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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Friday, 29 October 2010

Self trimming - here is how I do it with a horse at livery

Prompted by Wolfie (thanks hon) - how do we get our horses self trimming?

Let's put aside those blessed with superb turnout for their horses, a track or paddock paradise system - that's just making it too easy!

Before I knew anything about anything I did, at various non injured times, have my old Grey Mare self trimming.  We did this by doing hours and hours and hours of roadwork.  For those who believe that barefooters can only work on soft surfaces and have to restrict roadwork - that is a myth.  The biggest problem I have with clients is them not doing enough work with their horses.  But like any exercise - you have to build it up, not go mad on day one and wonder why day two is ouchy.

Now Grace is self trimming too.  To be honest I have been so wrapped up in managing her laminitis and EPSM I haven't been focused on self trimming as a goal.  It has been a by-product of the consistency of management/exercise that her metabolic conditions require.  (Every cloud has a silver lining if you look hard enough.)

Grace is kept at livery, with many hours in her stable on rubber mats with whatever supplementary bedding has caught my fancy.  When permanently stabled (a necessary evil at times) because of the dairy grass round here, Grace is exercised at least twice a day, sometimes more.  With the colder weather she has been turning out and I have cut her exercise right down (to be honest this isn't working too well because of the EPSM.)

The surfaces we have here are very average for the UK.  Farm tracks of whatever hardcore was cheapest/to hand at the time of building.  Concrete yarding and sand/rubber menage. Whether working or not I try and give Grace a 20 minute walk in hand every day over as many different surfaces as possible.  Depending on how well we have managed her sugar/starch intake she is sometimes rock crunching and at others finds stones over a hard surface a little difficult (and at these times we can boot if we need).

So to get your horse self trimming - feed them right, work them hard, mix and match your surfaces.  Simples! :-)

Oh and 'technically' she has 'cr*p' feet, but you know she doesn't let it bother her, she just gets on with being a horse.

1 comment:

Wolfie said...

Thanks! OK, I have been on the right track without realizing it. In an effort to maintain my guy's healthy feet, I walk him on different surfaces - hard dirt with some gravel, sand, grass, sand with stones - but he spends most of his time on grass or sand/sand and stone (lessons). In the spring, (soon everything will be covered with ice and snow), I will walk him for longer periods on the dirt/gravel lane and see if that will make a difference to his trimming needs. I appreciate you taking the time to blog about it!!

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