Opening Up a Can of Worms
Whose responsibility is it to ensure your horse is calm and quiet for the vet/farrier/body worker?
Of course, that responsibility lies with you.
The most important thing you can do to ensure your horse is calm and unworried by these visits is to make sure his diet is not compromising this in any way.
Danee's story is an example of this, and as a farrier she now refuses to work on horses who are Grass Affected. We say Bravo to that - how many more professionals will join her in this stand we wonder.
Danee hard at work!
"I appear to attract the kind of horses that ‘John West rejects’….the animals that have behavioural and/or health issues beyond what most people are prepared to deal with.
Lola (ASH/QH) came to me 5yrs ago after she lost her brain on a ride, exploded for no apparent reason & dumped her middle aged rider on the bitumen.
Lily (QH) came to me 3yrs ago after she had perfected the art of rearing and then bucking, and had dumped her senior rider half a dozen times, all in her first year under saddle.
Quest (Connemara) came to me 12months ago as a 13yr old cart horse after spending 7yrs standing in a paddock ‘recovering’ from a torn suspensory ligament in her near hind leg.
Nobby (32” high mini) came to me this month as a 6yr old laminitic stallion. His previous owners unprepared for his new higher care needs & just wanted him to go to a good home.
I believe I’ve been searching all my life for Calm Healthy Horses, their team, their products and the library of information that they have freely available to all.
Lola, is what is affectionately known in some circles as a “Patchy Twat.” She’s coloured like a dairy cow. She is the worst separation anxiety horse I have ever personally experienced. She will charge rails and fences if separated from a paddock mate, she has attached too. I’ve seen her charge thru 4 lines of 240v powered hot tape. I’ve seen her smash galvanised pipe stables to pieces.
One time I took her paddock-mate away and she cantered or galloped the fence line for 3 days, screaming. Throwing herself at the gates. Never came down to a trot until day 3. It was day 7 before she finally just walked. Day 10 before she could just stand still.
It was heartbreaking to watch her absolute and all-consuming & irrational fear of being left alone. She’d lost the ability to “think” and was just “reacting.” She also sunburns easily and badly and HATES a fly veil or anything (including bridle nosebands) applied to the area.
Quest came to me stupidly fat. Well, that’s what I thought at the time. Cut her feed & work her and she’ll be fine.
A grouping of half a dozen different underlying issues, all caused by incorrect management and left untreated, can be life threatening.
She was so puffy she couldn’t bend, at all. She was hurting all over. She looked like she’d been blown up with an air compressor. She had a cresty neck on her that a Shire Stallion would be proud to claim with the consistency of set concrete.
She had a matching set of puffy supraorbital eye pouches, the size of chicken eggs. She had 2 ‘fat pads’ that ran the entire length of her back, either side of her spine and each sat an inch high. She was reactive and hypersensitive with aggressive tendencies around other horses.
I first met Nobby a few months ago, when his owners called me cos their horse was laying down and he wouldn’t get up…..for 3 days.
They had just landscaped their house. Laid the new turf, fertilised & irrigated it and let the wee pony out on 2 acres of the lovely green couch. He was gorgeous. I fell in love.
But he was grossly overweight, with chronic laminitis and in the midst of enduring a severe acute phase.
Nobby came to live with me, two weeks ago. I’ve had to teach him to eat. All he’d ever seen were carrots (to be caught) and 24/7 short sweet grass. I’d never met a domesticated horse who didn’t actually know what a feed bucket or a hay net was…..
"I just wanted to say thank you. Your products and the sheer wealth of information offered, for free, on your web site, is simply mind blowing.
Over the course of my personal horse journey, I’ve had the privilege (at great financial expense) to sit in front of some of the most knowledgeable horse minded people of my generation. From saddle fitters to nutritionists and everything in between (bodyworkers, energy healers, herbalists, hoof care professionals, instructors/trainers/psychologists, natural horsemanship gurus & rehab specialists)".
I’m not a newbie to the game either, having achieved two nationally accredited university level diploma’s in horses. I’ve worked across a broad spectrum of the industry (race horses, station work in remotest part of Australia, specialist children’s rehab therapy using equines, private and personal use/competition) across 3 different continents over the last 30yrs.
Yet your website has introduced me to concepts that I’ve never heard anyone discuss before. It’s opened my eyes to a whole new way of viewing both the horse’s world AND problem solving, nearly every horse related issue, I’ve ever personally experienced or seen.
I’m a qualified barefoot trimmer and until recently, have had 200+ horses in my care. I’ve always found it alarming the number of high strung and just generally reactive type horses I’m expected to get under in the course of a day’s work. As someone who crawls under horses for a living, you have to expect a certain degree of danger, in what you do, right?
