January 22, 2011

Cleaner stalls and runs!

Susan had a bunch of workers out today cleaning the stalls.  Willy's paddock that he shares with Misty and Two Socks was much nicer looking!  No much to report with Willy today just a nice day to ride around the yard.  I worked on his trot gait and tried to get a better canter transition...he always speeds up really fast into a bumpy trot before kicking into the canter gear.  Not fun!

I took some pictures of his hooves, freshly trimmed too!  I've definitely noticed a difference in horse hoof shape.  The front feet are usually wider than the rear feet because most of a horses weight falls on the front feet.

So here's Willies front feet:

And here are his back feet.  The back feet are lighter in color since the horn is lighter due to the white socks on his back legs.

  Some horses have little dots of black or irregularly patterned socks that end up making the hoof have a stripe....love that! Willy has it a little bit and so does Pstar.

See the tiny dot on Willy's back leg?  It makes the horn below darker

Pstar's hoof stripes are more defined and her's are on the front legs

Whether the different colors are well defined or not it's easier to see when the hooves are cleaned up and polished.  I've never done much about any dirt on to outside of Willy's hoofs, just taken care of the important frog, which is the triangular shaped cushy area in the middle of the hoof.  You have to make sure to pick the hooves and get any rocks, sticks etc out of the hoof before you work a horse since you can cause lameness or other injuries if a foreign object gets up into their hoof.  Also it's important to keep the manure and mud out from the frog on a regular basis to prevent a fungus called thrush from taking hold.  The hoof is an amazing part of the horse anatomy but there is a lot to learn about from laminitis, where the laminae inside the hoof swells and can cause the hoof wall to slough off, to hoof cracks that can spread up or down the hoof.

Inner workings of the hoof with the "toe bones" coming into the hoof, live tissue like blood vessels and laminae that can cause issues if they become injured on infected. 
With a good diet, exercise, a clean living environment, regular hoof trimming and picking of the feet most horses don't have an issue with any of the above hoof ailments but they are always something to be on the look out for.  Checking the feet daily is an excellent preventative routine to get into with your horses. 

Easy Boot Glove
Maybe I'll have to do a post sometime about hoof care as I learn about it.  I just know the basics of picking the feet, getting them trimmed by a farrier every 6-8 weeks and for a lot of endurance horses they are moving away from traditional nail on shoes to the hoof boots that protect hoofs from the extra wear that they can incur during a 25-100 mile endurance ride in the mountains.  Arabs tend to have really good feet and don't need to have those traditional steel shoes but as I said earlier the endurance riders seem to be leaning more and more towards the hoof boot

Above is a happy rider and her horse in easy boot gloves, all four hooves.  I guess they do put the boots on all fours instead of just the front hooves.  I have so much to learn!  I'm excited though, I've contact Kenlyn Arabians in Fort Collins about their Urban Challenge, which is a 15, 25, or 50 mile endurance ride they host each spring and fall.  I want to assist in some way and learn a little about the sport....plus take pictures if I have the time!  I'll be able to see all the interesting types of tack they use for endurance and how the owners care for their athletes...that's a whole new post in itself!  I know I can always start off with a fleece covered dressage saddle and those comfy stirrups to start but if I really want to get into it I'll need to get the really comfy tack!  Anyhow that's my post on feet and boots for now.  It can get boring posting about walk/trot transistions with Willy! 

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