All Things Horse

Forty-seven Years Of Horse Experience – At Your Service!

Merry Christmas from Gimme A Dream

November 26, 2012 Posted by | horsing around | | Leave a comment

Squidoo Meets ‘All Things Horse’

Yes, I’ve finally gone and done it! I’ve created my first squidoo lens. It didn’t matter that I started it a couple of years ago and left it unpublished. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t understand why anyone would want a single page “lens” website. And it certainly didn’t matter that all I could do was add text to it. Well it did matter to me and I didn’t want to show it to anyone.

A couple of months ago the administration emailed me, reminding me that I was a member and that they were sending updates now, would I like to subscribe to the “lens of the day”.  Well sure! And I began to receive what they considered the best of Squidoo.

It didn’t take long for me to see a pattern to Squidoo and see possibilities and potential in the program and I knew I wanted to create a lens. So I called up my old, unpublished lens about the horses that I had here. Still I drew a blank! How to put pictures in? How do I track it? How do I use it in conjunction with Twitter? And Heaven forbid…, how does it involve blogging?

I did a very long learning curve on this one. My Squidoo Lens is called “Horse Sanctuaries” and it is at http://www.squidoo.com/gimmeadream

It isn’t quite the way I imagined it but it will be updated regularly until I find a way to add modules, banking systems, my baling twine tack for sale and other tings that will be related to horse sanctuaries that I want. It’s a ‘work in progress’, as they say.

Gimme A Dream’s Horse Sanctuary is a description of each of the horses who have become a part of his life here on the Magdalen Islands. It is the first in a series of Squidoo lens, describing various incidences involving horses here and how unexpected problems are overcome.

The second lens in the series will be the seizures of Sam’s (Sammy) Pride, giving a detailed description of her life and possible actions I might have taken differently had I know for the start, I had a very sick horse on my hands.

There will be other lens too. Lens about experiences people have with their horses while living in isolated conditions here on the island.

I don’t mean there to be any monetary gain from the lenses that I create about the horses really. This experiment is mostly about learning to use various methods to extract all the possible potential from them. Then when I have learned enough, I hope to have the knowledge and courage to put it all together into a “make a living” campaign which will help to feed the horses. Not too terrible lofty, I don’t think.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | horsing around, Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

Winter Care for Horses

“Speak to me of every day things and I am likely to ignore you. However speak to me of horses and you will have my full undivided attention”Tina Bastian

We live in Canada and I think, this time of the year, everyone becomes concerned about their horses and their neighbours horse too.  Here on the islands, there are very few horses left amongst the people. On this island, Coffin Island, there are presently ten horses, five of which are mine. Last year there were three, all of which were mine and so on for many years. Before I got Copper, there hadn’t been any horses here since I was young.

What I am saying is that people in general around here don’t know about the needs of horses and some are very agitated that I don’t have a barn. I have shelter in the form of a large greenhouse structure covered in undamaged heavy duty plastic and a smaller temporary car garage, as well as many acres of spruce, pine and fir forests, that have thick, interwoven tops and no branches on bottom. These forests groves are surrounded by very thick spruce and fir underbrush and young spruce trees trying to find light to grow. They are so thick that our cat as difficulty picking her way through them.

I also have two sets of winter blankets for each of the five horses, just in case they are needed. One blanket is thick synthetic filled multi-layer, with a fleece liner and the other is an impermeable or a water-proof garment. Granted I try to not use the blankets often because I want the horses coats to come to their full potential for warmth, but I don’t take any chances on any of the horses getting cold either.

Another thing is that I and my son take turns, feeding all the horses, sometimes every hour around the clock, when the temperature really drops or it becomes a wet, windy day with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. These are the worst days for my horses. Often they are standing belly deep in hay while other times the horses use the greenhouse, particularly if I put the food inside. But because the warmth in the greenhouse, winter coats tend to get stunted and extremely dirty and dusty, so although I used the green house frequently three winters ago, I found that last year the horses were happier outside and I had less conflicts amongst them. The flapping, snapping plastic, in the highest gale wind, doesn’t bother them in the slightest, which surprised me greatly. I thought it would spook them badly.

Yes, I’m up out of bed and out with the horses, throughout the night. I’ve been known to fall asleep while laying on a soft, warm back at 30 degrees below zero Celsius, only to have a rude awakening, face down in a snow bank, when Copper decided to shift his weight to the other foot. I don’t do that anymore.

Instead, I keep fresh hay with them constantly and bring water, warmed from the kettle on the stove in two and a half gallon buckets to each and everyone of them separately, a half a dozen times a day, throughout the winter. I try to get at least ten gallons of water into each horse per day. My original three, Gimme A Dream, Frilly and Willow drink up to 15 gallons a day each but the newest older guys, Bonanza and Shaman drink only a couple of gallons per day.

