Friday, October 9, 2009

Running Free

(Click on the thumbnails for the bigger, better version)

These photos were made a few months ago and the horses were only turned out in that lush grain a couple of times for very short periods before the grain was mowed down.

The grain was beautiful to look at, but too rich for a grazing pasture. At least for our guys—especially the gray. After a limited grazing session, The Husband checked Night’s feet and discovered troubling signs in the white line. He had hoped to be able to put the geldings in that pasture for fifteen or twenty minutes a day without danger, but it appeared the grain was just too much for Night. Out came the tractor and down came the grain.

Paying attention to those troubling signs in horses’ hooves is critical to the animal’s survival. If the horse is prone to laminitis, permitting access to rich food can be a fatal error. The Husband has always been attentive to these matters, but has become even more keenly aware of these problems and warning signs since taking on his new career as a farrier. Never one to do anything halfway, he immersed himself in learning his new craft and his dedication has paid off multiple times.

The Husband's dedication has paid off multiple times now. He is currently celebrating the success of one of his rehab projects, a horse that had been shod for years and whose feet were in sorry shape. Fortunately, the owner took The Husband’s advice to take the old gelding barefoot for natural trims. Now Turbo’s feet have been rehabilitated and are in excellent condition. His life expectancy just got bumped up by a few years and that’s good news.


  1. Another great story, Anita! How do horses survive in the wild eating those rich grains? Or do they simply avoid it? I've heard about that type of thing, but have always been mystified by it.

    I'm glad to hear that The Husband is doing so well as a farrier and part-time horse doc! :-)

  2. Paul - Great question and it does seem a bit confusing. Wild horses "suvived" on those rich grains, because they didn't get any. They scrounged for bits and pieces of edible plants. They didn't have access to the fields of hybrid grains grown today. If a horse spent a couple of hours in field of oats today, he would live to see tomorrow only by virtue of a miracle. Of course some horses can tolerate more rich food than others. For example, in this case, Lancer showed no ill effects even though he had grazed the same length of time as Night.

    The Husband is loving his new career.It was an excellent choice for him. And, you are right about the part-time "doc" business. Because the feet are essential to equine well-being, he ends up playing big role in the animals' health care.

  3. Ah, so this is a problem with horses coming into contact with human farming. Thanks for clearing that up!

  4. Paul - Well put. For example, there aren't any overweight wild horses. I suppose we can say that horses are a lot like humans. Some of us would love to live on sweet chocolate treats, if we could. If they had their way, horses would spend their days gorging on rich oats, or alfalfa.

  5. I've wondered about that too, but animals and nature do have a way of taking care of themselves so that they do not end up as hefty as humans. I suppose that has to do with needing to assure they survive!

  6. Mary Ann - Yes, the animals in the wild are somewhat protected by their instincts and by the lack of excessive food supplies.


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