1. Ignorance is the number one toxic substance.
I am adamant about my clients and everyone who attends my clinics to “make this information their own”. If I can plant a seed of interest or common sense or fascination with anyone willing to take an honest look at what keeps our bodies and minds healthy, I will have succeeded in helping all of our animals have a more fruitful, meaningful and happy life.
2. We have to stop feeding our horses to death if we would say we care about their welfare.
Horses haven’t ever in their pre-hominid history ingested the kinds of calories, grains, processed foods or green pasture that they are now forced to eat. Horses need access to high fiber, low starch forage all the time to be healthy. There are many ways to accomplish this, such as using track systems and slow feeders, and the rewards in improved health and vitality are immense. Providing horses with some amount of a varied diet is not easy, but it is necessary to attain that healthier mind and body.
3. Horses have never been so confined and denied the space to even trot and canter at will, with other horses in a herd environment.
What might the “minimum space requirements” be for a herd of horses to be healthy in captivity? It’s much bigger than any barn I’ve ever seen, including the attached round pen. Horses need others of their kind in the same enclosure, with adequate space to run at full speed and interact without having to turn a constant circle. Think the size of at least one football field and we’ll be getting close. They also enjoy having a job, and therein lies OUR opportunity to share time with them and develop that partnership.
4. The more common paradigm of hoof care that would apply steel to hooves continues to be of major dis-service to the horses.
Yes, the steel is the problem, but even more poisonous is the dismissiveness of professional farriery and veterinary medicine to the undeniable evidence that shoeing is harmful to the horse. There is absolutely no blame that needs assigning around this, just an honest evaluation of what is true. What we will see, and continue to need, is increased interest in natural hoof care, such that it becomes the gold-standard. Already there is a great need in most areas for competent hoof care providers. I’ve always noted that the current population of farriers is in the best position to fill this niche, but it remains to be seen whether it can open its heart to the task.
5. Other important areas of concern are with over-vaccination and overuse of dewormers, with resulting damage to the horse’s immune system.
To inject our animals with multiple antigens every few months increases the bank accounts of veterinarians and vaccine manufacturers, and makes a hefty withdrawal from our animals’ immune cell inventory. Again, researching this kind of information is critical if you want to operate from truth rather than fear.
6. Investigating the advancements in equine dentistry is another area that will pay real dividends for you and your horses.
An approach to the horse’s mouth that begins with their incisors will preserve their natural abilities to utilize the forage they evolved to eat. Traditional “floating” of horses’ teeth does not serve them in this regard. Unless horses have the opportunity to consistently graze to feed themselves, their incisors will be out of balance due to lack of wear. Keeping their incisors of a proper length and angle will allow their chewing teeth to stay in balance, and often prevent sharp point and ridges from forming.