Monthly Archives: February 2012

Out The Gate And Gone: Horse Owners Need To Do Everything Possible To Deter Thieves.

Secure your horse gear

Yes, times are tough, and you have a lot of money invested in your horse/s, your tack and your barn, any or all of which is very tempting to a thief. And then there’s the emotional devastation that can follow the theft of one of your horses or any of your gear.

If you want to avoid or at least minimize the risk of theft, things can be done to protect yourself. Most times thieves have some idea of a person’s comings and goings so they know when to make their hit; tack thieves usually are not out for violence, just stealing. Be aware of who you give extensive information about your barn, stable, or horses to whether it be for business purposes or otherwise.

Here is a very informative article from with tips about steps we can take to protect our horsey assets, including:

  • Don’t be an easy target for thieves
  • Understand your risk
  • Make sure your horse is easily identified – brands, microchipping, markings and scars
  • Keep photographic records
  • Make sure your fencing and gates are secure
  • Mark your tack and keep them locked away
  • Secure your horse trailer
  • Work with your neighbour for extra security
  • Consider erecting warning signage, installing security camera (even fake ones) or alarms 

Protect Your Riding Gear And Horses From Thieves

January 23, 2007

It would be nice to think that everyone in the horse community is honest.

Sadly, it’s not the case… [read the whole article here

~ Source:

Another good idea is to put your horses’ names and maybe even your phone number on their blankets. If anyone steals them off your horses, it will be more obvious if they use them that they are stolen, and it makes them harder to resell. There’s also the side benefit that you will know exactly which blanket belongs to which horse if you take a few off at the same time, without having to stop and figure it out!

Take the time to implement these security tips – you never know how much money – and heartache – it will save you!

Does Manuka Honey Really Heal Wounds?

Manuka honey heals injuriesHoney was a conventional therapy in fighting infection up until the early 20th century, at which time its use slowly vanished with the discovery of penicillin.

Now the use of honey in wound care is gaining popularity again, as researchers are determining exactly how honey can help fight serious skin infections.

According to their findings, certain types of honey might be more effective than antibiotics!

Researchers are now finding that honey not only helps fight serious skin infections, but certain types of honey, such as manuka honey, might be more effective than antibiotics.

“In lab tests, just a bit of the honey killed off the majority of bacterial cells — and cut down dramatically on the stubborn biofilms they formed.

It could also be used to prevent wounds from becoming infected in the first place.” (Scientific American January 31, 2012)

Read more about the amazing manuka honey in this article from

NZ Manuka Honey Shown To Speed Healing Of Horse Wounds

The simple use of New Zealand-made manuka honey on horses’ leg wounds results in smaller wound sizes and faster healing times, Sydney researchers have found.

Honey has been used to treat wounds in humans since ancient Egypt, but the study at the University of Sydney, using manuka honey from New Zealand, is the first time a clinical trial has been conducted in horses. [article continues here …]

~ Source:

The honey’s exact healing mechanism is still unclear but the studies show clearly that treating wounds with manuka honey leads to healthier tissue regrowth. 

“Wounds treated with manuka also showed improved new blood vessel and skin surface growth compared to control wounds.”

I don’t need convincing.  I’ve personally used manuka honey on horse’s wounds with wonderful results. The most hideous wound I’ve used it on was a huge 5” x 5” open wound that took over 4 weeks to close over – and, using only manuka honey, it didn’t get infected in all that time. You can’t even see a scar now.

If you can’t get medicinal manuka honey at your local health store, here are some links where you can buy it online:

Manuka honey heals woundsWedderspoon Raw Organic Manuka Honey Active 16+, 17.6-Ounce Jar


Manuka honey heals woundsActive MGO 400+ (Old 20+) Manuka Honey 100% Pure by Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd. – 8.8oz jar


Manuka Honey Heals WoundsActive Manuka Honey 16+, Manuka Oil and Aloe Vera Healing Gel

Horses Are Good For The Soul

Horses Are Good For The SoulWhy do we love horses? 

We all have our reasons – maybe it’s the thrill of the gallop or the chase, the adrenalin rush, the challenge or the satisfaction of competing.  Or maybe it’s for the peacefulness of a trail ride, or simply the fact that they seem to like us!

But a horse is more than just an animal.  They are far more than our playmates, our work fellows or even our means of earning a living.  They have a spiritual quality about them that speaks to our hearts and our souls, and there are those who appreciate and value this aspect of the horse more than anything else.  To put it simply – horses inspire us in more ways than simply enjoying them.

Here is the beautiful story of how Chronicle of the Horse journalist, Jodie Jaffe, has drawn on her own horses for strength and peace during many difficult times in her life, including head injuries suffered from falls, broken bones, and testing times when she thought she was going to lose both her son and her husband.

Her horses calmed her soul – and most of us will know exactly what she means!  

Horses Help Us Through The Roughest Times
~ by Jody Jaffe
February 12, 2012

Life keeps getting in the way of my return to riding. And this column.

This summer, I’d finally reached my goal of showing in the Special Adults with Woody, Diane Wade’s Doctor of Confidence. I’d spent the previous year emotionally recovering from a head injury. I say emotionally because, while the injury was bad enough to obliterate a day from my life, physically I felt fine in a few weeks. But it erased what little confidence I had on a horse.

Woody took care of that. Really, you could put a monkey on his back, and he’d metronome his way around the ring, which he did with me. But at some point, the riding skills I’ve acquired over the past 40 years clicked in, and I actually rode him around a course, confidently. I had big plans for our fall show season: the Randolph Medal Finals and my first-time ride in a hunter classic! I was even starting to shop Ebay for a shadbelly. But you know what they say: If you want to hear God laugh, tell him/her your plans.

A series of three surgeries—oral surgery for an abscessed tooth, facial surgery for squamous-cell skin cancer and arm surgery to plate together a broken ulna—sidelined me from October through December. I’d just returned to riding when Life struck again. This time, horribly.

My husband, John Muncie (aka The Saint) spent 12 days at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va., fighting three infections acquired during a routine back surgery there. Each day brought a new, seemingly life-threatening crisis, including an emergency midnight surgery, a suspected pulmonary embolism and the possibility of bleeding out. I didn’t leave his side. My Facebook friends followed his descent into Hell through my posts. And they continue to follow the developments in my war to make hospitals accountable for hospital-acquired infections. John’s on IV antibiotics four times a day at a cost to us of $60 a day for at least six weeks. Medicare stopped paying for hospital-acquired infections, so why should we still have to pay?

Doesn’t seem fair. But I stopped hoping for fair years ago. Both in life—and the show ring. Sometimes you get pinned in a flat class even after your horse picks up the wrong lead, and sometimes the judge forsakes your horse’s perfect trip for the rail knocker. However, with horse shows, only a ribbon’s at stake. With hospitals, 100,000 lives are lost each year to these infections, many of which can be prevented.

So as you can see, between John’s battle against bacteria and mine against the hospital establishment, there hasn’t been much time to ride. However, that doesn’t mean horses have been out of my life. They are what kept me sane during our 12 days of Hell. After each new crisis, I went to the barn. In my mind. (Read the rest of the article…)

Here is a selection of related books you might enjoy:

Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul: Inspirational Stories About Horses And The People Who Love Them  – Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marty Becker, Gary Seidler, Peter Vegso and Theresa Peluso

Horse Miracles: Inspirational True Stories of Remarkable Horses  by Brad Steiger & Sherry Hansen Steiger

Rescued by a Horse: True Stories of Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Healing  by Cheryl Dudley

Angel Horses – Divine Messengers of Hope  by Allen Anderson & Linda Anderson

Heavenly Horse Sense: Inspirational Stories from Life in the Saddle by Rebecca E Ondov

New Insights Into Therapeutic Riding

Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted CounselingHorses are increasingly becoming acknowledged as being valuable resources for healing or rehabilitating children and adults with mental or physical challenges.   With both demand and the number of therapeutic horseback riding programs available rapidly increasing, a new book, “Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling: Adding Animal Assisted Therapy to Your Practice”, has been published to educate therapists who want to incorporate the horse therapy element into their practices.  

Equine assisted therapy
provides mental health therapy both on the ground and in the saddle to children or adults who have experienced trauma or other psychological damage.  Being around and working with horses provides non-judgmental time and space to interact with his or her horse, encouraging them to extend this interaction to others and form meaningful relationships with people.

Building a relationship with an animal is very rewarding in many respects; for a person with an emotional, social or psychological disability, the trust and loyalty of an animal demonstrates to the student how important he or she is; they may then apply this newly-acquired self-esteem to personal relationships. A horse may also help a person feel in control of his or her situation, since in dealing with horses there is a direct relationship between action and reaction.

Here’s what The Advertiser-Tribune had to say about “Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling: Adding Animal Assisted Therapy to Your Practice”:

A new book has brought together 28 counselors, psychologists and medical doctors from around the world to share their experiences in using equine assisted counseling with clients.

“Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling: Adding Animal Assisted Therapy to Your Practice” was released Dec. 13 by international publisher Routledge/Taylor & Francis. The book is written by counselors for counselors who want to add a hands-on component to their practices.

One of the contributing authors is Pamela Nielsen Jeffers, a 1979 graduate of Columbian High School. Pam is the daughter of Tiffin residents Don and Nancy Nielsen. Jeffers and her husband, Robert, are co-owners of Natural Freedom’s Relationship Based Equine Facilitated Learning and Therapy Center in Albany, which has 10 horses that are used for therapy with troubled children and their families.

“We do a lot with relationship building. … We practice it with horses because they give instant feedback with reading thenonverbals of their bodies, and a non-judgmental time and space to practice those relationship skills,” Jeffers said. “We work a lot with trauma. When you experience trauma, you’re heightened and it’s hard to relax.”

Kay Trotter, a counselor in private practice in Flower Mound, Texas, the initiator and editor of the book, sent an invitation for chapter proposals. Jeffers and two colleagues submitted a proposal that was accepted. Kristina Houser, a licensed psychologist and licensed independent chemical dependency counselor in private practice in Athens and Erin Lucas, a licensed independent social worker at Tri-County Mental Health and Counseling Services Inc., collaborated with Jeffers to write “Heart-to-Heart Rainbow: An Imagery Experience to Facilitate Relationship Development.”

The piece provides the clinical protocols to help counselors use equine assisted counseling with their clients.

Several years ago, the Jeffers family went through a crisis of their own and found comfort through one of their horses named Cheyene. The couple realized firsthand the therapeutic effect horses can have on humans. Pamela wrote about their experiences in an article published in Guideposts magazine. The “horses” page on the website has a link to the article.

Jeffers said her work with horses started in childhood. While growing up in Tiffin, she participated in a 4-H program with her horse, Penny, until age 18. During those years, she learned leadership skills, including responsibility and communication.

She also got involved with therapeutic riding through Hope on Horseback, founded by Ellie Spellerberg.

“Penny was one of the first horses used in that program. That was the beginning of my experience with seeing the relationships with horses a little bit different, as far as the non-competitive aspect,” Jeffers said.

After graduating from Columbian, Jeffers studied therapeutic recreation at Ohio University in Athens. After college, she married Robert Jeffers, whose family owns a farm in Albany. For a while, Pamela taught evening classes at Hocking College. In 2006, she earned certification for equine-assisted therapy; she then formed Natural Freedom LLC, in 2008.

The couple had horses even before Pamela started her therapy program.

“Two were donated last fall because our caseload was increasing,” she said. “Each horse adds its own uniqueness to the plate. We have paso finos that were donated. … They’re really good for helping kids that get heightened and have trouble bringing it back down.”

Quarter horses, paints and a miniature mule complete the flock. Jeffers said all breeds lend themselves to therapy, depending on their temperaments. The paso finos are valued for their smooth gait and lively personalities. Clients who are afraid of the horses initially are coached to approach and handle the animals little by little until they are at ease. Designed for those with no previous experience with horses, the basic program offers mental health therapy “on the ground” and does not involve therapeutic riding.
Participants ages 5 and older are encouraged to “be in the moment” with the horse and to put aside the “could have’s” and “have to’s.”

Jeffers teaches clients to do breathing and other exercises to practice being calm and to recreate those feelings of calmness at home.

Her daughter, LaTicia, was a scholarship student in Tiffin University’s equestrian program. Now back home, she helps her mother with the Natural Freedom program.

“I tend to work the empowerment piece with the parents. That’s my niche. She adds her youthfulness and fun to work with the kids,” Pamela said.

Robert is working on his own certification. He helps out with special events. The couple also served as 4-H advisers in the Albany area while their two children were in the program. Down the road, Pamela would like to work with veterans. She said she thinks horses could help veterans struggling with the effects of trauma.

Although Jeffers has a college degree, she said equine-assisted therapy is a certificate program. Some mental health programs include coursework in equine-assisted therapy.

Jeffers said her education background has been helpful.

“I have found it extremely beneficial to be able to use the adaptations I learned in school and how to modify things and put things together. I think that’s why it’s working for us so well,” she said.

~ Source: The Advertiser-Tribune

The value and importance of horse therapy and therapeutic riding is immeasurable.  Children with disabilities love having a quiet, peaceful environment and so do horses – they can teach each other many things.

Learn more about “Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling: Adding Animal Assisted Therapy to Your Practice” or purchase the book.