grazing and determine where the feet are at any given moment and which foot might move next.  So much more can be said about getting into timing with the feet this blog could be 1000’s of words long.  But I must stop here for today.
Next blog we’ll begin to look at the foot as an indicator for wellness…

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Holistic Horsekeeping

The Fundamentals of Foundation

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   May 18, 2012 21:25


 

Robin Davis is a lifelong horse lover who founded of the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative (www.Holistic-Herd.com) and, alongside of her husband, is owner/operator of a holistic horsekeeping ranch in Northern Colorado called Mustang Hollow.  Robin loves to spend time with her horses any way she can.  Her current herd of six consists of 1 Mustang, 1 Warmblood, 1 OTTB, 1 Quarter horse, 1 Arabian and 1 Welsh cross.  Robin loves to trailride, has competed in Dressage and has started and tuned up many horses using natural horsemanship methods.



Without a proper foundation no amount of allopathic or complimentary care can help your horse maintain wellness.

Most people have heard it said:  “No hoof, no horse.”  Sometimes when we hear a statement like this as frequently as I’ve seen it bantered about, it loses its power.  Though, this statement is extremely powerful when we look at the overall function of the hoof as it relates to the whole horse.

The next few blogs will focus on the hoof of the horse and all that it means to them.  As you consider how important the feet are to your horse, consider just how important your feet are to you too.  And take that one more step and consider who you might describe yourself if you thought of yourself as the hoof of your horse.

Here is where I went with this exercise. I am the hoof of the horse:

 

·        Looked at as being weak but indeed very strong

·        Strong yet flexible

·        Movement keeps me healthy

·        Constantly growing

·        All heart

·        Some see me as needing to be protected

·        Can bear a lot of weight

·        Need a solid and healthy connection to the land

·        Can be brittle on the outside and yet always delicate on the inside

·        The proper amount of water helps keep me healthy too much is bad, too little is bad


     Imbalances show up in me right away

     Good nutrition keeps me strong and flexible

          Very complex through simplicity

Many Blessings and Happy Horsin’ Around.

 

 

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Holistic Horsekeeping

Water the Essence of Life

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   May 3, 2012 11:03


Robin Davis is a lifelong horse lover who founded of the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative (www.Holistic-Herd.com) and, alongside of her husband, is owner/operator of a holistic horsekeeping ranch in Northern Colorado called Mustang Hollow.  Robin loves to spend time with her horses any way she can.  Her current herd of six consists of 1 Mustang, 1 Warmblood, 1 OTTB, 1 Quarter horse, 1 Arabian and 1 Welsh cross.  Robin loves to trail ride, has competed in Dressage and has started and tuned up many horses using natural horsemanship methods.

 

This week our well pump motor died on us.  It quit working just as I had dumped all of the horse’s water tanks in an effort to clean them.  The horses are always helping me with this chore.  They really love to drink the coolest, cleanest water just as it hits the freshly cleaned tank. There I stood next to one of the tanks with one end of the hose and nothing coming out on a hot, dry, windy afternoon surrounded by curious eyes and lightly blowing noses as they anticipated their treat. 
In a short time the patient horses were all getting impatient about wanting water.  Kicking the tanks, chewing on the tanks and just generally fussing with one another about the lack of water.  It was not like they had been out of water for long, but they had been looking forward to that cool drink and now there was nothing and it was hot and windy.
We’ve been without running water for 2 full days now and it certainly helps a person appreciate just how important water is to all of us.  Our horses need good, clean water for survival just as surely as we do.  The water of our world is quickly becoming toxic with pharmaceuticals, mining contamination, and just general mismanagement.
To maintain wellness in our horses they need access to uncontaminated water.  Do you know where your horse’s water comes from?  Have you ever had your well water tested?  Pay attention to the amounts of each of the minerals, in particular selenium – which while an important nutrient can be toxic when our horses ingest too much.
The horses got water that afternoon after borrowing the neighbors water tank used to fill stock tanks.  At this writing we are still waiting for the water to be flowing through our house.  Oh how much I am appreciating whatever water I have available in my life right now. 

