Horse Won’t Gain Weight

Arabian horse won't gain weight

Recently, we had an Arabian horse come to stay with us here at C&C Colt Company.  He was severely underweight, grumpy and didn't move very well.  He was very stiff, short-strided, and generally very tense.  We called in Dr. DePaulo, our equine chiropractor.  He said he felt like he was very uncomfortable in his own body and didn't want to be in his body.  

His appetite was good, but it was like he wasn't getting any nutritional value out of his food.  He was in flight mode all the time.  He seemed like he was not even mentally in his body.  Everything seemed just very instinctual rather than having any thought behind it.  

We had him on diatomaceous earth and colloidal silver, but didn't get any improvement with those.  So we added applie cider vinegar and still nothing.  We also did a fecal and it was determined that he needed a power pak.  

So we had Dr. DePaulo come out and check him and found that he had ulcers.  Not a big surprise considering his state of mind.  He was unable to adjust him until the ulcers were addressed, so we added Excel to his regimen.  Within 30 days he started to put on a a little bit of weight and we were able to have Dr. DePaulo back out to do the adjustments he noted from his previous visit.  

He's been on the Excel for 6 months now, along with ACV, various essential oils, and ProBios.  He's shown great improvement over that time and looks like a different horse both physically and mentally.  His movement is so much freer and he now floats when he trots off, which he couldn't do before because of his gut pain and the level of inflammation in his body. 




So while at first glance much of what we see at the surface may look emotional, sometimes that can be secondary to a physical issue.  It pays huge dividends to dig a little bit deeper to find the roots of a problem with your horse.  Give them the benefit of the doubt when behavioral issues crop up. 

Having Intent And Focus When Riding Your Horse

Have focus and intent when you ride your horse -

As with any moving object, in order to get from Point A to Point B, we must have first know where we are, next know where we are going and then plot a course to get from one place to the other.  Riding a horse is no different.  Yes, they do have a brain and can think for themselves, but when the rider lacks intent and focus, the horse will proceed to plot their own course – usually based on their own set of coordinates that has nothing at all to do with what the rider has in mind. 

An excellent example of this concept of focus comes from Carmello, a student who came to C&C Colt Company on referral from his aunt and uncle who happen to have their daughters in riding lessons with us.  Carmello wanted to have a ranch experience and his aunt and uncle told him about us.  So we arranged for Carmello to come out here to the ranch for a couple of weeks.

During his stay Carmello helped us with many different ranch projects, caring for the animals, and also took several lessons with us.  He was in awe over the entire experience of being around the horses.  Carmello comes from more of a liberal arts type background, music, art, etc.  Nothing that offered much in the way of hands-on country living.

During his lessons, he was having a lot of trouble with steering.  He just couldn't get the horse to go where he wanted.  I noticed that he just let the horse do what it wanted instead of offering any sort of leadership or direction to the horse.  I explained to him about the importance of having focus and connection when doing anything with a horse.  You must pick a focus, and do not take your eyes off that focus, until you get to your destination.  When you arrive at your destination, then pick a new focal point.  Once he figured that out, it was night and day in his riding.  

Lesson…Maintain connection, have intent and focus at all times when riding your horse.  If the horse isn't receiving instructions from its rider, then it will often just take over and do it's own thing.  It wants a leader.  If you aren't going to be a leader, then it will be the leader for you.  

Carmello playing saxophone for Chris and Caren Ruthven -


When we mentioned that Carmello comes from a liberal arts background, we weren't kidding.  Turns out he is a very accomplished saxophone player.  He was kind enough to play for us at our anniversary dinner. 

Intro To Classical Dressage With Caren Ruthven

Although the discipline of classical dressage has ancient roots, in Europe dressage was first recognized as an important pursuit during the Renaissance.  Classical dressage is still considered the basis for modern dressage, i.e. competition.  The training philosophy in dressage is to build suppleness and muscle strength in the horse while mentally becoming calmer and more stable.  

Caren has been using classical dressage to help develop her young Andalusian for several years, and she's noticed a huge improvement in his overall physical and emotional fitness.  He's beginning to learn how to carry himself correctly, developing the correct muscles and muscle memory which will prepare him for the higher level movements that will come later on. 

In the following video, Caren demonstrates some of the exercises and techniques that she uses in her regular sessions with her horse. 

