Bonnie is doing so much better. She had a great day on Saturday, April Fools day. That seemed to be the turning point for her. Since that day she has been up and about, moving more and eating better. I’m so happy to see that! Since that day I have started walking her a little further and the last couple of days I walked her twice a day. After our little walks she moves much easier and is clearly less sore. I am so grateful for that!

The outpouring of love and support we have had on Facebook and the internet world has been so heart warming! All the stories people have shared, the things that worked for their horses and things that didn’t help, have helped me feel so much hope and kept me positive throughout this entire episode. I am simply amazed at the kindness! There is a Facebook friend that I have never met in person that is sending Bonnie a pair of Soft-ride Boots for her recovery. She is allowing us to borrow these until Bonnie is feeling better! I just want to say Thank you Thank you to you all that have offered suggestions and kind words!

I want to share what I am feeding Bonnie right now. I have had many questions about this on Facebook and through emails and private messages so I figured I would just share it here!

She gets hay 24/7. The same hay that I had analyzed. It is nice and low in protein (8.7%), starch and sugar (6.5%). It is high in iron (118) so I am balancing that with California Trace mineral. The magnesium (.11) is low in the hay so I am balancing that with some magnesium powder. I offer it loose in their run in shed, but am also top feeding it to both Sky and Bonnie. I give them about 1/2 – 1 teaspoon once a day. HERE is an excellent article about feeding magnesium and the kind you should feed for the best results.

I am feeding her 1/2 a cup of Crypto Aero Wholefood topped with about a 1/2 a cup of Standlee timothy grass pellets because I wanted to give her a bit more fiber with her feed. I top that with 1 teaspoon of magnesium powder, a small amount of Remission as I am weaning her off that product, and 1 scoop of California Trace. When I receive the Milk Thistle seed she will get 2 tsp of that as well. I wet the feed a little bit because of the grass pellets and she thoroughly enjoys her meal! I feed this once a day and make sure she always has hay in her slow feed net. Once a day, provided that we aren’t having hurricane-like winds, I put out one flake of loose hay as well. Before I started messing with the Crypto Aero I contacted Anna and talked with her about all the additions. I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t overload Bonnie with anything. Because the Crypto is a whole food you can feed a lot less and have wonderful results. I didn’t want to mess that up! I got a green light from Anna and altered Bonnie’s feed program.

When I purchase more hay I will have it tested and adjust the program accordingly. If iron is low and the other minerals, zinc and copper and manganese are better balanced I won’t have to feed the California Trace. I will always offer magnesium however I won’t always top the feed with it. I also will only feed the Milk Thistle for a little while, 3 weeks on and one week off until Bonnie’s body says she doesn’t need it anymore! I will get her back to the simplest program that she can manage as soon as possible.

I have also been using my essential oils on her. I oil her feet every day and her body every other day. On her feet I have been using Ortho Sport. The oils I use on her body vary. Some days I use Grapefruit Oil, Stress Away, and Valor II. Then other days I use Peppermint, Wintergreen, Lemon, and Grounding. Sometimes I only use one or two oils and other days I will layer on 4-6 oils. It all depends on how she tests that day! For her kidneys I have been layering Grapefruit, Geranium and Lemon oil over her kidney area. I always allow her to smell the oils before I put them on. Sometimes she will nibble on the oil bottle, sometimes she tries to eat the bottle! Sometimes she will turn her head away at first, then if I wait, she will bring her head back around and take some time to smell and smell the oil. Oils benefit when applied to the body as well as when we smell them.

How fast do oils work?

I am happy with how things are progressing for Bonnie. I wish I could snap my fingers and take away all her pain and make her IR free, but since I can not I will continue to study, read and learn more about this condition so I can support her the best I can. I have high hopes that I can cure her of this with wholefoods, herbs and oils!

Winter founder. Two words that you usually don’t hear in the same sentence. And yet Bonnie has foundered and my neighbor has a mini that has also foundered. Both within the last two weeks.

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Bonnie out on the pasture. She did have a good time!

