A new foal is not an inanimate object (I know you knew that). A new foal is a thinking, learning entity that is picking up information at an amazing rate…nothing like a human baby. They must, as their lives literally depend on learning as much as they can as fast as they can. This includes learning about you.
I understand from studies I read on imprinting that you have the first 10 hours of a foal’s life to imprint everything you want to do throughout the rest of that foal’s life. Apparently the people who did that study imprinted foals, tossed them out to pasture for two years, and found they still remembered what they had been taught. If you do that and keep it going instead, the bond you establish then will be stronger and last a lifetime. Continue reading
I, like many others, started out in a pickup truck with a cap. I carried a fair assortment of hand tools and an assortment of shoes. A portable anvil stand and a one burner forge with some steel flat stock to make shoes I didn’t have with me. If you don’t carry all the shoes you need, it’s lost business to tell the customer you’ll be back later. I had no problem making shoes as I was also doing ornamental blacksmithing back home and considered it part of the tradition.
A little while later I apprenticed under a nationally known farrier who worked on show Saddlebreds exclusively. He also worked on show Morgans, if he had to, so he was happy to turn them over to me. He worked out of a vintage step van he had converted from a blue and yellow bakery truck. He made it into a machine shop and blacksmith shop complete with coal forge. Also, lots of weighted shoes…about a half ton worth and pads. So, I modeled my new/old truck after him, except for the coal forge. Propane was quicker and neater. I got a deal on an old postal delivery truck complete with power lift gate and flashing light on top. Continue reading
First off, there are lots of people smarter than me with the patience to perform a disciplined study of what is known as White Line Disease or “WLD”. There was a good study by Michael Wildenstein, the resident farrier at Cornell Veterinary College. This study observed 5 WLD horses and found four types of fungi.
I was at Cornell when this study was presented and at the time they reported that WLD can be affected by 41 different types of fungi, molds, yeast, and both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. This information is not included in this study and they also don’t say if each infected hoof had all four types of bacteria. I think this is important to tell you, particularly for people who feel guilty about a horse with WLD. Long story for another time, but I lost a horse to WLD and putting her down was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I didn’t have adequate facilities to save her. Continue reading
HoofArmor works great with horseshoes. HoofArmor is designed primarily to protect the sole, which a horseshoe doesn’t. Actually, farriers on the harness track have been using HoofArmor with horseshoes for years because that track is more course than thoroughbred tracks and harder on the soles. HoofArmor is lightweight protection and will not inhibit the gait.
There are two ways of using HoofArmor with horseshoes, either before or after shoeing. Used before shoeing HoofArmor will protect the white line from dirt, infections and gravels. Used after shoeing, particularly if hot shoeing, it is an easy application that will provide sole protection and not change the movement or gaits of a horse.
Unlike pads, where dirt or moisture can get in the back of the pad at the heels, particularly after the shoes and pads have grown down, HoofArmor leaves no opening. Unlike pads which can attract and trap moisture which can soften and weaken the sole, HoofArmor will maintain the sole’s internal moisture level and help strengthen the sole. Unlike rubber pads which can flex and allow nails to loosen, HoofArmor will allow horseshoes to stay tight for the entire shoeing cycle.
HoofArmor is another tool in a farrier’s toolbox!
A hoof wall flare is not a problem…it is a symptom. A hoof wall crack is a symptom that can be a problem. Fixing the symptom doesn’t fix the root cause or keep it from either getting worse and happening again. Hoof wall flares and cracks can be conformation issues or trimming issues, not to mention shoeing issues. I’m writing about these two issues together because the cause is often the same.
Let’s look at conformation issues first. You can do this at home. Stand with your feet about a foot apart. The pressure on your feet is evenly distributed on both. Now, without lifting your feet, try to make them closer together. Where is the pressure on your feet now? On the inside edge? Less pressure on the outside edge? This is a base narrow stance. Now, again without lifting your feet, try to spread your feet apart. Where is the pressure now? On the outside edge? Less pressure on the inside edge? This is a base wide stance. Narrow chested horses, for instance thoroughbreds, often have a base wide stance. Wider chested horses, like a quarter horse, often have a base narrow stance. Continue reading