'Healthy Happy Horses, Naturally' with Catherine Bird

Archive for February, 2014

How much is enough

Working out the right amount of a herb or combination of herbs to give can depend on your intention.

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Why are you giving the herbs?

Is it simply to address a physical issue? Is it to assist with a behaviour block? Are you addressing the spirit of the horse?

Some people like to complicate the procedure by giving many herbs together. This is often out of anxiety in the hope they cover everything, or from their ego thinking how clever they are to have combined so many herbs. Sometimes we just love our horses “too much” and in our hope to heal them we try “everything” we possibly can. This only leads to confusion not only for yourself as you won’t know what worked, but you also confuse the organism ie your horse. His body could become overloaded or unable to utilise all you have given him, sometimes even give components that are antagonistic to each other and then there is a battle within rather than a restoration of harmony.

For me three (3) to five (5) if combined thoughtfully will cover most issues you are trying to address. If you find you want to give more, then maybe your issue are multi-dimensional and you need to layer your approach. This way you are addressing the most immediate layer and once you have smoothed the way through this layer, you can then address the next layer.

Herbs are less refined than medicines, your scope on the amount can vary quite broadly with them, and often more is not always needed. My rule of thumb is my combination of herbs doesn’t usually need to one (1) cup per feed. The level of acuteness will determine how many times a day. If I am addressing an issue from a strictly physical perspective this often achieves the desired results.

When it comes to behavioural issues my approach may vary from this. It is difficult to tell a client how quickly a herb will work. From experience you have a general idea. But the physical response is not the primary factor as herbs are very much connected to the etheric body so their affect the subtle anatomy first and this then filters down to the physical body so the impact is gradual and depends on the unique situation.

When the herbs don’t achieve a result on a physical level then this is where the intent becomes vital. The spiritual aspects of the herbs need to be activated. The owner has to handle the herbs as they add them to the feed, they have to have the intent that the herbs will assist release the negative blocks to the healing process, and most importantly in coming into contact with the herbs themselves that their thought forms that have “infected” their horse be released.

Alice Bailey spoke to the importance of thought forms and how negative thought forms are contagious. It takes a brave owner to take the time and examine what they have contributed to their horse’s dis-ease, what has the horse “caught” from them.

Herbs can assist with one aspect of this, but reclaiming and healing those patterns within yourself then allows your horse to accept the benefits of the herbs.

Sometimes you need to give your horse the herbs you take. This is an interesting paragraph fromGuruda’s The Spiritual Properties of Herbs to consider before my next blog:

When you take an herb, your animals should be offered a little of the same herb so it not to be imbalanced by the effect you experience from the herb. But the animal must be allowed to choose it in such cases. Offer the herb to the animal at least once a week, if you are working with the herb over an extended period of time. If you use the herb only once or twice, provide it to the animal at least once when you first take the herb. Sometimes the animal will recognise the necessity for the herb and take it.

Well worth considering when you next have your herbal tea or tisane.

Essential Oils For the Young Ones

From freefoto.com

From freefoto.com

When using aromatherapy with foals, I have used them comfortably from one week old in my practice. I like the idea of allowing them to bond with their mother before introducing them to the foals olfactory nervous system, and then after that I have I have safely used them both for the scent reaction in their behavioural centres as well as physical application to muscle issues from the ‘trauma of birth’.

My main rule of thumb if you are applying essential oils to a young horse, stick strictly to your 2.5% dilution, moreso as to not irritate their sensitive skin, and to also keep in mind they are smaller so what enters the body will circulate more quickly and you don’t want to give their liver or kidneys any surprises to filter.

If you are not sure if you should apply essential oils to your foal, ask him or her. They will be curious about the scent than an older horse, but the odd one will make him breath more intently or turn away quickly. As they have a shorter attention span, make your selection simple, and limit it to offering no more than 6 essential oils in a session.

Some essential oils I have found useful with foals:

Roman Chamomile

some foals come into this world with shoulder soreness, especially if they have had an assisted birth. Chamomile on its own in a nice carrier like aloe gel or jojoba oil to the deep cranial pectoral muscle (just foreward of the scapula where the neck joins the shoulder) will help with the sort of muscle spasms I have encountered with these foals.

