its so so wet - hoof care ...and grass

(14 Posts)
booksinbed Wed 19-Sep-12 20:01:37

Hi all - ist year of having pony- we have cob and connemara.worried re hooves - really soggy in field - i s it best to bring in at night and what hoof care needed???- they are in wet grass /puddle all day...also grass and mud = v little grass - how do we know if they are getting enough food???thankyou x

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 19-Sep-12 21:20:15

Firstly, feed by eye. Google 'fat scoring', and just go with your gut. I personally like them a LITTLE bit chunky at this time of year (but dont forget that we may well get a grass growth surge in autumn), to have something to fall back on over the winter, but am happy for them to go into the spring a LITTLE skinny, so that I dont have to restrict the grass too much. If they look ok then they are probably getting enough grass and feed.
Being wet shouldnt be too much of a problem, just keep a good eye on their soles for thrush, and watch the cobs fetlocks and heels for mud fever/bog burn.
Stabling really depends on if you want to ride them much over winter or not. If you do, you have two options. Stable and rug them now, so they dont grow too much coat, or leave them out for now, then clip them when they start to get sweaty in work, and then stable and rug them. By the sounds of your field, they wont be able to be out much anyway if it gets much wetter or freezes.

booksinbed Wed 19-Sep-12 22:17:20

MANY thanks saggy.Waht does bog burn and mud fever look like and how to treat please and if they got soggy heels wd that mean bring then in a least for the night..
riding in winter .... .conemara- probably be ridden at weekends in winter mostly and v occ in week as dd s at school and too dark winter afterwards- cob - mine x 3 or 4 hacking out in walk trot -( both ponies will do 5 mile hacks at w ends tho, inc trot .canter .ie more active..)

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 19-Sep-12 22:33:26

Mud fever is scabbiness on the heels or pasterns. Its caused by a mite/microbe. Its generally in the ground, and if its there, its there. Ive never had it, but IIRC its kind of granulous and crusty and weeps serum if you pick it. There are different ideas about treatment, some say remove the scabs, then apply barrier cream, some say dont pick. Personally, id wash with Hibiscrub (antibacterial and antimicrobial) and then apply a good layer of sudocreme, as soon as I saw it.
FWIW, sudocreme is fantastic for all sorts. Sunburn, cuts and grazes, crusty heels...
Mine spent a winter out in a horrid muddy field with standing water. They were fine thankfully, no side effects to the feet. They get a little soft underneath, but soon dry out, and its really usefull for foot trimming! Their feet all looke amazing on the outside. clean, and moisturised and shiny!
Dont forget that Connies come from boggy ireland!

Treblesallround Thu 20-Sep-12 09:33:53

Hi books, mine and DH's horses lives out all year round, but or fields have a slope so they can always get out of the wet. I keep their feet nice with a good hoof dresing (I use Kevin Bacon) and never hose mud off the legs as I was told this drives bacteria into the skin. Basically, just make sure that you pick feet and check legs daily, and I agree with Saggy about the value of sudocreme for just about anything.

With regard to food, there are two things to take into account; nutritional content (ie how many calories they are getting) and the need for the gut to be kept moving (ie horse is getting enough bulk to keep the gut healthy).

For the first I agree with Saggy, condition score. Know what your horses are like at optimum condition and aim to maintain that, give or take (but as Saggy says, a bit over coming into winter and a bit under coming into spring is ideal for a good doer)

For the second point you need to keep an eye on how much they are pooing. If the quantity of poo reduces significantly then the horse needs bulk otherwise there isn't enough fibre going through the gut which causes problems. In that case, if the horse still has good weight, they need very low calorie fibre (eg soaked hay)

As regards work and clipping etc, DH and I don't clip, we allow them to get full coats and ride mainly at walk, including lots of hills to maintain some fitness, then we get them properly fit again in the spring.

GD's connemara was clipped and in at night or when very cold last winter because she did Pony Club and hunted (and rode in the indoor school every evening) and teenagers generally don't want to be as sedate as us.

What dd will have to decide though is which road she's going down: if pony's clipped and in then she will need to be kept in full work which will mean that dd has to ride even when she doesn't feel like it (and it will depend on whether you have a school with lights) If not clipping then you just have to manage the work so that pony isn't getting sweaty and uncomfortable. Saggy's suggestion of rugging up early to prevent her getting a big coat is a good compromise if you're looking for a halfway house.

Sorry for the essay. Try not to get too hung up on what could go wrong. Winter with horses has its pleasures as well as its problems.

Alameda Thu 20-Sep-12 09:43:18

our pony got bog burn from standing in wet grazing (entirely his choice!) last year, had never seen or heard of it before. His feathers fell out and he was all pink skinned legs. It wasn't very nice for the poor silly thing because he then had to endure a stable and separation from his love the horse.

so something else to look out for!

DolomitesDonkey Thu 20-Sep-12 10:04:11

You absolutely do not need to worry about wet hooves - in fact, for optimum corn growth and strength it should be frequently exposed to wet! smile In an ideal world your nags would stand in water as they drank.

Shit in mud is an issue though - so make sure your poo-pick.

booksinbed Thu 20-Sep-12 12:27:10

Hi All - thanks again for advice.

I think that we will only really canter at weekends - me and cob and dd will be in the school in the dark a couple times a week and hack at weekends were will canter ...so its poss we need to not clip conemara...

