I have always wanted to put up an unfiltered, unedited, spontaneous trim. This is my first video attempt, and it gets the job done. I do not want any focus on ergonomics, safety, or trim details. I want you to watch this horse's experience from beginning to end. Things did not start out this way. In fact, quite the opposite. I believe that I was warned at the first trim the horse reared for the previous farrier, but in all reality, he had more than just that on his plate, he also had the whole kit and kaboodle of short term, low quality handling so many horses experience from birth onward. Partnership has nothing to do with a horse doing what you want. Instead, it is about full permission, cooperation, understanding, choice and the search for the extraordinary in the ordinary.....And for the trimmer to accomplish something, under a time deadline, in close proximity and with a defined end point, body in pain, without access to the horse's mind between trims, well, that's something. I strongly urge you to thank your trimmer today.
Barefoot is a choice, not an endpoint. We either recognize that 12-15 million years of evolutionary intelligence (the time line of existence for the modern hoof) is the basis for hoof health, or we do not.
We are all collaborators in our love, support and research endeavors on behalf of the horse. Let us make our first priority determining what native design itself is capable of producing.
Support Wellness Research - Knowledge of health comes from studies of health. Knowledge of illness comes from studies of illness.
Thinking beautiful thoughts is what allows us to create beauty.
For more beautiful thoughts, visit my facebook page: effortliss equine.
David Schubert is professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN)One would expect that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the best interests of the public in mind, but its recent decisions have cast serious doubt upon this assumption.
One in particular could have a dramatic impact on the safety of the U.S. food supply: It is the mandate of the EPA to regulate the use of agricultural chemicals like insecticides and herbicides, as well as to determine their allowable limits in food and drinking water.
Herbicides (weed killers) are mixtures of chemicals designed to spray on weeds, where they get inside the plants and inhibit enzymes required for the plant to live. The active ingredient in the most widely used herbicide is glyphosate, while some herbicides contain 2,4D. 2,4D is best known as a component of Agent Orange, a defoliant widely employed during the Vietnam War. Until the introduction of GM crops about 20 years ago, herbicides were sprayed on fields before planting, and then only sparingly used around crops. The food that we ate from the plants was free of these chemicals.
In stark contrast, with herbicide resistant GM plants, the herbicides and a mixture of other chemicals (surfactants) required to get the active ingredient into the plant are sprayed directly on the crops and are then taken up into the plant. The surrounding weeds are killed while the GM plant is engineered to resist the herbicide. Therefore, the food crop itself contains the herbicide as well as a mixture of surfactants.
To accommodate the fact that weeds are becoming glyphosate resistant, thereby requiring more herbicide use, the EPA has steadily increased its allowable concentration limit in food, and has essentially ignored our exposure to the other chemicals that are in its commercial formulation.
As a result, the amount of glyphosate-based herbicide introduced into our foods has increased enormously since the introduction of GM crops. Multiple studies have shown that glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and likelypublic health hazards.
Of equal importance in terms of health is the fact that herbicides are now being used to rapidly kill non-GM grain crops at the end of their growing season in order to speed up harvesting. So, a product can be labeled GM-free but still contain high levels of herbicide.
The fact that agricultural chemicals are now inside the food crops that we eat is a fundamental shift in both our food production system and human exposure to toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, it is about to get even worse.
Since 2,4D has been used for over 50 years, its toxicity to farm workers and neighboring populations is well documented. EPA sponsored studies have shown that those repeatedly exposed to 2,4D have an increased risk of Parkinson's disease, cancer and birth defects. Its nonagricultural use is banned in some European countries.
Despite this information, and warnings from many knowledgeable organizations, scientists and doctors, the EPA has recently concluded that the commercialization of corn and soy genetically modified to be resistant to both 2,4D and glyphosate will have no adverse effects on human health and has allowed the introduction of these crops in many states. The summary statements used to justify this decision are on the EPA website, but the scientific data and discussion to support it are not available to the public.
Some predict that because of these GM crops and the inevitable increase in weed herbicide resistance, the amount of 2,4D entering our environment could soon increase up to 30 fold over the 2010 levels.
As a medical research scientist, I consider this EPA allowance a grave error and believe that it will ultimately lead to a public health disaster. This conclusion is based upon the following considerations:
1) 2,4D, glyphosate, and surfactants are inside the plant and cannot be washed off. Recently shipments of soybeans to Asia have contained 50-fold the amount of glyphosate allowed in Europe, and high levels are in U.S. GM soybeans while none is detected in conventional and organic beans.
2) 2,4D is toxic, and safety testing of glyphosate formulations has shown that they are endocrine disrupters and cause liver and kidney damage. Moreover, it appears that the specific formulation of 2,4D and glyphosate that will be applied to the new GM crops has not been tested for health safety. Because soy- and corn-based foods will contain these chemicals, they should be considered food additives and fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA, which would require extensive safety testing. Currently none are required.
3) Glyphosate and 2,4D accumulate in the environment, and the amounts will increase in our food and drinking water as their combined use becomes widespread and weeds become more resistant. Glyphosate is already found in the blood and urine of people, and in a soy rich nutrient mix given to infants.
4) While the producers of the new, doubly herbicide resistant crops and the U.S. regulatory agencies have some control over the production and use of herbicides in this country, they cannot control those made or used abroad. The relatively uncontrolled use of glyphoshate-based herbicides in South and Central America has lead to significant increases in birth defects, kidney toxicity, and cancer. It will be much worse if 2,4D is thrown into the mix.