Sweet Orange

these essential oil is from the peel of the orange. It is useful when a foal has been orphaned or is having trouble bonding with its mother. The scent of the orange gives the impression on the limbic system of that of a warm motherly hug. It is very welcoming and helps the animal inhaling it to open up to its emotional environment.

Lavender

older horses don’t often choose this essential oil. However young foals find it calming, especially when they are encountering the sudden influc of new sights and sounds around the farm. Particularly useful for the shy foal who appears a bit overwhelmed by his new environment.

Travel Hints when Your Horse Doesn’t Want to Drink

drinking water competition celery herbs

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Some horses don’t like to drink away from home.

Suggestion 1

Add a teaspoon of celery seed to their feed the night before and when they are away – celery seed tends to make horse’s a little thirstier and encourages them to drink water.

Suggestion 2

Flavour their water with a small bottle of apple juice – we have all drunk water from a different water tank and know it can taste different – the addition of this small amount of juice can mask that difference and be yummy. If you forget to take juice with you a splash of coke or lemonade is a second-best option.

Suggestion 3

Soak their hay in a large bucket and when they eat their hay from the container they will also slurp up a good quantity of water.

These are just three ideas that have worked for clients in the past – if anyone else has any suggestions – you are most welcome to contribute as what has worked for you may just work for somebody else.

Fighting Winter Bugs with Essential Oils

With the changeable weather, there are sniffles in the office as well as the stables, and the simple use of essential oils may just help keep some of those bugs at bay.

This article was first published in Natural Horse Magazine volume 5, issue 1:

simple-electric-diffuser1

Simple electric diffusers

Your horse’s body often gets compromised by microorganisms. Aromatherapy can be used to help your horse with any infection, however it is adjunctive to your horse’s veterinarian care, so the suggestions in this article are for your information and not to replace his advice.

Microorganisms that cause disease are called pathogens and can include bacteria, fungi and viruses. They can cause infection and they actively reproduce causing damage to healthy cells, often being responsible for producing toxins in the body. Infection can be systemic where it speads thoughout the body, or localised, and when your horse’s body responds to an infection, the severity of this response is displayed by the symptoms you see. With the use of essential oils we aim to strengthen your horse’s own defence system and lessen the intensity of symptoms so your horse can recover with less stress as his body destroys the offending microorganisms.

Early recognition of an invader is important for any treatment to be effective. Your horse’s body is designed to minimize attack of its body by microorganisms. As orifices are often the points of entry they are designed to keep the body protected. Eyes have tears to wash away microorganisms, mouths fend off invaders with mucous membranes and alkaline saliva, the hairs in the nostrils minimize entry of microorganisms, the respiratory tract secretes mucous to trap microbes, the urinary system contains healthy bacteria to prevent harmful microorganisms taking hold, the stomach and intestines produce acid, enzymes and beneficial bacteria that destroy unfriendly bacteria, and even the sebaceous glands of the skin secrete chemicals which are highly toxic to bacteria. It is important when we use essential oils we assist these natural barriers, and not compromise their function.

Essential oils in themselves all have varying anti-microbial properties. Depending on their chemical makeup, they will be more effective with different microorganisms, however to some degree all essential oils exhibit anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral properties. They act to directly oppose threatening microorganisms and help build a healthier body resistant to attack.

Bacteria

Bacteria are what we commonly refer to as germs. They can include the bacteria Clostridium tetani, which causes tetanus and Streptococcus equi, which causes strangles. Your horse’s body will attempt to fight invading bacteria and sometimes this is successful without treatment, but in some cases your horse may need an antiserum, such as with tetanus, or anitbiotics as in bacterial pneumonia.

