The Ultimate Guide for Horses in Need: Care, Training, and Rehabilitation for Rescues, Adoptions, and Horses in Transition

The Ultimate Guide for Horses in Need: Care, Training, and Rehabilitation for Rescues, Adoptions, and Horses in Transition

by Stacie G. Boswell DVM, DACVS


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A resource of astounding scope illustrating recommended management and retraining practices for horses and donkeys that have been ignored, neglected, abused, or starved.

Whether given a second chance through purchase, adoption, or rescue, the horse in the “wrong” situation should have a chance to find his way to the “right one.” Veterinarian Dr. Stacie Boswell’s goal is to restore health and comfort to every horse in transition, and to help him learn how to function as the horse he is expected to be―from the Thoroughbred off the track to the grade pony from the field down the road. In her unparalleled reference, Dr. Boswell explains:

  • Where they come from: The origins of the unwanted, neglected, or abused horse.
  • Travel and intake: Safety, regulations, identification, and quarantine.
  • Nutrition, dentistry, and colic: Body Condition Scoring (BCS),
  • Refeeding Syndrome, nutrition, long-term weight management, colic prevention and treatment, and dealing with gastric ulcers.
  • Vaccination and parasite management: Deworming, identifying and treating skin conditions, viruses, and respiratory diseases.
  • Hoof care, lameness, and wounds: Evaluating hoof structure and the horse’s movement, trimming and shoeing, abscesses, laminitis, arthritis, and bandaging.
  • Birth control: Castration and mare management.
  • Foal rescue: The birthing process, working with orphans, halter training, and hoof handling.
  • The “down” horse: Identifying and treating underlying problems, rolling a horse, bed sores, slings, and quality of life considerations.
  • Working in disaster scenarios: Preparedness, identification, transportation, communication, and first aid.
  • Euthanasia: Compassionate guidelines, procedures, and aftercare.
  • Unique training considerations: Coming into work according to BCS.
  • How horses sense and respond: Equine vision, training principles, and working with the fearful horse.
  • Developing a relationship with your rescue: Social integration, developing trust, overcoming fear, handling feet and legs, halter training adult horses, preparing a horse for medical care, groundwork, and riding.

In Dr. Boswell has compiled hundreds of case studies highlighting the areas of concern in the horse “in need,” and in these pages details proactive methods of handling common medical problems and health issues, from nutrition and dentistry to deworming and hoofcare to traumatic injury and emergency rescue scenarios. She explains the ways that, as a new horse is rehabilitated physically, specific training techniques can help him adapt to the positive changes in his care and environment.

In the United States alone, it is estimated that almost 150,000 horses per year are “unwanted.” This number grows exponentially when you consider horses worldwide. Horses that are old, injured, sick, unmanageable, or fail to meet expectations deserve to be treated with dignity and given every chance for a comfortable life in the company of humans. Dr. Boswell’s book helps make this possible.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781570769627
Publisher: Trafalgar Square
Publication date: 06/16/2020
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 561,633
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Stacie Boswell, DVM, DACVS, is an equine veterinarian who completed five years of specialty training beyond veterinary school, earning Diplomat status with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). Through this training, she has worked with horses in veterinary medicine in Virginia, North Carolina, New York, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Montana, completed a three-year surgical residency, and spent additional training time with pathology, radiology, anesthesia, and internal medicine specialists. She has raised and trained her own horses for over two decades, and is a lifetime member of the AQHA and APHA, as well as participating in Backcountry Horsemen of America (BCHA), volunteering to keep trails open to riders and maintained in her region.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Where They Come From: Horses in Need


If you spend time in the world of horses you have seen heart-wrenching cases of abuse or neglect, either in person or online. For me, it is impossible to forget the horses’ sad faces or how thin they are. These horses are desperate for food, water, and shelter. This book starts with exploring how horses find themselves lacking in basic needs. (fig. 1.1)

Rescue is defined as “to free or deliver from confinement, violence, danger, or evil.” (ref. 1.1) In this book, a rescued horse is one that came to you from a situation where his physical or mental needs were not met. My goal is to help you provide him with a home that will meet those needs.

