Cad-Re Feeds

281 Aspen, Soldotna, Alaska 99669
phone (907)262-4698
fax (907)262-6095

email:

Deanna M.Ortiz ---Veterinary Division Coordinator
Dynasplint Systems, Inc.
Main: 410.544.9530 Ext. 2222

HORSE INFORMATION

For The Good Of The Horse

Training, feeding and breeding practices tend to change over time; some changes for the better, and some useless fads. Though large and strong enough to revolt, horses are willing to work hard to please if they are given a chance to understand, and develop the skills. The horse's physiology and mental make-up should dictate what is acceptable in the way of care and training.


Music: click here>>

ALASKA LINKS:

Equine Rescue
Alaska Horse Journal

BEET PULP LINKS

Beet info.
More info.
Still more info.
And finally...

Richardson Saddle
Horse Topics
"Powered by Oats - Do not Step on Exhaust".

  • FARRIER LIST of the Kenai Peninsula "Who you gonna call???" Local phone numbers listed.

    FARRIER SECTION
  • Tribute to Farriers
  • Website of Hoof Care
    (no foot, no horse)
    This website has information on laminitis, and on other conditions affecting the hoof included in articles, discussions, links.
  • Horseshoes: Cad-Re carries almost two tons of shoes in all sizes and many styles. Plains, T/H, Rims, Eventers, Draft, Pony, EZ and Extra-EZ. Diamond and St. Croix.
  • Training a Horse to Stand Still While Shoeing...and Have Legs Touched

    RESCUE ..ALASKA EQUINE RESCUE...Information and contact numbers.

    CARRIAGE DRIVING INFORMATION
  • Carriage Driving Webzine
  • Carriage Tour This tour shows pictures and describes all sorts of carriage and sleigh styles. The write-ups give an interesting view of life before cars.
  • Commercial Driving Tips from Experienced Carriage Drivers

    TRAINING
  • About Bits

  • About Stopping

  • About Standing Still

  • About Standing and Having Legs Handled

  • About Trailer Position

  • About Not Walking

  • About Youngsters and Growth Plates

  • Working with Stallions

    LEATHER TOPICS
    Leather Terminology (under constsruction)
    Harness Honey **Available at Cad-Re,** is a conditioner that softens and preserves in a unique way. It does not rot the stitching, nor does it allow mildew do form.
    Harness Honey promotes flexibility even in cold weather.
    Harness Honey is odorless and non-toxic. It contains no solvents, so it won't evaporate...once absorbed into the leather, it stays there!!
    Harness Honey makes leather water-repellent, controls mildew and leaves no oily residue. It won't interfere with dye or glue. '
    Tirade from Barb Lee, Harness Maker Barb Lee gives her strong opinion on using quality harness and leather goods because of their safety value. Barb now specializes in Biothane materials, and works with Australian, Rob Johnson, on innovative harness designs. Her website is Nearside Harness


    HORSE HEALTH
  • Laminitis
  • Horse Weight Gain Formula
  • Chiropractic for HorsesSometimes an apparent disobedience by a horse is actually caused by a pain response, which can be fixed by a chiropractic adjustment. This Dr. Kamen offers a book and a video which show the whole proceedure for testing and treating a horse. The greatest value in reading the book, and watching the video is to catch an understanding of the procedure so that you can evaluate your own horse and then find a professional to do the work. However, since that is not always easy, the directions are there for home use, if needed. Also, Dr. Kamen gives seminars, should anyone be travelling.
  • West Nile Virus Natural Remedy
  • Talk to a horse's spirit
    Describes a different level of communication.
    Mr. Fletcher is writing a book about this topic- the spiritual horse and collecting stories about spiritual communications. To contribute your stories to the book, please contact Charles Fletcher








  • Equine Studies Institute--Youngsters and Growth Plates
    Dr. Deb Bennett website offers in-depth information, consultation, and literature on horse anatomy, training, attitude, and more. An exerpt from her article on growth plates............
    "Maturity in Horses"
    By Vertebrate Paleontologist Deb Bennett Specialist in Equines

    No horse on earth, of any breed, at any time, is or has ever been mature before the age of six (plus or minus six months). This information may come as a shock to many people who think starting their colt or filly under saddle at age two is what they ought to be doing. This begs discussion of (1) what I mean by "mature" and (2) what I mean by "starting." (1) Maturity-Just about everybody has heard of the horse's growth plates, and people tell me that the growth plates are somewhere around, or in, the horse's knees (actually they're located at the bottom of the radius-ulna bone just above the knee). This is what gives rise to the saying that, before riding the horse, it's best to wait "until his knees close" i.e. until the growth plates fuse to the bone shaft and cease to be separated from it by a layer of slippery, crushable cartilage.

    What people often don't realize is that there is a "growth plate" on either end of every bone behind the skull, and in the case of some bones, like the pelvis, which has many "corners", there are multiple growth plates. So do you then have to wait until all these growth plates fuse? No, but the longer you wait, the safer you'll be.

    Owners and trainers need to realize there's a definite, easy-to-remember schedule of fusion-and then make their decision as to when to ride the horse based on that rather than on the external appearance of the horse. ....."
    and it goes on to explain.
    Check out the website. It is vastly informative.

    Back to Training
  • A BIT ON BITS
    There are basically two types of bits. One is the snaffle and the other is the curb. The snaffle bit can have several different mouthpieces such as jointed, double jointed (French link and Dr. Bristol), mullen and straight. There is no leverage action with a snaffle and these are all snaffles regardless of mouthpiece. The second type is the curb. When shanks are added to any of the above, the bit becomes a curb action bit and a chain is added to apply pressure under the chin. These bits may also be jointed, double jointed, straight, mullen, etc and do include the Kimberwicke. Many people think the jointed snaffle mouthpiece, regardless of whether or not it has shanks or not is indeed a snaffle. It is not. A snaffle is basically two rings and a mouthpiece and nothing else.

    Horses do not stop with their mouths. They stop with their brain. What matters is how effectively your hand can work with and reach the brain. Myler mouthpieces can be very effective or just as ineffective as any other. It all depends on what has meaning to the horse.Back to Training


  • WHOA
    Subject: Re: Halt question
    
    Anyway, this lady likes to have her horses halt with the thighs, not with
    the reins. I do believe that is so that the horse does not learn to brace
    against the bit, I will have to ask. Regardless, her thought is that one
    thigh flex is a half-halt, whereas two flexes equal a halt. I have rode one
    of her horses, and two flexes did indeed mean a halt! Interesting feeling
    from a canter...
    
    So, what is the accepted way of asking for a horse to halt from a
    cart/carriage? Dressage style, if that makes a difference. Saying the word
    *whoa* would be one way, but what about the reins? Do you just keep a
    contact? Resist? Something else? Does this make any sense?
    
    You make a lot of sense and that's a really critical question..
    It's all about biomechanics.  In a proper halt or half halt the horse steps
    up under himself, contracts his abdominal muscles, flexes the lumbo sacro
    joint in his croup and a bunch of other things.  the point is that he stops
    from rear to front and that has very little to do with the mouth and reins
    when properly done.
    Your dressage instuctor correctly has you doing transitions from your seat
    which  controls the hindquarters in a direct biomechanical way.
     In driving, because you only have your whip and voice as forward aids and
    no seat to directly control the hindquarters, it's more about allowing your
    horse to go forward then manipulating that forward with well timed
    resistances.  To make everything work the way it should, your contact needs
    to be totally elastic so any resistance from you can be felt easily and will
    mean something to your horse.  Perfect contact is the Holy Grail of driving.
    I've also become convinced over the years that it's really important to
    teach your horse early on to fold up his body from end to end and become
    longitudinally supple, otherwise it's more likely that there will be
    resistance to the rein.  That's a little out of the usual dressage order of
    training, but so is back up for driving, a safety measure and an indicator
    of the horses ability to fold up.  Flames to Joe.
    In the half halt, you do a soft resistance until the horse yields then, THE
    MOST IMPORTANT PART, you soften back to your horse immediately,  You don't
    release the contact except with a very green horse and even then not
    completely.  The timely softening allows the horse to come through and stay
    forward yet still be supported.  Repeat until the desired effect is
    achieved.  The concept is simple, the perfect execution takes practice, but
    there are no substitutes.  Actually britching helps you here because it can
    push the hindquarter up under the horse especially on a downhill.
    I know I said that it doesn't have a lot to do with the rein although in
    driving it necessarily has more to do with the rein than riding.  The rein
    is a means to an end but it's still what's happening behind that counts.  I
    see people pulling the horse's mouth all the time, but the pull has nothing
    to do with how the horse is stepping or where each hind foot is in it's
    individual flight.  If the horse is not stretched and supple it gets even
    worse. Voice can assist in a downward transition, but it's a secondary aid
    and can interfere with your understanding of this biomechanical process.
    When the horse does this well, little voice is necessary and trust me, if
    the s**t hits the fan, you can yell whoa till the cows come home and it's a
    rare horse that will stop, but you may have a chance if he's normally
    obedient to this yielding process that directly affects how he moves.
    
