Monday, May 31, 2010

Why I do this site – Backyard Horse Owners

A few days ago a young man who I know from the horse crowd asked me to come by his facility and look at several horses he just acquired. He was asking me what I thought of them and how much he thought he could get for selling them.

When I got there I saw two grade sorrel mares, one in fairly poor condition and the other in decent body condition. Both were about 14 hands. I went into the pen with them and the heavier mare ran away and I never got up close to her. I was able to handle the skinnier mare and determine she was probably no older than 4 years old and had already been bred once. Both had hoofs that needed attention,...maybe 3-4 weeks over past due for trimming. Both also had rings around their hoofs near the coronet band indicating inconsistent feed over the past several months.

I went to the other pen and took at look at a grade stud horse, who was also a sorrel. Possibly not older than 4 years old and couldn’t have been bigger than 14.1 hands. He was a little skittish and was not broke to handle his feet, as I found out. I pressured the horse to move around and he was giving significantly to his back right and it appeared to be a problem in his stifle (hip). He also loked to be cow hocked in the front end.

The young man had no health records on any of the horses. But told me that he was pretty sure they had their vaccinations. I asked which one’s he thought they had, and he couldn’t answer because he doesn't know what is required.

The young man told me he was thinking about keeping the stud and breeding him. Then asked me what I thought about them all.

I told him "my opinions are free so I’m not worried about hurting your feelings. You need to get a vet out here to look at all horses, give them their vaccinations and a Coggins test. Have the Vet bring a farrier. The length of hooves on the front end of that stud horse looks like he hasn’t been trimmed in a year...big splayed out duck feet. And it’ll take about 4 to 6 months to get his feet straighten out. When the Vet is here have him geld the stud horse. He’s a grade horse,… ain’t got any papers on him,….and there is too much indiscriminate breeding going on to bring another grade foal into the market."

"Dump the mare’s water bucket and clean it out. Get a salt block for both pens. Get some overhead cover for the mare’s. Start feeding them some longer stem forage rather than the residue alfalfa leaves you’ve been picking up off the ground with a shovel."

"Oh, by the way – you ain’t getting anything but killer prices for all three, if you go to sell them."

I told him that I would be wiling to work with him on any he keeps, if he takes better care of them....that was sort of like a bribe, I reckon.

This is why I do this site, trying to help people who have horses and don’t know what they are doing. It’s a tough life to live through on the job training, but dang it, a person should look to educate themself. I’m going to start asking some pictures of how people keep their horses to better show what I am talking about.

I’ve seen one eighth acre lots with a trailer home and chain link fence; junk and trash thrown about, and two horses’ picking through everything.

I’ve seen two horses, each in a ten by ten stall, almost up to their hocks in manure; filthy water bucket. God knows when they last left their stalls.

My wife and I have stopped by several of these types and mentioned as calmy as we could that their horses need better attention. Much of the time it’s to no avail and in the worst cases we call Animal Control. The problem with Animal Control is that there are no horse people in that organization.

I just wish some people would figure out what they don’t know and try to fix it,….that horse’s life hangs in the balance, …... and if not his life, then certainly his quality of life. Give him a fair life.

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