On December 30th I let the girls out in the field with the boys to get some exercise and enjoy some pasture time. Neither of the girls has been out on the pasture since June. On December 31st when I went out to do chores, Bonnie was completely lame. She could hobble, but was clearly in pain. I quickly trimmed up her feet and put boots on her front feet. She is getting around quite well in the boots. When I take them off she is dead lame. There isn’t any heat in her feet at all and her neck is soft. I would even say her neck has gone down some since summer! The only change in her diet was the time they were allowed out on the pasture. So that little bit of old dead grass pushed her over the edge. I’m so sad. I’m totally heartsick about this. I know I caught it early and she is doing well with Ortho Sport applied once a day, wearing her Easyboot Minis. We have been -20 degrees out so I haven’t done a Raindrop Treatment on her, but I will as soon as it warms up to 30 degrees. I am so sad this happened after all my care this spring, summer and fall. I have been doing so much reading about founder and when the grass is ‘safe’. For Bonnie I have decided that grass is never safe, even apparently, in the dead of winter!

Before winter even I read this wonderful article called “When is dead grass safe to graze?”

quoteYep I’ve been doing that! Well Bonnie hasn’t had any grass except for when we were on our walks. I stopped even turning her out for a few minutes in early summer. I did NOT want her to tip over into the sore-footed-foundered-arena. And yet here we are!

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Hmmm. Sounds familiar! And I even read this article this fall! I’m sure this gal shared her story to help other people avoid the pain of winter founder. Apparently I am a slow learner. Sigh.

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The article does talk about a long hot summer that moved into a long hot fall with lots of wind and severe temperature drops which caused the grass to basically freeze dry. We did not have this happen though we did have a long warm fall. We had precipitation and we always get lots of wind. There isn’t ANY green left in my pasture, not even at the ground. And yet the grass must have too much sugar for Bonnie. The two boys have been out on the pasture since November. They are fine. No signs of founder, no sore feet and no cresty necks. Sky was out with everyone on the 30th and she is perfectly fine as well. This makes me think that Bonnie doesn’t digest her sugars well. I’m hoping she isn’t full blown IR (Insulin Resistant) like Chloe. Thankfully, she doesn’t mind being locked up in the dry lot. She doesn’t even mind if she is the only one locked up and everyone else is out on pasture. So that is a huge relief. The other positive is that I plan on driving her and she will be hiking with me this spring and summer so she’ll get lots of exercise. I can’t ride her 😉 so she’ll get all the benefits of exercise without the added stress of carrying extra weight! Stress causes the hormone Cortisol to spike which can also bring on a founder episode.

I have purchased AniMed Remission for Bonnie. It’s more affordable than the Heiro, even though I know how well that works, I just can’t afford it right now. I have started adding Magnesium to her Crypto Aero feed as well. I feed magnesium and white salt free in their shelter, but the snow blew in and covered the magnesium over and then froze so she hasn’t had access to it. I chipped away at it, but then decided to just add some to her daily ration until the Remission gets here. She is getting my first cut grass hay that was cut in the field, then it got rained on, then they turned it, let it dry and baled it. Hay like this has most if not all of the sugars washed out of it. It’s basically a filler! She is looking really good otherwise. So I know this hay is working for her. I do worry about what I’m going to do when I run out!

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Bonnie eating her daily ration of Crypto Aero feed, 1/2 a cup with about a Tablespoon of Magnesium Citrate powder.

(On a side note: My neighbor’s mini foundered so badly that we had to put him on Banamine. She is feeding him grass hay and he has access to pasture, but has been out on pasture all summer and fall. She thinks he foundered when she put a heavy-on-alfalfa bale in the slow feed net and he gorged himself. They don’t really have any grass left in the pasture at this time… He is also getting Crypto Aero daily right now. She is ordering him a pair of Easyboots to help cushion his front feet.)

I will keep you updated on how the AniMed Remission works — or doesn’t work! Horse ownership can be so satisfying and full filling and just like that it can become heart breaking. But no one has ever said it’s easy!!

**Edited to add: Winter founder can be a different beast than regular spring founder due to grass… And now that I know more about winter founder it’s likely that the weather change is what brought this episode on for Bonnie. When a horse is metabolic they will often have problems with rapid temperature changes. This is part of why it is so difficult to manage horses with metabolic issues. Now February 17, 2018 we went from 40 degree days to -20 overnight and that caused Bonnie to become acutely laminitic. She’s been up and down and extremely lame for the last week and a half. Her feet have been ice cold. I keep two pairs of wool socks on her, hand warmers and Soft Ride boots on her at all times.