What does this all mean? Consumers should consider purchasing certified organic soy and corn products until the EPA withdraws its allowance of food crops that contain herbicides, and every effort should be made to prevent the introduction of additional herbicide resistant crops. These food additives are not good for you or your children.
...What will toxin 1 + drug X + heavy metal y + toxin 2 do to us? Combinatorial threat analysis of the hundreds of thousands of chemicals and drugs, with know toxic effects, is virtually never done by our regulatory agencies. We should know the answer to that and it is that answer, and not a short term economic answer, that should guide policy making .......Support unbiased academic science today to help us engage in an understanding of our actions and our responsibility for stewardship, not just for the planet but for ourselves.
Please go to pubmed.org and read as much primary scientific literature as you can. And develop your own opinions.
Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand. Henry David Thoreau
There is nothing less explored, in terms of evaluting your human potential (spiritually, physically, mentally, medically, emotionally) than the mutable biochemical magic of the human body as it responds the possibilities of the universe.
Below, Amy Cuddy, Harvard, speaks of how a change in body posture alters testosterone and cortisol hormone levels, which in turn, changes who you are, which in turn ,can change everything about your human experience while here on the planet. It is a must see if this type of idea is new to you.
Every movement we make, every item we see, every atom we consume contributes to an enormously deep well that is human potential. We literally are what we are, and that affects every thought you will ever have, and in turn your potential for leading your best life.
This vast under explored universe, "systems biology," is a part of the best that science can offer you. Something as simple as yoga class can change everything about your life, and now, with greater tools, in measurable ways that will begin to force us to support this emerging science more fully. Want to reduce chronic stress and demonstrate that with a reduction of cortisol, IL-6, TNF-alpha, levels? How about pain? How about fatigue? Then in turn, improve the quality of your thoughts, and then in turn, the quality of your life, and then in turn, the fate of humanity? Well, try a yoga class. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/02/140207-yoga-cancer-inflammation-stress/
Further, building health is the building of everything of value. Eat some blueberries today and give out a few hugs! Ironically, despite the obvious value of certain drugs and the great efforts that were performed to produce such drugs, you, by your actions, may have just performed more "science" with those simple acts than drug developers ever have or ever will.
Wikipedia : Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about nature and the universe.[nb 1] In an older and closely related meaning, "science" also refers to a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied.
.....to me that means "the pursuit of truth." And for those of you who consider yourself literalists, consider that a body of knowledge is not limited to what you consider to be a book with words. A human body is a type of interactive book with words that is constantly being written.........once we understand that our literal words and visualizations are but some of the vehicular methods of knowledge, communication, knowing and experimentation, we will progress!
Our best current estimates:
There are 7 x 10 to the 27th atoms in the human body (or seven billion billion billion or7 followed by 27 zeros) - imagine splitting one of these atoms....
There are 27 trillion human cells in the human body.
There are 100 trillion microorganisms on and in the human body (cells and viruses that are non-human).
Now with this information, tell me who you are and what you are capable of! Have a brand new thought today, one that you never knew you would think, and change the world for the better.
In summary, for a typical human of 70 kg, there are almost 7*1027 atoms (that's a 7 followed by 27 zeros!) Another way of saying this is "seven billion billion billion." Of this, almost 2/3 is hydrogen, 1/4 is oxygen, and about 1/10 is carbon. education.jlab.org
The adult human body is made up of about 37 trillion cells.
Ann Hum Biol. 2013 Nov-Dec;40(6):463-71. doi: 10.3109/03014460.2013.807878. Epub 2013 Jul 5.
An estimation of the number of cells in the human body.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Graphic depicting the microbiome of human skin, with relative prevalences of various classes of bacteria.
The human microbiome (or human microbiota) is the aggregate of microorganisms, a microbiome that resides on the surface and in deep layers of skin (including in mammary glands), in the saliva and oral mucosa, in the conjunctiva, and in the gastrointestinal tracts. this:http://www.genome.gov/Pages/Newsroom/CurrentNewsReleases/Nature_HMP_061312.pdf
When I was giving horsemanship lessons, and people were stuck, one of my favorite things to do was the "seven day" contract. You can commit to do anything once a day for seven days.
It is so easy to not solve problems, to hover and flirt with them for years, and spend countless hours anguishing. The seven day contract is a really, really effective tool against all that..
My favorite remembrance of using this tool was with one of my wonderful "not quite spring chicken back to horses later in life" clients whom I adore. Older women are often so unaware of how magnificent and capable they are. The secret for them is that they only have to be themselves, but often after a lifetime of adjustments and care for others, both at home and in the workforce, they often have an incredibly hard time doing just that. And what a shame for the entire world. I often chuckle at the multi-millions spent on studying "why aren't there more women getting ahead in the workplace?"
The answer is that we simply do not hire "women" in male-dominated professions. Instead, XX chromosome people are typically hired on how they best approximate XY individuals. Not only does that put XX individuals at an extraordinary disadvantage, it also misses their value altogether. The decision not to hire a woman simply represents an inability of an employer to understand how to hire for true value. Instead we hire for the appearance of success. We hire the box instead of the contents.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard an extraordinarily financially successful individual complain that it is hard to find talent. The concept is so laughable as to be non-addressable. Talent is everywhere. You simply need some eyeballs, and/or ears, and/or fingertips attached to a brain, and the ability to "do something, anything, instead of sit on your booty," (in other words, give an authentic try) to "see" it.
So, if you want women in the workplace, the answer is to actually hire a woman. Perhaps some extra training or peer contact is needed in weeks 1 - 4 if they are highly diversified (which they usually are and that is almost always a positive in "quality of execution" of any job requiring thought, problem solving, innovation and most importantly a non-sociopathic integration, analysis and comprehension of the ramifications of your decision making ) but pretty much by week 5, you have something that exceeded your expectations.
In America, we have become fearful of true ethics. We almost all are shaking under the immense weight of trying to operate in a healthy way in the face of an extraordinary and psychologically debilitating series of "conflicts of interest." Unfortunately, we have no one else to blame but ourselves, since we have often selected for advancement of individuals who border on sociopathic for our collective decision making.
A person with antisocial personality disorder. Probably the most widely recognized personality disorder. A sociopath is often well liked because of their charm and high charisma, but they do not usually care about other people. They think mainly of themselves and often blame others for the things that they do. They have a complete disregard for rules and lie constantly. They seldom feel guilt or learn from punishments. Though some sociopaths have become murders, most reveal their sociopathy through less deadly and sensational means.
"Antisocial," as it is used above, is often the willingness to hurt others (for example, financially, for personal gain or through a series of regulations, for example, that might destroy the health and ability of the average citizen to be a productive society member).......Eerie how well this describes so many people in positions of influence.
Anyways, back to women and horses, if you want to succeed with your horse, and you just happen to be a woman, don't try to be a man or emulate what you consider to be a male's style of inter-species communication or judgement of who people are in relation to horses (alpha, leader, predator etc.). Just be yourself. Learn a few things. Apply, adjust, enjoy and execute.
The magic of many women is their ability to operate on the plane of "different but equal." You don't need to dominate anything to be the most impressive horse person in the entire universe. We do collectively require some rules for the two species to protect one another from harm. And we do require the word "no" (not as in "you are wrong" but as in "we cannot operate with that in our lives") but always the goal is joy, relaxation and healthy communication (which is often best revealed as healthy biomechanics for those with working eyes or touch.)
And now, back to my eternally young-at heart-client. After a riding accident, she hadn't ridden for over 2 years. And of course, that didn't suit. She wanted back on and to get rid of her fear. So how to do it? Yes, you guessed it, in addition to some lessons, the wonderful seven day contract. Or, how to bore yourself into riding your horse, LOL.
In this case, I had an understanding of when her fear stopped her in the process of riding. Her homework was to tack up her horse 7 days in a row and throw one leg over from the mounting block without putting her weight in the saddle and then remove her leg, remove the tack and turn the horse back out. Can you imagine her "boredom" after 7 days? The muttering under her breath..." I will be XX$$%##-danged if I am going to go to all of the dang trouble of catching, brushing, tacking up and throwing one leg over the dang back of this horse without actually getting on!" And so she mounts, by herself,......and then the fear comes back up and she dismounts.
Well, then, you can image the next 7 day contract I suggest. She has to mount, then immediately dismount and clean up. Well, you should have seen her eyebrows with that news....they just about climbed to her hairline in amazement. I could see the wheels turning......"You want me to do all that work (it helps to do this exercise with an absolutely ginormous western saddle) just to get off?"..... Well, by the end of that 7 day period, she was riding a bit "unbeknownst" to me (I thought it might only take her a couple of weeks :))...and of course, things progressed from there without any more "contracts" needed.
Horsemanship is such a complex mixture of common sense, being your true self, learning a bit, observing, and making a few adjustment. I love it when I can bore a client out of their fear. So much of the endpoint in horsemanship is just relaxation in the presence of communication with some absolutely necessary rules that help the two species to be mutually respectful of what the other species needs. How fun.
Enjoy your horse today, but even more importantly for your horse, enjoy yourself today.
I adore this picture. In addition to being just plain beautiful, it is also a gorgeous example of "point of balance," or, global symmetry. A concept that transcends our common-place notions of [forced or specific, line, angle, curve, or ridiculous square=symmetry] biomechanics.
Physical biological systems can be more or less "square" as we observe them. They can be more or less aligned in lines and arcs. But they all have the capacity for brilliant biological and physical balance. They can all be "true," which means that they are at the best, most intelligent, graceful and organized a structure, orchestrated around a global point of balance, as is possible for the moment. They have a living, dynamic, breathing, and healthy balance point, and healthy biomechanics, as a result.
Tinkering with the length of this woman's feet, the height of her heel, the length or height of her toes, or applying a metal rim to the bottom of her feet would not enable her, whether she were born with or without obvious bone deviations from the average human dimensions, to have better physical orchestration. In fact, it would only add to her physical issues and reduce her chances for physical success. We know enough to understand for this woman, and for us all, to improve our biomechanics, we are talking about 4 dimensional physical development. Yoga, stretching, breathing, sport, machine-based exercise, stairs, socializing, loving, body awareness, eating healthy, species-appropriate behaviors and motion, laughter. These are the 4 dimensional, complex, things that will improve her biomechanics. If we can add to that physical therapy, an expert's eye and understanding of soft tissue development, compensatory movement (its usefulness, its limitations and its correction), symmetry building exercise and neuromuscular unilateral and bilateral (and really 4 dimensional) knowledge and expression, this woman will feel and perform her best. Never, ever, will we be so off track with her as to pervert her natural foot structure into something forced or unnatural. Yet, that is precisely what constitutes common care practice for the equine hoof.
