2017 was an incredible year - and to say the least, a very busy year with plenty of learning and fun with lively Equine & Canine workshops here in Sligo, as well as traveling the length and breadth of the country to help bring wild 'medicine' into stables and homes.
As always there were challenging cases (trauma from a cliff fall), heart warming moments (customs dog discovering it was ok to clock off and play), extraordinary cases (speedy infected fetlock wound recovery) and times in stables when I thought I was moments away from frost bite and hypothermia!
Whilst every case is as unique as the animal itself, one aspect that always stays constant is the accuracy with which a horse or dog selects from the kit. I appreciate that this takes quite a leap of faith for those new to this concept and I applaud those newcomers to Zoopharmacognosy for taking the plunge and trusting - even for myself it wasn't until I had seen quite a few animals select that I could actually believe that they were differentiating between the extracts. I was a real 'doubting Tomas' for quite a while!
This method of telling us what they need often gives us insight in to what sometimes we cannot see or know. It is well known that animals often hide pain so as not to appear vulnerable (which could be fatal in the wild) so in these instances Zoocog is invaluable.
So what of 2018 ? - Equine First Aid Workshops, more Equine & Canine Zoopharmacognosy Workshops, demo's and talks! We are delighted that Vet Annett Siggins is coming on board to help us with Equine First Aid workshops - contents will include such topics as 'What to do whilst waiting for the vet' for emergencies such as fractures, colic, choke etc. Vital signs vs abnormal signs, wound care, bandaging etc.. Annett is not only a very experienced vet but a qualified Equine Chiropractor and has also recently trained in Equine Kinesiology Taping. She also has a wonderful smile and a beautifully gentle way about her that animals respond to very positively.
We also welcome Georgina Izatt to the Team - she will take care of our social media as well as helping out at demo's, workshops etc. She comes with buckets of energy and enthusiasm and runs rings around the rest of us!
A 'Plant Extracts for Conditions' reference book for the stable is also in the pipeline. And of course, we intend to keep supplying premium quality plant extracts through our online shop whitethornherbals.com
So - a busy year ahead!
I would like to finish by saying a big Thank You to all of you that connected with us during 2017 and played your part in making 2017 the success that it was.
In whatever capacity it might have been - whether it was attending a demo/talk, a workshop or simply making an enquiry that gave us the opportunity to learn how to, quite simply, do better at what we do, so thank you!
Carly and the Whitethorn Team
This is Pablo – a 22yr old Cob gelding from a treking centre. He came to us in September of last year because the owner of the treking centre said he had had a hard year and infact he did look pretty tired and shut down when he arrived. He wouldn't interact with any of the other horses and just ate and stood away from the others. He also had a history of Urinary problems. His presenting symptom’s included pain over the kidney area and wouldn't tolerate any pressure (noted when grooming) and very thick yellow custardy-type urine.
Sometimes he would strain to pee and always made an awkward skewered type of stance to facilitate stalling. And with the winter that we had there was significant rain scald to tackle thrown in for good measure -again particularly over the kidney area.
We were happy to have Topper, a 26yr old gelded cob from Island View riding stables to stay over winter. Topper spent his working life giving Tourists rides on the beach in Blackpool promenade and is now in retirement. His passion for Barley Grass was only equaled by his passion for banging his legs on the ground to relieve his itchy legs......
Last weekend we held the first Equine Zoopharmacognosy Workshop at Whitethorn Farm. It was an absolute resounding success, with participants from a wide range of the equestrian world – including veterinary, supplement manufacturers and medicinal herbalists.
Participants journeyed from as far as Wexford and Cork to spend two days learning the theory and practice of Applied Zoopharmacognosy. The first day kicked off with a presentation giving an insight as to how and why and on why horses self-medicate. This was followed by a demonstration with a mare Tizzy, that we have worked with previously. She selected mostly supporting constitutional herbs.
Had an interesting result with calming essential oils this morning.
Although the story started three days ago when I long-reined a feisty mare along the lanes that was spooked by a scattering flock of sheep. To cut a long story short this culminated in an unplanned pirouette that Camilla Speirs would be proud of, followed by me water-skiing along behind for 10m's, an equine equivalent of a hand-break turn, and then a U turn to finally examine the 'woolly monsters' that were disappearing over the hill at a brake-neck speed. We recovered well and returned home.
Today, whilst tacking up I could see the anxiety levels rising, so I offered Frankincence (for fear), Jasmine (for comfort), Valerian (for calming) and Violet leaf (for anticipated fear). After inhaling and injesting in varying combinations, she plodded out onto the lanes like an old granny, not once suspecting the sheep of ambushing us - she was an absolute paragon of virtue and a delight to work with!
TEAM SHEEP-BUSTER !
Warning to competitors: Valerian is on the anti-doping list for performance horses and is considered a controlled substance
The approach of Carly Hillier and Whitethorn Equine Health really help my 7 year old jumping mare. "Lux Easy" injured her suspensory ligament on her left front leg about 12 months ago. After a resting period of 9 month I took her back into work. Even though the ligament was fully healed, the two front fetlock joints started to swell up all the time but mostly after hard training or a jumping show. I brought her to different Vets and got her joints injected. Despite all efforts the swelling never went down fully. As a last resort I called Carly and her legs improved nearly instantly. Now about 8 weeks later Luxy and I are back jumping 1.20m classes:-) So thank you very much Carly!!!