Laura in Connecticut (USA), contacted us with concerns for Titus, her OTTB as he was struggling to settle down in his new home. Due to circumstances beyond Laura and Titus' control, Titus had moved livery yards twice in the last 6months and Laura felt that he was struggling with losing his herd and adjusting to his new home. He has not bonded with his field mate and is very uneasy in his stall. He has also been nipping and being pushier than normal. After a thorough assessment of Titus emotional and physical state through a series of emails, we sent to the US a kit of herbal extracts that would most likely be selected by Titus and his presenting symptoms. This included extracts for pain such as Arnica CO2, German Chamomile and Yarrow EO, extracts for emotional pain such as Rose otto, Neroli and Linden Blossom absolute. Also sent were comfort and calming oils to bring ease such as Vetiver EO, Jasmine absolute, Hemp and Sandalwood. We also advised that Laura purchase some organic Devil's Claw root and Comfrey Leaf locally to offer for pain and arthritis.
After receiving the extracts Carly coached Laura through a Mentoring session on Zoom. Laura and Titus were absolutely fantastic - what a wonderful bond they have! Opening with Cornflower floral water, Titus then went on to select extracts that are often selected for calm and ease. What was particularly remarkable about Titus and his response was that immediately he requested (and Laura responded appropriately) topical applications on his poll, jowl and hind quarters. In particular Titus was keen to have essential oils (Neroli, Yarrow & Hemp) applied to his right ham string group of muscles. At the pre session assessment Laura mentioned that his right hind had been an issue so it was great to see Titus asking for help in this area. When offering Neroli, Carly requested that Laura just cracked open the lid of the Neroli (and not removed it) as an initial offering - Neroli is a highly volatile oil, and 'gently does it' is the watch word when dealing with grief. So, it was no surprise when Titus balked at the Neroli and retreated quickly to the back of his box.
We proceeded as we would with any horse with emotional trauma (too complex to explain here) and later Titus was inhaling the Neroli deeply and experiencing releases. Laura was an absolute star and as someone whom has never used the Applied Zoopharmacognosy approach, was very impressive in her ability to offer and respond appropriately to Titus' requests. Also to note, that for a horse to immediately request a topical application on the first session shows the complete faith he has in Laura to listen and respond to his needs. Such a great bond! On our catch call up a week later, Laura was delighted to report that Titus's emotional wellbeing was much improved and he is back to his old self again.
Well done Titus and Laura!
If you would like to learn more about our Mentoring packages which start from a half hour guidance to a full session (1.5hrs) for horse and dog owners please click here.
Whitethorn Academy student rates available.
At a risk of sounding like an old woman (which in fact I am), doesn’t time fly?! I was looking for a folder in the office and came across this old article from a newspaper (for those of you under 20 a newspaper is a pile of large pieces of paper with writing on them that we used to clean windows and wrap chips in before Health & Safety got over zealous). I wrote this article for the Irish Horse Review (published April 2012) in an attempt to create an awareness of the animal’s innate ability to self-select herbs in order to restore health. It received a lukewarm (if not Baltic) reception and from that response, I knew my work was cut out. Therein followed much blood, sweat and tears to spread the word on Applied Zoopharmacognosy (self-selection) throughout Ireland and how it could help animal carer's support their animals and restore health. Since that time our work here at Whitethorn Herbals & Whitethorn Equine Health has increased rapidly and exponentially with Zoopharmacognosy making it onto mainstream TV along with being listed in Wikipedia!
Looking back over the last decade there have been tears, laughter, loads of joy as well as disappointment and copious amounts of fear when I have had to put my big brave pants on. There have been a few almighty cock up's (involving live streams - we shall say no more) as well as many, many moments of pure magic! It's never easy for anyone (or business) challenging the status quo and I have received my fair share of mockery, attempted bullying and downright rudeness. But I have also experienced incredible support from family and friends that believed in me and also just as importantly the seen (and unseen!) horse and dog community as we have gone on to build our tribe initially nationally and now globally.