We can do better, at least as well as we do for humans, in supporting healthy equine biomechanics. It simply starts with the overriding goal in horse ownership and health care of supporting the best physical development and use of the horse independent of our historical notions of what constitutes "the domestic horse and our experience with him." In other words, it is simply the living expression of a simple idea.
We can communicate and enjoy our lives together, man and horse, with no absence of performance, safety or creativity under the first, orchestrational, goal of healthy biomechanics.
You certainly don't have to be a dressage rider, or even horse owner, to benefit from these. ENJOY.
To sign up for 3 videos from Karen Rohlf, for free, the first of which prepares the human mind for healthy biomechanics (ie releases healthy biomechanics in the rider so that healthy biomechanics are possible for the horse under saddle) and the second of which allows for healthy biomechanics for the horse during riding, please click on the link below.
It is not the rider on the back that is the first step in inverted, and thus prone to lameness, horses. Instead, it is their upbringing, lifestyle and in-hand handling.
Do you see any human olympians raised in closets with metal rims at the end of their limbs?
Why not????? Why don't we see this???? Truly, how to create an athlete, a hero, all it requires is to open your eyes and link that to your mind and heart. If it doesn't work for the body of other species, it does not work for the horse. The laws of physics haven't changed. Working with native design, and not against it, is the base of the pyramid for success for both you and your horse.
Why is this so beautiful?
A unique perspective?
Elegant problem solving - simplicity, ingenuity, love, community and global value across species and biome and planet?
A boy doing what eludes adults with a lifetime of funding and effort?
For me, it is a compelling example of living outside of the box. Sometimes all that is required is to connect your eyes to your mind and heart. Add some ingenuity and you have the miracle of what man is designed to be. Magnificent.
Something to consider. I just spoke to a newly graduated equine vet. She said 75% of the equine material taught to her in veterinary school was related from or to the racing industry.
What on earth does that have to do with 1) healthy horses 2) your interests and 3) lifelong wellness care during homeostasis, acute medical events and in the resolution of, or living with, chronic equine health conditions? Especially as regards the hoof........
And finally, all the debates on bone, joint, tendon, muscles, angles, breeding. While these are all certainly valid, I will tell you two things for sure. We do not raise our human athletes in closets and expect them to physically thrive and we are aware of the detriments of too much sport or performance for humans before physical maturation.
So many things work against the horse athlete that have easy solutions........
I had the privilege of watching Dr. Cesar Parra this past weekend up close. The intangibles which make for brilliance in an individual: clarity, fairness, sheer capability, physical and mental intelligence, which transcend the words and troubles of the time. Great changes were made in a short period of time and yet, how to push through physical mediocrity was the question at hand for me (especially for all of us that might like to be Parra but simply are not). It is not infrequent that I see a "bad" or "tough" guy create, in his hands, a mentally, physically and emotionally superior, well adjusted and happy animal relative to the "softie." And words like "classical" and "modern" and "natural" all come out of people's mouths, but photography of the horses often tells a different tale from the one the individual using the words thinks he is creating. Often (or perhaps always) what we think we are seeing or creating is different from what is actually being seen or created.
For a great discussion on dressage and neck mechanics, and on why being behind the vertical (BTV - an absolute, or like all words, something that comes in shades of gray?) is considered to be so detrimental, see www.sustainabledressage.net.
One thing I would like to clarify. "Spoiled" horses is not a deficiency of the horse, but instead, the human handler or rider. It is the human, and not the horse, that is "spoiled" ie will choose to evade a problem instead of solve it, thus creating or amplifying dangerous behavior in both species. "Softies" (and these can be very troubled individuals indeed although, like all words, it also includes massively wonderful and effective and brilliant individuals) often create "spoiled" horses. Spoiled horses are often both hugely dangerous and physically miserable, fat and inactive.
There is nothing like the pain of inactivity, especially when amplified as a function of time. It is absolutely unnatural and detrimental to all mind and body facets to be inactive, and/or micromanaged in motion, unless you are literally stopped from doing so by injury limitations. We need true fitness.
If we are riders we are talking about fitness from true work, ie the work performed after we have shown one another (horse meet human, human meet horse) that there is nothing we cannot do together in our own way. And from our ability to retain or create natural collection.
If we are talking about owners, we are talking about the fitness that comes for "free" if we access the potential of native design (allowing for species appropriate behaviors as a function of habitat, for example.)
What is the trinity to excellence? Mental IQ, physical IQ, and intellectual IQ. In this country, due to our white collar occupations and virtual worlds, our physical IQ barely registers in the single digits. How do we really produce, and not just flirt with production, because there are expectations and stretch and change involved in actual production, some of which is awkward and painful?
I guess for me, what is easiest perhaps for all of us to gain in natural collection (or excellence in body biomechanics which is another phrase for an excellent ride or a healthy horse), whether at liberty, in hand or under saddle, is knowledge simply about freeing the root of the neck and shoulders. The rest of the body, its gaits and tempos, essentially comes for free from that organizational point. Engaged back belly and hip and freely supple neck/poll are part of that freebie. It is here that most of us have the best chance of releasing and following the horse without being behind or in front of him. With him but maximally influencial and safe.
One of our current (as a society) greatest limitations in freely accessing the root of the neck is our fear of a freely moving forward (although certainly there are plenty of horses with the opposite "problem'). You cannot have one without the other.
And one thing is beyond certain. Many dressage riders, and riders of all stripes, at all levels, would benefit from taking a picture of their horse before the ride. So much of the horse keeping and hoof work currently popular makes athleticism harder for these animals. And it shows. Why are you working so hard against yourself?
How do you create excellence in yours?
Hey, and real quick. Karen Rohlf is releasing 3 free videos, the first of which is why, and why not, students get stuck and how we might communicate effectively with the horse. It is absolutely worth viewing regardless of whether or not you even have a horse, let alone practice any one particular discipline. Check out her Sept 13th Facebook post on Dressage Naturally to sign up!
I wish this were the debate we were having for the horse, and horse athlete,...deformable unfixed orthotics versus barefoot instead of fixed metal at the end of the limb versus barefoot/hoofboot.
Why are we so far behind with this animal relative to every other animal on the planet?
I am not interesting in changing what people do now, there are lots of good reasons why people do the things they do ... I am interested, however, in building the best possible bridge to the future for the horse as well as the human.
Reach out and let's talk Wellness Research and Development.
What does it look like when 2 beings occupy time and space in a meaningful way?
This is me and a client. I trim many of my horses loose. How do I accomplish that? What does this horse's expression and body tell you? Do you think I control this horse or do you think I control myself and inspire this horse to understand what I need to get my job done?
Check out the two different organism's research experience......
For the human video I am really interested in you comparing minutes 1:54 through 2:20 versus the totality of the horse video......tell me what you see......hint: objectification/control/tension of an organism versus autonomy/respect/relaxation...
How does how we treat or perceive an organism affect the idea of medicine or appropriate biomechanics for it?
One of our major sources of lameness is the whole body physical consequences of pulling/affecting/controlling the head (human handling) in conflict with native design and autonomous use while the horse is in motion.......Can we do better? The answer is yes....not necessarily for a specific medical event or task, but overall, absolutely yes...ask me how!
A yoga pose is just a pose, or framework, for an entire universe of potentiality. Some people find yoga poses dreadfully boring, some people think accomplishing the details of the pose are important, some people actually get hurt doing yoga poses while others create living art and beauty and breath and magnificence and health within that framework of a pose.
So too with dressage, so too with natural horsemanship, so too with all horsemanship, so too with hoof care, so too with life.
Since we have this current excellent photography of the wild horse in optimal habitat and what some people call "classical" dressage (versus "detail-oriented," or "modern," or "hollow," dressage), we can help our eye to see the physical intelligence and beauty of an integrated horse.
With that "eye" education, can you see what Karen Musson is attempting to build with Ari on the ground (grey horse, video inset on home page)?www.theartofriding.com. This inset video is a visual aid for those people who think that "on the ground" handling is about the details of what the horse is doing and not the details of what the human is doing that might allow another organism to respond with desire, choice, excellence and inspiration, in time and space, to the presence of you.
Is the study of biomechanics the details? Or is it supposed to be a study of physical knowledge integrated with the magnificence of all of our evolutionary and spiritual potential?
How about medicine? What should medicine be?
I had a wonderful client for years, who has a wonderful vet and they are both, you guessed it, wonderful people!
Her horse has a chronic tendon inflammation issue in his left hind leg that comes and goes (like many of us older human athletes). After many years of great effort tying to keep him comfortable, she is currently engaged in a "last ditch effort" with him following her vet's long standing advice to put metal rims at the end of her horse's hind limbs (because, hey, that makes sense right? Have you ever heard of a metal rim being applied to the end of the human limb, or any other animal's limb, in response to soft tissue inflammation? When you get tendonitis or any other itis, surely landing on the planet via a metal rim would help, right? How on earth, by what possible physical means, is the process shown on the lower right, going to help with soft tissue inflammation in the leg? Common sense, and all medical approaches with all other animals, would suggest it would hurt. Where is the evidence comparing different approaches? Why does it not exist? Can we fix this?)
Anyways, the other thought is to jack the heel to relieve tension in the afflicted tendon. So 2 dysmorphic steps are being performed: 1) metal rims at the end of the limbs and 2) the short sighted idea that all you are doing to the horse with your trimming approach is to "relieve" some tension in the afflicted tendon. So while the vet has just started this approach, guess what is happening to the horse's body?
Unfortunatley, I have very few older pictures of this horse while under my care (since my client relationship with this horse is "old as the hills," and pre-dates most of my photography) but by now (based on your exposure to my presentations and blogs) your eye should immediately recognize what is happening.
Now, as I mentioned, I like this vet. I think he is great. He is smart and caring. This is not about the vet. This is about how we go about evaluating and developing the field of equine medicine. We are so far off base with this animal, that care is anti-care.
Consider how we do things for humans. Let's bring some of that excellence to the horse. Not by random, flavor of the month, ideological approach, but by performing long term studies and analyses of merit.
Let's talk about how we would like to shape and execute the future of equine research!
If you can see the differences in the photography between "classical and modern" dressage, you can see the differences between what I am working towards and what many other hoof care providers produce.
Do you cause or allow? Each process takes an equal amount of thought and work, but the end results are extremely different.
This individual uses his body assymetrically. He is not lame or compromised. He has earned his assymetry. To be healthy, you must earn your body: symmetrical or assymetrical by line and curve analysis. Holistically, of course, an earned body is globally symmetric despite any localized assymetry (the opposite concept of "line and curve" analysis.)
Do pitchers have their muscles cut to produce form? No. Do they have their muscle cut to create "line and curve" symmetry? No.
Why not? Because the only truly healthy body, the only body that has a chance of achieving its maximum potential, is allowed (based on quality principals) and not caused (cut to man's notions).
Yet, that is exactly what most hoof care providers do to the hoof capsule, they cause (or cut) it instead of allow it, which is precisely why we see such suboptimal body ergonomics. All I do is grow hooves. The horse himself has the massive physical intellegence to place and use that hoof as is best if I simply allow him to do so. If you attempt to cause or cut the properties I display in my hooves, we will have a suboptimal result, just as we would if we tried to cause or cut muscle in our pitcher, and just as we would if we try to cause, instead of allow, dressage, or really any horse, movements.
I will pull this navicular case study again (also used a couple of posts ago). I will also put in a picture or 2 from Centaur Biomechanics. We have these wonderful diagnostics at our disposal. Let's use them to observe the results of different hoof/horse care practices so that we can create a better physical creature. Not just for sport, but because we can as loving humans.
Until we are producing the types of body changes I can produce, much of what the hoof care culture is doing with the hoof is simply producing suboptimal biomechanics.
Below is an image from Centaur Biomechanics....what I wouldn't give to TEAMUP and produce some really great data on the creation of magnificence in our domesticated equine populations. I think I can make this horse better at his physical endeavors. The only catch is that, like classical dressage, hoof care is a process, not an endpoint.
Have you ever seen a tv show on the potential medical miracles that might be found in the Amazon Rain Forest? How knowledge of the compounds found there might lead to untold medical and drug advances?
I have to chuckle a little, because, why do we not see the "Amazon Rain Forest" we each have! that is as close as what we see in the mirror or when we look at our horses?
Yes, we are talking about the potential of the universe of the native body.
Let me give you a recent example of some just plain gorgeous research that mentally connects a bunch of concepts together, horse, human, commensensical medicine and modern medicine and what might be a great research fututre.
Please find a summary at the NIH (National Institutes of Health).
Sepsis is an extrodinary inflammation response that is highly lethal, if not during the actual septic episode, then secondarily via the results of immunosuppression.
Luis Ulloa at Rutgers, here in the US, used electric stimulation of acupuncture in a mice sepsis model and DRAMATICALLY reduced the mortality rate in response to a septic episode. The idea behind the biology is this : acupuncture was used to stimulate the sciatic nerve which stimulated a complex nervous response (through the adrenal gland) causing dompamine release leading to decreases in inflammation and increased survival. These results are very exciting not just potentially for humans, but let's think horses too! Interestingly, the adrenal gland often shuts down during sepsis, so the researchers also tried dompamine-mimic drugs and found one, Fenoldopam, that performed as well as the acupuncture itself.
Did you catch that?? Acupuncture, or the knowledge we have gained through its study, as a treatment for sepsis via the wonder of the native body? A treatment for early-stage inflammation in general in hospitals?
Acupuncture has been used for centuries of course, and it has certainly been best associated with "lack of reliability in scientific outcome" both in the field and in research. But thank goodness our preliminary understandings and applications have not stopped us from consciously exploring its targeted and deeper potential further use.
Of course, one immediately thinks of potentially attenuating laministis (acupuncture to "treat" laminitis is not a new idea) if their mind is bent in the hoof direction, by very early stage treatment with a similar acupuncture approach or dopamine mimics, especially in the case of more septic-esque inductions of laminitis. Or perhaps other forms of inflammation as well.
Much of the equine research that might be initiated as a result of this preliminary finding is relatively inexpensive research, as are many commonsensical medical approaches, and does not require the incredibly laborious and expensive work we typically undertake with identifying potential molecular markers and attempting drug discovery from that point.
This would be a GREAT TEAMUP opportunity both for modern research vets, like Belknap here at The Ohio State University (hello! hello! Busy OSU vets ... ), the field vet who practices acupuncture, and someone like me!
I have included, to date, virtually no "hoof centric" analyses in my site because the hoof actually needs quite a bit less of our direct line thinking and quite a bit more of our ability to understand how to produce holistic excellence.
I often tell my clients, if the idea does not make sense in relation to your own body, it most likely does not make sense in relation to the horse's body. We are all made of the same stuff, ligament, tendon, bone, muscle, epidermis, dermis etc. It's just that our horses are so much cuter than us that we often get side tracked, LOL!
commensensical versus modern medicine : How important are lifestyle approaches to vitality and wellness? And how important are lifestyle approaches to treatment of disease and physical injury and our mysterious chronic equine conditions: joint inflammation, equine metabolic syndrome/laminitis, caudal heel pain/navicular? Only more studies will tell us. However, we know from human studies that joint inflammation, endocrine system disfunction, heart disease, diabetes, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, all of the same type of stuff that affects both us and our equine buddies, is radically affected by changes made in lifestyle. So much so, that we appreciate in human medicine that changing lifestyle (appropriate movement/body use/stretching/cross-training/strength training/yoga/excercise, healthy diet, healthy social connections, sleep, etc.) are often, especially when used in combination, sufficient to reverse these diagnoses. Commonsensical medicine is often much more powerful that modern drug-centric, symptom-based medicine, although both appraoches have merit.
