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Hoof  Growth
   
When an issue concerning how rapidly horses regrow their hooves arose at our barn I did
some reading on the subject. It seems that different horses as well as different horse breeds
have different growth rates but generally hoof growth in adult horses averages about 1/8 to
1/4 inch per month. Younger horses tend to grow their hooves faster and nursing foals can
grow hooves at a rate of  6/10 of an inch per month. Nutrients can also have an impact on
hoof growth. Maintenance of adequate levels of protein (especially essential amino acids) is
important. The need for minerals like calcium and the relationship to phosphorus is critical for
horse hoof integrity. Biotin, a B vitamin has been shown to influence hoof wall growth and
integrity without any known side effects from supplementation.  Researchers don't why some
horses respond to biotin supplementation while others do not, but if your horse has thin, brittle
hoof walls with tender soles biotin appears to work for those individuals. The use of amino acid
supplementation (i.e., methionine); fats and oils in the diet as well as supplemental zinc and
copper
all have shown various improvements in both growth rate and integrity of hoof quality.

 

Colic
   
Well what exactly is colic? You know I've heard that term a lot over the years generally
referring to a fussy infant. But what exactly is colic? Well according to my research, when
discussing horses, (and infants)  the term simply means a belly ache. Now can a belly ache
be dangerous? You bet it can and colic can be caused by any one of many conditions. How
to tell if your horse has colic? Remember the signs of colic can range from imperceptible in
mild cases to violent in extreme cases. Look for these signs:

    lying down more than usual
    getting up and lying down repeatedly
    standing stretched out
    standing frequently as if to urinate
    turning the head towards the flank
    repeatedly curling the upper lip
    pawing the ground
    kicking at the abdomen
    rolling

Colic should never be taken lightly. Always assume the worse and seek professional help.

 

Trailer Brakes
   
Remember that your electric trailer brakes need electric current to function. They get the
electric current from the tow vehicle via the electrical plug. You step on the brake and the
brake controller sends current to your trailer brakes and you happily roll to a controlled stop.
All is well. But what happens when a failure causes the trailer hitch to become detached from
the tow vehicles ball? Not to worry you say as I have safety chains. Well that's a load off to
know that the trailer is going to stay with you but how about your brakes? What happens with
them? That's kind of a tricky question. If the trailer's breakaway switch was activated when the
trailer hitch failed and the trailer was caught by the safety chains, then the trailer brakes will
be automatically applied as long as there is electrical current available with which to operate
them. This electrical current is  supplied by the  tow vehicle via the plug, remember? The brakes
are applied to the trailer and you come to a rather abrupt but hopefully safe stop as the trailer
brakes are applied automatically and stop both vehicles. By the way if you slam on the tow
vehicles brakes the trailer will most likely slam into the back of you, ouch. But what happens if
the plug got yanked out of it's socket when the trailer hitch failed? Well this is another scenario.
Hopefully you have kept your trailer's battery in good condition. What is my trailer's battery you
ask? That is the small motorcycle style battery that is mounted somewhere on your trailer for just
this reason. It doesn't last forever you know. When was the last time it was checked or replaced?
If it has failed you are left with no other way of stopping the trailer other than coasting to a stop
or allowing the trailer to bang into your rear end when you step on the tow vehicle's brakes. So
you can see the variables involved with your emergency breakaway switch. Be aware that some
people say that ideally if your trailer hitch should fail and the trailer is caught by the safety chains,
the cable attached to the breakaway switch should be of the proper length that it will pull out of
the switch body thus applying the brakes while the trailer electrical plug has a wire long enough
so that it will stay plugged in and in case it doesn't stay plugged in you still have the trailer's
battery to apply the brakes. Other people say that the breakaway switch cable should be so long
that the trailer brakes will only be applied if the trailer becomes totally separated from the tow
vehicle. This scenario would include a safety chain failure as well. The choice is yours. Testing
your breakaway switch and battery is fairly simple. Just leave the trailer's electrical connector
unplugged and activate the breakaway switch by pulling out the cable end. This should apply
your trailers brakes. Remember to keep the contacts in your electrical plug clean. Just touch
them up with sand paper.

 

Navicular
   
What is navicular? Is it a disease or a syndrome? What's a syndrome? According to google
a syndrome is
"A set of symptoms or conditions that occur together and suggest the presence
of a certain disease or an increased chance of developing the disease." Well   ok then. It
seems that most experts (and I use that word loosely) seem to think that since the medical
profession cannot seem to agree on just what exactly navicular disease is then it must not be
a disease at all but a syndrome (which means a symptom). So that means that the word navicular
means a sore foot or more precisely a sore heel. The soreness can be caused by several conditions
and also seems to be able to be caused by no discernable condition at all. The lack of concrete
information as well as the abundance of contradictory information from the "experts" is interesting
and seems to be the rule rather than the exception when dealing with animals.

