The Sole of a Horse’s Foot

There is a misconception concerning the soles of a horse’s feet where a lot of people think that because the sole is flat the horse is going to be sore footed or requiring shoes, and this isn’t necessarily true. What is true is that some horses have thicker soles that some other horses which have thinner soles. A horse with ‘thin’ soles can get sore feet. So people try to harden the sole of the horse via diluted iodine or hydrogen peroxide and other methods and by doing this, it prevents the sole from flaking away naturally which is what the sole is designed to do, and by trying to harden the sole, in turn leads to other foot related problems.
Horses soles are meant to be flat in order to naturally wear away.

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Treating Itchy Flaky Skin

Once our horses begin to show signs of  flaky and itchy skin, rain scald , dandruff or tail rubbing we (horse owners) tend to go out and buy expensive creams and lotions to treat the condition.  While most are very good and really do work, quite often its a case of trial and error before finding the one that does do the job for our horse.  This can be costly, so consider the following treatment before spending too much more.

All that we do with this treatment described below, is change the PH condition of the horse’s skin to create an inhospitable environment for bacteria and fungus. Acetic Acid (white vinegar) will help soothe irritated skin and will remove residual soaps which can dry the skin leading to tail rubbing and such.   Midges and other biting insects are no longer attracted to your horse.  The vinegar also takes the sting out of existing bites allowing them to heal quicker.

The mixture consists of  approximately 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in a spray bottle full of water.  Spray your horse all over and let it soak in to his skin.  Alternatively put 1/4 litre of white vinegar in a 20 litre bucket of water and sponge your horse all over, making sure he is well saturated especially the bone in his tail where he’s likely to itch.   Pick up each foot and wet down the frog and sole thoroughly.

The vinegar smell will soon evaporate and your horse will feel good and look good all over.

The more often you can give your horse a ‘vinegar’ bath the better he will be.  It is so gentle on his skin you can and should do it daily, including underneath his feet.  You can even do away with shampoo and replace it with the vinegar-water mix, except for maybe his mane and tail, saving heaps of money buying shampoos.

 

 

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Does Your Horse Have a Good Extension

Horse Humerus ScapulaWhen looking for a good Show Jumper or Eventer, look at the angle of the humerus.  A steeper humerus angle enables horses to pull their knees up.

However for dressage horses which need a larger extension, look for a combination of scapula angle and humerus angle.  For elite dressage and showjumping horses, look for a long shoulder.  A sloping shoulder makes the stride longer and flatter.  An upright scapula results in more knee action.

The humerus length and angle are also important.  The longer it is, the better the gaits and lateral movement will be for dressage.  The horse will have more scope for jumping.  Similar to scapula angle a flatter humerus angle will result in a flatter stride.  A steeper angle will result in more knee action.

A long sloping scapula and a flatter humerus angle will result in the longest stride and greatest foreleg extension.

Horse Anatomy

 

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Are You A Good Rider?

A good rider can hear his horse speak, a great rider can hear his horse whisper, but a bad rider will not hear his horse even if it screams.

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Cleveland Bay

Cleveland BayThe Cleveland Bay is a breed of horse that originated in England during the 17th century, named after its colouring and the Cleveland district of Yorkshire. It is a well-muscled horse, with legs that are strong but short in relation to the body. The horses are always bay in colour, although a few light hairs in the mane and tail are characteristic of some breed lines. It is the oldest established horse breed in England, and the only non-draught horse developed in Great Britain. The ancestors of the breed were developed during the Middle Ages for use as pack horses, when they gained their nickname of “Chapman Horses”. These pack horses were crossbred with Andalusian and Barb blood, and later with Arabians and Thoroughbreds, to create the Cleveland Bay of today. Over the years, the breed became lighter in frame as they were employed more as carriage and riding horses.  Despite serious declines in the population after Second World War, the breed has experienced a resurgence in popularity since the 1970s, although only around 550 horses existed worldwide as of 2006.

Two of the Queen's Cleveland Bays pulling a coach near Buckingham Palace

Two of the Queen’s Cleveland Bays pulling a coach near Buckingham Palace

They have been patronized by members of the royal family throughout their history, and they are still used to pull carriages in royal processions today. The breed has also been used to develop and improve several warmblood and draught horse breeds. Today they are used for farm work and driving, as well as under-saddle work. They are particularly popular for fox hunting and show jumping, both pure blooded and when crossed with Thoroughbreds. The Cleveland Bay is a rare breed, and both the United Kingdom-based Rare Breeds Survival Trust and the United States-based American Livestock Breeds Conservancy consider the population to be at critical limits for extinction.

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