Relatively mild winter weather, above average temperatures and lack of rainfall this spring are all expected to create a worse than normal fly season in our area. Ferrell Hollow Farm has implemented many natural methods of fly control over the years and continues to research and try new things to keep our senior retirees comfortable.
Diatomaceous Earth: This is a fine white powder that can be sprinkled on manure piles to decrease the breeding fly population.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Use only the organic, raw vinegar with the "mother". This can be poured over the feed meals or in the water buckets or troughs at a rate of 1 cup per day, introducing the flavor slowly.
Vitamin B1: Thiamin has been thought to be a natural insect repellent. We are feeding 1,000 mg a day to all of the horses.
Fly Spray: We use natural fly sprays made with high quality essential oils, sprayed at least once a day.
Fly Gear: Fly masks, fly boots, and fly sheets can be quite helpful in keeping the horses comfortable during the day. I find the soft breathable mesh material and belly bands to be the most comfortable for the horses.
Fly Traps: The only effective control I've found against biting horseflies are traps such as the Epps Biting Fly Trap and we have made several varieties of our own versions to keep it more economical. One trap in each horse pasture has been necessary.
Fans: All of our pastures have large run in shelters with electricity so that we can run fans to keep the air circulating during the heat.
Shade Screens: Hanging shade screens in each run in shelter cuts down on the sun streaming in the sheds, which not only deters insects, but keeps the horses more comfortable during the heat of the day.
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.
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.
Today was the day to do a Clean Trax soak on Mary's front feet. CleanTrax is a deep penetrating hoof cleanser used on tough hoof infections, and does not harm healthy tissue. It is a lengthy process to use this product. The horses feet need to be cleaned first (I pick them out then put the foot in a pan of water, add a couple of drops of dish detergent and scrub the foot). Once the solution is mixed, the horses foot is placed in a reinforced bag, the solution added and the bag sealed to lock in the vapors for 45 minutes!
Mary is a 26 y/o Standardbred, retired from life as a NYC carriage horse. She quietly nibbles at hay while her feet soak. I use duct tape to reinforce the seams on ziploc bags and vetwrap to seal them closed.
Once it is time to take the feet out of the solution, the next step is to place empty bags back on the feet, seal them again, for 45 minutes so the vapors can continue to penetrate the crevices of the hoof.
It was necesssary to clean Mary's front feet with the Clean Trax as a preparation for canker treatment that is beginning this week. Hoof Canker will be a topic for another blog entry 😉
Cindy Daigre is the founder and director of Ferrell Hollow Farm, an Equine Retirement facility in 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 Body Care Products, Herbal Blends, Seed Mixes and has written several articles for Natural Horse Magazine. http://www.ferrellhollowfarm.net
I called my specialist vet, Dr. Wright, of TN Equine Hospital, out to take x-rays of Siegfried, Buddy and Slim today. The results we found were surprising to both of us!
Siegfried, 23 y/o Percheron, has had a history of chronic laminitis for 20 years, and I thought that is what had been plaguing him lately, despite a strict management for Insulin Resistant horses and some very expensive supplements! X-rays of his front feet show significant high and low ringbone, with his left front foot the worst. X-rays of his hocks showed only minor arthritis. While I has thrilled that laminitis is not an issue right now, I was crushed that the ringbone was so signifcant and has caused him so much discomfort as of late 🙁
Slim, 22 y/o Percheron, has been showing signs of significant arthritis since he arrived in late December and has been difficult to trim on his front feet. X-rays of his front feet show severe high and low ringbone, the vet said one of the worst cases he has seen :(
Buddy, 11 y/o Percheron, I already knew he had a right hind fetlock and hock fracture with severe osteoarthritis, but I wanted x-rays done to see where we stand right now. He has responded well to the joint supplement I have had him on and has had many more sound days than lame days! X-rays of his front feet show a chip in the left front fetlock, which was surprising news 🙁
Mary, 26 y/o STB, has severe hoof canker and has been seen by Dr. Wright more than once for it over the past year. I wanted him to assess where she is now and discussed a possible new topical treatment that might be available to help her.
While having the vet out usually results in a large out of pocket expense, in this case, provided much needed diagnostic tools to not only diagnose the horses issues, but alter how they are managed, in this case with supplementation changes and new anti-inflammatory drugs to get them as comfortable as possible when they are getting their feet trimmed.
Ringbone is bone growth in the pastern or coffin joint of a horse, and in severe cases, the growth can encircle the bones, giving ringbone it's name! It is not uncommon to see degrees of ringbone in large horses who have had long working careers. It is often difficult to return a horse with ringbone to soundness and in many it leads to retirement.
One of the most heart-warming sights I get to witness almost every morning, is Buddy laying down resting, with Slim standing over him 🙂
Cindy Daigre is the owner of Ferrell Hollow Farm, a unique retirement farm for senior and special needs horses in Middle TN.
Today one of our long term residents turns 32 years old! Willie arrived at Ferrell Hollow Farm in 2004 and spent most of his life in New York, moving a few times as his owners job changed. I've always said Willie marches to the beat of his own drum, he is his own man, that is for sure. He has thrived here and looks wonderful this spring. As soon as he sheds out completely, he will be as shiny as a copper penny! We look forward to many more years of caring for this special boy!
Ferrell Hollow Farm is a unique retirement farm for senior and special needs horses in Middle TN. To find out more about them, please visit www.ferrellhollowfarm.net.
For 2 days only, when you order a Calendula Balm, you will receive a FREE sample of our NEW Calendula Cream, soon to be debuted! If you have sensitive skin or require fragrance free products, this one is for you! This offer lasts thru midnight Tuesday April 10th, 2012! All proceeds from the sales help us care for the special needs horses we have adopted and retired at Ferrell Hollow Farm! Our vet is coming this week for x-rays of 3 of the drafts feet and hocks, and to assess our mare with hoof canker.
Ferrell Hollow Farm’s Calendula Balm is very beneficial for healing wounds, soothing dry, cracked or chapped skin in both people and animals and taking the sting out of bug bites! It has a very mild, natural scent with no essential oils added, making it exactly what those with sensitive skin need.
Cindy Daigre, owner of Ferrell Hollow Farm’s Equine Senior Retirement Farm, is continually inspired by the beauty of the gardens she lovingly cares for and regularly creates unique herbal blends based on the plants surrounding her home. As with all of our products, only cruelty-free ingredients are used.