Whether you volunteer at a horse rescue, buy a horse from an auction yard, find an abandoned or stray horse, (fig. 1.2) or otherwise obtain a needy equine, this is the book for you. You will get this horse out of his current plight. You want to do everything you can to help him, and he will need more than just food. A horse’s situation can be incredibly heartbreaking, and it’s likely that nobody else will help him. When you take him home, you may find that he has a respiratory illness, an injury, or behavioral problems. He may have all of those things at one time. According to Tracy McGonigle, Executive Director of the Hooved Animal Humane Society in Woodstock, Illinois, the “number one ailment seen ... is malnourishment, followed by foot issues, then emotional issues.” (ref. 1.2)

Acquiring a rescue horse is different than buying a healthy, sound horse who has had excellent care throughout his life. Why rescue a horse? You can be deeply rewarded by the horse. We can give him freedom, love, and comfort, and we can make our world a better place.

Once you have your needy equine, you need to know where to start and what problems are most important to address first. I have laid this book out as a series of guidelines, starting with bringing him home. Guidelines and science are supported by real-world experiences and inspirational anecdotes.

Our goal is to restore health and comfort, and to help him learn how to function as the horse he is expected to be. Every horse, situation, and caretaker capability is unique, but as a veterinarian, I have observed broad commonalities among many rescue situations. I hope you will find information and inspiration in the following chapters.

Aside from universal horse health needs, we will discuss common medical problems. As he recovers physically, you will concurrently be training him. Emergency rescue, horses who are unable to rise, and euthanasia are also covered. It’s important to acknowledge that it is possible that the full health of a rescue horse may never be restored.

[start sidebar]

The Five Freedoms (ref. 1.3)

1. Freedom from hunger and thirst

by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor

2. Freedom from discomfort

by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area

3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease

by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment

4. Freedom to express normal behavior

by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind

5. Freedom from fear and distress

by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

[end sidebar]

The Unwanted or Neglected Horse

When the “Five Freedoms” (see sidebar) are not met, a horse’s situation needs improvement. These horses may come from any number of places. For example, an elderly person may pass away and her heirs don't want her horses. A rescue group may work with law enforcement and look after horses after they have been confiscated. Social media and internet sites such as Craigslist or Facebook groups have rescue networks, including those for orphan foals. I have treated horses that wandered into somebody’s semi-rural yard. Gathered Mustangs and off-the-track-Thoroughbreds are looking for homes and jobs. Some people buy horses at auction yards that are “known” for allowing kill-pen buyers to bid and buy stock.

The phrase “unwanted horse” means “...horses that are no longer wanted by their current owner because they are old, injured, sick, unmanageable, or fail to meet their owner’s expectations.” (ref 1.4) The horse may or may not have an injury, lameness, or illness, or he could be the wrong color or gender. His problem could be either immediately life-threatening or chronic and manageable. He may also have a behavioral problem that ranges from mild to severe. In the U.S., it is estimated that 100,000-150,000 horses per year are unwanted.

A horse may end up in a bad or neglectful situation through no fault of his own. Through my career, I have noticed that horses in a high-dollar high-level performance barn can have similar bloodlines, capabilities, and temperaments to a horse who ends up in a muddy paddock with minimal care. What makes the difference? Luck. And circumstances that are beyond the horses’ or the humans’ control.

[start sidebar]

A Cautionary Tale

It was early January, the air was biting, and a week’s worth of snow came up around my boot tops as I traipsed across the yard and knocked on the door. Rose and Dan, an elderly couple, were wearing coats and hats inside the house – it was almost as frigid inside as it was outside. The neighbors had been calling the authorities for weeks and reporting Cookie’s emaciated appearance. In most jurisdictions, a veterinarian must examine an animal before it is confiscated because of neglect, so I had been called to examine the horse in question.

We slowly walked together out to the barn. He explained, “We have to subsist only off of our Social Security checks. I have bad knees and a bad heart, and my company’s retirement fund was lost when the economy crashed.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I replied.

Dan continued, “We had a great place in east Texas, always had grass! We couldn’t afford to maintain that property, so we downsized and moved out here to the desert.”

Rose told me, “We used to have three horses, but we were able to sell the others before we moved. Cookie was my favorite, so we kept her.” She went on to tell me that after the move, when they realized they wouldn’t have Dan’s retirement income, they had tried to sell Cookie. She had become thin and nobody wanted to buy her. Rose had also talked to some people at the local horse rescue group, but they didn’t have room for any more horses and were underfunded. She had been told there was a waiting list, although the rescue had never called back. The couple had even tried to give her away. Only one person had come to inquire, and Rose had feared he would sell Cookie to slaughter, so she didn’t let the man take her.

Cookie was in the barn. She was a kind horse, with soft eyes and relaxed ears, but was emaciated. Rose and Cookie looked at each other with love and sadness. In the dusty aisle, there was a single bale of fresh hay, and a single bag of grain that had been purchased in anticipation of my arrival. The mare was eating. When we talked about how to help Cookie, I emphasized how sudden dietary changes could be dangerous to horses who were this thin. Dan told me that although Cookie lost weight each winter, she always picked back up and was fine during warmer months.

A few days later, I received another call from Rose. Cookie was down in the snow, and couldn’t get up. When I arrived, it was obvious her body had shut down. Cookie had experienced a severe metabolic problem called refeeding syndrome. I gave her medications and fluids directly into her vein. We tried to help her up with support and encouragement, but it was a losing battle. We all cried as Cookie took her last breath.

Rose and Dan weren’t able to pay the invoices to the veterinary practice. In a few months, we found out that they had filed bankruptcy and lost their home. Rose and Dan knew Cookie was thin, and cared deeply about her. They couldn’t feed her because they had no money – they couldn’t keep heat on in their home or feed themselves. They had honestly tried to the best of their ability and had lost their beloved friend. For me, this case was a wake-up call about the judgment that we sometimes feel without knowing the entire situation. Please help your neighbors. Please learn more about their struggle before assuming the worst of them. Cookie’s situation happens hundreds or thousands of times over the world.

[end sidebar]

Economic Factors

Many of us have a hard time understanding the root of this problem, since culturally we regard horses as magnificent, sentient beings. They capture our spirits and hearts, so neglecting one is horrifying.

Yet there have been, and probably will always be, people who are unable to provide appropriate food, shelter, or medical care to the animals that depend on them. (fig. 1.3) The well-being of unlucky horses truly suffers. A survey in 2012 determined that half of horse owners in the U.S. had an annual income of less than $50,000. When the economy crashed in the late 2000s, people and horses were left starving and out in the cold.

Around the same time, the federal budget no longer provided funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to maintain the three equine slaughter facilities in the U.S. Without the economic support of the horse industry that slaughter provided, many horses were adversely affected by this federal policy change. Problems worsened with the coincident economic recession.

Horse slaughter is a complex issue, but since it has been unavailable in the U.S. for over a decade, it is unlikely to return. I shudder to think of any of my own beloved horses consigned to a fate of slaughter. However, I also recognize that the horse market was suddenly flooded, and with no long-term solution to quell the population, the ultimate fate of many horses was prolonged suffering. At this time, if a horse goes to slaughter, it is in another country. The trailer ride is long. There is no USDA oversight of foreign slaughter facilities to ensure humane handling. Try as we might to prevent this fact, an average of 68,000 horses per year were exported from the U.S to Canada or Mexico for slaughter each year from 2007-2017. This is between 1-2% of the total U.S. horse population, and may be as much as half of the unwanted horse population. Horses that are slaughtered are mainly used for human consumption in Europe or other countries.

Horse Population Changes

Between the 2005 and the 2017 Economic Impact of the Horse Industry on the United States reports, the overall horse population declined by about two million (from 9.2 to 7.2 million horses). Most breed registries in North America reported overall declines in new horse registries from about 2000-2015. For example, the Jockey Club is the second largest registry of horses in North America. The Jockey Club has had fewer and fewer foal registries since 1990 – well before the recent economic recession. In 1990, 44,143 foals were registered. After the recession, in both 2010 and 2011 there was more than a 12% decline. The decline has stabilized in recent years. The lowest number of foals born was in 2018, with less than half of the 1990 registries: 19,500.

The key feature when looking at foaling trends is to acknowledge that horses live a very long time. A horse born in 1990 could still be alive in 2019 at 29 years of age. Caring for horses is a real long-term commitment. Financial circumstances of owners through that period of time could change. Because horses have a twenty to thirty year lifespan, the problem of overpopulation can ricochet for years because unwanted and aging horses already existed before the recession.

While the horse market “corrected” itself and breeders decreased the number of foals they raised during the last decade, many horses are still in need of rescue. Between 2008-2018, The University of Tennessee alone has treated 114 horses for emaciation and neglect, of which 28 died despite aggressive medical therapy.

During the worst part of the decline there were dark days for horses, with reports of people turning their herds out in the forests of the central U.S., or in remote areas of the West. Nobody knows for sure how many horses this happened to, or what became of them.


Large North American Breed Registries

1. American Quarter Horse Association

2. Jockey Club of North America, which maintains records for Thoroughbred horses and races

3. American Paint Horse Association

4. U.S. Trotting Association, which maintains records for Standardbred horses and races

5. Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors’ Association

6. Arabian Horse Association

[end sidebar]

The Horse Industry Improves

Ownership transfers of adult horses can serve as an estimate of how many horses exchange hands, but not all registries track this information. Transfers decreased from 2005 to 2015. From 2016 to 2018, small increases have been recorded showing that the horse industry is recovering.

We are now more than a decade beyond the start of the severe recession. Rescue groups are better organized and financial resources have stabilized. The 2018 American Horse Council (AHC) Foundation Economic Impact of the U.S. Horse Industry Report provides statistics on horses and people who work within the industry.

According to the AHC report, the horse population was 7.2 million in 2016. You will find horses in all areas of the country, in cities and in rural areas. You will find working horses, racing horses, show horses, and beloved companions. Working horses are used by mounted police, carriage drivers, ranchers, and backcountry tourists.

The AHC report counted 602 equine rescues or sanctuaries, who handled 24,000 horses. These rescues added 438 jobs and a $42 million value to the U.S economy. Unfortunately, rescues handled only about 20% of unwanted horses.

The 2018 AHC survey documented that just over 1% of U.S. households own horses, and 16% participate in horse activities. Rescue is one activity that attracts horse enthusiasts who don't own horses. There is an untapped network of millions of people that could become rescue donors, volunteers, and adopters.

Some states register and inspect equine rescue groups. Many rescue groups have a working partnership with local law enforcement, which helps both groups serve their purpose more effectively. Rescue groups must stick to specific guidelines during the rehabilitation process. Following science-supported guidelines improves the horse’s chance of recovery, and could help prove in court that a horse was neglected.

Technology in Rescue

The recent internet and social media explosion has positively impacted horse rescue. Dozens of Facebook groups and Instagram accounts focus on rescue horses. Rescue organizations use email lists and scheduling software. focuses on recovering stolen horses. We have our smartphones with us, so we can check on that cute palomino (lot #115) and donate to her plight while we are in line at the grocery store.

Confiscation or Assistance

When evaluating a horse’s situation, consider if he is not cared for because of a short-term or a permanent problem. (fig. 1.4) For example, a family that ordinarily allows their horses to graze on pasture could experience severe drought. A herd that normally accesses low-land winter pasture, could experience a particularly snowy year, preventing access to their source of forage.

For temporary problems, keeping horses in homes they already have is best. Moving them out of the owner’s hands often turns them into unwanted horses and further burdens the system that is managing the horse overpopulation problem.

We can educate and assist people to improve the plight of their stock. Funding can be acquired from state or local government or non-profit assistance. Reach out to help the humans as much as you help horses. We often don’t know the whole story and sometimes people just need a boost.

[start sidebar]

Long-Term Consequences

This is one of several medical cases that inspired me to write this book. I treated a rescue horse Chico for colic. Chico was sleek and fit. His owner, Sheila, fed him high-quality alfalfa hay from a large feed trough as was common in the region. Feeding in the trough allows a horse to eat at ground-level, as his body is designed to do, but prevents him from ingesting dirt. Chico was up to date on regular veterinary care, vaccines, and parasite control. They went on rides several times a week. Sheila loved Chico.

As part of the examination for colic, I palpated him per rectum to identify abnormalities. I could feel a hard impaction in his large colon – severe, high constipation. Worse yet, his colon was displaced from its normal location in the abdomen. The impaction felt like it had a gritty texture. There was an additional unusual finding: small black gravel and coarse sand in his feces. I was pulling out handfuls of sand rather than handfuls of normal fecal balls of digested forage. At Sheila’s home, Chico lived in a high desert paddock of fine red dirt. He had been living there for the last seven years. Sheila and I were confused. Where had the black sand come from?

Sheila showed me photographs of where Chico had lived with his previous owner, and we realized that he had lived on black and gray sand. In the photograph, he was dirty and skinny. Some of the soil he had eaten while starving and neglected remained in his gut for seven years. As part of his episode of colic, his colon became displaced and the sand had been shifted around. There was no other plausible explanation.

Chico, sadly, continued to be in pain. His colic worsened, despite hospitalization, intravenous fluids, and other treatments to combat the sand problem and displaced colon. Sheila could not afford the cost of surgery, and Chico was not getting better. Finally, we made the sad, difficult decision to euthanize him.

Sheila's grief was bittersweet: “I guess that is the tough part of rescue. You never know what is going to happen. I’m going to miss Chico very much. We loved each other! I’m grateful I could make his years with me happy and carefree.”

[end sidebar]

How to Take Proper Care of Your Rescued Horse

This book is going to help you take care of your horse. I have used organized scientific data as well personal veterinary experience to compile the information it contains. It starts with the first day when your horse arrives at his new home with you, then progresses to addresses your horse’s consecutive needs, both medically and mentally.

This is no easy task. The daunting facts are that we cannot save every single horse in need. Money is a huge factor in restoring health. We may have to choose between the possibility of helping a horse with a very expensive problem and helping four or five other horses with less severe problems. It may take six months to a year to restore a starved and neglected horse to maximal health. There may be lingering health or behavioral consequences that last his lifetime.

Morally, we must help alleviate suffering. Horse people are strong people, and this is even more true for rescue. By working together to learn what each horse needs, we can better help horses who depend on us for their fate.

Table of Contents

Chapter One Where They Come From: Horses in Need


[sidebar] The Five Freedoms

The Unwanted or Neglected Horse

[sidebar] A Cautionary Tale

Economic Factors

Horse Population Changes

[sidebar] Large North American Breed Registries

The Horse Industry Improves

Technology in Rescue

Confiscation or Assistance

[sidebar] Long-Term Consequences

How to Take Proper Care of Your Rescued Horse

Chapter Two Bringing Them Home: Traveling and Intake of Your Rescue Horse


Get Ready to Roll

Trailer Inspection and Safety

[sidebar] Pre-Drive Checklist, Professional Trailer Inspection

Driver Safety

Loading Your Horse

Know Your Horses

[sidebar] Watch Your Step

Travel Stress of Horses

Preventing Respiratory Illness While Traveling

Travel Time

Reducing Stress – Rest Your Horses

Other Ways to Reduce Stress

Halter and Tie Horses Properly

Dress Horses Properly

Trailer Regulations for Mustangs

Trailer Regulations for Slaughter

Travel Summary


Permanent Identification

Natural Features


Lip Tattoos

[sidebar] Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth


Temporary Identification

Tags and Collars




Veterinary Examination

Laboratory Testing

Fecal Evaluation

Coggins Test



Chapter Three Rest and Digest: Nutrition, Dentistry, and Colic


Body Condition Scoring

[chart] Original Henneke Body Condition Score Table


Refeeding Syndrome

Safely Feeding the Starved Horse

Feeding Program

Days One Through Three

Day Four to Two Weeks

Two Weeks to Two Months


[sidebar] Skinny Surprise


Forage Selection

Forage Facts

[chart] Factors Affecting Non-Structural Carbohydrates (NSC)

Nutrient Content of Forage

Other Feeds


Feeding Fats

Use of Probiotics

Long-term Weight Changes

[chart] Example Rations

Monitor His Weight

Other Considerations for Re-Feeding Rescue Horses

Feeding Summary

Psychological Effects of Starvation

Extra Winter Care for the Emaciated Horse


Other Reasons for Weight Loss

Gastric Ulcers


Signs of Colic

[sidebar] List of Colic Signs

Types of Colic

Impaction Colic

Gas Colic

Preventing Colic


Avoid Sudden Changes in Feed

Veterinary Evaluation and Treatment of Colic

Further Treatment & Management of Colic

[sidebar] Hobby Horse Rescuer


Chapter Four Germs and Worms: Vaccination and Parasite Management

Parasite Management and Deworming

Parasite Management

Toxicity and Environmental Concerns

Manure Management

Fecal Egg Count

[sidebar] Modified McMaster’s Fecal Evaluation

Special Cases and Considerations

Deworming Needy Horses

Parasite Management Summary

Ectoparasites and Skin Conditions

Other Skin Conditions




Mosquito-borne Viruses that Affect the Nervous System.

Eastern, Western, and Venezuelan Encephalitis

West Nile Virus

Respiratory Diseases




Respiratory Disease in Needy Equines

Diagnosing Respiratory Illness

Treating Respiratory Illness


[chart] Table of Vaccines

Chapter Five Keeping Them Moving and Sound: Hoof Care, Lameness, and Wounds

[sidebar] Pain and Attitude

Foot Anatomy

Routine Hoof Care

Factors Affecting Hoof Structure and Growth

How Nutrition Affects Hoof Growth

How Genetics Affect Hoof Growth

[sidebar] Long Ears

How Environment Affects Hooves

Recognizing Lameness in Rescue Horses

Evaluating the Feet of a Rescue Horse

Hoof Neglect

Mismatched Hooves

Club Foot


Monitoring Movement

[sidebar] Bobbing Bobby

When to Shoe

If Wear Exceeds Growth, Shoes are Necessary

If the Horse Experiences Foot Pain, Shoes are Necessary

Shoeing Horses with Abnormalities

Causes of Lameness

Injuries That Damage the Hoof

Hoof Abscesses


Chronic Generalized Arthritis

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Disease Modifying Osteoarthritis Drugs

Steroid Injections

[chart] Arthritis Treatment Table


Wound Evaluation

Wound Treatment


Extensive or Deep Wounds

Infected Wounds


Chapter Six Birth Control: Managing Mares and Castrating Colts

Castration of Males

When to Safely Castrate Males

Before Castration


Routine Castration

Routine After-Care

Long-term Expectations

Castration Complications


What to do About Swelling


What to do About Bleeding


What to do About Infection

Other Complications

[sidebar] Long Ears: Castration of Other Equines

Cryptorchid Castration

Why Cryptorchidism Happens

Why Cryptorchids Often Need Help

The Proud-Cut Myth

[sidebar] The Proud-Cut Lottery


Pregnancy Evaluation in Mares and Fillies

[chart] Cost of Pregnancy Diagnosis

[sidebar] Two for One

Pregnant Mare Nutrition

Caloric Needs Increase


Vaccines for Pregnant Mares

Equine Herpesvirus

Other Vaccines

Spaying Mares


Chapter Seven Little Lives: Rescuing Foals

The Birthing Process

[start sidebar] Long Ears

Predicting Foaling Time

[sidebar] Tragic Accident

Timing: Foaling Happens Quickly

Foal Positioning Problems

Red Bag

Normal After-Birth Sequence


Passage of Meconium

Foal Examination

[sidebar] Normal Vital Parameters for Foals

[within sidebar] Temperature, Heart, Respiration

Examination of the Limbs

Contracted Tendons

Tendon Laxity

Joint Infection

Growth Abnormalities

Special Examination

Evaluation of Passive Transfer of Immunity




[sidebar] Other Abnormalities that Warrant Veterinary Care

[sidebar] Long Ears

Normal Foal Behavior

The Orphan Foal

Feeding Orphan Foals

Alternatives to Colostrum – Birth to 24 Hours

Nutrition From Two Days to Two Weeks.

[sidebar] Nurse Mare Non-Match

Frequency of Feeding

Feeding Containers & Methods

Volume Your Foal Will Eat

Feeding – Two Weeks to Two Months

[chart] Timeline for Foals

Orphan Socialization

[sidebar] Too Close for Comfort

Nurse-Mare Farms

Halter Training

When to Begin

Putting on the Halter

Learning to Lead

Following the Mare

Butt Rope

Pressure and Release

Picking up Feet

Other Training


Chapter Eight Unable to Rise: The Down Horse

The Down Horse


Normal Sleeping Patterns

Reasons For a Horse to be Down

[sidebar] Reasons Why a Horse is Down


Neurologic disease


Metabolic Illness

Identifying Underlying Problems

Treating Underlying Problems

How to Get The Down Horse Up

Identify and Remove Obstacles

Rolling a Horse

Sliding to Reposition

Get Him Up (Prepare and Assist)

Long-Term Treatment of Underlying Problems

Long-Term Down Horse

Bed Sores and Skin Injuries

Use of Slings


Chapter Nine Urgent Rescue: Working in Disasters

Disaster Preparedness

Learn About Your Locale

Plan Ahead

Prepare your Plan


Prepare for Transport

Identify Your Horse

[sidebar] Make Your Go Bucket

[sidebar] Sarah’s Story

Guidelines for Working in Natural Disasters and Accidents


Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue

[sidebar] Potential Response Team Members

First Aid for Horses

[sidebar] Normal Vital Parameters for Horses

Leg Wounds


Wounds on the Body

Specific Disasters and their Equine Health Consequences



Falling through ice or into a swimming pool

High Winds

Heat Waves

Blizzards and Snow


Chapter Ten A Good Goodbye: Euthanasia

Making the Decision

Compassionate Guidelines

Other Reasons for Euthanasia

Euthanasia Procedure

Most Common Procedure

[sidebar] Saying Goodbye to Buddy

Confirming Death

After Care


Take Home Message

Part Two – Training

[Section Intro]

