Monday, September 20, 2010

Hoof trimming: Soft country feet revisited
Monday, September 20, 2010 by Duncan McLaughlin

Some months back I wrote an article, Soft-Country Feet?, where I suggested that hoof ailments such as hoof cracks, white-line disease and thrush, common to horses living in soft, wet environments could be reduced or eliminated with regular, biomechanically-sound trimming.

Generally my horses get trimmed every three weeks. However, recently I have been travelling and it has been just on 10 weeks - 3 trim cycles - since my herd of eight were last trimmed. I was prepared for the worst but fortunately it wasnt that bad. All of them had grown really long (none of the working horses were even closte to fitting into their Easyboot Gloves!), a couple had developed some cracks on the dorsal wall, a couple had hoof-wall separation in the quarters, and those usually in work had lost some robustness of the frog. Otherwise they looked pretty good. It was just a case of removing excess length and correcting breakover. Here are some before, after and comparison shots of their near-fore feet:

View entire article at

Equine Therapy For Special Children Impresses Tuanku Mizan

From Sharifah Nur Shahrizad Syed Mohamed Sharer

HINCHINBROOKE (QUEBEC), Sept 20 (Bernama) -- Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin visited a therapeutic riding centre here Sunday and came away impressed with the equine therapy programme for special children and disabled people.

His Majesty spent about two hours at the Lucky Harvest Therapeutic Riding Center where he was briefed by the coordinator and instructor, Debbie Wilson, and chatted with several participants of the programme.

Located about an hour's drive from Montreal, Lucky Harvest Therapeutic Riding Center is the first equine therapy centre to have received an accreditation certificate.

The Lucky Harvest Project was established in December 1990 with the primary aim of providing therapy, rehabilitation and enjoyment to children, youths, and adults with physical, intellectual, emotional and/or developmental disabilities.

The focus of the programme is similar to that of the Sultan Mizan Royal Foundation which assists disabled people, particularly in health care.

Tuanku (King) Mizan, who is chairman of the foundation and an avid endurance horse rider, is on a "special task" visit to Canada in conjunction with the "Brain Gain Malaysia" programme, of which the foundation is a grant recipient.

The therapeutic treatment at the Lucky Harvest centre begins with the matching of a patient with a suitable horse based on the patient's physical condition.

The treatment at the centre is for a broad range of physical, mental and emotional disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Down's and Rett Syndromes, neuromuscular disorders, post-traumatic brain injury, autism, and cognitive disorders.

Wilson, when met by RTM (Radio & Television Malaysia) and Bernama reporters prior to Tuanku Mizan's visit, said about 40 children underwent training per year, with about eight children undergoing the therapy every Saturday.

"We use the horse as a tool to help rehabilitate and promote the general well-being of children with disabilities. We also use the horse as a means of getting certain behaviour ... the horses are very sensitive, so a child of certain behaviour has to control his behaviour in order to get the horse to do what they want," she said.

Wilson said 80 per cent of the children attending the programme had speech problems and 60 per cent of them were autistic.

For children with speech problems, the centre worked on their language ability, while the autistic children worked well with the horse because it was their tool of communication, she said.

"To see your child who cannot play hockey, do ballet or participate in soccer or social group activities, ride and control a 1,000-pound horse is really amazing," she said, adding that all the horses used in the programme had been carefully selected and trained.

On Tuanku Mizan's visit, Wilson said it was a good opportunity to promote more people to be involved in the programme around the world.

"This visit is also an opportunity for us to make more people aware of our service here because we do not have the ability nor resources to promote the project on a larger scale," she said.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Microchipping: High-Tech Horses - Full Article

by: Erin Ryder
September 03 2010, Article # 16903

We interact with microchips every day--in our computers, telephones, and even our kitchen appliances. But the thought of putting a microchip into a horse can make us uncomfortable. Fear not--veterinarians say microchipping horses is a quick and simple procedure that provides safe, permanent identification.

Kevin Owen, DVM, owner of Electronic ID Inc. (the U.S. ditributor for Destron-Fearing/Digital Angel chips), has been involved in microchipping horses since 1986. He estimates Destron-Fearing has sold more than 800,000 chips for equine use worldwide. The company offers chips with a patented BioBond cap that allows connective tissue fibers to infiltrate to anchor the chip in place.

"A microchip is a transponder encapsulated in a biocompatible glass," Owen explains. The chips themselves are passive--they don't actually do anything.

"The chip has a predescribed number issued by the ISO, which guarantees uniqueness, etched into it," Owen says...

Read more here:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Three Key Lessons I Learned at Bryce Canyon XP
Tuesday, September 7, 2010 by Kevin Myers

I was very lucky to be able to ride a couple of days at Bryce XP in addition to helping Duncan McLaughlin work on his thermography study of shod and unshod horses. I tried a couple of application techniques with the Easyboots that I have not tested before at events. The results were more than encouraging.

1. They're Called Power Straps for a Reason
I've not been an avid fan of using Power Straps on Easyboot Gloves since I switched from shod to barefoot in 2009. And when EasyCare was considering making the Power Straps standard on the Easyboot Glove late last year, my vote was not in favor of the change. If I was asked to vote again today, I would probably vote differently.

My strategy on Day 1 with Far was to ride fairly aggressively and if the circumstances allowed, to finish in the top ten. That obviously meant maintaining a good speed most of the day over a variety of trail conditions.

Bryce is one of the prettiest rides I've ever competed at and I've always found the trail to be taxing - there is a fair amount of dirt road and the high volume of precipitation there this summer has washed much of the topsoil away, leaving even more rocks than ever. The result is a hard-packed and rocky environment that is challenging for any horse.

Armed with a fresh new set of Easyboot Gloves installed with blinking white Power Straps, I applied the boots the morning of the ride with Mueller Athletic Tape wrapped four times around the hoof walll, just below the coronet band. I used a rubber mallet at the point of toe to make sure I got them on snugly.

Far was his usual forward self and rather than hold him back all day, we did a lot of 12-14 mph trotting along with a fair amount of cantering. I probably cantered 25% - 30% of the race.

I'm pleased to report that we didn't have one boot loss, even though we were traveling at great speed over a variety of challenging trails - including a healthy amount of climbing up technical trails.

We finished in fifth place, just eight minutes after the winning rider, Christoph Schork. I'm a Power Strap convert now. Garrett Ford, who rode The Fury in Easyboot Gloves, won the Best Condition award.

2. Not To Glue? Well, Maybe a Little
There has been a fair amount of discussion since Garrett and The Fury's Haggin Cup win at Tevis this year about the pros and cons of gluing on protective horse boots. On Day 2 at Bryce, I was to ride Stoner, aka Redford, who has not really done much in the way of work since his 19th place completion at Tevis at the end of July.

...more at

Form and Function Create Beauty - Full Article

Posted on September 7, 2010 by thenakedhoof

Does every human have the same foot? Can you say that for us to walk, run, dance or jump we must all have feet that follow the same exact structure and shape? Do we create the same footprint? Of course not: that would be ridiculous.

Some of us have narrow feet, some wide, some with the second toe longer than the big toe and some of us have higher arches than others. We mange to be ballerinas, gymnasts, ultra runners and hikers with these variations. Beauty is found when form and function come together to create movement.

Why, then, is it that we seem to get stuck in the shod paradigm of thinking, even when barefoot, that all hooves must follow the same rules? Is it possible to have hooves that are not perfect as we have been trained to see, yet perfect in function?

Read more here:

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Hoof and thermographic images: What is Normal?

Duncan's ramblings:

Thermography provides you with a non-invasive, objective reading of the circulatory and inflammatory status of your horse by measuring heat. In conjunction with EasyCare, I am using thermographic techniques to investigate any differences in the heat distribution through the hoof and lower limb of horses using different hoof protection protocols (barefoot, booted and shod). As it will be a while before we finish collecting and collating that data, I thought you might be interested in viewing a few images in the interim.

Dorsal view of a near fore hoof belonging to a well performed barefoot endurance horse. The middle image is a thermograph of the hoof prior to a half hour of barefoot (unbooted), low-intensity exercise on a sand surface. The third image is a themograph of the same hoof immediately on cessation of exercise.

... more at

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Tending to Tender Feet - Full Article

by: Karen Briggs
October 03 2001, Article # 395

Although the equine hoof is a marvel of resiliency, it's not made of rubber, or titanium, or diamond. As a living structure, it has its vulnerabilities, and when faced with unusual stresses, it shows them. Stone bruises, those reddish-purple (on a white hoof) or dark gray (on a dark hoof) spots sometimes visible on the soles of your horse's feet, especially right after the farrier's knife has removed the surface crud, are one of the most common signs that the hoof has taken some abuse. But by the time you see the bruise, it's just a reminder of a long-past trauma; the injury is already several months old.

Fortunately, stone bruises usually aren't serious. When they're fresh, they can cause minor lameness, for a few minutes or a few days. Some horses seem to be able to ignore them better than others. But if a stone bruise happens right before an important competition, it's a crisis. If your horse shows a predilection for repeatedly bruising his soles, it's a chronic problem that you'll want to solve.

Stone bruises generally are the product of your horse's environment. Traveling on hard, rocky ground can batter your horse's soles, especially if he's used to more manicured conditions. (Remember as a kid how you tiptoed very gently over a gravel driveway early in the summer, yelping, "Ouch, ouch, OUCH!" before your bare feet had gotten tough?) But a hard knock against a solid object (a fence rail or a tree root, for instance), can have the same effect. So can shoes that are too small, or those equipped with caulks, grabs, or trailers that alter the foot's natural flight path, or concentrate an unusual amount of pressure on a small area...

Read more here: