Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"A Horse’s Healthy Immune System"

Howdy Friends,

All things for a horse are better with an immune system firing on all cylinders. Protecting our horse’s healthy immune system is one of the most important things we can, and indeed should, do in my opinion. The thoughts I’m about to share are mine, you may take them into account or disregard.
Kessy taking in the sun on a chilly winter morning
Recently while working with a client and her horse we began discussing immune health and skin issues. I believe rain rot, inside ear rash, scratches and even thrush are signs of a weakened immune system. I also believe they must be most effectively cured from the “inside out.” I subscribe to the theory that topical treatments treat the symptom, not the root cause. Less than glowing, shining coat and any skin condition always, for me, points to the immune system. I think of it as the earliest warning sign, and if not heeded many things can go wrong leading to more significant disorders.

What can we do to be sure our horses have the most powerful immune system possible? There are many products available; supplements, vitamins, herbs, immune boosters. For a long time I researched many, and indeed used many different approaches. Thanks to the blessing of being allowed to write for “Natural Horse Magazine,” I’ve had the honor and privilege of interviewing some of this country’s most knowledgeable and respected holistic doctors and veterinarians, animal health care providers, herbalists, acupuncture practitioners, trainers and more, and have learned so much I often joke I should pay Lisa Ross Williams, owner publisher, for the college education she’s provided me!

Among those I’ve met is Dr. Joseph Thomas, the world’s foremost Chinese Herbalist, and founder of “For Love of the Horse,” and like others I’ve written about we’ve become friends. Having been convinced that the best long term defense/maintenance for the battle against Lyme disease is in fact the horse’s own immune system, I have for several years been working to build my mare Kessy’s, as she has chronic Lyme and has ever since I’ve owned her.

I knew that Dr. Thomas had a proprietary blend of pharmaceutical grade herbs, Total Immune Health,” and I asked him about using it to help my mare. He assured me it would and explained his blend, after years of research, is designed to, and proven to, boost the immune system at its very core, in the bone marrow—which he has many times proven with before and after blood work showing the increased white blood cells. I put Kessy on it and indeed within the first week saw results, even though she had started at a good place.

I mentioned my client the other day that I do a Dr. Thomas treatment each spring getting ready for summer insects, ticks etc. She asked why only once a year and why not stay on it year-round.

I explained while I totally believe Dr. Thomas’ products are the very best available to us today, and indeed are scientifically backed up; they can only be part of the whole.

Management, I explained, plays a huge, perhaps the biggest role in protecting a horse’s immune system. Many, many things we do can help or detract from it. I truly believe that once a year is all my mare needs in that I am fanatical about not doing anything to lower, or stress her immune system throughout the year. Things to avoid (all things I'm about to list we now know, can indeed damage or confuse, or in some cases shut down immune operations) ... I don't re-vaccinate (immunologists have known sine the '70's once a lifetime is enough for everything except tetanus,) ... I don't use chemical wormer only herbal, I use no chemical fly sprays only natural (most fly sprays don't work very well anyway) ... I don't blanket (I know this one is confusing, but it matters) ... I don't stall ever ... I feed no grain, and I'm a barefoot practitioner. Now I understand some of these are difficult to agree with, believe, believe in, buy into, or even want to accept and I understand that... I understand peer pressure, habits, lifestyles etc, but there ya have it ... I was not always a believer either, but I've seen with my own experiences the truth behind the practices I try hard to promote, "It's for the Horses." ... We must always remember as well, horses have a strangely fragile immune system when it comes to man-made interference especially.

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry.

Friday, January 22, 2016

"Snowy Day Read"

Howdy Friends,

Snowed in? Gonna get snowed in? Forgive me for making an unapologetic push for my book. But what could be better than a good read, a quest that whisks you away, thrusts you into an adventure, or sweet love, or read about understanding horses, while nestled inside watching the windblown snow. All my books are available on Amazon Kindle here, ... You can start reading right now! “We’ll Have the Summer,” a love story that I promise will grip your heart. “Tom Named by Horse,” an adventure that you’ll long remember. “It’s for the Horses; An advocate’s musings about their needs, spirit, gifts and care,” even if you don’t have horses I promise you’ll love the thoughts provoked, if you do enjoy horses in your life it may awaken new ideas and attitudes for you and your horse. Enjoy the snow, stay safe, and I hope you’ll have a read—or three.

Gitty Up, Dutch.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

"A Christmas Story"

Howdy Friends,

I wrote this little story as a thank you and Christmas present to all our Coffee Clutch and Facebook friends 3 years ago. I figured it might be a sweet tradition to share each Christmas. I hope you'll enjoy readin' it to your youngin's and grandbabies. Ravishin' Robbie and I, and all our critters wish you all a love filled and HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

A Christmas Story
With a piece of kindling, Sarah scratched ice from inside the lone cabin window. Cupping hands against her face she squinted through the tiny pane to see blowing, swirling snow. Nothing new to see, except the darkness moving in. She shook her head. "Can't even see the barn now."

