hoofbeats [sic], the local equestrian magazine has been charting a steady decline from reason and information towards mystification and magic. The charlatanism isn't quite as obvious as normal in the latest issue (Vol 27 No 4) - though there's still that full page advertisement for Acupuncture without needles" (a cheap red flashlight with a markup of thousands of per cent and a promise to cure all the evils of the world) - but it's still there.
In an article on Ross River Virus, for example, we have an addendum (well, about 50% of the article actually) relating one true life real reader anecdotal paean to witchery.
The reader's horse had insect bites, was coughing continuously, had greasy heel on 2 and a half legs, and tropical ulcers. Cortisone injections 'helped a bit' (cleared up one and a half legs), along with steroid cream and Blue Heelerology ('which took to lying on the ground to lick and tease the scabs off his equine friend's legs').
The reader approached her vet for a blood test or skin scraping but was told a blood test wouldn't show anything since he had vasculitis.
The reader immediately changed vets. Phlebitis was diagnosed, with the same treatment regime (which seems reasonable assuming the diagnosis was the same, just that the second was a little more specific).
Knowing vets were useless, the reader started using herbs (Thuja - 'helped a little', Calendula - 'quite effective in healing up many of the sores').
She even learned Bowen Therapy to help and some months later the horse 'seemed a little better'. Try as he might, EoR cannot conceive of how a muscle manipulation (and wallet manipulation) therapy can cure inflamed veins. But such thoughts have never stopped the Dark Side in their efforts to drag the world back to the Dark Ages.
Spring came, and so did the swollen glands, puffy eyes, joint swelling, intermittent coughing, low grade colic and sores again. Comfrey cream was applied. Hair testing resulted in a diet change (unspecified) which 'immediately' stopped the cough and colic, and herbal tonics 'seemed' to brighten the horse's outlook. Whatever that means.
Colloidal Silver spray resolved the leg sores 'within a few weeks' instead of months.
Finally, our reader had managed to locate a Homeopathic Vet (an oxymoron? or just a moron?) who organised a blood test, showing Ross River Virus.
The vet immediately prescribed 'feed herbs, additives [unspecified] and homeopathic medicines'.
The horse is now cured, and only receives Vitamin C, rosehips, garlic and Bowen Therapy. His joints are near to normal, he is no longer 'pudgy' and he no longer has sores. Though he still has 'slightly' puffy eyes and his glands 'come up occasionally'. Yet Bowen Therapy soon fixes that, and he can be ridden for 15-20 minutes (walk and trot only) every second day.
As the owner says in conclusion: 'Thomas need not have suffered as much as he did while I wandered around the medical then natural remedy wilderness looking for the answers'.
As EoR says in conclusion: 'Constant ongoing therapy, joints not normal, recurring 'puffiness' in eyes and glands, and a severely reduced capacity to work do not constitute a cure.' It seems Thomas is still suffering needlessly while his owner is lost in the magical wilderness. But the owner is happy, and what more can we ask for?