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ESI Q and A Forums > ESI Q and A Forum > Questions and discussions for the ESI Q and A Forum > Do sidereins, vienna reins or balancing reins ever have a place?

Do sidereins, vienna reins or balancing reins ever have a place?
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Leah
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 04:44 pm
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Dr Deb, I thoroughly enjoyed your last post...it applies to about everything in life doesn't it!

I am in the process of starting a new business venture-the timing of your post is flawless. I am able to your words to my situation...thank you.


DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 07:02 pm
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Christie -- well, I appreciate what you're trying to express, but I need to mention to you that your post exemplifies throughout its length that you are stuck in 'judgement'. Particularly:

1. Keeping a horse in a box, with 'luxury runs' added on to the box. My Oliver lives in exactly this arrangement. It provides him shade, some space to move around in, proximity to other horses whose paddock or run directly adjoins his, and most importantly, provides me a means to strictly control his diet. Without strict diet control, because my horse has the equine equivalent of diabetes (founder-prone, highly reactive to high-sugar grasses and legumes), Oliver will founder and then I will have to slaughter him. This is a prime example of why you need to keep your mouth shut and your ears open before you JUDGE. Remember again: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A 'NATURAL' WAY TO KEEP A HORSE. All horses are, or should be, managed at all times.

2. People who just get their horse out, saddle up, go for a ride, and then leave. Christie, people have every right to do this. I do this. The key to whether there is (or is not) quality horsemanship is not in the list you provide! What does it MEAN to 'get their horse out'? I mean, exactly what occurs? Even if it is not what YOU think the person "should" be doing, it may be what NEEDS to be done, either for the animal or for the human, both of whose needs count. It is not always necessary to spend a half-hour or more after the ride 'winding down' or doing trick work or petting. Groundschooling is not always necessary before mounting up. You need to observe what your neighbors are doing more closely. Are the people you are judging here paying any penalties, in the form of their horses becoming unbroke or acquiring bad habits? If they are, then there is reason for them to change what they are doing, and PERHAPS they will. But if they are paying no penalties, and the animals are used to the routine, then all that is left is you standing in judgement of what you almost certainly know too little about.

And I would say to you also: stop "volunteering", even in your own mind, to be the one who is setting the good example. You just do what you need to do to get along with your own animal, and that will be plenty -- as much as you can handle, in all likelihood. Get your mind off of whether anyone else is watching you, because what you're really telling me in your post is that you feel that THEY are judging YOU. So what we have here is a vicious circle of people judging each other. The one who can break this cycle is you -- just step completely out of it, and do what I said to do before, which is to stop trying to be on a campaign to improve anyone else but yourself.

The only question I really want to promote you to have is "what, in the last five minutes of my ride, would I have kept? And what would I have changed?" Because, Christie, there is ALWAYS room for improvement. -- Dr. Deb

 

Pam
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 07:41 pm
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Dr. Deb,  I thought it was interesting what you said about one of your professors, when he told you about the two ways that people learn.  I find that sometimes I learn by giving authority over to someone else and that sometimes I need to apply my logic and reason to things.   It just depends on the situation and is no way a reflection on the teacher....Pam

Leah
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 07:45 pm
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I am not certain that I understand the seemingly recent classification of crossties as something to be avoided.

I grew up in a 'traditional' boarding barn where all horses were crosstied.

Now, since then I have chosen to teach my horses to ground tie (though admittedly my 4yo finds more fascinating things to see if left to his own-but we are making progress *wink*)...and I have taught each to accept straight ties and cross ties.

I guess I view these things as just 'things' to have a horse accept...rather than things to be avoided.

Certainly tying any animal that has not been prepared to accept pressure could present a disaster-which is why I prefer to expose them to anything I can so they will be prepared.

I do show my horses and there may be an occasion when someone may be helping me by leading my horse to the barn. I don't want to have to worry about warning against my horses ability to cross tie (what if I am injured and can't warn?) so I prepare my horse and the 'problem' is solved or avoided.

Perhaps I am missing something?

rifruffian
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 10:21 pm
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For me, an interesting and timely post from Dr Deb today with reference to horse management. Just a few days ago my horse went lame and while we don't have conclusive diagnosis, vet suspects early  stage laminitis. Until now Zareen has been out 24/7 in vast pasture, but now stabled due to this lameness and other (unrelated) minor surgery. So it seems I now must change management of his lifestyle under assumption he is laminitis prone. Any advice or experiences appreciated.....Patrick.

Last edited on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 10:27 pm by rifruffian

Leah
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 10:30 pm
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rifruffian-how does your horse rate on a body condition scale-is he currently obese, have fat pads at his tail head, over his shoulder or have a cresty neck?

What EXACTLY is his current diet-including hours on grass, hay (amount and type) and all feeds, grains and supplements.

If this is inapprpriate for the forum, I am happy to email with you and share what I can.


DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 11:20 pm
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None of this is inappropriate, Leah, and I will answer both you and Patrick in this memo. As to crossties: please go observe a horse standing in crossties:

1. Does he not struggle to turn his head enough to bite flies? Going up, down, sideways in a futile effort to get his head around to his belly and flanks.

2. If something boogery blows by, does the horse have a way to adjust? Remember that the psychological or interior DEFINITION of a horse is "an animal that survives by making adjustments." Can he get away from the booger if in crossties?

3. If he can adjust at all, what will the adjustment have to consist of? What is the only direction in which the horse is, in fact, free to move while in crossties?

4. In the confined space -- generally four or five feet, sometimes less, on each side of the horse while he's in crossties -- if he adjusts in the only way possible (which, to give you the answer, will be either to fall down or rear up), and the human is in there right next to him, this has been the cause of more DEATHS on farms than any other cause. Because what happens is the animal goes up, the fore hoof closest to the person clips the person on the temple, and the person dies.

Crossties are the single most dangerous piece of equipment on any farm, right up there with the lasso.

Most farms have not one single place that is really safe to tie a horse up to. In another thread (you can probably find it by searching, because I forget where), I went into some detail on how to build a safe tie, in which the point of attachment is 12 or more feet above ground level, and the post to which it is attached is free and clear of anything but either a plain post or a smooth wall.

We have also had threads here dealing with how to teach a horse not to pull back. You will need to follow this out, whether you have a safe place to tie or not; but if you use crossties, you need it ten times more. It's fine to teach a horse to ground-tie, and to groom them at liberty; I do this myself. But you also MUST teach them to "actually" tie as well, because at some point they'll be at the vet's, or tied to a horse trailer, or there will be a wreck on the freeway, or you'll be on a trailride and somebody will get hurt and you HAVE to have a horse that will tie up and not pull back. Nothing is more irresponsible, unkind, and shortsighted than maintaining a horse that can't either be doctored or help you to doctor. This takes in loading, leading, catching, tying, hosing off, spraying, clipping, picking up all the feet, and having the muzzle and ears handled.

As to laminitis, Patrick: I can recommend that you buy a copy of the Poison Plants book, and read it. I go into quite a bit of detail in there on pasture style, feeding techniques including soaking the hay and the simple equipment needed to do that conveniently, species of grass, types of grass or legume hay, and with photographs of Ollie when he's at the right weight and too fat. I discuss magnesium supplements as a prophylactic as well. Actually, EVERY person who owns a horse should review this information; I personally cannot believe how ignorant I was, and how outright lucky I was, to be feeding or pasturing my horses for many years and yet not really have any idea what the impact might be of what I was permitting them to eat.