Essential oils such as tea tree, Melaleuca alternifolia, have been shown to be very effective in helping fight Streptococcus bacteria in human trials. When a horse has been infected with this bacteria and you need to quarantine him, regular diffusion of a blend of essential oils inculding tea tree will assist the infected horse with his battle against this invader. An immune-building blend to help your horse if this is an issue would include tea tree, bergamot (Citrus bergamia), and lavender (Lavendula officinalis or angustifolia). If other horses have come in contact with an infected horse before his quarantine, you can also strengthen their immune systems by diffusing their stalls with a similar blend.

Not only would these essential oils inhibit the progress of the bacteria, they would also assist any horse healing with the stress of confinement. Simply add 5% of equal parts into a bottle of distilled water with a dash of alcohol or detergent to help disperse the essential oils and spray the horse’s stable throughout the day. Alternatively these essential oils could be added to an electric diffuser undiluted and left to disperse throughout the day and night to support the animal.

With any wounds where your horse may have come in contact with the bacterium responsible for tetanus, you can use tea tree essential oil to wash the wound while monitoring the horse and checking with your veterinarian if further treatment is necessary.

Fungi

Fungi are relatively simple invaders, however they can penetrate into the tissue of the horse. One common fungal infection is ringworm. Your horse can also suffer fungal infection of gutteral pouch from the fungus Aspergillus. Tea tree oil is also highly antifungal and our first choice as an essential oil when it comes to fungal infections. Patchouli, Pogostemon patchouli, is also a highly antifungal essential oil and useful applied to skin fungal infections. A lesser known antifungal essential oil is manuka, Leptospermum scoparium, a native of New Zealand and often referred to as the New Zealand Tea Tree, it is similar in scent yet softer, though this does not diminish its action. Another essential oil from the same family is niaouli, Melaleuca viridifolia. Each of these essential oils may be applied undiluted to small areas, less than one square inch, or on larger areas in aloe vera gel.

Viruses

Viral infections can include something as simple as a wart to extremely serious diseases such as rabies, as well as a cold virus. Viruses can be inhaled in droplets or swallowed in food or water; they may also be passed through the saliva of biting insects, or may enter the horse’s body durig covering/breeding.

We have a wide selection of antiviral essential oils including Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata, which are useful in fighting adenoviruses responsible for the common cold. Introducing eucalyptus in a body rub or diffused in the air can assist the body to produce white blood cells to help it fight infection. When it comes to localised infections such as warts we can look at topical applications of lemon, Citrus limonum, which can be applied undiluted to small warts or in aloe getl to larger areas. Lemon is not photosensitive, especially the essential oil obtained by distillation, so it is safe to use ocer a period of time no matter what time of theyear you are working with your horse.

Building up Your Horse’s Immunity

It has been shown in human health that for those who are exposed to and use essential oils regularly, their immune systems are more finely tuned and often fend off attack by invaders with little effect on the body. I have seen this with horses that have regular aromatherapy sessions or where owners incorporate aromatherapy into a weekly grooming routine.

Most essential oils from the Myrtaceae family are anti-infectious and can be used around your horse to protect him from any disease that may be circulating in your area. They include Cajeput (Melaleuca leucadendra), niaouli, clove (Eugenia caryophyllata), Eucalyptus, and Myrtle (Myrtus communis). They will also assist the sick horse with his battle to overcome disease states.

The regular use of essential oils such as bergamot, which is also antiviral, and lavender, ravensara (Ravensara aromatica), thyme (Thymus vularis), pine (Pinus sylvestris), palmarosa (Cympopogom martini), kunzea (Kunzea ambigua) will not only help build your horse’s immune system, it will also create a barrier in the form of negative ions. When there are plenty of negative ions in the air, it is more difficult for any invader to move unimpeded through the air.

Blue cypress (Calitris intratropica), lemon eucalytus (Eucalyptus citriodora), lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora), lemon tea tree (Leptospermum petersonii) can also make effective insect repellents, offering limited protection from disease-spreading mosquitoes while also helping your horse build his immune system.

As an aside, the scent of an essential oil, once inhaled, is filtered by the limbic system of the brain and then this information is fed on to the hypothalamus gland. The hypothalamus gland in turn then sends out instructions to the endocrine system, whereby each gland in the body is affected and given a “tune-up.” It is the glands that help keep the immune system healthy. With this in mind the use of any essential oils will help your horse maintain a stronger and healthier immune system.