 

Deer and horse flies
   
Well it's November and the flies are gone for now. I am fairly confident they will return next
July. We tried a fly trap this past year and  to nobodies surprise is was pretty much a flop.
It caught some flies but not nearly enough to justify the cost of the thing. Oh well, live and
learn (or not) (duh). I think that this coming spring I will put up a purple martin house and try
to get a colony established. When I  mow the field behind the pastures there are an abundance
of some type of swallow diving and swerving and darting around as they grab  up the insects
that my mower forces into flight. I do not know for sure if they are purple martins or not however
I think that they are. (I guess they could be some other member of the swallow family.) Purple
martins catch and eat large airborne insects for food (like the barn swallow) and do not nest in
barns (unlike the barn swallow) They can be attracted to man made bird houses atop metal poles.
I am cautiously optimistic that this project will be worth the effort.

 

To shoe or not to shoe
   
Oh boy is this a can of worms. People have asked me "do you think I should have shoes put on
him"?  I have read a little on the subject. Volumes have been written about horses and those bands of steel called shoes. I am again dumfounded by the contradictory writings by the so called professionals. The bottom line, as far as I can tell, is that some people sometimes agree that some shoes can be of some use in correcting some hoof problems in some horses in some instances. (boy is that vague or what?) Some horses have softer hooves, some horses grow their hooves more slowly, some horse travel on harder surfaces and have trouble with abrasion. Have you ever heard of LTLH (I forget whether it's a disease, a condition or a syndrome.) How about navicular? (same deal) (Did you know that people have a navicular bone in their feet as well). (Just thought I'd throw that in.)

 

 Premarin
   
The word premarin is derived from the 3 words -pregnant mare urine- and is the name of a
prescription product used to control hot flashes  and other post menopausal symptoms in human
women. Some or all of the farms where the urine is more or less milked from pregnant mares have
come under scrutiny and intense criticism. It seems that the urine farms methods are considered
less than humane.  If you use this product, you may want to check this out as there are alternative
products available.

 

Nurse mare foals
   
Nurse mare foals are the by-product of an industry that supplies lactating mares, or “nurse mares,”
to foals whose natural parents   have been lost, or taken away from their babies for commercial
reasons, such as rebreeding. The natural foals of the nurse mares are expensive to raise by hand,
and having little value, they are sometimes left to fend for themselves or die. These foals do have
some value however, as their hides can be used as “pony skin” in the fashion and textile industries,
|and their meat is considered a delicacy in some foreign markets. These foals may be very young
when they lose their moms, even days or weeks old. They are often draft crosses, or thoroughbreds
(a by-product of the horse racing industry) but they can be any breed or mixture of breeds. They are
all in need of loving homes to replace the mamas they have lost, and with proper care, they can
blossom into wonderful companions, riding horses and even sport horses.

 

Lipizzans with whom I have become acquainted 
  
 I thought I would write a little about our horses. Okay, ladies first.
    Katie is a pure Lipizzan mare and a product of Temple Farms in Illinois. Katie is 19 years
old, don't tell her I told you as she is sensitive about her age, and came to us from Royal
View Lipizzans in New Hampshire. Katie's proper name is 750 Acatherina. Her sire was
136 Conversano III Prima-Donna and her dam was 638 Acacia. Katie is genuinely a pleasure
to be around although she can get a little moody sometimes like most mares. She seems to
really enjoy being ridden and I think she looks stunning doing her dressage work in our arena.
We intend to get her some more exposure this coming summer at the various dressage
competitions.
    Glenya is also a pure Lipizzan mare that came to us from a private owner near Toledo.
We don't know much about her history. Glenya   is 14 years old and a product of
Circle 7 Lipizzans in Arkansas. She seems to have "issues". She is a bit of a project and
surely has a mind of her own. Her sire was Maestoso Amata II and her dam Glena (565 Glennie).
She is a truly beautiful animal with a compact muscular frame and a high arching neck.
I really hope that she will get with the program some day. I sometimes wonder just what
exactly is she thinking. I have been allowed to occasionally attempt riding her (only
because nobody else will) but I have not been too successful. Oh well, maybe next time.
    Tenny is our  8 year old Lipizzan Arabian cross that is a product of a private breeder
near Toledo. She is the daughter of Glenya and    her proper name is Tennysonna. She came
to us, along with her mom, Glenya, a while back and is making wonderful progress under   
saddle. She is a loving mare and craves attention. She is also a ball of fire. She just loves to
run. Her sire, Mahogany's Marshall, is the offspring of the multiple champion Arabian stallion
Padron's Mahogany. I hold high hopes as well as expectations for Tenny.
    A.J. is our 4 year old pure Lipizzan stallion. I wanted to get him a baseball glove for his
last birthday but my wife talked me out of it. A.J.'s real name is Siglavy Sonora and he is a
product of Royal View |Lipizzans in New Hampshire. His sire is Siglavy Malina and his dam is 
661 Sonora. Every year he gets a little bit lighter in color. It is kind of fun watching him
sloooowly turn white. (Lipizzans are actually considered to turn grey but they look white to
me.)  My wife describes A.J. is being all boy. I think he's quite handsome and he has a
wonderfully easy-going personality. (most of the time) We have great expectations for A.J. 
He has just recently come under saddle and seems cooperative and intelligent.
We also hope to have some baby A.J.'s in the next few years.
    Siglavy Glenya was born (foaled) April 6, 2007. We decided to call him Ziggy (a fairly
common nickname for Siglavy Lipizzans.) What an exciting time at the barn. Ziggy is the
product of Mama Glenya and Papa Siglavy Sonora (AJ). Lipizzan colts are named using the
first name of the Sire along with the name of the Dam, hence Siglavy Glenya. He is healthy
and playful and he really seems to like people. It will be interesting to watch him grow over
the next couple of years and see what kind of personality he develops as he matures. He
sure is a nice looking little colt.

 

Warmblood
   
So what exactly is a warmblood? The obvious answer is that a warmblood is a horse that is
a cross between a coldblood (the draft type horses) and a hotblood (the thoroughbreds
and arabian breeds). But is a warmblood a cross between a coldblood and a hotblood? The
answer to that depends on who you ask. Some say no, some say yes and some say maybe.
The no people say that this particular type of horse was and is being bred in Europe and that
the studbook records can be traced back for a hundred years or so and that the name
warmblood simply distinguishes this type of horse from the coldbloods and the hotbloods.
(You may have noticed that I referred to the warmblood as a type rather than a breed.) 
The yes people say that while that is true, the warmbloods originally started out as a cross
between the other two types. So who's right? Beats me. Americans have a hard time
understanding the European way of doing things. In America you are either a pure breed a
cross breed or a mutt. For instance; in America, if we own a horse, we can do pretty much
anything we want with that horse when it comes to breeding. Purebreds can be registered
with the appropriate registry as can crossbreds. In Europe all horses were registered with
the local breeding director and any breeding had to be approved by that director before
offspring could be produced. Most (if not all) of the stallions approved for breeding were
owned by the state and were moved around pretty much as needed. The names Swedish
warmblood and Dutch warmblood or Hanovarian simply refer to the region in which the animal
was produced. It was very possible for a mare and a state owned stallion to produce an offspring
in one region and then later produce another offspring in another region. The first offspring might
be a Hanovarian while the second, a full brother or sister of the first, a Dutch warmblood. Most
European countries aren't much larger than American states. So how then, you may ask, can a
Swedish warmblood be produced in the U.S.? Good question! Technically that horse would be an
American Swedish warmblood. The definition of a warmblood is tricky but I will go out on a limb
and say that a European warmblood is a sport horse produced in Europe and an American
warmblood is a sport horse produced in America. The studbooks (with the exception of the
Trakehner) are still open and new bloodlines can and are being introduced as the directors,
both in Europe and in America, strive to improve the warmbloods characteristics. European
warmbloods include the Dutch, Hanovarian, Swedish, Trakehner, Holsteiner, Oldenberger,
Selle Francais and the Danish.

 

Trailer Terminologies
   
Do you know what a load equalizing hitch is? Do you know what sway bars are?  Do you
want to? Let me try to  explain them. Say  you've got a trailer. Every trailer has a tongue
weight. That is how much the tongue of the trailer weighs when you try to pick it up.  
Pretty heavy huh? Every trailer has a GVW (gross vehicle weight) rating. That is how much
the trailer will weigh when it is loaded to capacity. Generally the bigger the trailer the heavier
the tongue and the heavier the GVW. Say you've got a tow vehicle. Every tow  vehicle has
a maximum weight that it can safely tow (pull). Every tow vehicle also has a rating for how
much weight you can safely hang on the trailer hitch (tongue weight). In fact there are usually
2 ratings. One rating with a load equalizing hitch which is properly called a weight distributing
hitch or WDH and one rating without. You can find these ratings in your owners manual. Some
vehicles have the capacity to pull a load but not the capacity to carry the tongue weight of a
trailer using a standard hitch. By attaching a load equalizing hitch you can increase the amount
of weight that the tow vehicle can support (without the bumper dragging on the ground) (or the
front wheels coming up off the ground)). Don't confuse the weight distributing hitch (which people
often just call bars) with sway bars (which  are actually and correctly called anti-sway bars).
The anti-sway bars can be included (optionally) with or integrated into many new weight
distributing hitches but it is certainly possible to have a weight distributing hitch without anti-sway
bars. Anti-sway bars are designed to have a dampening effect on trailer sway while allowing the
trailer to go around corners unimpeded. A weight distributing hitch  is designed to distribute the
trailer tongue weight more evenly between the front and rear wheels of the tow vehicle thus
raising the rear bumper up off the ground.
 

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