Perhaps the following will encourage you, and your horse professionals, to realize that you have CHOiCES in how you approach medical issues with your horse. And they are good ones!
As we approach this next section, the idea is this: if you work WITH native design potential, you build health that is powerful enough to affect the physical state of the body and its biochemistry. Often, this idea has its genesis in understanding what is SPECIES-OPTIMAL LIFESTYLE and how we can create some of this magical stuff in our artificial (but changable) domesticated environments (both for humans and horses). This is something zoos do really well for many species. Surely we can do better than the 10 x 10 box concept for our beloved species, the horse.
A Navicular Case Study:
Ugh. I never want to enter into any type of "old" argument wherein one group predictably says one thing and another group predictably says another thing and nothing really changes. Instead, please use this case study as an example of information that might compel us to ask questions for the future that will benefit us all, horses and all stripes of human horse professionals.
This is your classic, romantic tale of how "Natural Lifestyle Choices Saved My Horse" that most natural trimmers, if they are any good at all, will profile on their site mutliple times and in many ways. BUT it has me at the helm to try to bring this concept out the current divisive hoof care culture and into mainstream data production. Wish me luck!
So, changing whole hoof and body dynamics is one thing. But what we also find in science and medicine is synergy. The owner also devoted herself to improving his lifestyle. Often, in biology 1 + 1 does not equal 2. Instead it equals 10. This is the power of synergy, or non-additive potential affects, by having in place more than one biological input designed to head the body in a particular direction (in this case health).
She gave him 24/7 turn out in a social group. She moved his diet from a grain-base to a low NSC (non structural carb) fiber-base (as best as she could here in Ohio pasture). And, very importantly, she changed her riding habits. Instead of 90% "micromanagment" in riding, she shifted to 10% "micromangement" in riding. She took long trail rides on a loose rein and "worked" on all her ideas of riding/movement only 10% of the time.
Sometimes, just teaching the horse that he can move forward freely in choice under saddle is enough to allow him a better physical basis in riding from which to perform maneuvers and hence produce better hoof/health-building during riding. Certainly, if you give 8 people the same lead rope attached to the same horse you yield 8 different horses. So to with riding. And I have seen examples of people more inclined in both classical dressage and the opposite of training (= simply less human interference) produce a physically healthier horse, in terms of "navicular" and other parameters, than the horse the owner/trainer started with.
Now, was he perfect? No. She certainly couldn't gallop him comfortably on gravel barefoot, but so what? If you are not creative enough to fully enjoy your barefoot horse, than there is definately something lacking in your approach to horsemanship in general, from my perspective. But, in all, she had one damn comfortable and dare I say it, sound, horse to enjoy. And, she was able to develop her discipline of choice with him.
This is not to belittle the depth, length and complexity of caudal hoof pain. I have had three horses in my practice, 2 quarter horses and 1 appoloosa, all with strong contributions from the quarter horse pleasure blood line(s), that I would truly call uncomfortable, ie "navicular" in their hoof aspect, that appeared to be truly beyond both our current concepts of modern and commensensical medicine. In this case I would propose the obvious hypothesis. If you breed for unnatural, unfunctional motion (a crab-like canter for example) you are changing ligament/tendon/bone/muscle associations. This is a likely cause of a true navicular diagnosis that is beyond the help of what we currently know. This "pathology" so to speak is going to be excacerbated by micromanagement in movement and horse keeping that destroys natural collection, but unfortunately, may not be able to be fully corrected for by commensensical and/or modern medicine. My advice? Do the best you can to live comfortably with any chronic condition, such as some navicular diagnoses. Think of how you would like your body handled and allow for that for your horse. And do not give up hope, the fields of unfixed orthotics and true sports medicine have a lot of potential.
AND PLEASE breed for function, not man's notions of appearance.
Wonderful things you have CHOiCES about:
1) Rehabilitation/Life-Giving Environments!
2) Rehabilitation/Life-Giving Riding and Handling!
3) Really Great Natural Hoof Care (me and the LINT - OFM and others!) for Navicular and other Medical Conditions! and the development, exploration, of unfixed orthotics!
4) AND INCLUDING modern, holistic, alternative and ancillary medicine outside the scope of 1-3!
more to come on these in a bit......
LOL if I am not instead going to squeeze in a navicular update for one of my current clients here.....isn't Rosie a wonderful name for this horse?
This horse has the type of "navicular diagnosis" that probably has as its primary basis how this particular horse and its hooves were developed when a younger Thoroughbred. And then, of course, she was subject to all and sundry hoof treatments, shoes and whatnot-ery, until here she is with me to do her hooves as a well-loved older gal in an excellent home who will never be fully "sound."......In terms of my interests, I really don't care how "messed up" the internal structures of any particular hoof are. I simply want to know if I can improve the overall well being of an animal and hopefully help give it a reasonable "best life."
In addition to all the shoeing variations, she was subjected to "chasing toe cracks" trimming, which is basically, again, this repetitive notion all over the equine industry that if we constantly shorten the toe, we will do some good. So while I am loathe to make the site hoof picture centric, since that just encourages "bringing out the microscope," the calipers and the metal shoes, I will toss in a couple here.
Hey, BTW, I really like the way the Horse's Hoof chats heels.....https://www.thehorseshoof.com/HC_Heels.html. Go Horse's Hoof!
Are we in an era of IQ without purpose? Science used to be hypothesis driven, now it is often driven by the bizarrely mindless juxtaposition of technology and finance.......
How well do we predict the weather? We dump tons of money into modeling complex systems, and we are mightily impressed with all the math floating around, but we still don't predict weather well.
So to does it appear to be for the field of biomechanics. We are constantly in pursuit of more modeling, (more diagnostics, more drugs, more stalling, more metal shoes, more of the same).
Yet, we don't seem to be able to question the input premises, or ethical scientific intent, behind our questions and actions. What is it that we are actually studying or creating versus what we think we are studying versus creating?
(That brings to mind two other fun quotes from Mr. Einstein: " Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." ...and ... "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.")
As an example, are we studying the biomechanics of "lab," "handling," suboptimal lifestyle, unnatural hoof form, burst activity from underdeveloped physical systems or are we studying the biomechanics of animals in real time, over time and space, for the betterment of all species?
The weather tells us whether the modeling was accurate, or had value. Intensive imaging of the body, and correlation with wellness, would tell us what value our lab notions of biomechanics have.
We must create the over-reaching goal of wellness in real life, and the funding of long term analyses in relation to our short term decision making, to add value or meaning to our higher scholastic pursuits.
That is what distinguishes technology and finance from the art of science. So yes! let's do that modeling but let's also make it count!
... More data! Reach out and let's build a better world.
We are experiencing some beautiful advances in human wellness. In terms of body and foot function, we are humming along the spectrum between unfixed deformable orthotics (deformable shoes (no metal please!) and inserts) - near barefoot - and barefoot! now.
An absolutely delicious place to be: one that takes advantage of natural design as well as the wonders of modern civilization to both "have our cake and eat it too."
I had my first barefoot run on pavement the other day. I have always been a jogger, but Nike (similar to hoof boots) has always been my go to choice, unless I was goofing around playing soccer on grass (I do love barefoot! soccer).
What an interesting experience! Sensations causing depth in motion! By the end of the run, I had achieved some kind of bounce that was literally refreshing (not my usual, pant! pant! experience). It probably related to my ability to access elastic potential energy and depth in movement. Using the body over and over again in exactly the same way breaks it down. Diversity builds it up. See my previous posts to access some awesome research on the topic.
How deep and rich is your horses' physical experience? If we imagine our life as a stretchable canvas, how much depth, how much symphony, how much value can we create? Here are just a few thoughts:
"I see these barefoot horses on gravel and they "stumble" if they hit a high rock! Thus, they need a metal rim on the bottom of their limb because they are lame without it." ...
Our feet, like the horses hoof, (in fact our, the horse's and all animal's whole elastic body design), is engineered to attenuate physical impact. When the human (who has been running barefoot for approximately 2 million years) hits in a running shoe (our equivalent of a hoof boot), we strike heel first and have an abrupt impact as a result.
Our nervous system is "protected" from sensation when we wear shoes, and we erroneously think this is the absence of lameness.
But actually, the whole barefoot! running movement we are seeing is arising from the fact that this type of runing shoe impact takes a toll on the body and induces injury.
We land, when barefooted! generally completely differently (more on the balls of our feet). We, and the horse, use our whole body differently when barefooted! in ways that promote energy absorption that absolutely requires the neural feedback that barefooted! produces.
And yes, you humans can also become hurt from barefoot! running ... a mix of the 2 is probably best unless you are dealing with a specific physical limitation that would suggest using one or the other exclusively. Better yet, combine the two with the pursuit of all variations in movement ..( try some trail running! yoga! weight lifting!) if you really want to invoke common sense and maximize the wellness that relates to depth of physical richness in our lives.
The sense that "comfort" and lack of lameness is one and the same thing is erroneous. If our goal is comfort, we are seeking an absence of neural input, which is the absence of life. (Life on a couch eating Cheetos is comfortable .. exercise invokes nervous system function so that you can engage in the physical symphony of life which is not "comfortable" but instead has a whole suite of sensations associated with it.)
So, if you were to take off your soft shoes and walk on gravel, you would look pretty funny, and might even appear to stumble. Are you lame? LOL of course not! You are using your nervous system's inherent design to protect you from BECOMING lame. If you were forced across this surface, or spent too much time here all-at-once- then yes, you would become lame. Never, however, would human medicine suggest a fixed unnatural orthotic to protect you from gravel. Instead, currently, we might recommend 1) barefoot conditioning and 2) the use of unfixed orthotics, if we have no interest or time for conditioning, to protect against lameness. Let's start giving the horse the same medical benefits we give ourselves!
It is fascinating to me that so many riders seek physical depth in their life to achieve superior fitness, vitality, and living! and yet they take the opposite approach with their horse: excessively unnatural, calorie-rich, and sedentary lives with no color or experience. Sometimes proprioception in domestication might be the only interesting feature of a domesticated equine's day, and yet we fear anything but the most bland for our horsey friends. How do we feel about ourselves when we get hurt? Compare that with our emotional response to the horse if he gets hurt ... We all have a right to a rich life. So let's go about identifying intelligent and thoughtful ways of achieving that.
Horses will always get hurt, just like people, if they are alive. But are our current care practices just one big fat way (no pun intended) of lowering the bar for when horses will get hurt?
Proprioception, the functioning of the nervous system, is not lameness. It's absence, however, is guaranteed to promote lameness.