We recently had a student named Rowen Edwards share her experience taking our Ultimate Equine Bodywork Course Bundle which includes our massage therapy, craniosacral therapy, kinesiology taping and body alignment (ANMR) courses. I am happy to share what she has written with you....enjoy!
First off I just wanted to begin with a general testimonial for this amazing course. I did the Ultimate Equine Bodywork Certification courses and was a little skeptical at first as to how in depth the online learning would be. I was presently surprised with the amount of content that was more than just the average slideshow filled with information. The opportunities shown through each step and the kindness shown by each of the teachers is phenomenal. I have recommended both the personal and practitioner options to quite a few others because I truly believe that owner should have the opportunity to connect with their horses in ways they could not before these courses. Beginning a private practice was definitely a challenge to build clientele and senior practitioners in the field will always be competitors. By going out of my way to give in person conversations, reach out and find new therapies to incorporate, I was able to build amazing relationships with these horses past just the physical barriers. I have had many clients surprised by my knowledge base for my age, but this course definitely was a heavy step into my career. Angelique Barbara is the founder and is a very knowledgeable, kind person who incorporated the holistic and physical approaches seamlessly allowing for the practitioners own choice to follow the holistic approach as well as the basic science. "
Testimonials Rowen Received from Clients:
With one massage my horses back went from sore to minimal touch to totally fine even with more intense pressure! Can’t recommend enough.
I use Rowen for my training and breeding program horses and have seen amazing results with the attitudes and comfort from both programs. It really opened my eyes to the importance of bodywork and saddle fit.
My gelding is dealing with some behavioural issues that are not normally like him. Through an assessment and massage/BEMER maintenance with Rowen I have been able to connect back with my boy and work through the areas of stress and pain he was experiencing.
PSSM Case Study
A few months ago, I began working on a horse struggling with PSSM. She is a very kind girl, she was stuggling with some nutritional deficiencies and was building up extra lactic acid in her muscles causing the stiffness. The abnormal sugar levels in her muscles were causing her to pick up times of lameness and the owner struggled between PSSM lameness and access/stone bruises. This mare was quite high maintenance in terms of her ability to hurt herself so I came out to assess Stevie and give the owner some of my opinions on the next steps here. As I am not a veterinarian or nutritionist, I referred to my general idea of some of the deficiencies she is presenting in her muscles and why this may be happening. After her vet reassessed the situation, she continued with bodywork and nutritional changes in her diet. From the last visit to the most recent, her topline has strengthened, allowing for the saddle to fit comfortably around her spinal processes as she was experiencing some rubbing or pinching due to loss of muscle. The use of more amino acids assisted in her recovery. This condition is a very difficult one with ups and downs. I am very proud of the owner for taking the time to understand the needs of this horse and get her to the point she is at. She is now sound and back in the hunter ring! This happy girl is back onto normal maintenance and has much more relaxed interactions with me through my massage, kinesiology taping, myofascial release and BEMER therapies.
Shoulder Abscess Case Study
I also had another mare who had a shoulder abscess caused by a puncture wound that went deep into the shoulder. They have the vet come and disinfect, sew and protect the injury, but a few months later they reached out to me to assist as she was still tender in the girth, chest and shoulder area. I came and was cautious around the injury that was closed and the inflammation was down, and the mare was sound. By moving around the area her main aggressive response they were seeing was due to the muscular tightness from supporting this side of her body while injured for so long moving all the way down her back. This very quiet mare was loud with her releases and we relieved her stress points. I gave the owners some ideas to practice stretching and positive reinforcement when grooming or putting pressure around this area as it had become more mental than physical. Immediately they saw the change in attitude and were able to become more confident in their handling of this mare. We continue to do maintenance sessions.
Kissing Spine Case Study
And the last case study I will be including was a stallion that was presenting signs of kissing spines under saddle. He was a very kind boy and this caused the owner to miss some of the signs along the way that he was hurting, this is common with saddle fit issues these days. Bringing awareness to this is one of my most important steps when finding reactions such as his. This stud did not present any physical spinal process palpation and was struggling more in the musculature around the area of saddle fit. We worked through this issue by calling out a saddle fitter than fixed the pinching problem. This was a friend of mines horse which she then went to sell and I was present for his PPE and back X-rays. He had normal spinal processes and passed his PPE with flying colours. I was very proud of this owner for going deeper into saddle fit and bodywork to fix this issue before it caused and physical changes to his body. New surgeries have come out to fix the wear and tear on the touching vertebrae but this is something we want to avoid. He is now happy with this new family who is taking the extra precautions to continue his recovery journey.
How to take horse vitals
All horse owners should be aware of how to take their horse's temperature, pulse and respiration and they should also be familiar with the normal values. The average horse temperature is 99.5 to 100.5 degrees F. The average pulse rate is 42 beats per minute and the average respiration is 8 to 12 breaths per minute. Every horse will have their own normal values though so you should take your horse's vitals periodically to become familiar with their norms.
Get a digital thermometer and use it rectally to take your horse's temperature. Use a lubricant such as vasoline to coat the tip before inserting it in your horse's rectum. It is recommended that you hold it while the temperature is being read. When it beeps, you can remove it and read the temperature. Take your horse's temperature several times at different parts of the day to determine what their normal temperature is.
Taking the Heart Rate
This can be done through feeling an artery or using a stethoscope to listen to his heart. There are several places to feel for a pulse including the inside of the jaw, the inside of the front leg above the knee and the outside of the hind leg. Count the pulse for 15 seconds and then multiple by 4. When using a stethoscope place it underneath the horse's elbow on the left side. Listen of the lub-DUB....each lub-DUB is one beat.
Taking the Respiration
To count the breaths your horse is taking, you can either watch their nostrils flare or watch their flank rising and falling with each breath. One breath is a complete cycle in and out (inhalation and exhalation). Because the horse's normal respiratory rate is so low, count for 30 seconds and times by 2 to get a more accurate reading.
Capillary Refill Time
This is a way to check the horse's hydration. To do this, lift their lip up and press on their gums. Their gums will normally be pink in color. When you press on it, it should turn white, but the pink color should return within 1-2 seconds.
Want to learn more? Become certified in Equine First Aid through our online course!
Red light therapy is one of the safest and most effective modalities to incorporate into your bodywork practice. Light therapy has over 40 years of independent research and has been proven to deliver powerful therapy to living tissues. Many massage therapists find that utilizing red light therapy in conjunction with massage will speed up healing and provide their patients with longer lasting benefits.
Some of the benefits include:
Revitavet creates red light therapy pads specifically made for animals. They include a back pad, hoof pad, hock pad, knee pad, tendon pad and more. These pads are easy to travel with, easy to clean and they bend around the body part of the animal making the application very easy as well.
Revitavet is offering our students and affiliates with 15% off all purchases! Use the coupon code ANGELSANIMALS at checkout!
Don't forget to use the coupon code ANGELSANIMALS at checkout for 15% off!
Want to learn more about red light therapy and cold laser? Enroll in our online certification course!
Working with agitated horses
As a bodyworker you will definitely come across agitated or anxious horses from time to time. In this blog, I will give you tips on how to work with them and minimize stress.
The first step in calming the horse down is the determine the source of their stress. The main reasons a horse will be agitated and uncooperative during a bodywork are:
Horses are very good at picking up your energy so it is essential to ground yourself before a bodywork session. To ground yourself, take deep breathes, remain calm and focus on what you want to accomplish during the session. Be determined that you will succeed because the horse will pick up on any anxiety you are experiencing.
Move the horse to a quieter, more familiar area (such as their stall) and if necessary their buddy stand nearby. If they can see their friend, it will drastically reduce their anxiety. Focus on massaging the TMJ and neck first on both sides. Horses that are anxious will usually have tight necks and reducing the tension there will help them relax. Once they realize you are helping, they will normally relax and learn to trust your hands.
Try utilizing essential oils such as Lavender. Put a few drops on your hands and let him smell it. This will often take the edge off and can be relaxing for you as well.
For horses suffering from a lot of pain, do not try to palpate them right away. The horse will feel like you are attacking them and will get defensive. Instead tap softly down their topline, neck, withers and back. Continue for a few minutes and then try to softly palpate. You may need to tap again whenever you find a new sore area on their body.
Horses who are dominant, and aggressive can be tricky to work with because you do not want to be bit or kicked. Stallions may even try to mount you. You need to establish dominance with these animals to reduce their anxiety (and your own!). If a horse tries to bite you, you can poke them quickly with your fingers on the side of their mouth. This mimics the reaction another horse would have to counteract a nip. Many times the horse will lick and chew and settle down after this.
Massage along the bladder meridian to relax the horse and prepare them for the bodywork session. You can also conduct Craniosacral Therapy with these horses if you are trained in the technique. Finally, don't give up and be patient. Remaining confident and calm will allow 95% of these horses to relax and enjoy their session. Do keep your safety in mind though and modify the session as needed to reduce your risk of injury.
What is Benefab?
Benefab® products were developed by founder Kat Chrysostom using the same technology that helped her heal after she had a major riding injury in 2011 that left her temporarily paralyzed.
Their fabrics are infused with lead-free minerals that emit far-infrared wavelengths that are proven to increase blood circulation, dilate capillaries, and reduce inflammation. Benefab® products are designed to penetrate deeply into the treatment area for maximum results and pain relief.
Benefab has products for horses, dogs and people!
How do their products work?
How to Add Benefab Products to your Practice
Utilize during bodywork sessions:
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How to Increase Revenue with Benefab Products
Sign up as affiliate and sell these products to your clients:
I’ll start with the poll pads. I apply the pad before I start anything and the horse immediately drops and relaxes his head. It’s really quite amazing. I leave the poll pad on the entire time and removing it is the last thing I do. The horses are more willing to release their poll during manipulation when the poll pad is on.
So far I've just used the body wrap for humans and am VERY impressed. You can feel the warmth on your whole body and can feel it penetrate skin without overheating. It feels relaxing and healing. I plan to start putting it on my human Reiki clients. Going to try the dog products next for several of my canine clients"
I have the therapeutic quick wraps and poll pad. I like these items and use them regularly. Very well made. I also have the socks and they are my favorite!"
Do you sometimes feel like your horse resists you? Many owners experience times when their horse does not want to be caught, ridden or perform the tasks they are asking of them. In this blog we will discuss some helpful tips for creating a willing equine partner.
Earn Your Horse's Trust
As with most animals, trust needs to be earned. Horses are prey animals and humans are predators, so you need to approach your horse with a certain mindset when teaching them to trust you. It is important to be able to read a horse's body language and to avoid using gestures, tones of voice and attitudes (your thoughts and intentions are very important when working with your horse) that the horse will perceive as threatening. Before working or interacting with your horse, clear your mind of any worries and negative emotions. Focus on what you want to accomplish with your horse and send positive, loving energy to them. Changing your mindset at the beginning of a training session can greatly change your horse's attitude and make that session more successful. As you continue to make training sessions less stressful for your horse and as they learn that you will not put them in a bad or dangerous situation, they will begin to trust you and see you as a stable leader.
Part of earning your horse's trust involves ensuring that they are not in pain or uncomfortable. One of the most important ways to minimize discomfort is to utilize tack that fits correctly. It is extremely important to use a saddle that fits your horse in such a way that they can move freely without areas that are pinching, rubbing against them or restricting normal movement. If your horse pins their ears back or bites during saddling, moves away from the saddle or is reluctant to move with the saddle on, I recommend having them evaluated by a certified saddle fitter so you can find a saddle that will work best for them. The same is true with bridles......make sure they fit correctly and that the bit is the correct size and type for your horse.
Another important part of decreasing discomfort for your horse is to incorporate bodywork into their lives. This can be through massage therapy, chiropractic/body alignment, kinesiology tape, craniosacral therapy or a combination of therapies. Even when the horse's tack fits correctly, they will still experience body discomfort from sore/tight muscles, altered movement due to minor injuries (while riding or just playing in the pasture) and normal soreness from muscle development. We recommend finding an equine bodyworker or learning how to perform bodywork techniques yourself.
It is also important to condition your horse properly for riding. Similar to humans who are out of shape, horses can not go from no exercise to riding 10 miles overnight. Be sure to slowly build your horse up and prepare them for success. This will help earn your horse's trust when you do not ask them to do things that they are not physically ready for. The same applies for young, developing horses who may not be physically or mentally ready to perform the task at hand.
