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January 12, 2017


Horse Hair Analysis – Detoxing Heavy Metals (testimonial)

by DePaolo Equine Concepts

Here is a testimonial that was sent to us about Horse Hair Analysis.  As you will read, sometimes it is a bumpy road to getting your horse healthy but trust us, it will be worth it!

I hope by sharing our “journey” others will recognize the signs & symptoms and take action to correct their horse’s health sooner than later.

We brought Ace home Oct 2, 2010, he had been a pasture ornament for most of his 2 ½ years.  He had recently been returned to the breeder from a broker who was going to sell him.  Apparently the broker did not understand the nutritional needs of a growing horse as he was underweight by about 150#.

We elected to take time to put weight on him before we started under saddle training.  For about 3 months we did only ground work.  He was compliant most of the time, but was prone to what I called mood swings and erratic behavior; sort of a Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde syndrome.

Once I swung a leg over him it became clear, almost immediately, he was going to be challenging and I better bring my “A” game to every session.  We did ground or under saddle work, almost daily, for a year.  Three weeks into our under saddle work he lost his balance and fell on me, so we started dressage lessons to help him with balance and ‘handle.’

Ace finally stopped growing at about 5 ½ years, at 15.3 hh and 1,300#.  He appeared to be the very picture of health.  He is quite intelligent as he remembers what he has learned from lesson to lesson.  He loves trail riding and we have many friends with whom we ride.

Some puzzling symptoms I noticed from age 3 to 7 were:

  • Sweating when other horses were not
  • Being unpredictably moody or fractious (he’s always been two hands full)
  • Breathing harder than other (older) horses when being worked in the same conditions

There were also times when his back was so sore I couldn’t brush it without him flinching.  We tried massages, T.E.N.S. therapy and Chiropractic but they provided only short-term relief for a day or two; I needed to find a real solution.  I did not understand the symptoms and certainly couldn’t explain them.

In June 2015, I saw an ad for Horse Hair Analysis on the sideboard of an e-mail from the Appaloosa Horse Club.  I bought an HHA and sent in sample.  My comments at the bottom of the form were; “Ace is in general good health.  Am submitting a sample to make sure we are on the right track nutritionally.”  I was sure I had him on a good nutritional plan since I was feeding a premium feed (packed with the very best minerals, nutrients and amino acids) from a very selective manufacturer.

When I opened the HHA Report I was stunned and in denial; certainly they MUST have mixed-up Ace’s sample with some other horse!  Dr. Mark called and we had the first of several conversations & e-mail exchanges.  Ace’s sodium and potassium levels were 4 & 5 times higher than the highest level on the chart (literally off the chart).  He had toxic levels of the heavy metals lead, cadmium and arsenic.  He was dangerously deficient in iron, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, etc.  I just couldn’t accept THIS report was for OUR big, strong “healthy” horse, but it was.

We immediately submitted a hair sample for the other horse on the property; had our well water tested and reviewed the soil report of our property conducted in 2014.  The other horse’s report showed very low (acceptable) levels of heavy metals but she, too, was deficient in the same areas as Ace (they were fed the same food).  The water and soil tests showed absolutely no contamination or concerns so his current environment was not contributing to his condition.

Dr. Mark recommended we remove all grains, soy and molasses from Ace’s diet; a tall order given those ingredients are in almost every feed bag at the local feed store.  After a couple failed attempts to find grain-free, non-GMO and/or organic food we settled on his suggestion that we ‘make’ our own.

In early October 2015 we started Ace on the HHA Personal Supplement plus Essential Vitamin & Mineral Supplement.  Since November 2015 he has been on a forage only diet of Standlee Timothy Pellets & Standlee Orchard Grass Pellets with Renew Gold.  Within two weeks of being off grain, soy & molasses his back was no longer sore.

Dr. Marked cautioned that some horse’s hair coats go through a ‘rough stage’ at about 90 days into the detox, which would be January.  Thankfully that did not happen, Ace doesn’t grow much of a winter coat and he looked the same as past years.

When he shed his winter coat the spring/summer of 2016 he just glistened.  He’s a deep sorrel red and now shines like a new copper penny.  In the past I thought Ace looked healthy, but I now know he was not.  Looking back at photos between ages 3 to 7, his hair coat was dull, it was smooth but did not shine as it does now.

October 2016 we resubmitted a hair sample for testing.  Ace was on just a ½ dose of the Personal Supplement the first year because about two weeks into the detox (on full dose) some undesirable behavioral issues manifested that Dr. Mark thought might be a result of the lead starting to move out of tissues.  Cutting his dose to ½ did help as the undesirable behavioral issues declined and the longer he’s been on the detox they’ve ceased.

We received the 1-year retest results November 7th, 2016.  Ace’s levels have improved, his clinical signs have all but disappeared and he’s SO much healthier a year after starting the detox but there’s more work for us to do to make him 100% healthy.  So I will be purchasing another tub of the HHA Personal Supplement as we want to help him remove the heavy metals from his body.

Amazingly, during this initial year of detox, he and I competed in the Southern Obstacle Challenge Association’s “First Year Horse” Division.  There were five Challenges in 2016 and we competed in four.  Although we were mathematically eliminated from winning High Point we were in contention for Reserve High Point…and he was awarded that at the last event Nov 2016.  So proud of our boy…he worked so hard while going through the detox.

We were hoping Ace’s retest levels would be in the “acceptable” range w/in a year but since he was on ½ the normal dose they are not, so we’ll continue the detox process and restest in another year.  SO THANKFUL DePaolo Equine Concepts developed this test and I had the good sense to submit a hair sample!

Renee Lewis, Altoona, FL

Read more from Horse Hair Analysis
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Laurie
    Jan 12 2017

    I’m wondering what the sweating and breathing is all about. My 2 1/2 year old does this also coughs some and looks like he coughs up spit but only at the very beginning of working. He has very little ambition.
    When I got him at 14 months we did blood work he was low on almost all vitamins and minerals. He got a selenium shot and is still on higher doses of natural vitamin E, vitamin/mineral supplement, alfalfa pellets and good Timothy hay. No sugars, soy or grain. He’s hungry all the time, like an eating disorder.

    • Hi Laurie,

      Dr. Mark strongly suggests doing a Horse Hair Analysis on your colt. He may have a hidden heavy metal toxicity which regular blood work would not detect. It is great you don’t have him on soy, sugars and grain but if he’s not feeling well that also means that there is still an underlying cause. Please visit for more information.

      Good luck!

  2. Rene Hughes
    Mar 10 2017

    HHA has helped two of my horses . I have had my horses
    on his products a few years now . Doc has been there for any question I have had to improve the health and behavior of my horses.


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