Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Feature Friday -Veterinary Insights On Barefoot Horse Care - Dr Tomas G. Teskey "

Howdy Folks,

It was a severely foundered horse with spark and life in his eyes, Martha Olivo, and an owner who would not give up on her horse, even though the coffin bones had punctured the sole, that turned everything Dr Tomas G. Teskey had learned from veterinary collage and years of practice, on its head. Everything he knew shouted the horse must be put down. It was easy to trust Martha, and Dr Teskey wanted to save the horse too. So with high hopes and enthusiasm he followed Martha's lead, who had saved numerous horses in the same condition. The devoted owner helped every step of the way. A change in diet, hoof care and exercise, and a whole new approach to trimming and maintaining a horse's hoof had the horse totally recovered in a mere seven months. For Dr Teskey it was both a humbling and awakening experience. That was fifteen years ago.
Dr Thomas Teskey

"Soon after that I was studying with Martha and Courtney Vincent, a trimmer in southern Arizona who was also having tremendous success with horses labeled as “incurable”, and I learned for the first time how the lower limb and hoof of the horse was built, how it functioned, how it sensed the environment and how it allowed horses to do what they do." Dr Teskey explained.

He continued to study, and learn more and more from trimmers, horse owners and horses about the true mechanics of the horse's hoof, and leg. "We dissected dozens of hooves, trimmed hundreds of horses, fitted boots and pads, nursed more horses in crisis, and provided support to more and more owners becoming aware of the possibilities." Dr Teskey said. As he trusted in others and this new, to him, idea that horses knew how to heal themselves, his confidence and understanding grew. So did his commitment to share this knowledge.

"Since those early days of my real-life education, I have been continually provided with examples of horses healing from the ailments that had been labeled as “incurable” by the most respected and famous veterinarians and master farriers." Dr Teskey said.

As his understanding grew, so did his relationship to the horse. They were the most important members of his faculty of teachers. From them he learned, and taught others, horses must be connected to the earth to be healthy. And the iron shoe disallows that connection and starts a slow decline into poor health and injuries. "Steel is an absolutely unsuitable material to protect hooves that are dynamic and alive. They don’t protect hooves in the slightest, they damage them. We now have materials that complement the hooves, allowing them to function as intended and honestly heal from damage caused by steel shoes." Dr Teskey explains.

In February 2005 Dr Teskey published the article, "The Unfettered Foot, A Paradigm Change for Equine Podiatry," in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, creating much interest, and of course many questions, in the veterinarian community. He has since published many more.

Dr Teskey's mission is "To empower individuals interested in a partnership with horses." He continues to help horses and their people understand the benefits of the barefoot paradigm, and Holistic Hoof Care. He writes and conducts lectures worldwide on Holistic Horsemanship. He also offers Professional veterinary support for individuals, horse clubs, families and communities seeking Real Answers about keeping horses healthy.
"Right front of TWH after trim. Note the beautiful natural arch from toe to heel." Dr Teskey
My favorite quote from Dr Teskey is, "You cannot nail an iron shoe on a live hoof without causing damage." Another is, "Shoes are most "necessary" for hooves that have been damaged by shoes. Their use is archaic and steeped in an ignorant tradition that arose out of extreme selfishness. We have known this for at least 200 years now. The responsibility for our horses is coming to rightly rest with each of US now. If you choose to allow someone else to think for you and dictate tradition to your horses, YOU are the one responsible for the unsoundness in your horses. Empower yourself with what horses need to be sound – refuse to be victimized by tradition – move in to your happiness with your happy horses."

Join him on his Facebook Page - Tomas G.Teskey Veterinary Insights (HERE) You and your horse will be glad you did.

Our Feature Friday story today was based in part on an interview done by our friend Casie Bazay and published in October on her blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse. To read much more and get to know Dr Teskey more deeply please read Casie's interview (Interview With Vet and Barefoot Advocate. Dr Thomas Teskey)

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Why horses, (and People,) Trust Some People and Doubt Others"

Howdy Friends,

Did you ever notice how some horses just seem to read their person's mind? How they seem to always be on the same page? A real solid, dependable team? Did you wonder about, perhaps get a little envious, surely curious, as to how that can be? It has a lot to do with consistency, but it has a lot to do with a person's emotional stability too. Which I guess is a big part of constancy.
We were in the field doing stuff and I had to sit to rest my legs. Kessy came and stood with me until I could get up. Which I did by taking hold of her mane and asking her to back up. She pulled me to my feet!
It also has a lot to do with the person's self confidence, and the ability to respectfully display that self confidence. Horses (and people too) want teammates, partners, and friends they can count on to be there for them. To lead them, hear them, consider their point of view. And yes horse's all have their own point of view and it can, and will, meld with ours. They key is to be self confident enough to look and listen for it. Not to correct, or discipline, but rather to support, guide, teach and empower.

I'm all for praising a horse's misstep, wrong move, or confusion. The key is to praise and support the attempt, no matter how tiny – not correct the misstep or wrong move. Go with the mistake, see where it leads. Improvements leading to perfection come far sooner with mountains of self confident praise, than with buckets of corrections and discipline. Take the mistake, or miscue and redo the exercise or movement seeking improvement in baby steps along the way.

