Getting our horses to be the best they can be is a team effort. I hope you can find yourself a good trimmer and learn from them. If you can maintain your own nails, you can learn to do your horses feet! But what of the rest of your horse?
Like the body, especially the back, and the teeth. Get these all rehabbed and your best friend will have a new lease on life. Promise! I already assume your horse is living the herd life all day and all night with a diet consisting mainly of low sugar forage.
I have come upon some great folks who make up the team for ideal horse care. I hope you will check them out with an open mind. I only recommend people who I know are tops in their profession. Frankly I could care less if they are the nicest or the cheapest, etc etc but rather: can they do their job, do they keep up with research and the literature, etc.
How often have I heard, “Oh, I just hate to give up my _______ (farrier, dentist, bodyworker). He is the nicest guy. But my horse just hasn’t been sound for years.” So keep your farrier, your dentist, vet, and saddler as friends but hire the best to work on your horse.
Here is my team:
Once the feet are deshod, I first recommend a body worker, like a physical therapist, to get the rest of the horse back in line.
Body Workers I recommend in no particular order:
- Dr. Patti Blakeslee: Almost every horse I work with could benefit from at least one visit from a vet trained in chiropractic and acupuncture therapy. I can get the feet right, but I can’t fix long term issues above the hairline. Patti is part of Unionville Equine Associates, located in Oxford, Pa. She travels to barns and has a clinic in Oxford. If she can’t travel to your barn, I am sure she can suggest another chiro who can. Dr. Patti is part of a large vet practice. She supports barefeet but not all her colleagues do.
- Hoppy Stearns travels far and wide fixing horses. She is an experienced horse woman who uses osteopathic manipulation and Equine Touch in her body work. One or two visits fixes most horses. We have worked together with truly amazing results, not the least of whom is my own horse. Home: 410-378-4406 Cell: 410-982-4642. BTW I became such a believer that I got a Level 1 Equine Touch (Level 1) and am now studying and practicing other body techniques. I evaluate my own horse daily and if he is sore or stiff, I work on him before any in-hand or mounted work.
Krystin Dennis came from human dentistry. Krystin is an Equine Dental Consultant and travels internationally. The typical thing I noticed in my area were horses with two lumps on their forheard. This means they are eating like humans, up and down. Horse should eat in a oval motion. Even the top dentists in our area still are not balancing the incisors. Horses should NOT grow “long in the tooth”. She can refer you to other well trained dentists.
The Saddle Fit:
Carol Brett, a British dressage trainer and rider, created BALANCE INTERNATIONAL when she realized that the ponies on an eventing team she was coaching were hindered by their saddles. After much experimentation, she discovered that all our saddles, regardless of style, limit the horse’s action and injure their muscles. The saddles are simply too narrow and poorly designed. Saddles are fit on a stationery horse. Saddles made by BALANCE are fit for the horse in action.
If your horse has dips on either side of her withers or her spine isn’t nestled between large and developed muscle, you’ve got problems. Carol and the staff at BALANCE INTERNATIONAL are interested in helping horses not selling saddles.
Please take the time to read their site, talk to them, send tracings and videos as detailed on their site (see Download Centre-Distant Evaluation). You will then have an idea of what to do in the short and long term. Although their saddles are expensive, there is a second hand market of saddles and often times the staff can advise on the reflocking of your saddle to work in the near term or recommend a saddle in your price range.
You wouldn’t be happy if someone constantly dug their nails into your back; well that’s what the tree points of the traditional saddles do to your horse’s back. So sell your beloved County or Siegfried and get a beautiful moving horse in the process. Contact toll free 1 888-612-7393 in the UK.
- Forage, pasture, hay, nutrition: Katy Watts knows more about forage, plants and their relationship to laminitis than anyone in the world. She is the expert on Pasture Management. Check out her site for info. Her excellent Power Point Lectures are available on CD’s and are very reasonably priced.
- Dr. Eleanor Kellon offers a very nicely priced consult and nutritional courses online. Pete Ramey strongly recommends Dr. Kellon. She has been investigating the treatment of Cushings and laminitis for many years.
She and her supporters maintain an excellent Yahoo Site for Nutrition for all horses and in particular horses with Insulin Resistance and Cushings. In Files detailed information is available. Read that first.