I have salt blocks and more recently large 24 kg mineral blocks set out to encourage the intake of water. They prefer the mineral blocks but I keep the salt blocks out, just in case they want a change.

Gimme A Dream, Willow, Frilly and Bonanza all have a high body condition score, about a 7, but 28-year-old Shaman has less. He is not a thin horse, in fact he is the best conditioned horse I have here. The others are fat, FAT, fat and with bigggggg hay bellies. They are so out of condition now (I am so ashamed of myself) but as the days grow longer and the temperatures start to rise, I shall start to cut their meals from them slowly until I’m feeding them tree times a day and give them less hay per feeding until they get about forty lbs each per day except for Gimme. He will continue to get more because of his great height and normal weight. And I shall be riding them again. They are retired from riding for the winter because I keep them barefoot all year round.

January 25, 2010 Posted by | health | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beaded, Macrame Brow Strap

To ride or not to ride? What a stupid question!

My latest creation is a beaded fringe, macrame brow strap, made from baling twine.  Actually the bridle is finished and on Gimme A Dream, but he is not very unimpressed.

What a fight I had to get it on him!  Dream was bound and determined he wasn’t going to be ridden this evening, lol.  Taking his picture was almost as difficult since he wouldn’t keep still.

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Note : This bridle and brow strap are part of the ever growing list of baling twine products within my arsenal…. Added to the product of the halter and lead rope, the dog leash with a training martingale, the bitless bridle, slippers and the lead rope.

I resized this bridle for little Willow Breeze (the beads are cute on her) and used it with her for a year because her old macrame bridle was a mish-mash of various colours of strings. This winter I made a new bridle/halter/bitless made of mint coloured baling twine and 6ft reins, with the saddle blanket and breast strap to match for Willow.

I’m going to resize this bridle again for Dream’s big head and remove the beads because they look stupid on him. Also I’ll add a forehead plate of some kind. I also have added a nose band and extra head strap to turn it into an English bridle. I also have a saddle blanket made out of the same coloured baling twine. Photos to come….

My reason for making these changes is because the reins on this are 7 1/2 ft long. Far too long for Willow but just right for 17hh Dream.

Have you ever wished for a long, thick, luxuriously beautiful mane and/or tail on your horse? Do you want your horse to look like he/she just stepped out of a fairy tale? It can happen – it takes work – but it can happen! Fairy Tale Horse

December 13, 2009 Posted by | tack | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Worms! Yew!

One doesn’t judge a fine horse by his strength, but by his character.” – Confucius

Tip #9

As one of my young nieces would say, “Yewwww…,Gross me out!” This is not something anyone really enjoys thinking about, but…, unfortunately it is a fact.

Does your horse need de-worming medication?  Most of you who read this, know all about de-worming a horse and probably have your horses on a regular de-worming schedule. Most likely your horses need to have the medication. But not always and not all horses, strange as it may seem.

In an earlier post on potatoes, I mentioned that I never once de-wormed Copper in the seven years that I had him, nor the seven years that his previous owner, my cousin, had him. Copper is a pie-bald Pinto/Tennessee Walker and now he is over in PEI and still doesn’t get de-wormed. When I took him over to Prince Edward Island, the veterinarian looked him over, tested his stools and said he didn’t need the attention.

Now I’ve had Gimme A Dream slightly more than two years and I’ve de-wormed him four times. Each time, I swear that the medication didn’t work. 

Frilly came from the CDP (Charlottetown Driving Park) and I found out she was infested with small strongyles (small red worm) this month, almost a year after I took her from the CDP.  These worms are known to kill their host and they are well known to resist de-worm medication.  I didn’t have her tested because there was no need. I could see them in her stools. frilly

Frilly has been de-wormed several times since I owned her, each time with a different brand with a different active ingredient.  She was de-wormed a couple of times before she came to the Magdalen Islands.  Now I’m questioning where she came by them and more important, why does she still have them? 

I specifically checked for worms in the filly.  She has had bare spots appearing in her fur around her rump, which I associated with worms.  The other two horses, Gimme A Dream and Willow don’t have the same problem.  

Last March, Frilly lost fur in circles and I de-wormed all of the horses, as I did the other day. Last year, I targeted ringworm specifically and all other species generally.  To me it is obvious that I didn’t get the small redworm last spring, because of the infestation this spring. 

frillys-rear

Now I realize that most of you are thinking that she has been re-infested from grazing. I would normally consider that seriously except all of my horses are on fresh pasture land and there are no other animals on the island. Because of this lack of animals, either domestic or wild, we don’t have the insect population that creates the larva that, when ingested, cause the worm problem. For example, I don’t have the bot problem that other places have, because the island doesn’t have the bot fly.

I’m thinking that Frilly brought the worms from the racetrack, the CDP.  Race horse owners are notorious for cheaping out, when their investments don’t pay off. I’ve heard that the CDP is a festering maggot pile, from a few horse owners who do care a great deal for their four-legged athletes. frilly-lt-rump-4

That means that the small redworm has developed a resistance to the medication I gave them last year. I’ve come to this conclusion because of the isolation the horses live in, on this island. We have very few species of insect here. Of the insects that bother the horses there are only two, the mosquito and the horse fly.

The vet says that this is normal, but it is not! They have them on her island Grindstone and also on Amherst and House Harbour islands, but not here on Coffin Island.  Also we have a small amount of wormwood growing wild in the pastures. Wormwood is known to kill parasites within warm blooded bodies.  It is unlikely that we have many of the other parasites that cause worms in the horses. We have mosquitos and horse flies (the vampires) of the insect world. There are a few house flies.

After all is said and done, it is possible and probable that my dear deceased Sammy (Sam’s Pride) was the culprit who infected Frilly. Her stools had been tested and came out positive for some worms but not enough to suspect fowl play in her death.

So what this comes down to is that,  I want them gone…, before the horses go out on the pasture this summer. They won’t re-infect themselves this time of the year, but the eggs can live in the grass and whatever insect emerges will create the larva in the grass and re-infect the horses. That just won’t do!

I have an intense dislike putting chemicals into the bodies of my four legged friends. If I can prevent the spread of these worms, I’m going to do it. But unfortunately, I still sense that I didn’t get them gone from young Frilly. I will be giving her a dose of something else, brain-storming with the vet and sending to the manufactures for something different. I don’t know what else I can do!

April 4, 2009 Posted by | health | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Equine Breathing As An Holistic Training Method – Does It Work?

I pay my psycologist with hay and potatoes…, and he stands there, the entire day, everyday, if necessary, listening to me rant and rave.  Not once have I heard him whine about how hard his day has been…, LOL! – Me!

Tip #8

Gimme A Dream is a nervous horse. All his nervous energy goes inside himself and it makes him sick. In most ways, he is a wonderful animal to be around. But when he becomes nervous, he will stand still and shake the weight right off his bones.

Gimme A Dream

Gimme A Dream

Last year was a reasonably nervous year for Dream.  Even though I owned him for quite a while, it was 2008 before he was moved to the islands. He was uptight about everything, particularly the beach. I owned Frilly by this time, but she was young and not on the islands.  So I thought I’d buy Willow, who was a rescue, to get both Dream and Frilly, when she arrived, ready for the beach.  I thought an older horse would help calm things down.

Instead of helping, little Willow put the heels to Dream, splitting an artery in his chest and sending us all into a panic.  A month later, I bought baby Sammy (Sam’s Pride) and brought both her and Frilly home at the same time.  Dream went spiraling down into a state of nervous depression and we spent our nights walking him because of signs of colic. 

Sammy was sick, but I didn’t know it.  However, Willow knew and didn’t want her around.  She passed this nervousness on to Dream, who continued to lose weight and have regular bouts of diarrhea.  When Sammy died, Dream knew it.  He could smell her death, even though I kept the horses away from the building.  He spent weeks reaching his head high into the air, sniffing and he continued to loose weight.  I would say, my Dream Boy had the equivalent of a nervous breakdown.

Summer came and the horses were put out on to the fresh pasture.  Just the change of locations made him nervous and he lost more weight.  I made arrangements to send him away, because he wasn’t settling in, even though he was wonderful to ride. 

In the end though, I kept him with the mares and myself, thinking another change wouldn’t be good for him.

I did a lot of research on the internet and found a sight which brought me to learning how to breathe properly.  The site had a link to equine breathing.  Of course I had to check it out.  There I found a lot of information on horse behaviour and much of it described my Gimme A Dream.  So I studied every word that the site had to say.  I watched every video and listened to all the audios, followed all the links.

Then I tried the techniques on Dream and you know…, this winter he finally started to gain the weight he had lost.  I started very slowly, only placing my hand over his nostril for a couple of seconds.  When he chose to stop, I stopped.  You know…, I think he gained all the weight back and then some.  He has had next to no nervous bouts.  I’m certainly pleased!

But to answer the question, does the holistic training method for equine breathing, actually work? I don’t know the answer.  There are far too many variables to work with, in our environment.  Maybe Dream is better because he is a year older.  Or, maybe it is because he has had no serious changes in his environment for four months.  I’m just thankful that he is not keeping me up at night, anymore.

Equine Breathing is an holistic training method that enables you to help your horses in their recovery from chronic ailments and behaviour problems. 

The idea behind Equine Breathing is that, for many different reasons, some horses start to breathe badly and the biochemical imbalances that arise can result in symptoms and behavioural problems. This idea has its origins in scientific studies of human respiration physiology and while equivalent scientific studies on horses have not yet been carried out trials by interested horse owners support its applicability to horses.nes_student_1n-3

Equine Breathing is a way of reminding and re-training the horse how to breathe correctly.  In horses that chronically over breathe, it is thought that carbon dioxide levels fall which can cause cell damage and eventually ill health.

Damage caused by low levels of carbon dioxide is reversible. So increasing carbon dioxide levels by re training and correcting the breathing encourages healing, and symptoms can diminish and disappear.  Equine Breathing training reduces the amount of air breathed in to a more natural and beneficial level which helps healing.

A simple way to reduce air intake is to cover one nostril at a time with your hand.  This is called the ‘one nostril’ or 1N technique.  Almost anyone can do one nostril Equine Breathing. 
    * It is easy to learn,
    * requires no equipment, 
    * horses enjoy it
    * and people find it relaxing and calming.
Equine Breathing enables horse owners to help their horses in their recovery from a wide range of chronic conditions, through their own efforts ! 
However if you have any concerns its wise to ask your vet before starting Equine Breathing so that she/he can advise if its suitable for your horse. While Equine Breathing may reduce the need for ongoing treatment do not change any treatments advised by your vet without first consulting him or her.

March 2, 2009 Posted by | health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Horse Anatomy : The Hock

Tip # 5

Horse Anatomy: The Hock

 Like all parts to the anatomy, the hock of a horse is important to the mobility of the horse. The hock is located approximately midway down the hind legs of the horse. Ideally, hocks are slightly higher than the knees on the front legs, with the point of hock level with the chestnut of the front leg. It is the joint that moves in a backward motion, opposite to forward motion of the front knee.

This particular joint must be strong enough to take the thrusting power of the hind quarters of the horse, plus the horse’s weight and the weight of a rider. The hock is made up mostly of bone and tendon. The muscles that flex and extend the hock are in the upper leg.

From the rear, a good hock should appear rectangular and bony, without any lumps or swellings. It should be noticeably wider than the long, relatively straight cannon bone below it . From the side, it should appear clean and bony, with no lumps above or below it.

Since the horse’s main source of power is in the hind quarters, they have evolved a thrust that can take them into a flight situation, to avoid a predator. This powerful thrust can also hurdle them over high jumps with the weight of a rider and equipment, up to a third of their own weight. All of this pressure becomes centered on the hock joints.

There are many things that can go wrong with the hock, because of the type of pressure and the weight, the horse puts on the joint and it is essential to watch for problems. Swellings, ripped tendons, bruised bone can and do happen and it is necessary to use quick remedies such as massage, hot/cold baths or liniments and wraps for the minor damage, much as a human would do for a twisted, swollen ankle. A limp may also indicate a damaged hock.

Sometimes a horse may be born with one or both hocks formed improperly. When looking at the conformation of a horse, look deeply at the hocks. If the hock is higher than normal (short gaskin), then the horse may have a downhill balance with the croup (rear quarters) higher than the withers (shoulders). This is often seen in race horses or gaited horses and it can result in a sickle hock conformation.

If the hock is lower (long gaskin) then normal, it gives the appearance of a squatting horse. Stock horses often have this squatting look. The long muscle has reduced efficiency to drive the limb forward, making it hard to engage the hindquarters. It reduces the rear stride length, forcing the horse to take short steps.

If the hocks appear too small, then the horse can develop strains and tendon ruptures more easily because the hind quarters are placing more pressure then the hock can handle. If this is the case, the horse may be used in pleasure riding or light carriage work. Something that won’t force the hind quarters to thrust forward so hard.

These conformation faults are but a few of the problems a hock could give a horgimme-a-dream1se.  There are many other undesirable shapes for hocks to be. It could be cut out under the hock in front, or less of a bend causing the leg to be “camped out” or behind the point in the buttocks. They could be sickle or sabre-hocked, over-angulated long hind legs, where the legs are in front of the point of the buttock. They could cause post-legged or straight behind legs, where the angles of the hock and stifle are open, leaving the leg in a vertical position, rather then at the normal 60 degree angle. They could cause bowed legs or be wobbly hocks or even cow hocks, which is a medial deviation.

