Category Archives: Horse Health & Wellness

Do You Give Your Horse a Choice?

“Offering animals choice does not inherently mean that humans have to relinquish theirs – or vice versa.

Rather, it is about really hearing what is being communicated and negotiating from there in a way that honours both voices. ” 

I am one who believes in mutual respect and partnership.

I’ve gone the route of “being the *boss*” to “be the leader” in a subservient manner – expecting the horse to comply with my demands regardless of what he or she “feels” to learning  what SERVANT LEADERSHIP is all about …

Being a SERVANT LEADER means serving the team. Serving the other person – teaching, leading by example, not *demanding* but politely suggesting, asking and then not being afraid to change things up if the ‘team’ isn’t understanding what is being asked.

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.” –Robert K. Greenleaf.

No, I’m not saying that horses are people but I AM saying that I want to RESPECT them as sentient beings in the same manner that I ask them for respect.

It’s really quite simple … do unto others …

This article is good so thought I’d share it today:

Enjoy!  and yes, I am looking forward to discussion on it. 🙂

Thank you!

Just wanted to share this. Received today .. just moments ago. It truly does warm my heart! …

ME: The BEST supplement for hooves is 1. as much movement the horse can get in a 24/7 period of time and 2. RAW FORAGE … supplement 24/7 hay/grazing with fresh veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. THAT feeds the immune system and will strengthen new hoof growth like you’ve never seen before!

LAURA O: I learned this from you 20 years ago, Gwen and since then I’ve grown a garden just for them every year. Also, as part of the movement plan/rehab, we go for walks or I gather things to feed them. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence and have realized that horses really do love new ground! It’s done wonders for Promenade Walks as well. I’ll start off with coaxing and discomfort and I’ll be thinking enough, maybe we should go back, but then I get 200’ down the road, the ears prick forward, the heel first landings begin and suddenly I’m being dragged forward. With a balanced diet, the trees are no longer getting chewed on any more either. No composting bin needed either. The veggie trimmings that are safe, go straight to the barn. I’ll do a hay test every year, but that’s just a small part of it. What I don’t know, they tell me


“Horses, as with humans, have preferences and it is best to allow your horse to choose their essential oil; they will generally indicate to you what they need if you listen and observe. Offer the essential oil to them to smell. “If the horse has an imbalance in the physical sense, it will probably use its right nostril first. If the problem is more emotionally based, the horse will use its left nostril first. The right nostril is linked to the side of the brain, which governs the horse’s functions. The left nostril is linked to the right side of the brain, which governs the intuitive side. When we are working with horses we want them in their left-brain where they will be thinking not reacting instinctively, which they do if in their right-brain. If the horse is interested it will move the required nostril over the oil and inhale. If it is not interested the horse will move away.” Any essential oils that your horse turns away from put aside for that day. When using aromatherapy with animals or people it is always best to respect and trust the individuals desires and inner wisdom.”

–Judy Andrews

Food Therapy for a Healthy Horse

Digestive Enzymes, Hydration and the Gut are key to a happy and healthy horse, with the addation of some seasonal whole foods you can help mainatin a good balance.

Read more:

FOR AN EQUINE SPECIFIC BASE DIET (for general, healthy horse)

Gwen can help you personally tailor a diet for YOUR HORSE, individually, to address whatever health challenges your horse might be having. Please email to: to inquire.


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I’ve seen alot of inquiries lately from people who are wondering what is that weird red spot on their horse’s sole?  And some showing red on the wall of the hoof.

Well, a red spot USUALLY means the horse has bruised his hoof somehow …

Stepped on a rock or some other hard object causing a bruise on its sole.

A hoof bruise isn’t too much different than you or I bruising.

A bruise can also occur if the horse hits something or something hits the outside wall of the hoof. Or, if there is damage to the laminae at the coronary band causing a bleed of some sort. These kinds of bruises will readily be apparent on white hooves.

So, what IS a bruise?

Basically, a bruise, also called a contusion, forms because the soft tissues of the foot have been damaged. Some hooves bruise easily, whereas others may have tougher soles that are better conditioned than others. When these soft tissues in the hoof are injured, small veins and capillaries (the tiniest blood vessels) break. Blood leaks out of the damaged vessels to form the ‘bruise’.

Sometimes, most times actually, the hoof, the body is able to metabolize the blood cells and no one is the wiser for it.

Other times, however, the bruise will be severe enough that the hoof will form a protective pocket around it and develop an abscess. In the photo above we see an abscess that has vented (finger pointing to vented abscess) as well as a bruise (blue arrow).

An abscess can cause a sound horse to become dreadfully lame overnight – seemingly without cause.  In fact, a horse that does go lame like that overnight is usually suspected of developing an abscess.

Contrary to much thought about horse shoes preventing such injuries, if the shoes do not also have pads to them then a horse can just as easily bruise its hooves when shod as when barefoot. You can see the bruising on either side of the frog in the photo of the shod horse above.

Barefooted horses, that are well conditioned to the environment, will grow thick calluses to protect the soles.  But they can still be injured, somehow, from a strike on the coronary band or hoof wall.

If the bruise is not severe and not causing any lameness then one can pretty much just let the horse go its own way. But, if the bruise is causing some discomfort, it can be indicative of an abscess brewing. The body may reabsorb it in short time or one may have to help the abscess develop fully to vent. Some veterinarians choose to knife out the abscess; I’ve found over the years that abscesses will vent themselves without surgical intervention with homeopathy, some essential oils and soaking – allowing the horse to move around as he or she wishes. Then, once the abscess has burst, appropriate care is given in the way of further soaking, possible poulticing and bandaging with either medication or essential oils and, again, a different homeopathic remedy than used for the un-vented abscess.

We all hate to see our horses in any sort of discomfort or downright pain. We all want to take that pain away. Sometimes that is necessary for treatment and other times its best to let nature take its course.

With barefooted horses, whose hooves are well callused and conditioned, it may take some time for a brewing abscess to fully develop and, as such, may need some intervention. But mainly, for a simple bruised sore or a bruised wall, just allow the horse to be a horse.

Horses and hooves are amazing self-healers. I think sometimes we humans like to micro-manage and cause MORE problems.

Oh, by the way, meant to mention, also … concerning the use of a NSAID for pain? If the horse has an abscess then the pain reliever is just not going to do anything much at all for the horse. The abscess will remain painful until it has burst and released the pressure inside the hoof capsule. It is the pressure that causes the pain.  That is another tell-tale sign that your horse’s bruise is developing into a full abscess.

Again, soaking in some epsom salt water or activated charcoal water will help soften the sole a bit. If the body is not going to reabsorb the bruise and abscess then the softened sole will allow its departure.

Many times, in addition to bruised soles and walls, bruising will become apparent around the white line after a laminitic attack or, even during, an active laminitic situation. This blood is evident in the white line as the bruise will ‘grow down’ with the hoof growth. The horse may never have even exhibited any sort of clinical symptoms, as is the case with the first stage of Laminitis – the Developmental Stage. The old bruise/blood in the white line, coupled with a few rings in the hoof that have ‘grown down’ the wall, tells of a laminitic episode that happened sortly before the observation. In an active phase of laminitis, Stage 2 or Stage 3 (Founder), there will be blood evident in the white line and rings will be still developing at the coronary band. This situation is far more dire than sole bruising or small abscess and MUST be taken care of quickly and correctly.

Bruising and abscessing don’t have to be major events when they are recognized for what they are and are treated appropriately.

If you’re not sure what is causing your horse’s lameness, or you’re not sure if you’re looking at a bruised sole or something else, always consult your veterinarian or hoofcare provider.

ANNOUNCEMENT!  … Join us on our new forum: !!!!  Brand new so let’s JUMP START IT and get it going!  🙂 


Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate is the best-selling author of 10 Secrets to Healthy Hooves as well as a noted author for various international equine publications including The Horses Hoof, Equine Wellness, Natural Horse Planet as well as a contributing author for the 2001 United States Federal Mounted Border Patrol Training Manual. For the last 37+ years, she has maintained healthy hooves with natural trimming on thousands of horses and specialized in pathological rehabilitation hoofcare for the last 20 years. She and her husband John keep a small herd of their own equine in SW Florida and continue to offer consults for horses in need. You can email to Gwen — or telephone in the US (23)-573-9687. For further information please click here:


LIVE, ONLINE COURSE with Gwenyth Santagate begins Sept. 13, 2017. For more information and to register (limited reserved spots) go here:





A couple more spots left … grab yours before they’re all gone!
Penzance’s NATURAL #HOOFCARE is concerned with all aspects of equine hooves, and is developed for horse owners as well as those who wish to pursue HOOFCARE as a career. Anyone who wants to learn extensive information on the topics of healthy, barefooted horses and their hooves are encouraged to explore this course.

MODULE I: The Lifestyle of the Natural Horse
MODULE 2: Functional Anatomy & Physiology
MODULE 3: Equine Natural Nutrition – Feeding the Hooves
MODULE 4: Handling the Equine Utilizing PPT
MODULE 5: Pathologies Part I
MODULE 6: Pathologies Part II
MODULE 7: Alternative & Complementary Hoof Healthcare
MODULE 8: The Business End of Hoofcare
MODULE 9: The Trim – Step-by-Step Review
MODULE 10: Review and Final Exam

For further information or questions please contact me,

Feel free to share.  Thank you.

doTERRA Online Catalog 2107

To view doTERRA’s Online Catalog, simply click below:

Make your list from there then head on over to Http:// to fill out your order!  If you’re wanting to get your wholesale membership then please contact me. You can do so right through the website I just posted:
🙂  (If you talked with me in class)

If you talked with Sharon, then go here:

And if you talked with Andrea then go here:

OR — simply follow the prompts from the link on the page.  “JOIN and SAVE” … my WA# is: 1321014 … Be SURE its in the form towards the bottom when you’re signing up. 🙂  Thank you!

Get Rid of the Muffin Top!

Is your #horse a little pudgy? Well, the same #diet for humans to lose a few pounds works for horses, too! ESPECIALLY horses! (But leave out the meat in the horse’s diet! *grin*)

FEED RAW, FRESH FORAGES and toss out the processed stuff. Grass Hay 24/7, ‘salad’ once a day, raw, naturally chelated minerals, salt, water … and that’s it! KISS! Your horse that needs to gain weight will and the horse that needs to lose weight will.

IF other factors are correctly in place, as well …

Just like with humans — processed foods and supplements cause the “muffin tops” … well, ‘girthy’ horses and ‘cresty’ horses — those extra fat pads are their ‘muffin top’ … think about it. Then holler at me if you’d like to know more.   

Meditating with Your Horse for Healing

Meditating with Your Horse for Healing

Natural Horse Magazine, April, May June 2013
Photo © Lexie Cataldo

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.

This quote by Thich Nhat Hanh is a great reminder of the power of meditation, especially when I am with my horse and he is not feeling well. It sounds so simple, and yet in the midst of a health crisis it’s not always so easy to remember to breathe. Recently my older, retired Quarter horse, Shawnee, had fallen and was standing on three legs when I arrived, groaning with each shift of his weight. As I waited for the vet to arrive, I knew that worrying and fretting would not help either of us. I stood with him, breathed and practiced the earth and sky meditation (see below) for about an hour. By the end of the meditation, he was putting weight on the leg, his eyes looked much brighter, and he began to graze and look for treats in my pockets—he was feeling much better! After an exam, my vet determined we should just wait and see, and so I have been spending time in quiet meditation and stillness with him every day as he recovers. I can feel this time between us helping both of us—he always seems to walk a bit easier afterwards and I am feeling much less worried about him. Isn’t it amazing that just a simple meditation can have such profound healing effects? How can this be?

Sharing a Healing Space

I think the simplest answer is that we are all, in essence, made up of energy. And when we tap into this deeper energetic space there can be a shifting and moving back into balance. Meditation creates a peaceful space that can support a reharmonizing and rebalancing on all levels of being—not only our own, but also any being that chooses to share in this space with us.

John Novak says in his book, Lessons in Meditation, “In meditation, effort must be applied in a direction opposite to what we are used to. Our “effort” must be to relax ever more deeply.  We must ultimately release the tension from both our muscles and our thoughts.  When we relax so deeply that we are able to internalize the energy of the senses, the mind becomes focused and a tremendous flow of energy is awakened.  …  Meditation is a continuous process, and can be said to have three stages: relaxation, interiorization, and expansion.”

When we meditate, first we relax, then we internalize and stabilize this quiet inner space, and then, slowly, this space expands outwards to help those around us. It’s so gentle, but also so powerful. By practicing some simple meditative techniques with your horse, you can begin to see healing results almost immediately!

Exercise to Get Relaxed, Open to the Flow, and Expand:

The Earth and Sky Meditation

Explanation–The Power of Earth and Sky

In Japanese symbolism, earth and sky represent the two opposite aspects of the greater energetic whole that make up the universe, and the more that we can connect to earth and sky within ourselves, the more we can remember our inner nature of energetic connection and oneness with all things. In many spiritual traditions, the heart is considered the seat of the soul, the center of one’s being, where the earth and sky energies come together. It is in our hearts where our deepest healing can occur. The heart is also associated with love, and when we come from a place of love and compassion, we can more easily support our horses to heal.

Tips: Practice this exercise while standing several feet from your horse, arms at your sides, eyes open with a soft gaze downward about 3 feet in front of you. Allow your horse to move freely as he or she wishes. Allow 30-60 minutes of time.


Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let it out slowly. Imagine that all of your stresses from the day can release from you with each exhale. Breathe in. Exhale slowly. Allow yourself to let go of all your concerns and just be aware of your breath.

Imagine there are roots coming down from the base of your spine. These roots stretch far down into the earth, grounding you. Feel yourself stable, grounded, part of the earth, just as if you were a beautiful tree. Imagine that the grounding energy of the earth can flow up these roots into your heart center, giving you stability and peace. For several minutes, breathe deeply as earth energy flows within your being. Feel peace and calm coming upward from the earth and flowing within your whole body, each breath anchoring you more strongly and deeply into earth’s power and stability.

Now imagine that the expansive, creative energy of the sky is flowing down into your crown chakra. It is a beautiful shower of light and healing, which brings with it spiritual and intuitive wisdom, and all things good and positive. It flows from your crown at the top of your head, into your heart. Bringing this bright spiritual energy into your heart allows it to open and expand. Within your heart is all the highest love, compassion and harmony that exists in the universe. Feel earth and sky energy mingling in your heart center, your heart getting brighter and brighter. Imagine earth energy coming up and sky energy coming down, mixing together and flowing out until you feel the beautiful light shining at your heart begin to expand within your whole being.

Feel your heart shining brighter with each inhale, and expanding wider and wider all around you with each exhale. Feel your heart expanding out your skin, into your aura, into the area around you, and infinitely out into the universe. Feel that with each breath you can also expand love compassion and harmony outward, creating a space that your horse can step into if he or she wishes. As you stand in this peaceful beautiful light that you have created with your mind and breath, simply invite your horse into the space. You can do so directly with your voice, silently in your mind, or as subtlely as a quiet intention to share your heart. Simply stand with your horse in this peaceful space and observe the response.

Typical Equine Responses:


When meditating with your horse, one of the first signs of response showing that your horse is connecting to you will be of relaxation. Your horse may lick and chew, sigh, breathe deeply, yawn, or even lower his head and fall asleep. As we go deeper and internalize this quiet stillness in our inner being, our energy becomes more stable and the flow of healing energy within us deepens. The deeper into relaxation we go, the deeper our horse will go.


The quiet space of meditation is also the ideal space to support self-healing, so besides relaxation, our horses can also show signs of healing physically and emotionally. Sore areas can show improvement in mobility and lessening of pain, behaviors such a cribbing can lessen, anxiety can lessen and so on. We aren’t “doing” the healing, but by supporting a relaxing space for our horse, we are helping them to find healing within themselves.

When we ask our horses to share the quiet space of meditation with us, it creates a new space for communication and understanding between us. In turn, we can see a deepening of our bond in every aspect of our interaction with them—on the ground, while riding, just being with them. You will find that you understand your horse better and are more in tune with what he or she needs to be happy.

Horses as Meditation Teachers:
A lot of my students have told me, “I’m not much good at meditating.” Yes, and probably they’ve only tried it while alone, so I tell them, “Well just try it with your horse.” It’s amazing, but they find when they are standing in the field with their horses, it is much easier to quiet their minds and enter the meditative realm. I think this is because horses already are experienced meditators, so when we share their space, they actually help us!


For it is the horse’s gift

To connect us with heaven

And our own footsteps.

-Ronnie Sweet

This quote is a beautiful description of the healing wisdom that horses share with the humans in their lives. Horses embody a yin and yang harmony between earth and sky. They are so perfectly at home and grounded on the earth, in tune with mother nature, and yet they are also so sensitive to deeper forces—those spiritual, intuitive, and subtle energies which we can tune into in order to heal. I believe it is the horse’s ability to be at once perfectly present in their bodies, as well as perfectly attuned to spiritual realms, which causes them to capture our hearts so deeply. When we find a way to meet them in this deep and quiet space of earth and sky, I believe all things are possible.

Natural Horse Magazine, April, May June 2013

Photo © Lexie Cataldo

Note from PENZANCE:  Adding appropriate blends of essential oils to your time of meditation can enhance the effects tremendously! 

Feeding Your Horses Hooves

The natural horse that lives in the wild is a magnificent example of how nature truly takes care of its own. In this post we’re going to examine how the “natural” horse is hard-wired to stay healthy through diet …  Let’s take a close look at what kind of feed and nutrition is exampled by nature for Equus caballus –     Horses are designed to survive on forage.   What is forage? Grasses, seeds, roots, nuts, tree bark, leaves, cacti, flowers, herbs, weeds, and shrubs. Depending on where in t…    READ MORE