Health and Wellness

"In The Presence of Horses" at The Hacienda at the River by Watermark

Breakthrough Equine Therapeutic Programming for those with cognitive or physical challenges at the first senior living and care community in the country with an on-site stable.

(L to R) The Hacienda at the River resident, Phyllis Naber and "In The Presence of Horses" Program Coordinator Barbara Rector, MA, CEFIP-ED

Horses and humans have always shared a unique bond...

Though no horses call the property their permanent home, they are regular and welcome visitors to the first senior living and care community to offer innovative equine therapeutic programming and research at their on-site day visiting stable. Linked here, please find a short video introducing The Hacienda at the River and "In The Presence of Horses":

Barbara Rector of Adventures in Awareness(TM), who created "In The Presence of Horses" equine therapeutic programming exclusively for Watermark Retirement Communities' trailblazing "The Hacienda at the River," is Program Coordinator and head wrangler. "Through interaction via touch, grooming and for some, riding horses, we can improve physical and emotional well-being," she says. "Learning what horses can teach us about life helps awaken our capacity for self-empowerment."

Rector, an internationally noted pioneer in equine therapeutic programming, along with researchers at the University of Arizona Human-Animal Interaction Initiative are studying hard science about the human-horse bond. They are assessing how the equine connection affects patient behavior, emotions, and over-all health, as well as researching the potential for it to reduce or reverse agitation, depression and social isolation.

The Hacienda at the River resident Phyllis Naber looks forward to her weekly "In The Presence of Horses" sessions where she gets to stroke, groom and talk to a 12-year-old mustang named Little Joe. "I love him. He and I could both stand here all day in the stable enjoying this special friendship," she says. Commenting on her Mom's rapid transformation since working with the horses, Phyllis's daughter Sue Rein notes, "The biggest improvement is in her conversational ability. She used to have trouble finding the right word she wanted to say, now you can see it comes pretty easily to her."

(L to R) "In The Presence of Horses" Program Coordinator, Barbara Rector, MA, CEFIP-ED, David Barnes, President & CEO, Watermark Retirement Communities, The Hacienda at the River resident Phyllis Naber, David Freshwater, Chairman & Developer, Watermark Retirement Communities; The Stable at The Hacienda at the River

"We knew that horses and Seniors are a good match" Says David Freshwater, Chairman & Developer of Watermark Retirement Communities. "There are a number of studies that show that just being in the presence of horses helps reduce agitation, and may reduce the negative effects of cognitive challenges such as Sundown Syndrome."

"It always comes back to the heart," Barbara Rector says. "Horses' heart rates can sync with that of humans, a physiology of heart exchanges. Horses already intuit mind-body connections, how to be present to the communication while being aware of what is going on around them. They develop a palpable relationship that can be seen, felt and shared. Through interaction with horses, residents enhance communication skills and relationship development with an emphasis on trust and choice," she says.

While Barbara Rector has known this at a gut level over her 40 years of working with horses, she and Dieter Steklis, Ph.D, University of Arizona Professor of Psychology, plan to provide scientific proof. "While benefiting residents and guests, our research goal with "In The Presence of Horses," is to identify the component aspects of the horse-human interaction that are responsible for the positive effects we can detect -- quantitatively demonstrating the psychological and behavioral improvements to a humans well-being." Comments Rector.

The Springs, The Hacienda at the River's Integrative Care and Wellness Center

"Several days a week, anyone at our community can join with our Hacienda Homes residents from Assisted Living and Memory Care to be together with the horses and Barbara's team," says Executive Director of The Hacienda at the River, Brenda Ritter. Along with sessions in the stable, the horses are also walked throughout the 7.5-acre community. They visit with those in the courtyard of "The Springs," the Hacienda's state-of-the-art Rehabilitation, Skilled Nursing and Hospice integrative care and wellness center, as well as the "Hacienda Homes" gardens. "Our intent is to integrate everything we do here for the most effective care, and based on feedback from the professional world of psychologists, our equine therapeutic programming is at the forefront of treatment. We've seen a lot of life-enhancing moments already." notes Ritter.

The Hacienda at the River architectural details

For Watermark decision-makers David Freshwater, Chairman & Developer and David Barnes, President & CEO, adding "In The Presence of Horses" to the Hacienda mix is all part of contributing to innovation in the realm of creative wellness pioneering. "Senior housing has shifted away from just 'taking care' of residents and guests to 'engaging them,' and Equine Therapeutic Programming is a unique and effective way to achieve beneficial engagement," says Barnes.

The Stable at The Hacienda at the River

Boarding Horses of The Hacienda at the River Residents...
Terraced on the banks of Tucson's Rillito River, with many boarding stables nearby, The Hacienda at the River offers to make arrangements to board resident's horses at reputable nearby stables and will transport residents to their horses, or will bring those horses to The Hacienda regularly, on a by appointment basis.

About Watermark Retirement Communities, Inc.
In 2017, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) ranked Tucson-based Watermark Retirement Communities among the nation's 15 leading seniors housing providers. Watermark's commitment to creating extraordinary communities where people thrive dates back 30 years to when it opened its first retirement community in 1987. A privately held company with a reputation of service, success, growth, integrity and financial stability, Watermark Retirement Communities manages over 50 retirement communities coast to coast.

UltrOZ™ Elite Keeps the Horses of Double H Farm in Top Competitive Form

Wellington, FL – Double H Farm is excited to announce their new sponsorship by UltrOZ™ Elite, a wearable ultrasonic therapy system for the treatment of common musculoskeletal conditions in horses. Owned by the Harrison Family and based in Wellington, FL, and Ridgefield, CT, Double H Farm features exceptional grand prix jumpers, young jumpers, and up-and-coming hunters, and offers quality hunter and jumper sale horses in addition to their strong line-up of stallions available for breeding. The horses of Double H Farm show at the best competitions in North America and around the world and stay in top form thanks to the UltrOZ Elite Therapy System.

UltrOZ Elite is the most effective, longest-lasting, and convenient means of providing Low Intensity Therapeutic Ultrasound (LITUS) for the maintenance of competitive equine athletes and for treatment of debilitating injuries such as tendon/muscle tear, fracture, and splints. Unlike cumbersome traditional ultrasound machines that require horses to remain stationary or tethered, the UltrOZ Elite is completely self-contained, wearable and provides five hours of deep targeted healing.

With riders Quentin Judge and Cayce Harrison, as well as German show jumper Daniel Deusser, Double H Farm's horses enjoy the best therapeutic treatments available to always stay healthy and happy. Quentin Judge has made his mark as a grand prix competitor in recent years with wins and top finishes on many exceptional horses owned by Double H Farm and values the help of state-of-the-art therapies such as UltrOZ to keep his horses going their best.

“Everyone at Double H Farm is excited to have the support of UltrOZ, and I am grateful to have such a fantastic therapeutic system available to my horses,” Judge stated. “Injuries can happen to any competitive athlete, and horses are no different, but with UltrOZ we have a simple way to give our horses the best possible treatment. The system is easy to use and provides a comfortable therapeutic solution.”

Double H Farm’s Quentin Judge fits UltrOz Elite on his horse.


Brian Collins, Equine Division Manager for UltrOZ stated, “UltrOZ is excited for the opportunity to work with Quentin, Daniel, and the team at Double H Farm. It is a tremendous responsibility to help care for world-class equine athletes. By providing our therapy, we aim to keep those athletes at the top of their game and build upon their success. We are proud to be associated with competitors who are known for their hard work, dedication, and complete attention to the horse’s soundness and health.”

UltrOZ Elite delivers the benefits of therapeutic ultrasound without the risk of injury prevalent with traditional ultrasound units. This is because UltrOZ Elite delivers continuous wave ultrasound (known as LITUS) at a safe, preset frequency and power, which makes it impossible to over treat or cause burning when used properly. As an added feature, the unit is designed with an internal safety shut-off to avoid any thermal impact to your horse. The UltrOZ Elite weighs less than 3 ounces and fits into comfortable, specially-designed wraps. The unit can easily be applied by an owner, trainer or groom.

The UltrOZ Elite is a clinically proven modality that uses ultrasonic waves at a specific ultrasonic frequency, intensity and treatment duration to stimulate healing in tissue. The system is clinically proven to reduce swelling & inflammation, increase joint flexibility, reduce pain and irritation, and increase healing response in tendon, muscle, & bone.

The UltrOZ Elite provides sustained ultrasonic energy which penetrates and saturates tissue, enhancing the body’s ability to heal by increased cellular temperature, increased blood circulation, increased cross-tissue nutrient transfer, and increased local cell activity through mechanical wave interaction.

Other top competitors who use UltrOZ Elite in different disciplines of equestrian sport around the world include: McLain Ward, Charlie Jayne, Margie Engle, Tim McQuay, Steffen Peters, Derek Braun, Sterling Graburn, and Daniel Zetterman. For more information on UltrOZ, please visit

About Double H Farm

Based in Ridgefield, CT, and Wellington, FL, Double H Farm focuses on show jumpers and hunters that are born to compete at the top level. With riders Quentin Judge, and Cayce Harrison, the horses of Double H Farm show at the best competitions in North America and the world. Double H Farm has seven amazing stallions available for breeding, and there is always a selection of high quality hunters and jumpers available for purchase. For more information, please visit, visit their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter at @Double_H_Farm.

OCA Asks FDA to Prohibit Use of the Word
‘Natural’ in Products Containing GMOs

‘Natural’ Products Industry Pockets $60-Billion a Year by Duping Consumers;
Consumers Lash Back with Class Action Lawsuits

FINLAND, Minn. The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has launched a petition asking the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the practice of labeling products that have been genetically engineered as “natural.” The action follows a spate of class-action lawsuits, including the recent landmark $9 million settlement against PepsiCo. According to plaintiffs, PepsiCo deceptively labeled its Naked Juice products as “natural” and “non-GMO.”

“The FDA has for far too long dodged its responsibility to define “natural” as it applies to food products,” said Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the OCA. “Recent class-action lawsuits make it clear that consumers are tired of being misled by food manufacturers. It’s time for the FDA to make it unlawful for food manufacturers to label their products “natural” when those products contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).”

Routine mislabeling and marketing of "natural products" has enabled this shadow sector to grow into a $60-billion dollar a year industry by duping unsuspecting organic customers.

A recent poll by the Hartman group illustrates the confusion driving the profits of the natural products industry. Fully 61% of respondents erroneously believed that the use of the word “natural” implies or suggests the absence of GMOs, versus 63% who correctly believed that the label "organic" means that a product is GMO-free.

In late July of this year, plaintiffs won a landmark $9 million settlement against junk food giant PepsiCo for allegedly labeling its line of Naked Juice products inaccurately as “natural” and "non-GMO." PepsiCo was also forced to agree to remove the label “all natural” from its juices. PepsiCo continues to deny that Naked Juice contains GMOs, and has submitted the product to the Non-GMO Project for testing.

Now, “natural” brands are facing another class action lawsuit for concealing the fact that some of their favorite foods have been genetically engineered. In an effort to stall the lawsuits, defense lawyers have convinced at least one judge that the FDA, not the courts, should decide whether GMOs are “natural.”

“This is a clever strategy on the part of the lawyers representing food companies, given that the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods is none other than Monsanto’s former lawyer, Michael Taylor,” said Cummins. “Whose side do you think the FDA will take?”

OCA recently compiled a top 10 list of reasons why GMOs aren’t natural. Included among them are:
1.Genetic engineering is an imprecise technology that creates unpredictable changes in the DNA of the resulting product.
2.Genetic engineers do not “check their work” to look for potential collateral damage, even though the genetic engineering process can be expected to rearrange, delete or change the function of important genes.
3.The engineered DNA of GMOs produce new proteins that can be toxic or allergenic.
4.The new genes introduced to the body by genetically engineered foods don’t get broken down during digestion.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization advocating on behalf of more than one million consumers for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.

The Ultimate Superfood from Carrington Farms Powers Heart-Healthy New Year Resolutions

Ready-to-eat Flax Chia Blend Fuels Wholesome Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners to Aid in Weight Loss and Disease Prevention

New Jersey – 2013 – For the estimated one-third of Americans who will make New Year’s resolutions to eat better and lose weight in the upcoming months, there is now a convenient product line to help them achieve their goals. Carrington Farms, the manufacturer of healthy foods for healthy souls, is offering the ultimate superfood – ready-to-eat Organic Milled Flax Chia Blend – to enable Americans to stay true to their resolutions and live their highest quality life in 2013.

The Flax Chia blend combines Organic Milled Flax Seeds with Chia Seeds resulting in a nutritious blend that is overflowing with a wealth of health benefits. Chia seeds, low in carbs and gluten free, are packed with Omega 3’s, vitamins, antioxidants, protein, fiber, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc. Organic Milled Flax Seeds are also loaded with Omega 3’s, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals, but have the added benefit of hormone balancing phytoestrogens called lignans, all of which help promote a healthy lifestyle. Together, the perfect balance of the combined blend provides an excellent source of energy and nutrients for lasting heart health and boosted metabolism resulting in the ultimate “Superfood”.

