Archive for the ‘Equine’ Category

Dealing with hoof abscess

When your horse is developing an abscess, your daily care will play a big factor in the prompt recovery of your animal, regardless of his age or breed. You can make a big difference by first keeping him relax with a regular application of the relaxation massage routine. This will assist his natural healing process by helping him to switch to a parasympathetic mode.

When caught early, an abscess is easily treated. In such case, there’s a good chance your horse will recover completely within 2 to 3 days. However, if the abscess is not detected early and left unattended, the infection usually follows the route of least resistance, from the point of entry traveling-up the hoof wall and out the coronary band. In the process, the abscess destroys sensitive structures and generates more pus within the foot.

All that is causing your horse a lot of discomfort, not to mention pain! Again, regular application of the relaxation massage routine, several times a day, up to 5, will ensure maximal relaxation of his nervous system, assisting his immune system in fighting this bacterial infection.

That is why you need to be aware and alert to your horse behavior. Remember, early detection will minimize the amount of physical damage and of pain endured by your horse.

To find out more about this condition and how you can help, click here.

4 simple palpation skills that will serve you for a lifetime

Is your animal sore? Is he uncomfortable?

What is the best way to know how your animal is doing?

Learn 4 simple palpation skills that will serve you for a lifetime!

Developing some simple palpation skills will help you feel for any abnormal changes on your animal body. The palms of your hands and your fingertips will give you accurate feedback on the physiological state of the various parts you are working on. You must concentrate so as to detect subtle changes in the body on which you are working. The quality of your feedback depends strongly on the sensitivity of your hands.

A good way to develop your perceptions is to work with your eyes closed. This will help you focus on your fingertips, developing your tactility and enhancing your touch.

On a daily basis, use a light touch to go quickly over your animal entire body and look for the following:

First: Any variations in temperature, especially the increase in heat that is associated with an inflammatory process in the soft tissue such as muscle strain or ligament sprain, even possible joint arthritis.

Second: Any modification in the texture of the coat such as puffiness due to swelling is another sure sign of inflammation. The swelling is cause by the extra lymphatic fluid involved in the natural healing process.

Third: Any reaction of your animal to your light touch is another other give away sign. If he/she reacts with a stressful look or move away during your palpation that is also a sign of soreness.

Fourth: Any changes in muscle tone, meaning the elasticity of the muscle fibers. As you become acquainted to touching your animal muscle groups, develop a sense for his/hers muscle tone. Any abnormal hardening of the muscle fibers is revealing of muscular compensation and possibly the presence of trigger points or even stress points.

Be careful when dealing with what appears to be an abnormal situation. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian.

If you are interest in developing your palpation skills, click here read the article on Canine Massage Simplified, or here for Equine Massage Simplified located on the Animal Awareness site.

For visual guidance on developing your palpation skills, click here for dogs or here for horses.

This video include a demonstration of the laying of hands approach. Use it as it will often help to sooth a sore area. Hydrotherapy, the application of heat or cold modalities (dog or horse) also will relieve the inflammation and pain considerably, assisting recovery and definitively comforting your animal.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found the information useful.  My goal is help you provide quality home care for the benefit of your animal.

Please visit the FREE library of articles (dog articles / horse articles) that address important aspects of how you can actively contribute to your animal’s wellness and fitness.

The Rider’s Fitness Guide To A Better Seat

Are you fit? Is your back sore?

Are you using your body smartly?

Learn how you can develop strong core muscles and ease backache!

To all active persons, maintaining good core muscle fitness is crucial so they do not over strain their back muscles, resulting in chronic back soreness. If the core muscles are weak your body develops compensation, causing deep muscular tension to form along the spine, hips and shoulder, resulting in limited range of motions for the entire body.

Learning of the core muscles will allow you to develop your awareness of them. In turn this will help you increase their fitness as well as their flexibility. This will result not only in an overall better posture, but also in better stamina and sense of balance.

It is your responsibility to develop your core muscles. In my book “The Rider’s Fitness Guide to a Better Seat” I provide several exercises programs that will help you increase your control of your core muscles. To maximize your performance and to minimize the risk of injury many athletes, regardless of your sport, I use a “Cross-Training’ approach. It allows you to better work from your core muscles, resulting in improved balance, strength and endurance.

This book contains information useful to all person, beginners and professionals alike. It provides general anatomical knowledge of all the core muscles and a comprehensive listing of many strengthening and stretching exercises to put the reader in tune with his body. Any of these exercises can easily be performed anywhere as you do not require any equipment, just this book. Even if you are on the road a lot, nothing stop you to easily maintain you fitness.

To imply these simple programs three days a week will greatly increase your strength, stamina and improve your coordination within thirty days resulting in an overall better fitness. After only ten days you will notice a difference and by the end of the month you will feel you have a new body awareness

To horse riders a good seat is vital for good riding performance. A good seat allows for a better communication of your aids which leads to a more harmonious and effortless contact with your horse, allowing him to work at his best. To ride harmoniously your center of gravity has to move in sink with the horse’s center of gravity. When this happens, the ride flows very smoothly. Otherwise, in order to keep up with your horse performance, you spend a lot of energy constantly adjusting your balance and fighting gravity, a very tiring experience.

The exercise programs presented in this book will transform the way your body feels and perform. They will help you develop body awareness, strength of movement and good posture and an easy, graceful seat.

To see more information on the book, click here for “The Rider’s Fitness Guide to a Better Seat”.

Horse fitness

Are you pushing your horse to hard?

Are you asking of your animal something he/she cannot do?

Horses are a living paradox: they are big and strong, and yet also fragile. Regardless of your professional or amateur status as a horse person, and which discipline you are involved in, you and your horse will go through a lot of miles together, both in training and in competition.

Find out how you can determine the fitness of your animal in an easy 2 step program from my book Fitness Evaluation of the Horse, Howell Equestrian Library, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

I developed a fitness evaluation program to provide you with important knowledge that will help you evaluate your horse’s fitness and possibly solve some of the problems he/she might show. Ultimately, this will improve your relationship with your animal in several ways.

You will be able to:

*  Identify the strong and weak areas of your horse.

*  Better understand your horse’s aptitudes.

*  Select a specific exercise program to balance and strengthen your horse and  progress in your riding performance.

*  Identify early signs and symptoms of strain in your horse, and therefore prevent complications or injuries.

*  Better care for your horse.

*  Save time and money by contacting your veterinarian early in the process.

Find out for yourself using these 2 simple steps.

First Step – A riding evaluation offers you a simple Riding Evaluation Program, the REP, to help you evaluate the fitness of the horse at all his normal gaits. This easy step-by-step REP will allow you to identify any abnormalities, if  present, in your horse at the any gaits. The information contained in this section will help you recognize the stronger and the weaker sides of your horse, any tight muscle groups or sore joints. As you proceed to work all natural gaits and their variations, you will be able to assess all aspect of his anatomy. As you gain experience with this process, you will make better guesses about what you feel, see and get from your horse’s performance.

Second Step – I created a simple palpation routine to verify the fitness of your horse’s musculoskeletal systems. The “Palpation Evaluation Program” (PEP) will allow you to further your investigation and verify your guesses from the earlier riding evaluation. Down on the ground, this PEP will help you determine what is really showing in your horse’s musculoskeletal system. From your riding clues, you will be able to follow up with your fingertips to identify the exact location of any problem. In this section, there is a multipoint diagnostic test for the horse’s musculo-skeletal system. The valuable information contained here will make you comfortable in carrying the evaluation of 25 important points on each side of the horse.

This fitness evaluation program of the horse is a great routine you can use at anytime, anywhere and on any horses. Both the REP and the PEP will reveal a lot of information on the horse to you. The combination of these two tests will allow you to find out about:

  • Any dentition problem.
  • Any skeletal problem.
  • Any existing musculoskeletal condition or conformation problem.
  • Any weak body part.
  • Any achy legs from the wear and tear on joints
  • Any discomfort from the effect of the present shoeing.

From there you can choose the best course of action to improve the fitness of your horse. Depending upon your finding, you might simply need to adjust your training program  in order to remedy to the possible weakness at hand, or you might need to call upon other professionals to help your horse  back to a better musculoskeletal fitness.

In the case of a new horse, your personal examination will reveal right away if this particular horse is or not a good candidate. The major reasons for your personal fitness evaluation are:

  • If any, to evaluate the extent of these conditions or problems.
  • To interpret the results of your examination relevant to the use of the horse.
  • To identify the potential for future problems.

If, from your personal fitness evaluation program, you feel that the horse presents some serious musculoskeletal issues that would interfere with your riding goals, then you can reconsider your decision. You just save yourself a bunch of time and money.

On the other end, if the horse appears to be a good candidate, then you can move to the next step, contracting a veterinarian for a pre-purchase examination. Through his findings, your veterinarian will be able to inform and advise you about the horse’s complete general health and about any specific condition the horse may present.

As much as this program will help you identify the fitness level of your horse, it will also help you discover your horse demeanour and work ethic.

  • Is your horse willing to work?
  • Is he showing good temperament?
  • Does he enjoy working?
  • Is he lazy or erratic?
  • Is he temperamental

This thorough test will help you discover all those details so you can choose the right horse for you.

I encourage you to read this book and incorporate it into your daily routine. I am sure you will find it a valuable tool, which will become a constant reference for you over the years.