Provide Your Horse With An Environment They Can Thrive In
Horses, being herd animals, do best when they have access to other horses. Providing your horse with daily turn out (the longer the better), other horses to interact with and good quality feed, will make for a much happier horse. Horses evolved to eat continuously throughout the day. If your horse can not be turned out on grass, you should provide them with good quality grass hay all day. Most horses will also need some nutritional supplements to give them the vitamins and minerals that are lacking in most hays. Supplying your horse with an environment that they can thrive in will aid in earning their trust and having a willing partner.
Many horse owners realize the benefits of bodywork for their horse. Horses will often become sore after riding and training similar to human athletes. Just like people, horses can greatly benefit from massage therapy to decrease lactic acid build up in the muscles, speed up recovery time, increase range of motion and decrease pain and discomfort.
Holistic Animal Studies offers an online course for horse owners to teach them how to perform several massage techniques on their horse including Swedish massage, myofascial release, Gua Sha massage and other strokes. The course can be started at any time and students can work at their own pace. The online program takes you step by step through the process of massaging your horse ensuring that you are able to safely and effectively help your equine partner through bodywork. Students also have access to the instructor and teaching assistants, along with other students and practitioners, who can answer any questions they have and provide them with guidance along the way.
Interested in learning more?
Many people do not think about how important their horse's saddle is when it comes to the horse's ability to move correctly. The saddle may feel comfortable to you while you're riding, but is it comfortable for your horse?
As a horse moves when wearing a saddle, their scapula (shoulder) bone needs to be able to rotate back. When the saddle is too tight over the withers, it will prevent the scapula from achieving its full range of motion. The horse then needs to compensate by short stepping in the front and modifying their neck position. When the saddle is too wide, it can put pressure over the withers and will also cause pain in the lower thoracic and lumbar spine. Over time this will lead to body tightness, pain and discomfort, similar to a person wearing shoes that do not fit correctly.
Horses that are forced to work in a saddle that doesn't fit optimally will often develop attitude problems including pinning their ears back and biting when being saddled, reluctancy to move forward when saddled, atrophied top line (due to a reduction in blood flow along the back when saddled) and uncharacteristic grumpiness when being worked.
So, what can you do?
If you ride in an english saddle, you can have a saddle fitter come out and evaluate your saddle. Most english saddle can be modified by reducing or increasing the flocking. If you ride western, you should also have your horse evaluated by a professional who can help you determine the type of saddle and padding that will work best for your horse.
Horses who are experiencing discomfort from wearing an ill fitting saddle should have bodywork along with correcting the saddle fit. Massage therapy and body alignment can improve range of motion and allow the horse to begin moving correctly with their new saddle. Many horses who have been worked for years in a saddle that doesn't fit will take time to realize that they do not have to modify their movement any longer. Working closely with an equine bodyworker can help your horse reduce their pain and improve their performance quicker.
Courses for Pet Owners
Are you interested in learning bodywork techniques to help your pet but do not want to receive a certification? We offer non-certification courses for pet owners just like yourself!
Transitioning to a Raw Diet
How to care for senior pets
Our pets are part of our family and it can be difficult to watch them age. Many pet owners do not know how to properly care for their aging friends. As our pets reach their senior years (10-12 years for small breeds, 8-9 years for medium breeds and 6-7 years for large breeds), they can begin to show signs of their age including arthritis, muscle loss, loss of hearing/eyesight, weight gain or loss and lethargy. Here are some helpful tips to keep your senior pets happy and healthy during their golden years.
Animals can greatly benefit from bodywork such as massage therapy, kinesiology tape, craniosacral therapy and body alignment. Many people seek these modalities for themselves but do not realize that their fury friends can utilize them as well. The majority of animals will develop some degree of arthritis and body pain as they age. Bodywork provides our senior friends with a natural way to reduce pain, improve mobility and reduce the risk of injury.
Physical and Mental Stimulation
What is animal communication?
Did you ever hear the song, “Talk to the Animals?” It was written for the film, “Dr. Doolittle,” produced
in 1967. In this film, Dr. Doolittle marvels at the discovery that he can communicate with animals.
While this was originally written as a musical comedy, the fact remains that we can indeed “Talk to the
Holistic Animal Wellness, by Angel’s Animal’s, has teamed with Michelle Molette to educate the public
as well as professionals about how to communicate with animals. In her course, “Animal
Communication, Level 1,” she covers 8 topics that explore just how to accomplish this exchange of
Humans are accustomed to talking to other humans, and as humans, we understand that animals have
their own way of communicating with each other. While humans use language, animals communicate
using an exchange of signals. These signals to one another include a visual, auditory, chemical, and
tactile transaction. The question remains if animals cannot speak, how then can there be a
“conversation” so to speak?
That question is precisely what Michelle Molette has spent over three decades gaining the experience to
answer. That answer is not a quick one but involves quantum mechanics and the exchange of energy,
broken down in her course to qualify her methods and echo what the scientific community has known
for quite some time.
Essentially, all living things, a human, horse, or tree, for example, are made of matter. The behavior of
matter and its interactions with energy emit vibrations, and these vibrations or wavelengths are unique
to states of being as well as emotions. This course explains how we can take advantage of these
universal laws to communicate with animals.
“Animal Communication” not only educates the learners about these universal laws but offers practical
exercises to develop skills necessary to mediate necessary and vital information from humans to their
animals and animals to their humans, such as their needs, thoughts, ailments, and more.
Evolution of Equine Kinesiology Tape
By Christa Veinotte
As therapists, to ensure the most successful outcome for our clients, we follow the principles and guidelines of rehabilitation. Our assessment, accurate health history and clarifying questions will determine which stage of rehabilitation that the animal is in. Based on those observations with gait analysis, when possible, we determine if the injury is acute, sub-acute or chronic. Compiling all those facts allows therapists, together with the other members of the health care team, to determine the most accurate treatment plan for our clients.
As we progress through the stages of rehabilitation, we would expect our plans to be modified or changed at some point. Often, injury healing times are unpredictable. Setbacks can frequently occur – especially when treating large animals.
So, it would make sense that the tools we use along their therapeutic process would change as well. This was my revelation when first began taping horses. For some stages of healing, I needed a kinesiology tape that had a certain percentage of elastic fibers woven into it. If edema in the affected area decreased or increased, I required a tape with specific properties to allow it to stretch as well as recoil to accommodate the fluid volume change without compromising the application.
But then there were other situations where I needed a kinesiology tape that could truly hold a body part in place. If a joint was unstable due to ligament laxity, a much more rigid tape was needed. And because of the severity of the injury, the tape had to stay on for a much longer duration of time. And it definitely was going to require a much stronger adhesive. Having some capacity to repel water would be a huge benefit as well.
Equine kinesiology tapes had not changed much since their inception. My first tape, Hestaband Cotton was first produced in 2018. It has a tighter fabric weave and a forgiving adhesive which makes it a wonderful tape for those just learning this new skill set. Hestaband Satin, released publicly last year, is a completely different fabric weave with the strongest adhesive I can make. It has very little elastic fibers to provide stability and is designed for advanced applications.
There is a huge benefit to having two very different tapes in your kit. Often you may have edema present with an instability. A perfect example of this is a sprained fetlock joint. A combination application would be very effective in cases like these. The Cotton tape accommodates for the swelling while Satin stabilizes the joint to assist with healing the tissue and preventing micro tearing.
As the skill set of therapists evolved, so has our kinesiology tapes. Imagine where we will be in 2022!
Christa Veinotte, Equine Rehabilitation Specialist est.1999
Lymphatic Drainage Therapist, Adv., Craniosacral Therapist Adv.
Kinesiology Taper, Adv., instructor, course developer
Developer and CEO of Hestaband Therapeutics
Submitted Photo by author: Bowed tendon using a combination application
Navy Cotton is used to accommodate for the edema for this bowed tendon while the green Satin assists in stabilizing the fetlock joint.
Learn more by enrolling in our 2 hour, Taping for Treatment, online course!
Try Hestaband today by purchasing a tape package!
(1) 10cmx5m Cotton
(2) 5cmx5m Cotton
(2) 5cmx5m Satin
(Plus receive a Bonus roll of the limited edition Apricot for a limited time!!!)
Ligament and tendon injuries are common in performance horses due to receptive stresses and over exertion. Support boots can provide the horse with a decrease in stress on the ligaments and tendons of the lower leg and significantly decrease the chance of injury.
Equine Lower Leg Tendon and Ligament Injuries
The most commonly damaged tendons of the lower leg are the superficial digital flexor tendon and the deep digital flexor tendon. The most commonly damaged ligaments of the lower leg are the accessory ligaments and the suspensory ligament. Injuries usually result from excessive loading and over-stretching of the tendons and ligaments or trauma to the ligaments (can be caused by a hoof hitting the leg or running into something). Support boots as seen in the pictures above can be used to reduce the risk of injury during training and performance.
What I like about the Kavallerie Boots
I have used numerous support boots throughout my equine career and the Kavallerie boots have proven to be one of my favorites. I like how easy they are to put on and off and they are also very easy to clean. They are comfortable for the horses and provide support without restricting movement. They can be used with both English and Western disciplines.
Learn more about our program
Holistic Animal Studies by Angel’s Animals, LLC is an online program that is based out of Port Orange, Florida USA. We also have an office in Superior, Colorado and instructors in Michigan, Minnesota and Alberta, Canada. We currently have students and practitioners in over 30 countries.
Our Holistic Animal Studies family is made up of students mainly in the USA, Canada and Australia, although we have students on every continent. Even though some of our students are thousands of miles apart, we are all connected by our desire to help animals and support each other through online platforms and social media. Our students and practitioners aid each other during their educational journey and develop lasting relationships. We are constantly impressed with the compassion and guidance our family of practitioners provide each other with.
Our school focuses on individuals who would like to begin a career in animal bodywork and also those who are looking to add new techniques to their existing practice. We also offer courses for animal owners, but mainly focus on courses for professionals.
I have always been passionate about animals and knew I would work with them in some aspect. I grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts, which is a small fishing community. My parents had dogs when I was born, but they did not share my same passion for animals. I was constantly bringing new animals home and convinced them to let me start horse back riding lessons as a young child. I ended up acquiring my first horse when I was 11 or 12 years old and have owned horses since then. I moved to Tucson, Arizona after completing high school and received a BS in Veterinary Science with a Minor in Equine Science from the University of Arizona. I decided to stay there for graduate school and earned a Master’s in Veterinary Pathobiology while working on infectious diseases. During my time in Arizona, I began to become more holistic oriented in the way I cared for my animals which led me to pursue an education in chiropractic. I received my Doctorate in Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, Florida. While I was in chiropractic school, I began taking extracurricular courses in animal chiropractic. During that time I also begin experimenting with the techniques I was learning for human patients on animals. I was so impressed with the results I was getting from utilizing kinesiology tape on animals, that I developed one of the first animal taping courses. I also began teaching other chiropractors how to perform adjustments and soft tissue releases on animals. This was the beginning of my career as an educator and led to the development of the courses I teach today.
During the process of creating and building this school, I learned a lot about my perseverance, intentions and dedication. Most importantly, I learned a lot about my students and practitioners and how capable they are at learning these techniques and successfully applying them. The amount of talent and love in this world is amazing and I am constantly impressed by our student’s ability. I feel blessed to be able to help people realize their talents and play a role in the creation of animal healers.
What Should Your Dog and Cat eat?
Dogs have been man’s best friend and companion for approximately 130,000 years. Yes, you read that right.DNA evidence suggests dogs were domesticated from wolves over 130,000 years ago. The incredible relationship between dog and humans has transcended cultural differences, crossed borders, and has remained intact through all the changes in society and tests of time. Yes, dogs are still our best friends (maybe cats are too) and it’s comforting to know this is likely never going to change. They are our guides, our companions, our soul mates, our workers, our confidantes, our family members, and their love and loyalty are endless. Their love represents the true definition of “unconditional”.
Because of this strong relationship and friendship, we continue to try to do the best we can for them. We love them, walk them, pet them, groom them, exercise them, talk to them, play with them, show them off (post a great dog or cat photo on facebook or instagram and your photo can go viral). Despite all of this attention to their needs, when it comes to making decisions about feeding our dogs, we easily get lost in the plethora of commercial foods and the advertising out there promoting these foods.
