Friday, February 21, 2014

The Importance of Hoof Care in Foals

In addition to training and teaching I also am a not for hire barefoot trimmer and yesterday I once again trimmed the 10 month old Mozzie Man.

His first trim was at a month old and he has been trimmed on as needed about every 2 months.

Hoof care is extremely important in foals.

Consider the Kayan people who from a very early age place brass rings around the necks of their women to elongate them.

What begins here.

Ends here.  

The same thing happens with foals although maybe not as extreme.  

Toed in, toed out, club foot, etc all of these conformational faults are exacerbated and amplified when a foal's hooves are not properly maintained from a early age.  

We have to trim adult horses' hooves because they loiter in little paddocks or meander around a few acres instead of traveling 20-40 miles a day in search of forage and our foals are no different.  

It is also important to note that a lame (not bearing weight or traveling abnormally) foal is something that must be addressed immediately.  Since foals grow so quickly a few weeks of untreated lameness can result in life long hoof and limb issues that would not have occurred naturally.  

And if the above were not enough to make you want to keep a close eye on your hooves.  I can speak from experience that it is 1000% times easier to train a 300 lb foal to stand (nicely) to be trimmed than it is to teach a 700, 800, or 1000 lb horse.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The trained eye- What you need to know when buying a horse

Can you spot the injuries?  

Check out this amazing post over at the The Horse's Back.

This is something everyone in the horse world should read.

Ex Racehorse Problems

In my experience many of these injuries can be fixed with time and proper rehabilitation.

And if any of your own horses are exhibiting some of these injuries I personally have had amazing results in my own horses and the horses of many of my clients with osteopathy and chiropractic care from Dr. Groves of the The Whole Horse in San Marcos, Texas. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Personal observations- snaffle vs. curb in finished horse

My main mare Pie has been off for the better part of 3 years due to work, both our pregnancies, and now juggling work and a baby.

Starting in last month I have been able to focus on riding more so I will be posting some of my experiences.

For the past few years I have ridden her in this.

Looking to brush off the cobwebs in her mid I decided to start back in this. 

I rode her twice in the snaffle and then put her back in her regular curb.

I have written quite a bit on bits and biting if you need a refresher.

Some of my observations:

There was a slight dullness in using the snaffle on Pie's advanced maneuvers compared to her usual curb. Without the leverage and angle of the shank to she did not have the "yellow light" to warn her that the bit was about to be engaged which made her less reactive/dull.  No having the "yellow light" warning the snaffle made me spend more time in her mouth.  

Her shoulder yields were less fluid in the jointed snaffle over the 3 piece mouthpiece of the curb.  The Jointed mouthpiece on the snaffle engaged both sides of her mouth vs the one side that is usually touched by the curb making for a less fluid movement.  

Having been ridden in a ported mouthpiece for so long Pie did not enjoy the lack of tongue relief she had in the snaffle, she chopped on the bit. 

In general I felt a lack of finesse taking Pie back down to a snaffle.   


I feel that it is important to remember to view our bits as tools for communication.  

The anatomy of a simple jointed snaffle can make it harder for you to clearly communicate what you want your horse to do.  Especially when trying to do advanced maneuvers.  

Excessive bit play can be a call for tongue relief.

At the end of the day this experiment was a reminder that if your really want to achieve a super light bridle horse you may have to move up into a curb for some parts of your training or at least look further than a simple jointed mouthpiece.  

Of course no bit is a substitute for good training, timing and your release of pressure are what really determine how light and responsive your horse is but the right bit can aid in your horse's understanding and speed up the training process.  

Note:  All observations in the post were based on the experiences riding a very broke, light, and responsive horse.  The changes noted between the snaffle and curb were very minor but still enough to be noted.    

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My favorite questions to ask the Vet

Unexpectedly had to take my cat into the vet this morning.  She peed bloody urine.  Looks to be a kidney infection or kidney stones.

After running the urine analysis the vet came back with two options.  Treat for infection or pursue diagnosing kidney stones.

As any pet parent I was a faced with a tough decision.

So I did as I always do when in these situations-  I asked the Vet "If she were your cat how would you proceed?"  To which he replied that he would first treat for infection.

So we are treating the Jude Kitty for an infection.

I love asking this question because I feel that it help get to the heart of what we all go to the Vet for anyway; to get our pet well again as quickly, easily, painlessly, and cost effectively as possible.

My second favorite question to ask is- "How much is _____ going to cost?"

I ask for pricing before consenting to testing, treatment, or medication.  While I love my animals very much I do not enjoy being surprised at check out.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I have the horses and the coyotes, I just need the bird

Found this on facebook today.

Yet another awesome thing to do with your horse.

Hidden Gems of Wisdom Found in Unexpected Places

It always amazes me how so many sports while so different still have so much in common.

My brother in law who owns a awesome Crossfit Gym in East Texas posted this neat story about a cycling coach who used the concept of aggregation of marginal gains to improve his teams performance to win the Tour de Frances, 3 times in a row.  

You can find the whole original post here and you really need to go check it out.

I was taught this approach by my very wise mother from day one.

She taught me that if you just improve 1% per day at end of 100 days you will have improved 100%.

This simple approach of small but steady gain can actually be applied to all aspects of our lives.

and I think I am going to start right now. :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

How to properly fall off a horse

The great folks at the Horse and Hound put together this great article and video showing you the right way to fall from your horse.  

I have personally used this technique for years (learned as a child from a naughty welsh pony) with great success.  

Knowing how to safely bail from a dangerous situation is a skill that every rider's confidence.   

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The problem with play

In my last post "How quickly things can unravel" I wrote about the sudden change in Mozzie's behavior after just few minutes of playful interaction.

I will admit to being totally taken a back at Mozzie's sudden nippy behavior (he has been perfect for months) until later than night when I couldn't sleep and I started replaying the incident in my head.  

It was then that I realized that I never offer to play with Mozzie like my brother in law had started to do.  

I do not play with my horses.  Never have and never will.

I love my horses, and freely give scratches and butt rubs, but I do not find any joy in a horse chasing/following me.  

In fact I hate it when horses are behind me.  I always catch them making ears at me.  I am the boss mare and I push them instead of the other way around.

I do not touch muzzles unless I am grooming, deworming, or checking teeth.  I do not allow noses any where around me and any attempts at nuzzling are punished immediately.

I am a person and people are not be played with. End of story.

Foals grow up and I do not want a 2 year old 800 lb Mozzie looking at myself or at his 2 year old 30 lb human sister thinking that he can play.

The problem with playing with your horse is that you can not sit them down and explain when it is okay to play.  That it is okay to play with the BIL but not with the baby.  

And since I can not explain when it is or is not appropriate to play I choose to not play with my horses.  


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How quickly things can unravel

Awesome weekend with the horses.  I have really tried to set a side some Mommy/ horse time lately and I am so enjoying it.

I clipped Mozzie for the first time after he begged me to do so while I trimmed his mother.  They both ground tied side by side for their sessions. I cleaned up his jowls a bit and buzzed him everywhere else (I'm just not ready to for him to loose those fuzzy teddy bear ears).

Half way through I actually realized what I was doing.  That my 9 month old colt had asked to be clipped, was ground tying for the first time, and was clipping like a seasoned veteran.

All in all I walked away beyond proud of my little man.

Later the same day my sister and brother in law (BIL) stopped by to visit and on their way out to the car Mozzie came up. Both horsey people, my BIL started playing with Mozzie's nose, playfully boxing it side to side and in less than a minute of that happening Mozzie started wanting to nip.

BIL of course properly corrected Mozzie for trying to nip but it was amazing seeing how quickly his manners fell to the wayside when given the opportunity.

The take away.

It only takes a little bit of bad to undo a whole lot of good. Anytime you are around horses they are learning something.  You control what your horse is learning and whether it is good or bad.