    Anne
    
    Anne Councill  * Driving in Birch Hollow * Stewartstown, PA
    1.717.880.3840
    
    Back to Training
  • TEACHING "STAND"

    Patience is number one and Consistency is number two.

    Start with just a halter and lead rope and position your horse as if you = were going to show in halter, at least the kind of halter that wants = your horse square. End the positioning with "whoa" and then "stand". = You should be facing the horse about 1-2 feet away, closer if need be. = Count silently to yourself to five. If the horse did not move a single = foot, I mean did not pick it up off the ground, never turned their head, = but just stood there, you got your first 3 second stand. However, most = of us will have horses that move a foot, turn to look at something, etc. = Any movement of any foot requires that you say, "No, Stand" and put the = foot back exactly where you first put it, in the hoof print if possible. = Every time the horse turns their head to look at something you say, = "No, Stand." and guide their head back to where it started from and so = on. If all you can get is the count of two without movement great, take = it. Turn around and face the forward direction and ask your horse to = walk a few steps and repeat the whole exercise. I idea is that the = horse needs to learn that when you say "whoa" it means stop. When you = say, "whoa, stand" it means don't move. You can teach this to babies as young as a few months, depending on the = baby, as long as you don't ask for too many seconds in a row, but the = sooner you start the better. Also, by always asking the horse to stand = square, you emphasize that this the position I want you in when I say = stand. Helps with those halts at X... And all halts for that matter. = It becomes a habit for them. When you can count to 50 or 100 without your horse moving any feet and = not even turning his/her head, 10 days in a row, you have probably = taught it from the ground. Now you can start at the beginning teaching = it from the saddle or the carriage. Back to Training

  • THE HORSE'S PREFERENCE IN TRAILER POSITION

    Re: trailering positions

    A woman did a well planned experiment for Masters Degree at LSU. she noticed that when a horse traveled in a box stall they automatically placed themselves in what turned out to be the least stressful position to accomodate braking and acceleration. She took a group of horses and trailered them in all the accepted positions, did all sorts of blood tests, muscle biopsies and other stress determining tests. what she published was that facing backwards was the least stressful, backwards on a slant next, forwards on a slant next and straight forward most stressful. The reason is that accelerations are more gradual than deccelerations so heavy bracing for braking is done by the almighty powerful hindquarters. When they are facing forward they take all stress on their front legs when you slow down and they lean into the direction of travel . Facing backwards all effort is on the hindend. The amount of stress they take is also directly proportional to how badly you drive the towing vehicle. Another article in a national TB magazine interviewed commercial drivers and aircraft pilots who transprt horses. They pointed out very plainly that you cannot do "2" things at once when hauling horses. You must accelerate and deccelerate on the straight. The pilots even come to a halt at the end of the runout before they turn off the runway. this translates into NOT accelrating through turns as you would when hurrying to a soccer game, NOT slamming on the brakes to go around a turn. Horses really appreciate a driver who anticipates whats coming up a 1/4 mile down the road. If you see a horse leaning or scrambling in a trailer you can be pretty sure he's the victim of a bad driver. Horses never forget anything thats done to them - it only takes one distracted trip on your part to enjoy a horse who tells you he'll never get on a trailer again................. If you position him so he's least stressed and drive him like he's FtKnox he'll look forward to road trips.Back to Training

  • HORSE WON'T RELAX TO WALK ??? (applies to both carts and astride)

    Even though pony is 20 years old, he is relatively green in the cart, so he starts out each drive at a fast trot and can only be convinced to walk after about 20 minutes. This raises a red flag for me. I think he can be convinced that walking is a good idea from the get go. It will take some work but he has convinced you that he needs this warm up when in fact he is expressing some anxiety about driving and manifests it as trotting out til he's tires. This isn't so unusual when you understand that he is at his core a flight animal. The question you have to solve is why is he anxious? Until you solve that, he will not get better. Its not normal, nor safe. He needs to be put at ease about his driving so that he will walk, stand etc right from the moment he is hooked. Not 20 minutes later. Only be seeing him in action can anyone hazard an accurate opinion about what is bothering him and how to proceed.Back to Training
  • Stallions-A whole different mindset:
    Subject: Re: Drving a Stallion (LONG) There are many really good stallions with enough smarts to know when they can when they can not act like stallions. Their owners train, use and show them and never seem to have a problem. The inexperienced observer may see this often enough to believe there really is not that much difference between using a stallion or a mare or gelding. Nothing could be further from the truth and in many instances inexperienced people try to use a stallion in this way with disastrous results. There are many stallions who should not even be stallions and there are people who should not have and attempt to use stallions. For those who feel their young horse should be kept a stallion and wish to try to use him in driving and other activities around other horses I suggest the following: Establish good manners very early on and insist on the horse using them at all times. Don't allow the stallion to push the boundaries at any time for any reason. Don't make excuses for him. Stallions do not "accidentally" bump into you, push against you or step on you. He should not enter your personal space or touch you with his head / mouth at any time. Correct him each and every time he does this. A stallion nuzzling you is not cute and is not affection. His nature is to seek dominance and he will find all kinds of little ways to see if he can dominate you. Remember that training is nothing more or less than habit to a horse. Get him in the habit of being respectful or your space and keeping his head and mouth off people at all times. You don't have to be rough or loud.......in fact rough, loud discipline will probably work against you. Simply push his head away when he brings his mouth around to explore you, hold it away from you and scratch him on the shoulder. Make a habit of this. If you take care of the little transgressions and make a habit of doing so the big things are not as likely to ever happen. Do not allow people to pet the stallion on the face or play with his mouth. If anyone is going to touch him they should be instructed to scratch his shoulder while making sure that he keeps his mouth away from them. Your message to him should be: "I can touch you any time, anywhere but you can't touch me." When you are around a stallion have your attention on him at all times. Don't turn your back on him EVER no matter how good he is. Many people have died because they thought they could trust a stallion. Remember this: When a stallion strikes he does so with lightning speed and intent to kill. It doesn't matter that he has never done this before. It only takes once. His nature is to lull the unsuspecting into a false sense of security and strike when it is least expected. Don't ever give him the opportunity. Stallions are the peacocks of the breeds and there is nothing IMO more endearing or enchanting than a wonderfully well bred, trained stallion BUT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DEALING WITH. If you don't have experience get help from someone who has handled and trained many stallions. From the very beginning of your training make OBEDIENCE first and foremost in your mind. Know how to correct him effectively and fairly and do it each and every time he makes a mistake. However, DO NOT pick on him. Be generous with your praise and reward him with a scratch on the neck now and then. KNOW the difference between an honest mistake when he is trying hard to please you and the times when he will be messing around and trying to see what he can get away with. Stallions will do a lot of this and you must know the difference. Don't set him up to fail when you take him out around other horses especially in the beginning. Keep a comfortable distance and keep his mind on you. When he starts to become distracted move him farther away and get his mind back on what you are doing. Then move gradually closer to other horses / distractions and keep his mind on you. Spend many hours working with the stallion in different settings. Ground driving along the road is good once he is going forward well. Go beside pastures with other horses and insist that he pay attention and do his job without talking or showing off. If he doesn't do it right correct him with your voice, turn around and go the other way, settle him and then come back. Tell him what you want and stay with it until he does it right. Teach him to halt and stand still then practise doing this in a variety of places / circumstances. Make sure that you find and use the correct driving bit! This sounds easier than it actually is. I trained Amazing Kite with an ordinary half cheek snaffle. 98% of the time this bit is just fine. He has a very light mouth and is very obedient to the bit. In fact he could easily get behind the bit if I was not extremely careful with my hands. However, there came a time when we were out around other horses and he surprised me by walking right through the bit. I needed to find a bit that would give me the control when I needed it but would not be too harsh. I also needed to make sure that I was consistently correct in my use of the reins. We tried a liverpool and then a buxton and found that they were not right for Kite. Eventually I found that a butterfly with a curved mouth was just right on the mildest setting. In short, training and using a stallion is a challenging, fun and very rewarding endeavor. It is NOT just like training any other horse. When we keep and use stallions we are responsible for making sure that all of the horses needs are met physically, mentally and emotionally. Those who are not sure how to do this properly should not attempt it without help from an experienced person. There is so much more to it than I could put into one post. Don't set yourself and your horse up to fail or get hurt! Training and using a stallion is not something that anyone should attempt to learn through trial and error. Look ahead in every circumstance. Know and anticipate what the horse is likely to do or how he is likely to respond BEFORE you proceed and know the YOU are absolutely in control before you do anything. I was at a clinic with Amazing Kite last week. We had a lovely sunny day with a hint of fall in the air. Kite was very happy to be there and feeling quite full of himself when we started long lining. I noticed that the crupper needed some adjustment and asked Kite to halt. He did so but was very "puffed up", snorting and blowing and looking like he might go to the moon at any moment. The clinician was leary of adjusting the crupper for me in case Kite might kick at him (wise man). So, knowing Kite as I do, I adjusted the crupper while the clinician headed the horse. My statement was: If he kicks at either of us he will be a GELDING tomorrow and he knows this! The clinician laughed and we had a wonderful time driving Kite put to my beautiful new Meadowbrook cart. Kite was spectacular, we did shoulder in, breath taking extensions, flying lead changes, superb collection and a lovely free walk. I couldn't have asked for anything more! Working Kite never fails to give me the thrill of a lifetime and he moves me to tears with his spectacular spirit, intelligence and beauty but..... KNOW THIS........we have invested many years and a lot of work to get this talented sweet tempered guy to this point and we are still learning! Generally speaking good horse handling skills are important when handling any horse.....mare, gelding or stallion. We simply need to step it up a notch when handling a stallion and be sure that our skills are fine tuned. I once saw a woman lose her nose to a twenty year old gelding whom she had owned all of his life. She was standing in front of him and kissing him good-night on the nose. He didn't do it viciously or with intent. Her nose was simply there, in his face and he closed his teeth on it. Not a pretty scene. does this mean you shouldn't kiss your horse? No, it means you should know the potential of horses and stand in the right spot when you kiss your horse! My old riding instructor, Staff Sargent Fred Rasmussen told a story of a young policeman in the RCMP Musical Ride who lost his life to the stallion he rode every day. He was brushing the horse in a standing stall when it came around and bit him in the side crushing his spine and kidney. He was dead before anyone could get to him. On a personal note; Many years ago (20) I was washing a stallion that I had raised and trained by the book. I rode him every day around other horses and in lessons. People often commented on his quiet, mannerly demeanor. On this day he saw someone bringing another horse up toward us (fifty feet away) and it happened to be a horse he didn't like. As I turned to shut the water off he grabbed me with his teeth and moved me away from that other horse then stood over me protectively. The bite was on my neck and crushed my carotid artery. By the time they got me to the hospital I was in respiratory arrest with a BP of 40 / 25. It was a hard way to learn that I should have tied the horse! Before that day he never gave any indication that he needed it. In fact he was so well behaved that I could have laid the lead rope on the ground as I would have with any of my well trained, mannerly horses. Or so I thought! Where it is true that a stallion should be treated like any other horse there are certain things that a stallion will do that other horses are not as likely to do. We never know when something will trip their primordial trigger and cause them to respond like a stallion. As someone else said, stallions are generally immune to pain so hitting them serves no purpose as a general rule. Unless you are going to pick up a baseball bat and swing it with all of your might (not recommended!) you aren't going to make anything close to the impression a mare would make by kicking him so why bother. Being loud, yelling at him generally just makes a fool out of the handler and the stallion continues on with his own agenda. So what works? Having a deep, personal, intimate relationship with the stallion based on respect and knowledge of the individual horse. Being in his space every day, brushing, tacking up, working, etc. engaging in a partnership that is kind of like a dance where you always lead. Knowing and taking care of the little tiny details that communicate with him and correct quietly and positively. Standing in the right spot while working with him so you can quietly and gently remind him by the use of your body language what is OK and what isn't. He will be checking every day to see if you are still in charge so be ready. Hand feeding treats doesn't spoil the horse. Hand feeding the wrong way does. Knowing the difference is essential...especially with stallions.
    Julie Bair
    Maritime Morgans
  • Draft Horse
    He was asked, "How difficult is it to drive an 
    eight-horse hitch? Is there a separate rein for each 
    horse?"
    "Yes," he replied, "for each horse. There are eight 
    reins, four in each hand. I guess; excuse my 
    adjective; it just takes guts! I worried more about 
    driving the tractor-trailer the first time than I did the 
    eight horses. When you think you've got eight ton of 
    animals pulling against those reins, you've got to 
    have a mind that isn't thinking truly. But there are a 
    lot of people driving them, and they have good luck 
    with them, so they've got to be trained. As I say, 
    the most important thing is that they understand the 
    word 'Whoa'!"  
  • COMMERCIAL CARRIAGE DRIVING HINTS
    From:    Michele Goudie-Lowe 
    Subject: Commercial carriage driving tips
    
