Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Great Farriers are worth their weight in gold and other ramblings

Stacey from The Jumping Percheron got me thinking. I was going to respond to her blog, but after typing forever, I figured that I would just put it on my own blog.
First, riding someone else's horse is a huge responsibility. It is an awesome feeling when someone trusts enough to let you care for their horse. Pictured here is Foxy when we first started riding her. She was weaning her last foal and needed exercise. Who better than three little kids with a very watchful, paranoid mother? The kids learned the importance of lunging a stalled up horse prior to riding.

Second, I have not put shoes on Belle since I bought her. After wearing heavy carriage shoes her whole life, her feet are in remarkable shape. Her old farrier was awesome. He had no problem with her little quirks with her back feet. I told him that I wanted to put shoes on her last spring and he talked me out of it. He explained how good her feet were and that she really did not need them. I really liked him. People don't appreciate farriers enough. My farrier had another job and just did farrier work on the side, after work. Every once in a while, he would have to cancel, but he was really good about it. After he would trim Belle, he would schedule the next appointment. He did not want to leave his good clients hanging and that way he would guarantee another trim. He came recommended and was the first farrier that would not run screaming the other direction when I mentioned that Belle was a Clydesdale. He charged a little extra, but it was worth it. When he trimmed Foxy, it was no big deal. Foxy stood still, got her feet trimmed and behaved herself. He even put up with the constant questions from my kids as he trimmed. When I moved here, I just went with the barn farrier. He is good, but not the same. Belle won't stand for him. He could not get her back feet. In a way that was good, because it was the final straw in Belle's symptoms that finally lit the bulb above my head that Belle has EPSM. (Another shout out to Stacey for reminding me that Dr. Valentine is very good with Draft questions)
I had read the chapter about EPSM in the Draft Horse book, but until I put all of the symptoms together, it just did not click. I have been concerned about her weight fluctuations since I bought her. She went to the vet. (She hates getting her teeth floated) I seemed to be doing all of the right things, but this last episode sent me researching, and there it was in my library and on my computer. She had the right hay, the right type of grain, the right minerals are being supplemented, she just needs a lot more fat. I am hoping that the diet change will help. Adding oil to her diet has been easy because of the Senior feed that she was already receiving. I kept thinking that she needed some oil, but I was going to research it first and never got around to it.

Foxy is doing well. She is pleased with all of the extra outdoor arena time. It has been so warm and I am trying to make up for last week when I was working 10-12 hour days. With the ice melting, there are little rivers of mud around the barn. On the way out to the arena, I jumped over one. Foxy followed suit. I never have the camera ready when things like that happen. She may be really pregnant, but she can still move. She bucks and kicks and jumps. As soon as I figure out where I hid the camera this time, I will take more pics.

I wonder if I could convince the old farrier to visit Wyoming every 2-3 months.


  1. My invisible horse, Dreamer, hasn't had shoes on since we moved from Illinois to Missouri in 1995.

  2. Holy crap. I remember when Belle would stomp a lot at the old barn. Like, not stomping at flies. How much you wanna bet that was the beginning of her tying up????

  3. Wait, maybe not the beginning but the signs starting to surface?

  4. She is still not actually tying up, but the other symptoms are definitely there. I just feel so stupid because we had the book. Of course I read it. I had been talking to vets and other horse people about her diet, I just did not think that all of those weird quirks that she has are actually symptoms of a treatable disorder. Since regular exercise is best, I am now having the girls turned out while I am at work, too. Fortunately, She has no problem eating the grain with the oil in it. Foxy has figured out that Belle's grain is tasty and I have added 1 oz of oil in her grain, too. She doesn't need the added fat, she is tanking up, anyway, but with the unexpected warm weather, all of the horses are shedding, so her coat could use a little glossing up.