My Gimme A Dream has post-legs or straight back legs. He also has them in the picture as a two-year-old and yet he sold for $6,000CDN. Why?  Apparently his purchaser was told that he would probably out grow the condition.  His pedigree is Hanoverian/Thoroughbred. He has full blood brothers and sisters, none of whom have his condition. His father might have been retired from breeding after Gimme’s birth because I can’t find any other foals after Gimme’s birth from him. His siblings all sold for a minimum of $10,000CDN. I imagine he was bred and sold in the hopes of having a champion show horse in the field of jumping/hunter. Gimme A Dream is here on the Magdalen Islands because the soil and the sand are soft enough to help ease any pressure his great weight puts on his poorly angled hocks.  He has had to have fluid drained off his hock with the white foot, before he arrived here.  Because the hock is angled so poorly, the weight of his hind end is lowering the pasterns on his hind legs.  I have asked at a equine hospital who works heavily with farriers in Kentucky. They seem to think that specially made shoes will not help his situation, because the problem is the hock and not the pastern.

A little advice:

When looking to buy a horse, first know exactly what you want your horse to do. Then look at the hocks and make sure that the hock has a shape and a location on the leg that can handle the work you intend for it. Don’t decide to have a jumping athlete, by the pretty face of the horse. Choose your animal with care because there will be a lot of heartache, when something goes wrong. You wouldn’t ask a Shetland pony to do the work of a draft horse, so don’t ask a horse with a infirm hock to do the work of an athlete.

Learn more about this author, Gimme a Dream.
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January 29, 2009 Posted by | anatomy | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Do You Do With Miles Of Baling Twine?

Murphy’s Horse Law  – Your barn will fall down without baling twine.”

Horse tip #4

Anyone who has one or more horses in the northern section of North America unwraps bales for their horses nutritional needs. EATING! And a horse goes through a lot of hay.  For example, I bought 30 – 800 lb bales for my three horses for winter plus I have 1000 – 40 lbs bales for storm days.  That is a lot of hay!  If youbaling-twine are like me, you don’t like to waste anything.  So what do you do with all the baling twine that comes off that hay?

I clean the hay out of it, ball it and keep it for when I want something to do. Then I plan and wait to see what it is that I need the most, for the horses.  Lately I’ve been changing the macrame bitted bridles to bitless bridles.  I make all my own bridles, by the way…, and lately all the halters too.  The reason I do this is because I seriously dislike buckles and metal next to my horse’s face.

Frilly came with a new and bhalter-2eautiful halter with her name engraved on a metal side piece.  However, when I removed the halter, where the metal hooks and connectors were, there was no fur.  The metal connectors had rubbed the fur right off her face. That alone turned me away from metal on their halters.  So I started to make halters for my beasties and I think they appreciated them the first year.  This year, I keep them bare faced 100% of the time because the pressure of the halter, whether it is a rope halter or macrame or leather or nylon, will leave pressure marks into their fur and skin.  This year, Gimme A Dream, Willow Breeze and Woodmere Frilifili object to anything on their heads, LOL!dream-1

This year, I decided to make bitless bridles for all my horses.  I completed the task early last fall but found that the bridle I had made for Dream was too small. The chin straps weren’t long enough and I had cut the strings.  I could have spliced on a length of strap but Dream can be head strong sometimes withdream-21 a bit, so I’m thinking that I might need a strong bridle for him.  I didn’t have enough expensive twine that they use for fishing around the bridle-detailislands, and I had a lot of baling twine, hence came my baling twine bitless bridle.

Can you imagine sitting in the saddle on a trail ride?  After a few hours, I get stiff and sore and like getting down to stretch out.  With a bitless bridle, I will be able to allow the horse to graze while I’m relaxing for a few minutes without removing the bridle . I’m not sure about anyone else but usually my horses don’t like to be re-bridled and they raise their heads too high for me to reach them comfortably.  That is a thing of the past for me! Of course, with Dream here, I’ll have to stand on his back to stretch out because I’ll be darned if I’m getting back up after getting off him.  As it is, at almost 17 hands, I use a step ladder to mount the big boy!

Patterns for brballidles and halters are $2.50CDN each.

Next week I want to start a sky blue bitted bridle and a breast strap from some very colorful twine I received on the large 800 lbs bales this year.  It should be rather stunning, to say the least.

I also want to complete at least three lead reins, one lunging rein and a collar with a leash for one of the dogs.

So don’t throw out all that good twine…, use it for something valuable, something useful, something necessary.

P.S. I use all the short pieces of baling twine for making temporary paddocks and field repairs to weakened fencing.

January 22, 2009 Posted by | tack, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments