Thursday, November 7, 2013

FDA? Are they credible?

What do you think? Does the FDA have the best interests of your family and animal companions in mind?

You've read my thoughts about conventional processed food and it's no secret I am a proponent of raw and species appropriate food. Susan Thixton writes another thought provoking article. How trustworthy is the FDA really??

"It's perplexing how the FDA can tell consumers to "not feed your pet a raw diet" but it is acceptable to the agency for euthanized animal remains or animals that have died in the field – lying in the sun decomposing for days – to be cooked into a slurry or powder and dumped into dog and cat food.  Raw pet food made from USDA inspected and approved meats are dangerous for your pet and you – but decomposing, diseased animals are "suitable for use in animal food" and perfectly safe for you to handle.

The FDA cannot see they just discredit themselves with each 'announcement' like this.  They lose more and more respect from the public.  How sad.  This raw pet food witch hunt needs to stop.  The outright FDA permission for pet food to violate federal law needs to stop.   Who is the FDA really protecting?"

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What a great day!

Tuesday I was fortunate enough to ride along with 2 PHENOMENAL equine professionals. Daisy of Daisy Haven Farm and Suzanne of Appalachian Hoof Care. There is so much collective knowledge between these two women. We helped a few worthy horses and I learned a ton. Extending my gratitude to them for including me in on this day. I look forward to our next meeting. Be sure to check them both out. Truly amazing and educated equine professionals. ~**Inez

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My 4H Weekend. I LOVE this group!!

Just getting home from a FANTASTIC long weekend in West Virginia where I spent some time teaching/coaching/guiding and learning from a lovely group of PHENOMENAL young people. The 4H High Riders Horse Club's camp. This year the theme was "Healthy Rider, Healthy Horse." You may have heard me mention in the past how much I absolutely LOVE and ADORE this group and what they are doing. My dear friend, Suzanne, of Appalachian Hoof Care is bringing a whole new dynamic and paradigm to these girls (& boys), outside of "conventional" thought and training. She is opening their world up to Holistic Care and truly BEing with their horse(s). A true *honoring* of the horse. I am so honored, thrilled, and grateful to be a part of this collective (last year's theme was "All About Balance"). I am also humbled by the true desire and compassion this particular group displays and their capacity and hunger to *learn* and know more. I LOVE teaching and sharing what I do, holistic health, integrative therapies, and the "healing team" concept. The group of instructors that served as my peers are also all truly phenomenal individuals. From healthy eating to trails and obstacles. From following a "feel" to learning to feel. The changes in the girls and transformation of the horses in their care is and was such a blessing to witness, acknowledge, and be a party to. I am extremely proud and grateful to the fact that these girls and what they have learned from my teachings and that of others, are our next generation of horse tenders.  How lucky is this world to have them??? Wonderful, wonderful weekend!!! What did you all do??~**Inez

If you're interested in reading and learning more about this very special group, check out these 2 articles.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Never. Stop. Learning.

I am **SUPER** excited to be headed down to West Virginia later today for the High Riders 4H camp. You may remember me talking about last year's camp, "All About Balance" where the weekend was an immersion in holistic/balanced horsemanship, with a natural hoof care practitioner, balanced dentistry, centered riding, positive reinforcement training, healthy eating, and my self with bodywork. A true Whole Horse paradigm. "Healthy Horse, Healthy Rider" is this year's theme. Again, I am honored to be invited back to teach and participate. Those who know me also know that I LOVE sharing knowledge and learning. I look forward to sharing information on how we can all partner with the horse holistically and of course learning from the group. Every "teacher" knows, you also learn from the "pupil." We are all students in life. Never stop learning. ~**Inez

"There is no end to education. It's not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born, to the moment you die, is a process of learning."
~**Jiddu Krishnamurti

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Beautiful night ponderings.

Another absolutely GORGEOUS night!! I LOVE this time of year! Upon getting home at a quarter to dark o'clock, I sat outside while my horses ate and listened to the sounds of them chewing. The frogs are pretty silent, as are the crickets, which is odd for so warm an evening. Everything is so "still" outside. After Kopper Top finished, he did his usual (hang out wherever I am-which in this case was on a mounting block outside the fence). There is absolutely NOTHING in this world like the love and affection of an Arabian horse. After wuffling and mussing my hair (which is a favorite thing for him to do to me), he gave me sweet, horsey kisses. Honestly, I absolutely ADORE the love and "in your pocket" trait of the Arabian. I was telling someone earlier today that I am a complete sucker for an affectionate horse. And how grateful and fortunate am I to have the love of two?? Arabians ROCK!! There is so much about them that I admire and cherish! ((I also noticed that I have a nice 11-piece luggage set under my eyes! Moon madness catching up! Perhaps I should get to sleep "early")).

With thoughts of joyous sunshine and rest,


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TRUST- I strive to be worthy.

"To force a horse when it does not understand is like training a dancer by whipping and spurring" —- The Art Of Horsemanship by Xenophon – Greek General – 365B.C.

FANTASTIC blog post and highly suggested reading! I LOVE synchronicity and this came across my page as I was pondering this same exact subject! I was thinking about  the thousands of years of evolution and instinct that is the horse (prey) and how often we (predator) are constantly asking him to override that instinct and trust us. I had literally just explained that to a person today, talking about the equines natural claustrophobia and comparing trailers and other such things to the watering hole and place where the predator (lion) jumps the horse (prey) and the horse then becomes "food." Thousands of years of survival instinct that we ask, not force(in my case), the horse to override. I was telling this person how wonderful and worthy of treasuring that type of trust warrants and how such trust and belief in me is deeply humbling and takes time, patience, and gentle persistence. I strive to be worthy of such trust~**Inez

What are your thoughts on this? How does this article resonate with you??

With thoughts of joyful sunshine and trust,


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I am such a LUCKY girl!!

Met with one of my favorite clients last night. Most of his concerns are emotional which then becomes physical. When I first met this horse he was extremely high headed, worried, and tense (I have posted about him at least one time previously); aside from him being an "emotional" horse, physically he is built with a high neck set (which I believe also contributes to his tendency to be "in his head"). I have had the pleasure of seeing him change with each visit from me, he is losing his "worried" look. His human tells me that he seems to prepare and "wait" for me to arrive on our scheduled days, I believe this to be true. He is also a kind and sensitive horse. I allow each animal (human and otherwise) to choose how their session with me will go and they "choose" which of the modalities I offer will best serve them. For our first few sessions he benefited most from energy work and aromatherapy. This is likely because most of what we treated were his emotional concerns. This boy LOVES the YL Essential Oils and we have incorporated the oil(s) he has called for and chosen into each session (always Valor, and then usually 3-4 others). As he mentally has become more balanced I am incorporating and closing with more of the physical/musculoskeletal work and have often done a combination, again, depending on his particular needs. Last night we switched it up a bit. I had just received an YLEO new to me, Trauma Life, which I intuited he would like and choose (which he did). He also chose Valor (who doesn't LOVE Valor). He literally lapped it up. Something else that was different about last night's session is he did not call much for the energy work, instead we went right into the musculoskeletal work. This is a 180 from how previous sessions would go. I am so HAPPY with the progress that is being made with this boy and so very grateful that he and I have crossed paths. He never fails to both greet me and to thank me and honestly, that is thanks enough.. I seriously LOVE this healing work that I am blessed to do and am grateful for all of the teachers that continue to show me the way (to me I have learned most from the animals I tend).

With thoughts of joyous sunshine and gratitude~**Inez

**Who have been some of your greatest animal teachers?? We'd love to hear from you! Please comment, post, and share.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Izzy's Love Equine Rescue!!

Saturday I spent some time at Izzy's Love Equine Rescue ( -the website is still "under construction"). I had my friend, Holly with me and we did some healing work with Bubba (a recent return and the big beautiful chestnut pictured on the left). Some of what he received was aromatherapy, HTA, energywork/Reiki, and bodywork.  Holly shared some HTA (and energy work) with him, seeking to balance his chakras and I did a bit of aromatherapy, Reiki/energy work, and bodywork (massage/acupressure), he also got a bit of therapy from my cold laser pad.  Going into the session, Bubba was a bit high headed and distracted (understandably so given the recent changes in his life). He was a bit blocked from the heart chakra (shoulder/withers) on back (and showed pain during palpation along his withers to his lower lumbar with the most tension and stress points held in his withers and scapula). By the time we finished he had released his tension and was very accepting and relaxed, he was also no longer showing discomfort upon palpation.  Bubba is a REALLY nice horse and I hope that he lands somewhere soft.  In the meantime, he's in good hands at Izzy's Love with the support and love that both Debbie and Russ provide.  Let it be known that if a horse I work on is adopted, I will donate/give one free healing session included in his adoption.  This may be bodywork, energywork, or aromatherapy,(and potentially a combination of what I have to offer in my "healing" toolkit) depending on the individual animal's personal needs. This applies solely to those I have worked on.


The cutey on the right is Cricket.  She has a beautiful face and I believe is a permanent resident due to some of the health concerns she holds (both physical and emotional).  I can say that Russ has a certain way with the "damaged" ones… they seem to gravitate towards his gentle and caring nature. 


If you're looking for a FANTASTIC rescue to support, please consider Izzy's Love Equine Rescue ( ). They are now a 501c3 and I will personally vouch for the love and tending that the residents receive from founder, Debbie, and her #1 helper, Russ.


Learning is FUN!!

I love learning new ideas, information and theories, then connecting the dots in my mind. 

This is one of the many "thoughts" that speak to me and stands out from the below posted article, there are so many TRUTHS to be found here:

" Quite obviously I interested Manchester since he rarely talks with his mouth full of hay. What I like with modern understanding of our vertebral column's muscular system is that it becomes quite obvious that only our central nervous system and in particular our brain, can efficiently coordinate such a complex mechanism. Perhaps, instead of annihilating our brain through dim obedience, our riders may realize than a true partnership would generate better performances while giving us a chance to remain sound.  Then he swallowed his last bite and dropped the head for another full mouth of hay. I was thinking that such was his last words but he raised his head again and asked, do you know that I am a "dumbblood." I looked at him incredulously and he added;this is the way they call us when we are not performing as they wish. The amusing side of the story is that they don't know that in our world, the dumb is the rider and the blood is the horse."
-Chazot's Thoughts, Science of Motion

Monday, May 6, 2013

A healing kinda' weekend!

This past weekend was a nice horsey and wellness treat! Per previous post, the dentist, Krystin of HorseFloss, came on Saturday for UDWTs herd (check her out! We LOVE Krystin Dennis~ she also has a business facebook page and is always open to exchanging and sharing knowledge), then I headed to her farm for my own bit of tending(I will return at a later date to work on a few of her animals, this visit was all about me :oD )... while there for myself, I had Reflexology and a reading by Christine Price (another EXTREMELY gifted healer, @stardazer111 ).

Sunday morning we had Jan of Ark Acupuncture over for UDWTs, Gabriel, (Jan Novak~ , is another one of our favorite healers and is also extremely gifted!) and later that afternoon you found me in Silver Run at Twin Forest Farm and the home of Ark Acupuncture, to work on and assess a couple of horses. While there we also had Jen of Sweet Retreat Equine Dentistry (We also love Jen Kolberg~ and she too has a business fb page and is a great one to exchange ideas with). I then headed to my own farm ( ) to work on and with a few members of my own herd and today, my herd will have their hooves trimmed by our super competent hoof care practitioner, Patty Lynch.

I guess the purpose of this post is four-fold. 1) to highlight professionals working together and in support of each other, 2) the importance to take time out for self-healing and to have someone tend the wellness needs of you, the practitioner, 3) to touch on 3 foundation principles of Postural Rehabilitation (PR) ~ teeth, feet, body/posture, and 4) to introduce and highlight the concept of having a healing team in place.

1) Professionals working together and in support of each other: It's always nice to surround yourself with energies that align with your own and have similar focus and intent. In this case, the wellness of the animals and each other. All of the professionals I listed I have deep respect and affection for. They are GREAT at what they do and are also great resources for further information, and education as well as communication. This comes into play at the exchange of ideas and thoughts. I love having the support of other professionals that I can bounce my ideas and observations off of. Having them around can help you navigate and validate or negate some of your own findings. They inspire further contemplation and thought into what is observed in the animal (or human) that is the client.
2) The importance of taking time out for self-healing: This is a message that comes back to me again and again. As a "healer" and practitioner taking time for self is imperative to fully realize and provide the work that we do. This is something that I am not practiced at doing, taking time for my own self healing, and know that is crucial for over-all wellness and not to deplete the stores of my energy.
3) With the dentist tending my horses Saturday, me doing bodywork on them Sunday, and the hoof care practitioner balancing them today, we have some of the key principles to PR. All 3 of these things are intrinsically related to the overall wellness and balance of your horse. This is something I often speak and post about. They go hand in hand (or rather hoof and teeth and body) with each other and are codependent.
4) Having a healing team in place: A healing team is also a passion of mine that I often post about. Know who you can call to support the needs of yourself and those who are in your care. This doesn't mean that you will be calling them constantly, or even always in need of their services. What this does mean is that you have a "team" of folks who are there when you need them. Knowing *who* to call and having their information ready and available will save you (and your animal companions) in the long run.

Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts and experiences with the 4 items I highlighted? I'd love to hear from you!! ~**Inez

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Slow Hay Nets and......... Muzzles and........Dry Lots... OH MY!!! (Is there danger in that grass??)

Spring has come! Spring has come! And with spring we have birds singing, baby animals romping, trees budding, and green grass sprouting! How idyllic, right?? Well, sort of.. that is depending on the type of grass you have and how "easy" your horse is to keep. 


Did you know that spring grass can be too much of a good thing?  Grazing horses on spring (along with fall) grass may lead to laminitis, especially if you have an "easy keeper" who is also predisposed to IR (insulin resistance), EMS (equine metabolic disorder), PPID (pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction aka Cushings), etc.  


Laminitis= inflammation of the laminae; essentially, it is the inflammation of the connecting tissues between the hoof wall and the coffin bone. 


·         Horses are meant to eat forage right? Forage means pasture, right? So how can letting them chow down on fresh, lush, green grass be a bad thing?

o   2 reasons: digestive upset can occur from excess carbohydrates (sugars) in the grass. This overload is a common cause of laminitis. The grass may also contain high level of fructan (sugar). This is considered a non structural carbohydrate (NSC) and is often produced in higher quantities when a plant is stressed. Unlike starch, the horse in unable to break down fructans in the same way. This may then lead to a buildup of fructans in the large intestine which leads to multiplying of fructan digesting bacteria when then upsets normal gut flora and function, thus leading to laminitis.

·         What's the deal with fructan?

o   Fructan is dependent upon photosynthesis which is dependent upon sunlight. This means cloudy weather actually lowers the fructan in the grass. (as the day goes on and the sun rises, so does the sugar/starch. They are highest prior to sunset).

·         If my horse shows rib that means he's not susceptible, right?

o   Not necessarily true. An IR horse does not always present as overweight. Learn to identify signs of IR. These signs include a cresty neck, and "fat pockets" that are not evenly distributed. These may be found over the withers, behind the shoulder, at the tailhead, a "swollen" sheath, and "puffiness" over the pocket of the eyes (there should be an indent there).

·          So when is it the "safest" to turn out horses??

o   The safest time to turn out is late night and early mornings when the grass is not stressed by frost, drought, or in the flowering stage of growth. Be sure to introduce your horse to pasture gradually. This means start in small increments of time and build up.  This will allow his intestinal flora time to adjust.

·         What can I do to minimize this risk?

o   Dry lots~ having a dry lot to keep horses on during the critical times is ideal. You can more readily monitor what your horse is eating.

o   Grazing muzzles~are a great option for limiting grass intake and still allowing your horse to graze. The muzzle is a great option until you can get a dry lot in place.

o   Small mesh/hole hay nets and slow feeders~are a great option for keeping forage in front of your horse and slowing him down.

o   EXERCISE!~ keeping your horse in work and fit will also help to minimize the risk.

o   DIET!~ nutrition is the foundation to wellness and health. Be sure to feed your horse an appropriate diet that is forage based.

o   Know that not every horse has the same needs.  They are individuals and as such, have different requirements and approaches based upon their varying needs. These needs will be determined by their metabolism, activity level, breed, health, and age.

o   Monitor insulin/glucose levels and weight, and minimize/avoid over-vaccination and drugs.


Want to really dive in and stoke the inner nutritional and hoof geek? Here's a few websites for you:


(one of my favorites and an INVALUABLE resource about grass)


Holistic Horsekeeping


ECIR horse:


testing forage:


hoof rehab:



Further links from my website:


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Coffee Clutch with Dutch Henry: "Feature Friday-Inez Donmoyer-Unicorn Dreams Wholi...

