Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"Choices: Ours or Our Horse’s?"

Howdy Friends,

So much of what is done to, with and around horses is for the person’s benefit, ease and perspective. It’s natural and certainly correct for the person to choose the discipline, sport and activity they wish to engage in with their equine partner. That is, after all, why we have horses. To do stuff. And to do stuff we need to make choices. Many choices.

Choices about housing, feeding, health care, training, saddles, tack and much more. Almost every day there is a choice to be made about something.

Everyone is busy with life; families, living and jobs take lots of time. There is never enough money. Never enough time. So, many times the choices made by equine caregivers are made for reasons of human convenience, ease and dollars.

It most often takes no more time, or money, to make choices from the horse’s perspective than from the human perspective. It requires only a simple paradigm shift. A brief pause to ask, “Am I doing this for my benefit, or my horse’s?” ... EXCERPT from my book  “It’s for the Horses: An advocate’s musings about their needs, spirit gifts and care.” I invite you to have a deeper look and buy bit for your horse. You can find it here www.itsforthehorses.com 

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry

Monday, May 23, 2016


Howdy Friends!


Paperback on Amazon here ~ .... And Kindle here ~

Continuing the saga begun in “Tom Named by Horse” ... “Three years after the death of Tall Dog, Tom Named By Horse and Soft Cloud have turned the little soddy, the lands granted them by Red Cloud, and the lean-to barn into a thriving horse ranch, fulfilling Tom’s dream. The Plains Indians Wars, or Red Cloud’s war, is mostly behind them, and the lands have had their transformation as Red Cloud’s vision had warned years earlier. Trailing horses from the ranch to Denver city has become an annual event for Tom, Buck and the rest, and this is the story of that trail. In the spirit of a good old John Wayne movie, vengeance, cattle and horse thieves, a dirty sheriff and corrupt mayor, and a wedding make this year’s drive a ride you’ll want to tag along on.”

I hope you’ll have a read. I promise you’ll love the adventure! 

~ Gitty Up, Dutch Henry. 

Find all my books here www.itsforthehorses.com .

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Fly Masks and Fly Sprays"

My girl Kessy
Howdy Folks, 

The other day a young woman emailed me this question: “What's your opinion on fly masks and fly spray?

I answered with my “opinion” this way ...

Correctly fitting well made fly masks that include the ears are great. They even have been proven to help light eyed horses avoid eye damage from the sun.

On fly sprays—over the many years of my life I have found none of them really do all that much in the long run. Certainly not worth the health damage to the horse. Hair works as a wick to suck those deadly chemicals right into the horse's system causing vitality degradation, organ problems, breathing issues, immune issues and even contributing to founder. ... The problem here is people never make the correlation to healthy, attitude or vitality issues with their horses and the chemicals and toxins they expose their horses too.

People look at horses and only ever think "how big and strong" they are. They are indeed. But they also have one of the most fragile systems in all the animal kingdom when it comes to dealing with toxins and infections. They lack the ability to shed, or discharge toxins they way most mammals do. So the toxins accumulate and do slow, long term damage throughout. This applies to all toxins, vaccinations (I believe in some vacs, just not over vacs—once is enough), wormer, sprays, commercial feeds, certain bedding, muddy manure laden paddocks—and many more.

Here is how I recommend, and practice, fly and pest control. First cleanliness; all areas where the horse lives must be free of manure, mud and filth. No horse should ever be forced to walk in mud. This is easy to correct, and I view horses forced to wallow in mud as abuse. 

Then no clipping; no muzzle clipping, or mane, or face and ear clipping, or leg or fetlock trimming—the hair is there for a reason.

We must also do all we can to be sure our horses have immune systems that can (and will) handle the pesky fly, mosquito and tick bites. The first step in this is stringently, doggedly, preventing toxins from entering the horse's system. And the very best, bar none, immune system booster, in my opinion, is Dr Thomas' "Total Immune Health" herbal blend. I put Kessy on it each late winter early spring, and blood work has proven how it increases the white blood cells in the system. A side note here, Dr Thomas has proven to be the best overall health provider I have ever met. I whole heartedly recommend him and his company. Find him here www.forloveofthehorse.com .

Another side note, a VERY healthy horse, with a very strong immune system, will be bothered far less than horses not so well off. Insects are not as attracted to horses in shinning health on great diets (all forage). They go after horses with lesser health and immune.

Lastly I do have on hand all natural spray and will, very rarely, spray her belly. But I think I spray her 2 or 3 times a summer. I do check her ticks often, but even that is not too bad. She does have chronic Lyme from before she was mine, so that takes management, again with Doc Thomas’ help and herbs.

Hope this helps!

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Dr. Thomas Cures Kessy’s Heaves"

Howdy Friends!
Kessy and me.
Well Kessy has had a rough winter and spring, but thanks to Dr Thomas, she is all better now. I share story this in the hopes some will find it useful.

I’ve written about Dr Thomas several times. Recognized as this country’s foremost Chinese Herbalist he practices Contemporary Chinese Herbalism, and heals many people, horses and dogs worldwide. For Kessy’s Lyme disease issues, it is my protocol to administer one round of Dr Thomas’ Total Immune Health each spring to boost her immune.

About 2 years ago Kessy had developed a transient cough, so I began steaming her hay, and continue to. That stopped the cough and the rare short breaths went away too. But late this winter her cough came back, I steamed the hay longer. I have her teeth done each February and as her coughing seemed to happen while eating, I blamed the teeth and had her done. It did indeed seem to help. But in a few days the cough returned. By the end of February she was coughing 4 or 5 times a day; these were real coughing spells of 5 to 10 coughs. I noticed her respiration rate was poor sometimes throughout the day, but mostly acceptable. For some time now her breathing had gone through little spells where that happened but quickly improved to normal, so I figured it was doing the same.

As most of our rides are less than 2 hours and largely at a walk, I noticed no problems there either ... Until our last ride February 28, when she coughed several times. I didn’t notice shortness of breath, but now know she must have had. That night she woke us with a coughing fit that lasted an hour! I stood with her in near panic administrating TTeam Touch circles. Her breathing deteriorated very quickly over the next days. Her respiration at rest was well into the twenties. Sometimes as high as 40.

The first week of March I’d started her on Dr Thomas’ Total Immune Health and figured that would fix it. I found out a few days later that while part of Doc’s protocol to heal Heaves is his Total Immune Health, it won’t heal it alone. By now Kessy was coughing nearly every hour. I spoke to Doc and after a very comprehensive questionnaire he indeed diagnosed Heaves and shipped his Heaves Formula immediately. At this time, early March, Kessy’s reparation was always in the thirties. She coughed while eating, laying down, rolling and other times. Her breath, shallow and short.

Within days of starting Doc’s Heaves formula her breathing began to improve, her coughing spells were cut in half the first week. By the end of the second week of Doc’s treatment her respiration was in the twenties and she coughed about 3 to 5 times a day. I kept a journal and documented every coughing spell and respiration rate 4 times a day. Then we stalled, and even slipped back. She had 2 very bad relapses.

I sent detailed reports to Doc weekly, and he responded. After the second relapse he formulated a special blend for Kessy.

Now here we need to be sure you understand, what Doc’s pharmaceutical grade herbal blends do is “heal” not mask or manage. I have known folks whose horses have heaves for years and typical treatments are ongoing and never heal, and that was not what I wanted for Kessy. Doc explained we were indeed “healing” her bronchial passage ways and capillaries in her lungs and more, and it would take time. But would indeed heal her.

With the new blend beginning in early April she improved remarkably. Within the first week her coughs were single quiet coughs and only once or twice a day. Her at-rest respiration was in the low twenties. We began short rides mid April, no coughs.

Today we are still on full protocol of treatments, Total Immune Health and Kessy’s Special Cough Formula. She has not coughed a single time since April 28; her respiration is 14 to 16 at rest. Through these past weeks we’ve had days of 80+ temps and “high pollen” alerts, nothing has fazed Kessy.

We’ve begun riding again last week, no coughs nor any short breaths. Yesterday we rode for 2 hours, all was perfect. Kessy even insisted on a few canters and some gaiting. Post ride her respiration was 44, within 10 minutes, it was 18. It was a very warm day too, 84 degrees.

I was truly amazed 2 things. How quickly Kessy deteriorated. And how well Dr Thomas’ blends, and knowledge, can truly heal, not mask and manage. Yes there will be more treatments but only for a little longer, then she’ll be all better. I will though, always steam her hay, many benefits to that.

Hope you find this little story thought provoking and helpful.

You can find Dr. Thomas here www.forloveofthehorse.com He truly is a healer.

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Feet Matter

Howdy Folks,
My mare Kessy's, beautiful feet. I do maintenance trim every 3-4 weeks. Takes about 20 minutes.
The feet matter. You bet they do and I have come to believe that they matter a whole lot more than a lot of folks realize they do. Yes just about everyone who has a horse can recite that old axiom, “No foot no horse.” But why then are so many horses allowed to endure all the structural damage of poorly managed feet?

In recent months I’ve traveled more than normal working with folks and their horses on posture. For me, just about everything good, great, not so good, bad and horrible can be traced to posture, the horses, and the human’s—but mostly I focus on the horse. Since I’ve been traveling more than normal, I’ve seen more horses than I have been for a while. And I’ve seen a lot of feet causing poor posture. And I’ve begun to speak up, sorry.

For a long time now I’ve devoted a fair amount of my time to helping folks understand and learn the exercises Peggy Cummings put together to promote proper posture, body carriage and self awareness. As folks who know me know, I’m all about the horse’s posture and I’ve often written about it. And for a long time I’ve “mentioned” the feet, but went about meeting with folks, doing a few clinics and trying to help. Inside me though, I was well aware that even though by the end of the day or clinic we’d have the horse in great, healthy posture and body carriage, I knew it could not hold. Not on a poor foundation.

The purpose of the clinics is to teach the basic exercises so that the horse owner can continue to do them, but if the feet, the very foundation, is out of whack—no amount of exercises, bodywork, training or gadgets will keep the horse in healthy posture, free moving and happy.

So I’ve begun to speak up more about feet ... And please believe me it is not always easy. It’s not always easy for me to say, it’s not always easy for folks to hear. It’s certainly not always easy for folks to accept and change, I get that. However, I now always address feet right away, at the very beginning when I first analyze the horse. Instead of simply studying and discussing posture and what the horse needs and what we’ll work on, I talk about the feet. In fact I may not, in some cases, even begin until I trim feet. I’ve found that to be the biggest eye opener when folks can watch the pasterns, legs, chest and topline change right before their eyes.

Folks who know me know I’m an unwavering believer in that all horses can and should be barefoot. If I’ve lost you here, that’s okay. For those of you still interested we’ll go on a bit more.

Sadly I see way too many barefoot horses with poor posture brought on by poorly managed feet. All I’m hoping to point out today is, the feet do matter. In fact, they matter most of all. When posture begins to fail, everything goes downhill with it, health, attitude and money. And posture will always fail if the foundation is lacking.

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry 

 P.S.For a bit more about my thoughts about foot care please read "For a Beautiful Barefoot Trim-Keep it Simple" HERE

You might also be interested in my book, "It's for the Horses." Find it at www.itsforthehorses.com  

Thursday, March 3, 2016

"Suddenly—Don’t Use in Writing or Horsemanship"

Howdy Folks, "Suddenly—Don’t Use in Writing or Horsemanship" ... 

I often think about, and write about, how living and working, or playing and learning with our horses, and writing have so many similarities.

The other day I was reading a writer’s blog about the overuse of the word “suddenly” in a manuscript. Every word she said was exactly correct, and I’d hoped she would say more. I’ve always found the word “suddenly” to be a speed bump in a story or novel. Instead of propelling me forward with the action as the writer intends, it stops me dead in my reading tracks. Pushes me away. In fact most “ly” words have that effect on me. If the author replaces the “ly” word with the action she’s trying to portray, we readers can be drawn in and feel the action. Instead of “hearing” about it. But “suddenly” for me is the worst of the “ly” words.

Here’s a brief example. “Suddenly she burst into tears.” Not much there, even if we knew why she had to cry. How about something like, “She needed to see him again. Where was he? Why can’t she find him? Sucking short breaths, she tried to be strong, but her burning eyes flooded, tears streamed down her face.”

I’ve always found while I’m editing, if I re-write scenes or sentences replacing “ly” words, the scene embraces me more. Adds depth, meaning and emotions. Yes it will add words, but I suggest they are words that build emotions and connection with the reader. And for writers, aren’t they the two most important things?

In our relationship with our horses, “emotions and connection” are most important as well. If we do anything “suddenly,” it’s more than a speed bump to our horse. It’s a “failure to communicate.” And as “authors” of the moment, it’s our job to “re-write the scene.”
If we replace that “ly” word, or action, with a more descriptive series of words and actions, our horse will follow us, feel the emotion, and sense the connection. And our relationship will deepen.

It makes no sense to the horse when we bark commands, jerk on the lead rope or wave our hands and arms. Sure, we get a reaction, and that’s just what it is, a reaction. It’s not a connection. It’s best, even if the horse is making a mistake, to follow through that mistake, see where it takes you, then build on it. Write the scene with easy to embrace description.
Engage your imagination, your intuitiveness, let your horse help write the scene in a way that embraces both of you. It’ll add words, but those words make all the difference.  ~ EXCERPT from "It's for the Horses: An advocate's musings about their needs, spirit, gifts and care." Find it here, www.itsforthehorses.com

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry

Monday, February 22, 2016

"What I See"

Howdy Friends!
My mare Kessy looking to me, and all of us ...
When I look at a horse I see the horse it can be, wants to be. Somehow I look right beyond the stiffness, lacking posture or inverted body carriage ... Much like a sculptor who looks at a chunk of granite and chips away all the tiny pieces hiding the beauty of the masterpiece that lays hidden beneath. The artist sees the beauty from the inside out, and reveals it to the world. That is how I see every horse I meet, and I know by chipping away at the stiffness, unbalanced body carriage and uncertainty ... we can reveal and empower the beauty, grace and splendor that lay inside yearning to be free. It’s not about training–it is about freedom and comfort of confident movement. ~ www.itsforthehorses.com
Gitty Up, Dutch.