You should also go read Katie Watts' "Safer Pastures" website at http://www.saferpastures.org. She gives much free information concerning high-sugar grasses, clovers, etc. You can also scan back issues of EQUUS magazine for articles on this subject, where they have also interviewed Katie; call (301) 977-3900 and press "0" when the recording comes on to get a live person; ask them how to obtain back issues. If you don't know the issue you want, ask for Christel and she will help you get the ones you need. -- Dr. Deb 

Leah
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 11:26 pm
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Dr Deb...just a correction on the site.

http://www.safergrass.org

Fantastic site.

Leah
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 Posted: Mon Jun 30th, 2008 12:05 am
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Your response makes perfect sense, Dr Deb...I suppose I have been fortunate so far to have pretty low key home grown horses so have not experienced any problems.

Now, to be honest I really can't even remember the last time I DID cross tie a horse-it was something i did without thinking in years gone by, have taught mine to accept it...but on a daily basis I just leave them and they stay (except of course, the little devil, Hugo, who does safely 'tie'-and i have a safe system for that).

I guess my only concern was having them at least KNOW in case it happened, but not necessarily rely on crossties for daily use.

Years ago, I had one that did not crosstie-a young horse-and my scenario happened. We were at a show, I needed to excuse myself and someone offered to take my horse to the stall.

When I returned she had him crosstied and thought she was being helpful by unsaddling him.

My eyes were HUGE when I saw this-there was no harm but it hit me that I simply wanted them to be prepared.

Of course, I normally do not pass of my horses-but in this case, I had no choice! LOL.

Your concerns have made me think very hard about the practice though.

christie
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 Posted: Mon Jun 30th, 2008 12:19 am
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I wouldn't call them runs. They are boxes attached to an outdoor box. The horse can turn itself around but that's about it. I see that, and decide that is not a way I want my horse to live and choose different. I guess that could be called making a judgment.  

Always trying to improve!

Pam
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 Posted: Mon Jun 30th, 2008 02:00 am
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I like the inside stall with attached paddock for lots of reasons.  When is super wet outside from rain I can close the top of the dutch door to the paddock so my horse's feet stay dry but he still gets to look outside and get fresh air and light.  In winter I love to be in the closed up barn with my horse because I can't tolerate cold weather very well.  I would love to have an enclosed riding arena in the winter too!  My only objection to the stall/ paddock arrangement has been the problem with getting cast and my horse is a tall guy.  So I rent a double-wide stall/paddock and it is a great arrangement.  My horse can lay down and roll around inside or out without the worry of getting his legs stuck in something.  When I first changed his stall to a double-wide I got teased alot.  People would say my horse has the penthouse suite and I must be very wealthy to afford that.  It seemed I was being judged as a defense for other's problems of inadequacies.  But nothing was further from my mind and it would have been nice if people would be happy for my horse, because he is loving it.   I go without things that other people have, like trucks and trailers, weekly riding lessons, and I don't feel bad about that because it is my choice for my horse.   Besides, it is way cheaper to hitch a trailer ride with someone else and just pay them for the gas for the trip....maybe not now though.

christie
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 Posted: Mon Jun 30th, 2008 03:39 am
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Lot's of things I can relate to Pam. 

I just try to mimic nature as well as I can for my horse. She's in a pasture but there is a covering to get out from under the weather. Her feet get wet, I don't see the problem as a horse is an outdoor animal so their feet are made to get wet. Also it seems like most indoor kept horses have food only when the human brings it to them and that is mainly morning and night, so they sit around bored, when the horse is made to graze all day long and roam with other horses.

I sure do envy the 'indoor' people during the winter. But I'd rather have my horse live outdoors like a horse than put her inside a barn with no room to move just to make my life easier with her when it's colder..and wetter. 

I don't mean this as any offense to you Pam, just stating my feelings on the subject.

Pam
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 Posted: Mon Jun 30th, 2008 06:05 pm
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No offense taken, Chrisitie

rifruffian
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 Posted: Mon Jun 30th, 2008 09:39 pm
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Dr Deb thanks for the reply to indicate information sources to help me feed and manage Zareen. ....Leah, my horse is  arabian x tb of athletic build, in ridden work, certainly not obese, not even fat. He's been out 24/7 on vast cultivated pasture (not rough mixed pasture) and gets plenty exercise. He was also getting a single small scoop of cereal mix  daily. This recent event is not a conclusive laminitis diagnosis (yet) but the vet considers it certainly possible maybe probable. Thing is, as far as I know, neither tb nor  arabian  are often laminitis sufferers. The horse has to be confined to stable another 7 days for other reasons anyway so meantime am thinking this thing through to decide best management in future.....Patrick..........further edited to say that today the horse is much improved, may even be sound all round, but we are not doing any trot up tests meantime; he's stabled to enable a surgical cut to heal up.

Last edited on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 09:51 pm by rifruffian

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Jul 1st, 2008 04:52 am
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Patrick, it does not sound to me as if your horse is of the founder-prone physical type, but founder can happen in any horse of any breed or build.

One thing that you can do is, while you're phoning Equus Magazine for back issues regarding the founder-prone horse, you should expand your search to include the most recent article they put out on "what we now know about laminitis." This will help you understand that THE major cause is the horse's inability to appropriately handle carbohydrates.

This is a DIGESTIVE problem in its inception, and so I am also going to suggest to you that while you and your veterinarian are in close collaboration in the next two weeks for other reasons, that the next time you have him out then certainly you should have him do a thorough oral examination. If your vet practices little or no equine dentistry, then ask him for a referral to someone who is more expert in that particular area.

While the middle-aged TB and Arabian are not, as you note, often founder-prone, they ARE the two breeds most frequently troubled by moderate to severe dental problems. The 9 to 15 year old horse is frequently in need of having the bite re-equilibrated and this is what you should ask about -- not just floating off "points" but hooks, waves, excessive transverse ridging, cupping out of the centers of the cheek teeth, and malocclusions in the incisor bite that may be inhibiting full transverse excursion of the jaw with every chewing stroke. It is the loss of excursion that creates "points", so the horse may have those too.

When it hurts the horse to chew his food -- as it does if there are "points" or big "hooks"; or if masticatory efficiency is diminished by any type of malocclusion, it will mean that some or even most of the feed is swallowed without being reduced to the cornmeal-sized particles that a normal dentiton grinds it down to before the bolus is swallowed. A horse should never swallow any particle larger than about 1/4", so if you look in the manure and see a lot of long fibers, you know the mouth cannot be working right.

When the gut is full of longer, unchewed fibers, the chance for colic due to obstruction of key points within the gut tube is greatly increased. At the same time, digestive efficiency goes down and this affects the composition of the gut flora, and this in turn is what can lead to the founder episode. You can have a colic that is mild and transient, and that occurs in the middle of the night when you're not around to notice it, and yet it is enough to create a laminitis episode.

You should also, therefore, be asking your vet about products such as Dr. Chris Pollitt's "founder guard", which is an antibiotic-probiotic that helps re-establish, and maintain, the proper balance of gut flora.

I'm also particularly anxious now that you've described the horse's living conditions, that you get a copy of the Poison Plants book, because the other obvious possibility for a founder episode is that you have some type of toxic plant or many of them in that big pasture the horse lives in. What I have learned is that you cannot know "too much" about what's inhabiting your pasture. It's a fascinating and incredibly diverse world. But one of the problems we all have is that the agronomy experts over the last 50 years have advocated a whole raft of pasture plants -- each one having its own "fashionable period" you might say, when it was the darling that was supposedly going to make the farmer rich -- that we now know to be toxic to horses (and often to cattle and sheep, as well). The list just off the top of my head would include birdsfoot trefoil, red clover, alsike clover, tall fescue or meadow fescue, crotalaria, indigo, phalaris grasses, johnson grass, hairy vetch -- all of which are tremendously common in different parts of North America and elsewhere around the world -- Dr. Deb


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