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The Women & Horses Newsletter - August 2009

Horse Confinement: You Can Supply What's Missing
by Mary D. Midkiff

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What we all know to be true is that horses need to have air, light, forage, water, salt and movement to survive. With horses comes the commitment of their wellbeing and health. We are responsible for replacing what they are missing from the natural world.

In an ideal world, we would offer all horses wide open spaces to graze, roam and have access to some sort of shelter from harsh weather. But the reality is land use for horse keeping is becoming more and more limited, most of us work or live in or near urban areas and our horses are kept on minimal land allotments, and there is big business in horse sports, showing and racing as well as rehabilitation that confine horses 24/7. We are faced with how to keep horses healthy, happy and strong but in a limited environment.

Like people, horses are subject to their geography, climate and environment, but unlike people horses do not have a choice about how they live, who handles and trains them, what they are fed, how they are managed, how much or little air, light, water and movement they have, or what is expected of them.

We are the problem and we are also the solution. For instance, I provide mind, body, energy, and restorative health work to two world champion show horses. They are confined in a stall 24/7 and have vices and issues that come with that confinement. I could judge the people around them as being “wrong” for how they are keeping them and distance myself or I can go in being supportive with a clear mind and provide what these mares need to handle all the stress and pressures of showing on a world stage. I/you can make the horse’s day-to-day life peaceful and healthy. After each session they express gratitude to me which is tremendously rewarding and their gratitude shows in their happiness in performance.

When the horse is getting all they need to release tension, get quality rest, quietly digest their food, and mentally separate down-time and training-time, the trainers, owners and grooms notice the differences and become impacted, maybe even inspired. They too begin to search for what can make the difference for all their horses. That in turn spreads to other owners, judges, breeders and exhibitors. You have created a chain reaction of positive space for a majority of the horses to be comfortable.

You can choose to judge and assess and make wrong or make a difference for the horses that have a less than comfortable living. When horses know that someone cares, even if someone shows up just to give a little TLC, it makes a difference in their nervous system, their emotional state and their general well being.

In order to give confined horses a chance of having a quality existence they must be fed small amounts often, have a clean, safe, well lit, well ventilated space, daily or regular exercise, quality hay fed low to the ground, clean water, salt and minerals, daily hand grazing, grooming and massage, a plan for teeth, hoof and worming care and turn out whenever possible. Beyond that if you can add chiropractic, acupressure/acupuncture, herbs, magnet therapy as well as other beneficial remedies so much the better for the horse’s well being.

I know that most of you who read my newsletters “Keep” your horses to the best of your ability for their well being, but also consider how you may be of help to a confined horse that is not so fortunate.

I have been invited to be a presenter and clinician at the World Equestrian Games 2010 here in Kentucky! I am thrilled and honored to be a part of this world event. I will be featured in the Equine Village speaking on the topics of

  • “Calming the Anxious Horse Naturally and Safely”
  • “How to Shift the Nervous System of the Horse”
  • “Gender Difference Considerations for the Rider”
  • and much more.

Tickets to the WEG 2010 go on sale September 25, 2009. I hope to see all of you there. Watch my website and go to www.feigames2010.org for more information.

Give your horse a hug for me and let me know if I can assist you in any way!

Mary D. Midkiff

New Phone Numbers: Office 502-552-1195

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