Holistic Horsekeeping Newsletter February 2017

February 2017

Holistic Horse Care- When to break the rules

Holistic Horsekeeping
How to have a healthy happy horse.
Volume 22, Number 2


In This Issue:

1. Holistic Horse Care- When to break the rules
2. Mobile Friendly Website at Holistic Horsekeeping
3. Online Class For Horse Temperament Typing


1. Holistic Horse Care- When to break the rules

Madalyn on horseMost people who practice holistic horse care want to keep their horse’s management as natural as possible. Sometimes, though, we can get too rigid in doing things the natural way. Below are a few examples of situations where you may want to bend or even break some of your holistic horse care rules.

Free choice feeding – This does not work for all horses. Horses are grazers and browsers and they are meant to move around and eat small amounts all day long. To simulate this natural pattern in our confined horses we can use a small hole hay net that slows down the rate of eating allowing them to have hay in front of them at all times. Most horses will overeat initially but then slow way down on their consumption when they realize the hay is always available.

The key here is “most horses”. Some horses will not regulate the amount they eat and these horses must be limited on how much they get a day. 2% of the body weight is a good place to start. Also, the free choice fed hay needs to be tested to make sure it is acceptable in protein, low in sugar and starch and balanced in minerals. This is especially important in metabolic horses. Regular exercise will allow the greedy eater to eat more without gaining weight. A track or paddock paradise type setup can help accomplish this in a horse that is not worked regularly.

Body clipping – Sometimes you have to do it. Holistic horse care managers know it is better to let a horse regulate his own body temperature. An unclipped horse will grow the right amount of hair to match the temperature and he will lay his hair down or stand it up as needed to provide the correct insulation. Exceptions to this are horses that grow excess hair due to hormonal imbalances such as insulin resistance or Cushing’s.

Horses in hard work may benefit from body clipping so they don’t overheat when worked during warm winter days. The hunter or trace clip that only covers high sweat areas, like the lower neck, underarm, belly and flanks, is a good compromise.

Blanketing – Even the unclipped horse may benefit from a blanket. I was interested to hear about a research project that taught horses to signal when they wanted a blanket and when they didn’t. The horse would pick a target that meant yes for blanket, no for blanket or no change in status. Most horses, but not all, wanted a blanket when the weather was cold and damp. My test with my mule was when I walked up to her with the blanket she could stand to have it put on or she could walk away. Usually she walked away but sometimes she wanted it and would stand like a rock to have it put on.

Vaccines – There is a time and place for sensible vaccination programs. Young, healthy horses can handle the vaccines for potentially fatal diseases such as encephalitis, tetanus and rabies. After the initial series of vaccines titers can be done to track ongoing immune response to the vaccine. If the immune system is generating a good titer level there is no reason to repeat the vaccine. Check out my vaccine e book for more information on vaccination.

These are just a few examples of holistic horse care “rules” that can be broken when the circumstances warrant. Part of being a good holistic horse care manager is being flexible and open to looking at the individual needs of each horse.

2. Mobile Friendly Website at Holistic Horsekeeping
With the new website at www.holistichorsekeeping.com you’ll find all your holistic horse care needs easier to find and order using any of your devices. This site is very mobile friendly making it easy to order your horse products and informational materials right from your Smart phone or tablet. Whether you’re looking for quality products or information from our collection of free resources, you can find it by category or brand name with ease.

3. Online Class For Horse Temperament Typing
The  self-paced online course is open to anyone interested in learning more about the Horse Temperament Types. It was created to share information about the eleven Horse Temperament Types as explained by Madalyn Ward, DVM. Dr. Ward has been a pioneering voice in the field of holistic horse care for over two decades and she breaks new ground with the Horse Temperament Typing system. Her cutting edge casework now extends to helping horse lovers find their perfect equine match or better understand their current equine partner. If you want to learn more about determining the temperament type of your horses, this course is the one for you. You can sign up and find more information at http://horsetemperament.com/class.html.

If nutrition or homeopathy is more what you are looking to learn about, take a look at the individualized Mentoring Program to get one-on-one instruction with Madalyn Ward, DVM.

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