Tag: horses

 

Feed Your Horse The Best: Whole Live Nutritious Food Part 4

Whole Food 4: Herbs and More

In our final month of whole foods, let’s talk about a few herbs and “other” foods that are packed full of nutrition.

hawthorneHawthorn Berries are high in antioxidants.  They contain the flavonoids such as quercitin, and oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs)- the same antioxidants found in grapes.  In Europe, they are used as a heart tonic and to treat circulatory and heart disorders.

 

 

 

 

rasp leafRed Raspberry Leaf is high in vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, iron and vitamin B.  Most horse people are familiar with raspberry leaf as a uterine relaxant and it’s suggested use for mares when “in heat”.  Some horse owners have reported limited success with using raspberry for those reasons.  I advise horse owners to tailor a herbal prescription to their individual horse’s needs and not just rely on over the counter preparations.

 

 

 

pollenBee Pollen is another excellent source of amino acids.  Bee pollen is considered a super food that interestingly we can’t artificially produce.  It is full of vitamin and minerals and many have acclaimed it’s super powers.  My only concern is the plight of the honey bee.  They are dying out fast and while scientist know of multiple causes, there seems to be little hope for these great pollinators.

 

 

noniNoni Fruit has a vast array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and phytonutrients.  Noni fruit is thought to be a antioxidant, anti inflammatory, analgesic and an antibacterial.

 

 

 

 

rosehipRosehips are a rich source of vitamin C but also contain vitamin A, B and K.

 

 

 

 

So that completes our list, although I wouldn’t say it’s complete.  I just wanted to give you a sample of the many foods available that pack a punch in nutrition.  Supplementing our horses doesn’t require synthetic or man made vitamins and minerals that congest and clog our horses systems up.  Not only do we over supplement our horses with vitamins and minerals but many of the synthetics are not utilized by the body and are actually harmful.  Hopefully this list gave you a place to start in providing a rich source of vitamins and minerals to your horse without having to pay the expensive price tag on processed supplements.

Remember this information is not to replace veterinary advice or care.  Always consult a equine nutritionist when changing your horses diet.

Don’t forget to contact me if you’d like a topic covered in a future blog.  Until next time,

Rebecca

 

 

 

Feed Your Horse The Best: Whole Live Nutritious Foods Part 3

Whole Foods 3: Seeds and Such

Last month we talked about some great whole foods that are not only packed with nutrition but are treats our horses love to eat.  Today I want to talk about seeds and some other dried foods that are great additions to an equine supplement you are attempting to make or looking to buy.  Check these out…

nutr yeast Nutritional Yeast is an excellent source of amino acids, B vitamins and provides the compounds beta-1,3 glucan, trehalose, mannan and glutathione, which are associated with enhanced immunity, reduced cholesterol levels and cancer prevention. Nutritional yeast also has the minerals iron, selenium and zinc.  Note that it has been heated and deactivated so there isn’t any active yeast.  (This is especially important for people who add it to their diet because it won’t cause or aggravate any candida growth.)  You will find this listed in holistic supplements for horses and therefore is something you should know about.

 

 

kelpKelp (a nutritional seaweed) is an excellent mineral supplement containing most of the trace minerals and some ultra trace minerals.  It also contains proteins and the vitamins A,B, C, D, E and K making it a great nutritional supplement.  Kelp also contains a biological available form of calcium and iodine.  Your source for kelp is important as some products are mislabeled and some products have toxic metals in them.  It helps to do a little research on the source of kelp before you feed it to yourself or your horse.

 

 

 

spirulinaSpirulina (a bluegreen algae) is known to be a good source of protein, carotenoids, iron and minerals.  Loaded with antioxidants, spirulina, is being researched for it’s role in immune function, cleansing out toxins and fighting diseases such as cancer.

 

 

 

 

hempHemp Seeds are a great source of protein and amino acids, essential fatty acids and phytonutrients.  Similar to flax seeds, hemp seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids but additionally provides significant amounts of the more rare ‘super’ polyunsaturated fatty acids, notably gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (SDA). Supplementation with GLA and SDA appears to alleviate the symptoms of atopic dermatitis and other skin diseases.

 

 

Flax Seeds. please read my previous article about the benefits of flax seeds by clicking here.

chiaChia Seeds.  According to Mountain Rose Herbs they contain “Essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, 30% protein, Vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, iron, iodine, copper, zinc, sodium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, silicon, and anti-oxidants.”  They are concentrated little powerhouses of nutrition.  Unlike flax seeds, chia seeds are digested and do not need to be ground.

 

 

pumpkinPumpkin seeds are also packed with omega 3 fatty acids.  They are a good source of magnesium and zinc.  Studies show they help improve insulin regulation and lower inflammation in the body.  In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good source of tryptophan which the body uses to make serotonin.

 

 

 

sunflowerSunflower seeds are high in vitamin E.  The antioxidant properties of vitamin E are known to fight numerous diseases from asthma to arthritis.  They are also a good source of magnesium and selenium.

 

 

 

sesameSesame Seeds.  The World’s Healthiest Foods says “Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber.”

 

 

 

It’s amazing how these little seeds can have such nutritional value and therefore great disease fighting and health promoting properties.  It makes me not only want to include them into my horses diet but also my own.

Feed Your Horse The Best: Whole Live Nutritious Foods Part 2

Whole Foods 2: Fresh Foods

Last time we talked about why whole foods are so great for your horse and the downsides of feeding processed foods.  If you haven’t read that article, you can find it here.  Today, let’s review some edible fresh foods for horses and what nutrients they have in them.  While some of these you may already give to your horse, I bet some you never thought of.  I want to mention that when introducing new foods proceed slowly as to not upset your horses digestive system.  In addition, realize that not all foods will be palatable to your individual horse.

carrots

Carrots are rich in beta carotene which converts into retinol, the most usable vitamin A for the body.  It is recommended that horses get between 24,000 & 50,000 IU per day.  1 cup of carrots has about 18,000 IU.  Green grass has vitamin A but in winter horses can easily become deficient because stored hay looses it’s vitamin content pretty quickly.  Carrots also contain vitamin K, C, E, B1,, B2, B3, B6, potassium, folate, copper, phosphorous, pantothenic acid and manganese.

 

 

applesApples contain polyphenols which are not only a great source of antioxidants but also have been shown to reduce blood sugar.  Apparently, the apple slows down carbohydrate digestion and reduces glucose absorption.  In human research, apples are good for the cardiovascular system, anti-cancer and anti-asthma.  Apples are a good source of vitamin C.

 

 

 

peasPeas are great antioxidants and anti-inflammatory.  They contain vitamin K, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, copper, manganese, zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron and choline.

 

 

 

 

pumpkinsPumpkin reportedly safe to offer your horses.  I’ve never tried it but might this coming fall and see what they do.  I do feed pumpkin seeds and that we will cover in the future under seeds and such.  Pumpkin is high in vitamin A, B, antioxidants and many minerals.  Might be worth a try!

Mango pieces can be fed to your horse but NOT the pit/seed. Mangos are another good source of vitamin C and A.

 

 

 

bananasBananas are a great source of potassium but also manganese, biotin, copper, vitamin C, and B6.  The most antioxidants are from very ripe bananas and horses are happy to gobble them up.

 

 

 

 

wheat grassWheat Grass is like a horse superfood.  I grow this indoors during the winter or early spring to give my horses a special treat.  It’s full of minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium and selenium.  Vitamins in wheatgrass include A, C, E, and several B vitamins. The most prevalent vitamin in wheatgrass is pantothenic acid.

Fresh herbs are a great addition to your horses diet.  Again these can be grown inside and offered during the winter months when it’s hard for horses to get anything fresh.  Although the discussion of herbs for your horse is beyond this blog here is a list of some herbs you can try: chamomile, red clover, calendula or thyme.

There are other vegetables and fruit (without pits) that supposedly are safe to feed your horse, I’ve just never tried them.  Obviously this information is not to replace veterinary care and I cannot be held liable for this information.  Just saying…

 

 

TRIGGER POINTS… The One Thing Standing In Your Way to Blue Ribbons

What is a trigger point?

A trigger point is a hyper-irritable spot located in a tight band of skeletal muscle.  If you’d had an active trigger point, you know how painful they can be.  They can produce pain locally and radiate out into seemingly other unrelated parts of the body.  Inactive trigger points which often cause stiffness and decreased range of motion without pain are far more common.  While trigger points can accompany many chronic musculo-skeletal disorders, they are caused by an muscle overload either by acute trauma (fall, injury etc) by sustained, prolonged activity or by repetitive micro trauma.  Nerve compression and the decreased flow of blood and oxygen further injure the muscle.  This dysfunction of the muscle then creates further complication in the tendons, ligaments and skeleton of the horse.  The persistent pain associated with trigger points results in both a decrease function in the muscles of locomotion and in the postural muscles.  This is why it’s so important to address trigger points.

Perpetuating Factors

While factors that increase the formation of trigger points are numerous and sometimes hard to detect, they are important.  Without the proper attention they can spell the difference between success and failure in treatment.

  • Mechanical stress
    1. skeletal & postural asymetry
    2. poor fitting tack compressing nerves in the paravertebral muscles
    3. rider imbalance
    4. lack of warmup
    5. overuse of muscles causing fatigue
  • Nutritional imbalances
  • Metabolic and endocine disorders
    1. Cushings Syndrome
    2. Low Thyroid
    3. Insulin Resistance
    4. Equine Metabolic Syndrome
  • Psychological Problems
    1. depression
    2. anxiety
    3. stress
  • Chronic disease and infections
    1. ulcers
    2. allergies
    3. respiratory disease
    4. liver and kidney dysfunction
    5. heart murmurs
    6. etc.

Types of Trigger Points

Central tigger points are located in the most electrically excitable area of the muscle, also called the motor point of the muscle.  These points are usually found over the body of the muscle and dysfunction causes contraction knots, nodules and taut fibers.

Attachment trigger points are located at the attachment of the muscle onto fascia, tendons or bone.  The strain on the muscle at these attachments causes swelling, tenderness and pain.

Key trigger points is the main trigger point responsible for the activity of additional trigger points.  Clinically this becomes apparent when the release of one trigger points also causes the release of additional trigger points called satellite trigger points.   For long term affects, both the key and satellite trigger points  need to be released.

Trigger Point Treatment

There are many ways to release trigger points and different modalities of alternative medicine address them even if they don’t aknowledge them as such.  However, Janet Travell, author of the Trigger Point Manual, recognized the following successful treatments for trigger points.

  • stretching
  • warmth
  • vapocoolant spray during stretching
  • isometric contractions and voluntary contraction and relaxation of the muscle
  • percussion during stretching
  • range of motion exercises that fully lengthen and shorten every muscle treated
  • ischemic compression (best on central trigger points)
  • deep stroking massage
  • myofascial release
  • injections
  • dry needling/acupuncture

 

Acupuncture and Trigger Points

Research has shown acupuncture to be effective in treating muscle pain and releasing trigger points.  We also know that acupuncture speeds healing of injured tissue and brings blood and oxygen to the local area.  Interestingly, The Tri State College of Acupuncture calls the study of Acupuncture in the release of trigger points: Acupuncture Physical Medicine.  They have a great quote related to this very study.  “Acupuncture Physical Medicine or dry needle release of a trigger point is safer than trigger point hypodermic needling and far easier than manual trigger point release, yet as effective as either”.  Trigger point treatment via acupuncture combines Japanese meridian therapy techniques along with current knowledge in trigger point therapy.  While trigger points are (according to Travell) very persistent most of the medical community focuses instead on the injury to tendons, ligaments and joints.  We all know that acupuncture was meant to be preventative.  This is one area where it rings true.  Why not address the trigger points with acupuncture and body work before they impact the fascia, tendons, ligaments and skeletal system?

 

 

Why You Aren’t Getting the Performance Results You Want.

Performance Enhancement

Treatment Frequency

I’ve done this before, but wanted to try it again.  Dancer, my own horse, has been working really hard this spring.  He’s been doing great but hasn’t felt quite as good in his back as I know he can feel.  He’s NOT lame nor does he palpate to be sore.  Everything looks and feels as it should but he’s just not flowing in his trot.  In response, I begin the experiment.

Over a 3 week period Dancer got 4 acupuncture treatments.  About every 5 days.  WOW, what a difference it made.  He felt better after the first treatment but by the fourth he was really supple.  He is swinging over his back, easy to connect and easy to engage.  The best news… it’s been 10 days since the last treatment and he still feels wonderful.  I’m so amazed at how powerful this medicine is.

Prepping for Competition

How can this benefit you?  Think about your training.  Is there something your horse is struggling with?  Would it help if your horse felt better in his body?  Preparing for a big clinic, event or show?  Wouldn’t it be great to walk into that competition with your horse feeling amazing?

Changing Plans

Think on this.

Scenario #1 is the routine client.  I have many “routine” clients that get me out to work on their horse on a regular basis to ensure their horse feels it’s best.  This routine is usually about once a month.  I’m not advocating treating a horse every week for the rest of it’s life but too often I see us rely on acupuncture as a one time treatment.  I don’t think we are truly utilizing the power of this medicine.  Let’s try something different…Instead of once a month for several months, let’s try twice a week for 2 weeks every 3 months.  It ends up being the same amount of money but I think you will see better results.

Another schedule.

Scenario #2 is the client who calls me up to prepare for a big event.  What if instead of calling me out every 3-6 months for one treatment, we really make a big impact on the horse by doing 4-5 treatments right in a row.  Really give the horse the boost he needs.  Again, I think you will be extremely pleased with the result and you will be setting the horse up for success.

Listen Up

Research has proven that frequent treatment back to back is very effective even with long standing problems.  My horse just helped prove this.  As usual, when I listen to my horse I learn.  Dancer is teaching me an important lesson.  Frequent treatment is the key to success.  Let’s try it on your horse and see the great results.

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