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have been taking notes on questions and issues that I’ve heard
from you and around the horse community for awhile and created
a new section on my website called “Your Questions”. I am not
going to use any names but will rephrase the questions and provide
the answers to be helpful to everyone.
-Mary D. Midkiff
- I saw your piece in one of your past newsletters on your use
of the Hilton Herb product Regulate. I have a mare that I've
had on the Dynamite product Easy Boy which has magnesium and
a few herbs since March, and it does take some of the edge off
(she can be really hormonal, but she's not mean about it). However,
it really doesn't do anything to help even out her cycling.
She's had 2 ovarian cysts - 10 months apart, and gets really
sore in her hind end. The vet gives her a shot of prostaglandin
to dissolve them, and she's fine in a week. When she's cycling,
she gets sore and uncomfortable in her hind end, and starts
to do what we've come to call "the bounce", where
she starts to bounce around when she's being trotted, and then
tries to go into a canter because it's more comfortable. I also
have her on an 8 week adjustment schedule with the chiropractor.
Anyhow, I don't want to go the actual hormone route (Regumate);
too scary and expensive. Ditto the implant route. My trainer
thinks we should try the Hilton product (she's from the UK and
familiar with them). The cheapest source I can fine is thru
Dover. Do you know of any other distributors? I board at a facility
in Littleton, CO. Also, do you have your mare on it year-round?
Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
You haven't said if you plan on breeding your mare or not. My
answer will depend on your future plans with her.
plan to breed her or want to sell her as a broodmare you will
have to keep working with this issue. Regumate will easily take
care of all the problems you have mentioned and allow her to
breed later on. It is expensive, about $300 for 90 days supply,
and you do have to be careful in working with it by using gloves
but it takes care of any discomfort from her cycle. I have used
it with Theo and Anna and it gave them such huge relief and
they enjoyed their work and performing. They seemed to be very
thankful to me for giving them the relief from all the stress,
strain, pain and worry that comes with each cycle. Theo was
a very hot, hormonal mare and I did have to leave her on it
year round to keep her comfortable and usable. With Anna, I
only used it during the Spring and Summer months when I was
competing. I took her off of it from October to February and
she did fine without it. You will find a huge improvement in
her mental and physical approach to riding and training with
it. Give this deep consideration, she sounds like a perfect
candidate for it.
feel you have to go with the Regulate, it is helpful, but not
near as comforting as Regumate. Chamisa Ridge catalog carries
it and I have not done price comparisons but they have several
different sizes of bags or liquid for you to buy.
also try acupuncture treatments and ear staples in conjunction
with the Regulate. This will give her more comfort during her
do not plan on breeding her or selling her as a broodmare, I
think an ovariectomy might be your best option. It is considered
a standard easy surgery with laparoscopy, removing the ovaries,
so your mare will no longer cycle and have issues associated
with the discomfort of each cycle. I have heard it costs around
$1200 which would be worth it to make her happy as a performance
horse for the rest of her life.
these options will help you with your decisions. Best wishes,
in Europe and just discovered your website tonight while surfing
the web. It looks fascinating and I am looking forward to getting
hold of your books.
site is all about women and horses, I would very much, if I
may, ask you a specific female related question that I have
not been able to otherwise find an answer to.
riding again this year after an 18 year break. I am half-leasing
a lovely horse (well, large pony, 14.2hh) and as I am leasing,
the saddle comes with him (i.e. I have no option at present
to get one of the female specific saddles recommended on your
ride for extended periods (or even short periods, say, when
schooling without stirrups), I have a terrible chafing problem
in the crotch area. It can become very painful for several hours
afterwards. I recently acquired a "Seatbone Saver" saddle pad
made of suede and filled with memory foam; although this has
greatly improved my riding position and is great for the seat
bones, it has in fact worsened the chafing problem.
I'm not the only woman with this problem, although i have not
found any online information. I have seen some advertisements
for Equetech equestrian underwear which is slightly gel padded
- but I am not sure if this would work to completely eliminate
have any advice, seeing as I cannot change the saddle at present?
for your time in reading and responding to my email
you for your letter SS. You are certainly not alone with this
issue, many just don't talk about it. I too have experienced
crotch chaffing, swelling and rubbing in the past all due to
poor saddle fit to my body.
The solutions are to provide as much padding as possible through
your underwear and a seat saver or cover. The saddle is the
problem and you are never going to be able to completely be
comfortable until you find a different saddle. The pommel, seat,
twist and cantle construction are opposing your conformation
in your hips, pelvis, spine and upper legs. Until that is changed
it is going to hurt and affect your ability to balance and move
with the horse.
