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horse care Australia

Patterson’s Curse ingestion

The ingestion of Patterson’s Curse is a real worry for the horse owner. The plant contains an alkaloid which cannot be cleared by the liver, and is cumulative. This means that every time the horse eats the plant, more alkaloid is stored until finally the liver cannot cope any longer. It is always fatal, or so we have always believed.

A couple of years ago I received an urgent call for three horses who were dying of Patterson’s Curse ingestion. Within a day of the call, two of the horses died and one was down, jaundiced and unlikely to survive. This was a desperate situation, with no known treatment.

Thinking back to the simplest homeopathic principle, “like cures like”, I picked some plants of Patterson’s Curse, extracted the alkaloid in alcohol and made a homeopathic remedy from the thick black tincture.

The remedy was given to the horse twice that day. The next day, the horse was standing to receive his two doses! After a week of treatment, the horse’s lymph glands swelled up, but resolved in a couple of days. It appeared the horse made a recovery. The owners could not afford blood tests, so we have no scientific evidence of recovery, beyond a horse who appears to be in good health.

I have since treated four horses with jaundice after ingesting Patterson’s Curse, with only one set of before and after liver function tests. At the moment, the success of the treatment is anecdotal, but I am interested in following up with blood testing, before and after.

If anyone has a horse with problems associated with Patterson’s Curse ingestion, I am offering to provide the remedy at no charge (postage charge only). This would apply provided veterinary consultation has taken place. The results of blood tests, before and after treatment would be appreciated.

If a scientific study is successful, we may have an inexpensive treatment for Patterson’s Curse ingestion!


Stringhalt is another of those mysterious ailments that afflict some horses and not others.

When I was asked to treat a couple of eventers with severe stringhalt. I admit to feeling alarmed at the severity of the syndrome, for want of a better word. These horses were so unstable that at times both back legs were in the air and they crashed back down to earth in the most ungainly way, landing on their fetlocks.

Conventional treatment uses anti-epilepsy drugs, but to my mind, all this does is dull the impulses rather than refining them. Since it is the long nerves of the body that are affected, not the brain, I decided to think outside the square.

For one week, the horses were given homeopathic Nux vomica 30C to clear the body of toxins. After one week on the Nux, we switched to Hypericum 200C to help soothe the nerve endings. My feeling was that the nerve endings would feel corrosive and scratchy from the toxins and the Hypericum would help.

After the two weeks of homeopathics, I went over the horses’ bodies and noticed that any palpation of the hind quarter resulted in nervous spasms in the gluteals and the caudal end of longissimus. I maintained the touch until the spasms quietened down and then moved onto the next patch. Slowly, I covered the entire area of the hind quarter until there were no more spasms.

Lifting one back leg at a time, from the barest lift, I stroked the leg down to a resting position. I repeated this exercise, gradually increasing the height of the lift and the slow release. Once we had a little more control, I started moving the legs through a range of motion, always ending with soft placement.

After this initial session, the horses were around 80% improved. They were able to stride forward, instead of hiking, and were able to step backward (something neither was able to do before the treatment).

Two weeks later, I followed up with a more refined session of reprogramming and balancing the legs.

Four weeks later the horses competed at Elementary Dressage. Both placed in the top eight, and there was no comment from the judge about unusual hind quarter movement. Since then, they have successfully competed in dressage, showjumping and cross-country.

Basically the treatment can be broken down into three parts:

  • Eliminate the toxin.
  • Soothe the nerves.
  • Reprogram the proprioceptors.

Since these initial horses, I have successfully treated many others.

EI vaccination and the sequelae.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding the EI vaccination of racing horses in New South Wales and Victoria.

While we were fortunate, here in Victoria, to have remained EI free, many horses were vaccinated so that racing could continue here in Victoria. It was, after all, Spring Carnival!

I heard from my NSW clients that even though their horses had had five months off because it was impossible for them to travel successfully through the various zones, that once they started to train up for a resumption of racing, the horses were ‘flat’ and no where near their previous form.

Not long after my conversation with them, I heard rumblings that horses here in Victoria, vaccinated against EI, were also showing a lack of form.

The interesting thing was that there were reports that horses that had contracted EI, and recovered, returned to form.

Respiratory diseases usually enter the body via the nose and mouth, not via a hypodermic injection directly into body tissue. In the usual introduction of respiratory virus, the animal has its first line of defence in the nasal and oral cavity which allows time for the animal to mount an antibody response.

My NSW clients were interested to try a homeopathic approach to their horses’ poor form.

The following is the chronology of events.

October 2007. 24 horses in training were vaccinated with EI vaccine.

With racing not possible at the time, horses were spelled for one month and then resumed light training.

February 2008. Horses in training with the aim of resuming racing in March.

March 2008. Horses performing under par.

April 2008.
24 horses given 1 dose of Ledum 1M to counter puncture trauma of vaccination.
24 hours later, 24 horses given 1 dose of Polyflu 1M nosode.
24 hours later, 24 horses have running noses, two have a bad cough.
24 hours later, horses are recovering

In summary, within 24 hours of receiving the nosode, all the horses became symptomatic.

The horses recovered within 72 hours of receiving the nosode.

The horses were given one week off, then resumed race training with their form comparable to pre vaccination. They are winning and placing again.

My feeling, one which I don’t expect to shared by anybody associated with the control measures used against EI, is that vaccination left horses with a low grade, chronic condition due to the fact that not only the vaccine stressed out the immune system, but the method of administration (via needle) was a further insult to the body.

The fact that all 24 horses became symptomatic within 24 hours of receiving a nosode strongly suggests to me that the nosode brought the low grade condition to the fore, and allowed the body to go through a process of ‘healing’, even though no infective agent was introduced to their body via the nosode.

It would appear we are looking at a new miasm.

I think it’s time we started to consider the true nature of healing.

Holistic Horse care in Australia