Thursday, November 29, 2007

How to Save a Horse

Don't ride the cowboy. Talk to a barefoot farrier.

The following set of tips was developed by Jim Apple, a barefoot hoof care farrier in the Middle Tennessee area. He is today's guest writer. You can post questions to Jim in the comments section below this article.

First and foremost be devoted to helping your horse. Founder is a painful situation for the horse. Conscientious and humane care must be given at all levels. Here are some guidelines to make this easier for the horse, for you and for me..

The horse

  1. Dry lot the horse. Use a run in shed or open stall, if you don’t have a area fenced in-DO IT!

  2. Determine the founder trigger. I can guarantee that your horse did not “just founder”.

  3. No green grass, no grain-PERIOD

  4. Feed grass hay 24/7, stay away from hay that is high in sugars, like alfalfa.

  5. Keep the horse moving, once it is comfortable. You might have to walk the horse in the beginning.

  6. Make sure that water is available at all times, Free choice salt and minerals should be in the dry lot.

  7. Place the hay, water, salt and minerals at different spots once the horse can move of its own free will. Set it up with water in one corner, hay in another corner, salt in the third corner and minerals in the fourth corner.

The caregiver

  1. Be prepared mentally to do this. It can and will put a strain on all aspects of your life.

  2. Realize that you can only do so much; the rest is up to your horse.

  3. Ask questions

The farrier

  1. Provide conscientious and humane trimming. Schedule the next visit.

  2. Measure the horse’s feet and encourage the use of protective hoof boots and soaker boots to help the horse be comfortable during the healing process

  3. Ask questions and provide answers and educational material.

*At some point during the recovery process, most horses have minor setbacks such as abscesses, thrush, white line disease etc. Regular trimming and soaking the horse’s feet once a week in equal parts apple cider vinegar/water for 20 minutes will keep those problems to minimum. In some cases daily soaks will be necessary. Be patient. Your horse can survive founder.*

Feel free to comment by clicking on the comment link above. I want to see what you have to say.