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?