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Complete Holistic Care and Healing for Horses:
The Owner's Veterinary Guide to Alternative Methods and Remedies

By Mary L. Brennan, DVM with Norma Eckroate
Copyright © 2001 Mary Brennan with Norma Eckroate
ISBN: 1-57076-045-4
356 pages, hard cover, approx. $35
Trafalgar Square Publishing

Complete Holistic Care and Healing for Horses is the owner's veterinary guide we have been waiting for. Mary Brennan, DVM has combined her extensive experience as a horsewoman and holistic veterinarian to make this one of the best horse owner's manuals yet - a holistic veterinary guide. In this thick, information-packed book the reader will find innumerable answers to all kinds of questions about horse care.

Says Dr. Brennan, "The holistic approach greatly increases our ability to treat the horse and allows us to carry out treatment in a manner that is less invasive and more natural." In her practice, Mary works with horses using the more in-depth approach that characterizes holistic medicine, and along with the traditional treatments and beliefs, her text reveals various complementary and natural solutions to many common and not-so-common ailments of the horse. She discusses conventional treatments and the whys and why nots of using conventional medicines and therapies.

The complementary therapies covered in this book include (but are not limited to) acupuncture, acupressure, homeopathy, chiropractic, Bach flower remedies, magnets, and massage. Both acute and chronic conditions are included, as are injuries. In Complete Holistic Care and Healing for Horses, Dr. Brennan explains that arthritis, cancer, laminitis and other debilitating conditions do not happen overnight; there are subtle warning signs that the astute owner can recognize. She lists some of these signs and explains the importance of knowing one's horse and his signs of well being. She discusses the importance of preventive care - a well planned diet along with a holistic approach is an excellent way to help maintain health and correct a health problem before it is even detectable - and before irreversible damage is done.

Part 1 - Holistic Veterinary Treatments and Remedies
Chemical and other environmental hazards, antibiotics, vaccinations and nosodes, emotional issues, steroids, sedatives, surgery, X-rays, and radiation therapy are among the many topics discussed in this comprehensive section.

Part 2 - Horse Owners Care and Management
Entire chapters are devoted to diet and nutrition, exercise, tack and equipment, stable management, pasturing, grooming, nursing, traveling, and elderly horse care.

Part 3 - Common Horse Ailments
From Abscesses to Weight problems, this section encompasses over 100 conditions. A description and explanation of the condition is followed by a list of typical symptoms and recommendations for treatment and prevention. Various alternative treatments are listed for nearly every ailment with cautions where needed, and references to related information in the text or in the appendices.

The list of separate appendices includes Acupuncture and acupressure, Aromatherapy and essential oils, Bach flower remedies, Herbs, and Homeopathics, and are like small books in themselves. Also in the appendices are lists of product suppliers, books and videos, and associations and organizations. There is a large index.

Every horse owner will undoubtedly find Complete Holistic Care and Healing for Horses to be a most valuable and educational reference guide and useful addition to the home horse library. Thank you, Dr. Brennan, for including the alternatives!

Video 'Views:

Herbs and Aromatherapy for Horses
By Mary Ann Simonds
© 1998 Painted Pony Productions
Approx. $20

In Herbs and Aromatherapy for Horses, you'll get an overview of Mary Ann Simonds' philosophy of enlightened horsemanship as well as a thorough introduction to herbs and their uses, essential oils, homeopathic remedies, and more. Mary Ann Simonds is a behavioral ecologist, holistic health consultant, and riding clinician who has spent over 35 years researching domestic horses as well as horses in the wild. Her love of horses has led her to teach others how to better communicate with them - by understanding how horses think, feel and behave. Mary Ann's eclectic practice encompasses expertise in many areas - from herbal therapy to communication skills to physical therapy. She integrates science, intuition and common sense.

Mary Ann takes the viewer through her beautiful gardens plant-by-plant, showing and describing various plants and explaining their historical and current uses, the parts of the plant used, the vitamins and nutrients in them, and how they are typically prepared and used for horses. Included are blackberry, dandelion, hawthorn, Oregon grape (berberis), red clover, lemon balm, calendula, valerian, dill, fennel, chamomile, borage, lavender, and more. She also points out many of these herbs that are good for horses and humans to eat. Listening to Mary Ann instills a desire to get back with nature and earthly things. Her understanding of horses enhances her narration as she describes why herbs are vital to horses and why horses love them.

Mary Ann explains that just because horses are bigger doesn't mean they need more herbs than a person would need, and that to know how much is enough, one needs to get to know the horse and learn what the horse needs. Mary Ann suggests getting herbal books and reading about herbs to learn more about them. There was a time when horses could get everything they needed in the way of plants and herbs, but now we are responsible for assisting them and understanding what they need to eat. Herbs can be bought prepared or one can grow them even without much acreage. Mary Ann shares good ideas on how to care for the horse naturally and treat ailments with natural remedies to keep the horse naturally healthy.

In Herbs and Aromatherapy for Horses, various herbs are prepared for use in ointments, liniments, poultices and tinctures. Mary Ann describes how to make fly sprays and tells what herbs and natural substances are needed to stock a natural medicine cabinet. She explains the importance of proper storage of remedies. Being a wildlife ecologist, horse behaviorist, and holistic health consultant, Mary Ann grows her own herbs for her horses and makes her own salves, flower essences, and other preparations regularly.

According to Mary Ann, a horse's sense of smell is very sophisticated and is more important than its sense of sight because a horse's world revolves very much around smell. This is why aromatherapy is so effective with horses. Mary Ann introduces various essential oils and how they are used (and not to be used) to relax, stimulate, or override behaviors.

Mary Ann's horse behavior and natural health care tips have been aired on television and she has written for a variety of horse magazines. She has also written a book, Herbs for Horses, which is a complement to this video.

Herbs and Aromatherapy for Horses is a delightful and educational video that is a joy to watch. With this video, one will see and learn about numerous plants and flowers that have many natural benefits - for the horse and human.