Happy Holidays to all of you!
Here we are again in the midst of the busy but joyous holiday
season. For those of us in cooler climates, the horses have their
bountiful fur coats on to warm us up when we give them a big hug.
No matter where you are, I highly recommend that you consider
pulling your horse’s shoes off for at least 4 months every year.
This is the time of year that I do it because we aren’t as active
and riding out on various surfaces every day like the rest of
If you live in an area where the ground freezes and gets hard
in the winter make sure you pull your shoes in late October or
early November so they have a chance to walk on softer ground
while adjusting to the bare feet. If you pull the shoes when the
ground is already frozen it is very hard on them to adjust and
will take much longer to become comfortable.
Pulling your horse’s shoes gives the horse’s hooves a chance
to grow out all of the cracks, nail holes and pressure points
caused by shoeing. The hoof has a chance to fully spread and re-balance
over the four months. When you first pull your horse’s shoes you
may need to use Keratex hoof hardener for a couple of weeks while
the hooves toughen up. I also use my Old Mac easy boots for the
first 10 days.
My horse is at one month now and I am riding him in the arenas
and out in the fields without any notice of him being tender or
sore. I go slowly over gravel and over roads if I have to but
it doesn’t take very long for hoof wall to grow out for protection.
Make sure your farrier comes every 6-7 weeks for a barefoot trim.
Another essential way to give to your horse is through dental
health. It’s very important that you have your horse’s teeth checked
at least once per year if not every six months by a professional
equine dentist. This is not a person with a rasp filing the horse’s
teeth. You must employ someone who specializes in this area and
is qualified to level the mouth, adjust the bite and glide of
the surfaces of the teeth, pull teeth and balance the jaw.
My horse, Redge, has gotten used to a very comfortable mouth
and lets me know when he starts to feel sharp edges. He starts
resisting having a bit put in his mouth when at all other times
he gladly accepts it, tilts his head while eating his grain and
is fussy about connection to my hand. Most horses are this way.
Once they learn what a comfortable mouth is they won’t accept
anything less. Would you?!
By the way, this happened to us recently so I rode him in the
bitless bridle, which is a great option to have, until the dentist
could get to us.
Horses that have not been properly floated live with constant
pain, irritation, inflammation and distress. Remember horse’s
teeth, unlike ours, keep growing throughout most of their lifetime.
The discomfort in the mouth affects everything! Their eating and
mastication is compromised, they experience pain in their joints
and spine, they get headaches and jaw pain, they develop bracing
patterns which set up tight knotted muscles, and their emotional
health is fragile. It would be worth it even if you have to trailer
to the right professional to have this done at least once per
A couple of examples I have seen:
- A six year old mare with her wolf teeth, which had never been
pulled, growing out beside her molars and poking into the gums
and tongue like razors. This mare was well bred, well cared
for but never floated.
- An eight year old Thoroughbred that was fractious and occasionally
would throw himself down on the ground, shaking and panicking
had two molars growing out of the same hole on both sides of
his mouth. Once the horse was rescued by a friend of mine and
a professional dentist worked on him all of this behavior stopped.
- A nine year old Thoroughbred on the A-rated show jumping
circuit started stopping at fences, rearing and becoming dangerous
to ride made his way to a woman who took him home as a freebee.
Once his mouth was examined it was discovered he had several
infected molars with abscesses, infection and swollen gums.
His breath was septic and rotten smelling. (I’ll never forget
that smell.) It took a few treatments and daily rinses for a
few weeks to make him comfortable again and rideable for a future
owner. It makes me wonder, how could these horses that have
so much money spent on them suffer from dental issues?
Please have your horse’s mouths thoroughly and regularly checked!
It’s so important!
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Here are a few websites with my holiday gift recommendations.
I know these people personally, use their products, participated
in their programs and want to do whatever I can to spread the
information and products they have to offer. I hope you will enjoy
what they have developed for us and our horses during this holiday
Be By Dede
– Beautiful handmade custom brow bands for your horse and inspiring
the best enzyme compound for horse’s digestive health, and other
natural products for your horse’s health.
Equestrian – Maker of luxurious horse and rider clothing as
well as the Horses & Hope vest with proceeds benefiting breast
cancer. I have one of the vests and it is beautifully made, warm,
attractive and comes in many colors, and it benefits the fight
against breast cancer. Click on the rider clothing button.
Humane Center - This is the one I am supporting locally, check
out your own humane centers as horses are suffering due to the
economic slump. Buy hay or feed for the horses at the center,
volunteer or adopt one yourself!
- Great all natural products for the horse. I use the body wash
instead of detergent shampoos, no soap residue or drying agents,
and have seen incredible results with my horse’s skin and coat
staying healthy. I use the grooming products with my brushes and
find they work to prevent static, keep his fur moisturized and
soft and he always looks shiny and supple.
Saddles – I have been working with Dave and CJ for years and
continue to support their custom made saddles for all disciplines.
Even better they are designed to be female friendly.
And of course, my essential
oil blend The InBalance Horse is discounted this month to
$57.50! Let me know if you want a bottle shipped and gift wrapped
to your best friend. It’s all on my website.
Sleigh Bells are Ringing…