By Joyce Harman, DVM
As we all get stuck inside or at home more than we normally are, it’s important to figure out how take care of ourselves, our family, and our animals. Since we may have more time than usual at home, how about some extra dog walks out in nature (great social distancing…walking in nature and nature does not have to be a national park, it can be a short bit of woods out back, or a local city park since most will be quite deserted).
For your horses, take advantage of any extra time with a longer ride, a trail ride away from the barn, or just spend more time grooming and stretching them. Or clean out that tack room, sweep cobwebs, fix the leaking roof……you get the picture. Putting your energy towards something outdoors and productive is a great stress release.
Resources to help turn the negative into a positive
Being in nature has been scientifically proven to decrease stress and it does not take hours a day to achieve stress reduction. https://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/about/science and this article https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health?emci=20cbd988-f33d-ea11-a1cc-2818784d084f&emdi=adac5ffc-093e-ea11-a1cc-2818784d084f&ceid=5916230
Meditation is an excellent way to boost your immune system reduce stress and improve your sleep. https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide
Work on your riding, even if you cannot get to the barn. Wendy Murdoch has a fabulous website and lots of videos and YouTube exercises. My favorite at home project is the ball. https://murdochmethod.com/shop/from-wendy-murdoch/ride-like-a-natural-part-3-get-on-the-equiball/
Horse health ideas
Check out my YouTube channel for learning. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-wwCg0XkqkInX_z9XZ369A/playlists?view_as=subscriber
If you are having trouble affording some of your supplements because work went away, sit down and think carefully what is really needed, which supplement covers the most important things going on with your horse and which are just helpful and nice but not really needed. For example, for those fat horses that need OB formula, try using whole flax seed (4 oz. twice a day) for its omega 3’s and see if you can get away with just that for a month or so. Check with your weight tape to be sure she’s not sneaking up and getting too fat.
To limit grazing, use an electric fence to section off part of a field. You can move it as needed.
This homeopathic page contains an excellent discussion of what is known to this point and what remedies you want to have on hand. It’s important that you use things like homeopathics at your level of skill and seek out a homeopath if you have any serious illness or difficulty breathing. https://www.doctorbhatia.com/treatment/coronavirus-covid-19-symptoms-homeopathic-remedies-for-treatment-and-prophylaxis/?v=7516fd43adaa
Essential oils can have good anti-viral effects and can be used topically to help ward off infections. I will be using them regularly. https://classicalchinesemedicine.org/natural-methods-protect-respiratory-system-infection-during-current-flu-coronavirus-season/.
Chinese medicine can help and has been documented to be very effective in China with the current virus. The herbs and acupuncture can be very valuable but do need an experienced practitioner to decide the correct formula. https://classicalchinesemedicine.org/initial-thoughts-on-coronavirus-prevention-and-treatment-with-chinese-medicine/
A couple of common herbal formulas that should be relatively easy to find are Yin Chiao and Jade Screen 8. Even Amazon has them.
Vitamin C is a definite thing to add, and if you get sick, intravenous Vitamin C is important if you can get to a place that uses it. Otherwise take as much as you can without giving yourself diarrhea. Usually that will be about 2-5 grams. The diarrhea is not dangerous, just that it tells you that your guts cannot absorb any more orally.
Make your own hand sanitizers, just google it.
And now for some fun and productivity
One of the worst things about not being out and about is that we feel the loss of freedom to go where we think we need to go. Guess what? There’s a ton of stuff to do around the home, and I get more excited about this each time I think of something to add to the list.
My favorite book of 2019 helped me get my house in better shape than it’s been since I moved in….28 years ago. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I think she has TV and probably videos. Guaranteed to keep you occupied while you are home!
Learn a new skill: musical instrument, new software program, plant a vegetable garden (I think I will try…. not a green thumb person here). Even a few herbs in the kitchen window can be great.
Cook: homemade food for your pets, horse treats, and even some cookies for the humans.
Be well, think positively, and remember that we will get through this and out the other side, stronger as individuals and with our immune system.