If you are interested in learning how Classical Dressage can help your horse, join Caren Ruthven in her new clinic Intro To Classical Dressage where she will walk you through the process of introducing your horse to lunging, work in hand, and basic under saddle exercises with an emphasis on rider seat and position in accordance with classical principles.  Visit the Clinic Schedule here –


Learn To Start Your Own Horse With A Master Colt Starter

Learn to start your own horse under saddle with Master Colt Starter Chris RuthvenHave you always wanted to start your own horse under saddle but didn't have the confidence to do it on your own?  In this new 12-week series, Master Colt Starter Chris Ruthven walks you through the step-by-step process of developing your own horse – all the way from the ground to that first ride in the saddle and beyond. Chris's new Colt Starting Series is a fusion of the philosophy and techniques he covers in his signature Foundation Building and Repair, Frame For The Future and Along For The Ride Clinics.  Chris will guide you through the process of checking for and filling in holes in your horse's foundation.  You'll learn techniques to develop respect and confidence in your horse through ground work exercises and desensitization techniques.  Chris will also teach you how to read the horse and to react sooner to the more subtle signs your horse presents, which is usually where people run into problems when starting a horse.  By the time you are ready to step up into that saddle, your horse will be ready for it – no rushing through the process in this program!  Once under the saddle, your horse will learn how to first accept a passenger before moving on to accepting basic rider aids and beyond.  

Everyone will get individual one-on-one time with Chris, and will move at the pace appropriate for each horse/human "couple".  Chris will assign customized "homework" to do between each weekly session based on individual needs.  As with any training program, there can never be any guaranteed outcome.  However, what we can guarantee is an insightful look at what it takes to start a horse under saddle, and that you will get out of this program what you put into it.  Individual results will vary depending on the age, experience, physical ability, emotional development and personality of each horse as well as the time that you devote to your assigned homework.  

Master Colt Starter Chris Ruthven teaches 12-week colt starting clinic

We understand that not everyone can just stop everything for 30 or 60 days to attend a full-time training program.  So that's why we've set up our program to run once a week.  You can still live the dream of learning how to start your own horse from a Master Colt Starter, but still have a life.  This series will have 2 groups running at the same time in order to accommodate different scheduling needs.  Group 1 will meet every Thursday and Group 2 will meet every Sunday.  Between each week's meetings, you'll complete the homework that Chris assigned you.  Chris will be available by phone if you run into any unexpected challenges.  

  • Limited to 4 students per Group.
  • Weekly 3-hr sessions will be offered in 2 groups – Group 1 on Thursdays and Group 2 on Sundays.
  • This is not a "month-to-month" program.  It is a 12-week program designed to be taken in it's entirety.  

If this sounds like just the kind of program you've been looking for, and you are willing to commit to 3 hours one day per week for 12 weeks with Chris to build your own skills, then you owe it to yourself to give us a shout.  Make that investment in yourself, developing your own skills which can be put to good use starting your own horses rather than investing in someone else to start them for you. 

You can find all the details like dates, times and pricing here –

We look forward to hearing from you!

Using Horses To Inspire Kids – Horse Mentorship Program

Chris Ruthven, Caren Ruthven and friend with Horse Mentorship student Brandon during his summer visitMeet Brandon, one of C&C Colt Company's Horse Mentorship Program students (we have something horsey for ALL ages!).  Brandon is 12 years old and has been coming to visit us for the past 3 years from Wisconsin.  Brandon is the only one of the five kids in his family that has a love of horses!  We met Brandon through one of his relatives who lives here in Texas and who happens to be one of our clients. When Brandon's family was down for a visit, she would haul her horse over and we would supply Brandon with a horse to ride so we could all go ride together.  

The first year Brandon came, he rode Caren's old Parelli horse Katie.  We were super impressed with Brandon's riding ability.  He had Katie jumping over jumps, walking over the bridge, doing all the obstacles on the obstacle course. And he was only about 9 years old at that time, and even with Katie being a 16-hand Paint mare, he handled her with no problems at all – like he had been riding all his life.