[sidebar] Training Appropriate by BCS

Chapter Eleven How Horses Sense and Respond: Sensory Physiology, Training Concepts, and Thought Processes (Fear)

Sensory Physiology

Equine Vision

Field of View

Color Perception

Light Perception

[sidebar] Blind Trust

Other Senses


[sidebar] White-associated Deafness

Sense of Smell

Understanding his Senses

Training Principles

Positive Reinforcement

[sidebar] Clicker & Positive Reinforcement Training

Intrinsic Reward and Bribery

Negative Reinforcement

Approach and Retreat

[sidebar] Click-it or Ticket



The Fearful Horse & Rescue Training

The Fear Response

Recognizing Fear – What Your Horse is Telling You

[sidebar] Signs of Apprehension or Fear

[sidebar] Long Ears

Physiology of Fear

[sidebar] A Violation of Trust

Recognizing Relaxation – What Your Horse is Telling You

[sidebar] Signs of Relaxation and Comfort

Changing Fear

Helping Others Improve Their Training Skills


Chapter Twelve Restoring Trust: Developing a Relationship

[Sidebar] Chapter Twelve Checklist.

Social Integration

Develop a Foundation of Trust

Routine and Respect

Behavior and Weakness

Rebuild Muscle

Consistency and Fairness

Training Stress

Novelty and Anxiety

Fear of Whips

Scary Objects

[start sidebar] Some Stuff Your Steed May Be Afraid Of

Overcoming Fear

Medically Addressing Fear

[start sidebar] The Twitch

Mealtime Anxiety

[sidebar] The Portly Paso

Handling Feet and Legs with Trust

Picking up The Feet of a Trained Adult

Normal Nerves

Proper Pick-up

[start sidebar] Shivers

Training for Hoof Care

Get Assistance

Touch First

Shift Weight

Lift a Front Foot

Training for Hind Legs

Keep it Up

Preparing for the Farrier

Setting his Foot Down

Go Slow to Obtain Consistent Results

Using a Rope


Chapter Thirteen Fearless: Halter Training Adult Horses

[Sidebar] Chapter Thirteen Checklist

Horse Personality

The Flight Zone

Enclosure Guidelines

Reduce Flight Zone

Round Pen

Initiate Touch

Haltering and Halter Types

Flat Halters

Rope Halters

Halter Fit

Applying the Halter

Halter Training


The Sick Horse


Chapter Fourteen Patient Training: Skills for Medical Care

[Sidebar] Chapter Fourteen Checklist

Reviewing Approach-and-Retreat

Advanced Leading Skills – Tight Spaces and New Situations

Thinking About His Options

[sidebar] Rushed – A Leading Story

Advanced Leading Skills

Small Spaces


Training Horses that Don't Know How to Load

Eliminate the Fear Factor

Teach Him Unloading First

Drive On

Entering the Hospital Environment

Entering and Being Restrained in Stocks

Physical Examination

Physical Touch

Evaluating Gums

Rectal Temperature

Nervous Nellies

Companionship for Reassurance

Oral Medications

Injection Training

Retraining Needle-Shy Horses

Desensitize Your Horse to Injections – Long-Term Training

Preparation for Intranasal Treatments


Chapter Fifteen Getting Going: Groundwork

[Sidebar] Chapter Fifteen Checklist

Safety First

Health Status of the Horse

Considerations of the Mental Status of the Horse


Longeing Movements

Halting When Longing

Increasing Speed

[sidebar] Not Trotting

[sidebar] Rowdy Ranger: A Need for Training

Tacing Up

Saddle Pad


Notes About Bucking


Chapter Sixteen Final Steps: Riding

[Sidebar] Chapter Sixteen Checklist

Before Riding

Lameness Evaluation

[sidebar] Upward Fixation of the Patella

To Bridle or Not to Bridle

Bridle Fit


Steps of Desensitization for Mounting

[sidebar] The Final Phase


Customer Reviews