USING A VETERINARIAN VS. EQUINE DENTISTRY

USING A VETERINARIAN VS. EQUINE DENTISTRY

Misty Kale

Who should float your horse’s teeth? An equine dentist or your veterinarian? 

As demand for proper oral care in the horse world has grown dramatically in the last twenty years, it is common to find non-veterinary equine dental technicians practicing in most areas of the country, but as demand increases, their practice has put them at odds with licensed veterinarians who believe equine dentistry is veterinary in nature and in the best interest of the horse’s welfare, should only be performed by an actual veterinarian.

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HOOF-it Exhibits at the BETA International Show in Birmingham England

HOOF-it Exhibits at the BETA International Show in Birmingham England

Leslie Batistich

BETA International Birmingham England

HOOF-it® lunches the new Blacksmith Pro at the BETA International Show.

What a fantastic way to start the 2020 year. With the decline in US trade show fairs, my expectations are never too high anymore. In the past several years you can feel the drop in exhibitors as well as visitors. However, BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) International did not disappoint. It was by far the most well run equine trade show I have ever attended. The staff was so lovely and supportive of all our vendor needs. I really can't say enough about my time spent at the BETA show and it was the perfect place to launch our new Blacksmith Pro. As Liz Benwell said, "BETA is for the trade by the trade." Not only did we meet new retail customers, but they also offered excellent trade talks, social media lectures, as well as equestrian fashion shows. 

The response for using this HOOF-it® Blacksmith Hoof Stand to Apply horseshoe studs was a big topic. No one wants to bend over for that long to apply studs and then jump in the saddle. The fact that this hoof stand allows the horse to rest comfortably while you remove plugs, clean threads and then apply the studs makes this unit a must. 

We have a container of hoof stands on its way to the United Kindom, so check with your local retailer mid-March because the HOOF-it Blacksmith Hoof Stands are on their way to the UK!

Olivia is applying studs before her big event. As you can see, she can bring the foot back and rest it comfortably in the cradle while applying horseshoe studs.

A farrier finishing the foot using the post to bring the foot forward.  This makes the job easier and more comfortable for the horse and farrier. 

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5 exercises for a better seat

5 exercises for a better seat

Misty Kale
A good and effective seat allows us to communicate with our horses when we ride. No matter what tack your horse wears, communication is a two-way street and improving your seat will aid in improving the communication between you and your horse.

 

In this blog we will share 5 exercises you can do to improve your position when you ride.

 

Stretching your legs and hip-flexors

 

You don’t want to just plop yourself on your horse and go. Stretching before you start is important to loosen your hips and legs and improve the direct contact with your horse.

 

With your feet out of the stirrups, bring one knee up and over the front of your saddle with your leg against your horses’ shoulder. Relax your leg into this position and let it sit here for a minute or two.

 

Then bring your leg back down to a relaxed position out of the stirrup and let it stretch downward towards the ground. This exercise targets your core and thigh muscles and will improve your position in the saddle. Repeat both stretches with the other leg.

 

Make sure you stay square in your shoulders when performing theses stretches and focus on letting your hip-flexors stretch when your legs are down to your horses’ sides.

 

At the trot: One-sided no stirrup work

 

Once you have warmed your horse up a bit take up a trot and practice removing one leg from the stirrup for a few strides, putting it back in the stirrup and then taking the other foot out of the stirrup. Keep alternating every few strides, being mindful of your position when executing this exercise. Are you falling to one side? Is one leg putting more pressure on the horse than the other? Are you gripping with your legs more tightly? Make sure that your horses balance doesn’t change, his shape doesn’t change and that you are both staying relaxed throughout the exercise. Focus on quality not quantity and make sure you end the exercise on a positive note for your horse.

 

At the Canter: Half seat to Full seat

 

This exercise allows you to focus on your position while making sure that the horse's balance and relaxation doesn't change as you alternate between your jumping position and your full seat position. This is a great exercise when preparing to jump your horse.

 

At the canter, practice going into your half-seat for 4 to 5 strides and then back to your full seat. Keeping the transitions smooth and your horse moving at the same pace. Be mindful when transition between the two seats that your horse is maintaining the same bend and relaxed canter.  Think about your feet and ankles being underneath you and in line with your hips. Keeping your upper body in line and not getting ahead of the horse. Focus on your balance being in your feet and not in your shoulders. Monitor your lower leg while performing this exercise. Is it staying in a position of support or flailing forward? Don’t lower yourself to the saddle to quickly or plop down into the saddle to hard.

 

Over Cavalettis: Circle of Truth

 

The circle of truth allows you to improve your consistency over fences and hone in on how your position influences the horse, while at the same time allowing you to focus on the balance of the canter between the cavaletti.

 

Create a large circle and set up 4 small jumps or rails. Pick a point in the middle of your arena and step 30 feet out towards the outside. Set up 4 small jumps or rails on the circle about 5-6 strides apart from each other. This is a great warm up exercise before jumping and allows you to work on improving the canter between the cavalettis. Really focus on how your seat, leg and reins work together to navigate the cavalettis. Make sure you are using your legs as well as your reins when working in this circle. To challenge yourself, put both reins in your outside hand and rest your inside hand on your thigh or hold it straight out in from of you. This will help you to ensure you are using your core strength. Work on using your leg ques to keep your horses bend around the circle.

 

Over fences: Gymnastics on a Curve

 

This exercise highlights the effectiveness of your seat, leg, and upper body in maintaining your horse's balance and straightness through a turn.

 

This involves four fences or rails set up on a bend of your circle. Make a 20m circle and set fences around it 18 to 20 ft apart. The size of your circle and distance between rails will depend on your horses stride of course, so adjust accordingly. If you have a really small horse or large horse the distances will be different.

 

Place the rails or cross-rails 6 to 7 steps apart making sure that each step is 3 ft. You can trot through this a few times to make sure of your distance and how much of your outside aid you will need to navigate the circle.

 

This exercise addresses the ability to keep a turn and not lose your horses shoulders. Use your seat and leg to keep the bend in the circle. Start with rails on the ground to warm up and keep your horse accountable to stay in the center of the fence. You can then try cross-rails or even verticles depending on your confidence level.  Don’t let your upper body get ahead and make sure your seat maintains its balance. Engage your core and use your upper body to balance. Take your time through the exercise. You should feel like you can touch your shoulder blades together through the exercise and keep your upper body back and away from the horses’ withers. You can use rails on two and cross rails on two. Once you have done it both directions evenly with rails on the ground, move to 4 cross rails. You can also use verticals when you feel confident that you and your horse have the exercise down. This is a great warm up exercise before jumping. Don’t over do these exercises doing them maybe 4 or 5 times through.

 

 

 

 

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Watering Horses

HOW MUCH WATER DOES YOUR HORSE REALLY NEED?

Misty Kale

With the temperatures dropping in the evenings and waking up to the chill of those familiar fall mornings, it can only mean one thing. Winter will soon be upon us.

With the cold winter months ahead, it’s important to think about all the things your horse will need to stay healthy through those cold temperatures. The one thing that should come to mind is how much water your horse needs to drink to stay hydrated through the winter months.

You may be surprised to know that your horse requires the same amount of water per day in the winter as they do in the summer to maintain hydration.   

An 1100 lb horse needs about 10 gallons of water per day to ensure proper hydration and minimize digestion upsets.

Typically, horses have more digestive concerns during the winter months than during any other time of year. Probably because their bodies slow down due to the cold and is also because of a decrease in water intake. The decrease in water intake could be caused by a lack of supply, frozen water, cold water, or just not enough water being provided to them.

During the summer months, your horses’ water intake is greater for many reasons. The also get about 75% of their water intake from the grasses that they eat. During the winter, your horse still requires at least 10 gallons of water, but is now relying on you to supply it. Be aware that older horses and those with dental issues may not drink very cold water because of the discomfort it causes their teeth, again adding to the problem of insufficient water intake.

