Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer time for the Mobile Equine Professional

       The summer of 2014 has been, all in all, spectacular. As my clientele and services have been hammered into a more established pattern I thought it was high time I updated this Blog.

       Whole Horse Bare Hoof Care is a HUGE part of what I do and what I teach and encourage. Taking the shoes off of your horse is not an easier/cheaper choice, and for some few horses it may not be the right choice. But if you want to explore Bare-hoof care I am here to help. The standard basic hoof trim and balance is $40.00. I currently trim for a wide variety of horses and owners, from DVM to the 'Pony for the grand kids'. I am always excited to work with you to achieve your horses ultimate hoof potential, through trimming, diet, habitat, and if needed glueing and booting.

       I teach horsemanship lessons on your horse at your pace. I firmly believe that the best way to achieve your potential as an adult rider is through the strength of the relationship that you and your horse share. Many individuals that have the means and desire to have their own horse hesitate to jump into the commitment because of the lack of an equine support network. Who should I get hay from? Which vet should I call? How do I know if I really NEED that $800 saddle, will a $300 one work just as well? What are splint boots? What kind of fencing is best? What size bit does he need? Is that normal?  etc. I can help you get the information and support you need to have the horse you've always dreamed of.  I am a firm believer in solid equitation from the rider and a through education for the horse. A strong foundation for horse and rider is essential to success, safety, confidence, and happiness. There is never only one way to do things. Let's get together and talk about what's going to work for you and your equine partner.

     I also offer training for horses (and their humans) that have hit a rough patch in their training/riding/handling routine. Sometimes having an outside set of eyes is all it takes to solve the problem.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Feeding your horse.

Feeding your horse. It turns out you can't literally feed them dollar bills. 


Ideal- Horses need to chew for 16 -20 hours a day, this is both a behavioral need and a nutritional need. In an ideal situation a horse will take in steady, small amounts of low quality plant matter for most of the day. Horses will never fast for more than 4 hours by choice. This allows the horses body to maintain correct pH levels throughout the digestive tract, in-turn creating optimal utilization of the nutrients in the feed, and protection from ulcers and colic.  Horses that are not given the opportunity to chew for an adequate amount of time per day will often find ways to fulfill that need on their own. This is one common way that stall vices and destructive chewing habits come into existence.

The problem:
For many of todays horse owners this ideal feeding system is mostly unattainable. Chances are that even if your horse has a couple of acres on which to be turned out and graze the pasture is of too high a quality to allow 20 hours of grazing. Horses will self regulate, given free choice roughage, at about 2% to 3% of their body weight. The real difficulty lies in finding a roughage source that is of low enough quality to allow that, without risking obesity, founder or laminitis.

Working with what we have:
Ok, so, what resources do we have and how can we use them in our horses best interest. Perhaps you have been told that if you can't provide low quality continuous grazing/feeding for your horse you are hopeless and why do you even have a horse. Let's get some things straight, you are not a bad horse 'parent' because you are taking the time to read this, which means you care;  many horse owners don't.

 Your horse is in a stall and fed 2 meals of high quality alfalfa or grass hay per day. What can you do?

Slow them down. Do what ever you can to slow down their eating. There are many resources for this from grazing muzzles and slow feeder nets, to complete slow feeder systems, which you can buy or DIY. If you can slow a 30 min meal down to 1 hour great, of you can slow it to 2 or 3 hours, that's even better.

Your barn manager doesn't have the time to stuff and tie a hay-net/slow feeder for you.

One way to talk a barn manager into feeding your horse in a slow feeder net is to have 2 or 3. If you fill them when you visit your horse in the evening after work, your Barn Manager need only toss the already filled net or bag into your horses stall. Note: Your horse probably isn't going to be initially happy that you are making food harder to get. Some common reactions involve stomping the feeder, kicking it, burying it in shavings, and generally tossing it about. You will have to let your horse throw their fit, keeping in mind that you are doing this for their health.

You board in a shared paddock.

Talk to your paddock mate. You can safely assume that they have their horses best interest at heart too. Be wary that you don't attack their horse-keeping skills, be sensitive to their feelings and opinions. If all else fails you may have to buckle down and buy their horse a slow feeder net or two as well. Generally if you offer to pay and do the extra work people are open to suggestion. Note: Horse keeping isn't easy, if it was, everyone would do it. 

Your horse has a hard time gaining weight and keeping it on. You've called the vet in, you've tested for chronic system failure, in it's various forms. And the final result is just that you have a hard keeper.  Now What?

You need to help this horse optimize nutrient absorption. How? Slow down their intake of food. "Wait? What? But they need more food." You must do your best to simulate a natural feeding environment. Perhaps you will have to provide 2 slow feeders per meal so that you can trickle-feed your horse 24 hours a day. Have your hay analyzed, find out what your horse may be lacking. Here in Utah you can send it in to USU, check out their website for more information. It will cost you less than $50.00 and may save your horses life. Through analysis you can find out what vitamins and minerals your horse may be lacking. With the help of someone who is knowledgable about horse nutrition, you can custom tailor a supplement regimen to suit your horse.

A note about Grain- Assuming that your horse doesn't have any extreme negative reactions to sugar, feeding a small amount of grain or similar concentrate feeds is usually harmless (Less than 3lbs per day). You can use it as a carrier for supplements and as a feel good food for you to give your horse.  Just remember that it is a dessert food for horses and should be treated as such.

Final notes: Keep in mind that any major change to a horses diet must be done gradually (usually over a period of 7-10 days) so as to maintain healthy gut microbes. Also, any advise offered here is not intended as a substitute for veterinary recommendations and only stands to serve as a general guide.

If you have any more situations you want help brain storming solutions to or if you have any solutions to offer please comment! 

Slow feeders
Hay analysis:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dynamic rider

Here's a bit about my recent work. I help beginning and experienced riders alike, learn what it means to be a dynamic rider. I rekindle the relationship between horse and rider, taking it back to the fundamentals and building a solid foundation of confidence and recognition. If you are experiencing a chronic problem with your horse, or with your own riding, it is likely symptomatic of a crumbling or faulty foundation. I prefer to work with individuals who already own or lease a horse. I enjoy helping humans find their perfect equine partner. I am happy to travel a reasonable distance form Salt Lake City to work with you and your horse. I am also a bare-hoof practitioner, with the belief that a horse is built form the ground up and you need only listen to what the hoof is telling you to preform a great trim.