Anxiety in Horses

As we have started to become more aware of mental health in humans, it seems like we have also started to start talking more about anxiety in horses. Is it a real thing? Abso-freaking-lutely.

There is no question that anxiety is real. It doesn't matter whether we are talking humans, horses, or dogs- anxiety is REAL and we can do something about it.

There are several options to help your horse through anxiety.

The question I see the most in relation to this is, "What supplement should I give my anxious horse?"

Let me be very clear- there is a time and a place for supplements and medications- one of those times and places is when a horse is dangerous for their caregivers, themselves, or their barn-mates.  

So, what can we do for our anxious horses? The first, simplest answer is to slow down. You maybe thinking- duh! But I know from experience that slowing down isn't always easy since we have plans and goals. Sometimes we slow down a little, but we also need to step back from training- either with way more fun activities for your horse and less work or by backing up a couple steps in the training process to something that your horse is 100% confident.

The other thing that I have found very effective is the use of essential oils. Oils work especially well when anxiety is triggered by them memory of a bad experience because of the way smells affect the brain. The super cool thing about working with essential oils is that they allow you to work on the bond you have with your horse at the same time as the other issue you are trying to address.

This brings me to arguably the most important thing we need to do when working with a horse with anxiety or anxious tendencies: put yourself in their shoes. You need to understand where they have been to know where they are going. If it isn't possible to know their whole past (which is rare) then you just have to do your best to understand what your horse is FEELING- besides anxious... that's a given and its deeper than that.

I hope this helps a little, but I know it can sound ambiguous to some extent. If you can feel the truth in my words, but need more guidance, grab a FREE 15 minute consult with me Here.

RAGE: My Journey to Peace and Control

RAGE: My Journey to Peace and Control
Rage isn't something that is often talked about. The first time that I mentioned Rage on my Facebook, I received quite a few shocked responses. The thing is, I know that rage is more common than anyone is willing to admit. I have seen plenty of people totally lose their sh*t. But no one talks about it outside of the occasional "anger management" comment... and honestly, that doesn't even come up often.

I remember the first time I experienced rage with my horse. it was one of the first times I truly experienced rage- I was about 15. I don't remember what it was that triggered this particular bout of rage, but I can tell you that whatever the trigger was, it wasn't responsible for the entirety of the emotion. Even while in the midst of my rage, I could sense that there were underlying emotions contributing to how I was feeling. That was the first time I had an outburst that scared my horse. That was the first time I had completely and utterly failed him as a leader.

Our horses (and dogs!) look to us for leadership. Being a leader to our animals is not about being in charge and making the decisions because you are the owner. Instinctually, our horses for stability, wisdom, and calm from their leaders- and those qualities are how leaders are chosen! Are there occasionally fights for dominance? Sure, but only if there is more than one potential leader that is stable, calm, and wise.

The minute we lose our cool in front of our animals, that is the moment they know we are not quality leader material. And each time we experience rage, we start to lose that sense of underlying causes. We get so wrapped up and consumed with the rage that we often forget about other things or just translate other emotions into rage.

I have walked this path for over 15 years and now that I have figured out how to truly control my rage, I have seen how dramatically different life can be on the other side.

I know that 1) I am not the only one that has dealt with rage and 2) I am also not the only one that feels the shame around rage. So, since I know I am not alone, we are going to talk through this. Starting on February 1, 2021. I will be starting the Outbursts to Peace Challenge in my group Heart-Centered & Intentional Horsewomen. I really hope to see you there.

What Supplements to Feed

What Supplements to Feed

This is one of the most frequent questions I get asked. 

For years, it was such a tricky answer- I mean, it totally depends on your horse and why you think your horse even needs supplements.

Not every horse needs supplements- that is potentially good news for your wallet, right?!

The best possible situation is that your horse can get everything they need nutritionally from their food… but how do you know if the food you are feeding is the best option for your horse?

It is important to realize that horse supplements (just like human supplements) are often not bioavailable for the horse's body to absorb and use easily like the same nutrients that are absorbed through foods.

Knowing what supplements to feed is still tricky and very individualized. I honestly think that this is one of the most complex topics in the horse world, but it is just a part of the puzzle.

Nutrition affects more than just body weight and coat shine. It affects behavior, pain levels, the horse's ability to heal, and even how horses interact with each other.


First, get as much knowledge as you can whenever you have the opportunity.

Second, Muscle Test.

This is the explanation I received in an email from Discover Healing:

Muscle testing is a noninvasive tool that can help us identify imbalances in the body. The science behind it is similar to a lie detector test or a polygraph. In a polygraph, a person is hooked up to sensitive electrodes and asked specific questions. The person's answers generate a certain electrical response in the body, which is read and graphed by the machine to show whether the answers are true or false. This is done on a very delicate, minute scale. The muscles of the body are also affected by this electrical state. Muscle testing is designed to use those effects to show this same kind of response, just on a larger and more pronounced scale. The principle is that any muscle becomes weakened in a state of incongruence or falsehood (like a lie on a lie detector test) making resistance difficult. Conversely, muscles remain strong and able to resist when in a state of congruence or truth. What's nice is that muscle testing allows us to access important information about health. We just have to know what questions to ask, apply the resistance to a muscle, and then gauge the response to get our answers!"

I use muscle testing constantly in my daily life to determine my needs, my family's needs, and my dog's needs. I also use muscle testing as an emotion code practitioner and an equine massage therapist to determine what may be most helpful to my clients.

If you are ready to learn to use muscle testing to get your horse the supplements they need, I encourage you to join us in the Happy Horse, Happy Life Facebook group where we are doing a mini-course on using muscle testing to assess your horse's feed plan. 

Also, grab my Free Guide to Muscle Testing for Supplementation: 

Essential Oils for Horses: Why and Purity

Essential Oils for Horses:  Why and Purity
We use essential oils in all areas of our life to reduce the number of toxic chemicals we come into contact with and to stay above the wellness line. We use oils to clean, cook, garden, and to keep pests at bay. We also use oils for personal care, and to support the body systems of our family and our pets. Essential oils aid us to prevent many unpleasant health issues. Oils can be used on people and animals with similar results in both, with few exceptions. All oils mentioned here are good for your horse but double-check before using on other animals.  

Essential oils are: 
  • Non-toxic to the horse.
    • Just like the human body, toxicity is a huge problem for our animals. 
  • Easy to use.
    • Essential oils for horses can be used exactly in the same manner as with humans. Horses can inhale the oil directly from the bottle or from your hand. They can be placed directly on the body or placed in their feed. 

  • Extremely beneficial for training and rehabbing horses.

    •  I mostly train young or green horses, or re-train problem horses that have people problems! The emotional component of this training is the most difficult portion and it is what makes me good at my job. The oils  are another tool for the toolbox. I can cut through training issues faster than I ever could before and I can see horses releasing emotional baggage before my eyes. Sometimes it is miraculous! 

  • Good for riders too!

    • Riders are continually dealing with fears, insecurities, and nerves.  These emotions and others affect our horse on a daily basis. The oils can help release many of these emotions, produce a synergistic effect between horse and rider, and ultimately improve our riding! In addition, a healthy rider/ caretaker can take much better care and be more of a participant in the horse/ human relationship.

In the United States, there is no rating system for essential oils. The closest we get is an FDA requirement that states in order to label a bottle of essential oil "pure" or "therapeutic grade," the contents of that bottle must contain at least 5% essential oil! I don't know about you, but I prefer my essential oils to contain 100% essential oil- not some unidentified substance that could be hazardous to myself or my animals.
Before you purchase, check to see if the company grows its own plants, owns its own fields, and controls the  entire process from Seed to Seal- from the farm to the sealed bottle.  Pesticides, pollution, previously farmed land- all of it can affect the quality of an oil. 

How do I use Essential Oils for Horses? 
This is true for both people and horses: there are 3 main ways to get oils into your system:  topically- rub it on the skin;  digest and cook with it; or diffuse and inhale, which can be the most effective method because it doesn’t have to pass through the digestive system.  
How do I know which oils to use for Equine Aromatherapy? 
Using the oils is a bit of a learning curve for sure, but the best thing you can do is research oils for a particular use or choose oils that you would use for yourself.  

Want more information about using more natural methods for you and your horse? I have a great Online Course that covers exactly that! Check it out Here.

Biomechanics: Why every rider should understand the basics

Biomechanics: Why every rider should understand the basics

I remember barely touching on the subject of biomechanics when I was growing up. Luckily, the way I was trained to ride already took biomechanics into consideration. However, there is something to be said about having a personal understanding of biomechanics and the ramifications of not riding/ training in accordance to the natural biomechanics of the horse.

When I really started to explore the topic of biomechanics, I slowly began to realize that there were horses in my past that I did wrong simply by not understanding their biomechanics. I had horses that would consistently knock poles in show jumping or refuse a lead in our dressage tests. I also had horses that would not quit tossing the head! UGH! It was all so frustrating at the time… and each of those horses were rehomed so I could get a horse that wasn’t quite so difficult. 

If only I knew then what I know now... 

Biomechanics is the study of structure, function, and motion of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the horse.

Did you know the following injuries and shortcomings of the horse are directly caused by improper riding/ training techniques?:

Over-reaching, knocking poles, failure to pick up a lead, hunter's bump (aka- rotated sacrum), and head tossing.

In addition to these common issues, improper riding/ training that doesn't consider proper biomechanics causes the horse to tense in certain areas which will lead to 1) pain; 2) overuse of some muscle groups and underuse of others, and 3) higher risk for injury.

There are definitely other contributing factors to consider besides riding and training methods. For example, how your horse’s feet are shod can directly influence the way your horse moves. This also means that changing the way your horse is shod will directly impact your ride. 

By understanding the structure and function of all of your horse's moving pieces, you will be able to get out of their way. Your horse will be able to reach their highest potential and you can worry a little less about a potential injury.

It is important to note that when you find that your horse’s biomechanics have been impeded in some way, they will most likely be sore or even dead lame, depending on how long it took you to discover the problem. In this case, you will need a good CESMT that is familiar with the causes of pain and biomechanics. If you aren’t in my working radius, you will find a highly qualified CESMT here.

I would love to invite you to join me in my Naturally Minded Horse Lovers community on Facebook where we talk more in-depth about biomechanics and other natural ways to support your horse 😀

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