Over the past few decades, we have become a health and wellness obsessed society. We have learned what foods and supplements are needed for every possible body change or issue. Walk through any grocery or large superstore and you will see aisles of products and dietary options in many varieties for promoting our own health. However, walk through the pet food aisle and that is where the variety ends. Sure you will see many beautiful bags with bright colored and bold marketing slogans such as “All Natural”, “Complete and Holistic”, “Organic” , “Wellness”, etc. Many of the packages have gorgeous healthy dogs shown as their models. Who wouldn’t want their pet to look like that? You will even see packages claiming their food is what our dog’s ancestors ate. Really? Take a look at any ingredient list and tell me that wolves found these same ingredients in their prey animals. Most ingredient lists leave the consumer very confused and concerned. We end up wondering how much we really know about our dog’s nutritional needs.
Thankfully, here is what we know to be true. It is a fact that all animals can survive and thrive on the diet they were designed to eat. We know that dogs and cats are carnivores and that they were designed to eat a very high protein diet of meats, bones, and organs. This is not a debate. That is how their digestive processes and dentition were designed. We can look through the actual structure of their mouths, teeth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine etc...and see that they were designed to eat meat and bones. So why then did we feel the need to go against that and feed carbs and other ingredients that are actually harmful to dogs?
The pet food industry is a $75 BILLION dollar industry. That’s why. There is nothing more to this than the profits these companies are raking in. It is cheap to manufacture these dog and cat foods and let’s face it, the public is buying. The marketing works!Sadly, this has led to many chronic illnesses we see in epidemic proportions today. Obesity, Diabetes, Cancer, Auto Immune, Arthritis….doggy odors, huge smelly stools, impacted anal glands, peridontal disease…..All come from being fed an inappropriate diet. That’s right. Dogs on a raw diet, as nature intended, do not suffer from these problems in most all cases.
Feeding a species appropriate diet is feeding your cat or dog how nature intended! It’s actually a perfect design. In our Holistic Carnivore Nutrition course, we can show you how to feed, what to feed, and we will open your eyes to the pet food industry’s secrets. Exposing so many facts in the industry that they don’t want you to know. We will also shed light on why most vets do not recommend raw. Thankfully this is slowly beginning to change though as many holistic vets are now seeing the tremendous benefits to keeping their client’s pets healthy as opposed to having a revolving door of chronically sick animals and knowing they are in great part responsible. Also, we will address the many myths out there. Did you know that the only dog food salmonella transmission to humans in this country was from kibble? Yes. True! Raw food has never caused any salmonella issues. Learn the facts and you will change the way you look at your pet’s food. Your pets will thank you.
Knowing what food is ideal for your horse is an extremely important component of horse care. There are many different commercial feeds, supplements and feeding plans out there so it can become very confusing. In this article, I will explain what I perceive to be the important foundation of a horse's diet and show you how to view equine nutrition with a holistic approach.
Equine Digestion System
How Often Should You Feed Your Horse?
Using the information you just learned about your horse's digestive system, you are probably figuring out that you should feed your horse as often as you can. Since they are designed to eat all day, the ideal scenario for a horse is to be turned out on grass 24/7. If that is not a possibility, then they should be provided with a high quality hay (forage) all the time. It is recommended to give your horse access to a grass hay 24/7 and supplement with a legume (like alfalfa) or a legume/grass blend as needed. To ensure that your horse doesn't overeat or consume the hay too quickly, we recommend using a hay net or slow feeder. This will ensure that your horse is able to pick at the hay all day.
When feeding grain, you should never feed more than 4 lbs at a time because the horse's stomach is not able to hold and digest more than that. If you break up the feedings into 3 or more smaller feedings throughout the day, that is ideal. A horse's diet should be made up of at least 80% forage (grass and/or hay) and 20% or less grain. Many horses do fine with no grain at all. Grain has been known to cause inflammation in the horse's system and many horses do better on a grain free diet.
What Should You Feed Your Horse?
Holism means looking at the whole picture rather than the fundamental parts. When applying this to nutrition, it means that we need to look at the whole horse and take into consideration his anatomy, physiology and mental health when coming up with a feeding plan. Since horses were developed to eat small meals continuously throughout the day and their systems were designed to consumed primarily forage, it would be very physically and emotionally stressful to keep a horse in a stall or dry pen and deny them access to forage for extended periods of time. You should never ask a horse to go more than 3 hours without hay. The more turnout time a horse can have on grass (or with slow feed hay nets when grass isn't an option), the happier the horse will be. Happy horses will be easier to train, ride and handle.
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As many of you know, I had two foals born this year. It has been about 6 years since I raised foals and Stoli (paint) and Whisky (palomino) are the 10th and 11th foals I have raised in my lifetime. Over the years I have used different weaning methods, ranging from "cold turkey" weaning to natural weaning. Now that Stoli is 6 months old and Whisky is 5 months old, I am often asked when I plan to wean them. Most breeders wean their foals between 4-8 months of age. In this blog I would like to share my view on the best way to wean a foal.
Most Common Weaning Practices
Most breeders that I know practice what I would call "cold turkey" weaning. This is where the foal is abruptly separated from the mare (preferably where they can not see each other). Many times the foal is either turned out with other foals and/or a "baby sitter" horse. The baby sitter horse is normally an older mare or gelding who gets along well with young horses. The foal usually cries out for it's mom and paces the fence until it eventually (can last hours to days) settles down and seeks companionship from the other horse(s). If the mare and foal can hear each other's cries, this will usually prolong the process.
While this can be a very stressful way to wean, it can be warranted at times. Some circumstances that would support abrupt weaning are medical reasons and necessary sale of the foal and/or mare. However, it is important to note that in addition to it being emotionally stressful on the horses, it also can have physical implications. The potential risk to the mare and foal is higher due to them possibly trying to escape to find each other and also the likelihood of frantic running along the fence line. Additional, you need to consider the risk of GI ulcers during this high stress time. The mare will also experience discomfort as her udder enlarges due to the foal no longer nursing. The period of time it takes to dry up will vary from mare to mare. Some mares will dry up in days while others can take months.
Unlike "cold turkey" or abrupt weaning, gradual weaning takes place over a longer period of time. With this method of weaning, you can begin to separate the mare and foal for short sessions and then re-unite them. As they become comfortable with the short separations, you can then increase them until eventually you separate them permanently. This method of weaning is far less stressful for both the mare and foal and decreases the likelihood of separation anxiety. The longer you take to complete this process, the less emotionally traumatic it will be.
In the wild, the mare will naturally wean her foal by nipping at them when they attempt to nurse. The mare usually begins the process of natural weaning when the foal is about 10-11 months old in anticipation of her new foal being born (the foal will be 11-13 months old when their sibling is born).
This is my preferred method of weaning. Along with being the least stressful method of weaning, it also allows the foal to benefit from learning socialization skills from their mother and other horses. I believe that is essential to the foal's mental development to have them turned out with other horses. I try to always breed two mares together so that the foals can interact with each other and the additional mare. I also introduce my other horses (geldings) into the herd once the foals are old enough so that they can learn from them as well. In my opinion, the more horses a foal is around, the more mentally stable they will be as adults. I'm not a fan of keeping young horses together without older horses as role models. I also like the idea of the foals being able to benefit from the nutrients they receive from their mother's milk for a longer period of time. I believe this will make them physically and immunologically stronger.
That being said, natural weaning will not work in every situation. Sometimes stud colts will become too "stud-y" when left with their mom and other mares for that long. Other times the mare may not be able to physically handle the caloric requirements necessary to lactate and be pregnant at the same time. In these cases gradual weaning would be recommended.
Stoli and Whisky
With Stoli and Whisky (who are both fillies), I plan to do natural weaning with them. Their mothers are not pregnant again (I personally do not like to breed-back mares....I prefer to give them at least a year off in between pregnancies) and they are both in good condition. There is no reason for me to rush the weaning process. I will allow the mares to begin weaning them as they see fit. In the meantime, the foals are handled daily and are being exposed to different environments. They have stalls that they go in when the weather is bad and they have learned that just because they are separated from each other, it doesn't mean that it is permanent. They always see each other again. This takes a lot of the stress out of separation (not just separation from the mares, but separation from their other horse friends). They have been exposed to other horses and I move my geldings in and out of the pasture so they can become used to not always seeing them. We also ride the mares with the foals following along. We plan to do more of this during the winter when the weather cools off here in Florida. Whisky had an injury recently which required her to be in the hospital for a week. The silver lining to this was that she gained a lot of experience with the horse trailer, being handled by other people and being away from mom (for short periods) and away from the other horses (for 2 weeks). I plan to keep both Stoli and Whisky so they will remain with their moms until they go off for training as 3 year olds. My goal is for them to be completely independent and emotionally well rounded horses by that time. If you do not have the time or ability to work with your foal during the natural weaning process, I would recommend following gradual weaning instead. Foals that are too attached to their mom and companions will be more difficult to train and could potentially end up in bad situations. I like to know that if something were to ever happen to me, my horses would be productive members of society and have the best chance at a happy life.
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A common question that I get from both students and clients is if massage and other forms of bodywork are safe for pregnant mares and foals. The basic answer is yes. I will explain in this article the types of bodywork mares and foals can benefit from.
The Pregnant Mare
Massage Therapy is extremely beneficial for pregnant mares to help reduce muscle soreness due to compensated movement from the growing fetus. Many mares will begin to develop edema (swelling) under their belly and their legs towards the end of the pregnancy and massage can help mobilize that fluid and decrease the discomfort associated with it. There are some schools of thought that massage and cause pre-mature labor by unintentional stimulation of acupuncture points that are known to be associated with stimulating labor. I have not found this to be the case. I have been working on pregnant mares (both my own and clients) for the past 10+ years and have never had any issues. I do recommend avoiding the abdomen during the massage session (stay away from the fetus) and when in doubt, check with the horse's veterinarian first!
Body alignment is another very import modality that pregnant mares can benefit from. If the lower back, pelvis or sacrum are out of alignment, there is potential for a difficult birth. Ensuring that the mare is aligned will greatly aid in her ability to pass the foal through the birthing canal.
The images below are of Shea's recent birth. She was aligned using ANMR technique through her pregnancy and the morning before she foaled.
Kinesiology tape has been used on pregnant women for many years to help decrease back pain and add support due to the increased stress from the weight of the fetus. Mares can benefit from tape as well. The back pain support taping can be used to support the paraspinal muscles.
When Should You Refrain From Working on a Pregnant Mare?
Contraindications would include any underlying health issues, such as infection (placentitis), inflammatory conditions or any other health issue that would be a contraindication for massage in general. It is always best to consult with the mare's veterinarian before working on a pregnant mare.
It is never too soon to start massaging foals and introducing them to bodywork. This is a great time in their lives to get them used to having your hands on them and utilizing other tools such as mechanical massage tools, body alignment tools, red light pads, etc. Massage and bodywork will allow them to maintain proper function and range of motion as they grow and will also prepare them mentally to be handled as adults.
I always perform ANMR technique on my foals to ensure that they are in alignment after labor and also to get them used to the tool. Below is a video of Stoli, receiving her first ANMR session at 10 days old. They normally are standing during the session, but she was so relaxed that she slept through most of it!
Kinesiology tape has been shown to be very beneficial for foals who are suffering from angular limb deformities.
Take Home Message
Yes, pregnant mares, mares who have recently foaled and foals can all greatly benefit from massage and bodywork. I recommend utilizing someone who is trained in Equine Massage and Bodywork.
Want to become trained yourself or add new techniques to your practice? Check out our courses
Case Study: Utilizing Massage and Kinesiology Tape on a Horse with a Fetlock and Suspensory Ligament Injury
Performed and written by Shawn Klahr
6 year old QH mare used for driving presents with a limp and right front leg turned inward. Owner suspected that she slipped on ice. Owner opted to not consult with a veterinarian.
Palpation revealed swelling and pain at the right suspensory ligament and deep digital flexor tendon. Hypertonic muscles were also found in the neck, chest, shoulders and front legs.
Full body massage was performed, focusing on the tight areas found during palpation. Kinesiology tape was then applied to support the leg.
Shawn's tape application:
"I carefully cleaned the horse up, removing as much dirt and shedding fur as possible. Being that this horse would be out in the elements and in the mud, after a regular cleaning with a brush, I then used baby powder on the area that I needed to tape. I rubbed the powder in so it could soak up any moisture that may be there. After a few minutes, I then brushed away all the powder followed by wiping the area clean with a microfiber towel to ensure that the tape would adhere for as long as possible. Once the horse was prepped for taping, I began to apply the tape treatment. Since I suspect that the suspensory ligament is also affected, I made sure the “I” tapes were cut a little longer so that they could overlap under the fetlock applying both ends to the wall of the hoof.