If he wasn't getting home tonight, and her hopes were fading, she'd better bundle up and tend the animals in the barn. Jed had been sure to load the wood box before leaving the day before. Load the box? She chuckled at the heavily laden box with wood stacked halfway up the wall. "Wood enough for a week," she remembered him assuring her, even though he was planning on being gone only a day.

This would be the first visit to the orphanage she'd missed since they'd wed three years ago. But this year, with a month old daughter of their own, and the threatening skies, Sarah thought it best Jed make the ten mile ride without them. So he'd set out in the shadows of early morning alone.

She bent over the black kettle filled nearly to the brim with simmering duck stew. Stirred it thoroughly and swung the black arm out from the fire to hold the kettle just near enough to the hot coals and gentle flames to keep the stew at the perfect temperature. She'd have a Christmas feast waiting for him when he returned.

The orphanage sat way outside of town, on a little farm well off the beaten path. Out of sight. Out of mind. Run by old widow Martha Bowman, and two ancient broken down ex-cow pokes, Jake and Shorty. Jed had grown up there. "Poor kids." Jed told her once. "Not only don't they have families of their own, but most town folks don't even want to see 'em. They'd just as soon forget 'em."

Jed never forgot them. Each Christmas he'd visit and carry a feed sack of toys to share with the children, usually numbering around ten. Toy horses, he'd whittle, a fishing pole or two, and dolls Sara would sew. Of course a few scarves and mittens too.

Not being able to see the children this Christmas Eve had Sarah's heart a little heavy. She'd grown so used to the singing, laughing and playing. And the happy faces. Even the old cow pokes would join right in and sing along. Jed had a way of really throwing a lively Christmas Eve party.

Sarah tended to the fireplace, wrapped the baby in their warmest blanket, grabbed the milk pail, the coal oil lantern and started for the door. Forcing the door into the wind took all her strength. The gale hit her full on, slamming the door closed behind her, nearly sucking the very breath from her lungs. Leaning low she sheltered the baby, pushed into the wind and hurried for the sheltering barn. Tiny frozen flakes pelting her cheeks like stinging bees. It was a journey of only fifty feet, but tonight it seemed a mile. The snow wasn't deep, but the wind halted her every step.

Cold, full hands made sliding the barn door latch nearly impossible. She could set nothing down for fear it blow away. Struggling with an elbow and the back of her hand she managed to pull back the thick, black, frozen metal latch. Fierce wind ripped the door from her grasp slamming it wide open. She hurried to the far corner, past the cows, the horse and chicken coop.

Inside was a different world. Jed had labored a full summer four years ago to build the barn out of logs instead of boards. "Harder to be burnt out that way," he'd explained. They'd lived in the barn a full year after that while together they finished their one room cabin. She settled the baby snugly in a bed of hay. "There now," Sarah soothed the sweet girl, "you sleep easy, Jessica, while I milk the cows, and I'll bet Daddy will be home before I'm through."

She battled the raging wind to pull shut and latch the heavy door, hung the lantern on its crooked peg in the center of the barn and paused a moment to look around. Three cows and a horse make plenty of heat inside a barn as tight as this one. The wind howled and raged but could find no way in. She settled down on the milking stool and started milking the first cow. Snug as they were in the sturdy barn, her mind was on Jed. The first streams of milk rang out on the pail side. She tried to time the ringing sound of milk hitting the metal bucket to "Silent Night" as she squeezed in rhythm to the hymn she hummed.

"Why isn't Jed home yet?" Worry began to creep into her thoughts.

Only two cows in milk right now, so milking didn't take very long, or give even half a pail. Clover, the youngest was due to calve any day, and her milk would surely be welcome.

Milking finished and still no sign of Jed. Sarah checked on Jessica all snug in her nest of hay, then busied herself giving hay to the cows and horse. The chickens hardly stirred, few even pulled their heads from under their wings.

Worry kept her busy. Finished the feeding, Sarah found cloth and strained the milk, a job usually done on the tiny table in the cabin, but she dreaded the trip back through the wind and biting ice crystals, so she did it right there in the barn. Besides, somehow the barn seemed a better place to be tonight, Christmas Eve. Her mind kept busy fretting over Jed. Was he lying in the bitter cold somewhere, hurt? Or worse? She began to build a plan to go search the vast openness that lay between them and the orphanage. That would have to wait for daylight. But wouldn't his horse have found its way back to the barn? Jed's horse, Scout was a big, powerful horse and very smart. Surely had something happened to Jed, Scout would have come home?

Nervously she nursed baby Jessica, to the unsettling sound of relentlessly raging wind tearing at the walls of the tight barn. Gathering Jessica she moved closer to the cows so the sounds of them peacefully chewing might sooth her worried heart. She nestled into the straw next to Clover and rocked gently. The barn was a peaceful place but tonight even its warmth and embrace could do little to sooth her. The ride to the orphanage and back, even with a first class Christmas party should only have taken Jed and Scout about six hours. He should have been home well before dark.

Weary with worry, Sarah almost drifted off.

Her horse pacing and nickering in its stall roused her. "It's okay, Goldie, the wind can't get us in here."

Knowing she must check the fire and the stew in the house, she carefully tucked tiny Jessica safely back in her nest of hay. "I'll be right back, you sleep tight." She kissed her cheek, and wiped a tear from her own. Turning to the cows and Goldie she said, "You all watch over her while I'm gone."

She snatched the lantern from its peg and made the dash from barn to cabin, the never-ending wind at her back. Inside she found the fire nearly out, but the stew still delightfully warm. Building the fire back up, stirring the stew and gathering another blanket to swaddle Jessica took only moments, and through the bitter, blinding darkness she ran for the barn, shielding her face from the stinging snow.

Fighting the wind to pull closed the heavy door, for an instant the wind's roar was blocked. Was that a bell? Did she hear ringing bells? Or were her ears simply ringing in the wail of the wind? She strained her eyes in the direction of what she imagined was the ringing bells. Is that a light? Could that be a light? But what could there be out there moving in this horrible wind? It didn't appear to be a horse and rider, so her hopes sank as quickly as they'd soared. The bells stopped and the light vanished. Sarah pulled tight the door, made fast the latch, then hurried to Jessica to add the extra blanket.

Clover mooed, Goldie stomped and whinnied. Before Sarah could react, from the outside, above the wind, came an answering whinny. “Scout?” Sarah yelled, tears streaming her face. Terrified of the possible answer she yelled, “Scout, is that you? Is Jed with you?” Bells, did she hear bells again? With wings on her feet she flew to the door, only to have the latch yanked from her grasp.

Stunned she starred into darkness, and there stood Jed flashing an ice covered smile as wide as the mountains themselves, holding Scout's rope. Behind Scout stood two horses harnessed to a wagon with canvas stretched over it. “Brought ya a few Christmas visitors Sarah!” Jed waved a hand toward the wagon. Sarah's knees melted, she crumbled to the ground.

“Hey now,” Jed scooped her up with a hearty laugh. “We can't have this, we have us a Christmas Eve party to put on for the young 'ins!”

Jed, Shorty and Jake fought the wind to swing open the big barn door, Martha led Scout and the team right into the barn. Every hand worked together to pull the door closed behind the wagon. Martha flipped down the wagon tail gate, and one by one giggling and laughing children slid out.

Sarah's knees went weak again, she grabbed onto Jed. He could see the love, relief and questions in her eyes.

“Well,” Jed started, “When I rode up to Martha's the wind already yanked the roof off that old shed they call home. Jake, Shorty and me didn't take too long to figure out there was no fixin' that rickety old building. Nobody knew what to do next, not only did they all need a place to live, but heck Sarah, this is Christmas Eve and we got songs to sing and presents to open … so we hatched a plan to stretch this canvas over the wagon, nail 'er down with boards and haul the entire outfit right here.”

With a grin and tip of his hat, Shorty yanked the sack of presents from the wagon seat, and held it high.

The children had settled down in a circle holding hands, except for little Jane, who had discovered baby Jessica. "Look Miss Martha, it's just like the story of baby Jesus, lying in the manger with all his friends in the barn."

Gitty Up and Merry Christmas ~ Dutch Henry

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Howdy Friends,

Need a last minute Christmas gift? For friends, family, or yourself? For all our friends I’m offering all my books as a set for $32.00 ... Including Shipping (in U.S.) ... This is my gift to our friends. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

You’ll get “It’s for the Horses: An advocate’s musings about their needs, spirit, gifts and care,” “We’ll Have the Summer,” and “Tom Named By Horse,” each autographed and personalized as per your request.

You must order by end of day Friday December 18 to receive in time for Christmas. To order please send email to ,to let me know how to personalize and for our PayPal account.

Hurry, you only have 4 days. ~ Gitty Up, Dutch Henry.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

"It was a different kind of morning"

Howdy Friends,

It was a different kind of morning. I sat with my mare Kessy, today it was she and I. Too cold I reckon for Kitties to leave their snug nest in the hay mow, Saturday and Sadie had long wondered back to the house. 

Now it was Kessy and me. A few birds chattered at the feeder, the chickens who had ventured from the roost were somewhere not seen scratching in brush. It was just Kessy and me. Not even a train whistle sounded in the background. I poured my second cup and pondered the serenity of the moment, a man, his horse, a new day. A new day where frost floated from our breaths. A new day when our bond was all that mattered as together we greeted the morning. I thank God each morning, for each morning, and all that He bestows as I sit with my mare surrounded by our critters and the wonder of nature. It’s a blessing indeed to know and appreciate those wonders. It’s a blessing indeed to know the deep bond of a horse.

