Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall musings

(me & my brother riding Thistle)

As Halloween and the first killing frost suddenly seem just around the corner, I get to thinking about the past year. That includes the blog. I looked back over the old posts, and realized I've shared a lot about techniques, and science, training and facilities and nutrition, and not so much about life here at Oak Hill and my own personal journey with my animals. It occurs to me that perhaps people read newsletters to learn facts, and read blogs to learn about the person behind the newsletters & facts.

So this is me. (with Pandy, our first dog)

I feel like I was born loving animals and the outdoors. All my earliest drawings were horses or other animals. I thought I'd be a jockey, then a vet, then I got interested in wildlife science and planned to go into endangered carnivore restoration. I spent some time working with wolves in North Carolina, finished college, spent some time working on shad (an endangered migratory fish) restoration and finally ended up working for a government environmental agency. I was out in the woods a lot. As a kid, I lived near a nature reserve and used to head out alone, for hours at a time. I knew all the dirt roads and deer trails, built little camps and hides, explored the old ruins and ponds. In elementary school, my girlfriends and I used to sneak off the playground to play on the trails in the woods behind the school. The trees in my yard each held seats or treehouses, sometimes both. I spent summers camping in New Hampshire and at the family farm in eastern shore Maryland.

(top to bottom: New Hampshire, the pet snake, Whitey & Thumper)

So I've come to realize that the seeds of my present life were planted a long time ago. Which brings me to the present, a sunny fall day in my dream house on a few acres of hilly Pennsylvania land.

This past year has brought many changes to Oak Hill. We lost PonyPony in April, Fearless (our border collie) at the end of the summer. They both died at home, peacefully, after very long lives. The fainting goat herd has grown, and so has the chicken flock. I'm happy to be able to share eggs with my parents and my hay grower. We're making progress on self-sufficiency. I have plans to milk a few of our does this coming spring. Our garden grew larger this year, and I'm grateful for the abundance of fresh veggies we've had all summer. And the zuchinni that continues to produce, and produce, and produce...

I've got plans, and some of the materials, to add cold frames sometime next year for fall 2011 crops.

We're putting in a woodstove this fall, and hope to do most of our heating with passive solar and the stove this winter. With 20 years of deadfall around the place, we should have plenty of wood this winter to warm our compact home.

The pastures and runways continue to evolve. I may have one more round of soil tests to post this fall, then I'll be taking a break from that project until the cold kills off the underbrush the goats can't reach. You can read about the pastures/runways at
I found plans in a magazine for passive solar stock tank heaters. I believe I can adapt them for smaller buckets, and will eventually build some for all the livestock. Watch for posts when I do.
Until next Friday, be well & happy!

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tips For Endurance & Competitive Trail Horses

As many of my clients have endurance or competetive trail horses, I have gathered together all the tips I have found over the years into one program.

For the off season/winter:
My favorite pelleted grain ration or organic corn/oats/barley to maintain the desired energy level.
Cold extruded soybean pellets and/or black oil sunflower seeds and/or Standlee hay pellets to maintain weight.
Free choice grass hay and pasture.
My favorite chelated mineral and vitamin supplements, either the regular, the plus, or the deluxe combination product - each horse is different, so either muscle test for the best option or contact me for suggestions.
Free choice calcium phosphorus, in both 1:1 and 2:1 ratios.
Free choice naturally chelated trace minerals with fulvic acid
Free choice loose unbleached plain salt (this one or Redmond)
For joint support:
This brand name combination product
A mix of yucca and MSM and vitamin C with added bioflavenoids (equal amounts by weight).
Prebiotic with every meal
Clay/diatomaceous earth/digestive aid mix  (1 tsp) in the evening meal

During Training:
Same as the off season, with some adjustments.
The amounts of topdressed multivitamin/mineral  will be adjusted as the work load increases and as green grass becomes available in the spring. Muscle test, or ask me for suggestions.
The grain and fatty feeds will need to be increased to maintain energy and weight.
I offer electrolytes mixed with water in addition to plain water on hot days and after training.
Topically, I use clay for a poultice on the legs, or wherever I find heat on the body.
Increase the vitamin C with bioflaveoids
I also spray on a flower essence blend on hot spots.
I use homeopathic arnica for any bruises/sprains/strains

Prior to a race:
Same program as the training program, except for the following changes.
Stop the yucca a week prior and during the race.
Stop the brand name joint product mentioned above a week prior and during the race.
3 days before the race start this (skip this for competitive trail).

During the race:
Offer cold extruded soybean pellets (see link above) as a snack along the trail and in camp
Lifewave Energy Patches are a non-transdermal patch you apply to acupuncture points to increase stamina. Contact me for placement suggestions.
Spray a flower essence blend around the coronet bands.

In general, each horse is different and muscle testing or working with a health practitioner can help you adjust the program to suit your horse.
I suggest monitoring your horse's selenium levels. Horses in hard work and/or taking sulfur products (MSM) may need extra selenium.
Regular bodywork such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, accupressure and bio energy work may all helpful. I personally feel cranio-sacral and bio energy work are the most helpful, at least for my horses.
For mental and emotional health, learn Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or find a practitioner. This is a very very valuable tool.

Finally, you are part of the partnership. Pay attention to your own health. Take good quality supplements, use electrolytes and drink enough during competition, work on your own mental and emotional issues - stay fit and healthy for your equine partner.

Happy healthy trails!

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.