Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How Horses Heal

Restorative healing in Equus caballus.
skyline horses
Restoration strategies that recreate the horse's social grazing preferences facilitate and potentiate horse healing. Appropriate healing of many equine maladies is encouraged when the veterinarian provides appropriate initial treatment and subsequently carefully facilitates a scenario to provide the horse with abundant forage, friendship, and locomotion. 
Grazing pasture in an open setting with other horses, when appropriately orchestrated, has the potential to provide the most profound and often the most cost-effective healing of musculoskeletal infirmities and injuries. For conditions allowed to progress to lameness, time is required, often months. When musculoskeletal conditions are detected early, before lameness ensues, short term rest and restorative strategies encourage solid healing (days to weeks). Both long and short term healing are enhanced when the horse is content with the forage, friendship, and locomotion resources. Avoid unnecessary restrictions to locomotion whenever feasible.
The earlier inflammation is detected, the shorter the time period is required to heal. Healing in a social-grazing setting is a long-evolved trait of the horse. Horses acclimated to herd and pasture settings during their development respond best to restorative healing. 
Horsefolk need to take special care not to exceed the horse's adaptability regarding stabling and healing. 
Horses require a sense of comfort and security for physical and mental restoration (and maintenance). An adequate social grazing environment, or appropriate facsimile thereof, often provides the most comfort to the most horses. Horses provided with adequate socialization throughout their upbringing are most responsive to these strategies. For horses, comfort and security come from friendship, forage, and, most-critically, a near-constant casual locomotion. Young horses and newborns learn to be horses from the dam and herd, and foals are best served to develop with horses in an appropriate grazing environment, as well. Horses learn to socialize, communicate, graze, locomote, run at speed in close company, play, smell, balance, move, and compete from their mother along with the herd members.
Corral or stall rest is counterproductive to healing, as it deprives horses of all three healing essentials. Horses heal efficiently in a social grazing setting, not one of isolation and deprivation. To a horse, restoration, from the word rest, ideally implies grazing open country in a herd setting with abundant environmental resources; appropriate grasslands to graze and walk, salt, and appropriately placed clean water. The properly managed social grazing setting with the open view is the environment in which horses evolved to thrive and heal.


Healthy physical and mental development are best actualized in a social grazing environment. Neonates rely on their dam for critical early learning processes, including sensual development, locomotion, and early mobility.  The development of agility, coordination and athleticism in early life is critical to subsequent mental health and soundness. Abundant social contact, grooming, sleep, play, athletic development, and social bonding occurs during early herd life. Horses rely on constant contact and frequent interactions with other horses for healthy mental and physical development. 
Opportunities for the abundant expression of normal equine behavior and motion promotes healing. 
Unfortunately, healing opportunities of this sort are not available everywhere, especially in the more urban equestrian settings. Space and grazing limitations restrict healing opportunities. In these scenarios, the horse's preferences have to recreated with carefully designed and implemented ENRICHMENT strategies that provide some fashion of near constant forage ingestion that allow oral and physical and movement and motion. Stabling scenarios often restrict social expression and sensual contact. Horses are sensitive to these deprivations which results in stress, which complicates and delays healing. 
LOCOMOTION is essential for both horse health and healing. 
Husbandry, healing, and rehabilitation nearly always benefit from appropriately managed and free choice locomotion strategies that are constantly tailored to the horse's healing process. Locomotion is required not only for normal healing, but for normal digestion, respiration, hoof health, circulation, and all other physiologic functions of the horse. Stall rest is at the expense of many systems, especially the hoof and metabolic systems. Digestion and respiration are compromised by confinement and restriction of movement. Metabolic, digestive, circulatory, hoof health, musculoskeletal, and nervous, systems, as well as the all other systems and functions of the horse, are dependent upon adequate and appropriate locomotion for normal functioning and/or healing. 
For horses that are hospitalized, paddocked, stabled, and corralled; active implementation and re-creation of the social pasture setting is necessary to maintain health and promote healing. The absence of abundant forage, friends, and locomotion are detrimental to a stabled or hospitalized horse's health, if not welfare. Medical conditions are apt to deteriorate in the face of the deprivations created by stabling and hospitalization. 
Stalled horses heal poorly. Locomotion, social, and forage deprivations create problems for horses. In addition to appropriate medical treatment, veterinarians and stable managers must creatively provide horses with abundant socialization, forage, and locomotion to maintain health and facilitate healing. 
Horses also heal horsefolk, and those horsefolk that implement these healing strategies often experience a sense of healing themselves, it seems. The human/horse bond runs deep. Domestication of the horse is a co-evolving evolutionary process. The human perspective is being shaped by the horse's perspective these days. Appreciation of the science of equine behavior and equitation is a welcome change for the horse after centuries of considerable subjugation.
To healing horses,
DrSid


Dr Gustafson is an equine veterinarian, veterinary behaviorist, and novelist. He helps refine horse and dog training methods to accommodate the inherent nature and behavior of horses and dogs. Applied veterinary behavior enhances optimum health, performance, soundness, contentment, and longevity in animal athletes. Natural approaches to development, training, nutrition, and conditioning sustain equine health and enhance performance. Behavioral and nutritional enrichment strategies enhance the lives of stabled horses. Training and husbandry from the horse's perspective result in content, cooperative horses. DrSid provides equine behavior consultations to help recreate the needs and preferences of horses in training and competition.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dr Gustafson's writing interview

Sid's interview with Brine Publishing.
Dr Gustafson is the only know novelist in America who also practices veterinary medicine.
http://brinebooks.com/3367/blog/writing/interview-sid-gustafson/

Today we have our interview with Sid Gustafson from the United States. He had contributed Whistle to Stanzas and Clauses for the Causes. Let us tell you a bit about this talented writer before proceeding to the interview questions.

Sid Gustafson is a novelist and veterinarian living in Big Sky, MT. Sid writes novels in Bozeman, practices veterinary medicine in Big Sky, and teaches equine behavior for the University of Guelph. He had the good fortune to be raised by horses under the Rocky Mountain Front with the Blackfeet Indians, to whom he returns time and again to find another story.
His second novel Horses They Rode was the 2007 High Plains Novel of the Year.
Horses They Rode is a contemporary novel about a Montana native son who hops a freight and returns to the mountain foothill ranch where he was raised. His journey connects the Blackfeet Indian Reservation near Glacier National Park with Playfair Racecourse in Spokane, Washington. The book tells the story of Wendel Ingraham’s younglife passage through the last vestiges of the American frontier. The novel is colored and contrasted by present day Blackfeet Indian life. White folk and Indians mix and merge along the last wilderness reaches of the Rocky Mountain Front amidst cattle ranches and grizzly bear habitat. The protagonist recapitulates his Montana past when he returns for asylum on the reservation hoping to discover resolution in his life after his wife of four years boots him out of their Spokane home where he is a thoroughbred racehorse trainer. Wendel is forced to leave the little daughter he truly loves behind. The novel poetically weaves his journey through women, children, horse races, and Indian spirituality on the wild rim of a distant American culture.
In Prisoners of Flight, Sid Gustafson’s veterinarian protagonist refers often to angels: “We haven’t heard from our angels in a long time. But they’re out there . . . waiting somewhere in the sky.”
Two ex-military pilots, Gustafson’s protagonist and his comrade, Henson, crash their plane into wilderness alongside Montana’s Flathead River. Former Vietnam POWs, they have wrestled with life’s trials ever since, holding to a single constant: a fierce longing for an idealized sky. Says Gustafson’s protagonist: “The flying rule is: When in doubt, do nothing. But I’m not flying anymore.” For indeed, Gustafson’s characters are themselves fallen forms of the angels they seek.
Gustafson manages both an economy of words and a compelling lyricism. There’s a rhythm here that makes for a read difficult to interrupt. And he’s not afraid to toss the rules. Single-word sentences. Pop phraseology. Recurring metaphors. The result is a harrowing adventure part magical realism (with a hint of psychedelia), part paean to the deep forest, part redemption chronicle, and part cryptogram.
Gustafson strands his characters with only a river shack for shelter. Soon, twin sisters—”two breathless earth cookies”—searching for their dog (named Hope—”lost Hope”) emerge from the forest cold and bewildered.
The protagonist recalls how he and Henson communicated cell-to-cell as POWs—through tapping out a simple alphabetic code. They repeatedly refer to this “old dance,” often lapsing into it. Acutely aware of their frailties and failures, they call often on God. And while longing to be back in the sky, they fool themselves like lost boys whistling in the dark that happiness can be found on the ground: “Our earthbound angels can’t stop smiling. And we thought they only lived in the constellations of our skyblown minds.”
The narrative dealing with Henson’s fate is both mythic and sad. (I’m not giving away much here, since the first two words of Gustafson’s novel are, “Henson’s dead.”) Finally, the protagonist’s escape and redemption are pulse-pounding.
There is much that is satisfying about Prisoners of Flight. Best is that it ends, as all good prayers do, with a single word, tapped out in code:
“Amen.”

Interview
First of all, can you tell us about your background as a writer?
My mother had me reading books of all sorts at a young age. She adored novelists, so I became one.
Has being a writer been your dream job?
Writing is my dream job, but I can only dream about money as income from my writing, so I practice veterinary medicine to pay the bills. As far as can be determined, I am the only veterinarian who is novelist in America.
What human rights or social activism issue(s) are you most passionate about and why?
I represent the health and welfare of animals all across America. In particular, I represent the health and welfare of racehorses in America and the wolves of Yellowstone Park, who are both unnecessarily subjected to untoward medication practices. I write for the New York Times regarding horse-racing.
Why do you write? What is your inspiration?
I write to relax, I write to know myself and my world.
Do you have any advice for any other writers or poets wanting to get into the industry?
Keep writing, and write some more. Read. Successful writers were first successful readers. To learn to write, read.
Which short story that you have written is it that you are most passionate about? Can you explain why?
Whistle, the story you are publishing. I found a unique voice, and a special language for the story, a state of mind that worked to tell the story.
Who would be your favorite writer?
Faulkner is my favorite for portraying the human condition in literary fashion.
Do human rights or social activism issues influence your writing? If so, how so?
Oh yes, I write to change the world, to make the world a better place for humans and animals.
Do you have a career outside of your writing?
Yes, I am veterinarian and equine behavior educator, and I work every day, and then write after all the work is done.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests that help to influence your stories?
Horsemanship, backcountry travel with horses and dogs.
What kind of genre do you primarily work in?
Literary fiction.
What is your most memorable moment as a writer?
When I received the phone call from the editor that she would like to publish my debut novel, Prisoners of Flight.
Are there any particular challenges that you face in your writing?
It is sometimes difficult to get the worlds in the right order.
Do you have any future projects that you wish to talk about?
I write poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction. Much of my writing is activist poetry and prose. It is best to change the world with creativity rather than criticism or force, you know.