I supported the fetlock with 50-75% stretch, with the middle of the tape at the center of the fetlock; I applied with a slight upward and forward angle . Then I applied a second support tape with less stretch, at a minimal angle.
Using two “I” tapes, I applied the first one as follows: first 2 inches with no stretch starting just below the carpal joint on the lateral side of the right front leg and behind the cannon bone. Then applied the tape up to the last 2 inches with 50% stretch from top to bottom along the deep digital flexor tendon. Then the last 2 inches were applied with no stretch below the fetlock. I then applied the second “I” tape in the exact same way but on the medial side of the left so that the inside and the outside both looked identical.
To secure the application I used two anchors. The first was applied with no stretch all the way around the leg at the carpal joint and the second was applied around the fetlock.
*Above you will see the tape application used. This particular application was performed on a different horse to demonstrate for this case study.
This process was repeated 3x a week for 6 weeks due to the horse being on 24/7 turnout (tape did not last as long). Horse was massaged each time prior to taping. By the end of the 6 weeks, her leg was straight again and she was walking normal.
Owner recommendations: The owner wanted to take her on a wagon train 5 months after her treatments ended. I strongly urged him to not go as I felt she needed more time to heal, but if he felt that he needed to, he would need to use medicine boots on her front legs and take breaks to allow her to rest and he would need to massage her leg at each break.
With the growing threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the world, it is important for our students and practitioners to do everything they can to keep themselves and their families healthy. In this article, I will discuss the risk associated with your animal massage business, ways to decrease exposure and how to boost your immune system.
What is the Risk Associated with Working with Animals?
The risk is low. At this time, there is no evidence that animals can become carriers of COVID-19. Therefore the social isolation protocols that are being implemented for people, do not apply to animals. It is safe to touch, handle and work on animals. The biggest concern will be limiting contact with the animal's owners. I suggest recommending that clients drop off their animals with you and pick them up when the session is completed or later in the day (with equine clients, just maintain a 6-10 ft distance from the owner). Since the virus remains viable on surfaces (could possibly include massage tools, leashes, dog bowls, etc), it is important to sanitize everything after each use and wash your hands thoroughly. Obviously if an owner or practitioner has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been diagnosed with the virus, you should discontinue all contact. Sanitizing equipment and implementation of distancing yourself from the animal's owners will allow you to safely continue your animal bodywork practice.
How to Minimize Exposure
Since most gatherings, including clinics, seminars and workshops are canceled, consider furthering your education through online educational courses during this time.
Boost Your Immune System
Many of our practitioners utilize modalities on their animal patients that can be used on themselves during this time to help boost their own immune system.
Use your cold laser to stimulate acupuncture points that boost immune function.
CV 8, CV4, CV6, EX-B3, ST36 to dispelling cold and removing dampness, nourishing spleen and stomach, improve the Immune System. Stimulate each point 3-5 minutes, once per day.
Haven't purchased a cold laser yet? Click here to view the laser I use. Use the coupon code ANGELIQUE at checkout for $20 off.
Essential oils have been proven to be antimicrobials.
Use of essential oils such as tea tree, eucalyptus and thyme have been shown to be effective against viruses (view full article here). Remember when using essential oils, it is important to purchase high quality oils and dilute them using a carrier oil before use.
High quality nutrition and supplementation can greatly increase immune function. Eliminate "junk" food from diet and replace with fresh produce and quality proteins. Minimize intake of sugary, caffeinated and artificially sweetened drinks and replace with water. The following supplements have been shown to boost the immune system: Vitamin D3, Echinacea, Vitamin C, Elderberry and Probiotics.
Take time to destress. Stress is a huge factor when it comes to disease susceptibility. Take time every day to play with your dog, pet your cat, ride your horse, get some sun and fresh air, red a book and do the things that make you happy!
Having pets is one of the most rewarding experiences in life, but it can also be challenging, especially if you don’t know what to expect. A good pet-parent relationship should be positive, and a huge part of making that happen comes from what you do before welcoming a pet into your life. You can get ready for the challenge by reading up on everything you need to know, from the type of care they need to choosing the perfect pet and making a smooth transition.
Lining Up Pet-Care Services
In addition to stocking up on necessities, it’s important to find trusted sources for pet services, such as a good vet clinic, a groomer, and options for pet care whenever you’re away. If you don’t love the idea of boarding your pet in a kennel, a great alternative is to use a pet sitter. It’s easy to search for pet sitters online — just be sure to research your options by interviewing candidates and observing how they interact with your pet.
Along with finding a vet you like, another thing to think about is whether you need pet insurance. First-time pet owners often find out — after the fact — that vet care adds up, but pet insurance helps make those costs more manageable. Similar to health insurance for people, different plans cover different services, and the costs also vary from one plan to another. In addition to considering these factors, make sure you choose a reputable company. One pet insurance company we recommend is Embrace because they have comprehensive coverage that includes preventative care, in addition to treatment when your pet gets sick or injured.
When you want to provide the best care for your new pet, we also recommend looking into holistic animal care like the practices we feature at Holistic Animal Studies. There are simple things you can do to give your pet a healthier, more balanced life, such as providing whole foods and getting treatments like mental stimulation and bodywork.
Finding the Perfect Pet
The most common household pets are cats and dogs, and you may already have an idea of which one fits your family’s lifestyle. If you’re still on the fence, it’s smart to do further research into how to be a responsible dog owner or what to expect from having a cat at home. Once you’ve narrowed down your decision to a feline or canine (or something else entirely!), the next questions to consider are whether you want a specific breed, the best age, and where to search.
Some first-time pet parents feel more comfortable getting a dog from a breeder so they can be sure they’re getting an animal with the temperament and traits they’re looking for. However, most responsible shelters do a great job of screening for an animal’s behavior and traits. If you’re thinking about adopting a shelter animal, the shelter’s staff can usually match you with a pet that meets your needs and lifestyle.
Along with personality, other factors, such as an animal’s age and activity level, can be just as important. Cesar’s Way explains that many people make the mistake of assuming it’s best to adopt a puppy. Puppies can be amazing fun, but they also require more time and energy than adult dogs. Dog Time also recommends thinking about the amount of exercise you can provide an animal. All animals need exercise, but cats are content for you to play with them inside, whereas energetic dogs need longer walks in addition to playtime.
Making a Happy Transition
When you’re ready to bring your new pet home, the way you handle this initial transition can make an enormous difference in how well they adjust. It helps if you have already gotten your home ready for your new dog or cat so they’ll feel safe and welcome.
It usually takes both humans and animals a little time to adjust to their new relationship. This is normal, so be patient! Bringing a pet into your life is a beautiful thing, and pretty soon you will both wonder what you ever did without each other.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Article Written by: Penny Martin
Animal Neuro-myofascial Release Technique, also known as ANMR, is a body alignment technique for both small and large animals. It utilizes a specialized tool that enables the practitioner to put motion into the soft tissues surrounding and adjacent to the vertebral column and other joints. This creates a combination of neurological input and soft tissue releases that allows the animal's body to "reset" itself leading to an improvement in posture, range of motion and gait.
Is this a Chiropractic Technique?
No, even though a tool is used that is similar to the Activator tool (a tool used in human chiropractic to perform Activator technique), this is not considered to be a chiropractic technique. Rather than using the tool to move bones, the tool is used to release soft tissues and provide neurological input through quick impulses. This technique is approved through the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and is considered to be a soft tissue technique.
Who can Perform this Technique?
This course and certification is available to anyone who is already certified in animal massage therapy or is a licensed Veterinarian, Veterinary Technician or Doctor of Chiropractic. Animal massage therapists find this technique to be a great addition to their practice, allowing them to address body mis-alignments quicker and more accurately than can be done with massage therapy alone. Veterinarians have began adding this technique to their practice to create additional revenue and offer clients with a non-medication, non-surgical treatment option for animals suffering from musculoskeletal issues. Many Doctors of Chiropractic have enjoyed adding ANMR to their practice to provide animals with effective and safe body alignment. State animal massage laws must be followed when practicing ANMR.
What Conditions can Benefit from ANMR?
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Yes, both small and large animals can greatly benefit from cold laser therapy to reduce pain associated with injuries and speed up healing time.
What is Cold Laser?
LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission Radiation and utilizes different wavelengths of low level light to stimulate the animal's tissues. It is called "cold" not because it is a form of cryotherapy but because unlike other medical lasers, this form does not give off heat.
How does it work?
The laser stimulates the animal's cells causing the mitochondria to produce more ATP (energy utilized by the cells) which allows for quicker cellular healing and a reduction in inflammation. Cold laser therapy works well for both acute and chronic injuries.
Types of Cold Lasers:
Class 1 & 2: can be purchased over the counter and has a max power of 5mW continuous diode output. Lease powerful of the cold lasers.
Class 3: designed for practitioners, but can be purchased for at home use as well. Has a max power of 500mW continuous laser diode output. This is the class of laser that I recommend for my students to purchase.
Class 4: Any laser with output of 500mW or more. Mainly used by medical professionals. Gives off heat and can damage eyes if used without protective glasses.
Contraindications to use:
Laser I recommend:
If you are looking for an effective, easy to use and easy to handle laser, I highly recommend the Class 3 laser in the photographs. I have personally used this laser on many animals and myself with great results. This laser is very affordable, but requires longer treatment sessions than the next laser I recommend below. Overall, it is an excellent affordable option to add Cold Laser Therapy to your practice.
When purchasing through the link above, use the coupon code ANGELIQUE for $20 off the white laser!!!
The cranium of the horse is made of flat bones that articulate with each other through joints called sutures. These sutures allow the bones to move slightly leading to a slight expansion and contraction as the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) is pumped through the cranium. The movement of these bones is the basis for craniosacral therapy.
Cranial Bone Misalignments
The cranial bones can become "jammed" due to trauma/injury or the process of traveling through the birth canal when the horse is born. When the bones shift and become "stuck" in this position, it will lead to decreased movement of the bones as the CSF is pumped through the cranium. This can ultimately lead to symptoms such as head aches, difficulty concentrating, runny eyes or nose, head shaking and other behaviors. Visually, it can be noted as asymmetry in the face.
Re-aligning the Bones
The cranial bones can be brought back in to proper alignment using specific craniosacral techniques to release the bones. Chronic misalignments will often take multiple sessions to resolve fully. Most horses will begin to show a decrease in symptoms following the first session.
Looking for Asymmetries
A good way to check for asymmetries is to take a picture of the horse's head when standing directly in front of them. You can then draw a line vertically from the mid section of the top of their head (by the poll) to the middle of their upper lip/nose. Next draw horizontal lines connecting the top of each eye and the top of each nostril. An additional horizontal line at the bottom of the lips can also be drawn. If the lines are all perpendicular to each other (create 90 degree angles) then the horse's skull is symmetrical. If 90 degree angles are not found, then asymmetry due to shifting of the cranial bones is present.
Checking for Changes
After releasing the appropriate cranial bones, you should then take another picture of the horse's head and re-draw the lines to determine if improvement has been made.
This picture above, which was taken immediately after the first session, shows little improvement. Due to the chronicity of the symptoms and the small improvement, kinesiology tape was applied over the parietal and frontal bones and nasal sutures. The picture below shows the amount of asymmetry present following 24 hours of wearing the tape.
Cranial Bone Releases - 2nd Session
The kinesiology tape was left on another 24 hours (48 hours total) and then was removed before the second craniosacral session. During the second session, a sacral and tail release was performed before releasing the cranial bones. The picture below shows the results after the cranial bone releases were performed. Note a drastic improvement in the nasal and lip lines.
This horse is experiencing a decrease in symptoms and an improvement in attitude. She will continue with monthly craniosacral sessions at this time to further improve facial symmetry, reduce the reoccurrence of symptoms and improve proper function.
Special thanks to Mary Beth Nunes on her assistance in performing the primary CST session!
Want to learn more about CST and the cranial bone releases?
Dr. Angelique Barbara is the founder of Angel's Animals LLC, a company that has developed online animal bodywork courses for both owners and professionals. Dr. Barbara's unique teaching style along with the dynamic layout of the courses allows people of different educational backgrounds from all over the world to benefit from her knowledge.