I often say a little prayer that all those who are blessed to have horses in their lives come to understand the true blessings they are, and that they can see them for the spirit they are, and put second their demands, pursuits and expectations—I ask that they see they are gifts from God ... I toasted Kessy, she sniffed the rising steam. ~ Gitty Up, Dutch.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

"Waltz With Your Horse"

Howdy Friends,

I like to talk to people who care about horses.

People who truly care, not for what the horse can do for them, but for how being with a horse can enrich their lives, and therefore they strive to do everything with their horse—for their horse.

People who put their horse first, the horse’s point of view, they ask “what’s in it for the horse,” and strive to see their relationship from the horse’s perspective. For those folks ribbons, winning, controlling and being boss are unimportant. It is the horse’s true contentment, health and well being that come first. And the magical thing about that approach, and horse and person relationship, is those folks win the most ribbons, have the most fun—and the least problems, health issues and relationship issues.

This past weekend I was in heaven conducting a clinic in northern VA with a group of folks who really do put their horses first. That’s why they came to my “It’s for the Horses” clinic, for their horses. They didn’t come to learn to “teach their horses to, do this or that,” they came to learn how to “give to their horses.” Because each of them understood how much their horses mean to them. They understood how much their horses give to them.

Their wanting to be there for their horses was abundantly obvious in the way each of them wanted to master every exercise before moving on. They wanted to know they got it; they wanted to see the change in their horses. They sought the softness, the healthy posture, the healthy body carriage.

They noticed as their own movements changed from a Quick-Step to a Viennese Waltz. Their horses noticed too. They soon realized that their horses noticed and thanked them. They loved and commented on the fact that they saw their horses changing. I loved seeing them change, the horses and their people.

I’ve done a lot of clinics, and I’ve loved meeting all those many horses and people. I live to see, and help create the changes in horses—and their people. It’s my passion. The wonderful people I had the pleasure of being with this weekend were among the most caring it’s ever been my privilege to work with, and their horses showed it. I was truly in heaven.

I love to be with people who care about horses.

If you’d like to participate in a Dutch Henry “It’s for the Horses” clinic and Waltz With Your Horse ... please email me

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"Understanding the Why"

Understanding the why can begin in the eye ... This is my girl Kessy
Howdy Friends,

Understanding the “WHY” ... My horse won’t stand for the trimmer ... My horse won’t stand to mount ... My horse bucks when asked to canter ... My horse pushes me when I lead her ... My horse (insert anything here) ... These friends are NOT training or discipline issues, they are comfort issues. It is our job to understand why your horse is shouting those signals to you.

There is always a “why” and that why is almost always rooted in physical and mental comfort—and more training, repetition and discipline can’t cure it.

Most (if not all) things horses have difficulty doing are directly related to proper posture, self awareness, and body carriage, period. Fix that and the “bad things” simply go away. Sounds bold, I know, but I also know it to be true. To be fair we need always to address the why; stiffness, tightness, balance, self awareness, foot awareness, ease or lack of ease of fluidity and movement and posture before addressing the things we as humans focus on.

Think of it like baking an apple pie. If you’re told to bake an apple pie and you are indeed a superb pasty chef, but not given any apples, you could protest all you want and your boss would get frustrated and demand that you bake his pie ... But you simply can’t, without apples. You have the dough, the sugar, the spices and everything you need, almost. And your boss doesn’t get it and becomes louder and more demanding; you grow to be more and more confused. You want to please him, but there simply is no way you can, not without apples. So you try to protest—he won’t hear it ... That is the world the horse finds themselves in if we refuse to seek out the why.

Then your boss suddenly realizes something is not good with you and for the first time he asks you, “Why can’t you bake my apple pie?” You show him you’ve got no apples. He provides apples and you bake a wonderful pie—you needed no training or discipline, or repetition, you only needed the why answered.

Take time to give your horse all she needs, and not focus on what you want. Then what you want will be given to you in more glorious ways than you could have ever imagined. It begins with finding the why, and that why is always (yes I said always) in the horse’s ability to move in comfort, feel great about her posture and self awareness. The next time something, anything, goes a bit off I implore you to step back and ask why. Change the focus from “results” to “possibilities.” Those possibilities can always be found by giving to the horse, not insisting.

You can find how to accomplish this posture and comfort in my book “It’s for the Horses; An advocate’s musings about their needs, spirit, gifts and care,” HERE. I promise it can change your worlds. 

You might also enjoy our Coffee Clutch story, "Sometimes the horse just can’t ... It’s Not disobeying."
Gitty Up, Dutch Henry