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One of the first ‘food’ distinctions I learned

January 3, 2023

One of the very first things I learned, once I had decided to try to understand the role of the food we eat in our health and our lives, was that certain foods contain enzymes. Specifically, raw, unprocessed, unchanged-from-their-original-state plants, seeds, berries, nuts, etc. contain enzymes.

While enzymes aren’t nutrients, per se, they are the catalysts which enable or prevent almost every chemical reaction on the planet. When they are in our food, in abundance, our bodies don’t have to work very hard to digest food. When our food is cooked, processed, and otherwise altered, the enzymes are gone, and our bodies have to come up with 100% of the energy to break the food down, extract the nutrients, and make them available to the degree that they can.

This is all exhausting! One reason you might be tired is simply that your body is using 50% of it’s energy to digest what you eat. That’s not a very good return on the investment of your time, energy and resources!

In this video, I share a bit more about this topic – I’d love to hear if you’ve learned about enzymes and raw food and what your experiences have been:

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Getting Started

December 30, 2022

Today was my day to do a bit of running around, picking up more produce, so that I have some things on hand to get the ball rolling in the right direction. In this short video, I explain the focus of my efforts with my food! Enjoy!


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Taking control of my health

December 28, 2022

Perhaps it is the time of year, or my heightened awareness of my own mortality, or my two young horses developing really well, such that I want to be my fittest and also look good in my show coat next Spring – whatever the reason, I find myself ready to truly implement, at a more impactful level, what I know about food and eating and prevention and health.

I’ll be doing a series of videos, posting them here and sharing on FB and IG (once I figure out the tech) and I invite you to join me on my journey, if you are finding yourself in a similar spot, or simply want to be a voyeur 😉

Here is the link to my first video, and I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and stories:

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The Power Of The Internet

April 20, 2021

Arabella has been transatlantic at least twice that we know of. One of her trips was in the 50’s, and her then-owner hired a photographer to be a part of the crew and journal the summer. He then has a set of three albums made from a compilation of the photos. We have seen these albums at Mystic Seaport Museum, but unbeknownst to us, each of the guys aboard received a set of these albums.

Here’s the fun part! The daughter of one of them found her Dad’s set of albums in and amongst his things. Rather than just throw them out, she decided to do a quick Google search and see if Arabella was still around, and if there was a current owner. There was and there is! She found this site, apparently, and then emailed Henry. We PayPal’d her postage, and the albums arrived in less than a quick! Here are some of my favorite pics:

Arabella hauled out for some work while in Sweden
The cover of one photo album
Local newspaper coverage of Arabella’s visit to Sweden
On a mooring
The crew!
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Well, I missed this one!

December 26, 2017


I’m traveling over this Christmas break, and so I’m away from Rudi for a couple of weeks. This isn’t an issue, since its wintertime, he was recovering from an abscess when I left, and he needed time to just heal. However, since being out here, I ran across a post on Facebook, which blew my mind.

For a long time, I’ve been hearing about how important it is that the horse be able to make a heel-first landing. I’ve also learned from watching this incredible video by a veterinarian (who is an amazing educator), that most horses have thrush, and we should be assuming our horse has thrush to one degree or another. Here is her talk, aptly entitled ‘Is the Hoof Smart?’:

After watching this video, I realized that those thin cracks up in between the heel bulbs, albeit small, were holding thrush and were causing a measure of soreness for Rudi. So, I have started diligently treating for thrush.

Then I found this post on Facebook by Sound Hoof Trimmer, and she posted the graphic below:

When I compared that to the photo I happen to have on my phone out here with me on my Christmas travels, I realized Rudi also doesn’t have enough hoof at the back of his hoof. Now, I have had people share with me, both freely and also via paid advice, that he needed to grow some more hoof. Several people have even mentioned the heel buttress. But I had no frame of reference, and so a picture is truly worth a thousand words. Until I saw this very detailed graphic, I just didn’t have any comprehension of what the back of his feet should look like. Without this structure, imagine how uncomfortable it would be to land on the heel?

I am now quite anxious to return and see what his feet look like, currently. The mind doesn’t see what it isn’t looking for, and I haven’t been looking for these structures, so there may be more heel buttress there than I’m remembering. I haven’t trimmed anything off for quite a while, so I’m optimistic. The picture posted at the top of this is from August, and I’m hopeful that there’s been some significant growth since then, but I honestly can’t remember.

Go take a look at your horse’s feet today – I’d love it if you’d post and share what the heel bulbs and heel buttresses look like. I’m happy to share how I’m treating the thrush, too – just comment below and I’ll connect with you on the details.



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New Year’s Resolution in November

November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving is next Thursday (a week away) and my mind is still thinking it’s August. Time truly is relative and definitely moves at different speeds, at different times. So much has happened over the past 6 months, that were I to write it all out, no one would believe me.

One of the topics on that list is Rudi’s feet. Suffice it to say that after a disappointing Summer, thinking I would be able to back Rudi, I am now the one doing his feet myself, and I might, perhaps, be able to back him next Spring or Summer (but the jury is still out on that).