Or do you?
Since starting my journey with CHH, I now realise just how widespread the “grass affected” horse really is. I see so many animals that are physically touchy and mentally, it’s like their eyes are rolling back in their heads....they just can’t hold a thought & have little or no attention span.
They can’t process a simple thought & have limited awareness of their surroundings.
They tend to over react to basic stimuli and are often inconsistent in their reactions ie spooky at a leaf (or wheelbarrow or nothing that we can perceive…..) today, but not yesterday.
I’ve tried explaining to clients that grass is both your best friend and your worst nightmare when it comes to managing some horses.
I’ve tried talking to owners about the effects of grass in its various growth stages and the many and varied effects of mineral & trace element imbalances on all aspects of a horse’s life, not just their feet (but behaviour as well…. their bodies & their minds, which I firmly believe are all related).
But what do I know?…..I’m just the farrier….
I’ve directed folk to your web site and asked them to really read, to consider and to absorb the information you are sharing, for free. To trial it and see if they notice a difference…..
Finally, I’ve made the decision to walk away from two thirds of my client base....who are, in my opinion, either ‘high risk’ on a good day or straight out ‘dangerous’ to get under, on a bad day.
For my own longevity in the industry & to avoid further injury, I’ve made the decision to no longer work on horses that, in my opinion, display behaviours consistent with being “grass affected.”
T/A ‘Barefoot Natural Trimming’
AD Horse Husbandry, UQ-Gatton, AD Equine Podiotherapy, ACEPT
Lily could shy for Australia! You could feel your pelvis groan under the pressure as she’d snap sideways……at flies. Yes, she’d shy at flies…… and rear! Lordie.
I was always told and understood that horses are taught to rear, largely through uneducated riding and stress. You know what? Some of them are just athletic and it’s their ‘go to’ as its extremely effective for unseating and unsettling a rider!
Lily is a sook in the paddock but try to put a saddle on her and you want to have your left elbow up. Try to brush her to saddle up and the ears are flat, the tail swishing & the teeth bared. If you’re game enough to get in the saddle, she’ll try and turn around and eat your foot, trying to pull you off her back.
Ask her to move out at a walk or trot and the head drops, the neck snakes, she takes tiny little steps like her feet are stuck. Try to push her through the resistance, hoping that she’ll “warm up/work thru it” & ask for a canter and you better be ready to ride!
I’ve literally drowned her in body workers, vets, blood work ups, hair analysis, homeopath, chiro, dental, saddle fit. I’ve had the animal communicators in, the energy healers, the crystal swingers & the chakra folk…..anyone and everyone. I was desperate to understand this horse.
Since discovering CHH, their information and products and with Vicky’s guidance:
Lola has been out competing (& winning) at local hack days and calmly trail riding (walk, trot & canter) solo, on a buckle rein, out in the forestry. Best of all, no sunburn this summer. When I take her paddock mate out to ride, Lola now just grazes. She might walk the fence line (some days) but rarely break into a trot. No screaming or throwing herself at gates.
Lily has been in regular work for the first time in her life. Trips to the beach. 10km treks thru the forestry, also solo. She’s a joy to saddle and ride. She my most courageous ride. If she sees something she never seen before, she practically runs at it, to investigate.
Quest has halved in size, lost her concrete crest, lost her puffy eyes and has no fat pads anywhere on her body now. I started her under saddle and she is my most calm, predictable ride. An outing at a local All Breeds day netter her Reserve Champion Led Exhibit! Not bad for an old girl.
Nobby has lost his nuts and is learning to be a mild mannered gelding. He’s eating a small hard feed daily, has learnt to forage from a hay net & has mastered a grazing muzzle. It’s still early days with Nobby, but with regular/appropriate hoof care and dietary attention to laminitis triggers, I’m looking forward to being able to take Nobby out on lead line to the beach and the forestry with the big girls.
None of these results have been possible with any other supplements (herbal or chemical) or management practices I’ve tried. And trust me, I’ve searched high and wide & spared no expense.
Now don’t get me wrong. Every day isn’t 100% perfect with each of my horses. The difference now is that I understand the underlying WHY of each of their respective behaviours and I have the “tools” (thru management and supplements) that I can mix and match to the weather, the rain, the lack of rain, seasonal/hormonal changes, variances in temperatures/daylight lengths to influence their behaviour in a more positive, safe and calm way.
Thankyou CHH team for helping me find the calm, healthy, happy horses that I always believed where inside my animals, trying to get out.
Am now currently using: