Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Question on Handling Hooves and Horse Nutrition

KB wrote me with the following questions: "I have a 9 year old quarter horse mare that cow kicks every time you try to pick up her hind feet. And also we just got a 1 1/2 yr old gelding who doesn't want you to touch his legs at all and I really need to get this problem fixed so that I can safely clean their hoofs and have them trimmed. So any help would be greatly appreciated. And since I was told I shouldn't ever tie the younger horse the first time he is introduced to something new and I don't have anyone else to help me I not sure where to start.

And also I have read so much about horse nutrition that now I feel completely and uterly lost on what they each should have and have had no luck finding a equine nutritionist in this area (Ft. Worth, TX) to try and ask any questions of. And yes, I read in one of your articles earlier that everyone I ask has a different answer, which just makes it that much more difficult to try and figure out the best thing to do. And all I am really wanting to do it provide all the nutrients, vitimins, minerals, etc. that the horses need and do my best to make them safe for myself and the farrier so that we can move on to all the other (fun stuff) that comes along with having horses. And thank you again for any help you may have to offer."

On Horse Nutrition,...first of all I am not a equine nutritionist, I just have some opinions based on my experience and it seems like you have figured out everyone else has opinions as well! I think that educating yourself on nutrition is a process, probably a never ending process, that combines experience and learning from multiple sources (experience, talking with knowledgeable people, reading books, and researching the internet). I think horses do well on their own, but we create a lot of problems when we put them in pens, and because of convenience, throw dry, compressed feed to them a couple times a day. Then we add grains, processed feeds and supplements to solve problems that sometimes we create, and sometimes creating more problems.

One good source of nutritional information is ADM Alliance Nutrition. ADM advocates a "Forage First" approach, which I wholeheartedly believe in. They also offer television based interviews on nutrition, through RFD-TV, with Dr. Judy Reynolds, as well as a nutrition hot line phone number.

Generally, most horses can do well on forage (hay), a salt block and fresh water. I feed both grass and alfalfa hay,....I reckon most people just feed alfalfa.

On the issue of you not being able to handle your horse's feet: Horses weren't born giving to their feet. And if you think about it, with a horse's well defined sense of survival, allowing us to pick a foot off the ground, taking away their ability to flee, is a compromise all of it's own.

It is the responsibility of the horse owner to make his/her horse safe to trim/shoe. Most of us do not pay our farriers enough to train our horses for us. In fact, the easiest way to lose a good farrier is to have him trim/shoe a ill mannered horse.

Your horse probably has some other problems areas as well and the origin of these problems are most likely based out of a lack of respect from the horse to you.  If I am picking up the feet on a horse I am evaluating for the first time, I make sure the horse is comfortable with me at all places around it's body and with my hands rubbing on that horse all over.  When I have a real green horse, I may try using the lead rope or a lariat to pickup their feet with for the first few times.  What I am looking for is a give by the horse then I'll release the pressure. That first time may be two seconds, then I build on that.  You are looking for the slightest try then rewarding the horse with the release.

Most likely you are going to have problems with bad manners, and horses being recalcitrant about letting you pickup their feet is a classic bad habit, unless you get the horse's respect and I think you do that by moving his feet, backing him up, getting that horse to join up with you,....getting that horse to see you as the leader.   Again, work on accepting and rewarding a small try and build on that.  Let me know how you are doing KB.  Safe Journey. 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

2012 Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium

Just made it back from our annual trip to the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium held in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Reining competition, horse training demonstrations from Craig Cameron, Chuck Wagon cookoffs, brisket and green chile burritos, and Mule demonstrations as well as live music headlined by the Gatlin Brothers and Asleep At The Wheel all made this a welcome get away for a weekend.

Josh Armstrong, from Armstrong Equine Services, highlighted the Reining Horse competition, called "Ride and Slide" hosted by the Zia Paint Horse Club where riders demonstrated flying lead changes and sliding stops among the reining patterns.

We go every year primarily to see Craig Cameron put on several one hour demonstrations. The bleachers around his round pen were again over flowing this year as Craig demonstrated putting a handle on a young horse in one session and in another session he took a two year old that had never been ridden and within an hour he had this two year old giving to pressure and accepting a saddle and rider. Perhaps the best thing Craig Cameron does is demonstrate what is possible with a horse when you approach the relationship from the horse's point of view, and he always explains the why and not just the how.  Picture at right is Craig Cameron working a green tow year old horse from the back of a horse he had previous worked to put a little more handle on.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

For The Love of a Horse Update

For The Love of a Horse (FTLOAH) is a Roswell, Georiga based tax exempt, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization comprised of volunteers dedicated to the resuce and rehabilitation of equines, specifically those with critical care needs that would otherwise be euthanized.

A visit by FTLOAH to the Somerby Assisted Living Center on October 4, 2012, covered by CNN covered this event where For The Love Of A Horse brought a mini and a donkey out to meet the residents.   Judging by the smiles on the faces of the residents this visit brought a lot of joy to these people.

The latest rescue case for FTLOAH is Chief, an Appaloosa gelding approximatley 13 years old. As with most rescue horses, their history is often a mystery other than the obvious fact they were not cared for. Chief is three legged lame due to an injury to his right front pastern, which is probably why he was abandoned. Veternarian Dr. Randy Eggleston at the University of Georgia, believes Chief can be helped and FTLOAH is raising money to pay for surgery scheduled at the University of Georgia this coming week.

This organization can use a hand to continue doing good things for equines and humans alike. There is a pay pal link on their website if you could donate. For further information contact: Miaka D. Palmieri, President, "For The Love Of A Horse" www.fortheloveofahorse.org Telephone: 404.680.0392

Monday, October 15, 2012

Learning From Videos

I received this through e-mail from Wendy R: "Hi. I'm between a basic and intermediate rider. I keep my horse on a friend's farm and don't have a way with either a horse trailer or truck to get my 7 year old Palomino mare to any riding clinics. Even so it would be a minimum of 5 hours or so to get to one, which are normally held at the fairgrounds. I have learned from a couple of your videos like opening gates and getting a horse to stand still but I am looking for more good videos. Do you have any suggestions on a few good, inexpensive DVD type training videos?"

Hi Wendy, sorry that attending clinics is darn near impossible for you. One thing you may want to look into is trailering with someone else to a clinic. Maybe joining a local or regional horse group will give you some contacts. Attending a clinic without your horse is called "auditing".  While auditing a clinic would be helpful, attending a clinic where you can ride and learn at the same time would probably pay off much better.

The advantage with DVD's is the ability to re-play them over and over until you understand the material then go out on horseback and experiment.  I think that sometimes these self learned lessons can be the best kind. 

Everyone is going to have their favorite clinicians, pretty much based on their ability to understand that clinician. My two favorites are Craig Cameron and Buck Brannaman. That doesn't imply that others are less capable, it's just these two come across much easier to understand to my way of thinking. While I have not had the opportunity to view either of the below training videos from Craig Cameron or Buck Brannaman, I have seen other videos they produce and am pretty confident that you would find any of their videos useful and professional.  Good luck Wendy and safe journey.

Practice Makes Perfect, by Craig Cameron Craig Cameron videos

Seven Clinics with Buck Brannaman Buck Brannaman videos

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yearling's Swelling Caused by Protein Deficiency?

Tammy wrote and asked "I have a 10 month Blue Roan Tennesse Walking Horse. She has a swollen barrel so I had the Vet come out. He rubbed her belly and said she was low on protein but she did have a hernia that needed to be removed. He said the swelling was due to low protein, have you ever heard of this????"

Hey Tammy, while I wouldn't call this common (the swelling or edema on your yearling's barrel), it is not unheard of for a protein deficiency to cause non-painful swelling. The mechanism, as I understand it, is that sufficient protein provides a key nutrient that keeps fluid from leaking out of the blood vessels and causing the swelling. Your Vet was probably rubbing your filly's belly to see if there was any pain.  A lack of pain may indicate swelling from fluid buildup from a protein deficiency as opposed to swelling from trauma. 

I would think that a protein deficiency would be a more likely cause of the swelling than some sort of digestive problem where your filly could not breakdown and assimilate nutrients from her feed.

I would work with your Vet on a feeding solution. You may want to visit with the horse feed professionals at ADM Alliance Nutrition. There is a alot of information available at their website under Equine Library, including feeding growing horses.

ADM's spokeperson, Dr. Judy Reynolds, appears on RFD-TV to talk about feeding horses. They also have a telephone Nutrition hotline at 1-800-680-8254.

Your Vet should have talked to you about fixing the hernia. Sometimes hernias don't appear in foals until they are a little older and more active. Did he say what type of hernia?

There are two basic types of hernias: Inguinal and Umbilical hernias. With the Inguinal hernia usually being more serious and have a greater need for a quicker resolution which your Vet should be able to do with no lasting effects on the horse.

Let me know how it works out with your TWH. That's a great breed and Blue Roan is a pretty color. She ought to make a great riding horse for you. Good luck and safe journey.

Friday, October 5, 2012

End of Watch - Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie

On Tuesday October 2nd, 2012 while responding as part of a Horse Patrol unit from Naco Border Patrol Station to a sensor activation, close to Highway 80 just West of Douglas Arizona, which indicated a possible narcotics load up occurring, Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie was shot and killed in the line of duty.

Another Border Patrol Agent was wounded. The subjects, not yet determined to be either a bandit group intending on robbing illegal aliens, or simply a armed narcotics smuggling group, have not yet been captured, or, suspects detained in the general area have not yet been linked to the shooting.

Update:  Since posting this article, a preliminary FBI investigation has now reported that in all probability Agent Ivie was killed as a result of friendly fire. Imagine several agents responding to a remote area in the dead of night, expecting to find a narcotics load or a bandit crew, and you can start to see what kind of situation this is.  The results of the investigation do not make Agent Ivie's sacrifice any less.     

Border Patrol Agent Ivie is the second Border Patrol Agent to die in the line of duty in the last two years from armed criminals operating inside the border in very rough and remote areas of Arizona.  Nicholas Ivie left a wife and two young children. We wish speed in God granting Agent Ivie's family a measure of peace from their grief.

Please keep our Border Patrol Agents, especially those on horseback, as well as our other dedicated law enforcement officers in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Large Animal Emergencies and Horse Rescue Training

A friend of mine traveled several hours to attend a Large Animal Emergency and Rescue (LAER) clinic conducted by Vicki Schmidt, a Maine State Fire Instructor II and firefighter for Buckfield Fire Department. She is also the owner and manager of Troika Drafts, a 100 acre working draft horse farm in western Maine.The training was conducted in in the Silver City, New Mexico which is mountainous and wooded and is always facing a fire threat. 

Getting prepared for horse or other larger animal emergencies such as evacuation from wild fires or floods, horses stuck in things like culverts or trees, or (God forbid) trailer accidents is a good idea.

The LAER clinic was billed as preparing emergency responders and animal owners together, helping each understand the others roles and responsibilities.

Most Rescue Preparedness Training for horse owners revolves around the concept the horse and owner being "Rescue Ready".

Some of the traits that "Rescue Ready" horse would have includes: • Leads equally well from both sides • Stands quietly while tied and blindfolded • Allows straps to be draped over, under, around and between their legs • Allows wraps freely on their legs • Accepts the sound of duct tape, etc • Is not afraid of the light of a flashlight • Is trusting of humans/strangers

The "Rescue Ready" owner should think about the following steps to be ready for an emergency: • Pre-programmed In-Case-Of-Emergency names and numbers in their cell phones • Emergency info posted near phones • Arranges for emergency care of horses • Stays calm in the event of an emergency • Knows their horses ambient vital signs • Respects the authority and responsibility of local responders • Knows knots and safety protocol • Trains their horse to be rescue ready. • Keeps halters handy and other safety items

Large Animal and Horse Rescue Organizations:

Vicki Schmidt, Large Animal Rescue Training program

Arizona Equine Rescue Organization

Clemson University Cooperative Extension

Horse Rescue Resources:

Equine Emergency Rescue - A Horse Owners Guide to Large Animal Rescue. A guide to the methods and tools necessary to successfully extricate a horse or other large animal from entrapment using low-tech, low-risk options that are safer, easier and quicker than extreme techniques. Available from Indie Book Authors.