Colorado trainer has found success following her heart and instincts in using healthful, natural products, combined with a hands-on, labor intensive approach
Pam Fisher has been enthralled with horses all of her life. Born in Pennsylvania and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, she grew up in the heart of horse country. From age eight, when she was given her first horse, she immersed herself in the competitive riding and racing worlds. In the course of her long career, Pam has become a highly regarded horse trainer and an expert three-day event competitor with dozens of honors to her name.
In college Pam studied animal behavior, adding scientific study to her innate understanding. Her life’s work, as it turns out, brings all of her learning, intuition and experience to bear: in addition to training, Pam heals horses with creativity, compassion, common sense and heart.
Pam has owned and operated her own horse facility since 1986, training horses for many equestrian disciplines. Over time, her interest in rehabilitation of injured horses has grown exponentially.
Her introduction to rehabbing horses came more than 20 years ago through an invitation to sit in on a meeting about nutritional and healing products for horses. The use of magnetic field therapy had just been introduced. Already a well-regarded trainer, Pam was entrusted with the care of an injured event horse for sale on consignment. She used the treatments and dietary supplements available at the time, in addition to the relatively new magnetic therapy. Instead of the expected six-month rehabilitation period, the horse was healed in just three months.
Healing injured animals holistically takes a great investment of time and effort and an understanding of a horse’s basic nature.
“Horses are social creatures and they need fresh air and sunshine and companionship, just like people do,” Pam says. “If you’re happy and in a good frame of mind, you’ll heal faster.” She also likens horses to young children. “Think of your horse as a four-year-old child. Try to keep its life as simple as possible. Treat it like a member of your family.”
Pam moved to Colorado in 1994 and established her facility, Ruffian Stables, in the Roaring Fork Valley near Aspen. Since then she has continued all of the facets of her career, including her rehabilitation treatment, under the sunny, clear skies of the Rocky Mountains.
EMBRACING THE ALTERNATIVE APPROACH
As interest in and acceptance of alternative healing therapies for animals grew, Pam’s treatment of horses continued to evolve. “People in general are more open-minded in terms of alternative therapies now,” she says. Working closely with veterinarians to diagnose and create an individual treatment plan for each animal, Pam has found that in many instances, depending on the injury or shape of the horse when she receives it, her treatments can cut healing time in half.
An enthusiastic proponent of a healthy diet, Pam incorporates many of the same nutritional supplements into her horses’ nutritional program that humans ingest, including flax seed, Omega-3 fatty acids, multivitamins and oats. She also uses homeopathic remedies, liquid glucosamine for joint health and aloe vera juice, arnica and calendula for healing injuries.
The latest tool in Pam’s restorative arsenal is an infrared light therapy device, used to heal damaged tissue, stimulate acupuncture and trigger points, tone tissue and increase circulation in areas being treated, while minimizing the chance of hemorrhaging fresh wounds or recent surgical sites.
As an example of light therapy’s therapeutic power, Pam spoke about healing a large laceration in a horse’s side. After only five days, the wound looked as though it was already two weeks old.
So impressed was she with light therapy’s curative powers, Pam used it on herself a few years ago when her leg was broken in an accident. She says her orthopedic surgeon refers to her as his “miracle patient.”
“He could no longer see the four fracture lines on my tibial plateau after just three weeks,” Pam said. Only weeks after breaking her leg, Pam was back in the saddle, with her doctors expressing their amazement at the rapidity of her healing.
One of the most important messages Pam conveys is that there are many highly successful treatment options in the healing of horses, just as there are for humans. And alternative and supplemental treatments really make a difference.
“I want people to be aware that there are many viable alternatives to standard veterinarian treatments, but as with all worthwhile efforts, they require a lot of time, energy, patience and sensitivity.”
Happily for the hundreds of horses she has healed and will heal in the future, it’s work that Pam Fisher was destined to do.
Betsy Furth, a classically trained cellist, has worked in the marketing and public relations fields since 1998. She has written websites, brochures, advertising and PR copy for clients that include high-end real estate developments, arts organizations and start-up businesses. When not writing or playing the cello, Betsy can be found hiking the mountains around her Aspen, Colorado home.
A few of the hundreds of horses successfully treated by Pam Fisher:
• Bennequick - A 17.1-hand gelding with a bowed tendon, Bennequick was treated with therapy equipment and diet supplements. After 5 months, Bennequick started to jump again to place second at Fair Hill in the preliminary division.
• Directing - An allowance runner who came to Ruffian Stables for therapy after tendon splitting surgery at New Bolton Center, Directing was back in full training in four months compared to the usual eight.
• Crafty Belle - Owned by Jimmy Iselin in New York, Crafty Belle suffered an odd fracture that defied conventional treatments. Veterinarians recommended that the horse would be useful only as a broodmare. She was treated twice a day for three to four hours and returned to competition to win five races in a row.
• D’Accord - Owned and competed by dressage master Eicke Von Velthiem, D’Accord had been diagnosed with a severely torn suspensory. Veterinarians suggested that the horse should be donated for research. After one year of therapy, D’Accord went back to compete at his previous level.