Today was farrier day here at Ferrell Hollow Farm. Seven of the horses got their feet trimmed. It had been about 7 1/2 weeks since the last trim, and with the wet summer, there had been quite a bit of hoof growth.
Here's the run down on who got what:
Tee had lost a front shoe, which I never found in the field, so she got new shoes on the front feet today. She is a TB with feet that have a tendency to split and crack and the shoes have helped to aleviate that problem. She can be a bit fussy, but today was very well behaved–to all of our delight 🙂
Toube is a little bitty, but mighty and spunky girl who has appropriately small feet for her large ponish size. She is highly distractable when brought to the barn, fearing she may miss something going on out of her range of sight. She was well mannered as she got her trim today.
Dawn is an older TWH with a build that resembles a Morgan. She has contracted heels and has a tendency to get mild thrush in wet weather. She is very well mannered as she spent about all of her working life on a hack line in NC, so standing for any procedure is no big deal for her.
Maggie is a little black QH who acts like a little old lady, but she's only 28! She shuffles around moving in her one speed: Slow. We all adore her and she has two boyfriends now. She putters and stands behind the guys and they don't seem to mind. She has navicular (heel pain) and has special shoes for that. They are a lightweight aluminum with a slight wedge heel–very fashionable!
Willie is a QH who is quite the character for his 29 years! He has had front shoes on since he came 5 years ago and his owner and I decided to let him be barefoot. He has arthritis and really hates the nails being pounded in the shoes. He stood very still for his trim and almost fell asleep.
Eagle is the newest resident. He has small feet for his big 16.2 sized body and his feet grow upwards. He has navicular and was shod in a way that I felt was not best for him as I watch him gimp around in pain everyday. He also has contracted heels and thrush. He got shiny new aluminum shoes today and as I watched him trot off thru the pasture after being turned out, I'd have to say his feet felt better.
Tess is an older TB mare with Cushings who is Haley's pasture-mate. In order not to stress either her or Haley, the farrier will go to their run in shed/barn and trim her. She is also one that will stand still for anything that needs to be done to her. She has developed arthritis in her left knee, however because she was retired early, is just now at age 26 showing signs of arthritis.
The next trim is scheduled for 7 weeks away for this bunch!
I have accepted that my horse, Haley, is on his own path–he tells me what he needs, and I give it to him. We understand each other pretty well. He is a chronically ill horse and he will decide when he has had enough sickness. For now though, he is pushing on thru the challenges he is presented with.
His frequent energy sessions have taught him the ability to relax, which is important for him, as he rarely goes down anymore, is REM sleep deprived, and has a huge amount of weight to hold up. Saturday was his most recent session. He responded very well and quickly. I knew he was already tired and I led him into the shed to work out of the sun. As the 20 minute session neared an end, he became a bit grumpy, telling Amanda he wanted to be left alone to relax. We walked away and left him to doze and were chatting at her car, when I heard a loud crash. I ran back to the shed. He had relaxed so much, he had fallen down, scared himself, and was having trouble rising. He did rise and I inspected him all over and when we felt he would be ok, left him to relax.
The next morning, he had a big goose egg sized swelling in between the front legs with a couple of scrapes on it and some swelling in the right hind fetlock area. I am a big fan of the natural liniment Sore No More. It is arnica based and is great for swollen and inflammed areas. When rubbbed in, it will actually lather up where any heat is present.
Sunday was Haley's four week trim and he really needed it since there was a lot of hoof growth since the last one.
Front feet and back feet before the trimming session. He distributes his weight very unevenly due to his neurological conditions. Having frequent trims is crucial for his hoof health.
Elizabeth and I were remarking how in just 6 months time, the first nasty abscess and hoof wall separation had now grown down to the ground. Pretty amazing hoof growth!
So this morning on my feeding rounds and inspection, I find that Haley has popped out yet another coronary band abscess on the right hind foot. Unfortunately this will be an ongoing issue for him as he bears most of his weight on this foot, especially to the outside.
I also wanted to mention the special relationship that Haley and his pasture mate, Tess have. She is an older Cushings mare who absolutely adores him. She has been a constant and faithful companion for him. Lately I have noticed when he is in the lower field and wants to move up to the shed, she walks along his right side the whole way up. If he stops, she does too. She is acting as a support for that side for him. It is so sweet.