Additionally, the combination of organic milled flax and chia together offers a product that is almost unrivaled in its fiber and healthy fat content and is a great component for helping New Year resolutioners lose and maintain their weight. Many dieters have found that organic milled flax and chia seeds have been a key to keeping them feeling satisfied. Nutritionist, Deborah Orlick Levy, MS, RD, encourages her patients to incorporate flax into their daily nutrition plans and explains, “Flax is one of the best sources of Omega 3 healthy fat that can help speed the process of losing weight while also helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is also beneficial in alleviating symptoms of hypertension, joint pain, and an array of other ailments. I often tell people that you can spend your money on healthy eating now or you can spend your money at the doctor’s office later in life.”

Healthy eating will begin in the kitchen and the Flax Chia blend offers the convenience of nutrition that can easily and tastily be incorporated into the daily meal prep routine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With a delicious and subtle nutty flavor, it can be sprinkled over cereals, oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast or used as a tasty topping for salads or casseroles for lunch and dinner. It can even be used in place of eggs in recipes such as meatloaf and hamburgers, or as a coating on kid-friendly chicken nuggets.

These great products from Carrington Farms are available in major grocery and health food retailers including select Whole Foods Markets, Costco, Giant/Stop and Shop, Publix, Kroger, Meijer’s and many more. Suggested Retail: $7.99 for 12 oz. pouch Flax Chia Blend. $6.99 for 12 pack Ready-To-Eat Organic Milled Flax Paks.

About Carrington Farms
For over a decade, Carrington Farms has been providing health-conscious consumers with healthy yet delicious products. The company is committed to offering the freshest and best-tasting organic flax seed that nature has grown. To that end, each batch of flax seed that goes into the Carrington product line is stringently tested and guaranteed to be both 100 % organic and non-genetically modified. This rigorous quality assurance process ensures an end product that is the highest-quality, cleanest seed available. Carrington’s focus on a healthy lifestyle is summed up by its slogan: “Healthy Foods for a Healthy Soul.” For additional information on the company, please visit

Fresh from the Farm:

Farmers’ Market Vegetables and Crave Brothers Cheese

Waterloo, Wisconsin — If you love farm-fresh flavor, you’ll appreciate the difference it makes when you pair farmers’ market seasonal fruits and vegetables with Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics artisan cheeses. Crave Brothers Fresh Mozzarella, Crave Brothers sweet cream Mascarpone and Les Frères® French-style cheese are all natural choices to complement the flavor of summer favorites. Recipes from Crave Brothers Cheese bring out the best in new potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries and other seasonal produce. Les Frères® Pizza with fresh asparagus and mushrooms, Spinach and Artichoke Mashed Potatoes, and Mascarpone-Filled Strawberries are just a few of the summery ideas you’ll find on the Crave Brothers website at

Rich cheese texture and flavor give a big boost to the recipe for Spinach and Artichoke Mashed Potatoes. Mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped spinach and chopped artichoke hearts are combined with Crave Brothers Fresh Mozzarella, Crave Brothers Mascarpone and Crave Brothers Les Frères® cheeses for the ultimate mashed potato experience. Spinach and Artichoke Mashed Potatoes are the perfect complement for summertime grilled steak dinners.

Summer cooking is all about convenience and spending as little time in the kitchen as possible. That’s why the Les Frères® Pizza is a ten-minute wonder. Its savory flavors combine sautéed sliced mushrooms, roasted asparagus spears and thin slices of Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics Les Frères® arranged on a pre-baked pizza crust and baked for ten minutes. You can even make it on the grill. For dessert, Mascarpone-Filled Strawberries are a simple summertime sensation, filled with a mixture of fresh Crave Brothers Mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla. Just slice off the stems, remove strawberry cores, and cut a little off the non-stem end of each berry so it will stand upright, then fill with the Mascarpone mixture.

Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics are produced using 100% green power at a family-owned farmstead cheese facility that practices water conservation and recycling. And just as you are supporting local growers when you buy produce at farmers’ markets, choosing Crave Brothers award-winning artisan cheeses is a way of supporting family farms.

To learn more about Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics visit the website at In addition to details about Crave Brothers Cheese, you’ll also find more cheese-rich summer recipes, including Chilled Raspberry Soup with Lemon Mascarpone Sorbet.