A few days after my birthday I was lucky enough to be Dutch Henry's "Feature Friday" on his Coffee Clutch. Thanks Dutch! What an honor!!

Coffee Clutch with Dutch Henry: "Feature Friday-Inez Donmoyer-Unicorn Dreams Wholi...: Howdy Folks, Inez Donmoyer, founder of Unicorn Dreams Holistic Touch, is a Certified Equine, Canine, and Small Animal Massage Therapi...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Easing your pasture potato back into work

Getting over the winter doldrums and ready to spring back into the saddle?? Be certain to ease your horse back into work. With the warming weather it is easy to jump right in... perhaps not so easy for your horse though if s/he has had the winter "off" to be a pasture potato. This may not be so easy for yourself either.  Remember, before "springing" to action take the following into consideration:


·         Introduce exercise slowly and gradually (be sure to take into consideration your horse's overall condition- weight, age, health, hoof, soundness)

·         Build up his stamina and conditioning slowly.

·         Warm him up before working under saddle

·         Walk before trot. Build that up too. (consider using cavalettis and as his conditioning improves, work to a trot and hill work. Add more time in increments and be consistent. Don't work him for 20 minutes on Monday and Tuesday then leave him for 2 weeks and expect him to work for 30 minutes the next time. Be considerate.)

·         Watch for signs of fatigue before they happen.  Do NOT overtax your horse

·         Be sure to cool him down properly

·         Don't be fooled by his willingness, or yours.  This is the plight of so many "weekend warriors." If your horse has been standing in a pasture all winter, don't pull him out on Saturday and force him into a strenuous 3 hour ride – use common sense and think of his overall wellbeing.

·         Pay particular care to the very young (3 ½-4 yo) and older horses.  The younger horses are still in the process of strengthening their musculoskeletal system and may be easily injured. Stop before overloading his skeleton and he shows significant signs of fatigue.. Slow and steady speeds at more miles will build a more proper foundation for a young horse then hard, fast speeds.  Again, I stress, do not over-fatigue your horse.  Slow and steady is also a better way to recondition the older horse. Take care to pay heed to their endurance, flexibility, and comfort.  They may have arthritic joints and past injuries which may improve with regular exercise.

·         Add massage/bodywork into your routine. Use your curry, stretch him out. Set him up for success. (often times muscular aches and pains are not noticed or seen easily. They may manifest themselves as stiffness, sluggishness, refusals, poor attitude. Behaviors that are a result of pain are NOT training issues yet are often times assumed to be. Unlike humans, horses cannot verbalize their issues and concerns with words, therefore, resistance and "sourness" is a way in which they are attempting to communicate to you. Don't dismiss this as laziness or surliness.)


In what ways do you begin reconditioning your horses? Please *SHARE* and *COMMENT* we'd love to hear from you**Inez




Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Make time to tend your own...

Personal herd member, Kopper Top, gets a much needed and overdue aromatherapy, acupressure, and bodywork treatment (unbeknownst to me, my husband took photos from the porch). I have found for myself and when speaking with my peers and other animal professionals that sometimes our own animal members and companions don't get the tending they too benefit from. For example, many of us who tend to others all day (be it massaging other animals, training, farriery, acupuncture, dentistry, riding, etc) do not always have the time to tend to our personal members as often as we would like. We spend so much of our time and energy on others that we may have someone else do the work on our animals, or perhaps they do not get the tending as often as we would love to share it.

How many of you find that sometimes your personal family members don't always get the tending they need as often as you'd love to give it?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Is there a "magic" age to start a horse??

At what age do you think it is appropriate to start a horse in work? Many conventional trains of thought believe 2 years old is the "magic" age to start and ride a horse under work. Personally, I don't believe a horse is ready developmentally, physically, emotionally, and/or mentally to be started that young. This isn't to say that you cannot teach a horse basic ground work and manners (that is always a good idea); it is under saddle "work" that you should hold off on (starting does not necessarily mean riding).

The included photo is of my "youngest" herd member (Leggo My) Fuego. On the left is a photo of him as a 4yo; on the right is a photo of him as a 6yo. You can clearly see a difference in maturity here that those 2 years afforded him, at the very least, you see the difference in his expression. ((He was 5, closer to 6 before I began his under saddle training and it is just now that I am getting him going and into riding "work."))

It's important not to start your horses in work too early. Give them a chance to grow up and "mature" a bit. What's the rush? The concept of time is a human construct after all. Set them up for long term health and thriving wellness. Check out the included article about equine growth and development. Do you know the approximate age at which the last growth plate (posterior physis) closes? 5 or more years according to this article by Dr. Deb Bennett. That's right 5 or older! Food for thought, don't you think?~**Inez

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

We can all use more light in our life....

Now that I have my battery pack I've been taking my light therapy pad out with me more often when visiting clients.  I originally purchased the smaller pad for my personal canine, Gabriel, to use for his cruciate concern and shoulder compensation. I've recently begun using it on my equine clients when needed. I'm very happy with the results so far. The equine pictured in photo had lower right lumbar pain and a bit of edema. I worked on him using aromatherapy/energy work, then the light pad and my aculight torch (acupressure) before beginning the massage portion of bodywork. After 10 minutes with the light therapy pad, the edema had gone away and he was no longer reactive upon palpation. I'm thinking now that I should invest in the larger equine pad. Do I think it was the light therapy alone that helped? Perhaps, perhaps not.  It may all work well in conjunction with the other modalities I offer and practice; another tool to add to my holistic healing kit.  That said, I do think it helped to definitely speed along the process for this particular case. ~**Inez


Some of the benefits listed for light therapy:


General: Arthritis pain, bursitis, bruising, burns, edema, deep muscle problems, hematomas, inflammation, tight or sore muscles and infections.

Hoof Problems: Abscesses, bone spurs, inflammation, navicular, ringbone and laminitis.

Leg and Body: Ankle problems, bone chips, hock problems, inflammation, ligament soreness, tendon problems, sore backs, splints, strains, stifle issues, sprains, swelling, shoulder pain, hip pain, sore backs, sore necks, salivary gland problems, wounds, cuts, scrapes and for stimulating trigger points and acupuncture points.


And some studies for more findings and information:

Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 9:1-5, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, 1989).
Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine & Surgery Polychromatic LED Therapy in Burn Healing of Non-diabetic and Diabetic Rats
2 Impaired Wound Healing and angiogenesis in eNOS-deficient Mice, PC Lee; American Journal of Physiology , 1999 October,277 (4 Pt 2):H1600-8
Oct 2003, Vol. 21, No. 5 : 249 -258 
3May 2006 Issue Of Acta Diabetologica
Biofizika. 2006 Mar-Apr; 51(2):332-9
The results obtained show that exposure of wounds to both laser and light-emitting diode irradiation causes a decrease in the oxidative stress in the rat wound fluid. No significant quantitative difference between the effects of laser and light-emitting diode irradiation was found.*Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. 2003;18(2):95-9
Mitochondrial signal transduction in accelerated wound and retinal healing by near-infrared light therapy.
Mitochondrion. 2004 Sep;4(5-6):559-67. 
PMID: 16120414 [PubMed]
Mitochondrion. 2004 Sep;4(5-6):559-67. 
PMID: 16120414 [PubMed]
Photomedicine and Laser Surgery
Polarized Light (400–2000 nm) and Non-ablative Laser (685 nm): A Description of the Wound Healing Process Using Immunohistochemical Analysis
Oct 2005, Vol. 23, No. 5 : 485 -492

Monday, April 8, 2013

Geeking out over posture!

This past weekend I headed up to Daisy Haven Farm for a Postural Rehab Clinic.... And here are my thoughts and takeaways from the final day....

The final day of the Postural Rehab workshop at Daisy Haven Farm. What a FANTASTIC weekend chock full of brain loading information. Genuinely grateful to Dr. Judith Shoemaker, Dr. Karen Gellman, Elizabeth Reese, and The indomitable Daisy for extending this clinic outside of the vet/chiro world and offering this learning to us Bodyworkers, Hoof Care Practitioners, & Equine Dentists. What a fantastic tool to add to our observational skills. Some valuable takeaways (& reminders) from this weekend:

*OBSERVE- don't dx (which is outside of scope anyway), don't create story, or form opinion

*Do not confuse Posture with Conformation with Position

*We are all a part of a complex system

*Vertebrates-there is a relationship of the head, neck, and back. Hoof balance and dentistry are key factors

*Gravity- it's the law. Neutral stance is important.

*Universal Priorities- 1. Protect nervous system. 2. Stay upright and balanced. 3. Respond to outside world. 4. React to pain.

((these are just the minute few tidbits of learning. There was so MUCH more that I am not able to cover in this post))

*I met a number of practitioners from numerous part of the country.

*Daisy Haven Farm sure knows how to feed their attendees! Thanks DHF for having, hosting, and offering this FANTASTIC clinic!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Animals grieve. Sensitive Storm's story......

Storm is a very emotional cat and sensitive to the things going on around him. He tends to be aloof when things are not going his way or when he is feeling blue. His human told me that he had been keeping to himself and seemed to be in an emotional "funk." The dynamics of the home had tilted recently with the loss of 2 of the other feline family members, brothers, Paul and Silas. Since the last feline, Paul, crossed over I was told that there was no real order between the remaining 2 felines, Storm and Scout. Storm's human told me that she believes that the changes were a bit too much for Storm to handle. I initially went to their home to offer massage to the 4-legged inhabitants, when I approached Storm I could clearly see he was not interested in having body work (he "told" me he didn't want to be touched). I then opted to offer him Reiki, which he accepted timidly at first, then very strongly. I could feel the energy between us and Storm welcomed and soaked in all that he could. Later that evening his human contacted me to tell me that whatever happened between us changed Storm for the better. She said he has become much more relaxed, happier and engaged with the family. Since that session his human has been interested in offering energy to him and I will attune her to level 1. This was her first "true" experience with Reiki and she sincerely noticed a change and now wishes to share this with her animal companions. Her exact words, "I had never had any true personal experiences in or around Reiki until recently, but I am SOLD!!"

Monday, April 1, 2013

Horses. Curry. Massage. Shed

As many of us know.. "shedding season" is upon us… Did you also realize the value of a nice nubby rubber curry??  Currying a horse (or other furry beloved) will help to bring dirt, dust, dead skin, dandruff, and loose fur to the surface; it is also beneficial to the muscles, skin, and soft tissue.  How? Well.. the curry gives a bit of a massage to the tissue, in addition to loosening hair, dirt, and dust, it also helps to warm, massage, and loosen muscles. 


When using a curry, you want to use circular motions.  Gauge your animals reaction.  They will tell you if you need more/less pressure.  Work from the poll/neck to the hindquarters.  Go lightly over bony prominences, such as the point of hip and shoulders. Watch the animals reaction, they are all individuals so may tolerate and even enjoy various amounts of pressure and speed.  If working on the forehead and/or legs, use a softer curry than the one pictured or a curry mitt, and again start gentle, and watch for feedback. While working the rubber curry, also keep your other hand on the horse, this will allow you to sense any tension, and him to know where you are.  To clean the curry, you can tap it on a hard surface and the dirt/hair will fall off/out.