We enjoyed having Brandon around so much that the second year he came out, we suggested to him that he should come stay with us for his summer vacation.  That day when they left, we got a call from the relative that Brandon stays with.  Apparently he was so upset about having to leave to go back home that he cried the entire drive back to her house.  Month's later Brandon's mother phoned us to inquire about coming to visit again. She asked if we were really serious about Brandon coming to stay for a while or were we just being nice and saying that?  Of course, we said we were quite serious about it, and we would LOVE for him to come stay with us.  So she said "Okay, let me work on that!"  It's a big deal to think about letting your young son or daughter go to another state and stay somewhere without you!  But, in May of 2014, she called back and said, "Okay, how does 15 days in July sound?  We'll bring him to you, stay for a few days with him to adjust, then come home and leave him with you there."  We were thrilled!  

July came, we dropped one student off at the airport to go home and picked up Brandon and his mom the same day to bring them to our place.  His mom stayed with us for 3 days to help him adjust.  But of course, as you would expect when we dropped her off at the airport and drove off, he cried for a bit because he'd never been away from his mom.  So to help get his mind off his sadness, we took him to our friend's boat dock and hung out to swim at the lake and had dinner at the boat dock.  Brandon thoroughly enjoyed himself and we all had a lot of fun together.  

The next day, he was just fine and rearing to go.  So over the period of his stay he learned how to drive the golf cart, how to clean stalls, feed the horses…all the normal everyday horse care chores.  Teaching kids responsibility and giving them physical, as well as mental, acitivites and chores is a great way to help boost self-esteem, not to mention burn off that over-abundance of energy that often gets kids into trouble 🙂  Brandon also learned how to safely approach and catch a horse when you are only 3 feet tall yourself!  As well as how to pick up feet, groom, etc.  He would just pick up a step stool and go to town grooming the horses. Brandon got to ride pretty much every day, sometimes even riding multiple horses.  We could put him on anything, and he rode them all very well.  His only problems being finding out how to actually get onto the horse with his short legs!  

During his stay we did lots of other activities, like trips to shop at the local western store, attending horse shows, visits with our neighbors, and watching movies to keep his little boy short attention span satiated.  And every day he loved, loved, loved napping on the biomat!

We were so impressed with Brandon and his level of natural ability with horses and the level of responsibility and interest for a boy his age that we decided to gift one of our young geldings to him under the condition that his parent's could afford the horse and were agreed that it was okay for him to have him.  He was over the moon excited!  His parents agreed to talk it over between them and see.  This last Christmas, his mom asked for a picture of Night (the horse we gifted him) to give Brandon because he was missing him so much. So we are still waiting for a final decision, but all parties have their fingers crossed.  

Horse Mentorship student Brandon with his horse Night during his summer visit

Brandon's mother said this about his time with us – "He grew to appreciate the hard work it takes to train horses and grew to love horses even more.  He realized that is what he wants to do, and learned there are better ways to treat a horse.  He learned how to become one with a horse.  He loved learning the proper way to treat a horse."

We are looking forward to seeing Brandon again next summer, whom we are sure will be even bigger and just as enthusiastic as he was last year!  

Check out the video of Brandon learning to catch and halter one of our babies, and even picking up her feet.  

If you'd like to learn more about the many horsemanship programs C&C Colt Company has available, please feel free to contact us at  


Repetition Is Important For Desensitization In The Horse

Caren and Anja riding in perfect sync at desensitization clinicI took my Big Boy "Sacramento" a 6 1/2 yr. old Andalusian, to a Desensitization clinic that my girl friend put on last weekend.  I tell you what….it was great!  Sacramento is a BIG Baby.  He has separation anxiety and has a little low self esteem.  So,  I really praise him a lot and I go over board to let him know he is has done a good job. It really has helped boost  his confidence.  Even the smallest of things like backing a couple steps (using himself correctly) I really make a big stink over it.

Actually he really surprised me at the clinic.  I thought he would come unglued with all the crazy obstacles, but he did NOT.  He really just took everything in stride.  The clinic gave me the opportunity to discover some things that I wasn't aware of.  For example, with the sound obstacle he was fine going with the obstacle on the right, but he was not ok with it on the left side.  Maybe due to deer ticks in his ears  several summers ago that may have caused some hearing loss? He really surprised me with the car wash obstacle and even the fire crossing .  After he  checked it out a little bit he then went over it with only a little encouragement.  The flag obstacle worried him a little bit more, but he still when through them.

