Hoof Trimming Insights

Posted on April 28, 2018 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, health, history, hoofcare.

(submitted from Catherine Sky)

Having worked with Bureau of Land Management wild horses in past years and raised various strains of Spanish Mustangs some of which were descendants of founding stock directly from the wild, I have seen some varying differences in hoof type due to terrain and environment.
Cerbathorse

Example 1)  Cerbats from Marble Canyon in the Cerbat Mountain range near Kingman Arizona. The Cerbat as a strain of Spanish Mustang and generally untouched by man until mid 90’s had managed to evolve a very steep angle as a herd to a horse. Reason being or seeming to be is the rocky cactus terrain they lived in for over 200 years. They had to dig for water sometimes 6 feet to survive some waterless summers. The hoof is round narrow and upright. The steep angles and high heels protected their heels and coronet bands from cactus and sharp rocks. An average angel for a typical Cerbat and many if not most of their 1/2 crosses would be 60 degrees, with few standing at 58 degrees and many as high as 63 degrees. Their walls are typically denser, thicker than other Spanish Mustangs or Wild horses form other areas. The early Cerbat as a group had tendencies to be laterally gaited as well. They created their own mustang roll from constant digging.
GreyEagle2

Example 2)  Horses descending from Yellow Fox, SMR#2 a Montana Cheyenne Indian Reservation horse are descendants raised on Wyoming prairie of over 3000 acres. Very rocky but unlike Marble Canyon, Wyoming’s rolling hills spread out over the 3000 acres dotted with prairie dog holes. The typical hoof is large, wide and flat, and low heels with angles nearing 55 degrees. 56 would be pushing high heels on these horses.
bookcliff

Example 3)  The early Book Cliff horses from Utah. These would be the 1930-40’s stock prior to the draft infusion into the herds. Small, round, flint-hard hooves, these feet are closest to the ideal model that is used to describe mustang healthy hooves. Book Cliff blood still have these type of feet even raised on pastures which says something for genetics and natural selection that takes generations to make changes. Most studies of wild horses feet are based on Nevada wild horses who also live on mostly sandy slide rock and gravel like surfaces, with a few from woodlands up north.

corrolaa

Example 4) the Corolla Banker horses who live along ocean beaches and in marshlands have pony-like feet that grow quite long and are not worn off to the same degree as we see in the mustang studies. These horses have tough healthy hooves that tend to be a bit longer. The angles are pretty average also. They have a long history of soundness.

When trimming horses, one should take into consideration what genetics and what environment shaped the animal in front of them. You can’t trim a Cerbat like you would trim a Corolla. You may be able to trim a Book Cliff bred horse similar to a Nevada wild horse, but the Yellow Fox bred horses (regardless of the pasture or prairie where it was raised), still have a genetically different hoof to tackle.
When considering the mustang roll on your horse it is necessary to consider what kind of surface the horse is walking on and what kind of load they are carrying. A horse working in sand may not need the mustang roll in order to break over. For instance, the Bedouin Arabian is not known for a natural mustang roll yet they are world renowned for their flint hard feet and soundness in their homeland.

..exact author of this article is unknown

Winston Churchill Saves the War Horses

Posted on April 8, 2018 by Jerrilee.
Categories: health, history, military.
Winston Churchill loved horses

Winston Churchill loved horses

World War I left a lot of casualties in its wake, but Winston Churchill didn’t think that tens of thousands of war horses should be added to that number. During the war, the British military had purchased more than 1,100,000 horses from Britain, the U.S. and Canada. The initial investment was over £36 million and that didn’t include the amount spent to care for the horses between the years of 1914-1918.  The investment in horses had been worth it for the Brits. They had done the work that war horses do. They were used to transport weapons and supplies, mount cavalry charges, pull heavy guns and transport dead and wounded soldiers. The war horses suffered high mortality rates, often succumbing to exhaustion, harsh winters and direct hits from shelling. The loss of life was actually greater among horses than humans, during the battles of Somme and Passchendaele.

During the war, the British government had done everything possible to maintain a constant supply of horses. Farming horses were requisitioned from families who loved them. And, between the years of 1914-1917, approximately 1000 horses were shipped from the United States on a daily basis. The horses did their part to secure an Allied victory, but, when the war ended and the soldiers returned to their families, the horses were still stranded on foreign soil. The British military had vowed to return the horses to Britain, but it didn’t appear that they had vowed to do it in a timely manner. Horses who had served so valiantly continued to be at risk of starvation and disease. Many of them had even been sold to French and Belgian butchers, which Winston Churchill found to be unconscionable.

In a document dated February 13, 1919, Churchill wrote, “If it is so serious, what have you been doing about it? The letter of the Commander-In-Chief discloses a complete failure on the part of the Ministry of Shipping to meet its obligations and scores of thousands of horses will be left in France under extremely disadvantageous conditions.”  

Thanks to Churchill’s intervention, additional ships were quickly allocated to return the equine soldiers to the land for which they had so valiantly fought. Up to 9,000 horses per week discovered that their ships had come in!

horsesgohome

Article posted by Anita Lequoia from Campfire Chronicle

Second Careers for Older Horses

Posted on April 2, 2018 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, therapy, training.
Author riding 25 year old Morgan Mare

Author riding 25 year old Morgan Mare

I once had an instructor who firmly believed that we don’t pick our horse, the horse chooses us. Whether that be true or false, purchasing or accepting the gift of a horse from someone is one of those decisions that compares with finding the right relationship, or the best job. First of all, it calls for a clear and honest evaluation of  both our intended use for the horse and of our goals, such as the strategies for training, if needed, and are we equal to that task. Ignoring this simple process has left many a hopeful horse owner with post-purchase blues.  Secondly, the number of horses rescued from squalor or brutality indicates the need for correct assessment, not just of our riding skills, but also our available funds and time to spend with our horse, and our ability to provide a clean, natural environment once we accept the horse as our own.

Every level of rider will find their equal level in a horse when it comes to matching talent for talent, skill for skill. Horses range to each extreme in temperaments and athletic ability. But one of our most valuable resources in the horse industry is the older horse.  These seasoned campaigners are one of the best catches for children, novice, handicapped, or elderly riders. The older, more traveled horses provide safe, predictable interaction for novices learning their way through the horse world. The slower pace of the beginner, whose focus is on position and saddle competence rather than on high level, show-quality performance, is an easier pace for the older horse. The elementary curriculum also provides a job for a functionally impaired horse, who may have arthritis or soft tissue weakness.  How often we discover that the new schedule gives old chronic injuries the time to heal, and our impaired horse is much sounder and healthier.  An extremely aged horse who can no longer be ridden can still live out its remaining years serving as a companion for foals, breeding mares, or convalescing horses.

Choosing a horse in its late teens or early twenties still offers many years of opportunity for a rider to continue to learn from their horse. I once had a friend who accepted the gift of a 26 year old horse and found it to be the perfect companion for an occasional ride. He had never ridden or owned a horse before but his horse carried him around the mountain trails of his home with ease and with perfect manners.  This same horse lived to be 31 and my friend still reminisces about the five years they spent together camping out in the mountains. But his happiest moments, he said, were those just spent hanging around the barn with a beer and his favorite horse buddy.

equi-works

equi-works