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Equi-Spa All-Natural Horse Grooming Products

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  • 515-770-3517
  • Sherie Vermeer
  • August 10, 2018 04:39:30 PM
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A Little About Us

Equi-Spa is a pioneer of spa quality, premium horse-care products formulated from natural ingredients and aromatic plant essences. The Equi-Spa grooming range combines the healing power of nature, and the principles of aromatherapy to benefit horse, rider, and the environment.

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    Equine Aromatherapy: For Dressage Horses and Equine Athletes

    Equine aromatherapy is becoming accepted as a viable complimentary means of care, along with massage, chiropractic, acupressure, homeopathy, magnetic therapy, and therapeutic touch for horses. In fact, there has been positive research correlating the use of essential oils to evoke specific responses in horses as evidenced by this research report published in the Journal of […] The post Equine Aromatherapy: For Dressage Horses and Equine Athletes appeared first on...

    Equine aromatherapy is becoming accepted as a viable complimentary means of care, along with massage, chiropractic, acupressure, homeopathy, magnetic therapy, and therapeutic touch for horses.

    In fact, there has been positive research correlating the use of essential oils to evoke specific responses in horses as evidenced by this research report published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. So it reasons that equine aromatherapy can be encouraged in some situations. Most of my experience has been with dressage horses. This article outlines how aromatherapy can be used for the dressage horse.

    Dressage involves close cooperation between horse and rider; Equine aromatherapy creates balance and clarity

    Dressage is a complex sport that is not only physically demanding, it also relies on the mental conditioning of the horse and rider team. It takes years of training for a horse and rider team to reach their peak, in performance and competition, compared to other equine athletes. Aromatherapy can assist the dressage athlete. Aromatherapy is a perfect resource for helping keep these horses in balance, as Essential Oils work on many levels helping the body balance physically, mentally and emotionally.

    Aromatherapy utilizes Essential Oils, which are made up of compounds that are the reason plants have historically, been used for healing purposes. Equine Aromatherapy is also becoming more common as a means of managing the well being of many high level equine athletes. I personally have had the pleasure of working with several of these wonderful horses and have witnessed positive results.

    Essential oils and their use with and for horses

    When I go to work on a horse, I take 2 blends with me. I offer the horse a chance to choose one of the 2 blends. It is very easy to determine the horse’s preference by their response. One of the blends, Shoe-Thyme, has oils which are blended to balance a horse that is emotionally stressed. The other, CMW, is to balance a horse that is physically stressed and holds tension in the muscles. I may offer a single oil to gain more insight on the horse’s present state.

    For instance, if the horse chooses Show-Thyme, I may offer ylang ylang which helps geldings with confidence, and mares needing hormonal balance. Or sweet orange which is a calming antidepressant for a horse that may be missing his pasture mates. If the horse chooses the CMW blend I may offer black pepper which has a slight analgesic effect and relaxes muscles. Another option is peppermint that is energizing and also helps with respiratory strength.

    girl with pretty white horse
    horses can get real benefit from aromatherapy

    Horse aromatherapy

    I proceed to use the chosen blend, allowing them to inhale, which is immediately absorbed into the system via the olfactory center in the brain and the circulatory system via the lungs.

    Equine aromatherapy requires consideration of many factors just like it would for human beings.

    Sherie Vermeer

    The horse responds by lowering his head or chewing or even closing his eyes. I use a combination of the essential oils and acupressure, moving from the head, poll, crest, back, front legs and back legs on both sides.

    I usually work with them for about 30 to 40 minutes which includes soft massage, unblocking energy meridians and stretching exercises, specifically designed for dressage horses. I stretch out the tail to open and stretch the lower spine. I stretch out the shoulders and haunches. The essential oils are helpful as I work to keep the horse calm and to directly affect the muscle group and pressure points I am working on at the time.

    Essential oils for your horse grooming kit

    Stallions are prominent in Dressage. This presents special challenges due to the number of mares and stallions there who need to be focused on their job and not mother nature.  Some people have used a mentholated salve in the noses of stallions and mares to prevent them from smelling each other.

    This product is toxic if ingested and irritating to sensitive areas like noses. It melts and has an unpleasant taste if the horse licks it.  There is a product available that works, is non toxic, and tastes sweet. It is made with Anais essential oils and beeswax. It gently blocks the smell center and also has a calming effect on the horse. As the beeswax melts it is pleasantly sweet to the horse.

    Equine Aromatherapy: in conclusion

    Often I am asked for aromatherapy for the rider if they are experiencing tension as that could be transferred to the horse. I also try and teach the person responsible for grooming or riding the horse how to use the essential oil blends, and stretching exercises to use at home as it is very beneficial for schooling as well as the show ring.

    The results of equine aromatherapy are horses that are calmer, more focused and systemically balanced.  Riders confirm this by relating stories of bigger more fluid movement and a more relaxed horse, and a positive experience for the rider. You can see related information I have formulated on my work caring for foals.

    The post Equine Aromatherapy: For Dressage Horses and Equine Athletes appeared first on Equi-Spa.


    Cleaning Horse Hooves: Effective Horse Hoof Conditioning Tips

    Hooves are a critical part of any horse and when something is not right, a negative ripple effect can occur. Some horses have become lame and others have even died from hoof issues. Conditioning and cleaning horse hooves involves taking proper care of this vital part. There is an array of problems that can attack […] The post Cleaning Horse Hooves: Effective Horse Hoof Conditioning Tips appeared first on...

    Hooves are a critical part of any horse and when something is not right, a negative ripple effect can occur. Some horses have become lame and others have even died from hoof issues. Conditioning and cleaning horse hooves involves taking proper care of this vital part.

    There is an array of problems that can attack hooves and in this regard, prevention is always a good weapon. When the condition of the hooves is good, your horse will perform optimally. This article explores tips for the best hoof care.

    Picking your horse’s feet

    Your horse’s feet are prone to many dangers; including getting small stones and objects stuck in their hooves. It is important for every horse owner or groomer to check for these problems before every ride. Many horse owners assume that this job is best left to a farrier. However, caring for your horse in this way will promote hoof health and wellness from the onset. After picking any logged items, it is also good to look for any cuts or injuries after every ride. Take advantage and check deeper when cleaning the hooves. To do the job properly, hoof picks and a stiff brush will come in handy. There are several things that you will be looking out for when you are picking the feet of your horse as detailed below;

    • Check for any cracks in the hoof structure. Contact your farrier and describe the type and size of the crack you find if any. The farrier will decide whether it is urgent or not. Proper shoeing is key to keep the hooves functioning in tip top shape.
    • Also, look out for punctures on the soles of your horse. These are mainly caused by shoeing nails that are badly placed. It can also be caused by a sharp object that penetrates into the sole. Punctures can cause infection and abscess formation. To this end, you want to be on top of things. If there is an object lodged inside the sole, do not try to remove it. Keep the horse calm and get further help. An x-ray should show the extent of the problem. A veterinarian should be able to tackle the problem effectively.
    • As hinted to above, a puncture can cause an abscess. Also, bruising and poorly placed shoenails can also cause the problem. These issues must be treated with great urgency. An abscess is not just painful to a horse but it can be fatal if the problem is not treated as needed. If you are not sure whether what you find is an abscess, call your vet and be sure.
    • You should also check out for thrush in the hooves. This will manifest with a foul smell often with an ooze that emanates from the frog. There is also a cheesy texture that forms in the frog with thrush. This is a bacterial infection that also needs urgent care. A farrier or a veterianarian can recommend the right medication. Solving this problem early will help prevent lameness and severe hoof damage. Keep in mind that thrush is caused by damp conditions. When your horse stands for too long in mud, manure or wet ground, this problem is most likely to occur. Prevention is also critical to proper hoof care.
    horses hooves are delicate and important

    Promote the growth of healthy hooves

    Healthy hooves are more likely to withstand different environmental and hoof conditions. In fact, healthier hooves will have fewer problems compared to unhealthy ones. Therefore, helping your horse grow healthy hooves is critical. There are several ways to foster the development of better hooves as detailed below;

    • Activity on suitable surfaces is beneficial to your horse. Allow them to exercise regularly because this promotes circulation of blood. This in turn promotes better hoof growth.
    • Regularly cleaning horse hooves will keep them dirt and debris free preventing damage and deterioration. Also, maintaining a dry environment as much as possible is equally important to keep them in top shape.
    • Just like humans, diet is a key component in boosting health in horses. Your horse needs all the nutrients to thrive and grow hooves properly. They must feed on high quality feeds that are indeed suitable for them. Get expert advice on the best diet for your horse.
    • In addition, supplementing with biotin can also help promote better hooves in your horse. Talk to your vet or farrier for a good recommendation on this. Using the supplement for a minimum of 6 months to 12 months will help grow stronger horse hooves.

    Keep hooves as dry as possible

    Cleaning horse hooves may start with washing and conditioning, but keeping them dry may be equally important. To keep hooves in the best condition, it is important to reduce excess moisture. Firstly, moisture can trigger thrush. In addition, it can lead to contracting and expanding of the hooves which can loosen the shoes. This can cause greater damage to hooves. In summer, controlling excess moisture can be a problem. However, the best thing is to avoid grass with dew, full baths, ponds, mud and so on. There are products that can also work to keep hooves nice and dry without the oiliness.

    Work closely with a farrier

    A good farrier will always contribute to the welfare of your horse and their hooves. Whether you are looking at the shoeing cycles or dealing with other hoof problems, this professional is essential to keeping your horse happy. Summer time comes with many challenges and shorter shoeing cycles are not uncommon. All in all, this expert must be consulted throughout the year for best results.

    Use high quality hoof care products

    There are products designed especially for cleaning horse hooves which fully condition for better overall health. They range from moisturizing mists to hoof washes. Before buying, look at the ingredients of the products. Natural products are better for your horse. Good hoof conditioners are also effective. Look for a trusted brand and if you do not know where to start, Equi-Spa is a great place. Our assortment of hoof conditioners and hoof washes are made using nature for an excellent effect. Cleaning horse hooves regularly with these kinds of products will cause them to grow darker and stronger hooves. Horse owners will subsequently notice less chipping.

    With the above tips, the condition of your horse’s hooves should be great. Common sense, vigilance and daily effort in doing the right things will surely yield as needed. If you are facing hoof issues that do not seem to go away, seek professional advice from a trusted vet.

    The post Cleaning Horse Hooves: Effective Horse Hoof Conditioning Tips appeared first on Equi-Spa.


    Equine-Assisted Therapy: How Horses Help Heal Humans

    horses are able to bond deeply with humans The post Equine-Assisted Therapy: How Horses Help Heal Humans appeared first on Equi-Spa.

    When one talks about mental health treatments, the last thing that could possibly come to mind is horseback riding. Yet equine-assisted therapy is becoming a good therapeutic step that brings with it a myriad of benefits.

    Horses Can Help Heal People Overcoming Obstacles, Trauma and Relieve Anxiety

    Between being a leisure sport and an ultimately new experience for a lot of people, an activity done with horses may not seem to be the same as talking with a therapist. Still, the evidence is clear, individuals who suffer from anxiety and trauma can find that horses can be their best friend and therapist towards walking the path of healing.

    Going Through the Hoops of Horse Therapy

    When faced with the intriguing power of horses, it’s easy to assume that they cannot handle sensitive issues such as trauma and anxiety. Some may fear not being able to handle a horse on the first try. Some may feel that horses spook easily and can become more dangerous than therapeutic.

    Yet alongside that powerful stance is a sensitive creature that provides a mirror into one’s soul. Because one ride may be enough to show a person the extent of the reach of the help they can provide you. In equine-facilitated therapy, the benefits run from reducing anxiety to helping a person heal from a traumatic experience. 

    Two Therapists in a Single Session

    One can think of equine-assisted therapy as having two kinds of therapies. On the one hand, this kind of therapy cannot be done without the supervision of a medical professional, such as a psychotherapist. Then there is the horse, which has become a very popular animal for therapy. While other animals do provide a sense of relief and companionship, horses hold a big advantage over them.

    Horses have the ability to mirror feelings back to their handlers the moment they interact. By mirroring these feelings and providing feedback, they immediately dissolve the barrier between them and the people who avail of the therapy.

