We Ride Sport and Trail Magazine November 2018 - Page 44

BAREFOOT

BOOTED

By Carole Herder

President of Cavallo Horse & Rider

The Trusted Authority in barefoot

and booting.

If you would like to send us your horse’s hoof measurements, we would be happy to help you choose the best size and style. Please call Cavallo Customer Service at 1-877-818-0037 or email info@cavallo-inc.com.

Check Another ‘Hot Spot’ When Your Horse Seems Sore

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44 / Sport and Trail Magazine

When your horse looks “off”, pinpointing the root cause can be challenging. Luckily for us, there are not quite as many real problems as the touted solutions available for them. For the smart horse owner, proper horse care involves sifting out reality from dogma. Once you develop a discerning eye and address the two main “hot spots” in your horse’s body where issues arise – other areas of soreness become more easily identifiable.

Consider the difference between the wild and domestic horse. Most obvious is the treatment of their feet and nailing metal shoes into them. The other is about the saddle we put on to ride them. Let’s agree, most saddles are rigid and restrictive, specifically at the scapula or back of the shoulder blade area. Many of them are heavy, particularly western styles. And often, they are too narrow for the horse to really rotate the shoulder fully.

What does not change is the necessary bio mechanical function of the hoof to absorb shock, to flex and pump blood and to carry the horse far and fast as he flees for his life. Of course, he is no longer required to flee from the woolly mammoth, but 50 million years of evolution does not just dissolve. To this day, our horses are prey animals. Their primary defense is to run. For horses, a healthy hoof means survival.

So how do we keep the bio mechanics of the hoof in top form?

LEARN THE WARNING SIGNS

Your horse will tell you long before the obvious development of discoloration and appearance of white hairs on his back that his saddle is not fitting well. His movements will be inflexible and unnatural. When you approach with a saddle, he will pin his ears back. He resists picking up the proper lead. He swishes his tail when he canters. By the time his hairs have turned white around the withers he no longer has pigment in these hair follicles. Circulation to that area has been inhibited for many months. If you could read the earlier telltale signs, you would remedy the cause of the problem well before symptoms arise.

Horses do not conspire to deceive or mislead us. They don’t pretend something is wrong when it’s not. It is our responsibility to understand what they are saying, which can be difficult because we are accustomed to seeing a stilted tender gait that it has become our “normal”. When you see a horse running with complete freedom of movement, it looks very different to many of the horses we are observe under saddle. The perceptive horseperson watches for detail with perception. She knows the difference. She has developed acumen.

One of our biggest challenges we face is the confusion when our horses become lame.

The rider's weight is not centered over the horse. This can cause the horse to compensate by twisting its body beneath the rider.

when he canters. By the time his hairs have turned white around

the withers he no longer has pigment in these hair follicles. Circulation to that area has been inhibited for many months. If you could read the earlier telltale

signs, you would remedy the cause of the problem well before symptoms arise.

Horses do not conspire to deceive or mislead us. They don’t pretend something is wrong when it’s not.

It is our responsibility to understand what they are saying, which can be difficult because we are accustomed to seeing a stilted tender gait that it has become our “normal”. When you see a horse running with complete freedom of movement, it looks very different

to many of the horses we are observe under saddle. The perceptive horse person watches for detail with perception. She knows the difference. She has developed acumen.

WATCH HIS BACK

Here are some issues concerning your horse’s back and the things you might pay attention to:

Uneven saddle construction:

Like a pair of human shoes, even good saddles may have slightly uneven construction.

•Trees are often asymmetrical.

•Stirrup bars may be placed unevenly.

•Panels may be stuffed unevenly, displacing the gullet or creating lumps or bumps.

•Wool flocking changes shape over time.

Turn your saddle upside down and place the horn on the ground and just eye-ball down the center. You will see a difference from one side to another.

Asymmetry of the horse's body:

Horses (like humans!) may develop differently on their left and right sides. For example, a short or long leg may cause uneven musculature in the shoulders or muscle sling supporting the rib cage.

Changes in the horse's musculature:

Bodies change and develop. A horse's musculature will change throughout the riding day (as the horse tires) and over the season (as the horse ages, develops, tones or loses muscle mass). These changes effect the way the saddle fits the horse.

Your Horse's Back May Not Be the Same Next Month!

Saddles as Static Objects

A saddle is a static object, but your horse is a living dynamic creature. Even slight changes in your horse’s weight throughout the year have a significant impact on the saddle’s fit. And naturally, saddle fit significantly impacts your horse’s experience.

That’s just common sense, of course. But many riders forget that a horse normally undergoes alterations in weight and postur