March 23, 2009

Spring in New Mexico

Wind. Wind. Wind. Did I already mention the wind by any chance? Yesterday it was very windy here all day and into the night. The one high spot about the wind is the automatic-cat-entertainment-device. I'm not the best yard worker (but far from the worst in the neighborhood) and I left a pile of dead leaves all winter in a sheltered, gravel-covered area next to the porch steps. I do this every year. Why? I could just rake them up and have an overall tidier appearance. First of all, I don't fake tidy very well in general and secondly, it's all about feline entertainment properties in the right conditions! When the wind picks up enough, the leaves blow over the porch randomly and it entertains the kitties for HOURS. Being indoor sort of cats, they really appreciate it when I make things work out for a good diversion from the regular, ho hum, everyday cat entertainment, such as paper balls, furry mice with shakies and "king of the scratching post" games. As expected, the combination of leaves and wind did not disappoint any of us and the pile of leaves did shrink a little.

Watch and laugh!

March 18, 2009

The Horse: One Step at a Time: Hoof Trimming and Leg Stress

Not my usual kind of post, however it is on a subject that is near and dear to me having held the hooves of several horses through theraputic shoeing. I think this is an excellent, easy to to understand article. No bias toward to shoe or not to shoe, just good solid base info. Below is a teaser, then you can click on the link to read quite a bit more.

From One Step at a Time: Hoof Trimming and Leg Stress

Have you ever walked in shoes that you've had forever that are just a little worn to one side of the heel or the other? Did you notice that after awhile your knees would start to hurt, or maybe your ankles? Now think about wearing those shoes 24 hours a day, every day, for an entire month without ever taking them off. Image how miserable you'd feel.

Now, apply that to the horse whose owner says he can go a few more weeks before he needs a trim or even worse, to a horse whose owner thinks the animal can go all winter without any hoof care. Now, take a step back and imagine wearing those ill- fitting shoes for the entire winter. You should cringe at the thought.

The reality is that horses' feet are often neglected, especially during the winter months. Shoes are usually pulled, farrier visits become less frequent, and the horses are left to suffer.

As a rule of thumb, we know that our horses should be trimmed (and shod if necessary) at least every six to eight weeks. But where did those numbers come from? Sure, after eight weeks, hooves will start to appear long, they might crack or chip and look unsightly, or on a horse with poor conformation, the feet might show uneven wear. All of these observations might seem benign on the surface, but they're important, according to Meike van Heel, MSc, BSc, PhD, a researcher at Utrecht University's Equine Performance Laboratory in the Netherlands. Van Heel recently studied how a hoof changes between trims, and she found that neglecting your horse's feet could be setting him up for serious injury.

The Horse: One Step at a Time: Hoof Trimming and Leg Stress

Thanks to TheHorse for having a ShareThis!