I just spent the past 3 days visiting Pets Alive in Middletown, NY. Pets Alive is a no-kill animal shelter, located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, about 1 1/2 hours from New York City. Their mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and place animals in need. Victims of neglect, abuse, and violence, many of them have special needs and have been rejected by other organizations. Currently they care for 8 horses, 90 dogs and also a very large number of cats.
Several months ago, I saw an adoptable horse ad for one of their horses and became very intrigued. After contacting them and learning about what they did, I became a supporter. I began sending them care packages for the horses–my natural products to include fly spray, coat spray, thrush spray, colloidal silver and herbal/hay treats. They were well received. I decided I wanted to go meet them, the horses, see their set up and if there was any way in which I could assist them. They were quite gracious and hospitable.
Pets Alive is directed by Kerry and Matt with a handful of paid staff and lots of volunteers. You can imagine with the number of animals that they are caring for, it requires quite a bit of work to get it all done—and somehow they do. The staff are very caring and often go the extra mile to do what is needed.
Although I love cats and dogs, my interest was the horses. At one time they were one of the only places to take in retired NYC carriage horses and still have several there today. I have come to love visiting NYC when I can and do not like to see carriage horses in the city. I felt extremely grateful that Pets Alive had provided a refuge for them. 5 of the 8 horses there are seniors and several are special needs.
I spent my time while there caring for the horses, grooming them, checking them over, reviewing their diets and living conditions. Kerry was very open about receiving feedback from me on how to do things differently and make improvements. I have given her several recommendations about dietary changes and needs and paddock improvements. Their base of equine knowlegeable staff is limited as the large number of dogs and cats they care for require most of their resources.
Francis and his gal pal, Mary. I fell in love with both of them instantly. They are older, retired NYC carriage horses and spent many many years as service horses. They deserve a wonderful retirement for all the years of hardship they endured. They are sweet souls. I am working out the details to have Pets Alive bring them to live at Ferrell Hollow Farm 🙂
Please visit their site at www.petsalive.com
Eagle has sucessfully been transitioned into his new herd! For the first week of his arrival, he was kept in a separate pasture, however it was adjacent to 3 other fields where he could see other horses. Dawn was the closest horse to him during this time, and he formed a bond with her. He didn't want her to get away from his sight. Oh dear, can he get past this and form a relationship with the 2 horses that I had chosen for his herd mates? Let me be clear, his attachment to Dawn was, should we say, unrequited. She was indifferent–as long as she stays on her schedule with routine meals, etc, she is happy–no herd needed. Poor Eagle.
I am happy to say that he is now friends with Willie and Maggie, two other older Quarter Horses. They are easy going and friendly and accepted Eagle with no problems. I've seen Eagle and Willie quietly, in old man style, try to determine which of them will be the boss. That is still undecided. All are well mannered and easy going. Eagle knows to seek the comfort of his run in shelter for food, anti-fatigue mats and cooling off in front of the fans. He likes the meals I prepare for him and also the free choice orchard grass hay.
His leg injury is healing very nicely and the abcess, thrush and skin conditions are also improving. He got the winter hair clipped off of him this morning and really seemed to enjoy it. He has Cushings Disease, which is a benign tumor of the pituitary gland. An excess of cortisol is produced as a result and symptoms include a winter coat that won't shed out and difficulty regulating body temperature. So coat clipping, fans in the shed, and the occasional sponge bath will be necessary measures to keeping him cool in this summer heat.
Such a handsome group!
Eagle, Willie and Maggie under the trees.
Eagle likes the salt. Cooling off with the fans and munching orchard hay.
You could say that I am a product junkie and when it comes to horsey items, there's no exceptions. A recent issue of Equus magazine had an ad that caught my eye so I investigated the product before deciding to make a purchase. The Horse Fly Net. A lightweight, yet durable, see thru fabric designed to hang in a bay of a run in shed to filter sunlight and the horse could duck under to scratch the flies off of his back. I couldn't wait to get it up and see if the horses liked it. I certainly hoped so because it wasn't a cheap purchase.
View from inside the shed. Maggie inside the shed behind the fly net.
Check out their website: www.horseflynet.com We sure like ours!