I do agree with Napoleon Hill (of “Think and Grow Rich” fame), that every adversity brings with it the seed of an equal or greater opportunity. And so it is, with Rudi’s feet. The program I had been following ended up causing more issues (abscesses in both front feet, vet calls, more pain for Rudi), instead of creating  solutions. But I guess I needed that extreme situation in order to step up to the plate and be willing to take over the care myself.

I am learning, through reading Pam Grout’s amazing series of books, E Cubed and E Squared, to look at everything which transpires in every day, and say “Awesome!”.

being able to respond with “Awesome!” to everything which happens is certainly a new skill, and there is very little cultural support for this perspective, but I’m kind of used to functioning without cultural support, because of our business. (If you don’t know our business, we are on the cutting edge of  food: we have encapsulated produce and vertical aeroponic gardens, so that people can get more produce easily). In my work, every day, I face the challenges of being on that cutting edge, and it apparently is a space where either I feel most comfortable or I am attracted to, because I am there with Rudi and his care and rehabilitation, too.

Currently, I am letting his feet grow in very different ways than we had been doing before. I’m not following any one system, but instead, reading and researching a variety of approaches and then applying what will apply, to his particular feet.

Fortunately, I have been able to spend quite a bit of time just training him, and this, too, is another seed of equal or greater opportunity: Frankly, I know myself. If he had been sounder sooner, I would have skipped a lot of this basic ground training, hopped right on him, and started training him under saddle the way I’ve always ridden and trained.

This time, I have been forced to wait out weeks, actually months, until some modicum of soundness has returned, and that has made me look for other things we could work on together. As a result, we’ve got a much better connection on the ground that I have ever had with any other horse, and it has shown me that much more should be established before I even consider climbing up on his back.

So this next few months will be spent developing my skills (and his) with in-hand work. Thanks to my former trainer, Peter, I’ve done a lot of in-hand work, but mostly using long lines. This time, I will be working up close, with a short line off of a cavesson. I have so many bridles, that I took one bridle to a shoe repair shop, with my old lunging cavesson (which never fit ANY horse well) and I’m having the hardware taken off of the lunging cavesson and put onto the bridle cavesson. That way, I will have the ability to use an outside rein while using the cavesson ring on the front of the bridle. It should allow things to be much lighter, and keep me from creating too many problems.

Rudi does understand the whole concept of training now, which is also very helpful. Rewards are a part of the deal for him, as they should be, but even without treats, he is into trying to figure out what we are doing on any given day. He likes to work, he likes to move, and he also is enjoying discovering that he is quite the athlete.  Its going to be a great journey!


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January 16, 2017

Rudi report: Two days ago, Jess came to the barn for another trim. This trim was 5 weeks after the previous trim – a very long span in between trims for Rudi, considering that, at one point, Jess was modifying something almost daily.


This trim, just like the last one, was a huge breakthrough for Rudi’s feet, on a number of fronts, and I’ll try to go through them in a way that allows you to see the modifications and understand the growth process.


Its hard to remember how much progress we’ve made, but here are what his feet looked like when he arrived:




As you look at this picture, his left front is to the right of the photo, and it was (and is) the more problematic foot. You can clearly see how the foot is deformed, with a huge flare towards the other foot. Here in this photo, he is not walking on his foot normally at all, even though he was traveling fairly soundly. The hoof wall has grown out sideways, and he is essentially walking on the wall on a horizontal plane, as opposed to a vertical plane.


When this happens, a number of issues develop in the interior of the hoof. In Rudi’s case, the bar had also become overgrown and distorted and was creating intense pressure up into the interior of the hoof – so much pressure that he couldn’t land on his heels, was walking on his toes. The bones in the interior of the hoof capsule moved and became damaged because of being in the wrong position, relative to the weight-bearing they are required to do. The pastern joint was rotated partially out place because of how he was having to land on and use his foot.


Our goal with this therapy has been to get all of this tissue moved back into place. Once the right tissue is in the right place, our hope is that the bones will settle back in to a more proper alignment, and we can at least arrest the damage being done. In terms of outcome, our hopes have been that we could get him to a point where he is stabilized, and can be turned out without needing therapeutic boots or daily soaking. While I’m still doing both, I think both Jess and I can see that we won’t need to forever. This is great news because it means that he can (if nothing else) be a happy pasture horse and we don’t have to worry about daily treatments or watching that his boots haven’t twisted or come off or are causing rubbing. It is a huge milestone to have reached.


The next goal is to see if we can get him sound enough for light work, and as of the day before yesterday, both Jess and I are leaning towards the answer to that question being ‘yes’. The 5 week interval between his last trim and Saturday’s trim gave him time to grow some correct tissue, without creating too much incorrect tissue (although on the left front, there still was plenty), and Rudi was feeling just fine. In fact, he was a bit ticked off that he had to leave his buddy Copper and come in and stand for the trim. He was traveling almost completely soundly and clearly felt no pain, so Jess and I spent a disproportionate amount of time on handling, but it was a terrific learning day for both Rudi and me.


Here is what his feet looked like prior to this trim.

This is the right front, and there are so many reasons this photo is exciting – the wall is getting thicker and stronger, but the most important change is down in the toe area.

As you look at this photo, to the bottom right, you will see an area where healthy sole is peaking through the unhealthy mix of old sole and smeared bar and necrotic tissue. It is only about the size of a quarter, but its such visible evidence that a new, healthy sole is on the way!

All the other stuff you see at the toe area is old keratoma which have now been replaced with healthy tissue and are growing out.


Right front before trim


Here is the same foot after the trim:


Right front after trim

In this picture, you can actually see the damage the keratoma did to the sole tissue. See that pink line that follows the hoof wall and then zig-zags behind the remnants of the hole in the toe? That is damaged, bruised sole which (at one point) was way up inside his foot – deep inside, probably near the coffin bone, and was decidedly painful. While it isn’t pretty to look at, it’s helpful to see external evidence of what was going on internally a bunch of months ago.


Here is the left front prior to the trim:

left front before trim

This foot is the one which is most problematic. Rudi has had imbalances in this foot for most of his life, and without trimming, they wreaked havoc on the internal and external structures of the foot. The hole that you see in the to area to the left is an old keratoma growing out, similar to the one in the right foot. The hole to the right, and a bit back from the toe, to the side, is the remnants of an area Jess cleaned up at the last trim, when we found sole tubules all compressed and misshapen by the fact that Rudi is still walking incorrectly on this foot.


Our goal with this trim was to clean the toe area, but also dig out as much bar as possible in the fulcrum area of the foot (where there shouldn’t be any bar, but where Rudi still has bar in abundance) and then also relieve enough pressure on the inner wall that he can start to walk a bit more heel-to-toe. He has not been able to do that, ever since I’ve had him. Most of the reason is embedded bar, but some of it is also heel and wall shape.


Here is that foot after the trim:


Left front after trim


You can see from this picture (even though it isn’t the best in terms of clarity) that most of what looked gross, was just trimmed right off – it was pretty much superficial ugliness. The bigger change is that there was enough wall and sole for Jess to be able to really modify the medial wall – it is almost squared by comparison to the lateral wall, but this will widen out to a rounded shape now that the pressure is decreased.  You can see in this photo that he still has bar in the fulcrum area (the white-ish lines beyond the halfway point of the frog, in the direction of the toe).


Horse’s hooves are actually quite flexible, and if there is bar in the fulcrum region, they loose that flexibility. Think of it this way: the midpoint of the hoof is like the arch of your foot. There should be an air gap there similar to (but no where near as high as) the space between the floor and the bottom of your foot under your arch. The horse’s hoof flexes there, but if bar has been allowed to grow into that space, they lose that flexibility, and the foot hurts.


Think about having something rock-hard pressing up into your arch every time you took a step. What would you do? You’d probably walk on your toes, and that is exactly what most horses do: they change their gait, sometimes imperceptibly, and land with almost all of their weight on their toes, instead of the normal heel-to-toe movement. This results is huge changes to the interior of the hoof. Not only is the bar tissue (which is just as hard as the hoof wall, because it is the same thing) cramming up into the interior of the hoof, but the foot isn’t designed to have the weight landing on the toe. The net result, after years and years and many thousands of pounds being carried by the foot incorrectly, is bone and tissue damage to the interior of the hoof.


Rudi has massive sidebone as a result of this way of moving. He also has coffin bone rotation, and bone demineralization in the tips of both coffin bones. The sidebone won’t (or typically doesn’t) affect soundness, but coffin bone rotation sure can. The demineralization seems to be more of a question mark. I’ve had some people look at his x-rays and tell me he needs to be put down, I’ve had others tell me he will never be sound. My own vet felt that he’d be sound but with corrective shoes and pads, however, he agreed that given time and working with Jess, we could also potentially get him sound following her therapy. Horses can lose a fair amount of their coffin bone, and still travel soundly. They have keratomas cut out all the time, and return to work. I’m hopeful that once we get him landing and moving heel-to-toe, that the coffin bone angle will improve. His pastern joint was also adversely affected by his feet, and we will hope for that to settle back into a better alignment, as well.


Some of Rudi’s outcome will depend upon his ability to handle the changes, but he was in a lot of pain for a long time, prior to my having him, and even though the process of this therapy to bring his feet back to health has, in and of itself, created painful times, he has handled them well. He seems to be able to handle the changes and the process well. The one picture which I did not get was the huge hug Rudi gave Jess at the end of the trim session, after she was finally able to cut away the pressure area on the wall on his left front. He buried his head against her and just said “Thank you” as clearly as any horse ever has.


Here are the before (when he arrived) and afters (after this most recent trim) viewed from the front:

Right front:

Right front comparison

Left front:

Left front comparison


It has taken us about 6 months of corrective therapy to get to this point, and we still have a way to go, but clearly are headed in the right direction.