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Holistic Horsekeeping

What is Holistic Horsekeeping?

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   April 24, 2012 13:49

 

Robin Davis is a lifelong horse lover who founded of the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative (www.Holistic-Herd.com) and, alongside of her husband, is owner/operator of a holistic horsekeeping ranch in Northern Colorado called Mustang Hollow.  Robin loves to spend time with her horses any way she can.  Her current herd of six consists of 1 Mustang, 1 Warmblood, 1 OTTB, 1 Quarter horse, 1 Arabian and 1 Welsh cross.  Robin loves to trailride, has competed in Dressage and has started and tuned up many horses using natural horsemanship methods.



Oftentimes people think that to be considered holistic they have to toss aside any and all pharmaceuticals and spend all their free time doing yoga or other ‘woo woo’ practice.  Not so.

Holistic is actually about looking at the whole being.  Mind, Body, Spirit and Emotion.  Pharmaceuticals may be a part of this whole and can be helpful when used conscientiously in an effort to target the source of an issue.

My vaccination program includes pharmaceuticals when the whole picture of the horse dictates it. My de-worming program uses chemical de-wormers when herbals and homeopathics are not addressing the parasites. I've used antibiotics when needed and understand that pain medications are necessary in certain circumstances.

Keeping horses holistically means that I do my best to keep things as natural as possible by addressing the whole horse in a wellness program that will hopefully keep the use of pharmaceuticals at a minimum. We spend more time addressing the immune system of the horse by supporting a healthy gut and a healthy emotional being.  It is my delight to be able to share some of these practices with you through this blog. Thank you for reading and thank you Horse Owner Today for inviting me to take part.

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Holistic Horsekeeping

Contemporary Chinese Herbalism

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   November 23, 2010 16:01

by Dr. Joseph Thomas

Printed in: Natural Horse Magazine
Volume 11, Issue 1



Willow enjoying his Chinese herbal solutions

Medicinal herbs in our country have become a popular “do it yourself” alternative to allopathic medicine. As people are becoming more aware of the need to tend to their own health and the health of their horses, herbs are a natural choice. Typically, people choose their herbs by "matching" the particular health concern with those listed either on the bottle of the herb or from a chart of relevant symptoms. If the herbs are used in combination with other herbs, those herbs are also chosen similarly with no medical theoretical base or interactive consideration. Although this use of common “medicinal” herbs may have therapeutic value for some mild health issues, it cannot be effective for any serious, complex, or chronic illness. This is not because the herbs aren’t potent but rather that they are not targeted to the source of the problem.

 

 

 

Chinese Medical Theory

 

 

Unlike this symptom-to-herb selection process of herbs that is typical in Western herbalism, Chinese herbalism is rooted in Chinese Medical Theory. This means that herbs are formulated following the “rules” and “systems” of a complete and effective medical system and not on a one-to-one relationship between symptom and herb.

Chinese medicine is founded on the understanding that working with nature is far superior to trying to fix it. In other words, Chinese medical theory begins with the assumption that nature has provided a living being with a “physiology” that normally contains all it needs to “self-regulate” and adjust to internal and external influences to maintain health. When this self-regulatory system breaks down, the physician of Chinese medicine works to assist the being’s physiology to return back to its natural capability of self-regulation so as to recover health and self-maintenance. There is no attempt to “fix the problem” or treat the symptoms directly. Rather the root of the illness is the focus of intervention. To use an analogy from nature, if the root of a tree is diseased, you will see it in the branches, i.e. the symptom. But if you treat the branch, and ignore the root, the tree will continue to wither.

