The Horses Loyalty
If I don't understand, please don't punish me,
If I do well, please praise me so I can see,
If I do wrong, please show me the right way,
If I'm hungry, please hand me some hay,
If I'm tired, please let me rest,
If I'm sore , please help me regain my zest.
Love me for who I am,
Let me be me; let me swim in the dam,
Teach me and I will teach you,
Together we will stick like glue,
Together we can be free,
Together we are the beauty.
I will try and be patient,
I will not pass judgment,
I will try to trust you,
I will try and forgive you,
For I love you in all your glory,
For this is the horses loyalty.
By: Jesskah Morris
Through so many years after finally getting my first pony. I ended up battling so many times with feet problems relating to founder. Hearing this one word can send people away to cower. It can be such a chronic thing at times to battle with especially when you don’t know which way to go about treating it.
Now the definition of founder just to clarify is when the bond between the sensitive and insensitive laminae completely fails, as the laminae dies. This means the attachment of the coffin bone to the hoof breaks down, which can destroy the living tissues around the coffin bone. This usually results with the coffin bone rotating downwards. In extreme cases the coffin bone can come through the sole of the hoof.
On the other hand laminitis, which usually goes hand in hand with founder, is classed as a totally different thing entirely. Laminitis is referred to as an infection of the laminae/tissues, which can cause the coffin bone to detach from the hoof wall.
Now there are a few causes that can cause laminitis and founder so here’s some to name a few…
· Grass founder - A drastic change in the diet e.g. Lush grass, grains etc.
· Drinking copious amounts of water whilst overheated
· Having insulin resistance (almost the same as in humans horses can’t handle the high sugars in the grass)
· Stressful conditions including colic, illnesses and high fevers
After that big introduction though I will get back to the dilemmas with my old pony Timmy. Now his feet problems we off and on along with his weight, but another big problem had been trying to find a farrier just to come out and do his feet. No one wanted to come out to do a pony that would lean on them.
I am not sure how rotated his coffin bones would be. He is an odd case where his back feet are worse than his front feet. However, his souls were not the concave type you would be looking for in a horse. Every farrier has their own view on correcting these horses with a big one being “corrective shoeing”.
Which was done and tried on my old pony, but after all that my opinion stands to reason that it is not the solution to correct the foundered horses feet. I’m still yet to work out how nailing nails through the hoof wall that is already breaking down is supposed to help.
Another method that I had heard of while looking for options was to raise the heels on the horse’s hooves. This is also a ridiculous idea as the coffin bone is already rotated enough without having to raise the heel more.
So I went with bare foot trimming on my own through the worst of times where I couldn’t find a farrier. No it was not the prettiest job in the world but it was better than leaving the hooves to grow on their own and turn into flipper feet.
Well after all these years my answers have finally been answered with the lovely farrier I have now for my old pony. Not only has the answer been granted with him coming out every month on a regular basis, as foundered horses feet grow 10 times as fast. But he has answered my one suspicion I have had all along!
He actually dare I say, trimmed my pony’s souls! For so long no farrier has dared to touch the soul of my pony’s feet. From the words of the farrier when I questioned him “Yeah with all my founder horses I cut back the sole so they aren’t walking on their soles”. For so long this has been in my head that a horse shouldn’t be walking on their soles. There’s no corrective shoeing or any “jazz”, just a regular trim which includes trimming the soles, without needing to go over the top.
Thanks to my farrier my pony has no limps and doesn’t look anywhere near his age. As long as he has his feet done regularly because they do grow so quick his feet are pretty much almost back to normal.
So from someone who has been through a pony that has foundered on and off…. Make sure your farrier trims the sole as well as the hoof (with care of course).
I mentioned previously about the wonderful things a rope halter can help to achieve. Firstly we must remember that equipment isn't a cure all and that 99% of training comes down to the handlers timing/technique and feel.
A correctly fitted rope halter can help anyone achieve these certain goals to a "T".
So what is a correctly fitted Rope Halter?The first thing that comes to mind is the placement of the knots. We must remember that the knots aren't there to cause pain to the horse especially when they are doing the right thing. Therefore the noseband knots need to be placed at the base of the facial crest on your horse. This is the little depression on the nose where the knots should sit comfortably. A noseband that is too tight or loose can cause unnecessary pain. A noseband that sits too low can also slip off your horses nose causing serious accidents.
The cheek straps help keep the noseband where it should be. If it is too loose it will make the noseband sit too low on the nose and if it is too tight it will cause serious pain on delicate nerves on your horses face. Having said this it is also important to have your halter tied up as snug as possible under the jaw bone. All too often I have seen horses with rope halters that aren't done up tight enough, which also causes the noseband to potentially slip off your horses head and cause a lot of pressure on your horses poll.
The other major issue that comes to mind is the chin pieces. These need to be tight enough to avoid a huge gap between your horses chin and the Faidor knot, which could potentially get a hoof caught up in it. When you first buy your rope halter it should fit snuggly at your horses chin, remembering that these knots to tend to tighten up as the horse pulls.
The material of your rope HalterThere are a lot of words used the describe the material of some rope halters. A good quality rope halter like the ones I make are made from 100% polyester rope. They are tough, strong, rot resistant, UV resistant and can last a lot longer than there lesser quality counter parts.
The other ropes contain a percentage of synthetic materials, which used on horses can break down very quickly. They will also tend to fade and rot when left out in the weather and as they do this the materials drastically weaken. These type of halters can sometimes tend to stretch on your horse, which can be quite dangerous.
There are two main knots in a rope halter. The faidor knot and a True Lovers knot also known as a Mathew walkers knot. The faidor knot is the knot under the horses chin. Sometimes you will see an overhand knot which can be quite bulky. The faidor knot on the other hand is a very neat streamlined knot that helps even out the tension through the halter. It does however have a tendancy to loosen if one loop is pulled without the other (which is why you need to clip your lead on both loops). This is why to help this I will add stitching to the knot.
The True lovers knot is used through the rest of the halter. It has a very distinctive 'X' apearence to it. Unlike an overhand knot the two ropes glide into the knot and back without any bows etc formed from the knot.
Left: Faidor Knot. - Right: True Lovers Knot
A correctly fitted Rope Halter on Tim the old Pony.
Yes he is blind in that eye
So make sure when you buy your rope halter that it is well fitted to the horse you will be using it on as they will have to wear it quite frequently. We owe it to our horses to be comfortable in the gear they are wearing. No one wants to do work while they are in pain or uncomfortable. It will also drastically reduce the changes of certain dangers that could have been prevented.
You can be rest assured that when you buy a halter from me that these are the things that I keep in mind when I am making them for you and your horse.
Five years ago I was blessed with my first foal now known as Comet. Through these five years I have come a long way and through a lot of trial and error I have learnt so much from it. In the end I ended up with a well mannered and respectful horse that I wouldn’t replace for anything in this world.
Through all my trial and error the one foundation that has held up beyond all else, was the simple fact of starting early. I put the hard yards in from day one and now I realize how much all of my effort has paid off. It is just like watching your kids growing and learning each and every day.
Lets face it a little month old foal can be stronger than us at the best of times. The rules we come to recognize as acceptable will be stuck with them for the rest of their lives, so to start such training from the start can mean a world of difference. A young cheeky colt with no rules can very quickly and easily learn to take advantage of so many things. Which a young cheeky colt is always destined to do.
So many people in this day and age seem to end up with all sorts of problems with their older horses, whether it’s as simple as just refusing to move, or loading in the float. I came to realize that it all seems to come down to the power of leading a horse, something some of us do almost every day and occasionally take for granted.
I now step back today and look at how good Comet leads and ties up anywhere and everywhere. I then remember how much work I had put into this simple and yet complicated task when he was young. At a very young age he had pretty much done everything except being ridden. I was complemented so many times about his behaviour and still am today. From starting from day one instead of waiting until he was weaned or later I am now blessed with a well behaved horse that knows his job well and is now turning out to be just the same in his new pleasure ridding career.
There is always hope for older horses as they are still ready to learn of course, but I don’t think I could have made my horse lead as well as he does today without a rope halter! With the proper guidance and technique the rope halter has added the extra lightness to our everyday life.
A rant from Jesskah
Welcome to my blog! Here you will find my devotion towards my animals and all my thoughts and passions related to them.
I currently have two horses (Tim and Comet), a dog (Emmy), a cat (CoCo), 3 chooks and a rabbit (Flower). They are sure to all come into this blog one way or another as along with my two children and partner they are all a huge joy to me.
So enjoy my ramblings and I hope we all have fun along the way and you enjoy this site as much as I am enjoying creating it.