Posts Tagged ‘morgan’

Running Bare (Part 2 of 2)

November 27, 2009
 

Varied terrain? Check!

By Judy Oldmeadow, Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

As promised, here’s my take on Andrew Bowe’s www.barehoofcare.com site.

Brumbies and American Mustangs have amazing feet. They don’t get trimmed, but they do travel many kilometres each day over varied terrain to graze and find water.

So why question thousands of years of evolution?

Historically, horseshoes let soft-footed domestic horses be used in any terrain. They helped mankind conquer the world in war, agriculture and transport.

Yet shoes come with a host of problems. If you’re not out conquering the world, these problems come to the fore.

Shoes protect the soft inner structures of a horse’s feet. But in so doing, they impede all other foot functions.

Absorption

The equine foot is a complex, three-dimensional shock absorber.

It’s designed to absorb nearly all the concussion from ground impact before it reaches the lower leg joints (which can only handle a very small amount).

Shoes blow this function out of the water. Not only is the frog unable to act as the initial and primary weight-bearing structure, the impact of the rigid shoe goes straight through the hoof wall into bones and joints.

Circulation

Proper function lets blood and lymph freely access every living cell in the foot, providing nourishment and removing waste. This is called perfusion.

Shoes seem to significantly compromise circulation. This is most evident on cold mornings, when healthy bare feet are warm to the touch, but shod feet are cold. There’s even a temperature difference between shod feet and bare feet on the same horse.

Shod feet grow much slower than bare feet because healthy tissue can’t thrive with poor circulation.

Weight Bearing

The equine foot is designed to share the weight bearing responsibilities across most of the ground surface (the inner wall, some sole and most of the frog). Notable exceptions are the outer wall and quarters, which aren’t designed for weight bearing.

The foot even adapts over time to the ground it’s living on to optimise this sharing of the load.

A shod foot, however, carries the weight of the horse entirely on the wall (including the outer wall and quarter, which should NOT be weight bearing).

This change in weight bearing may squeeze the coronary artery, causing blood to be shunted to the vein above the hoof. It may also cause a failure of the valve system that would otherwise lock the required blood into the foot at each stride for cushioning and perfusion.

If a horse can’t stand comfortably with vertical cannon bones, it must brace its neck and shoulders to engage its stay apparatus.

This causes fatigue and these poor animals can’t even get a good night’s sleep! Over time, this bracing manifests in the overdevelopment of certain muscle groups.

Deterioration

Horse feet deteriorate with domestication. The situation doesn’t improve with each successive shoeing. Rather, the more times feet are shod, the more they rely on shoes.

Chronic lameness is a degeneration that develops in a dysfunctional body over a long period of time and manifests into such problems as: laminitis, navicular, ringbone, side bone, degenerative joints – all of which are huge problems in the equine industry.

Horses are much better not shod in the first place.

Why Barefoot?

With barefooting, we maintain a horse’s feet in a physiologically correct framework, so they can move correctly, rest comfortably and remain functional at all times.

Rather than prop up dodgy foundations with shoes, barefooting develops strong, healthy foundations beneath a horse.

This leads to better long-term soundness.

Happy feet = happy horsie!

Pets Blogs

Hay is for Horses!

November 14, 2009
Straw

Because we grow our own, we KNOW it's good!

After a few dry years, we had enough rain for a good crop of hay. Here’s the first trailer load, brought in before a storm that was forecast but didn’t eventuate.

We love growing our own hay, because we know there’s only goodness in our soil, water and sunshine. And of course we compost everything.

We like to know exactly what’s going into our beautiful Morgan horses. We want them to grow strong, healthy and even tempered.

We let all our fields lie fallow on alternate years. This lets them recover naturally.

Sitting  on a bale of fresh hay at the end of a hot working day is one of life’s great pleasures.

Just wait till you read about our home-made lemon cordial!

Pets Blogs

A Bounce in our days

November 13, 2009
Bounce on Hay Roll

Our beloved farm doggie, Bounce.

Bounce is another vital member of our team.

As well as an endless source of company and cuddles, she’s a vigilant guard dog, an expert ratter and an effective snake repellant.

Far from being afraid, our horses can’t get enough of Bounce and are forever trying to smell and nuzzle her.

When we take the 4WD to the top paddock, Bounce often tears along beside us – a white streak glimpsed through the tall grass.

When Bounce wants to ride, she can leap six times her height to make it through an open door.

You’ll often see her on the back seat; front paws on the arm rest, face out the window, checking that the herd is safe.

After posing for this photo, Bounce leapt off the big hay roll as if it were no higher than a doormat.

She ain’t called Bounce for nothing!

🙂

There’s Something in The Water!

November 13, 2009
IMG_6498

Our water contains 13 ppm magnesium, which makes it ideal for horses.

Our property is situated over an artesian water bore. The geology of the land makes the water pure, sweet and rich in nutrients like magnesium.

Below is a copy of our water report, so you can see for yourself.

Stay tuned for an explanation of how this water is good for horses.

Jude has written a fascinating post on how magnesium benefits the health and wellbeing of our Morgan horse herd. Click here to check it out.

Pets Blogs