Trebles- how are you - was thinking of your gd pony, and wondering how things, and you ,are ...

.What are the winter pleasures of having horses - this will be my Ist .... -

Also why do they come in at night - summer or winter- my dd s conemara always had done before we got her.i think it was to prevent her getting too fat in summer ...but does she need to this time of year- we have ben leaving her out... - i know it sounds silly but apart from to protect land - is there a reason .i would think - not based on knowledge !!!- that its natural for them to be out????.is there whether a horse does not like or affects them...i heard someone say its not fair for them to be out and i wasnt sure what it meant.I think they said the horse was cold...??however out feild has v little shelter so is it actually best for the horse to come in overnight???so much to learn...when would you bring a horse in....do they suffer in the wet and cold.

Also trebles and all- im admitting something !!! im trying not to humanise a horse as im a big softy and am mindful that i may think inncorect things like putting it to bed when it doesnt need it or want it -so its " COSY!"....so im trying to percieve what i would do in horse terms not my own human ones - based on little knowledg e!! but at same time want to know what to look out for and how to take proper care of them. I had no idea re the stomach thing for eg.

Another question - i sometimes just stand in the horses stable as i enjoy the quiet and my pony lets me stroke her - would she move away if didnt like it or wd she be simply putting up with me ????!!!i also talk to her all the time -..

Last question - promise !!!!! my cob tries to come home when on hack by self - she doesnt turn much as i stop her etc but is hesitant as if its always on her mind i want to go home !!! whinnies at times if near another stable in passing- this is really silly ... but.... i love hacking out by myself as it so peaceful and i feel mean that i make her go !!! i know she wd, and does, love it with another pony at w end,,i know that they are attatched to other ponies and i feel mean ...its embarasing to admit !!!! such a softy - but i wanted to share this !!!!am i mean..

Treblesallround Thu 20-Sep-12 13:57:08

Hi books, all going well with gd and pony, thanks for asking.

Some like to come in at night (our old pony, for example, who's fine and difficult to keep up to weight) The rest are best off turned out as much as possible, in my view. Horses which are stabled, fed hard feed and clipped need to do a lot of work, otherwise they can get a bit sharp!

Unless you need your horses mega fit I'd keep them out as much as possible. If you want to be able to still do a bit of faster work though you'll need to keep them reasonably fit so make sure that your midweek sessions include some faster work. I don't think it's fair to only canter at weekends, either keep them in moderate work or wind down (but this is a bit of a bugbear of mine as the woman I bought mine from used to keep her out (unclipped) in the winter and ride her once a week which was usually a fast ride out with a mutual friend on his big, fit hunter)

A good half-way is to rug now to limit coat growth, give them a low trace clip when they need it and invest in good turnout rugs for when it's cold, then bring them in if you need to overnight when it's very cold or wet, but they are both hardy breeds so I'd try not to mollycoddle too much, or you'll have fat horses come the spring. But there's nothing wrong with tucking them up in a nice cosy bed once in a while. That's one of the pleasures of winter

Re cuddles, some like it, some don't. Mine's a cuddler, which I love. She'll let you know if she's not enjoying it!

As regards hacking on your own, I really, really wouldn't do it as you're not very experienced and your horse is still green. I'm sorry, I don't mean to be harsh, but things can go very wrong, very fast. If you've got someone with you the horses are more likely to cope with the unexpected. If you're alone you need to be a very experienced rider to instinctively act correctly when faced with a big problem.

There's no reason why horses shouldn't hack out by themsleves, some are better than others, but it doesn't sound as though she minds too much and the more they go out alone the more they get used to it.

Butkin Thu 20-Sep-12 16:53:18

We have a connie but at moment fields are fine and plenty of grass. She doesn't get fed until coming in at night (about November) - just grass until then - as she is only ridden at weekends (maybe once in mid-week). She is plenty fat enough.

You have to watch their shape, their poos and also what work they are doing to guage food requirements.

She is unrugged at the moment (to help shift some lard!) but the welshies are already rugged because cold at night now. We take their rugs off in the daytime if forecast is good.

Once Connie is really wooly we'll clip her so that she doesn't sweat when riddden. Then she'll have a coat on and will start coming in at night. Ours go out in the daytime all year round.

Rugging helps keep them warm - essential if clipped - and also clean/dry if you are riding regularly although be prepared for people to say you're a wuss!

Get some advice on feeding from a specialist - maybe pick a brand and ring their advisors (always got useful info from Baileys).

Butkin Thu 20-Sep-12 16:55:55

oh and to answer your original question you shouldn't have any problems with their feet in wet weather. Just get your farrier to check them when he comes to shoe/trim them.

Do watch for mudfever though - scabs around fetlocks, pasterns - and do as Saggy suggest.

booksinbed Thu 20-Sep-12 17:31:19

thans again all- just been up to stables and was discussing it - owner said leave em out rug for connemara and not for cob - at least now.they mentioned that in winte when the ground if " TOO BAD " we have to keep in stable all day and just in a turn out area when muck out - is this usual id like em to be out more but love our stables.it didnt seem negotiable ..

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 20-Sep-12 17:52:53

I'd not be happy to keep horses or ponies in all day for more than a day or so. For me THAT is non negotiable!

booksinbed Thu 20-Sep-12 20:04:37

saggy- i agree - looks like we have to look for new stable which is shame as we love were we are..

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