Helping Others With Equines

Dee Howe

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The Basic Necessities!

Posted by Dee Howe on May 9, 2018 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (3)

Veterinarians are essential!

Veterinarians are a huge part in diagnosing and treating problems. When in doubt or questions arise please consult one in your area. If their information does not resinate, do not be afraid to get a second opinion. Ideally go by referal.

We recommend consulting your veterinarian before choosing to engage in any type of body work or alternative therapy.

Below I have listed a few general, widely accepted guidelines but you and your veterinarian should determine the best care plan for your individual horse and situation. Location, age, work load, history, breed, etc, can all play a part in determining what each horse needs.

In general, horses should be vaccinated and have their teeth floated every year. This can be accomplished by your veterinarian during a yearly physical. If you own a gelding then you should also ask to have his sheath cleaned.

What is teeth floating?

Unlike people, horses teeth continue to grow for most of their life. A horse grabs it's feed with the front teeth and then it works back to the molars. They have a circular grinding action and the molars gliding and grinding sideways over each other as they eat. This causes hard sharp points to build up on the sides of the molars. In extreme cases there are sores on the inside of the mouth. Floating the teeth entails filing the sharp points off the upper & lower molars on the sides and the front where the bit fits into the horse's mouth.

Recently equine dentistry has made a good impact.   Floating the teeth is one of the least known practiced procedure used by the average horse owner.

The signs are similar to those of a horse with worms but also they will not clean up the stems when you feed hay and grain will fall out of their mouth when it is hard for them to chew. When a horse cannot chew its food properly they don't get all the nutrients from their feed. You can actually check the front part of the molars yourself but most of the problems will be higher up. Be careful when sticking your fingers in the horse's mouth!

This process has also changed dramatically over the years. We used to only worry about the teeth when a horse was 10 years & older. Vets believe that due to the average horse doing less foraging for food and being fed processed and baled feed along with some of the breeding programs, today's horse has softer teeth and need more maintenance. For the first time ever in the spring of 1995, we had to float several 2 year old's teeth. So float the teeth once a year, whether they need it or not, and make sure the vet goes to the back of the molars. Vets that use a speculum that holds the mouth open will be very effective in getting the job done right.

Some horse owners mistakenly believe that you only need to have your horses teeth checked after there is a problem (dropping feed, not eating well, losing weight) but by the time the horse is exhibiting pain in an external way the problem has already been going on for a long time. Depending on your vets recommendations you should have your horses teeth check at least once a year whether you think they need it or not!


Worming is important due to the amount of damage the parasites can do to the animal. Signs to look for in a horse include; a large belly even though the ribs are showing, drop in weight, extra long hair on the neck & belly, rubbing the tail, extra appetite, a dull look to the coat & listless eyes.

Worming horses has changed extremely in the last 10 years. Tube worming used to be popular but is no longer needed with the wormer that is out on the market now. With a foal would use a mild wormer once every 2 months for the first year. For adults, we would worm every 2 months, alternating the acting ingredient used. Because the worms have built up a tolerance to chemicals over the years, what used to be a 1-2 time a year dosage has turned into an every other month ordeal.

Things are continuing to change when it comes to worming practices because they are finding that the parasites are building up a resistance even with a routational schedule. Talk to your vet about performing regular fecal egg count tests and coming up with a parasite prevention program for your horse.

Farrier Care

Without correct angles of the bones through the feet any body work, adjustments or physical therapy that you have done will not be effective or hold long term. Depending on the individual horses needs, hooves will need to be trimmed every 4-8 weeks to acquire & maintain perfect balance for healing. Be sure to use a qualified, well trained farrier who is able to correct problems & keep your horses hooves balanced correctly.

Common Ailments

Posted by Dee Howe on May 9, 2018 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (1)

When you own or care for a horse it is important to be familiar with their common ailments: time is crucial when dealing with an illness or injury!

You should always consult with your Equine Veterinarian if you suspect your horse is sick or injured.


When a horse has abrasions to the skin, they have to heal from the inside out so stitches & wrapping usually is required for the wound to heal properly. If done well there is little scaring. In cases of deep cuts to the legs, while you wait for the vet to stitch the horse up, there are a few things you can do. Only put a water soluble agent on the wound (furizone). If it is on the lower part of the leg, a pressure wrap will reduce bleeding & swelling plus keep the wound clean for the vet. If the horse seems stressed then put a blanket on them.  Anti-biotics may be needed to prevent infection per your veterinarians recommendation.  An anti-inflammatory may be given but sometimes you don't want the horse walking around a lot so ask your vet first.


Is a term used for a "stomachache". Signs are: looking & bitting at their flanks or belly, swaying or staggering, sweating, not eating, and laying down trying to roll. Some will be hard to keep on their feet. If they roll too much this can cause them to twist an intestine in which may lead to death. Most of the time it is caused by moldy feed, stress, extreme changes or rich feed, traveling, parasites and not drinking enough water. It can be aggravated by a blocked colon or horses that "crib", or suck air. Usually if the horse is not better in an hour after you have began treating them, then call the vet. If the horse has a history of colic, don't wait!

Begin with keeping the horse up and walking. Put a paper clip on the tip of each ear, this stimulates pressure points for pain. If there are two people: while one is rubbing the lips, the other alternates doing "stomach lifts" and rubbing the tail points (to be described later). If the horse wants to lay down, start walking it again. If you can administer it, give 1-2 quarts of mineral oil. A vet may also administer banemine to help the muscles relax.


Is caused by stress of any kind. It could be an illness causing high temperature (normal temperature is 100-101 degrees), too much or high protein feed, traveling, hard riding on bad surfaces, not passing the placenta when giving birth, age, not properly cooling your horse down after a hard ride and too much green grass to name a few.

Signs to look for is heat around the coronet band on the feet, moving stiffly, lame, a cresty neck, looking too fat, rings on the hoof, a dished look to the front of the hoof, a "rocked back" stance (the horse appears to not want to put any weight on the front feet) and when looking at the bottom of the foot you will see a widening in the white wall.

Once you can determine what caused the founder you can make the arrangements needed to prevent it from happening again. Slight cases of founder usually are fine but others may be damaged for life. Even though there is corrective shoeing available, if the coffin bone rotates in the hoof they may be lame for life.

It is important to work with a Vet and professional farrier to come up with a long term treatment & management plan for a horse that has foundered. One of the first things to do is to remove all feeds from the horse's diet that are high in sugar (grain, grass, alfalfa).


Is a term used when a horse is not traveling "sound" with even steps in their gait. Unsoundness can be caused by many problems in the legs and feet, the spinal column out of alignment, pulled muscles & tendons in the body, navicular, arthritis, bowed tendons, stoned bruised, ring bone, spavins, joint injuries, one shoulder bigger than the other, & spinal problems are a few unsound conditions.

To notice an unsound horse one must look at the topline and head as it moves. Never look at the legs while trotting them in a straight line and a 35 foot circle both ways. A flexion test is good to tell stiffness and problems in the joints.

Most of the problems usually occur from accidents, injuries, and poor conformation. For simple problems, rest, wrapping, liniments, and massage therapy can help. More serious injuries may take a longer & more in depth treatment. Your vet can help you diagnose & treat lameness in your horse.

Leg Wraps & Sweats

Posted by Dee Howe on May 9, 2018 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (1)

Please consult your veterinarian to treat any wounds or injuries. Only use leg wraps under their recommendations.

Here are some tips for different types of leg wraps that can be helpful for wounds or injuries.

Leg wrapping rules to follow are:

Use nitrofurizone with wraps that will be on for 24 hours only. Use Nolvasan for wraps that are to be on 48-72 hours. Only use DMSO on wraps that will be on 24 hours. Proud flesh, the over growth of cells, requires either lime, proud flesh ointment or powder once the wound has healed level with the outer skin.

When the temperatures are in the 90's and above use extra cotton & wrap more frequently to prevent the loss of hair on the leg.

When wrapping the leg remember to always use rolled cotton, sheet cotton, or cloth padding under the wrap. This will prevent damage to the tendon.

Start the wrap in the center of the cannon bone, go down and cross under and over the fetlock joint before going back up the leg.

