The Best Tips and Tricks by Horsemen and Horse Women

NOTE -Sadly, this is being cancelled, we only received a couple of submissions. Submitted 11/23 with a publisher for pre-sales, to be published in Nov. 2015.

We all love tips and Tricks to make horses healthier, our lives easier and save money.

This Project of will be compiled into a book and e-book and help raise money for equine rescues. It's a way for people of any economic situation or income to help horses - all it takes is offering an interesting horseman's tip.

75% will be donated and the remaining will cover the labor to produce the book and help Sustainable Horse continue such efforts as we move forward as a Sustainable Equine Think Tank. The success of this project to help horses will depend on how many people offer their tips. Horse breeders, farms or saddle shops etc are FREE TO ADVERTISE by submitting a tip with their website address. This helps everyone all around and we all appreciate that in the horse world. Tips will be for health and care of the horse, management, for beginners as well as advanced horse owners and some riding tips. Please feel free to submit a tip! As these are the "Best Tips" We love graphics and clear photographs, even a very simple line drawing is fine, napkin drawings can convey great ideas! wilHelp a Horse /Advertise your Equine Farm or Business/ submit a Tip!

Rowans “Tips and Tricks and Musings”.

Rowan my Horse is my Muse so to speak, he made a big difference to my life at a critical point

and most of my ideas occur when I’m brushing him. He’s a TWH with a checkered past who loves children but is skeptical around most adults. He loves to jump and has his own children's horse adventure books. Archer is my younger horse, he’s smart and he gives me tons of hope and inspiration. Archer also makes me laugh.

The Salt Hoof Rub

I use Redmonds loose mineral salt, dry with no water. I live in Oregon and we have long wet winters. if you live in a desert this may be too drying for the horses hooves.

First, if you try this, it’s important to pick the hoof very well and brush off any mud.

Here’s some questions, posted on facebook that I will include below.

Q: Is this good to use against Thrush?

A: This is NOT a treatment for thrush. If your horse has thrush, please treat and resolve the thrush before attempting this rub. When I try any product for the first time, I tend to do a small application and always watch the horses face.

Please don’t apply salt on a wound or abrasion on the hooves or around the hooves. 

Allow your own common sense step up to the plate. Tips and tricks, like how to grow a longer mane or give a refreshing bodywash are not vet recommended advice, we hope this is obvious.

Q: Is this Harmful - !?!

A: Please know that I am against animal abuse. I would not use this on my horses if it was harmful. Many hoof care products are quite toxic. Some can potentially kill your pets if spilled on the ground. The Salt Hoof Rub is no more harmful than placing loose mineral salt in a tub. Horses can tip the tub and step in the salt. The Salt Hoof Rub may be too drying for horses in a desert climate.

Q: How much salt did you use in his stall?

A: I sprinkled the salt very lightly, (you should hardly be able to see it) I did this for only 2 to 3 days. I then sprinkled only once, a month later. I only sprinkled only by the window where my horse stands (I just swept the shavings away first) to allow him to move away if he became uncomfortable. He didn’t mind standing on there and seemed to really enjoy the rub, unlike other hoof treatments where he would clamp his hoof to the ground or pull his hoof away. Please keep in mind every horse is different. Archer, my other horse seemed to really like this Salt Hoof Rub and he is much pickier than Rowan here.

Note: You would not want to add any stall waste with salt to your garden compost, salt can kill plants.

Q: How much salt did you use in their Hoof?

A: You don’t have to use as much as I’ve shown in the picture. I had a hard time keeping his foot up and taking the photograph with my phone so I did use a little more than I needed. The advantage is that there is plenty to rub and if some spills onto the floor, that’s fine too.

Q: How hard do you scrub it or rub the salt around on the hoof?

A:  I didn’t use much pressure, the first time I just used my glove and made sure salt got into cleft and sulcus, I rub or brush for 15 seconds to a minute.

Q: How long did you apply the Salt Hoof Rub to his hooves?

A: Only 3 times (one evening, one morning and one night), but remember, every horse is different. I started with one evening application in his stall. Then I repeated a month later. Salt is extremely drying. Surprisingly so, even in Oregon during the winter. his sole is now hard and this worked so much better for him then numerous other products. In fact, because his sole is hard and he is no longer lame I have stopped using the Salt Hoof Rub. It was amazingly effective.

Care of the Horse

A nice old quote-regardless of how we feel about

the horses ability to reason.

Every Horse is a Pegasus!

Illustration of The Horses Nose

Presenting the Equine Alar Cartilage, that funny stiff part of your horses nostril.

(a big Thank You goes to Shannon Brown for identifying the name of this unusual part.)

Bit Testing

The Hot Bit Project

Why are we testing the bits?

Veterinarians seem to agree that there has been a puzzling rise in equine immune disorders and  Cushings disease. Bits (even expensive bits) are made form metal that has few or no quality control checks in place and often the metal comes from China and Vietnam. The bits are in the horses mouth for hours at a time, in close proximity to the horses pituitary gland.

Contaminated metals, it seems, are showing up in consumer products and this means all

livestock products could be at risk.:

Hot Metals found in Consumer Products

The old bits would be fine but we felt the the more recent bits could be contaminated

Results in 10/24/13

Here the bits being tested at the UofO by Don, who kindly took time out to do this.

The bits tested “All Clear” meaning no radioactivity was found.  This batch was mostly older bits but we will test again on 10/28.

- A big Thank You to everyone who supported this project, and to Dani at McKenzie Feeds, Springfield, OR.

you can see a video here

Chewing is Good - Yawning is Better!

In training a horse, we know to watch for the moment he “chews” which means that he’s starting to relax and may be processing the information we give him.

If this is so important, why do we stretch other parts of the horse to loosen them and improve movement but not his face? Sure, Bodyworkers can work on his TMJ and poll, but these are all mechanical aspects. Not only can we teach our horses how to do a facial stretch, we can let him know it’s OK to express themselves.

First, encourage your horse to yawn and “loosen up”.

He may feel more and more comfortable and begin to be more expressive and again, watch for a difference in how he relates to you after getting the go ahead to yawn in your presence.

Rowan, my horse has changed a lot. I was told he had been whipped in the head before I got him.

The old guy who owned the barn where I met Rowan said it had taken him a year and a half to just touch his forehead. He could be haltered but no touching aside from that. This exercise took a lot of patience, actually, I didn’t think he’d ever get it. Finally after a long time he started to mimic me and his buddy Archer, and yawn. It was like a switch had turned on, he opened up to the point were he was showing me gestures like a beautiful Spanish walk, where did he learn that?! Not me. Yawning made him more comfortable and now he has started showing me his special talents!

An experimental study of the Influence and Paralysis of Rabbit facial nerves vs skeletal response can be found here

This brings up the question - DO we cause partial paralysis in the face with over-tight bridles or undo force when handling and Does this cause asymmetry in the skeleton- especially in the training of young horses, thus leading to problems of balance and saddle fit.

I’ve heard of dental issues causing balance issues, and TMJ, but never the possibility that young horses may be compromised by for instance, by knotted halters and tight bridle components.

If the nerve is “compressed to the point where numbness occurs, there is damage. If nerve damage may affect the balance of the bones in their head, couldn’t this lead to compensation down the entire spine. Are most people observant enough to actually notice that their horse has partial paralysis of the face, especially when they tighten down the crank and prevent expression?

I use treat exercises and encouragement to stretch the face and Lip muscles just as much as stretching the rest of the horse. You can teach your horse to open his mouth, yawn and smile, and stretch the lip to the right and left by rewarding him.

Some great accompanying information on the facial nerves can be found here:

Creative thoughts, Diagrams Accepted and Encouraged!

Please add your own ideas and experience, besides what is already known.

Most of the horse has been studied intensively and yet there seems to be no information on the horses lip, aside from muscle names. Many questions remain, such as:

When we reach our hand out for the horse to smell, or kiss the horses nose, What is the horse learning from us? This is the primary Point of Contact, a feature of great importance.

Is Lip Smacking a symptom of nerve damage from bit or bridle use?

We do know that the Equine Prehensile Lip is used for selective feeding and gestures in communication. By riding our horses with various headstalls and bits, we often constrict the horses jaw and affect the facial nerves, possibly causing atrophy to the expressive muscles and damaging the nerves of the mouth and lips. Why would we thoughtlessly damage this unique and highly sensitive organ?

We would NEVER dream of doing this to their "Other" 'most Sensitive Organ.”

We are both beings with Prehensile Lips and interestingly enough - the Human prehensile lip is not well understood either. Perhaps this is why we completely overlook this feature in the horse.

It does seem strange to academically ignore an organ, that for us, means tasting, kissing or playing an instrument, or for the horse, a first greeting.  A comparative study of the Chimp vs Human prehensile lip can be found here:,_2009.pdf

Some Good illustrations can be found here:

Up Close and Salty - a Video of Rowan the Horse, licking Salt  -Here

A colic Shock Point- located on the inside of the Prehensile Lip here:

About the Orbicularis Oris Muscle

“The orbicularis oris muscle (OOM) is one of the mimetic, orfacial expression, muscles that are found in all mammals”

“In human anatomy, the orbicularis oris muscle is a complex of muscles in the lips that encircle the mouth. Until RECENTLY it was misinterpreted as a sphincter”,


"The exact anatomical nature of this muscle in humans

remains poorly understood relative to other muscles

(Standring, 2004). Our most complete understanding comes

from Lightoller (1925) who examined five postnatal and

three fetal specimens. This nearly 100-year-old description

of the human OOM continues to be widely cited” (Latham

& Deaton, 1976; Standring, 2004; Hwang et al. 2007a,b).

© 2009 The Authors

Journal compilation © 2009 Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland


Every Herd Has a Healer

How in the world did horses ever survive in the wild? This is a question many equestrians ask, as they order more equine medications, wraps, wormers and expensive supplements.

It’s interesting that horses, despite being strong and athletic, are considered to be extremely susceptible to colic and a host of other significant maladies. After experiencing the bout of laminitis, colic or a troublesome skin condition, their natural survival seems almost mysterious.

Of all the books I’ve read on “the Horse” that go on to describe horses and herd dynamics, the importance of a herd leader, the herd interactions that revolve around safety, dominance, or maintaining peace, and seasonal herd behavior, travel, breeding or food and age related herd behavior are always listed. It’s interesting that the role of herd healer seems to be left out. Isn’t healing important? how do these seemingly delicate creatures ever survive without us?

Lessor creatures are known to organize themselves with dedicated tasks. Take the Bee.

There is a ‘Nurse bee’ unit who specializes in healing sick or injured bees.

Why wouldn’t horses have a specialist? If environmental pressure creates a need there is usually a response.

i know nothing of natural herds myself but have found that horses do interesting things when we aren’t looking closely.

The type of touch or stillness that takes place between a troubled child, for example, and a horse can leave a lasting impression. When I was hurt, my horse spent a lot of time with his nose just above the wound, never touching it.

Do you have any stories about your horse trying to heal a herd mate or trying to heal you?

Rowan Kissing Spooky and listening to his purr, Spooky has an old injury, a bullet remains lodged in his shoulder.