Friday, August 8, 2008

Farrier Day

Today was a busy day as our wonderful farrier, Gwen, was here. I wish I had a pedicure every six weeks! On a retirement farm excellent and routine farrier care is very important for the horses. Of course it is important for any horse, but people often have the misconception that you can lower the standard of care when they are retired. I find the opposite to be true.

Many of the horses are retired due to some type of hoof problem (navicular disease is a common problem) and this needs to be managed in retirement just as it was prior to retirement. Your horse can't suddenly do well seeing the farrier 2 or 3 times a year when farrier care was needed every 4-6 weeks while working!

To date we have been able to successfully transition all of the retirees to barefoot. Our farrier fits boots with pads for the horses that need them, and this allows them to have a pain-free transition. Don't let anyone tell using hoof boots is easy - they are a pain - but well worth the hassle. What we find is the horses will either have an easy transition and don't need the boots, or they need the boots WITH pads for a period of time. That time period varies for each horse. The boots must be removed and cleaned daily during the transition. The amount of time the horse needs the boots and pads varies with each horse. Some literally only need them for a week or two, others need them for a longer period.

I would never recommend just pulling the shoes and trying barefoot with ANY horse if you suspect the horse will have a painful transition. That is unfair to the horse and the horse should remain shod rather than have a painful transition.

By the way, we have not found the miracle cure for hoof problems. The horses are quite comfortable barefoot on our grass pastures. Were they still in work many of them would need to be shod again, although some might not.

Some pictures of the horses receiving their pedicures:

Maybe there is something more interesting going on back there

This is soooooo boring and I am soooo tired
Maybe if I lift my head just a little bit higher I will be able to see my buddies
Chewing on the cross tie to pass the time is always a nice form of entertainment

An alert expression but note the drooping bottom lip

Patiently standing with a hoof on the stand

She probably won't mind if I chew on her shirt while I'm bored

He started off awake in the top photo, but in the bottom photo the lip is drooping, the eyes are closed and the cross ties are holding up his head!

2 comments:

CadencedHoofbeats said...

Hi! I just happened to stumble upon your blog this evening...I love it! The horses look so happy, and your farm is beautiful. Bear is so cute...and a great tractor driver! :) I especially like your descriptions of herd dynamics and daily farm management...it is quite a job, isn't it? But we love those animals so much! :D

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

You should post the before and after of my horses' feet. Gwen did a fantastic job on them!