Remember, a "vet wrap" is very elastic, shrinks and can stop circulation if put on too tight. Only pull tight on one side when applying the wrap. This although not to a lesser degree, also applies to a track wrap.

When putting a wrap over stitches, use plenty of cotton so you can put the wrap on tight. Ideally the wrap should stay on for three days. The less the skin can move, the better.

If one leg is wrapped (front or rear) the other (front or rear) leg should be dry wrapped for support.

Sweat wraps are used when a percussion injury, like kicking a fence, happens to the leg. With an injury such as this, excessive adema (swelling) consumes the leg reducing circulation and slowing down the healing process. If the swelling is not reduced the leg may not ever go down completely, even when healed, and the horse will be prone to "stocking up" when it is confined for long periods of time.

Before applying a sweat wrap, do about 5 tendon walks & rub across the coronet band to help circulation. Rinse the leg with cold water for about 10-15 minutes. Apply nitrofurizone ointment and DMSO all over the leg from the knee down. You will blister the skin if it is left on longer than 24 hours. Next wrap with cellophane, cotton and either vet wrap or a track wrap. A sweat wrap should not be on for more than 24 hrs. At that time if the swelling persists you may reapply starting with the cold water. If the swelling is down then replace with a dry wrap.

Dry Wraps are used when a horse is traveling, being stalled and is known to stock up, and in the case of an injury, once the initial swelling is under control. At times you will have to alternate between a sweat wrap and a dry one.


Try to get the leg as clean as possible. You may still need cold water but you will need to dry it with towels and walking before putting the wrap on. You can use a liniment but let it dry before wrapping. If there is an injury apply nolvasan & gauze. Use some sort of cotton and then vet wrap or track wrap.

Hock Wraps are used when a horse injures itself on the joint or a little above, if you can, put it in a tie stall for the first 2-4 weeks to help the wraps stay on. Do tendon exercises and stretches to help circulation. A stall is the second option.

These wraps are one of the hardest to get to stay on. One must dry wrap the lower leg first to help keep the hock wrap up. Put a ring of "elasticon" around the gaskin above the injury. Put gauze over the wound. Use sheeted cotton and split it so the hock can stick out and then wrap it around the hock. Criss-crossing rolled gauze will help it stay in place. Use more elasticon to attach it to the ring on the leg. This helps the horse not be so irritated when you have to change the wrap.

Introduction to Body Work

Posted by Dee Howe on May 9, 2018 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Horses are a great example of what you put out is what you get back. I encourage a person to consciously Breathe! If they are extremely sore and stiff when stretching, loosen the muscles up slowly and never force the horse's body into positions it doesn't easily go. If you exercise on a regular basis, you know about the good days and hard days. If you exercise very little then you know what it's like to jog a mile! And we expect our horses to carry us! Without conditioning we can strain a horse's back to the point that they get swayed back at an early age. Take the time to brush, rub stretch, & exercise your horses. You will not only have a better ride but you will gain a FRIEND!

When doing these exercises remember that if the horse moves into you, you must reprimand it by kneeing the belly till it moves away. This is how another horse would react so the horse will understand your message. Safety first., above and beyond the call of duty!

Pressure points open up the circulatory system of the horse. When the blood starts flowing a horse will start to react to the feeling coming back to parts of the body as they relax. These are called "releases". They show up in many forms.

Look for signs of relaxation: Breathing heavy, blowing, sighing, yawning, shaking their heads & body, licking & chewing, rolling the tongue, lifting their tail and passing gas, consecutive blinking of the eyes, sweating without work & dropping of the head are a few. These signs mean you are literally getting blood to the brain!

Give the horse a moment to let these releases pass before attempting another step, whether you are doing ground work, massage or riding. A horse usually thinks of one thing at a time so bodily awareness will come before they can concentrate on what you are trying to teach them at that moment.

Areas of Stress:


Will affect a horse's balance, make the rest of the body numb, can't stand still, holds head crooked sometimes white of the eyes show, seem unattentive & tends to run over the handler.


Has a hard time balancing, can't turn the head the same both ways, sometimes won't let a person on a certain side, may pull back, effects leads, can't eat properly, sometimes spooky at things behind it & turns on front end not the haunches.


Horse will turn one way better than the other, hate being saddled especially to have the cinch tightened, sometimes will rear or flip over, hard to pick up feet, prance, try to bit, buck & have cranky attitude.

Rib Out-

Very cinchy, can't turn one way, pulls back when cinching, fails to pick up proper leads, attitude towards other horses, holds breath & cranky when ridden.

Lower Back-

Bucks, runs off, spooky of things behind him, can't keep the proper lead, kicks, sometimes is unsound in the rear, prancy, has a scared or tough attitude depending on the horse.

June 9 Canine Cranio Sacral Workshop

Posted by Dee Howe on April 24, 2018 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (28)

In this workshop we will cover mental & physical evaluation, specific hand holds for relaxation, & guidelines for daily integrative care.

You will bring your own dog to work on.

$65 includes participation in the workshop & study guide material.

Limited to 7 participants.

Register before June 4th by contacting Dee Howe 541 554-2320

#11 Cranial Wrap

Posted by Dee Howe on April 24, 2018 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (14)

Cranial Wrap

This wrap is good for horses that have had head injuries, dental work, mouthiness, teething, misaligned bite, tension in the poll, trouble flexing (vertically or laterally), and have trouble taking the bit. It focuses on balancing the TMJ in realtionship to the jaw. Any release through the cranium will have a direct correlation to releasing and relaxing the hips.

For this wrap I recommend taking an old polo or standing wrap and cutting it to size. Start by doubling it over, hold the "loop" end on one side and put the wrap into the horses mouth just like a bit. Now take the "tail" ends up and over the horses poll (right behind the ears), just like a bridle. Insert the tail ends through the "loop", adjust properly and tie a knot. Just like all the other wraps the rule is for it to fit SNUG... not too tight...not too loose. It should go right where a bit would sit in the horses mouth. These pictures show the wrap by itself but it can also go over/under a halter or cavesson for use while doing ground work or lunging if desired.

**WARNING** NEVER leave this wrap on while unattended!!!

For more information go to

#10 Spiral Neck Wrap

Posted by Dee Howe on April 24, 2018 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Spiral Neck Wrap

This wrap brings self awareness to how the horse is holding and using their body in relationship to their head while redirecting movements patterns.

It is especially beneficial for horses that have been compromised at the third vertebrae by over flexing or injury and/or horses that tend to balance from the neck instead of engaging their hind. It should normally be used with at least one wrap integrating the hind end in some way (the figure 8 is a good place to start).

This wrap can either go through the mouth, across the forehead or just tying the end to the halter depending on what is needed. I recommend initially just tying it off at the halter and then progressing to through the mouth or across the forehead in later sessions.

Start by attaching the velcro end of a wrap to a figure 8 wrap, surcingle or saddle. Working up the neck, wrap 2, 3 or 4 times around (depending on the length of your wrap). Tie to the side O ring on the halter. You can finish here or thread the wrap through the noseband, inside the horses mouth (right where a bit would be placed) and tie to the square ring/noseband on the other side. OR place the wrap snuggly across the forehead and tie to the upper O ring on the other side. The wrap around the neck should be snug enough to provide a gentle massaging action but should not be tight enough to restrict the horses movement or breathing in anyway. Be sure to check the wrap with the horses head in different positions and make sure that it does not become restricting when the horse raises, lowers or lengthens their head & neck.

Caution: If you put the wrap through the horses mouth your wrap may end up with teeth marks! Because of this I usually recommend using an older pair.

*WARNING* Do not leave this wrap on without direct supervision!

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Creating A Conscious Connection Clinic

Posted by Dee Howe on April 17, 2018 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

April 28th in Murrieta 

#9 Diagonal Wrap

Posted by Dee Howe on March 14, 2018 at 3:05 AM Comments comments (1)

Diagonal Wrap:

This wrap is really useful for gaited horses in particular to help them find their own rythm. Horses with diagonal issues (mismatched trot, etc.), counter flexing & problems with canter lead (picking up wrong lead, cross-firing, etc.) can really benefit from this wrap.