I've found that grooming and currying also contributes to deepening the bond I have with my horses so bonus all around! Of course, I've also found that during this time of the year, it seems more of his coat is on me then on the horse by the time it's all said and done..  What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm a BODYWORKER! I know what straight is...

A couple of weeks ago I had a (long overdue) session with my bodyworker. She specializes in myoskeletal (re)alignment, "more" than massage, not quite chiro (though I do have a chiropractor I visit fairly regularly). While on her table, face up, she told me to align my body where I felt I was most balanced and "straight." Easy peasy I thought.. So I made some adjustments, gave her a nod. She asked, "this is where you feel straight and balanced?" I gave a very firm "yes, " thinking in my head that I TOTALLY aced it! She looked at me, pursed her lips very briefly, and said, "Ohhhhkayyyy.." She then placed one hand one the side of my left ribcage, and other hand on my right hip and literally moved my ribs over a few inches. "THIS is where you're straight," she said. "What?!?! No way! How can that be?? I'm an animal body worker for crying out loud! I KNOW what straight and balanced is!" I thought.  She then had me line my fingers at the top of each of my hip bones and glide them to my midline. Right hand an inch or two above my left. Same thing at the bottom of my ribcage… again, right hand slightly higher than my left. "My dear," she said, "Your proprioception is a bit off, dontcha' think??" We then went on to discuss muscle imbalance, posture, neural pathways, and next steps to kick start my proprioceptors as she worked diligently to get me and my body back into balance. I'll save the compensatory conversation for next time, today I want to focus briefly on *proprioception*


PROPRIOCEPTON= the body's sense of its own position, balance, and movement,  "body awareness," or the "sixth sense." In other words, this is the body "knowing" where it is and how to respond. For example, touching your nose with your hand, picking your feet up over the curb,  or in my case, aligning yourself "straight" on the massage table.


Now, let's apply this to horses (the same is true for dogs, cats, etc):


Proprioceptors are tiny neurological sensory receptors that provide information about joint angle, muscle length, and muscle tension, they are what synchronize movement. They are responsible for the skill a horse has navigating an extreme trail course, or the fluid, seeming effortless "dance" of the dressage horse. Proprioception as part of the neurological system is paramount in the most graceful and exceptionally moving horse. The better one's proprioception the better the horse's reflexes. This in turn effects his coordination, endurance/stamina, and balance.  If there is an injury to the body, the proprioceptors can become confused and the body will no longer move correctly, nor does it have the much needed information to bring itself back to proper alignment (this can also be true due to other imbalances in the hooves, body, teeth/TMJ, and improper compensatory posture) .  Now, how to correct this? Some ways include neuromuscular retraining and biofeedback, this helps by increasing awareness of muscular, and other postural holding patterns, allowing the body to become aware of the pattern, then make the choice to change on its own. Specific exercises, bodywork, and chiropractic, including postural imbalance, addressing the TMJ, proper hoof balance, and body, are all ways to help. The horse is a prey animal; in the wild, this means that his proprioceptive ability is literally a matter of life or death. Thinking of proper functioning proprioceptors in this way exposes how important they are.

Do any of you have experience or thoughts about this subject?? We'd love to hear your take! Please *COMMENT*, *LIKE* and *SHARE* on our wall. We'd love to learn from you.  ~**Inez

"Recent studies have shown that recognizing our own bodies depends upon integrated information from the senses of vision, touch and proprioception (the sense of how our bodies are positioned in space). These cues can easily be manipulated, leading to an altered sense of body ownership." ( )

I've included a few of links that may be helpful and are definitely educational:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Taking a deeper look at Vaccines and Nutrition in Animals from a Holistic Perspective...a recent independent study..

Taking a deeper look at Vaccines and Nutrition in Animals from a Holistic Perspective

            Vaccines and Nutrition.  Two separate topics that are both related to each other and to the well-being and health of an individual.  Two separate related topics that could easily each be an independent study all on their own. Going into this Independent Study I had already created a story about both.  I came with slight bias and believed this to be the perfect opportunity to immerse and engross myself further into these topics.  Perhaps my internal questions and subconscious bias would be answered, validated, or negated. As with my first Independent Study, each learning sent me to the next; each answer created more questions.  And down the rabbit hole I went, feeling much like Alice from the tale, Alice in Wonderland.

            Beginning this Independent Study, I stated my objectives to be as follows:

v  My objective is to develop the capacity to more deeply understand the efficacy and use of vaccines in animals (horses, dogs, and cats). 

v  My objective is to learn and understand more about animal nutritional needs (horses, dogs, and cats).

v  My objective is to make this learned knowledge more open and available to others.

v  My objective is to network with like-minded practitioners to create a space for larger conversation.

Reflecting back, while I did achieve the objectives stated above, I will also state that there is room for more learning and that this will be a lifelong process.  As the world and our treatment of the earth and each other shifts, so also will the needs of each individual shift to allow for the change(s) we will experience.   

            As I researched and processed the information about vaccines, I am undecided about whether they are necessary or needed.  To be perfectly candid, I believe they do more harm than good. I also question current recommended nutritional practices and "feeds."  I believe that nutrition is the foundation to wellness, and quite frankly, optimal and balanced nutrition cannot be found in a box of processed product, cannot be found in a bag of processed product, cannot be found in a pellet, and cannot be found in a kibble.  I equate pellets and kibble to cereal for humans; it is not good, balanced, "nutrition."  There are so many variables to consider.  First and foremost, I assert current practices in conventional medicine does us (animals, humans included) a grave disservice and great harm. This is not to say that conventional medicine does not have its place, because if I break a leg conventional medicine may come in handy, it is more to say that the western and conventional practices and their ideas about health are significantly skewed.  From a holistic perspective to treat an issue we must look at the whole of the body, mind and spirit and the whole must be in communication. Treating a headache isn't only about the head. In contrast, western/conventional medicine divides the body. We have "specialists" for the head, the kidneys, the liver, the heart, the bladder, the list goes on.  And these "specialists" do not necessarily communicate with each other when seeking to heal; they do not take into consideration that each organ, each system, supports the next and all must be in balance. Rather than search for the root of the concern, conventional treatment tends to only address the symptoms by masking them and as a result the underlying issue may continue to present itself as different symptoms in areas not necessarily related to the original manifestation. In my opinion this is the equivalent of using duct tape to cover a hole in the water pipe. The issue lies at the pressure tank, but rather than address the water pressure, more duct tape is applied to the various holes that pop up and out along the pipes.

It has been my learning that the majority of conventional veterinarians and doctors tend to lean more towards pushing products, both vaccines/pharmaceuticals and foods, that are not necessarily in the interest of wellness and thriving health.  I assert that current recommendations by the conventional pet and vet industry organizations (AVMA, AAEP, AAHA, NASPHV, AAFP, etc) are not in the best interest of the animals they are supposed to represent. I assert that Big Pharmaceutical (Big Pharma) and the Pet Food industries as organizations that continually pump money and funding into the vet and pet organizations and schools have vested interests; these interests do not include that of thriving health and wellness of the animals they claim to support. 

            I look back at what I have been told and learned from my conventional small animal and equine vets over the years.  I think about the "health" workshops I attended put on by the vet clinics, thinking that I was furthering my education into my pets' health and well-being. Workshop topics included, "How to Feed the Senior Horse," or, "What Do You Know About Disease?" or "Optimal Health for Your Active Partner." Reflecting upon those experiences I realize those workshops were not about health and wellness.  They were about pushing and selling products.  The "vets" and speakers at those workshops were representatives of either a major food distributor and manufacturer, or vaccine and pharmaceutical company.  I think about how the representative would stand at the front  of the room with their power-point slides and share with us why only Purina's "Wellsolve Low Sugar, Low Starch" pellets were THE FOOD our horses needed if they were insulin resistant (IR) and/or had equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), or how only Duramune Max5-CvK/4L by Fort Dodge (now Boehringer Ingelheim) is the protection we need to  save our dogs from coronavirus, canine distemper, adenovirus cough, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and four strains of leptospirosis. Additionally, that recommended vaccine should begin being administered for dogs 6 weeks of age and older, then given as a booster every 2 to 3 weeks until 12 weeks old, per manufacturer recommendation, then additional boosters given yearly, per vet recommendation. I ask myself now, how are these practices in the best interest of our pets? How is injecting live viruses, neurotoxins, known carcinogens and genetically modified organisms year after year a "good" thing?? How is feeding our pets species inappropriate foods setting them up for thriving health? How is feeding my dog, cat, or horse genetically modified corn and soy based , highly processed "food" preserved with ethoxyquin (a known toxin) possibly "good" for their health and well-being? The answer I receive to these questions is a resounding and echoing, "NO!"  NO! NO!!  The current accepted practices promoted and recommended are NOT in the best interest of those we are charged to represent and advocate for. 

I find myself pushing strongly back at the current and accepted practices of today.  We are our pets (and our children's) greatest advocate. It is up to us as their caretakers to do what is best for them to thrive.  I say it is also up to us in this role as advocate to share this knowledge with others. It is equally important to share this information so that it is inclusive and not offensive.  Two tools I use often when making this information more readily accessible is social networking and my website.  I post often about recommended books and studies that are related to both vaccination and nutrition.  I will include links to articles and other resources for further learning. I utilize my personal Facebook page, my business Facebook page, and Twitter.  It is my hope that these postings will stimulate curiosity and draw a person in to reading some of what is posted.  Perhaps reading the information will spark a question in them that will lead to more questions and they will seek to learn more.  I also find and believe that sharing this information with like-minded practitioners is invaluable.  We have so much to learn from one another and from the animals we treat. The animals prove to be our greatest teachers and sharing our experiences creates larger conversations that we are able to learn from and of course, leads us deeper into the "rabbit hole."

Because the wellness and health of animals is so near to my heart, I found this independent study to be invigorating and easy to dive into.  I was (and continue to be) all over the place when researching and reading material.  The more I learn, the more I find to learn, the more questions I have, in turn, these questions lead me to seek answers, which then lead to more questions, and so the cycle continues.  For me, this study began far before I even put my thoughts and words into the initial Independent Study Application.  This has been a cumulative process and path that I have been walking. The animals themselves have been my guides.  The research material that I gathered my information and learning from also has proved to be invaluable.  In particular are the books, websites, and articles shared and/or written by Catherine O'Driscoll, Susan Thixton, Ann Martin, Dr. Don Hamilton, Dr. Patricia Jordan, Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Ronald Shultz, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Dr. Christina Chambreau, Dr. Suzanne Humphries, Barbara Loe Fisher, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Peter Dobias, Dogs Naturally Magazine, The Whole Dog Journal, Holistic Horse Magazine, The Holistic Horse-Care Cooperative, Prevent, Natural News, The National Vaccine Information Center and VacTruth. The previously listed resources were paramount in disseminating information and leading me to resources, links, and websites for further research and investigation. 

In my own life and practices, I have opted not to vaccinate and I feed the animals in my care (horses, dogs, cats, and humans) species appropriate foods.  Species appropriate to me translates simply to mean that the carnivores eat meat and the herbivores eat forage.  I believe one of the best ways to support and prevent them from contracting disease is to minimize the toxins they are exposed to.  This means, no chemical treatments for fleas, ticks, and other pests, no injections, and inhalations that are toxic (vaccines), support their overall health and wellness by feeding an optimal diet, and providing nutrition that will lead them to thrive, not survive, and looking at the whole of the animal to help balance and support them when needed.  There are a host of holistic modalities available to help support and heal.  These modalities include: homeopathy, chiropractics, Reiki, flower essences, acupuncture, aromatherapy and essential oils, healing touch, craniosacral, massage, acupressure, animal communication, cold laser treatment, etc.  I say it is important to create a healing "team" for each individual.  A collective of modalities and practitioners one can call on to help support the being when dis-ease occurs.  Additionally, I often share what I have learned (and continue to learn) with friends, clients, peers, and anyone else who is interested and curious to hear and learn what I have to share. 

It is said that the animals in our care are reflections to us and take on much of what we have to offer within ourselves.  They take on our ills, our dis-ease, our struggles, our destruction; it is my intent that when this information becomes more widely learned and distributed all humans will recognize all beings as sacred and when this happens the reflection the animals have to take on will be those of thriving health, happiness, joyful living, and peace.  As more individuals learn this information, it will lead them to more questions and the answers they find will then create a shift in the way society views life and wellness.  The shift in this view will lead to honoring of earth, all life, and each other; that is my intent.           

~*~*~* Addendum (additional thoughts, questions, and information)~*~*~*~*

Theories: sort of covered. 1. Why vaccinate - develop Ig.... so that when exposed, has ...ready to go. 2. If not vacc, can Ig...develop? 3. IF yes, then you can titer test ONCE. Why only once needed? 4. which vaccines last for life? 5. Which are ineffective?

1.      To "teach" body how to fight when exposed to certain or organisms.. it will "remember" how to fight it

2.      yes, by natural exposure and when young passed through mothers milk.  Though some are finding that when dams are vaccinated it is not necessarily passing on immunity

3.      theory is that the antibodies will be elevated to show that protection against disease.

4.      (viral) rabies, parvo, distemper (though I believe this to be subjective and due to exposure and overall health of the animal. How do we really know?? Do we have any long term studies?  And, studying this would be difficult, not all animals are equal and the same.  Some may be more susceptible.. also there needs to look at the "whole picture".. foods, environment, energetics of the household).

5.      Parainfluenza, bordetella, lepto, corona, lyme, strangles, botulism, anthrax, equine influenza, Potomac horse fever., rhino


RISKS: You covered a bit of this - the toxic side from the adjuvants. 1. Cancer - conventional reports of what in what vaccines? 2. Autoimmune diseases - any evidence? 3. Chronic illnesses per holistic approaches.  

1.      Formaldehyde

2.      Kidney issues, thyroid issues, liver, allergies

3.      Holistically, body stating out of balance, expelling.

4.      Additionally, vaccine inserts state to only vaccinate "healthy" animals.  This protocol is not practiced.  Many conventional vets/owners are vaccinating animals with allergies, kidney disease, laminitis, ppid, ems, epsm, etc.  This then asks the question.. what is "healthy" and do we recognize healthy… the term, "health" is purely subjective.


EFFICACY: 1. How many years do "they" say good for in each vaccine? (mfrs. AVMA. AHVMA.) 2. Can shot be given and no immunity? 3. How know if immunity? 4. If positive titer, then later not positive, does that mean not protected? Why?

 1)      Depends on vaccine- most manufacturers state 1 year, AVMA- (rec) 3 years, though some practices are still pushing yearly, for equines, bi-annually for some vaccines. There is also a push by some sects for double vaccination, and beginning vaccines as early as 5 weeks of age, or in the mother. Core vaccines yearly AHVMA- may use nosodes for "core", and 5-8 years to life, vaccinating may weaken immune system (vital force), making animal more susceptible to dis-ease.

2)      Yes, shots do not equal immunity, honestly immunity is not "known" for certain. 

3)      Some say to pull titers and look at antibodies. Others say that that is not an effective way of looking at whether an animal is truly immune since it does not always have the same results year after year.  Additionally, "immunity" is determined by "memory cells" or the body remembering how to "fight" the disease

4)      While some reading suggested that prior to having titers drawn to give nosode that will increase antibodies to "show" immunity.

5)      Additionally, schedules between conventional v. holistic vets differ with conventional recommending vaccines much earlier than holistic practitioners. And holistic practitioners saying it is the overall health (vital force) of the animal that must be supported and that (wellness) will lead to the animals ability to stave off dis-ease. Foundation being proper diet, maintaining energetic balance, etc.



VACCINE INGREDIENTS (include and not limited to):

 Some are:



Paraffin oil



Egg white


Other animal tissue (cell cultures)

Genetically engineered animals

Virus (living and killed)


Need anatomy and physiology of dog/cat/horse, etc. and how that dictates what they should eat. 


Dog/cat- relatively short digestive tracts, also look at teeth (canines) and way in which animal chew (up & down,like scissors) made for tearing and swallowing, shape of skull and strength in neck and jaw, also claws. (predator) eyes in front. Expansive stomachs. Do not have the enzymes necessary to break down (amylase) or the "friendly" bacteria to break down  carbs and starches/plant matter. Made to digest proteins/fats. May not eat often/every day . expend more energy seeking food (prey).


Horse- longer digestive tracts. Have a foregut and hindgut. Saliva aids in buffering/transporting food and breakdown of plant matter. Need forage constantly due to acid content, and to get necessary nutrients and energy.  Teeth are flat, chew by grinding/crushing. Hooves, eyes on side. (prey) relatively small stomachs. Have the necessary bacteria to digest plant matter. Do not expend as much energy seeking food. Horses unable to relieve gas or obstructions by vomiting.