 

**Remember to always use Therapeutic Essential Oils when working on animals!!

Animals respond to essential oils in much the same way as humans. Most animals are more sensitive to the effects of essential oils than humans and often seem to have a natural affinity to the healing influence of the oils.  – Essential Oils Desk Reference

Many people believe that the hair keeps the oils from reaching the skin when applying the oils topically. But actually the more hair follicles the more easily the animal can absorb the oils!

Animal sensitivity to essential oils may be due to the density of hair follicles on a particular animal. The more follicles per square inch of skin, the more enhanced the absorption of essential oils.   – Essential Oils Desk Reference

It’s best to start with small amounts of the oil or oils you are working with and then work up to more. Horses absorb the oils very efficiently so it’s best to apply a few oils and then give them a bit of time to work before applying more. You can apply the oils topically along the spine, on the poll, or on the hoof.

Rubbing oils around the coronet band will allow the oils to reach the bloodstream and travel through the nerves in the legs to the spine. – Essential Oils Desk Reference

Often when you offer a horse an oil they will smell it, sometimes deeply. Other times they will turn their head away. This does not mean they don’t need the oil it can mean the smell is new or unfamiliar and they just need to get used to it. If the reaction is more dramatic or you really feel the horse doesn’t like the oil, then choose a different one to use. There are many different oils that will help in similar ways. Oils are absorbed into the bloodstream even through inhalation, so they will benefit from just smelling them. This is especially helpful when working with a horse that doesn’t like to be touched.

There is no right or wrong way to apply essential oils. Every animal is a little different. Use common sense and good judgement as you experiment with different methods. Observe carefully how the animal responds to the treatment.  – Essential Oil Desk Reference

As usual, if you have any questions you can either leave a comment below or email me!

How fast do oils work?

Welcome 2017!

Every year I sit down and go back over the previous year. I think about what I want to make happen in the new year and settle on a “Word of the Year.” In 2015 my word was Inspire. I spent that year really making head way with Billy, riding him on the trails and going to Colorado for a week long Level 3 Freestyle/Bridleless course. It was a fantastic spring/summer!! Even if I did break my arm on April 1st.

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Then I had my confidence shaken while riding, in September and broke my other arm. Though I didn’t need surgery this time, it really broke my heart. I thought I wasn’t worthy of horse ownership. I cried. A lot. That was a difficult winter. So when I sat down to look at the past year and come up with a new word I was searching for peace, harmony and contentment. My word for 2016 was Calm. I was needing to spend some time getting centered again.

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Calm: a state of tranquility

I read lots of books that would help me figure out a few things. I spent lots of undemanding time with Billy and I knew that I wasn’t going to ride anymore. It was a bit of a struggle to admit that to myself, but I wasn’t enjoying riding. I was worried and tense and scared most of the time I was sitting on Billy. Trying to find my Calm while feeling so tense and scared was difficult.

On top of those feelings I had to balance my family. I homeschool my two boys, neither of which are even remotely interested in horses, and try to keep my hubby happy, knowing he doesn’t like horses. At all. My two accidents put a dent in my ability to homeschool, do my housework, cook and clean AND spend time with Billy. Not to mention bring in a small amount of money every month to PAY for my horse addiction. Things were not working out. My hubby was upset with me and we fought. A lot. I made the extremely difficult decision to find Billy a better home with someone confident and fun and understanding. He needs LOTS of understanding. He is definitely a one-of-a-kind horse.

Choosing to let Billy go to someone who would ride him was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made – and I have sold and re-homed horses many times over the years. Billy was one of my heart horses. Luckily I am not the type of person who believes we only get one heart horse in our lifetime. In fact I have had 7 heart horses so far and believe I have one or two standing out in my pasture right now. However, Billy was a very special boy.

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Billy would lay down on command and was well known for his funny faces.

Billy wasn’t happy just being a pet and because he was so young, only 5 years old, I knew he would thrive with someone that would ride him. He found a wonderful home up in the mountains at a guest ranch. The owners of the ranch are kind, compassionate people. When they met Billy and he put his big old head on them they wrapped their arms around it and gave him big hugs. The wife had a pocket full of cookies for him. They are both the real deal and thought Billy was just about the neatest horse they had ever met! He would have lots of horse friends at the ranch and there would be lots to do and see. There would be no chance of him getting bored. I made it a point of delivering him to his new home so I could see him settle in. They were very impressed when we pulled up with my tiny two horse trailer. (In order to shut the door Billy would have to stick his head out the front window!!) Billy was so good. When I opened the back door of the trailer he waited patiently for me to ask him out. Then he stepped out slowly, one foot at a time, calmly looked around and then walked quietly to the arena. The arena is surrounded by big dry lot pens full of horses and Billy’s eyes were WIDE open taking it all in. We walked around a bit and I showed them a few of his talents, including laying down on command, then I let him go and he went around making friends. He immediately befriended a horse that usually doesn’t like ANY horses. Within a few minutes they were sharing a mutual groom over the fence. His new owners were amazed!

When we drove away I was crying, but Billy didn’t even look for me as I left. Before he would follow my vehicle, whinnying, if I left him anywhere. I had a good feeling about this home.

I kept in touch all summer but couldn’t bring myself to go see him. Every time I thought about it I would cry so I figured it was better for both him and myself to let him go. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I’m sure when my boys leave for the military or college I will feel the same way.

I ended up being very surprised at the people that no longer wanted anything to do with me after I found another home for Billy. First the loss of Billy then the loss of some of my “friends” was almost too much. So many times I wanted to walk away from this blog and delete Facebook all together. I can’t say why I didn’t.

I think watching me feel so heartbroken was hard for my Hubby – after the initial anger he felt because I feel the need to have a horse. He watched me struggle for a bit and then casually mentioned miniature horses one day while we were out fixing fence. (One of the many reasons he doesn’t like horses!) I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that myself! I had been dreading the idea of living without horses. (Something I am NOT good at!) And I had never stopped missing my minis.

So…

He opens a window.
When God closes a door he opens a window.

I called my Mom to tell her my great idea of getting minis again and she offered me her two minis, Sky and Zorro! My good friend Katrina offered me back Captain Planet and walla! I was the proud owner of miniature horses again.

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Sky and Zorro arrive!

I found Bonnie for sale on Facebook (good thing I didn’t delete it!) and soon I was the proud owner of 4 miniature horses!

The ponies and ME!
The ponies and ME!

My mom also gave me her little show cart and Sky’s harness. I have spent some time upgrading parts of the harness and also bought a little easy entry cart. This winter I bought a gaming sled and had an attachment built so I can put my easy entry cart shafts on it. This way I can enjoy some sledding with my ponies! I am looking forward to lots of hours in the cart and sled this 2017.

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Other things I have gathered over the summer and fall are a miniature horse Hoofjack, mini horse Easyboots and a pair of miniature horse Cavallo boots! Miniature things are so cute.

I came across an awesome wholefood horse feed this year as well. I was thrilled to have a local feed store agree to order some and begin carrying it. My ponies have flourished on it!

All four miniature horses after eating Crypto Aero Wholefood.
All four miniature horses after eating Crypto Aero Wholefood.

The girls and I did a lot of hiking and walking this year. Until my health made it too painful for me… This fall we didn’t get out as often as I would have liked!

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I have been struggling with some different issues for the last few years. This was my “Year of the Doctor” and I found out I needed to have a full hysterectomy. I was scared but also hopeful! Scared to have that much of my body removed, but hopeful that I would have energy, no more pain and be able to resume my walking! So for the month of November and much of December I recovered from surgery. It really cut into my time with my ponies, but allowed me to work on my website/blog. Many changes happened around here during that time. Hopefully they were all good!

I love making graphics. So I started making lots and lots of graphics for my website:

And I have made lots of Young Living graphics too:

Someday maybe I’ll make money doing this! I really enjoy blogging, photography and graphic design.

I have been thinking about the year 2017 and what I would like to make happen. I will get Sky going in harness again and we will spend some time sledding around the fields and driving on the roads, getting ready for some mountain driving this summer. I am even kicking around the idea of another driving book, this one centered around sledding and mountain driving. I am going to start Bonnie ground driving and wearing the harness, going slowly with her so she is confident. It’s important to me that she enjoy the process so she can enjoy driving! I’m going to keep watching Zorro grow up. He is getting so handsome! One of my grandma’s little mares is bred for an early summer foal, so I am looking forward to that baby. It will be a half sibling to Zorro.