Catherine Bird

 

Allergy thoughts

Allergies need a layered approach

Hopefully your horse is not allergic to other valued pets (thanks to the Country Park client for this pic)
horse herbs allergy help

With the seasons not following their usual trend, the incidents of allergies seems to be rising on both sides of the equator.

Identify and Eliminate
If the trigger is environmental it may be hard to eliminate. If your horse is sensitive to one of the components in the feed – eliminate those which could be the trigger. It will vary with each horse and sometimes going down to a basic diet and then rebuilding one part at a time can help too.

Reactions to your emotions
Some of your horse’s reactions can be to the emotions you are generating around you What I often find is allergy reactions in a horse may be because the owner is easily affected or irritated by others. It is worth looking at your own life and see what is affecting your emotional health if herbs don’t help your horse.

Herbs to help
If it is some kind of inflammatory response – try calendula or eyebright.
Puffiness or the lymphatic system needing a gentle flush – clivers.
Rosehips are a good tonic to boost defence against most allergic responses.
Help your horse’s liver along with herbs like st marys thistle or burdock depending on how the allergy manifests.

Last but not least – Keep at it – allergies can be multi layered and it may take time to work through each layer of the issues.

Horse Rub Hint

Is your horse giving you a hint as to where he needs you to massage?

massage horse hint equine

Ever thought your horse was trying to tell you something?

If you scratch him he may move to where he really wants that scratch.

If you miss this hint, and your horse rolls in dirt or sand, watch carefully. You may catch where his trying to put pressure himself.

If you are lucky, when he stands up, the sand or dirt may have stuck to a few spots.

Note this places before he shakes the dirt off.

This is where he was trying to put pressure himself and where you should next look with your fingers when you give him a rub or groom him.

 

written by Catherine Bird

Featured Student – Suzanne Regnier-Tront

Suzanne Regnier-Tront

I’ve been providing the equine aromatherapy correspondence course since 1998 and it is rewarding when someone develops an understanding they can then shape into their own ideas.

Over the next few months I am going to feature some of the students of the course who have done this and today is Suzanne Regnier-Tront. Suzanne has developed an exciting approach with her mists.

equine aromatherapy course student scents

When Suzanne signed up for my equine aromatherapy course roughly 2 years ago, she confesses having no hot clue what aromatherapy was all about. The only thing at the time that had piqued her interest was that it had to do with horses. She had just been able to reconnect with horses and wanted to spend as much time around them as possible.

After completing my course, Suzanne recognized that she could be looked upon as a “nutcase” or as a trailblazer. She chose to be viewed as the latter. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, aromatherapy is hardly a topic of discussion – let alone one to have in a “stable” environment!!!

As she was completing her coursework, related books were perused and read and Suzanne came upon an idea where hydrosols might be the cure for her cat who suffered from 3P trips (pee, puke, poop) within minutes of getting in a vehicle.

Using the blend for the first, Suzanne observed that it worked like a charm. Since then traveling to the lake or to the vet has no longer been a stressful ordeal. Suzanne decided this past summer to take her blends to 2 cat shelters to conduct some test trials.

The people were in awe and the cats in the shelters’ care instantly soothed and relaxed. It was truly a magical moment to witness multiple stressed cats being calmed so effectively and quickly.

Magical as it may be, Suzanne now has the daunting task of educating the public to the wonderful healing modality of aromatherapy.

Suzanne is currently marketing her 2 cat air mists and is working on both an air mist and oil blend for scared, stressed and anxious dogs. While she admits her goal was initially only to work with horses, she has branched out to include cats and dogs. After having spent 19 years in the elementary classroom setting, Suzanne finds entrepreneurship a very foreign path to be traveling down. Nonetheless, she is dealing with animals and life-long -learning continues.

Suzanne chose to name her business Scents of Relief.
To view her website go to : http://www.scentsofrelief.com