Author: Teressa Pickford Editor: L. Taylor-Brett
You might be interested in reading about examples of how Chrissie Mason Phd. has helped me to help my horses over the past few years. Most recently with my husbands horse, Joey. Lesley posted a Blog a few months ago about Chrissie if you are interested in knowing more about the way she works.
I first used Chrissie when I purchased my skewbald cob some 6 years ago. His behaviour was odd to say the least and it was making it hard for him to settle and very unpredictable to ride! My husband felt that it reminded him of the way that cows with a magnesium deficiency could behave. I did a bit of research and bought a Magnesium supplement for the horse, but it didn’t seem to help, so it was back to the drawing board. I knew about Chrissie and her work and felt it was worth asking her to do an analysis on my horse to see what she could find.
That revealed that he did indeed need more magnesium, but also needed that combined with iron and calcium in order for his body to assimilate the magnesium. She suggested a course of supplements and homeopathic powders, and I saw his behaviour and attitude change dramatically.
He became calm, affectionate and happy for the first time since he arrived, and now that I understand how his body chemistry can change and get out of balance when he moves into a different field of grass, or with seasonal changes, I can manage him easily.
Having had this experience with my own horse, I have had help from Chrissie on two occasions for my husbands horse.
Joey came to live with us 6 years ago and he has been a wonderful companion to my horse and a very sensible partner to my husband, who had had very little riding experience before Joey arrived.
He was never sick or sorry and very easy to manage, until May of 2020, when much to my surprise, he was diagnosed with Laminitis, despite there being no changes in his exercise and food routine. In fact, the paddocks had very little grass because of the hot, dry year we had. It didn’t make sense, until we discovered that someone had been throwing fruit into the field with Joey!
We quickly got him into a smaller and controlled area, he had anti-inflammatory treatment and things started to improve, but I was concerned that what had been a relatively small amount of fruit, could have triggered such a flare up, as he had never had any problems with changes to grazing before. He was a healthy weight and fit. I wanted answers to the puzzle, so I asked Chrissie to have a look at what was going on. Her analysis revealed several areas of concern that we were able to treat with nutritional supplements and by August, Joey was ready to ride and there was no sign that he had ever had laminitis in his feet. Happy Days.
It is amazing to me, how Chrissie is able to detect so much detailed and accurate information about the state of health from using a sample of my horse’s hair, but I have seen the proof of this too many times to doubt it now! Knowing that Chrissie is available to help any of my animals if they get into trouble, is a real comfort.
I had reason to ask her to help Joey again earlier this year, when he had a new problem, that had me
In the middle of June, 2021, for the first time since he came to live with us, Joey bronked and bucked while being ridden, to the extent that it unseated my husband. It was such a shock, because he had never done it before, and it seemed completely out of character. I thought I should ride Joey, just to make sure he was going to be safe for my husband to ride the next time, He was well behaved and seemed OK, but something wasn’t adding up. This was on a Sunday.
On the Monday morning, his back was covered in huge lumps under the saddle area! They were tender and warm, and Joey was definitely not his usual, jolly self.
Keep in mind, that he is ridden in a BALANCE saddle and pads that he has had for several years and been very happy in, but of course, my immediate worry, was that there must be something about the saddle or pads that had caused these lumps! It was logical to start with that assumption, although there had been no changes. I couldn’t feel or see anything in the saddle itself that would have created high pressures or friction. I keep my pads clean and always use proper, Nuumed washing liquid to wash them. Joey had been in the same field and on the same diet, so we put it down to flies/midges’ bites. I cleaned the area with Hibby Scrub, and I checked each day, but these lumps shape shifted, and moved around, over the next couple of weeks! He wasn’t being ridden, so I knew that I could probably eliminate the saddle from being the culprit, so what on earth was going on?! The lumps under his skin were hard. Joey was angry, and hated being touched, which was behaviour I had not seen before, so I called the vet for help and her diagnosis was that the was having an allergic reaction to something. Normally, she could have given Joey steroid injections, but that would have run the risk of triggering Laminitis and as the condition was not life threatening, I didn’t feel that I wanted to risk this. Particularly as his grazing was already being managed, I was concerned if the steroid injection caused Laminitis how could I treat that? The alternative suggested, was to give Joey Piriton to calm things down. I had to give him 30 tablets a day, which did make him less sensitive, but the lumps continued to go up and down and move around. No 2 days were the same. The frustrating thing was that if it was an allergy, I had no idea what Joey was allergic to! So I had no way of knowing how to manage the situation.
So, I got in touch, updated her on what had been going on and explained what we had been trying. In hindsight, I wish I had contacted her right back at the beginning of this whole episode, as it could have saved a lot of time and worry, because by this time, it was mid-August.