I won’t harp on about the fact that running your own business is not a walk in the park - some of you will already know this. Suffice to say during the first few years, visualise 70hr working weeks, coffee via IV drip, hands pretty much glued to the steering wheel and a hair style that Bob Marley would be proud of (come to think of it, that part hasn’t changed). And to be honest with you - I would do it all again in a shot! Such an amazing journey. When I built Whitethorn Farm (2000) and put up the stables (before the house of course!) I knew that I wanted to do something with animals but little did I know what was in store. I just knew it had to be in the animals interests.
I have heard it said that whatever you enjoy doing at the ages of around 7 or 8 is your true soul path as at that age you haven’t been influenced by society/education (ok, I know, controversial - but let's just park that topic there for another day). For myself, at 7yrs of age I could be found out in the garden making herbal potions using Roses and other plants, immersing them in water in jam jars and leaving them to infuse high up in the tree house away from my brother’s interference. I would come back and check on them regularly to check their potency in anticipation of giving them to one of the members of our menagerie! Which by the way, in it's hay day, had a dog, goat, donkey and around 19 guinea pigs and a few rabbits. And a tortoise which had our house no painted on it's under shell incase it went rambling (this was the 60's when things were different). All of that in suburban leafy Surrey (UK). I giggle to myself when I remember that when I am often working in the shop packing herbs or working with horses around the world on zoom. Tempus fugit!
To see any animal, receive what they need often after such a long period of lack makes my heart swell. To see a glimmer of hope or a sparkle of Love in the eye of an animal as they realise, they are being listened to and their needs are being met. To see the relief when healing is received, or a glance of recognition and appreciation from a fellow animal indeed is without doubt food for my soul (may I ask 'what feeds yours?'). These are things money cannot buy. They feed the soul like no other and it humbles me and I feel so privileged to work with our animal friends.
I guess the take home message here is, dreams do come true but at the same time you also make your own Luck, so set your sites high and do what it takes to fulfill your dream and your soul's destiny. And if there is such a thing as Karma, I must have been an angel in a past life, because I sure got lucky in this one - to do what I love and love what I do!
Wishing the same for you, Carly
CONSIDERING CREATING AN EQUINE SELF-SELECTION HERBAL GARDEN? 🍀🍀🍀
You will see many 'equine herbal based' sites throwing around the idea of creating an herbal garden for your horses to select from. Whilst this is a laudable idea, we would like to share our experience as an Equine Clinic that has created an Herbal self-selection area. It has to be said that herbs certainly are a lovely addition to any garden and indeed the horses love a range of herbs to select from. A herbal garden is also a is a great way of getting an indication of what a horse needs - providing you have an extensive range of the correct species (ie not hybrids or garden centre varieties). So it's really important to make sure you have the correct species growing. As we know, most paddocks and forage areas are normally quite sparse from a plant diversity point of you and when your horse finds a herb they need, they will decimate the plant! So of course, when they get the opportunity in a herbal garden they will also decimate the herb that they need. So thumbs up to the herbarium for indicating horses needs but generally a thumbs down for supplying their full needs!👌
However, you could try what Una Barker at Lagan Bank Lodge has provided on their track system. What a great invention! These self-selecting baskets have been successful for a limited amount of herbs. Lagan Bank Lodge comments that sometimes the plants would grow inches past the basket then other days they’d be trimmed right back to the edge, so the horses were self-selecting when needed. Pictured are Thyme, Chives, Oregano, Mint and Sage. On top of the tyres are hanging basket attached using cable ties.
Please do visit Lagan Bank Lodge’s Facebook page. 💚
We are often asked about how to care for our products and so we have put together some key points to bear in mind when using and storing our products. We take time to source the best quality available with most of our herbs and essential oils being organic.
We want you to get the best from them and to keep them in tip top condition so read on!
* Keep your herbs, powders and essential oils in a cool dry dark place - away from children
* Make sure your lids and bags on herbs and essential oils are airtight
* Keep all essential oils out of direct sunlight
* Avoid storing in humid areas such as the bathroom, window, stove
* Some oils such as sandalwood actually mature over time
* Some citrus oils can expire sooner than others - approx 12 months
* Keep the cap on, don’t leave cap off for long periods of time unless your animal is still selecting and using an oil/extract
* Put the right lid back on the right bottle to avoid contamination!
* Floral waters last for approx 1 year
Just to note that we are the only supplier that provide named lids to avoid cross contamination 😄💚 which can be disastrous - for example putting the Garlic lid on the Rose otto bottle!
PS Aromatherapy essential oils are not appropriate for the self-selection approach!
Equine Zoopharmacognosy Level 2 Hybrid Workshop
SMC Sporthorse Molly was the second of our equine participants for the Level 2 Zoopharmacognosy workshop held recently in Sligo at our Whitethorn Clinic and online through Zoom. Molly is a 13yr old A grade RID showjumper with a very sweet nature and engaged from the Get-Go! As per the previous blog, this hyflex workshop inlcluded two wide angle cameras set up in each stable so that attendees online could clearly engage with the session side by side with the onsite participants. They also had the ability to contribute with regards to suggestions of herbal extracts and essential oils to offer to Molly. Trish, Aurelie and Majella (Onsite attendees coming from Meath, Sligo and Galway respectively) worked with online participants Alison (NI) and Carol (UK)to offer medicinal herbal remedies to Molly.
Molly's presenting symptoms
SMC Molly is known to been arthritic in her hocks and also lost a foal this year. Kerstin our Team Whitethorn Vet completed a pre-session examination and found no obvious issues other than arthritis in the hocks.
Day One of the workshop - Molly's selections
Molly is an old hand at Zoopharmacognosy and was very forthright in what she did and didnt want. She was very clear in her selections and became very frustrated when they students were not quick enough to offer the correct extract she was looking for! To the point she would paw the ground and get quite agitated so we removed the box of herbs and reintroduced them one by one from the adjoining tack room. She selected extracts for nutritional supplementation - mainly Rosehips, Barley grass and a tiny lick of Dandelion root powder. She also took 500ml of Comfrey macerate and inhaled and licked Arnica CO2 (both are often selected for arthritis). She also selected Mimosa ab, Violet Leaf ab and Clary sage essential oils. These extracts are often selected for grief, anticipation of pain and hormonal imbalances in that respective order. Just to note, that Molly had a choice of outlets (window and door) from which she could extend her head as well as a large stable should she wish to remove herself from the process.
Day Two of the Workshop - Molly's selections
On the second day of the workshop Molly's selections were similar but she went much deeper with the emotional oils. Again she took Comfrey macerate and Arnica CO2 and she demolished the Dandelion root powder whereas the day before she only wanted a single lick. She also gorged less on the Rosehips and infact when offered Rose otto she stilled and lost interest in them. Our onsite participant Trish offered Mimosa and as Molly took an interest she continued to offer supporting oils to help her work with the Mimosa. Molly went into a deep process. However, it was obvious that Molly had trouble letting go and kept dipping in and out of a state of process. This could be possibly because she is the matriarchial mare as pointed out by Alison online. The supporting oils offered to enable Molly to process were Sandalwood, Violet Leaf Ab and Rose otto. We will never know for what particular issue or trauma that Molly selected the Mimosa and supporting oils for but afterwards she was much brighter. Well done Molly and Level 2 students Trish, Aurelie, Carol, Alison and Majella! And to Izzy for holding the gimbal still for so long despite her numb fingers!
