Put The Horse`s Health First

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My father was a medical doctor, and he served in World War II. When he returned from the war, a deathly ill young girl was brought to him by desperate parents. They had been told by an older physician there was nothing more that could be done to save their daughter. But then they heard about my dad, a young doctor who was using a new ”miracle cure” he learned about in the war. They brought their daughter to him, and the girl survived. What did he use' Penicillin.

Our March 2006 article on ”Taking Natural Too Far” resulted in a number of letters objecting to our stance that ”natural” can become a problem when taken to extremes. Many of these letters ignore the fact that horses are living longer, healthier lives because of advancements in veterinary medicine and farriery.

Because we believe our job is to help you make wise decisions about difficult choices, and one of the toughest involves this huge trend toward ”natural horse care,” we’re going to clarify some points now:

1) People are making money off of the natural movement, just as they earn a living selling more traditional methods of shoeing, veterinary medicine and feeds.

2) Anything in excess has the potential to go awry, whether it’s natural or not.

3) Many people who claim miraculous recoveries with laminitis, navicular and more lack scientific proof (X-rays, veterinary clinical notes, etc.) that the horse was truly as bad to start with as claimed.

4) Horse Journal is not anti-natural. We were among the first to discuss the benefits of magnesium for laminitic-prone horses, Vitex for Cushing’s, and Spirulina for allergies — based on trials by our own Dr. Eleanor Kellon.

5) We believe barefoot is best. At the same time, we acknowledge that it is not always in the horse’s best interest to do so.

If an herb or therapy works as well as, or better than, a drug, you’ll hear about it from us. If it doesn’t, we’ll tell you that, too. And, honestly, although most horses truly don’t need blankets, we believe blanketing a shivering or bug-eaten horse is an act of kindness.

Our bottom line is simple: If you’re going to listen to vocal natural extremists and not give your horse an antibiotic, like penicillin, when he has a serious infection or not shoe him when his feet are falling apart, you are endangering your horse’s life. Drugs and steel aren’t the only choices, but sometimes they are the only sensible ones.

-Cynthia Foley