The Fundamentals of Foundation –Part 3 – Getting To Know The Feet

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 10, 2012 06:01


Robin Davis is a lifelong horse lover who founded of the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative (www.Holistic-Herd.com) and, alongside of her husband, is owner/operator of a holistic horsekeeping ranch in Northern Colorado called Mustang Hollow.  Robin loves to spend time with her horses any way she can.  Her current herd of six consists of 1 Mustang, 1 Warmblood, 1 OTTB, 1 Quarter horse, 1 Arabian and 1 Welsh cross.  Robin loves to trailride, has competed in Dressage and has started and tuned up many horses using natural horsemanship methods.
When we live with horses we get used to shifting our agenda based upon the energies that present themselves at the time they do.  My agenda was to continue the conversation about the feet in this next blog, Mother Nature’s agenda was to present a HUGE wildfire to the west of us and, therefore, get me exploring and taking action with ways to support my horses through smoke inhalation.  Yup, pretty big shift.

 

So let’s talk about the feet some more.  Last blog about the feet addressed getting in timing with the feet.  By now your horse should be as interested in what you want to do with their feet as you are in how the feet fall.  I hope you are having fun as your relationship deepens and your training is getting easier.
I mentioned that the hoof is an indication of wellness.  I’m sure you’ve already begun to think about what sorts of indicators I might be talking about.  Of course, the obvious ones such as thrush, hoof wall cracking and white line disease jump to mind readily.  For a less obvious indicator, pay attention to how your horse lands with its feet.  Do they land heel – toe, or do they land flat, or do they stab the toe? 
When they step forward where are they breaking over the toe.  Does it seem to take forever and then the horse kind of flips the toe out to begin again, or do they appear to have a choppy breakover, or is it an easy breakover with what appears to be an efficient use of the entire leg, shoulder and hip?

Photo credits Robin Davis, Holistic Horse Care Cooperative

Sit and watch your horse move when you are not a part of the equation.  One of the best places to do this is in the pasture while they graze or when they are turned loose in an arena without any gear attached to them and you are not moving them around.  Compare two or three horses and their movement.  In fact even better, watch several.  Time sitting and watching how different horses move is time well spent if you really want to get to know the feet and what efficient biomechanics look like.
So much can be told from the hoof we could go on for days and days.  But for now enjoy your time watching how a few horses stride. Happy trails. 

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Holistic Horsekeeping

The Fundamentals of Foundation –Part 2 – Getting in Timing with the feet

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   June 2, 2012 09:30

 

 

 

 

 

Robin Davis is a lifelong horse lover who founded of the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative (www.Holistic-Herd.com) and, alongside of her husband, is owner/operator of a holistic horsekeeping ranch in Northern Colorado called Mustang Hollow.  Robin loves to spend time with her horses any way she can.  Her current herd of six consists of 1 Mustang, 1 Warmblood, 1 OTTB, 1 Quarter horse, 1 Arabian and 1 Welsh cross.  Robin loves to trailride, has competed in Dressage and has started and tuned up many horses using natural horsemanship methods.

 As we begin to take a stronger interest in the foundation of our horse, the feet, one easy and very impactful way to get started is to get in timing with the feet.  Take time to watch your horse move.  Watch the pattern of footfalls at each gait.  Walk is: Right hind, right front, left hind, left front….   Trot is the diagonal pairs together.  Left front and right hind, right front and left hind… The canter depends upon the lead.  Left lead pattern is right hind, reach with left front, left hind and right front together.  Backing is a slow ‘trot’ backwards.  They back in diagonals when allowed to move surely and freely.
Understanding how the horse uses its feet is an important way to begin building a stronger relationship with the hoof.  I like to spend a lot of time on the ground with my horses in a way that helps them know that I am interested in everything they are interested in, and boy are they interested in where their feet are and how fast and how far they can move them.  
Often times I’ll look at the way they are standing and determine which foot I think they will move first if I ask them to lead up or to move off.  I like to spend time with each of us at opposite ends of a 12’ lead rope and see if I can get them to move one foot towards me…only one… and then can we place that foot back where it was before - using visualization, body language and as minimal lead rope cue as possible.  This is a great way to keep them light and responsive to your every aide and translates directly into a responsive and light ride.
I use these same exercises while on their back too.  I love to play “hokey pokey” with my horses both on the ground and on their backs.    Or to sit on them while grazing and determine where the feet are at any given moment and which foot might move next.  So much more can be said about getting into timing with the feet this blog could be 1000’s of words long.  But I must stop here for today.
Next blog we’ll begin to look at the foot as an indicator for wellness…

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Holistic Horsekeeping

The Fundamentals of Foundation

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   May 18, 2012 21:25


 

Robin Davis is a lifelong horse lover who founded of the Holistic Horse Care Cooperative (www.Holistic-Herd.com) and, alongside of her husband, is owner/operator of a holistic horsekeeping ranch in Northern Colorado called Mustang Hollow.  Robin loves to spend time with her horses any way she can.  Her current herd of six consists of 1 Mustang, 1 Warmblood, 1 OTTB, 1 Quarter horse, 1 Arabian and 1 Welsh cross.  Robin loves to trailride, has competed in Dressage and has started and tuned up many horses using natural horsemanship methods.



Without a proper foundation no amount of allopathic or complimentary care can help your horse maintain wellness.

Most people have heard it said:  “No hoof, no horse.”  Sometimes when we hear a statement like this as frequently as I’ve seen it bantered about, it loses its power.  Though, this statement is extremely powerful when we look at the overall function of the hoof as it relates to the whole horse.

The next few blogs will focus on the hoof of the horse and all that it means to them.  As you consider how important the feet are to your horse, consider just how important your feet are to you too.  And take that one more step and consider who you might describe yourself if you thought of yourself as the hoof of your horse.

Here is where I went with this exercise. I am the hoof of the horse:

 

·        Looked at as being weak but indeed very strong

·        Strong yet flexible

·        Movement keeps me healthy

·        Constantly growing

·        All heart

·        Some see me as needing to be protected

·        Can bear a lot of weight

·        Need a solid and healthy connection to the land

·        Can be brittle on the outside and yet always delicate on the inside

·        The proper amount of water helps keep me healthy too much is bad, too little is bad


     Imbalances show up in me right away

     Good nutrition keeps me strong and flexible

          Very complex through simplicity

Many Blessings and Happy Horsin’ Around.

 

 

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Holistic Horsekeeping