Caren and Sacramento going through the carwash     Caren and Sacramento going over the matress

Caren and Sacramento going through FIRE

 By the end of the end of the day he didn't care about anything….what a good boy!
 It was a great confidence building experience for him.

 I can't wait for our Obstacle/Fun Day here at C&C Colt Company in May to see all his progress, and how much more confident he will be by then.  The more he is exposed to these new things, and in a supportive atmosphere, the easier it becomes for him.

Treating A Horse With A Cough Using Homeopathy

homeopathic remedies for a cough in horsesThe other day I had a client ask me "what would you use for a horse that has a cough?"

It really depends on If the cough just started or if it's been lingering for a little while.  In most cases homeopathy is what I usually use.  For a cough that has just started, I will try Aconite (which is also used for SHOCK). But if it has been a little while, then I use Belladonna, (may seem anxious and delirious), and Alluim Cepa (raw onion) if they have profuse tearing of the eyes.  I may also use Nux Vomica (for symptoms brought on by cold and dry weather) as long as the horse does NOT have high fever or the symptoms worsen when eating.

Histamine or Alluim Cepa are both good for allergies. For horses that have become chronic, you would actually start off with a smaller dose, like 6c or 30c.  But for horses that may just be coming down with the symptoms a higher dose, like 200c is usually more effective. 

All of these natural remedies can be purchased at any health food store and often are available through a chiropractor. 


"Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines" by Stephen Cummings, MD and Dana Ullman, PHD, pages 68-69.

Clinic Offers Water Crossing Confidence For Your Horse

C&C Colt Company Water Crossing Clinic - build your horse's confidence around the waterDo you have trouble with crossing water on your horse?  Most of the time this behavior is rooted in fear.  Horse's have poor depth perception and putting their foot on a tarp or in the water can be a daunting task for them. 

Here at C&C Colt Company we want to help you build a more confident horse.  So we've added a one-day Water Crossing Clinic where we'll walk you through step-by-step developing the leadership skills you'll need to help your horse through the process. 

We'll have multiple obstacles such as a small creek set up, a pond, tarps, water jumps and a bridge set up.  By breaking the task down into smaller steps, your horse will become more confident with each try. 

Join the fun and learn how to cross these obstacles successfully! 

Date:  March 29, 2014

Time:  11 am – 5 pm

Cost:  $75.00 / auditors – $15.00

(includes breakfast, lunch, coffee, tea and water)


The Gift Horse

The Gift Horse

The tale of a very special horse and how he changed one woman's life

By Lisa Carter, CEMT
Heavenly Gaits Equine
Carlton, Texas

Caren Ruthven and her off-the-track Thoroughbred Twilight at a Parelli Natural Horsemanship Clinic in 2008Twilight (Twilight Agenda x Miss Maserti) was born in May of 1999 at C&C Colt Company and imprinted by Caren Ruthven. Caren had no idea at that time how much of an impact this one horse would have on her life, nor what tremendous obstacles this horse would encounter, and overcome, on his journey to maturity. From weanling to yearling, he experienced a series of very traumatic events, both physical and emotional, that no one horse should ever have to experience. As a weanling, Twilight was traumatized by a severe hailstorm that spawned baseball-sized hail. He became frightened by the storm and crashed through a fence, cracking his skull. He healed quickly, but was left with a small bump on his forehead.

Twilight's greatest challenge came as a yearling, when he somehow managed to get his entire body wedged in a hay feeder. It took several people and a tractor to free him. He sustained severe injuries and emotional trauma from this event. The vet was not certain Twilight would survive, but Caren insisted they try everything possible. Caren faithfully followed the recovery routine given her by the veterinarian. The injuries were so severe that Twilight had to be short-tied in a stall for two weeks with his front leg in a splint to limit movement.

Over a period of several months, he was allowed progressively larger areas to move about. He had to undergo very painful skin grafts, where skin was removed from his stomach and transplanted to his leg, unsuccessfully, and finally had to undergo a punch graft.

Through all of this, Caren was with him 24/7, caring for him and comforting him where she could. The vets thought Twilight would be in bandages for at least a year, but through Caren's diligent care, the bandages were finally removed after six months. They developed a very strong bond during this time. There was absolutely nothing that Caren wouldn't do for Twilight.

Caren Ruthven and her off-the-track Thoroughbred riding in an Eddo Hoekstra Clinic in 2008In time, Twilight was given the green light by veterinarians to begin training for the racetrack. While he was in training, Caren visited Twilight several times. When she entered the barn, she would call to him, and he would perk up and nicker for her in return. He genuinely seemed very happy to see her during these visits. But after about the third visit, his responses to Caren changed and he seemed, to Caren, to be mad at her for his being there. He appeared very depressed and sad, and was definitely not happy with his current situation. After a very brief and unsuccessful racetrack career, Twilight was to be returned to C&C Colt Company under Caren's care.

When Caren got Twilight back, it was very apparent that his old injuries were still giving him serious trouble and that was most likely the cause of his failure on the track. He had severe scar tissue built up in his right hip, and his pelvis was crooked. This seemed to be greatly limiting his range of motion in the hindquarters. One of Caren's clients at the time went to school to learn massage for the express purpose of helping Twilight. This seemed to help him quite a bit, but he continued to have problems. Caren eventually took Twilight to a "Sense Method" clinic with Mary Debono, a Feldenkrais Practitioner from California. During this clinic Caren and Twilight had an extraordinary experience.

During the clinic, Caren followed the instructions given to her by Mary Debono. For several days, Twilight showed little or no response to the therapy, despite having individual as well as group sessions performed on him. Then, on the fifth day, after the morning session, Caren noticed Twilight's hair was standing on end, like he was full of static charge. That afternoon, they performed a group session on him, and shortly thereafter, Twilight seemed to have a reaction, very similar to a colic episode. He laid down and his breathing became very fast, almost like he was hyperventilating. Caren was very scared, but followed Mary's advice during the episode. When Caren laid her hands on him, his eyes were wide and looking about frantically as if trying to tell the story of that terrible night he became trapped in the hay feeder. He continued in this state for approximately 15 minutes. Then he raised up briefly, his breathing came back to normal, and he quietly stood up and shook his head. Whatever he had just experienced was over, and he walked off as if nothing had ever happened. People say that you must face your fears head on before you are able to move on into full recovery. Caren believes this is what Twilight experienced and needed to go through in order for the healing process to begin.

A week later Twilight was behind the barn when Kerry, the massage therapist who had worked on Twilight so often, walked up and asked, "Who's the new horse?" She didn't even recognize him at all. He was a completely different horse. He appeared much calmer, and he seemed completely at ease. His entire expression had changed and even the way he carried himself was different. After two or three months, Caren noticed he had grown about 3 inches at the withers. It seemed that whatever shift his body had made, had freed up the muscles in order to allow freer movement and decompression of his frame.

Caren Ruthven and Twlight during a Parelli Natural Horsemanship Clinic in 2008These experiences with Twilight convinced Caren that she did the right thing by stepping out of the box and seeking alternative therapies. Conventional medicine was limited in the help it could provide. Shortly after the "Sense Method" clinic, Caren took Twilight to a Natural Balance clinic given by Gene Ovnicek. After examining Twilight and seeing how painful his lumbar area was, Gene felt he could help relieve a lot of the stress through corrective shoes. They tried a wedge pad on the hind feet, and this seemed to greatly help Twilight. It helped to ease his pain and his stride increased dramatically to the point of overstriding. She also experimented with several homeopathic remedies to address the scar tissue.

In 2006, Caren began taking dressage lessons with Twilight, which came very easily for him, despite his limitations. Twilight seemed to enjoy the lessons immensely and was always very attentive when Caren rode him. However, after about 5 months of training, Twilight started to display intermittent problems with shortstriding. His x-rays showed that he was in the very painful stage of fusing his right hock. Caren decided to put him on turnout for six months. During a recheck about the fifth month of his turnout, his left hock was found to be fusing as well. So, back out to the pasture he went for more healing time. During the ninth month, he went back for a recheck, and he was back to having problems with the right hind, which turned out to be a bone spur that had developed right inside the hock joint.

Caren started riding Twilight again in very light work in August 2008. Since then, he continues to experience periods of unevenness in his gait, but has more good days than bad. So, they take trail rides when they can and spend lots of undemanding time together. Caren is committed to doing whatever she can for this miraculous horse. Were it not for him, she would never have taken the path into the world of holistic health care and met the wonderful people and animals she's met on this journey.

Dedicated to Twilight from Caren, "Thanks, Baby, for opening my eyes. Momma loves you."