The question then becomes, how do we ensure our horses are drinking enough water to meet their needs during the winter? The use of an electrolyte to encourage horses to drink more may be an option. Other ideas include ensuring the horse has access to water at all times, use heaters in water troughs where freezing is an issue and check the water supply daily. Also, make yourself aware of the symptoms of a dehydrated horse and keep a close eye on them throughout the winter.

For more information about caring for your horse in the winter months, check out our past blogs:

https://www.hoof-it.com/blogs/hoof-it/blanketing-your-horse

https://www.hoof-it.com/blogs/hoof-it/horse_winter

https://www.hoof-it.com/blogs/hoof-it/does-your-horse-really-need-a-shelter

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WHAT IS A HAND – HOW TO MEASURE YOUR HORSE

WHAT IS A HAND – HOW TO MEASURE YOUR HORSE

Misty Kale
The height of a horse is properly measure in inches from the ground to the highest point of the withers. The withers being at the base of the main and top of the shoulder. That bony little bump that sits just under the front of your saddle horn or pommel (if you're riding English).

For the most accurate measurement, make sure your horse is on firm, level ground with their feet relatively even. Take a tape measure and stand on the end and bring it up to the highest point of the withers. Record the inches.

After you have found how many inches your horse is, you will need to convert the results from inches to "hands." Horse height is correctly referred to by a unit of measurement known as a "hand." One hand is equal to four inches. Take the number that you recorded and divide it by 4. For example, if your horse measured 58 inches and you divide that by 4, you get 14.5. The .5 means your horse was a half of a hand which translates to 2 inches. This means that your horse is 14.2 hands tall (14 hands plus 2 inches).
There are measuring devices on the market for horses that have hand and inches measurements marked on them.
Some devices are rigid poles with short crossbars toward the top that can be raised or lowered to rest on a horse's withers. These are very handy and give accurate measurements easily.
WHERE DID THE MEASURING TERM “HANDS” COME FROM?
The origin of measuring a horse this way is very old, but easy to understand.
In the past, people did not have the common measuring devices like tape measures to measure a horse. They used their hands. This would mean holding your hand out with your thumb pointed up and the distance between the edge of your palm at the bottom to the tip of your thumb at the top was about 4 inches. This obviously would vary depending on your hand size so somewhere along the way, the measuring unit of a hand was standardized to mean four inches.

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FUN GAMES FOR YOUR KIDS AND HORSES THIS SUMMER

FUN GAMES FOR YOUR KIDS AND HORSES THIS SUMMER

Misty Kale

Summer is here and what’s more fun than getting the kids together and playing games with the horses! Here are 8 cool games that will keep your kids off the couch and will get the horses moving too! You can also use these games if you give group riding lessons. It’s a great way to challenge your riding skills and have some fun at the same time!

Blind Man’s Tack Up
This is an excellent game for those rainy days. If you have a nice wide aisle that works best. Take one of your horses and put them on the cross ties or have someone hold them. Place all the tack around (bridle, saddle pad, saddle, girth, etc.) Have the children split up into teams of two so it wasn’t too overwhelming but you can try larger teams if you have a lot of kids playing. One person will be the eyes and the other will be blindfolded. When the timer starts the unblindfolded person will direct the blindfolded child from where the tack is, to putting it on the horse correctly. Once the horse is completely tacked up the timer stops. The team with the fastest time wins. This game is great because it makes kids use the proper name for equipment and work together.

Barrel Race
A great game if you’re short on horses. You just need two well-behaved understanding horses and at least one barrel. Split the kids into two teams and let the games begin! On a timer, the rider has to race around the barrel. The first time around could be in a half seat or walk there trot back. Or maybe they have to trot down and side pass around the barrel. Be creative and challenge your skills. Maybe try making some flash cards with instructions and one kid draws a card and tells the rider what they have to complete. The team that does the best or fastest wins!

Ride-A-Buck
For this game, each rider takes a dollar bill and places it on the inside of their thigh. Riders are then asked to ride around while doing different things – posting trot, canter, jump, etc. When there is only one rider left with the dollar still tucked under their leg they win all the cash! Technically they win all the money but if you had to shell out $20 for this game you may not want to play by those rules. Ride-a-Buck is a fun way to teach leg position, balance and overall improves leg stability. For a more difficult version try it bareback.

Around the World
Around the World isn’t the type of game that will take up the whole lesson but it will help with balance. Have a person holding the horse and have the rider start sitting normally, then they swing one leg all the way over so they are sitting side saddle, then they swing the leg over again so they are sitting backwards, then side saddle to the other side and back to forward. Have the rider do it in both directions. If you have a really easy-going horse and want to challenge the rider's balance, try walking the horse slowly for a challenge. This game can be very helpful for kids who are scared to ride and can help build confidence and balance.

Bucket Ball
All you need for this fun horse game is a bucket, a softball and a stand (a jump stand will work). Have the two riders line up at one end of the ring with the ball on the stand at the other end. Riders race to the ball, grab it, ride back and have to drop the ball in the bucket. The first one to get the ball in the bucket wins. If at any point the rider drops the ball they have to dismount, pick it up and get back on. The more advanced students really enjoy this game. A fun way to add in more riders is turn it into a relay. Have a few riders at different points where they have to transfer the ball to each other without dropping it.

Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses are a great way to challenge any rider. You can set up any number of obstacles and time your riders as they navigate through. You can add challenges through the obstacle course as well. For example, having to gallop through a shallow waterway or side passing through objects that you have lined up. Be creative and make it fun!

Egg and Spoon
This one will test the rider’s skills. Start out by giving the first rider the egg on the spoon. They then have to ride to the next participant and pass it over without dropping it. The team that gets to the end first with their egg wins. If a team member drops their egg they have to start over. Throw in some trotting, steering, half seat, anything to make it more challenging. You can even throw in some obstacles if you want to make it really challenging.

Tack Take Apart
This is another good rainy-day game. You only need one bridle or saddle per team. Take apart all the pieces, undo all the buckles, take off the bit, etc. Lay out the pieces and let the kids put it back together. The team that puts together their bridle or saddle first wins. This game really helps reinforce all parts of the tack and helps them remember what everything is called.

Simon Says
An old school classic with an equine twist. Simon Says is a perfect horse game for larger groups and helps keeps the students focused on you. Depending on the experience level you could do simple things like raise left hand, point to your horse’s withers or half seat. With more experienced riders’ commands, such has drop your left stirrup, pick up a canter or change direction all help improve balance, focus and overall skill. Be creative with this and challenge the riders’ abilities.



 

 

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How to Apply Horseshoe Studs with Ease

How to Apply Horseshoe Studs with Ease

Leslie Batistich

Does applying studs to your horseshoe's pain you? Who needs to be bent over and putting stress on your back right before you hop in the saddle. Save your body for the ride and use a HOOF-it Blacksmith Hoof Stand. 

 

Apply Horseshoe Studs HOOF-it Hoof Stand   Olivia Apply Horseshoe Stud with HOOF-it Hoof Stand


If you have ever shown or groomed for horses showing on grass or muddy conditions you have shared in the time consuming and body stressful application of applying horseshoe studs; I think anyone who has ever used or removed studs would agree that this is not a fun or easy job for the horse or human.

Growing up in the '80s on the West Coast Hunter Jumper Circuit, we still had several shows on the grass. Having applied studs myself back then, I would have given my eye teeth to have had a tool like the Blacksmith Hoof Stand. There is nothing worse than being in a small grooming stall bent over trying to pull the cotton fill, then clean the threads, and then to apply the studs without stripping the threads. Doing this before each class is a time-consuming chore while bent over to hold a foot up that is just stressful not only to your lower back but uncomfortable for the horse as well.

This hoof stand takes the stress off of the horse and human. It gives the horse a steady, comfortable base to rest his foot while you work on the application without having the stress of holding the foot up. Hoof stands are not just for the Farrier but are a great tool to have in the barn or at the horse show/event. 

Special thanks to Olivia McDowell @RemarkableMare for sharing these photos with us.  

 

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Hoofstar™ Glue on Hoof Boot

Hoofstar™ Glue on Hoof Boot

Misty Kale

Everything you need to know about the new Hoofstar™ Hoof Boot. 

If you have been a horse owner for any length of time, you have probably tried various methods to keeping your horse’s feet on the straight and narrow. And, if you have ever had a horse with foot problems, you know that this is a delicate and sensitive issue to figure out.  There are so many options out there from traditional metal shoes to barefoot trimming. Maybe you have even thought about or tried composite shoes or clamp on boots. There is something out there for pretty much any situation you can find yourself in, but today we are going to talk about the exciting new Hoofstar™ glue on hoof boot.

It is considered one of the easiest glue on Horseshoe / Hoof Boots on the market and can be easily applied by anyone.

This boot is an exciting new option in the arsenal of shoeing options. It provides great shock absorption and can be used for anything from the weekend trail ride to endurance riding. It can also be used to address and help hoof problems.

Here are some key advantages:

Here are some of the key Advantages:

  • A true Glue On Composite Horseshoe / Hoof Boot.
  • Quick, clean and very simple to apply.
  • Easy to fit and can be glued-on by anyone that is willing to give them a try.
  • NO special tools or training required.
  • Adjustable to most common hoof sizes and shapes.
  • Perfect for the anxious or noise sensitive horse.
  • Ideal for horses with pain issues, as the feet are not expected to be held up during gluing and bonding.
  • Flexible and shock absorbing without a steel or aluminum core which assists in protecting joints, tendons, ligaments
  • No restriction of natural hoof flexion and mechanical function.
  • These horseshoes will last one full shoeing cycle, ranging from 6 to 8 weeks.
  • No damage to the integrity of the hoof wall.
  • The Glue will fill-in Hoof cracks and even repair missing hoof walls at the same time.
  • Ideal when transitioning your horse from steel-shod to barefoot.  
  • Designed and produced by a farrier with a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering.

 The application is easy!

Hoofstar Glue-on Horseshoes

Step 1: Roughen the hoof surface

The best way to do this is with very coarse sandpaper. Lift up the hoof and sand the hoof wall once. It's best to use a HOOF-it Hoof Stand so you can work under your horse with ease.

In order for the glue to adhere well to the hoof, the surface will need to be roughed up. 

Step 2: Drying 

The Hoofstar horseshoe will only adhere optimally if the hoof is dry. Depending on the season and housing conditions, your horses hooves may be wetter or dryer. If the hoof feels moist, it must be dried before applying the glue.

To speed up the drying process you can use a heat gun or hairdryer.

Step 3: Adjust the bridge 

With your Hoofstar horseshoes you will receive adjustment bars. This will allow you to adjust the heel for a custom fit.
To determine which bar to use, place the shoe on your horses hoof and choose the bar that provides a snug fit.

Roughen

Dry

Adjust Bridge

Step 4: Insert the bridge

After you have determined the correct bar to use, take the shoe off your horse and snap the bridge in place.

Step 5: Sizing & Adjustments

In certain situations, you may have to adjust the length of the shoe. This is easy to do with a pair of nippers or a grinder. While the shoe is on (but before you have glued), trace the back of the hoof with a sharpie and then remove the shoe and trim accordingly.

Step 6: Slide

Once the length and width of the shoe is perfect for your horse, it's time to glue them on.

To do this, put the shoe back on your horse and then wrap the hoof and shoe with the adhesive film. Six to seven wraps are enough. Since only the side walls are glued, the bottom does not have to be completely covered with adhesive film. When you're done, you can put the hoof back on the ground. Do the same with the second hoof.

Step 7: Finding the filling holes

The Hoofstar shoe has 4 filler holes for the glue, two on each side wall. Feel for the holes and pierce a small hole in the adhesive wrap so that the glue can be injected. You can do this with a hoof pick or other non-sharp object.

Prep Glue

Clear Injection Hole

Apply Glue

Step 8: Prepare glue 

Insert the adhesive cartridge into your dispensing gun.

Then remove the plug of the cartridge and remove the screw cap. Extract a tip full of glue from the cartridge to ensure that both components are evenly mixed, then put the mixing tip on. Remove the cap and you are ready to apply.

Step 9: Gluing

Place the tip into the first hole and inject. You will want to move quickly as the glue will set fast. The temperature outside will determine how quickly the glue will set. If you feel you need more working time, or you are working in extreme heat, keep the glue cartridge in a cool dry place before applying. Fill all 4 holes with glue.

Step 10: Curing 

For optimal adhesion, allow your horse to stand for 10 minutes before you remove the adhesive wrap. Your horse is now free to move about.

That’s all there is to it!

The longevity of these shoes will vary depending on the conditions that your horse is in and what you are using them for.  

 

HOOFSTAR GLUE-ON HORSESHOE Kit 

Buy Now

 


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All natural options for weed control in your horse pastures

All natural options for weed control in your horse pastures

Misty Kale
Looking for ways to manage your pastures naturally?  This blog post has a few suggested natural ways to help with weed control and pasture health. These methods will help keep your horse pastures in good condition throughout the season.  Read more....

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Choosing the right Farrier

Choosing the right Farrier

Misty Kale

Choosing the right Farrier for your horse is detrimental to having a sound, well working, happy horse and it can be a hit and miss selection process. Although most Farriers advertise their businesses, they really build their business from referrals and word of mouth. As easy as it sounds to just pick one, how do you know you are getting the right one for the job? 

 
 

Referrals from other horse people do give some value to the farrier, but is it truly warranted and does it apply to your situation? Are they being selected for their ability, skills and knowledge base? Or, are people choosing them because they are friendly, reasonably priced and reliable? Maybe they are being chosen because they have been in the business for 25 years? I don't know about you, but I've had a Farrier or two that had 25+ years of experience, but still couldn't get my horse's feet right.

While being friendly, priced well and reliable are all great traits, there is more to the art of caring for horses feet than that. Here are some things you may want to consider when searching for the right Farrier.

Someone who has their certifications

While certifications are not generally required in the US, many Farriers will voluntarily test for them with the American Farrier Association (AFA).  While there are many great Farriers that don't have any certifications, when choosing someone new, it's a good idea to look for someone who has earned the AFA's Certified Farrier or Certified Journeyman Farrier credential.

Someone who understands the options and will help you determine the best one

The way your Farrier chooses to address your horses feet should always be to look at numerous ways to get the job done. There are many different options when deciding how you will trim and shoe your horse. One way may work better than the others depending on your situation. 

Someone who is willing to refer you to another source if necessary

It is good to work with a Farrier that knows horses, but you should be wary of someone who thinks they know everything and isn't willing to get another opinion if need be. If your Farrier isn't ever willing to say "I don't know", means they may not be the one for you. Some situations may require a specialist or just another set of eyes to see a problem in a different light.

Someone who takes the time to do the job right

Of course, you want someone that can get the job done in a timely manner, but this isn't always the most important task at hand. You don't want your Farrier looking at your horse as if he's just another set of hooves. Some situations will require them to recognize if there's a problem above the feet. Make sure your Farrier is addressing the horses individual needs and that each horse is unique, not a cookie cutter design.

Someone who is passionate about what they do and pursues their education

When people are passionate about what they do, they will continue to pursue being better today than they were yesterday. Good Farriers will take the time to work with other good Farriers and network with each other. They will further their education and make sure that they are up on the latest ways to trim and shoe. They will know how to address problems and spot them early. This kind of continuing education and knowledge makes them a valuable asset.

And last but not least,

Someone who has some knowledge and understanding of your discipline

Your Farrier may not be an endurance rider or show jumper, but if they understand a little bit about the demands of your particular discipline and what it takes to accomplish it, they will be an asset to you and your horse. They will understand that you don't give someone a pair of hiking boots if they're running a marathon, or a pair of stilettos if you're doing jump shots on the basketball court.

Keeping these things in mind when you go looking for a Farrier to care for your horse will ensure that you find the right fit.

Visit www.hoof-it.com to check out our Blacksmith hoof stand

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