“Remember, always, that everything you know, everything everyone knows, is only a model”
~ Donella H. Meadows
It’s the time of year when the girls are shedding their winter woolies, Gracie is looking beautiful and sleek, while Donna on the other hand is still shedding like crazy! I look like I’m wearing a fluffy shirt after I brush her every morning! Lol… I (and I think everyone does) love a horse in a sleek shiny summer coat. Gracie is really quieting down now and she has the sweetest nature ever! Donna has done a wonderful job in teaching her manners. Above are a few pics of Gracie having fun last time I took Donna out for a ride. It is just stunning watching her move.. Its like she has wings on her feet.... *sighs happily*
Okay, I have been meaning to write this post for ages… but due to still having no internet (and the local library’s interwebs are sooo slow…) yeah its been kinda difficult… the interwebs in the bush are in a very very sad state…
But anyway, today’s post is more about hooves! – a bit how they work, the impact trimming has, a few illustrations (I had fun with these! and I am currently working on more, so please stay tuned!), and the importance of keeping it a bit ‘wild’ for your horse out in his/her paddock.
So who knows how important the hooves really are for the horse? Hooves are the foundation of the horse: Good hooves = a sound horse. The hooves are a barometer of the horse’s health, and they can tell you a lot, if you are listening. Problems in the hooves are usually the result of something not the cause. If you want your horse to stay sound then you have to look after the hooves! Just because your horse has always had ‘bad’ feet doesn’t necessarily mean that is normal, or that its just genetics.
The hooves are a reflection of the ‘whole’ horse:
- Maybe there are minerals lacking in the diet, or too much of one mineral which is upsetting the intake of others?
- Perhaps it could be the diet itself?
- The horse’s environment?
- Not enough exercise?
- Is your horse getting regular hoof care?
- Is your farrier or trimmer listening to what and how the horse wants to grow the hoof?
But, if you want your horse to have good, functional feet you really have to put in! Don’t think you can just throw your horse in the paddock and expect him/her to maintain their own feet. Well.. there are exceptions to that- all my rescue ponies (which you will find more info on the rescue herd page) self maintain their feet. Princess has never had her feet trimmed in the 18 years while I’ve had her! BUT she is in a semi wild herd environment, a massive paddock with varying terrain (they have hills, hard, soft, rocky ground and creeks all in one paddock), plus they do a lot of miles in a day, the truth of it is that the average horse owner or horse doesn’t have access these circumstances. So therefore it is really important that you find a balance for your horse- Environment, Exercise, Diet and Regular hoof care are all equally important aspects that you must take into account in horse management. It is the job of a good trimmer to replicate the wear on the hooves that a horse would do naturally if the horse got to self maintain his or her own hooves. I personally love watching the way the hooves change with each trim. I’ll use Donna’s feet as an example -when I first started trimming her feet earlier this year she had thin hoof walls, barefoot trimmers use a rounded beveled edge on the hoof in order to strengthen the hoof walls and avoid it chipping and cracking. After a few trims and applying the beveled edge, it grows this beautiful strong hoof wall (which I refer to as armor).
Pete Ramey says that the hoof should spend the next 4-6 weeks growing a better hoof than the one it had.
That being said, smaller paddock can be designed to replicate wild elements. Anyone here heard of Jamie Jackson? In America he designed what he calls a “Paddock Paradise” (yep definitely go look that one up=)) it pulls in elements of a more natural environment that can improve and enrich your horses lifestyle, encourage movement and wellbeing. Just Google ‘Paddock paradise” and you will find there are some great sites, ideas and tips out there for creating your very own. It can be a great way of managing your horses at pasture, or for horse owners with limited space. Here are a few great articles to get you started:
If anyone want further info I may consider doing a more depth post in the future, all you have to do is ask! Also please feel free to email or leave a comment if you have any questions or would perhaps like to suggest a topic? I would love to help. Honestly, I don’t bite and I would love to know that I have at least some readers out there? Anyone???
Okay, now everyone is probably going to shoot me down for this one, and I know how nice it is to see a horse out in a green rolling paddock, but is that natural? Honestly horses should not have that much grass! Sound weird? We yes I live in a semi arid area and my horses hardly ever see grass, when they do its native grasses, but they have also never had any trouble with laminitis, coincidence? Hardly. Even horses in the wild only have grass at certain times of the year and none of it is pasture improved! Improved pastures are meant for cows, and not really ideal for horses and there is so much sugar! And with horses too much sugar and starch in a diet seems to be flirting with disaster!
In the wild horses have a whole range of different foods, not just grass. And yes, wild horses can get laminitis, but is it really as serious for them as there domesticated counterparts? Well laminitis is simply the inflammation of the lamina, and it can be, but wild horses have to keep moving which is a big thing for managing a laminitic patient. Again creating a paddock paradise for your horse is an excellent way of managing horses when you have too much grass, and they work really well for horses and ponies at risk of laminitis.
For more info on this please check out Kathryn Watts very informative site: www.safergrass.org
Now I find this slightly scary, but did you know that colic and laminitis are the main killers of domesticated horses in the world? Why? The simple truth is it’s mainly because of how we keep and what we feed our domesticated horses. We trade how a horse was evolved, for our convenience, which can be somewhat devastating for a horse. And all horses owners should be aware and take this into consideration when managing their horses, I cannot stress how important this is! Ultimately, your horse’s health is in your hands.
Right the fun stuff (well I found this bit fun..)
The parts of the Equine Hoof- (this is what I see when I pick up a hoof (I added my apron and everything ;) )
Also a reminder that I’m open for limited commissions, and Christmas is just round the corner, and my art would make a lovely gift ;) If you would like me to create something special to commemorate a beloved furry friend this holiday season please don’t hesitate to contact me for pricing etc.
Thank you for reading, and I would really appreciate if you left a comment bellow.