On Saturday night residential students went for a fun lively meal at a local restaurant where we discussed the days events and more! :)
If you wish to join us at our next Level 1 workshop to learn how you can work with medicinal herbs and essential oils to help your horse restore and maintain health, or if you wish to continue your studies in this amazing way of working with horses, click on the following link: EQUINE WORKSHOPS
Equine Zoopharmacognosy Level 2 Hybrid Workshop
SMC Sporthorse Angel was one of our equine participants for the Level 2 Zoopharmacognosy workshop held recently in Sligo at our Whitethorn Clinic and online through Zoom. Angel is a 16.3" RID 3yr old Filly with a beautiful gentle temperament and was an absolute joy to work with! This particular workshop was the first of our hybrid workshops and on many levels it was very successful. Two wide angle cameras were set up in each stable so that attendees online could clearly view the session. They also had the ability to contribute with regards to suggestions of extracts to offer to Angel which they all did splendidly. Silke and Gemma (Onsite attendees coming from Galway and the UK respectively) worked with online participants Trish and Ruth to offer extracts to Angel.
Angel's presenting symptoms
Kerstin, one of our Whitethorn Team Vets, carried out a pre session assessment and noted capped hocks and splints. This could well be due to rapid growth although just to note that her owner is an experienced knowledgeable horse woman and her diet would be appropriate for her age and breed/type. Her owner also noted that she has very itchy skin and this was evident when Angel was stabled although she had no bare patches or broken skin.
Angel's selections on Day 1
Initially she was offered nutritional supplementation which she selected with gusto! Her favourites in the area of supplementation were Dandelion root powder, Seaweed (dried) and Rosehip shells. We often find that horses with itchy skin select extracts to support the gut and Angel was no exception. She selected Peppermint essential oil, herbs in the line of Marigold flowers, Liquorice root powder and cleavers dried herb. She took a significant amount of the herb cleavers which are rich in silica and cleanse the lymph as well as promote skin, hoof and hair condition. She also showed an interest in Arnica CO2 and Tobacco extract. Interestingly enough, upon inhaling the Tobacco extracts, online attendees noted Angel have, what they described as a minor physical 'wobble' which they seemed to think was of a neurological nature.
Angel's selections on Day 2
On the 2nd day of the workshop she selected similarly in the line of supplementation but then went on to select Devil's claw root which is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. She was also reoffered Arnica (which she had selected on Saturday) but interest was much reduced initially. Again on the 2nd day she selected cleavers in similar amounts to the first day. She didn't seem to be overly interested in any emotional extracts and this can often be the case when horses are focusing on physical nutritional needs. However, at the end of Sunday session she presented her left rump for a topical application of Yarrow essential oil and Arnica CO2. A physio attending the workshop noted that her bilateral hamstring group of muscles were hypertrophied (bigger compared to the other muscles) and hypertoned (tight, holding tension) so the topical application of Arnica CO2 and Yarrow essential oil would certainly help with this issue.
We would just like to say a big Thank You to all our attendees, Angel and all of Team Whitethorn for making this workshop possible!
Our next blog will cover Molly and her selections at the Level 2 workshop! She selected for physical and emotional issues from which the students gained significant learning.
Recently we undertook the first dry-run for the Level 2 workshop later this month and we are getting very excited! In the mornings there will be discussion on issues such as barriers to success, Triggers, Mind-body connections, mixing modalities, emergencies, dealing with trauma. Case studies will also be referred to along with science papers where possible. Participants are joining us from all over Ireland and the UK, many of which are experts in their field and so we look forward to some lively enriching debate! In the afternoon, small groups of students will be assigned a horse along with a kit and a breakout room on Zoom (or should that be stable? ) Participants Online will be assigned a breakout Stable and join in with the session by suggesting extracts to offer, take the session notes etc. Also part of the plan is to have a roaming Yard-Cam going from group to group catching snippets from each session for further interest for those online. Team Vet Kerstin will assess the horses prior to the workshop and also be on hand to give valuable input. Horses in Breakout rooms is an absolute first in the Equine Educational Industry in Ireland if not in the World. We are very excited about these developments and Welcoming you all to Whitethorn Farm either physically or virtually!
Carly is delighted to have been asked to represent the Equine Zoopharmacognosy Industry at the Equine Touch UK Conference in October. She will give a talk on how and why horses self-medicate on herbs and essential oils, along with looking at Case studies of horses that have benefited from this modality. Animal self-medication (or Applied Zoopharmacognosy) compliments bodywork modalities such as Equine Touch, Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, and Shiatsu. Extracts are offered during a body work session in order to support the releasing process. For example, Yarrow, Sweet Marjoram and Peppermint essential oils are known muscle relaxants and are often selected whilst bodywork is in progress. Black Pepper is also often selected for sore muscles whilst Rose otto is known to reduce adrenalin and can support the horse in letting go during a session. Carly is looking forward to spreading the word further and continuing to inspire Body workers on the benefits of Equine self-medication at this years Equine Touch Conference! A big 'Thank you' to all at Equine Touch Uk for this fine opportunity!
We are delighted to give a big Welcome to Tilly and Greta to Whitethorn Farm. They are joining the Team as part of our commitment to the non-use of herbicides or pesticides which we have never used here at Whitethorn Farm. They are primarily in charge of weed control and are great candidates for our interspecies grazing programme! They are experts in self-selection and the first extract that Greta (brown goat - British Alpine) selected was Arnica, whereupon the stiffness in her gait completely disappeared. Tilly's initial selection (the white Saanen Goat) was Yarrow essential oil (ingested) and later on Garlic and Clove essential oil (possibly for worms). At one point we noticed Greta itching and so offered Neem powder. She requested a topical application and the itching ceased. She also inhaled Neem oil but did not choose to ingest. They both enjoy seaweed and rosehips every day and now as the weather is getting colder, some cereal. An interesting behaviour with goats, is that when they select an oil, they often request a topical application between their horns on their poll by lowering their head to the bottle. The picture above is of them shortly after they arrived. They are now enjoying rest, recuperation and retirement after a very productive life producing many kids and much milk. See below for more recent pictures of them - a lot done but more to do! They are in their senior years but great characters and a huge addition to the farm. We love them!
At last weeks online Canine Level 1 Zoopharmacognosy workshop we worked with Pippi. Pippi, as you can see, is a beautiful very friendly 3yr old Otter hound and as a dog is rather anxious and always on alert. Pippi selected analgesics which was surprising as she showed no obvious symptoms of pain. On the first day she selected Cornflower Floral Water, Rose Floral Water, Wintergreen essential oil, St John's wort macerate, Sandalwood essential oil and then promptly went to process at the other end of the room. On the next day she selected similarly (analgesics) but had less St John's wort than the previous day and added Comfrey macerate to her selection as well as Arnica Co2. She processed a lot more deeply on the second day with deep leg and body twitching. Izzy intends to continue offering at home and we look forward to hearing how she reduces her intake of analgesics as the healing progresses. She was a model demo dog and we are very grateful to Izzy for bringing Pippi along!
Please note: Aromatherapy oils are not suitable for the zoopharmacognosy approach. All our extracts are specifically sourced for the self-selection method.
Hi! My name is Carly and I am a life long lover of Dogs and Horses. When my mare was having regular episodes of Colic I looked around for a solution and found Applied Zoopharmacognosy (also called the self-selection method and free choice botanicals). I was so impressed that I trained in this fascinating effective herbal approach and have gone on now to train others. That was over a decade ago and I am now part of the Whitethorn Team and work with horses and dogs all over the world to help them restore emotional and physical health. As part of the support we offer, we also supply herbal remedies at our online shop along with providing workshops and one-to-one mentoring (Onsite & Online) on how to work with them. We truly hope that you enjoy and maybe learn a little from our blog. Carly and the Whitethorn Team, Sligo Ireland
© WHITETHORN HERBALS 2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
TRADING UNDER WHITETHORN EQUINE HEALTH LTD
WHITETHORN FARM, LAVAGH, BALLYMOTE, CO SLIGO ROI.
CO REG DUBLIN 644782