You can use this wrap with a saddle, surcingle or just tying it to itself. Start by securing the velcro end of one wrap to the saddle or surcingle, wrapping it under the elbow of one front leg and tying it back to the saddle. Secure the velcro end of the second wrap to a ring on the surcingle or to the slit for the back cinch on a western saddle. Take the wrap behind, around and over the gaskin of the opposite hind leg (left hind & right front OR right hind and left front). Tie the wrap securely, make sure it is neither too tight nor too loose, it should be snug while allowing for full range of motion.

To use this wrap alone without a saddle or surcingle loop the velcro ends together and velcro each one back to itself (like links to a chain). If done correctly the velcro will hold for normal use but will come undone should the wrap become caught on something. The velcro "chain" should start over the horses back. Take one wrap around the front leg and one wrap around the opposite hind leg tying them together in the middle.

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#8 Back Cinch Wrap

Posted by Dee Howe on March 13, 2018 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (2)

Back Cinch Wrap:

In the begining this is a good aid to help encourage the proper use of the ab muscles to support collection & self carriage. It's a type of folcrum to help use the proper muscles when carrying weight. It is important that the horse learns to balance & carry himself first before adding the weight of the rider.

This wrap can be specifically useful for horses who have been recently gelded, have hernias, are long backed and flinchy horses. On colts I will use this wrap first before adding a real back cinch.

When applying this wrap attach the velcro end into the rear cinch slit or D ring of the western saddle, on the opposite side bring the wrap up under the horses belly and tie into the slit or D ring on that side. Be sure that the wrap is SNUG...not too loose and not too tight.


* This wrap is recommended safe for arena use only, if it comes loose it can catch on things.

* This wrap is not a replacement for an actual back cinch on your saddle.

* Horses can react in many different ways the first time a new wrap is used on them (especially this one). Work with your horse extensively on the ground with this wrap before deciding whether or not you are comfortable using this wrap while ridding your horse.

Use good judgement! Know your horse! Stay Safe!

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#7 Cinch Wrap

Posted by Dee Howe on March 10, 2018 at 3:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Cinch Wrap:

The cinch wrap is unique because it distinctly shows you where the blocks are as the energy works through the body. It is the only wrap that I will leave on until it falls off on it's own....sometimes taking a few minutes and sometimes taking a few weeks. This is the only wrap that I would say is safe to leave on unsupervised. It specifically addresses cinchiness, digestive issues, lower back problems & body self-awareness. It is kind of a reset as it only moves as the circulation increases, otherwise it will stay in the same spot. This wrap is first put on at the cinch area right behind the withers and then works all the way back over the hip and off.

-Start by dropping one end of the wrap over the horses back, carefully bring it under the belly like you would your saddle cinch.

-Attach the velcro back to itself creating a loop (the velcro will release if the horse catches the wrap on anything). Thread the other end of the wrap through the "velcro loop".

-Adjust the wrap so it is slightly snug. Not so tight so as to prevent it from working it's way back but not so loose that there is a large hanging loop under the horse that he may put a leg though.

-You can then release your horse in the round pen or turn out your horse and allow him to work out his new self-awareness for himself.


***Be sure to give your horse enough space as it works it's way off for safety reasons. Some horses will buck, kick or run around to shed the wrap as it is coming off.

*** The first time you apply any wrap it is recommended that you have your horse in a large, fenced area (round pen, turn out, arena, etc.), have someone hold your horse for you as you put the wrap on and then immediately turn the horse loose.

***Never put a new wrap on a horse while he is tied.

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#6 Psoas Support Wrap

Posted by Dee Howe on March 9, 2018 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (1)


Psoas Support Wrap:

This wrap helps create awareness of the diagonal stride (in the groin area) between the hind and opposite front leg. It supports the psoas muscle and also benefits rehab after a hind end injury or being gelded.

Begin by attaching the velcro end of the wrap to the D ring of the saddle or surcingle. Snuggly place the wrap around one hind leg just above the gaskin. Bring the wrap up between the hind legs and tie to the saddle/surcingle on the opposite side. Use more then once, alternating sides.

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