    I've been driving in Chicago for 11 years now.  I've driven nutjobs and
    deadheads.  While I prefer the nutjobs (they keep me awake), a deadhead will
    be your best pal.  They may not always be pokey, but you can rely on them
    most of the time to not get you into trouble.
    
    Some thoughts on top of the rest of the advice.
    
    Use your ears.  Listening to what's behind you can tell you a lot of how
    fast a vehicle is, and approximately where.  You may not be as good as the
    horse, but it will come in handy.
    
    At night, look on the ground.  Cars can be very quiet, and you won't know
    they're behind you.  You can see the light reflecting off of the pavement,
    which lets you know they're there, and to make room for them to pass on a
    one way street.
    
    Learn to sidepass and parallel park your rig.  If you're stuck behind a
    broken down car, you're tight on the bumper, there's nothing more valuable
    than a horse that can sidepass the carriage out of the situation.  Parallel
    parking will come in handy when you least expect it.  The ideal sidepass is
    to have the horse bring the wheels left or right with little or no forward
    movement of the horse.  That's idea.  If you can't get ideal, check for back
    up room then sidepass out.
    
    Mirrors are wonderful, but don't rely on them.  LOOK over your shoulder if
    you're not sure where things are.  Another carriage behind you?  Raise your
    hand in a "stop" gesture to let them know you're about to stop or slow down
    your horse.
    
    If in doubt, stop.  Screw the traffic behind you, safety for you, the horse
    and the passengers come first.
    
    At intersections, if you have a flashing hand to let you know the light's
    about to change, stop.  Don't run it, it only creates a bad habit in the
    horse.
    
    And lastly, but not least, if your horse bolts, don't ever.  EVER.  Hesitate
    to give it a come-to-Jeebus moment.  I'll make my horse sit on their heiny
    before I let them get anywhere.

    From:    John Thompson 
    Subject: City Driving
    
    I think that the book "Training Teamsters/ Training Workhorses" by Lynn
    Miller is a very good book to help horsepeople who don't know driving get
    into the mindset of draft and harness.  The book is not about dressage and
    turnout- it's about getting a JOB done.
    
     I once knew a dressage queen who got a job driving at our city company...
    she was blessed with a lunk of a drop dead beautiful dappled grey hard
    mouthed nose dragging percheron who KNEW HIS JOB and could do it with
    nothing by a Jack Russel on the box... but this little queenie gets out a
    stinking whip and decides that she is going to drive the old man "on the
    bit" at a walk (by the way- we NEVER trotted our horses on pavement- grounds
    for firing)  for a 8 hour shift... ummm no hun- you can put your whip away
    and save it for the skateboarders who try to hitch a ride off your
    fenders... don't torment that good horse who knew all about doing what had
    to get done before your fancy pants schooling showed up on the scene and
    decided that he was going  incorrectly with your high falootin' ideas about
    what's proper... he is going to get you through the day without killing
    anyone or doing any damage, he's going to draw them to you at the carriage
    stand and he is going to pay your rent at the end of the month... and THAT"S
    PLENTY- don't get your ego wrapped up in forcing the perfect perpendicular
    on his heroicly honest nose.  You give him a carrot and a hug and get your
    damn whip off his rump.
    
    Sooo... that's my little warning about what "schooling" your employees may
    come to you with.  What works in a show ring or a dirt arena (for ribbons)-
    does not apply at all to what works in traffic and concrete (for safety and
    cash)
    
    I worked 8 years in Philadelphia (a decade ago), very heavily trafficked,
    very narrow streets, very demanding tour, very competetive carriage business.
    

    From:    JC Dill 
    Subject: TOUCHY LEGS  
    
    > Advice requested:  this new mare I bought has never had her feet
    > done.  She really doesn't want anyone to touch her lower legs and has
    > put in a strong vote, fore and aft,that she not be touched.  I am not
    > sure exactly what to do this side of tranquilizers and/or dropping
    > her.  
    
    (Step 1..see Stand above)
    
    For this mare, you are stuck at step 2.  One safe way to work on step 2 
    and not get your head kicked off is to use a sweep broom (the type you 
    use to sweep the kitchen floor) to brush the legs.  That way you can 
    stand back and brush and if she kicks or strikes you are out of range. 
    Start by just using the broom on her body as a dandy brush until she's 
    100% OK with the broom as a grooming tool, before you move on to use it 
    to brush her legs.
    
    One problem with succeeding at step 2 (below) is that when the horse 
    moves your hand comes away from the leg, so they get "reinforced" by 
    moving, the irritating thing stops when they move.  I'm going to assume 
    that she's OK with brushing to the knee.  What you want to do here is 
    brush with the broom along the body and along the leg where she's OK 
    several times (so that she doesn't associate that the broom always means 
    you are going to try to brush below the knee), then *quickly* brush down 
    the leg, and then take the broom away (don't do it again, immediately) 
    before she can move *while* you are brushing.  If she stands still for 
    this single brush, *praise* her.  If she moves just ignore it and go 
    back to brushing her elsewhere, then brush on the upper leg a few times 
    (be sure this is *random*, if you always brush 3 strokes to the knee and 
    go all the way down on the 4th stroke this just teaches her to 
    anticipate the 4th stroke as being the one she doesn't like) then all 
    the way down the leg again.  Also brush on the upper leg a few times and 
    do NOT go all the way down but go back to brushing her back or 
    something, back and forth, so that she doesn't always associate that 
    when you brush the upper leg you *are* going to brush all the way down 
    before you go off and do something else.
    
    Your goal here is to get her to just stand still for a *single* brush 
    that goes below the knees, and to praise her for standing.  Don't do 
    more than that on the first day.  I also suggest you just work with the 
    front legs in the "touchy" zone the first few days and get success 
    there, and brush the back legs only above the touchy zone until she's 
    better on the front.  Once she "gets it" in front, then you can start 
    working on the back legs too.
    
    On the second or later day, once she stands without getting upset for 
    just one brush below the knees, *then* try brushing twice in a row. 
    Again, if she moves after the brush, ignore it, but if she stands still 
    then *praise* her and go on to do something else for a bit.  All 3 of 
    these things are important:
    
    1)  Ignore the undesired behavior (focusing on it by "correcting" can 
    make it *more* likely to reoccur).[2]
    2)  Praise when she does the desired behavior.
    3)  Take a break after the desired behavior (don't try to get it again, 
    immediately).
    
    If she's food oriented (most horses are :-), you can add in a treat with 
    the praise.  If you want to really motivate her to stand, you can also 
    look into clicker training which links a sound (the clicker) with the 
    thing she did to earn the praise/treat.  It takes some extra time to 
    train the horse to understand the clicker, but once the horse knows what 
    the clicker means they start working to *earn* that click and you can 
    often make huge breakthrus in training in just a few sessions with the 
    clicker marking the progress steps.  If you haven't learned how clicker 
    training works, you need to know that the clicker is a *training* step 
    and not a *doing* step - you won't/don't always need a clicker to get 
    the desired behavior, it is just used during the initial learning to 
    help the horse understand when you say "Yes, you did it, that's IT, 
    thanks!".  As the behavior is learned you go from always clicking and 
    treating to using the clicker in a random reinforcement manner to ensure 
    the behavior is really learned then you phase out the clicker use entirely.
    
    jc
    
    [1] There are 10 steps to training a horse to stand for shoeing:
    
        1. Standing: Horse stands still while you work around them. (You 
    can't do anything if they don't stand still!)
        2. Brushing: Horse stands still when you stroke the legs (brushing).
        3. Unweighting leg: Horse stands yields to pressure (unwieghts the 
    leg) when you push forward on the fetlock, without moving off (becoming 
    scared). It's OK if they do 3 and 4 together but if they don't, focus on 
    getting 3 alone before asking for 4 (the actual lifting).
        4. Pick up leg: Horse yields the leg (picks it up) when you press on 
    the tendon, or push the fetlock forward (leg lifting cues).
        5. Hold leg: Horse allows you to hold the leg in the "home position" 
    briefly (home position is the place where the horse lifts the leg, you 
    don't try to move it you just briefly support it at that position then 
    let it go).
        6. Pick out hoof: Horse lets you pick out the leg while it's being 
    held in the home position.
        7. Move the leg: Horse lets you move the leg to other positions away 
    from the home position (forward, back, to the side).
        8. Hold the leg in the "farrier" position: Horse lets you place the 
    leg in the farrier position for brief moments (less than 30 seconds). 
    This step actually has 2 components, because there are 2 "farrier 
    positions", one where the farrier trims and nails on a shoe, the other 
    where the leg is pulled forward and the farrier rasps off flares or 
    clenches and finishes the shoeing job. You have to practice both of 
    these positions if you want your horse comfortable and happy letting the 
    farrier hold the leg in both of these positions.
        9. Trim the hoof: Horse lets you place the leg in the farrier 
    position and perform a farrier task (such as removing the shoe or trimming).
       10. Nail on a shoe: Horse lets you nail on and clench a shoe.
    
    The problem is that most people jump from step 1 (maybe) to step 6 to 
    step 10 and never work on the intermediate steps and stay there until 
    the horse is completely comfortable with what you are asking.
    
    If the horse moves away while trying any of these steps, it's because 
    the previous step wasn't really solid and the horse wasn't really 
    accepting it. Go back a step and get it solid before moving forward again.
    
    
    [2]  Kicking is something I never allow, but when you have a horse that 
    is really touchy about the legs you may need to allow her to kick (and 
    have it be ignored) in the beginning, just to get her to stop being 
    afraid of having her lower legs touched.  For the first few lessons with 
    the broom, you can just ignore undesired movement so you can focus on 
    getting the desired movement and she starts to "get" what she has to do 
    to get you to praise and stop (the *stop* is the real praise, BTW) which 
    is to stand without moving or striking or kicking.  Once she understands 
    what gets the good results, THEN you can add in correction when she 
    kicks or strikes.  If you punish her in the beginning this usually just 
    makes her fearful of the whole process of having you touch her low on 
    her legs.  If she kicks or strikes every time you touch low, and you 
    punish her for kicking or striking then she associates being touched low 
    with being punished and doesn't understand that she's only being 
    punished for kicking or striking.  So you have to get past the fear by 
    ignoring the kicking and striking until it's an uncommon occurrence, and 
    THEN you can punish her for doing it, because at this point she should 
    be willing to try standing and both avoid the punishment AND earn the 
    praise/treat/reward/break that she has come to associate with doing the 
    right thing.
    
    

    Subject: Re: Spring grass

    Vet - Cori Stava explained this Laminitis.....

    "The pastures will soon be turning green - signaling that Spring is here. These lush pastures can be a great source of nutrition for some horses and the source of pain and laminitis (founder) in others. Some grasses not only store energy in the form of starch in their seed heads but as fructan in their roots, leaves an stems.

    High levels of fructan are produced in the Spring when the weather warms and the pasture grasses begin to grow rapidly. During daylight hours, the plants produce more energy than they need and the excess is stored as fructan. The fructan is then converted back to energy that is required by the plant to grow during cool nights or on cloudy days.

    When a horse eats lush Spring grass containing fructan, the excess sugar causes bacteria in the horse's intestinal tract to multiply rapidly and release toxins into the horse's bloodstream. These toxins can damage the laminae of the foot leading to exstream pain and the development of laminitis.

    There are ways to adapt your horse to these pastures and prevent laminitis from occurring. The BEST TIME TO ALLOW YOUR HORSE TO GRAZE IS EARLY IN THE MORNING OR ON CLOUDY DAYS, especially if the temperature at night is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, since fructan is used by the plant at night or on cloudy days.

    The MOST DANGEROUS TIME to allow them to graze is late afternoon or early evening on a sunny day.

    (this is also the case for cutting hay - makes the hay sweet BUT dangerous for those prone to problems)

    Overweight horses are especially prone to grass founder and should only be allowed to graze for a few minutes to a couple of hours each day until temperatures warm up and the grass growth rate slows.

    Start with 15 - 20 minutes per day till the horse becomes acclimated. Grass consumption can also be limited by allowing your horses to fill up on hay.
Dianna's perspective: " When I quit learning, just pull the turf over me and let the ponies graze."

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