So back to my “Word of the Year” – I’ve put a lot of thought into it… After lots of deliberation, doodling, jotting down notes and making a word map, I have settled on the word MOXIE. Moxie resonated with me in two ways. It made me feel energized about the year ahead and made me feel excited about learning even more about horsemanship, horses and driving!

My word of the year!
My word of the year!

I am very excited about 2017. I see many great things happening in the next year and I plan to meet it with lots of vigor and pep!

If you feel moved to do so, please share your word of the year in the comments below!

 

Scratches can be very painful for the horse it effects. It usually shows up in the wetter seasons of the year… for those of you in rainy climates you may battle scratches most of the year!

Scratches, mud fever or greasy heel are just a few names for this annoying skin condition.

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Different degrees of scratches.

Scratches is caused by a variety of skin conditions including viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections. Horses in excessively wet or muddy environments are at greater risk of getting scratches.  -The Horse.com

To avoid getting scratches you can keep your horse out of muddy situations, (HA! Like that is possible in some of our climates!) keep your horses boots and wraps clean, and if you detect irritated, flaky or red skin begin treating it immediately!

To treat you may have to clip the affected area. This will help it dry out as well as help you see what you are doing. Then you can wash the area with some Thieves Household Cleaner. Afterwards you can layer on (any 3-4 oils at a time):

To help get the inflammation down you can apply Animal Scents Ointment after you apply the oils to seal in them in and help them do their job. But once the inflammation is down, I wouldn’t put anymore Animal Scents Ointment on because you want the scratches to dry out.

As usual if you have any questions please leave a comment below or shoot me an email!

This is a wonderful, natural and simple hoof oil to condition your horse’s hoof wall. You can use it on the sole of the hoof as well, but not at the same time. In other words, either put the hoof oil on the outside of the hoof wall OR on the sole of the hoof. Putting any hoof conditioner/oil on both the hoof wall and the sole makes it so the hoof can’t breathe!

This oil would be great for horses with fine sand cracks, foundered horses or just plain sore footed horses. You can adjust the essential oils based on what you will be using it for.

Fine sand cracks –> Rosemary, Geranium, Copaiba, Tea Tree

Founder –> Cypress, PanAway,Helicrysum, Peppermint

Sore Footed –> Valor, Wintergreen, Lemongrass, Relieve It , Stress Away

Soften the coconut oil.
Soften the coconut oil.

Soften the coconut oil then mix in the vitamin E oil, Argan Oil or Witch Hazel, lastly add the essential oils and stir!

Coconut Hoof Oil
Coconut Hoof Oil

The best treatment for a cold is to prevent getting one in the first place. But if your horse ends up coughing, having a runny nose and goopy eyes then you can use essential oils to help win the battle.

Antiviral essential oil, blends and supplements are very effective as preventative aids in avoiding colds as well as in helping the body’s defenses fight colds once an infection has started. -Essential Oil Desk Reference

Of course giving your horse a Raindrop Treatment is a wonderful way to boost their immune system. That is my go-to!

A list of some more specific oils that you can apply topically are:

Ravintsara: Great for lung infections, fighting viral infections, and the common cold.

Clove: An immune booster, provide relief from inflammation and stimulates blood circulation.

Cypress: This oil is a great oil for grounding, promotes healing and improves lung efficiency.

Hyssop: A great antiseptic agent, provides relief from spasms of respiratory systems and stimulates immune system.

Thieves: The Thieves blend is the most popular oil blend of Young Living. This oil boosts the immune system, can kill airborne bacteria, and helps combat the spread of germs.

Sacred Mountain: Excellent for the respiratory system, it’s great for grounding and is comforting and soothing.

Exodus II: Helps the body’s natural defense system and stimulates the immune system.

You can apply any two or three of these oils along the horse’s spine and also allow them to inhale them. Using diffusers in the barn is a great way to keep the oils in front of the horse all the time.

Feel free to email me or leave a comment below if you have any questions!