There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. These are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns—those things we don’t know we don’t know. – Donald Rumsfeld
Wellness weighs heavy on our minds these days. It seems the whole world is focused on keeping people healthy. We’re fighting more than one devastating virus, poor nutrition, cancer, and violence. Of course, there’s more than one kind of health—the body needs to function well, but the health of mind and spirit should not be ignored.
We know these three things—body, mind, and spirit work together to keep us well, but there’s a lot that’s not known too. Can a depressed person (or horse) be physically healthy? How long does it take for a body to succumb to sadness or loss of hope? There’s so much we don’t yet know. And as Donald Rumsfeld says so well in the quote above, so many things we don’t even know we don’t know.
I drive my veterinarian crazy sometimes when I operate on a hunch over advice. I can’t help myself. When advised to feed fish oil to help my horse’s immune system, I refused, opting for hemp instead. I just couldn’t abide a horse eating fish.
For a long time I resisted using grazing muzzles for my horses. I hated strapping those baskets on their soft muzzles and watching them struggle to eat. But locking them off the grass in gravel paddocks all summer seemed cruel too. Eventually, I relented, and I’m so glad I did. My horses now spend many happy hours a day roaming large fields nibbling grass through those muzzles and they’re not dangerously obese. Now I know.
I have a young horse on my farm with a strange and inconsistent “hitch in his get-along”. I’ve had three veterinarians examine him, and all of them are stumped. After thousands of dollars spent by his owner, we’re now moving on to body work. It certainly seems worth a try. I’ve been resistant over the years to spend money on more alternative methods, but now I find myself hopeful for the impact it might have—for this horse and my own. More unknowns worth exploring.
Our cover story this month features a woman who’s been both a professional horse trainer and is now an equine bodyworker. Her experiences are a wonderful example of someone changing their mind for the betterment of the equines in her care.
Enjoy our Equine Wellness issue. May you all stay healthy—in both body and soul. [email protected]
Kim Roe grew up riding on the family ranch and competed in Western rail classes, trail horse, reining, working cow, and hunter/jumper. She trained her first horse for money at 12 years old, starting a pony for a neighbor.
Kim has been a professional dressage instructor in Washington state for over 30 years, training hundreds of horses and students through the levels. In recent years Kim has become involved in Working Equitation and is a small ‘r’ Working Equitation judge with WE United.
Kim is the editor of the Northwest Horse Source Magazine, and also a writer, photographer, and poet. She owns and manages Blue Gate Farm in Deming, Washington where she continues to be passionate about helping horses and riders in many disciplines.