Saturday, February 28, 2009

Congratulations, Meredith!

Congratulations to Meredith Barlow of Equidentistry on her recent certification with the International Association of Equine Dentistry !

For more information on what certification means to the horse owner:
IAED Standards of Practice
IAED Code of Conduct

TREES joins Shelter Animal Reiki Association

Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary is proud to announce that the sanctuary has been welcomed into the Shelter Animal Reiki Association as a founding shelter member. We are very much looking forward to working with SARA to promote the use of Reiki in animal shelters and sanctuaries.

What is Reiki?
In Japanese, the word "Reiki" means "spritual energy." It is not a religion, but a practice involving meditation, focus, and exercises intended to balance energy needed to maintain good physical and mental health. Reiki is used in numerous hospitals to support human patients. The benefits observed can also apply to animals:
1) Stress-relief and relaxation;
2) Physical healing;
3) Mental/emotional
healing; and
4) Spiritual healing (Reiki also supports the dying

Reiki is not offered as a replacement for veterinary or other forms of animal care, but as a compliment to that care, to help prepare shelter animals for adoption into new homes.

What is the Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA)?
SARA's goals are to:
1) teach and foster an understanding of energy healing;
2) teach the ethical approach to use when working with Reiki and animals;
3) provide a standardized approach to implementing professional Animal Reiki programs for shelters, sanctuaries and other facilities that assist animals in need;
4) document the effects of Animal Reiki on individual animals and the possible effects on shelter and rescue statistics as a whole;
5) serve as a world-wide information and referral resource for Reiki practitioners, shelters, sanctuaries and other facilities that assist animals in need that wish to incorporate an Animal Reiki program;
6) educate the public, shelters, sanctuaries,and other facilities that assist animals in need on the benefits Animal Reiki can provide to animals in need and their human
SARA hopes to build a database documenting Reiki's benefits in shelter animals, encouraging further use of animal Reiki worldwide. Reiki practitioners, working as SARA volunteers, will closely follow an Animal Reiki Practitioner Code of Ethics.

Code of Ethics
SARA members follow the Animal Reiki Practitioner Code of Ethics as developed by Kathleen Prasad, Founder of SARA and Animal Reiki Source :

Guiding Principles:
I believe the animals are equal partners in the healing process.
I honor the animals as being not only my clients, but also my teachers in the journey of healing.
I understand that all animals have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects, to which Reiki can bring profound healing responses.
I believe that bringing Reiki to the human/animal relationship is transformational to the human view of the animal kingdom.
I dedicate myself to the virtues of humility, integrity, compassion and gratitude in my Reiki practice.

In working on myself, I follow these practices:
I incorporate the Five Reiki Precepts into my daily life and Reiki practice.
I commit myself to a daily practice of self-healing and spiritual development so that I can be a clear and strong channel for healing energy.
I nurture a belief in the sacred nature of all beings, and in the value and depth of animalkind as our partners on this planet.
I listen to the wisdom of my heart, remembering that we are all One.

In working in the community, I hold the following goals:
I model the values of partnership, compassion, humility, gentleness and gratitude in my life and with the animals, teaching by example.
I work to create professional alliances and cooperative relationships with other Reiki practitioners/teachers, animal health-care providers and animal welfare organizations in my community.
I strive to educate my community in its understanding of the benefits of Reiki for animals.
I continually educate myself to maintain and enhance my professional competence so that I uphold the integrity of the profession.
I consider myself an ally to the veterinary and animal health community. I work to support their efforts in achieving animal wellness and balance. I honor other disciplines and their practitioners.

In working with the human companions of the animals, I will
Share information before the treatment about my healing philosophy, the Reiki healing system and what to expect in a typical treatment, as well as possible outcomes, including the possibility of healing reactions.
Provide a clear policy ahead of time regarding fees, length of treatment and cancellation policy, as well as "postponement" policy, should the animal not want the treatment that day.
Never diagnose. I will always refer clients to a licensed veterinarian when appropriate.
Honor the privacy of the animals and their human companions.
Share intuition received during Reiki treatments, with compassion and humility, for the purpose of supporting their understanding of the healing process.
Respect the human companion's right to choose the animal's healing journey, selecting the methods, both holistic and/or conventional that he or she deems most appropriate, with the support and advice of a trusted veterinarian.

In working with the animals, I follow these guidelines:
I work in partnership with the animal.
I always ask permission of the animal before beginning, and respect his or her decision to accept or refuse any treatment. I listen intuitively and observe the animal's body language in determining the response.
I allow each animal to choose how to receive his or her treatment; thus each treatment could be a combination of hands-on, short distance and/or distant healing, depending on the animal's preference.
I let go of my expectations about how the treatment should progress and/or how the animal should behave during the treatment, and simply trust Reiki.
I accept the results of the treatment without judgment and with gratitude toward Reiki and the animal's openness and participation in the process
Traveller's Rest welcomes Janet Dobbs, a founding member of SARA, as our first SARA volunteer practitioner. We hope other Reiki pracitioners will join us as SARA and its programs grow. Please contact Janet if you are in our area and would like to learn more about participating in this new venture.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Purina Senior Horse Tales Contest

Brag about your elders! Promote your patriarch! Show off your seniors!

"Horse enthusiasts can enter their one-of-a-kind senior horse tale in a number of categories. Winners will be chosen for the best senior horse or pony essay written in 300 words or less, the best senior horse or pony photo, the oldest horse in age and the oldest pony in age. Entrants are encouraged to include how Purina Equine Senior® horse feed has played a role in each story or photo."

"Equine lovers will have until Oct. 1, 2009 to enter their essay, photo or age of their senior horse. Grand prize winners of each category will receive one ton of Purina Equine Senior® horse feed."

"For more information on the Purina Senior Horse Tales Contest and Equine Senior® horse feed, or Purina Senior Horse Tales Contest official Rules, log on to A complete list of prize winners will be available on the site by Nov. 19, 2009. "

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is Your Horse's Pergolide Stable?

Long before it became a preferred treatment for equine Cushings, pergolide was used to treat Parkinson's Disease in humans. Serious side effects, however, led the FDA to remove pergolide from the market for human use in 2007. Since then, only certain forms of pergolide have been available for use in horses, but they had not been evaluated for stability, among other things.

Stability and Efficacy of Compounded Pergolide Examined outlines a few recommendations, based on findings of a study conducted at the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University:
>Store compounded pergolide mesylate products in a dark container, protected from
>Refrigerate products to help minimize excessive degeneration;
>Dispose of products within 30 days from date of compounding;
>Evaluate the color of the product prior to each use and discard any pergolide product that has undergone any change in color, and;
>Request that your pergolide is compounded by pharmacists that use only the officially recognized formula (by the United States Pharmacopeial Convention).

Based on comments by a regular TREES visitor, these suggestions do seem to have a big impact on how well pergolide works. Here, we only purchase two weeks worth of pergolide at a time from a pharmacy that does not compound the drug until it is ordered and it is always kept refrigerated. Our visitor has mentioned that other farms using different forms of pergolide or different storage techniques seem to see more obvious symptoms than we see here. That is far from scientific proof, of course, particularly since each Cushings patient may exhibit different symptoms to varying degrees and may respond to treatment differently than other horses. We know we are paying more for our pergolide than some other people, but it may be worth the extra expense if quality treatment helps to prevent serious complications such as laminitis.

When visiting the link to the article, please also pay attention to the sidebar concerning "Human Health," particulary if you are using pergolide powder:
In response to the demonstrated stability concerns of liquid pergolide products, there has been some discussion regarding the use of bulk pergolide powder in equine practice. According to pharmacists, this is not a realistic alternative to the, "pergolide problem" as inhalation or ingestion of pergolide mesylate by humans is unsafe. In particular, inhaled or ingested pergolide can cause damage to the central nervous system and cardiovascular system (heart and lungs).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Valentine's Day gifts

We wanted to share a few more pictures taken yesterday. We're not sure what prompted all the celebration, but does it really matter?

Sonny (38 years old,) Val (20,) and Wade (yes, Wade, who is 26) getting a little exercise to loosen up those joints. Note Freddie, the gray, watching at the fence.

Minutes later (obviously Britches wasn't moving fast enough):
Freddie's play was wonderful to watch after the scare he gave us last week.

And finally, our man Fitzhugh Lee. What a pleasure to watch. Before being treated for a heart infection, Fitz could not trot 20 yards. Look at 'im now!

(Please remember these photos when you hear the word "bombproof" in association with elder horses.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine for Wade

These are more than "sweet" pictures for Valentine's Day.

When Wade (chestnut with white blaze) first arrived at Traveller's Rest, he was very much a loner. He tolerated people, but did not seek attention, and he kept significant distance between himself and the other horses.

Today, though:

Marye was the one who invited herself into Wade's "space," but he seems to like the idea!

TREES believes that emotional well-being is as important as physical well-being. Seeing Wade so comfortable with another horse this close is cause for celebration.

Happy Valentine's Day, Wade!

Friday, February 13, 2009

What IS an “Equine Elder?”

After working past the annoyance of removing a number of overnight “spam” comments, it became obvious that many people have no idea what this blog is about. Or maybe they don’t care and are posting on any and every site that receives hits in searches for “elder,””senior,” or geriatric.”

So, to begin, what is “equine?”
equine e·quine (ē'kwīn', ěk'wīn') adj.
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a horse.
2. Of or belonging to
the family Equidae, which includes the horses, asses, and

While Traveller’s Rest is not equipped to handle zebra or a few other species, we welcome horses, ponies, donkeys and all hybrids thereof.

Next, what does “Elder” mean?

That’s a more subjective definition. Some people consider a horse to be “aged” when it passes the ten year mark. In TREES terms, ten year old horses are still babies. As a matter of fact, in the TREES herd, twenty year olds are thought of as “whippersnappers.” Mid to late twenties and early thirties = Middle Age. The true elders are those approaching their mid-thirties and beyond.

Now back to the spam often posted in the blog comments:

Most recently we received several ads for handbags. Gucci handbags. Dior handbags. Miu handbags. Calvin Klein handbags. You name it. We’re picturing Emma and Betty sashaying around the field with designer bags hanging from their shoulders.

We also get advertisements for vacation cruises. The visuals here are more than a little funny. Wade, with his Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian shirt, white socks and sandals, accompanied by Marye in an enormous flowered hat and one-piece skirted bathing suit.

Then there is the costume jewelry. Delphi, sporting strands and strand of giant pearls as she naps in the sun on the poop deck.

Of course, there are ads for Viagra. We don’t even want to go there.

And so, while we welcome comments related to elder horses, Traveller’s Rest, or horse care in general, don’t be alarmed to see a number of “post deleted” notes. There are merely remnants of an entrepreneurial faux pas, entered by an enthusiastic business owner who didn’t know he was directing his advertising to Equine Elders.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

MJM Photography Gives Back

This weekend, TREES welcomed Molly Peterson, a Culpeper photographer recently arrived from Colorado. Welcome to Virginia, Molly!

Molly and MJM Photography have committed to donate a portion of each sitting fee to a charity of her clients' choosing. If you don't have a favorite cause, Molly lists a few of her favorites from which to choose. Traveller's Rest is honored to be among those causes.

Please visit MJM Photography and the Giving Back page (in the This 'n That section) for more information on The Beauty of Giving.

See some of the photos Molly took at TREES here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Heart Infections

We wanted to share this article from since one of our residents was very recently treated for endocarditis. Fitz' heart infection is believed to be a complication of badly infected teeth and long-standing periodontal disease.

Important points to note:

"Relatively rare in horses, endocarditis develops from bacteria circulating in the blood secondary to a primary infection elsewhere in the body."

"Early detection is key in treating endocarditis, which requires high doses of antibiotics for four to six weeks. However, prevention is the best plan, according to Porter. "The only way to protect your horse from endocarditis is to treat primary infections quickly and with the appropriate treatment," she said."

The Horse: Heart Infections More Common Among Young Horses

Posted using ShareThis

Friday, February 6, 2009

Emma's Feeling Neglected

Its come to our attention that Emma has not appeared in this blog much unless she happened to be in the background of another picture.

So here she is!
Emma, to the best of our knowledge, is approximately 30 years old. Pretty good for an ol' Thoroughbred mare, eh? She doesn't have much left in the way of teeth, so eats four mush meals a day. She can't eat hay at all, but loves making quids and showing them to all who visit.

She carries her quids with her, waggles them up and down, twirls them in circles, sometimes finally launching one at a passerby. She thinks she's quite the comedienne.

Lest you think Emma is only known for her Quid Art, think again. Emma is the farm Sweetheart, appealing to visitors and resident geldings alike.

If you'll be in the Spotsylvania area, give us a call. Emma would love to meet you and introduce you to her herdmates. 540-972-0936 or

Thursday, February 5, 2009

It might be minor, but assume its major.

There is a theory that horses are more prone to colic in winter. Another says that colic is more likely during dramatic changes in weather. Yet a third implies that elderly horses are more likely to colic than younger horses. Put all those theories together and we should have had a disastrous winter so far. Fortunately, that is not the case. {{tap, tap, tap on wood}}

Yesterday morning, however, we did have a minor episode with Fred Astaire, or Freddie to his friends (and sometimes “Fernando!” on the days he feels the need to display his tail-in-the-air floating gaits.)

Freddie seemed perfectly fine Tuesday night at the 10PM feeding. He finished his senior mash, made a snake-face at Britches, and went off to munch on the night’s hay ration. Normal bedtime routine. At 6AM Wednesday, nothing seemed amiss. The early morning hay snack was welcomed with nickers, though in hindsight perhaps Freddie didn’t eat with his usual enthusiasm.

At 8AM, Freddie was not at his assigned breakfast station. That was not terribly alarming since, every now and then, he makes an attempt to usurp Britches’ position in the breakfast line-up. What was alarming, however, was his reaction when he walked around to his regular position. Freddie looked in his dish and walked away! This is a horse that has never refused a morsel of food in the three and one half years we’ve known him.

After the rest of the herd was fed, another check on Freddie found him standing several yards away from his full breakfast dish, looking just a little “off.” He stood with his head low, eyes squinting. Then he made one small circle, acted as though he might lie down, but resumed his previous stance instead.

That was it. Time to call the vet clinic. Colic is one thing we do not fool around with when it comes to elders. While some colic episodes can resolve themselves, we’d rather have a vet evaluate early. The clinic’s office manager let us know a doctor would be out in about half an hour. We used that time to put Freddie in a small clean paddock so we would know at a glance if he passed any manure, and filled a bucket with warm water in case the vet needed to “tube” him. During this time, Freddie pawed the ground a few times, something he does not normally do and another possible expression of pain.

Upon arrival, Doc B performed a general exam, noting the Freddie’s color was good, his heart rate was normal, he had good gut sounds, and he had no fever. A rectal exam, though, revealed some “doughy” feces in one area of his colon, near the pelvic flexure (where the colon makes a 180-degree turn,) rather than well-formed fecal balls. This might be the problem.

After administering a little sedative and a dose of banamine, Doc inserted a NG tube, first to ensure Freddie had no reflux, though there did seem to be excess gas, then to direct some “maglox” (generic version of Maalox) directly into his stomach. Freddie immediately perked up. Then came the hard part. The waiting. Horses cannot vomit or belch so if things can’t move from front to back, they can’t move at all. Horse owners may be the only people on the planet that pray for poop. Meanwhile, Freddie could not have anything to eat. If there was an impaction, adding more food would make things worse.

Finally, at 5PM on the dot, a beautiful pile of meadow muffins appeared. One portion of the pile appeared softer than normal and was a large sticky ball compared to the normal size and texture. There it was - the “doughy” feces Doc B felt earlier in the day. Another pile at 11PM looked almost normal, but again with a few “doughy” looking, but smaller, balls.

As of this morning, all seems well. Freddie ate a small breakfast with gusto and munched some hay as dessert. Now dozing in the sun, he has no idea how badly he scared us yesterday.

The moral to Freddie’s story is: Know the signs of Colic (pawing the ground, laying down and getting up repeatedly, thrashing or rolling, biting or kicking at the flank, etc.) Perhaps more importantly, know what is normal for YOUR horse. Freddie did not exhibit what might be called “classic” signs of colic, yet he was brewing a potentially urgent condition. If you suspect colic, early veterinary evaluation may mean the difference between a simple resolution and a prolonged, complicated treatment. It may even mean the difference between life and death.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Our "potentially massive" Winter Storm

Not that we're complaining mind you, but the storm that a few days ago was described as "potentially massive" left us with this:
Enough to be pretty, but not enough to cause problems:
Add to the list of "Things We Learned This Winter"......
The size of the storm is inversely proportional to the amount of pre-storm preparation!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What is with this weather??

In several recent posts, we whined about the colder than normal temperatures. Today, though, we hit 60 degrees! What's up with that? One confused honeybee even showed up at afternoon feeds to investigate the feast. We thought the horses might feel a little Spring Fever, but most took advantage of the sun and dozed most of the day. We also learned that even a 60-degree afternoon is not enough to thaw manure piles hard-frozen to the ground in spots that don't get much sun.

Some of our Golden Muck Fork winners (Gene and Carol,) though, got the rest of the farm cleaned up and helped prepare for the next winter storm, forecast to arrive tomorrow night. Stalls and sheds are ready to go, fields and paddocks are clean, a new load of hay was brought in, extra feed will arrive tomorrow and water tanks will be filled to the brim in case of power outages (when you're on a well, no electricity = no pump = no water.)

On another note, a young horse we placed in a wonderful home several years ago had to return to TREES a few days ago. Once we let her settle in, we'll re-evaluate her and see about additional training before making her available for adoption. Crea will be 6 years old this spring. We don't know her breeding. Coming from a "nurse mare farm," she could be almost any combination of breeds. She has been started under saddle according to her last family, but is very green and needs some confidence building.

Thank you to Jorg and Tom, the powerhouse behind White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue, for trailering Crea to her current foster home. Many thanks, too, for the clippers (small clippers much appreciated for small jobs. We're still in search of something for full body Cushings coat clips - maybe something comparable to a Clipmaster 610.)

We're were also happy to have Mary Beth stop in and drop off some senior feed on Friday. Please come again when the weather is a little more conducive to a tour and introductions to the residents.