Chinese Herbal Materia Medica

 The experienced herbalist of Chinese medicine has available a pharmacopeia of thousands of herbs, each extensively researched and compiled into the current Materia Medica of Chinese Herbal Medicine.1 Each herb is categorized in the metaphorical language of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); e.g. exterior releasing, heat-clearing, wind-damp dispelling, blood-invigorating and stasis removing, water-regulating and damp-releasing (this is just a small illustration of categorizations). Within each category the herbs are further categorized according to a number of other aspects, e.g. properties, channels entered, contraindications, chemical constituents and an extensive compilation of therapeutic actions and indications.

 

 Each herb in Chinese medicine is delineated according to “sections”, with each section having different therapeutic actions. As an example, the root of the herb dang gui is divided into three sections: the body of the root (dang gui shen), the head of the root (dang gui tou), and the tail of the root (dang gui wei). While all are considered within the herb’s category in the Materia Medica, each is used differently depending on the effect to be enhanced and the properties of other herbs to be combined with it.

TCM’s medical metaphors and their relationship to nature are embedded in the Materia Medica. For example, the herb’s therapeutic actions are described in terms relating to nature and natural function and natural “disturbances,” e.g. wind, heat, cold, damp, obstruction, regulating, salty, bitter, sour, astringent, and so on. These actions are well delineated according to organs and to organ functions and dysfunctions so that herbs can be formulated in order that health can be “allowed” to return, not forced to happen.

 

 

 

Contemporary Advancements

 

 

In recent decades there has been extensive research into the world of Chinese medicine, particularly herbalism.2 This work has added important information to the knowledge base of the Materia Medica regarding the chemical compounds and the pharmacological effects of each single Chinese herb.3,4 Researchers who concentrate in both pharmacology and Chinese herbalism have contributed valuable information concerning the possible drug-herb interactions for each herb in the Materia Medica.5 A practitioner can now know what, if any, inherently toxic effects may be found in a particular herb and at what levels it has a toxic effect, how to counteract the toxicity, as well as possible drug-herb interactions for people taking medications.

Although many of the herbal preparations on the market are food grade, the premier herb companies have applied current technology to prepare their herbs to pharmaceutical grade. To meet this standard, each herb is screened, tested and prepared with surgical precision in a bio-medical laboratory so that each herb is guaranteed GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) pharmaceutical grade. This insures that they are free from any chemical contaminants, additives, toxicity, pollutants, and heavy metals. In order to insure the safety, purity, authenticity and therapeutic action of the herbs prescribed to horses and people, this is essential.

 

 

Application

 

 

Herbalists of Chinese medicine do not prescribe a single herb for any health issue. When an herb is used in isolation, the therapeutic actions are not directed to the source of the issue, the properties are diffused, and the body can only use it as a general tonic. Without the direction of a combination of other herbs to synergize the effect, the body is unable to sort out the intention of use of the single herb from all of its inherent therapeutic actions. It is through the precise “grouping” of the single herbs within the formula that the therapeutic properties of each of the single herbs are united for a cohesive intent. This is why the careful and precise blending of a number of herbs, strictly following the rules of Chinese medical theory, is essential to provide direction in a language that the body can understand.

 

FOOTNOTES:

1.      Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica, 3rd edition; D. Bensky, S. Clavely, E. Stoger, 2004, Eastland Press

2.      Wu Yao You Xiao Cheng Fen Shou Ce (manual of Plant Medicinals and their Active Constituents) 1986

3.      Zhong yao Yao Li Du Li Yu Lin Chuan (Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Clinical Applications of Chinese Herbs), 1998

4.      Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi (Journal of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine) 1988

5.      Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, J.K. Chen and T.T. Chen, Art of Medicine Press, Inc. 2004

 

 

 

About the author:

 

 

Joseph Thomas, PhD has been a practitioner of Chinese medicine for twenty five years. Prior to his commitment to Chinese medicine Dr. Thomas was on the research staff at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engaged in medical research. He united these two skills with his life-long love of horses and developed For Love of the Horse, a Natural Health Horse Care company focusing on his personal precise Chinese herbal formulations for a vast number of horse maladies.

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