Even riding with a bareback pad with stirrups would be better
for you if you feel safe. Try to find or borrow another saddle
that fits you and your horse if possible.
A Band-aid type solution for temporary minimal discomfort would
be to purchase a fleece wool seat saver to fit over the seat
of the saddle. Also you might try wearing bicycle rider's underwear
with lots of padding.
Don't ride in this saddle too much longer. It will not only
hurt your crotch area but it will start affecting your posture
and could cause a lower back injury as well as put you in an
unsafe, unbalanced position. Keep searching for another saddle
you can use.
Best wishes for comfort in the saddle. Sincerely, Mary Midkiff
Mary: I really liked the article on How
to Bond with a Horse. I'm quite a proponent of all of
the suggestions that you made and some others as well. I never
get on or off my horse without some kind of affirming true contact
with him. Get his permission for everything...like you mentioned
and I also run my hand down the back of his hind and down his
leg to keep contact after I get off. Contact, permission and understanding
are the keys. I love your telling people to just hang with their
horse. It will blow a horses mind to take him into a round pen,
arena or playground and do nothing! What a concept. Make the expected
unexpected. You'll always have a friend. All the ponies told me
to say thank you!!!! Sincerely, KK
KK: I I love your appreciation of your horse. My new horse is/was
a young German sales horse and is/was introverted, out of his
body, mentally cooked and really jammed. It has taken me a year
to gain his trust, turn his body around and begin to recapture
his mind. He too is very gifted and talented and I hope to see
it all shine one of these days. It may take a year or two more
of patience and moving very slowly with his balance, helping him
shift his posture and mental outlook but I think it will all be
worth it. We have already deeply bonded and that is certainly
an honor to receive. Mary
you for yet another wonderful article!
Q: I wanted
to ask you if you had ever addressed (or knew where I could
find information) on yawning?
I am over
the moon for my horse and spend a lot of time doing what you
describe-I "play" with him, we go on walks (where I just hand
walk him with a halter and lead), I just hang out with him in
his stall and let him rub and nuzzle me. I talk to him and sing
to him too.... and pet him all over with my hands. I've even
sat in the corner or in the doorway of his stall if he didn't
seem to mind. I've only had him for about a year and am fairly
new and inexperienced, but I'd like to think we are on our way
to a good connection. He will let me approach him when he is
lying down and has laid down to roll with me standing right
there (once I was even holding the lead rope-it was on one of
our walks! We paused and I wasn't paying close enough attention
to see him sniffing around!). I do anything to just be around
a tendency to "yawn" quite often when we are in his stall together.
Not just a little yawn-but a big, huge, you-can-count-his-molars
type of yawn. Always eager to learn more about him and what
he may be telling me, I poked around the internet and was surprised
to learn that a lot of people feel horse yawn when they are
uncomfortable, even cranky. One lady said her horse only yawns
when he sees her coming with the bridle. He cocks his head and
yawns, and she knows he's not happy about what's about to come.
be annoying him when I'm meaning to bond! Uh-oh! What should
I do differently??
for everything! CC
can mean many different things.
the horse is tired or just sleepy and yawns before he takes
a nap or rests.
horse yawns to release tension in their body or pain somewhere
in their body. Whenever my farrier works on my horse's right
hind leg, he stretches the tight hip muscles on that side and
my horse always yawns in relief.
3) A yawn
is a response to a release of endorphin chemicals into the nervous
system. Whenever I give my horse a mouth massage and release
the endorphins he yawns quite a bit. Yesterday, I worked with
a yearling colt and gave him mouth massage. He yawned 7 times
afterward and did a huge body stretch up through his neck and
in to his back. The release of chemicals through massage is
4) A yawn
is also a letting go after work or training. Almost all of the
horses I work with yawn after we have finished our exercise
together. Their jaws can be tight during work (especially if
they are wearing a tight noseband and/or have mouth/teeth pain)
and when the bridle comes off they yawn to stretch the tight
encourage the yawn because it is such a huge form of release
for the horse. The bigger and wider they open their mouth and
stretch their jaw the better the release. Horses also can get
headaches and the yawn lets tension go from the tight muscles
around the forehead and the poll. In any yawn, they usually
stretch their poll and neck muscles at the same time they stretch
the jaw, which is also very positive.
suggest to your friend who has the horse that yawns before being
bridled, to loosen the noseband. Also, he may have had the metal
bit hit his teeth at some point and he remembers this and wants
her to be very careful while the bit is being put in his mouth
each time. Tell her to give him mouth, jaw (TMJ) and face massages
as often as possible. This will help curb any past fears he
might have. Also make sure to tell her to have his mouth checked
by a professional equine dentist every 6 months to once per
horse and the yawns. It sounds like you are both on the right
Questions & Answers