Thank you for sitting down with us today, Sid! It was a pleasure learning more about you. If anyone reader wishes to connect with this writer or learn more about him, then you can do so through here:



Dr Gustafson is an equine veterinarian, veterinary behaviorist, and novelist. He helps refine horse and dog training methods to accommodate the inherent nature and behavior of horses and dogs. Applied veterinary behavior enhances optimum health, performance, soundness, contentment, and longevity in animal athletes. Natural approaches to development, training, nutrition, and conditioning sustain equine health and enhance performance. Behavioral and nutritional enrichment strategies enhance the lives of stabled horses. Training and husbandry from the horse's perspective result in content, cooperative horses. DrSid provides equine behavior consultations to help recreate the needs and preferences of horses in training and competition.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Equine Behaviour Online education

Equine Behaviour

http://www.opened.uoguelph.ca/offerings/offering.aspx?hold=y&id=4523

Description

Enhance the welfare of horses in your care by learning the language of horses. Equine Behaviour encourages you to understand a horses behaviour through the eyes of the horse, adapting the horses environment and handling through investigating horse perception and learning. Examining equine behaviour research and practice are part of this course designed to improve the health and welfare of horses in your care.

There are optional activities and readings built into the course content which allow you to explore additional topics in equine behaviour. The additional topics are popular among the behaviour students and we would like you to know participating in optional activities increases the amount of time per week you would need to commit to the course.

This course is entirely online, so travel to the University of Guelph is NOT required.

NOTE: This course is an elective course in the Equine Science Certificate program and a core course in theDiploma in Equine Studies program. For details about these programs, please see our program website www.EquineStudiesOnline.ca

Designed For

racehorse trainers, veterinarians, horse owners, trainers, grooms, breeders, stable employees, veterinary technicians, industry representatives, coaches and individuals with an interest in horses.


Course Topics


  • Introduction to Behaviour
  • Perception
  • Behaviour and the Brain
  • Learning
  • Social & Play, Communication
  • Body Care
  • Ingestive and Eliminative Behaviours
  • Reproductive Behaviour
  • Stereotypies
  • Locomotion
  • Training
  • Handling and Transporting
  • Welfare

Textbooks

Equine Behaviour, A Guide for Veterinarians and Equine Scientists (Confirmed)
Edition: 2ndAuthor(s): Paul McGreevyPublished by: Elsevier Ltd in 2013 ISBN: 978-0-7020-4337-6

Dr Gustafson is an equine veterinarian, veterinary behaviorist, and novelist. He helps refine horse and dog training methods to accommodate the inherent nature and behavior of horses and dogs. Applied veterinary behavior enhances optimum health, performance, soundness, contentment, and longevity in animal athletes. Natural approaches to development, training, nutrition, and conditioning sustain equine health and enhance performance. Behavioral and nutritional enrichment strategies enhance the lives of stabled horses. Training and husbandry from the horse's perspective result in content, cooperative horses. DrSid provides equine behavior consultations to help recreate the needs and preferences of horses in training and competition.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lasix Encourages Racehorse Doping in America

The Florida Derby racehorses will be injected with two performance enhancing drugs before heading to the paddock for their derby run, prednisolone and Lasix. Both prerace drugs are allowed by the state racing regulators, who have become puppets of the trainers' lobby. Raceday injections are the root of all the current doping troubles in America. The state racing jurisdictions, all of them, have chosen to set the example of allowing horses to be injected intravenously with performance enhancing drugs shortly before racing. This practice of legal doping has created an untoward atmosphere of generalized racehorse doping, as we are seeing. Raceday and day before medication has to be eliminated if progress protecting the health and welfare of racehorses is to advance.
A strict policy of not allowing horses to be injected with drugs in the days before and the day of racing is the international standard. Where raceday injections are not allowed, racing is 4X safer for the horses, and jockeys. In America, horses break down at 4X the rate of horses racing without the pre-race performance enhancers in Asia, Australia, and Europe.
The raceday drug Lasix potentiates breakdowns due to its performance enhancing effect. Lasix also allows for the substandard care of the racehorses. To permit legal doping is to encourage widespread doping. Raceday Lasix (and IV cortisone) are considered doping by the regulators in Asia, Dubai, Europe, and Australia, where racing is safer and horses are better cared for. 

Sid Gustafson DVM
http://therail.blogs.nytimes.com/author/sid-gustafson/


Dr Gustafson's novels, books, and stories