Chrissie’s very detailed report revealed that she was picking up that his liver function was not as it should be, that he had a low-grade infection lurking in his system and that he had a serious iron deficiency. These things combined were causing his skin to be generally hyper-sensitive and making him feel lethargic and grumpy.
This made sense to me, because if a fly landed on him, he was turning himself inside out, which was another new behaviour for Joey, who was normally pretty laid back about such things! I had even started using a fly sheet on him, in desperation. Joey normally hates rugs. In the past, a fly sheet would last less than 24hrs, before he had ripped it off and left it in tatters, lying in the field, but this time, he seemed glad of it and kept it on. I was lunging him for short sessions every few days, just to check how he was moving and grooming him, massaging to check on sensitivity and for lumps and bumps etc, and was massaging him. Knowing how feisty and full of personality Joey is when he is happy and well, I was aware of how lifeless and dull he seemed.
Chrissie gave me a list of powders and liquid drops that she was suggesting I try if I wanted to give it a go and I felt it was important to try because we were getting no-where. I slowly reduced the Piriton and then started Joey on a course of the remedies that Chrissie was suggesting.
Within 24 hours, (and I cannot explain how) but Joey was different, his skin was less sensitive, he was happier, he just seemed more like Joey.
It took a few more days for the skin to feel elastic again all over his body, but the lumps were definitely gone, and didn't return. Joey clearly felt a lot better, because he decided that he no longer wanted his fly sheet…………and removed it!
From almost the first day I started Chrissie’s suggested programme and treatment, Joey was getting back to his normal cheeky self, which was such a relief, because he is normally the most fun-loving, happy horse, with always a lot to say! He has no malice in him at all but can be quite mischievous if you leave a bucket, brush, hosepipe, headcollar or actually anything that he can reach and ‘customise’, usually by ripping it apart! Much as this is a challenge, he had been so miserable and withdrawn through the summer, that I was even glad to see that he was getting back into his old tricks! He was coming back to life.
After finishing his first round of treatment, he seems so much better, but I wanted to be sure that he was definitely in a good state of health, so I asked Chrissie if she could take another look at him, and she suggested that we do another, slightly modified course of remedies to help him really balance out the areas that had been stressed during the summer. I gladly did this, and Joey is back to his happy, energetic self, being ridden regularly and enjoying life.
Of course, I have been wracking my brain, trying to figure out what might have caused Joey’s body to flag up deficiencies and lack of balance in his body chemistry, nutrition.
I know I had been forced to change the normal feed balancer during 2020 because of Covid related shortages and the alternative, definitely contains a different formula of vitamins and minerals. I had also changed the horses from their usual, Red Rocky mineral lick to a Himalayan Rock Salt lick, and the other thing that Chrissie mentioned was that she felt that Joey had been affected by a vaccination. Joey definitely reacts to vaccines, and I realised that we had started doing 2 vaccines a year instead of 1 and that he had had a vaccine in April. So, I plan to go back to one vaccine a year. Maybe the problems were caused by a combination of things that tipped his body into a state of un-balance which showed up in these strange symptoms. Whatever the reason, I will probably never know, but I am so grateful to Chrissie for working with my horses and helping them recover to a good state of health.
The cost of sending a hair sample and asking for a full analysis and report from Chrissie seems to be the equivalent of one call out charge and consultation from my vet, and the costs of the remedies that Chrissie uses and suggests, are not going to break the bank. Of course, I am not suggesting that I would ever avoid getting the vet involved, but there is no doubt that without Chrissie’s help, I might well still have a very unhappy, and un-rideable horse, despite all of my efforts.
Chrissie is, without doubt completely dedicated to helping animals (and she works with humans as well) and she is so thorough in the degree to which she studies the whole state of the systems of the body to identify areas that are out of balance and in need of support. You can see this in the detailed reports that she produces and sends after doing her analysis.
What becomes so clear is that the key to recovery from problems like Joey’s is going beyond treating the symptoms to make them go away, to figuring out what caused the body to throw up those symptoms and dealing with that!
I hope that in sharing Joey's story, it creates some interest in the kind of work that Chrissie Mason does. We all need to have access to a really good Veterinary practice if we own animals, but I am really glad that I can also work with Chrissie when I need the kind of help and support that she can provide. She seems to be able to be able to 'see' past the symptoms of disease, lameness etc. and figure out the root cause, that even the most sophisticated diagnostic equipment and most experienced vets. can't always do! Just by using a sample of the animals hair! Don't ask me how she does it, but there is no doubt that she does. There is another Blog on here that explains a lot more about the way Chrissie works, if you are interested.
If you have a problem with a horse, dog etc. that you can't get to the bottom of, you could see if Chrissie could take the case on, to do an analysis. She can be reached best by email on [email protected]