My mentor, Diane Sept, used to say, "Carry yourself in a way that commands respect." I like to add, "And be sure you give it too, in the form of praise."

Praise for a horse (or person) can be a big deal. "GOOD GIRL!" and a pat on the neck, make a big show of it. Or it can be a simple, quiet acknowledgement of a job, task or cooperation well done. Your horse will tell you which she needs. If you listen.

Self confidence and emotional stability means you'll be consistently supportive. You won't, "fly off the handle," and scold, correct harshly, intimidate and confuse your horse ... How can a horse become soft, trusting, truly cooperative, if they must always be on guard for the next explosion of discipline? … I actually believe it is never okay to discipline a horse … well never with a few exceptions related to safety and health ... Self confident instruction based upon solid respectful teamwork and cooperation, will always build a solid relationship of trust. Every time.

Let's look at stepping into the saddle - I'll use my mare Kessy as an example. When we first partnered she would not even come within five feet of the mounting block. If she did, she wasn't going to stand to mount. (Of course you must first be absolutely certain there is no physical reason she can't stand still.) I had to think of how I could help her understand this really mattered to me. Back then I could still mount from a 2 step block, so I set it next to the barn wall allowing just enough room for her to stand, and we started mounting that way. If she moved forward, I would simply lead her around without a word, and stand her next to the block again. When in the correct position I would ask her to, "Stand." After mounting I'd give her a bit of carrot. (Still do, it's a kind of flexation exercise) We did this for a while, then eventually I moved the block away from the wall, and it no longer mattered where, or how we mounted. She just needed that little bit of guidance and support the barn wall offered her as she was making sense of the mounting deal. Today, she'll not move a hoof until I ask her to, "Walk on." Never once did I scold, yank on the reins, or demand she, "Stand Still!" We've all seen that, right? … 

As time went on it became necessary for me to mount and dismount from a platform, and it's quite an ordeal some days. She stands like a concrete statue as I clamber aboard. It's a confidence built of trust, and that trust builds a desire to not only cooperate, but be there for me. Kessy knows I'll not let my emotions take over and yell at her when she gets things a bit wrong. She knows I'll support her just as she supports me.
Kessy stands like a statue for me to mount and dismount, as long as it takes. If I'm really struggling she'll even lean into it!
I'll take a bit farther. I have bad health days and not so bad health days. Kessy knows the difference. She's always beyond perfect for mounting and dismounting, tacking, grooming, hoof care, all ground tied ... but once we're on the trail she either treads along gently and slowly, or as is her core nature, frolics and announces her attitude – depending on my ability to sit the saddle. This cooperation is born of a bond built on trust, not discipline.

The secret to those horses who seem to be able to read their person's mind? I believe it's as simple as being able to trust their person to be both emotionally balanced and consistent. And respectful.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry, and Kessy too.

Monday, March 24, 2014

"My Ravishin' Robbie"

Howdy Folks,
Yesterday as I enjoyed my Coffee Clutch with Kessy, Saturday the chickens and wild birds, the train let go its lonesome whistle. Birds sang in the tree tops their glorious, happy tunes, calling in the struggling spring. Knowing our forecast for tomorrow was for yet another blast of cold and a bit of a wintery mix, I figured they knew it already and were making the most of this spring-like day. My mind drifted to my Ravishin' Robbie. She'd been gone four days and was coming home this evening, but I missed her so.
Ravishin' Robbie in a field of Bluebells - She loves flowers
Some fellas do just fine when their sweeties away. I'm not one of them. In nine weeks we'll be married thirty-eight marvelous years. I remember our first date. I remember her yellow dress. Golly she always looks great in yellow. We weren't on a date with each other, it was a double date and she was with the other guy. But by golly I knew I needed to get to know her better. Even if she did kinda boss me that night. That hasn't changed much over the years. I reckon that's why God matched us up; he knew I'd be a better man with her love keeping me straight.

That first double date – we were on our way home, it was after mid-night, the road was empty, I could see the lonely intersection clearly and there were no cars in sight. The light turned yellow, I said, "I'm not stopping." Robbie, who was in the back, with the other guy warned me this isn't a good light to run. She was right and I got a ticket. That's been a standing joke about the wisdom of heeding her advice. We were married six months after the speeding ticket.

Some folks say they married their best friend. Yea I figure I sure did that, and so much more. We've traveled through some mighty big adventures together, some great and some not so great, but always as a team. We had the indescribable joy of raising a fabulous daughter, who blessed us with our sweet grandbabies.
Our Grandbabies, Hannah and Ben with Saturday and Kessy on our back porch.

I'd had a pretty rough start on life, and had never known the feeling of love before I met Robbie. What she saw in this collection of oddities that is me, I'll never know. But I can still remember the feeling I got way back then just being with her; that life made sense now. I still have that feeling. With her I'm complete. I always say, "everything good I learned about life, I learned from my wife."

Thank you God, for introducing us. Thank you, Ravishin' Robbie for puttin' up with me.

If you look at the top left of our Coffee Clutch home page where I describe what I write about, you'll notice love is in there. I know what Robbie has given me is the deepest kind of love.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry