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Paddock Paradise

A Day at Ferrell Hollow Farm

Saturday March 17, 2012

One woman, 10 horses, 8 cats, 2 dogs and 2 goats.  It just took 2.5 hours to care for all of them.  So?  The horses are spread over 6 pasture/paddock locations.  The cats are in 4 different areas.  Every horse receives a bucket meal with necessary supplements, and then enough hay until the evening meal comes around.  Poop is scooped or sprinkled with DE to deter breeding flies.  Nets and buckets are prepared for the next meal.  Everyone is checked over.  Yesterday we had a colicky horse related to ulcers.  This morning that is better. Whew!  A draft has active laminitis.  Another draft comes up lame and is blowing out an abcess.  If you've never worked with drafts, they are quite large and every thing is exaggerated with them.  The mare with hoof canker has a foot that is separating.  The gelding with the stifle injury is not quite as comfortable as he was a week ago.  The 2 Cushing's horses are way too hairy for our unseasonable 80 degree weather.

While this work load may not seem like much to some, realize that I am operating on less than 100%, still rehabbing from ACL reconstructive surgery 9 weeks ago, with continued physical therapy for at least another 2 weeks.

What does the rest of the day hold for this lady?  My house needs to be cleaned.  My farm house also needs to be cleaned-baths, kitchen, appliances, laundry room and windows cleaned before showing to prospective new tenants on Monday.

The laminitic horse needs a watchful eye and increased care, and the abscessed foot also needs more attention.  It is a 7 day a week job with long hours.  A labor of love.

If you would like me to work with you on getting your horse healthy thru a consult, but don't want to pay for it, don't ask.  If you would like me to board your senior, retired, special needs horse for less than my monthly boarding rate, I can't.  If you do however, see the value in these things, please contact me, as I would love to work with you and your horse(s).  This is how I make my living.  This is how I can take in special needs horses that need this level of care and pay for their upkeep myself.  It is not easy work.  It is a true labor of love.  These horses need me and I need them.  They are here to teach me things and I remain open to listening to them.

Please visit my website for more information and support our passion if you can, or share with others–thank you! Cindy Daigre

Sieg2 3-11-12

Retirement Care for Senior Horses

Fall is here, and if you have a Senior horse needing retirement care, now is the time to get them situated!  Ferrell Hollow Farm is a unique facility that caters to senior horses only, many of which have special needs. 

Nestled among the rolling hills in Middle TN, each horse receives an individualized care plan addressing their specific diet and management needs.  We are an established Senior Retirement horse farm and specialize in providing exceptional care for the older, retired horse.  We accept senior residents throughout the country with issues such as Cushing’s, Insulin Resistance, Arthritis, Chronic Lameness, Laminitis, Hard Keepers, and ones with Dental Challenges.  Many extras such as hoof trimming, worming and grooming are included in the monthly board rate.  The owners live on the premises so horses are always monitored and receive feedings and checks several times a day.

Consultations regarding nutritional and special needs are available to non-residents by phone and/or email. 

Please contact us for more information at:


MSF 7-3-11 

Insulin Resistance in Senior Horses

Insulin Resistance is a condition that can happen to a horse of any age, however when it occurs in a senior, retired horse, it can be much more challenging to overcome.  Diet and exercise are the key elements in correcting this condition.  When a horse is not formally exercised, sometimes diet alone is just not enough to help them loose the excess weight, cresty neck and fat pads.  I am absolutely thrilled to show off Dawn, a 28 year old TWH mare that has been under my care at Ferrell Hollow Farm for several years.  When she came, she had all the classic IR signs and weighed a bit over 1,100 pounds-too much for her frame.  This morning I put a weight tape on her and she is a lean 900 pounds!!!  She looks and feels fabulous.  She gets plenty to eat (forage based) and has paddocks set up to encourage movement in her 24 hour turnouts.  I am so pleased 🙂

Dawn 6-8-11 
Cindy Daigre is the founder and director of Ferrell Hollow Farm, an Equine Retirement facility in Middle Tennessee focusing on the unique concerns of Senior and Special Needs horses. In addition, she provides Equine Nutritional Consultations, has developed a specialized line of Natural Horse & Body Care Products, Herbal Blends and Seed Mixes for Horses, and has written several articles for Natural Horse Magazine. For more information, visit her website at or email her at

Small Mesh Hay Net holder & filler

A husband of a client made me the coolest thing and brought it over and installed it for me yesterday–as a gift–just because :)  I recommend using the small mesh hay nets to my clients as they provide numerous benefits for their horses.  This client loves using them and her very handy husband designed something for her that would hold the nets open while she filled them.  Then he made me one!  Such wonderful people 🙂Hay Holder 1 3-20-11 

Hay Holder 2 3-30-11 

Hay Holder 3 3-30-11 
And it collapses flat against the wall while not in use!!

Cindy Daigre

Paddock Paradise: Day 2

Today was another long day of hard work on the tracking system.  Using 3 strands of electric tape, this area requires 2,100 feet of fencing!  500' of tape was put up today and the gate hung.  I used the tractor for grading work, tearing up more of the grass and then harrowed the clumps.  Then on to cutting and picking up all of the tree roots that the grader had snapped (oh my aching back!).  One section of woods was cleaned, raked, mowed and large rocks removed.  It was quite nice and breezy under the trees!  Mary was very interested, wondering how soon she was going to be allowed to explore the new area.  I am thinking she will be running laps around the track, while Francis stands and picks at the remaining morsels of grass 😉

PP 3-22-11 
The track has hills and woods, this being one corner that has an entrance into a 20' + wide strip of trees.

PP woods 3-22-11 
Looking down one section of the wooded area–tree limbs and thorns were cut and removed as well as some large rocks.

Cindy Daigre


Paddock Paradise: Day 1

I decided to take an unused field adjacent to one being used by horses and turn it into a Paddock Paradise system.  The idea moves away from having pastures that are big, open and cross fenced, and instead uses a tracking system where horses must keep moving.  The one that I am building at Ferrell Hollow Farm has permanent field fencing around the perimeter and electric tape and posts on the interior.  The track is 20 feet wide to accomomdate large horses. One side has a wide wooded area and another has a big grove of trees for shelter. Hay, water, treat toys, etc. will be placed around the track to keep their interest and keep them moving.

Day One Accomplishment: March 21, 2011

Today the holes were dug and the support posts were set for the track which consisted of 10 wooden posts.  I used these as permanent supports in each corner, along the middle of a long side and also on either side of a gate.  Then 4 foot high step in posts were placed every six feet between the wooden posts (100 step in posts for this paddock area!). 

I mowed the entire field to cut the grass down, then used the tractor and box blade to dig and scrape up the grass.  The horses who will be using this track are either easy keepers, insulin resistant or prone to laminitis, so grass needs to be kept to a minimum.  Eventually sand and gravel can be added to corners if mud becomes an issue.

PP 1 3-21-11 
Front side of track with opening for gate.

PP 2 3-21-11 
Tractor and box blade were used to till up the grass around the track.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's accomplishments! :)