    Feeling Deeply, Encouraging Trust Thoroughly

    Horses can be seen as a paradox in their own right. They are large creatures, sturdy and awe-inspiring. Yet they are also very sensitive to the point that they may know what you are feeling—sometimes even more accurately than you do.

    This is because horses are creatures of a group; they tend to feel what those around them are feeling. In turn, they reflect these feelings so that they can aptly respond to the situation. 

    Interestingly, horses also embody certain qualities and traits that people suffering from anxiety and trauma tend to experience. They are vigilant and sensitive creatures, as if always on the lookout for any possible source of danger. People who live with trauma and have wounds that have yet to heal understand this very same feeling. Horses also tend to be easily spooked when not handled carefully, an experience that people with anxiety can relate to, especially during the worse days.

    Beautiful white horse at farm looks elegant and tranquil
    Beautiful white horse at farm

    What Happens in Equine-Assisted Therapy?

    The beauty of this approach lies in the variety of activities to be done. Some may assume that it’s all about riding horses, but clients can learn a lot and gain a lot from the experience.

    Some days, clients can ride the horse around and feel the rhythm soothe their anxiety physically and mentally. Other days, the client can simply share the space with the horse, with no touching or interactions at all. The therapist decides how the activities will flow, as it should stick with the overall therapeutic flow that is suitable for the client.

    Less Anxiety in Life

    Anxiety can be lessened through equine-assisted therapy in a number of ways. There are many techniques that can be explored during the sessions. Three areas of this therapeutic approach include cognitive therapy, interactive activities, and play therapy.

    Cognitive Therapy

    This part of the therapy taps into the horse’s ability to sense danger and show heightened awareness of the environment. When this occurs in the context of therapy for anxiety, clients can share in the experience, and then process it with the therapist. 

    By focusing on the horse’s anxiety, they can talk about anxiety in a safer and more detached manner. Sometimes, this is necessary, especially for individuals who do not yet feel that they are ready to face their own anxieties. They may even be more courageous to face certain issues that they have trouble dealing within themselves. It’s because this time, they can focus on another being’s emotions and dissect it without being overwhelmed or ashamed.

    Play Therapy

    Counseling often involves play therapy for kids or individuals who need another outlet for their emotions beyond verbal communication. Play therapy in the equine-assisted therapy setting lets them enjoy fun activities like horse-riding. This type of therapy can also involve storytelling, allowing the client to explore narratives that may touch on their own emotions without outright putting them and their anxiety on display.

    Interactive Activities

    Therapists can also open clients with anxiety to new experiences without taking the control away from them. Some equine-assisted therapy activities can be as simple as grooming horses or as challenging as riding them. The goal is to allow the client to go through the activities at their own pace and still be stimulated towards healing.

    Healing From Trauma

    Research has shown that horses are among the best animals for trauma and PTSD therapies. Trust is a big issue when dealing with these issues, yet horses have a complicated relationship with trust—just like humans do.

    Other animals like dogs can trust a human at the get-go and build the relationship from there. With horses, the entire interaction can plant the seeds towards building relationships. They need to work with their human companions to achieve a level of trust, lest they will continue to feel being in a threatening environment.

    This same narrative can be seen in individuals who suffer from trauma. Trust is never easy after a major trauma; it requires healing and reconnecting at one’s own pace. By combining a horse’s tendency to provide feedback and be sensitive to others and the slow but steady building of relationships with equine-assisted therapy, this becomes a stable ground for both parties to find solace with each other.

    Comfort and healing are not easy to come by, especially in cases of anxiety and trauma. However, small steps, taken with a companion who shares the same vibe as yourself, can be the biggest progress that one can hope for.

    The post Equine-Assisted Therapy: How Horses Help Heal Humans appeared first on Equi-Spa.


    5 Things to Avoid When Grooming Your Horse

    Grooming your horse is important: however, grooming your horse properly is even more pertinent. There are many horse owners who do not groom their horses the right way. In most cases, the lack of proper information fuels bad practices. Common mistakes made when grooming a horse can prove costly in the long term. As a […] The post 5 Things to Avoid When Grooming Your Horse appeared first on...

    Grooming your horse is important: however, grooming your horse properly is even more pertinent. There are many horse owners who do not groom their horses the right way.

    In most cases, the lack of proper information fuels bad practices. Common mistakes made when grooming a horse can prove costly in the long term.

    As a horse owner or groomer, you have to keep learning about the best practices to keep your horse clean, healthy and happy. In many instances, you may think you’re doing your horse a favor while in actual fact you may be hurting your stallion with poor grooming habits. Knowing the things to avoid will therefore help you groom your horse properly. This article explores the top 5 things to avoid when caring for your horse. Before getting to the meat, let us first look at the quick benefits of grooming your horse.

    Importance and benefits of horse grooming

    1. To boost physical and emotional wellness for the horse

    Grooming enhances circulation of blood through the body. To this end, your horse will feel better both physically and emotionally. The skin and coat will as a result radiate when your horse is well-groomed healthy.

    2. To remove debris and elements that can compromise health.

    Dirt and filth are trapped every single day in the coat and hair of your horse. Removing this dirt will help prevent skin conditions caused by pathogens. To this end, grooming is a preventive measure to remove harmful elements from the body of your horse. Dangers like bacteria, fungi and viruses affect horses that are not cleaned properly and as needed.

    3. Grooming allows the groomer to check the horse regularly.

    Things like swelling and cuts can really bring your horse down. Therefore, you are able to provide the necessary help to avoid full blown problems with your horse. Also, catching ailments early provides a better prognosis and is cheaper to contain.

    4. Horse grooming is a great way to bond with your beloved horse.

    Personal touch and attention are important to form a strong bond with the animal. As a result, the bond will enhance training and make the relationship much better. It is a great way to master the temperament of your horse as well. Problems like equine depression and anxiety can be treated through this personal care for the creation of trust.

    If you are grooming your horse the wrong way, you might not achieve all the above benefits. Below is a list of things not to do while grooming your horse.

    Your relationship with a horse can greatly improve with regular grooming

    Top horse grooming mistakes to avoid

    1. Avoid washing your horse too often

    Horses that are light colored will benefit more from regularly washing than dark colored horses. Overall, your horse must retain its natural oils to keep it radiant. Washing often will strip natural oils which is detrimental to the coat’s vibrancy. So, how often should you wash your horse? There is no single answer to this question. Some horse owners are strong believers in never washing a horse while others will do it weekly and others monthly. There are many aspects that come into play like the weather, health conditions, activity level and so on. In this respect, a horse that needs regular washing will meet a certain threshold. A muddy filthy horse for example should certainly be washed and depending on the individual circumstances, every horse owner should create a routine that works for them. Regular brushing is more effective than regular washing to keep the coat in top shape.

    2. Avoid using cold water on your horse

    Cold water on your horse is certainly a mistake that should be avoided. You want to use lukewarm water for several good reasons. First, the lathering of products like shampoo will be enhanced. Then, warmer water feels better on the skin and fur of your horse. Also, there are relaxation benefits as well for the horse. Therefore, always consider the temperature of your water when washing. Hot water is detrimental and can potentially burn your horse. Being extra keen on this is advised to enjoy best results.

    3. Avoid using the wrong grooming tools

    There are numerous tools used for equine grooming. From curry combs to body brushes and hoof picks; the list goes on and on. It is important to buy tools that are suited to your horse. Also, use the tools properly to ensure that your horse is comfortable all the time. After every grooming episode, make sure that these tools are clean. Using dirty tools is counterproductive. Allocate different sponges to be used on the eyes, nose, lips and so on. Large sponges can be used for larger parts of the body. Using wrong tools on your horse is hazardous; and if you are not sure which tools to use, get expert help and look at relevant guides on this.

    4. Avoid using harsh conditioners

    Conditioners are great because they provide the right protection for your horse’s skin while leaving the coat radiant and attractive. However, the products you use matter greatly. Some harsh products will do more harm than good. When looking for a conditioner, go for a silicone-free option. Natural alternatives that are free from toxins are best for your horse. A product that does not clog pores is also recommended. If you have no idea where to source high quality natural horse care products, check out Equi-Spa.

    5. Avoid brushing wet mud on your horse

    The best way to clean mud on your horse’s coat is when it is dry. This will make your work much easier. It will also prevent the spread of filth in a bigger area of your horse. Also, always clean the face of your horse after exercise or activity using a clean sponge. This is the sure way to keep fungal hair loss at bay. When brushing or cleaning your horse, always be gentle. Animals can read your body language and they do not respond well to aggression. With the tips above, you should avoid common mistakes and groom your dear horse the right way every single time.

    The post 5 Things to Avoid When Grooming Your Horse appeared first on Equi-Spa.


    Stoics, Pt 2 – Lessons in Life and Other Musings

    My in-laws are teaching my husband and I to play bridge. Learning new tasks and joining in community or family is supposed to be good for my aging brain and, having lost both of my own parents early in life, I want to get to know my father in-law and his wife. “Memento mori”, remember, […] The post Stoics, Pt 2 – Lessons in Life and Other Musings appeared first on...

    My in-laws are teaching my husband and I to play bridge. Learning new tasks and joining in community or family is supposed to be good for my aging brain

    and, having lost both of my own parents early in life, I want to get to know my father in-law and his wife. “Memento mori”, remember, every day is a gift; we all will die.

    “Not to feel exasperated, or defeated, or despondent because your days aren’t packed with wise and moral actions. But to get back up when you fail, to celebrate behaving as a human – however imperfectly – and fully embrace the pursuit that you’ve embarked on.”

    Marcus Aurelius, “Meditations, Book 5.9”

    Upon that uplifting thought, I will continue; every Sunday evening, after a day of lessons where I am the All-Knowing Guru, we drive to my In-Law’s house to learn how to play a simple little card game. With cruel clarity, Bridge taught me that I am no intellectual giant. I have always excelled academically. I was one of those school nerds who loved class, loved learning, loved the life of a student. If I could afford it, I would remain a perpetual student. Actually, I guess I am a perpetual student, just not in a University! Point being, I’m a good and enthusiastic student. Hand me a sentence to diagram, a poem to unravel, or literature to tear into and I am in my comfort zone. Head of the class; give that girl an A.

    Bridge is a different animal. My In-Laws have spent three weeks trying to explain bidding. I’m finally catching on. Three weeks and I can remember the strong suits. Three weeks and my palms still sweat trying to decide which card to play. Last night they started explaining scoring. Help me Baby Jesus, I cannot understand. I stink. My In laws have the patience of the Saints. They must surely wonder how their son married someone so dim. DeJa’Vu, several weeks ago I was questioned by a student, “Be honest, will I ever get this?” His parents claim that I am doing well. They are kind and they lie.

    I love Sunday nights. I sit in their home and want to play hand after hand. Traditionally, I am the turd in the punch bowl, but on these occasions, my husband has to pull me out of their house so our elderly hosts can go to bed. I feel small and ignorant and I love it!

    Why? Two reasons: with both my students and my horses, learning Bridge reminds me to remain empathetic, second, it reminds me to remain humble.

    Riding Dressage And Bridge Both Require Empathy and to Remain Humble

    Learning to ride Dressage is difficult. From the equine point of view, learning the complexities of balance and communication with your rider is another daunting task. For the students it usually boils down to being fit for the task. I wish that riding alone could make a rider fit enough to truly be effective, but it’s not. So, the commitment to be good at Dressage starts with demands on your time performing a task that you probably really don’t want to do. And, truth be told, sometimes you won’t. Sometimes you are just tired. Sometimes you just don’t want to exercise. Me too. But, as Marcus admonished, don’t despair. Don’t give up. Set yourself fitness goals that you can attain. Just keep showing up to whatever form of exercise you enjoy. I personally advise starting to walk every day. It is good for both the mind and the body; it is a natural activity for the human animal, and it will improve your riding. Just show up and do it. When you don’t, stay positive. Recognize that you made a poor choice and change.

    Becoming a Good Rider Requires You Stay Fit and Exercise

    After the adult rider has started to commit some fitness time separate from riding, she still must ride. Again, in our busy schedules, sometimes riding time gets interrupted and inconsistent. Don’t be defeated! Ride as often as you can and when work, family, weather, etc. interrupt it, that’s ok, but when you can ride, SHOW UP. Show up mentally. Stop and focus on riding and communicating with your horse. Put every ounce of energy and focus into the short time you are with your horse. Really choose to be present.

    When physical fitness is addressed, and lesson or riding time is scheduled, then you have to ride. Suddenly things that sound simple on paper: keep your butt down, hands low and wide, relax your legs, are impossible tasks and someone (your beloved trainer) is barking at you week after week. You’d think you could do THAT consistently. Nope! Don’t despair! It is the same for all of us. I am a competent professional and I will finish a clinic thinking of my one goal: I will not hear my trainer tell me one more time to shorten my reins. I will keep them short because I vow, I will not hear her have to tell me that again. Yes, I can focus on only one bad habit or one improvement at a time. Keep trying. You can do it! I have watched many riders go from this simple stage to then putting more complex tasks together: balancing the horse from the inside leg to the outside rein, paying attention to where the hind legs are, correctly riding them up through the wither. The only way you will fail is to quit trying.

    Woman standing with a horse. Lady in a brown jacket

    Think About It From Your Horse’s Perspective

    One word, think about it from your horse’s point of view. I have a student fairly new to Dressage and horses in general. Faith is a lovely woman, very accomplished in her field. She is smart and has tremendous desire to learn. I really enjoy Faith’s lessons, and, more importantly, I really like her horse. Her little mare is so generous. She is sharp and willing, and most importantly, willing to put up with Faith and the inevitable mistakes she makes while riding.

    They are making super progress. Compared to where they started, Faith is 100% better. So, what’s the problem? Faith doesn’t believe me. By listening to the critical voice in her head, she is unable to recognize or celebrate her progress. I don’t think she’s a perfect rider. No one is, but her journey has been very fulfilling for me. Although she has a long, unbelievably long, way to go, she has made remarkable progress.

    But the beginning of every lesson is fraught with her winding tighter and tighter as she over-analyzes her riding. The point I try to make with her, is that she had better be able to start celebrating the little steps, the journey, because a Dressage rider is never going to cross the finish line, if you are any good, you’ll keep learning forever, no one has “arrived”. Why must she stop? Because her lovely mare does not know with whom Faith is displeased.

    When my husband gets moody, my first thought is, “Oh, is he mad at me?” Almost always, whatever has upset him has nothing to do with me. Think about your poor horse! Who are you unhappy with? Horses are very emotional, and they will pick up on your displeasure and think it’s aimed at them.

    Your horse is attempting to master a new skill. You and I speak the same English and you have a hard time seeing the light. Imagine life from your poor horse’s perspective. They are trying really hard. So, don’t get down on your horse or yourself when you are having a bad day. Just keep a positive attitude and a little empathy. If my In Laws yell at me or even act disgusted while I am learning to play Bridge, I would quit. I wouldn’t want to show up and do it anymore. I would stop trying. So, be a kind liar to your horse. Tell him he’ll get it, that you have confidence in him, and he’ll keep trying for you.

    Enjoy the Journey

    We are merely human and our journey through Dressage is an unending one. Any of our goals is short term because none of us will arrive. All you can control is trying to ride well in the present moment. Embrace the process; celebrate your failures as well as your triumphs, avoid becoming exasperated because you and your horse will become defeated. Embrace your improvements, love the relationship that you are building with your horse because, ultimately, that is more important than mastering any task.

    The post Stoics, Pt 2 – Lessons in Life and Other Musings appeared first on Equi-Spa.


    6 Things You Should Know About Horse Skin Care

    One of the best indicators of good horse health is the skin and coat. A shiny coat isn’t just attractive, it also shows that a horse is in top shape. Proper equine skin care is paramount. When your horse has rashes, swelling, bumps and even irritation, these are clear signs that there is a problem. […] The post 6 Things You Should Know About Horse Skin Care appeared first on...

    One of the best indicators of good horse health is the skin and coat. A shiny coat isn’t just attractive, it also shows that a horse is in top shape. Proper equine skin care is paramount.

    When your horse has rashes, swelling, bumps and even irritation, these are clear signs that there is a problem. It is good to note that these signs may not just indicate poor skin health, they may suggest an underlying health condition. The following information gives you top tips on things you should know about horse skin care.

    It starts with a proper diet

    A shiny glowing coat comes when your horse is eating right. This means that the diet must be balanced with all the vital and essential nutrients. The quality of the food must also be high. Omega 3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial to equine skin. Therefore, supplementing this nutrient is key to enjoying even better horse skin health. When your horse is well fed and properly hydrated with clean water every single day, the internal functions will promote healthy skin and coat. In addition to water, your horse will need high quality protein.

    Protein helps build body cells while promoting healthy skin. It also builds the right hormones, and promotes the development of muscles and enzymes. For energy, your horse will need fat and carbohydrates. As high energy creatures, horses need the fuel to build their strength. Other nutrients are minerals and vitamins. Exposure to sunlight boosts the production of vitamin D and this is great. Without a proper diet, equine skin health will be compromised greatly.

    Be careful about exposure to sunlight

    As alluded to above, sunlight helps in vitamin D synthesis which is good for your horse. However, too much exposure to the sun is detrimental in horses just like in humans. In fact, there is a list of skin issues that arise from UV light exposure. First, horses can get sunburns which can be very painful. Pink areas of the skin will suffer the most. Sunlight can also trigger photosensitivity. Some plants and even medications make horses photosensitive and when exposed to sunlight, painful blisters form. Another problem is the formation of skin tumors due to prolonged sunlight. As you can see, the sun can prove more harmful to your horse.

    You can remedy these problems by preventing excess exposure to the sun. Provide a shade for your horse so that they can be shielded accordingly. You can also consider sun shielding sheets which come with UV blocking abilities. These are used like garments for your horse. Consider a sunscreen for your horse and a good example is zinc oxide. Use in the most sensitive areas. Also, avod photodynamic plants like St. John’s wort. If your horse is showing signs of skin issues caused by the sun, expert help is needed.

    Bug bites are detrimental

    In summer months or hot weather, a host of insects will thrive. Your horse can become the victim of uncomfortable bites. It is not just temporary discomfort you have to worry about for such bugs: there are serious skin issues that can develop; like a condition called ‘sweet itch‘. This is an allergic reaction that causes hypersensitivity in horses. This condition can last very long and some horses are more predisposed to it.

    The bugs that cause this problem include stable flies, horn flies, black flies; among others. The best way to remedy this problem is to use insect repellents together with insecticides. Spraying will help reduce the problem. For horses that have already been afflicted by sweet itch, seeking the right treatment from your vet is the best way to go. Prevent exposure to bugs as much as possible to avoid escalation of the problem.

    Keep horse skin and coat dry

    It is hard to prevent exposure to moisture in horses. However, continual wetness and dampness will soften the skin. This will in turn give way to fungal and bacterial infection. As a result, your horse will always be scratching. This can lead to dryness and cracking. In some cases, scabs and crusts are formed from oozing skin. You therefore want to keep your horse as dry as possible. Horse bedding and stall must be dry at all times. Draining water that forms in puddles is also important to keeping your stallion as dry as possible. Conditions like rain rot are common during wet weather. Again, dryness is the key to keeping skin issues at bay.

    Observe hygiene with grooming tools

    Equine grooming tools like currycombs, brushes and hoof picks are often shared in barns. Tack, blankets and saddle pads are other items that are shared. This is highly dangerous because it leads to the spreading of diseases. The best thing is to avoid using the same tools for many horses. Also, make sure that all tools are cleaned properly before use. Skin conditions like ringworms are common where such items are shared. Disinfect the tools regularly even when there is no infection outbreak.

    Be careful with new products

    New equine skin care products can cause allergies. Therefore, when you are introducing something new, take time and make sure to test it on a small portion of the skin. Also, choose natural skin care products that do not have additives or synthetic fillers. For natural equine skin care options, check out Equi- Spa. In case of a serious reaction like swelling of the face, make sure to call a vet immediately. Some allergic reactions can be intense for horses.

    Conclusion

    Equine skin care is best done daily. Good nutrition and avoiding too much exposure to sunlight, are some of the many things you can do. Put in place a regime that will make your horse’s coat and skin thrive. Remember, lack of proper grooming will also affect the health and aesthetic appeal of your horse. Observing optimal hygiene with grooming tools as highlighted above is the way to go. All in all, you will achieve the best equine skin health when you take control.

    The post 6 Things You Should Know About Horse Skin Care appeared first on Equi-Spa.


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