Friday, January 9, 2015

"Listening not Whispering"

Howdy Friends,
I sat in the car waiting as I often do while Ravishin' Robbie ran into the store to grab a few groceries. It's not so much I don't enjoy shopping, but walking in stores is sometimes a bother to my legs. And it offers a great time to people watch. The other day I was "people watchin'" when I noticed a child of, I suppose 7 or so, trying oh so hard to get her mother's understanding of a matter of what must have been great importance by the demonstration of arm flailing and hurried loud outbursts. Of course I couldn't understand the words, but the volume and tone sent a clear, "Are You Listening?" I chuckled because I knew the answer was a resounding, NO! For the mother was every bit as determined to make her point, at the same time.
Kessy knows she can count on me to listen

I never got the impression they were angry, quite the opposite, they seemed happy and excited, but were not able to communicate whatever was so exciting.
This made me think of a seminar I went to for sales training years ago. "Learning effective ways to listen." Never forgot it. But I must admit I'm not that great a listener, either. Unless I use this little trick. And you bet, I'm gonna share how I modified it for listing to your horse.
The trick isn't to watch the other person's lips or focus on their eyes or get in sync with their breathing, or any of the standard "rules for good listening." In fact you can do this with your eyes closed. Well with people you can. With horses you pretty much gotta look at them.
But with people it is really simple … Here it is … "Listen to every word as if you must jump in and finish the sentence." … That's it ... No gimmicks, no tricks. Just pretend at any moment you'll need to pick it up and finish the sentence. We even did role playing in the seminar, which I remember was a hoot!
So how do you finish the sentence your horse is saying? Well you listen closely; it will enrich your connection ... A brief side note here … When I'm doing my "Therapy For Therapy Horses" exercises, within a few moments of starting I'll get signals from the horse where they want my hands to go next. It is one reason why I'd love for anyone who has or works with horses to learn at least the basics of these. These exercises will teach folks to "listen to their horse" in a most comprehensive way.
But I'd like to share the other way you can finish your horse's sentence. Think about when you're leading her, and she stops. I'd like to suggest, you stop. Don't just think what you want, where you are going or want to go, but pause a second or three and look where your horse is looking. Sometimes it's obvious, she's worried about something she sees, ears and eyes focused right on it. That's an easy one and you should look at it too and wait a few seconds before asking her to move on. Finish the sentence together.
The real opportunity to finish your horse's sentence will come when she stops as you're leading her, you turn to look at her … and she isn't really looking at anything. She's just standing with soft eyes, relaxed ears and no concern on her face. This is your chance to hear her, and finish her sentence. If you stay soft, open your heart, mind and intuitiveness you'll pick up on it. It'll be a moment of deep connection. Think then of the end of her sentence ... Will she walk on to follow you, or relax another moment? Think a bit, wait for it, and then you'll see, your thoughts were in tune. You heard her – because you were listening … The opposite is also true … If when she stops you tug on the lead to move her on with no more than a brief glance her way shouting in your mind, "Come On!" … You will have missed what she was trying to tell you when she said, "I'm really loving this walk together."
I'm a big fan of ground work with a horse and doing slow easy things together will give you many opportunities to finish your horse's sentences. Remember to pause, join her thoughts and "predict" what she wants to do next, by finishing her sentence. While trail riding is another great chance to "learn to listen well," if she stops along the trail, pause, look and listen to her. The key to listening well is finishing the sentence in the way the "talker" would finish it. You know then, you are in tune.
Happy listening!
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"My Thoughts on Horse Vaccination"

Howdy Friends,
Often I've been asked about my thoughts on horse vaccinations. Thoughts on vaccinations, as do many homeopathic, holistic and natural practices such as "all forage diets," no stalls," no shoes" often cause quiet vigorous debates. I've resisted writing about vaccinations because it is so scary to so many horse lovers, owners and caregivers, I simply did not want to get into the debate. My own opinion though is we way, way over-vaccinate – to the health detriment of our horses (dogs, cats and children too).
Kessy love kisses
Recently I had the thrill, honor and privilege of interviewing Dr. Will Falconer, one of this country's most respected homeopathic veterinarians, for a story in Natural Horse Magazine. Like most homeopathic veterinarians his career began as doctor of veterinarian medicine. He is one of many homeopathic veterinarians or holistic practitioners I've interviewed over the years, and I've noticed a common thread of ideas, thoughts and concerns running through the minds of all these educated and experienced folks. In one way or another they all found they wanted to do better. They wanted to find ways to truly help their patients live healthier, more thriving lives. Another common thread running through all their comments during our interviews was their concerns about vaccinations. My interview with Dr. Falconer finally caused me to pen my thoughts on vaccinations.

I'll start with a quote from Dr. Falconer. "People simply do not relate or understand the harm that over vaccination does to the system. If there were one thing I could wave a magic wand and fix, it would be the attitude toward vaccinations." Dr. Falconer explained that repeated vaccinations impair and confuse the immune system.

"Most vaccinations for horses are for viruses, and veterinarian immunologists have proven scientifically that, once vaccinated for a virus, resulting immunity lasts a very long time, perhaps a lifetime." Dr. Falconer explained that repeated vaccinations not only confuse the immune system, but often cause it to turn on itself, and even attack healthy red blood cells.

"The horse is the most over-vaccinated animal, even more than dogs and cats, and repeated vaccinations do more damage than any other management practice. Repeated vaccination causes a plethora of ill effects that people fail to connect to the vaccine including allergies, skin conditions, thrush and even changes in temperament. These are long-lasting effects that take their toll. If people would just have one awakening in their journey to have a vital, thriving animal, I wish it could be that they would understand we now know, all vaccinations for viruses last a very long time, and repeated vaccinations to an already immune horse adds nothing, but it does compound the ill effects. In the late 1970’s, vaccine researcher Dr. Ronald Schultz discovered that rabies and the core vaccines last for the life of the animal in nearly all cases."

I chose to use Dr. Falconer's quotes because he succinctly put some of the concerns that I've heard many times from others. So many ailments in our horses can be linked to repeated vaccinations, as Dr. Falconer said above, and more than listed here. However, many veterinarians advise only, "Watch for symptoms for a few days," or words to that effect. While the truth is underlying chronic health issues that cause moderate to severe pain, lethargy, disinterest, or even poor temperament are chronic health issues related to vaccines that can show up weeks or months later and last a lifetime.

Worry about thrush, white line and founder? We all know that toxins in the horse migrate to the foot. There are toxins in vaccines that never really leave the body. Toxins put into vaccines purposely to "stimulate the immune response." If it were not so horrendous that phrase would be silly, reminds me of the equally silly oxymoron, "corrective shoeing."

Another problem with vaccinations is the way they short circuit the immune system. The immune system comes about 75% from the gut. Healthy digestive system, healthy immune system. But it is also supported by defenses throughout the body. The first line of defense is the nose, the throat and even tears. Each of these begins to attack the invader and signal the immune system to defend, attack and repel. Each of these areas of defense helps to educate and bolster the immune system. When we inject vaccinations directly into the body we skip all the front line defenses, thus robbing the body of that knowledge and power. Another thing Dr. Falconer, and others I've interviewed, said was how we are seeing so many horses coming up with wide varieties of allergies. Immunologists have linked this to confused immune systems.

A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccination. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal…… Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response…. The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy…”EXCERPT FROM - Current Veterinary Therapy, Volume XI, published in 1992 (a very well-respected, peer-reviewed textbook that is updated every four years). The authors are veterinary immunologists Dr. Ronald Schultz (University of Wisconsin) and Dr. Tom Phillips (Scrips Research Institute).

Immunology has recognized for a great many years that viruses provide a long-lived immunity. This is why your physician is not sending you postcards to repeat your small pox or polio vaccinations annually.

So why do so many veterinarians prescribe and recommend repeated vaccinations? That is a question only they can answer. Money? Profit? They truly believe it is best for their clients? The interesting thing is how many of them are beginning to question it. The whole vaccine issue is so difficult to get a handle on. Veterinarians are not taught much about immunology, just as they are not taught much about nutrition.

Many horse owners struggle with peer pressure inflicting fear, self doubt. Or you need to vaccinate to show, do you really? Many folks believe they need vaccination certificates to travel, not true, I believe I'm accurate in saying no states require certificates of vaccination, only the Coggins test, and perhaps a veterinarian's health certificate. Some boarding barns require vaccinations, can this be negotiated? I would move my horse.

These are just my thoughts, I'm sharing them in the hopes you might think about it, and do some research of your own. There is plenty of information out there today. I believe in the "once is enough treatment for vaccinations." It is far better to learn how to help your horse build the strongest possible immune system that can defend against invaders, viruses included. Tetanus is the only vaccination that needs to be repeated every 7 years. 
For me and my mare Kessy, she'll never have another vaccination, or shoe. Oh, and she has not been chemically wormed in 4 years either, just did a fecal count, no worms.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Monday, January 5, 2015

COVER – "Tom Named By Horse"

Howdy Friends!

Thanks to Troy Palmer and Bobbie Jo Lieberman my new novel, "Tom Named By Horse" has a beautiful cover. Troy's masterful cover does an excellent job of telling the story. Thank you Troy for all your hard work, and thank you Bobbie Jo for making it possible.
Thanks Troy Palmer for this most wonderful cover!
Tom Named By Horse is, at its core a love story, and just as love can be powerful and at the same time confusing, so were the times just before what some refer to as the Great Plains Indian Wars. Parallels between Tom Named By Horse's awakening and brutal changes washing over the great plains weave together telling the story of a time of struggle, conflict and confusion. While most of the characters are fictional, the struggles, love, hate, confusion and desperation are true. Tom Named By Horse's birth on the day of Chief Red Cloud's powerful vision of terrifying change sweeping over Grandmother Earth bind the two together in powerful ways.

Tom Named By Horse will be published in a few weeks, I'll keep you posted.

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry