Monthly Archives: September 2013

Do You Feed Your Horse Oil?

Many people add oil to grain and supplements for added calories and nutrition. The following information might cause you to rethink this practice!

This process is used for corn and soybeans:

“…the main component (to extract the oil) used is hexane, a chemical solvent that is used to make gasoline. Hexane is classified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a neurotoxin. After just 10-15 minutes of exposure, vertigo, headaches, nausea, and eye and upper respiratory tract irritations can develop. Repeated exposure can lead to muscle weakness, numbness, and neurological disorders. According to the Environmental Protection Agency the vegetable oil industry is the largest emitter of hexane.”

And if that is not enough to make you and your animals sick, there is more:

“The oil is then treated with two other chemicals, sodium hydroxide and phosphoric acid. Then it’s bleached and treated with hydrochloric acid to remove all color pigments. The next step is deoderizing.”

Pandora’s Lunchbox by Melanie Warner

A healthy alternative is to buy organic flax seed in bulk, which is quite inexpensive, and grind it yourself daily. Ground flaxseed turns rancid in about 24 hours (remember, there are no chemical preservatives!) so you will want to feed it within that time period.

Vegetable Oil Production Machinery:

Organic flax seed:

Applications for Cold Laser Therapy

Cold laser therapy is a form of treatment that involves the use of a low intensity laser to address pain and inflammation.

The underlying science behind cold laser therapy is valid, as studies have shown that light of certain wavelengths can reduce pain and inflammation. Lasers use very focused beams of light that can be used to target specific areas.

Low level laser therapy has been shown to treat a wide range of disorders which, at first, seem to have nothing or very little in common.

For example, LLLT can accelerate wound and burn healing, reduce pain in different limbs
all over the body, improve the condition of patients after a stroke, help in treatment of
diabetic angiopathy, and reduce stiffness and inflammation.
The physiological effects of laser light at low intensity are not completely understood, but
what is known is that it has three main effects:
• biostimulation/tissue regeneration
• anti-inflammatory

• analgesic (pain relieving)

Most often the person receiving laser treatment doesn’t feel anything. Sometimes you may feel a mild tingling sensation or a mild numbing of the region being treated. This is due to the natural production of endorphins, your natural painkillers.

An Overlooked Area of the Horse

In between the last rib and the hip is a small, but very important area of your horse. There are five major muscle attachments that converge here that are responsible for bending, the swing of the hind legs, lateral movement, and canter departs. If any of the muscles that attach here are tight, the hind end will not work correctly. When you see very tight movement in the hind legs, it may be that the area from rib to hip point needs massage. The affected muscles are the tensor fascia latae, the iliacus, the external oblique, the internal oblique, and the transverse abdominus.

If your horse is having trouble passing a jog, try having these muscles worked on. There should be immediate improvement.

Technological Advances for Healing Injuries

Most horse owners have heard of stem cell therapy for their injured horses. A new form of treatment was approved by the FDA this spring. It is a form of stem cell therapy that is injected under the skin and combined with supplements that are targeted to treat specific conditions.

Some of the conditions that have successfully responded to StemPhase are: soft tissue injuries, arthritis, spinal problems, neck problems, suspensory and other ligament injuries, navicular, ring bone, side bone. It also seems to speed healing for post operative equine patients.

In clinical trials, almost all horses had a high cure rate with no negative side effects. 90% of the 1800 horses were cured with a single injection. For horses that have seemed beyond help, there is hope!

What Do You Think of Barefoot Trimming?

Thermal imaging now allows us to see that horse shoes reduce circulation to the foot. Shoes are placed on the hoof when it is unloaded and because of their rigidity, the hoof cannot expand on loading as nature intended, thus interfering with the circulatory system of the foot.

Proponents of barefoot trimming say it reduces the occurrence of arthritis, navicular disease, back and joint pain. Far from the high tech shock absorption of modern athletic shoes for humans, the horse’s shoes INCREASE the effects of impact many times.

I would love to hear feedback on this topic. I am open to all improvements in technology that reduce injury and pain. Is it possible for upper level event, dressage, jumpers, etc. to compete successfully barefoot?

Muscles for Lateral Movement

There are muscle pairs that move bones sideways. They are the abductors/adductors. The abductors are on the outside of the body and move the limbs sideways. The adductors are located on the inside of the legs and work to bring the limbs back to the body.

It is important to release tight adductor muscles before dressage work so the horse can perform lateral movements and avoid injury. The best treatment for this injury, which is the equivalent of a groin injury in humans, is prevention!

Cold Laser and Show Jumping

I was working at the Twin Rivers Horse Trials this past weekend. One of my clients asked if using the cold laser on his horse’s legs might help him be tidier over fences, as he tends to knock rails with his hind legs.  I used the laser on him and also on a pony who is always the smallest in his division. I was amazed when I watched their stadium rounds. Both tucked their hind legs way up and jumped beautifully. Next show I am going to use the cold laser on all four legs of a big warm blood who is sometimes a little tired and slow in show jumping after flying around cross country. I’m hoping this discovery will help him win. He is always in the top five, but he is due to get the blue!

More on Massage

When muscle cells can slide easily past each other, movement is smooth. If certain cells or muscle fibers adhere to each other, a muscle may have difficulty shortening as well as lengthening. Any time muscle fibers get clumped together, the muscle will be prevented from easily lengthening or shortening. A muscle can get stuck in an extended position, a situation I see fairly frequently with the pectoral muscles of a horse, and the triceps. A buckling may occur on shortening: think of a rug getting wrinkled.

How Tight is Your Nose Band?

Many riders and trainers believe the tighter they fasten a horse’s nose band, the more control they will have while riding. True, tight nose bands increase a horse’s sensitivity to the bit, but they could also inflict pain and cause tissue damage, said Orla Doherty, MVB, MSc, MRCVS, of University College Dublin and the University of Limerick.

“Pressure applied by tight nose bands can restrict normal movements of the jaw, such as chewing or yawning, but the potential for damage to soft tissues, such as nerves, within the head is poorly understood,” Doherty said. “We’re measuring pressure so we can hopefully set safe (nose band tightness) guidelines. This will help to protect the welfare of the ridden horse and will also help prevent the development of painful lesions. We will also hopefully help improve horse and rider safety, as horses in pain are more likely to display flight or fear responses such as head-tossing, bolting, etc.”

Continue reading

Case Study of a 9 Year Old Holsteiner

I had an interesting case today: an upper level warm blood dressage and event horse. This horse is stunning and balanced, but quite large. He is over 17 hands, has a long neck and back, and big bones. His owner sent me video of a recent dressage lesson and pointed out that he was a bit stiff behind and not coming through over his back. I watched the video several times. The ride was lovely, but the horse seemed uncomfortable. I saw slight twisting of the head, occasional gaping of his mouth: just little signs that something was not quite right.

When I started working on the horse, I noticed one side of his neck was more hollow than the other. I also found big spasms in the rhomboid and brachiocephalicus. These muscles are in the neck, and even though the owner felt that jumping had left the horse stiff in the hind end, I thought that if I could release the spasms in the front end, the hind end would be able to connect and the back would come through. The brachiocephalicus muscle needs to contract properly for jumping and collected work. With the spasm on the left side of his neck, this horse appeared stiff behind because he wasn’t working through his back as well as he could. The big spasms in the rhomboid muscle also were preventing him from reaching and arching his neck.

I also worked on the splenius, a muscle that attaches at the poll, the atlas, and three vertebrae in the neck. As I worked, the hollow looking space in the neck started to match the fuller side. The splenius muscle must be functioning properly to have the flexion necessary in the upper levels. I then did some myofascial release on either side of the neck and there were audible snap,crackle, and pops!

This wonderful horse seemed very relaxed and happy by the end of the session. He will be competing this weekend and I expect to see more connection, balance, flexibility, and freedom of movement.

Send me a message if you would like to know how he places in his championship division!

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