Friday, June 22, 2012

Tack 'Em Up! Protective Foot Gear

As stated in an earlier post the legs of the horse are the most damage prone body part comparatively to any other part of the horse's body. By extension, the hoof must also be protected. Especially sensitive areas such as the pastern, coronary band and in some cases the hoof wall as well. Owners have a few options available to them in order to protect areas of the hoof and lower leg.  Those options include:

Bell boots
Saddleworld Caboolture

Bell boots are used on the front hooves to protect them and sometimes the shoes from overreaching by the hind legs. Overreaching occurs when the toe of the hind foot extends forward and strikes the heel, coronary band, fetlock or flexor tendon of the forefoot on the same side. Repeated hits from the back leg can cause open sores and cuts to form on the foreleg. Bell boots come in sizes small, medium, large and extra large.

Easy Boots or Hoof Boots

Four Winds

The easy boot is a closed shoe that can be placed on the horse's hoof and easily removed (unless they are glued on). It is pretty much a boot that is placed over the entire hoof. These types of boots can be used in place of shoes, in the event the horse will be walking over some very tough or hard footing, and are often used by long distance riders. The boots are light, durable, and protect the entire hoof from damage and provide cushion and traction for the horse. Sometimes in the case of a horse throwing a shoe, the easy boot can be used until the farrier comes out again. Easy boots come in a variety of sizes. There is usually a Size Chart on the ordering page so that you can find the correct fit for the horse.

Horse Shoes

Cowboy Shop
American Farriers

The horse shoe is designed from metal and actually nailed to the bottom of the horse's hoof. Don't worry though, experienced and certified farriers are nailing the shoe through just the hoof wall, which is comparable to the cartilage of our finger and toe nails (theirs is just thicker). Horse shoes protect the horse's hoof from everyday wear and tear. Some horses need them and others do not. The metal shoes need to be replaced every 6 to 8 weeks. Horse shoes come in a variety of sizes, but they are usually fit to the shape of the horse's hoof by the farrier.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tack 'Em Up! Protective Leg Gear

The legs of the horse are the most damage prone body part comparatively to any other part of the horse's body. The legs have no muscling or fat buildup, just tendons and ligaments. So if a horse hits the leg, or damages it in some way (another horse kicks it or the horse runs into a fence, etc.), there isn't a shield (muscle or fat) to help protect those sensitive areas. But there is hope. There are wraps and boots that can help support (although may not always prevent injury to) the legs. Those protective "clothes" include:

Polo Wraps:
Polo wraps are probably one of the simplest of all the protective gear available. These are long pieces of cloth, usually fleece that you can wrap around the cannon bone (from below the knee to a little bit below the fetlock) to help with potential light damage to the tendons and soft tissues during exercise. Polo Wraps can be used during riding, longeing, turn out, and sometimes shipping. As polo wraps have a tendency to be made from a stretchy material, it is recommended that the wrap not be applied to tightly, as that can cause more damage than good. Polo wraps come in a variety of sizes, including:

~Horse Size (9 feet long by 4 ½ inches wide),
~Miniature (5 feet long by 3 ½ inches wide),
 ~Pony (6 feet long by 4 inches wide),
~Arabian (7 feet long by 4 inches wide), and
~Draft (11 feet long by 5 inches wide)

Splint Boots
Splint boots provide support and protection for the splint bones, tendons and soft tissue of the lower leg during exercise. They also protect the leg from scraping, brushing and other working injuries. This type of boot usually has a protective strike plate over the splint area on the inside. When placing the boot on the horse’s leg, the strike plate is on the inside of the leg, with the bulbous part near the fetlock. The Velcro pieces should also point toward the back end of the horse on the outside.  Splint Boots come in small, medium and large sizes, with the medium size fitting most average horses.

Sport Medicine Boots (SMBs)
SMBs provide support and protection against suspensory injuries. SMBs are the only boots that are endorsed by the veterinary community as they absorb shock to the leg from hoof impact. They can be useful in any discipline where blunt force trauma to legs is likely, such as hitting jumps or interference injuries. Sports Medicine Boots come in small, medium and large sizes, with the medium size fitting most average horses.

Skid Boots

Skid boots protect the fetlocks on the hind legs from abrasions from the ground when a reining horses does a hard sliding stop. This type of boot comes in horse size (average) but is adjustable.

Shipping Boots
These boots are used to protect the horse’s legs during transport. Shipping boots usually reach from the top of the hoof to the knee or hock joint to ensure protection of critical leg parts. Shipping boots usually come in cob (small), medium and large sizes.

Standing Wraps
Standing wraps are used more as a band-aid, or curative treatment, than as a protective device.  The wrap consists of a “puffy” padding (sometimes called pillow wraps) that is wrapped around the afflicted area, as well as a Velcro-ed wrap that holds the padding in place (referred to as stable bandages).  Standing wraps are used for a variety of reasons. They can be used to protect the horse during travel, to protect a wound from infection, as a base (for wounds and bandages higher up on the leg), and to secure a poultice or dressing.  As with any wrap that can be stretched over the leg, there may be a greater chance that the wrap is applied incorrectly (too tight or misplaced) and therefore do more harm than good. The standing bandages are usually about 5 inches wide by 12 feet long. Pillow wraps come in 12 inches, 14 inches and 16 inches wide by 30 inches long.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hiatus End

So, I have had my blog, The Equus Ally on a sort of hiatus for the past month or so, for various reasons. I'm pretty sure it was the "excitement" of the relationship I was in at the time as well as work and volunteering. Not that any of those are excuses to do or not continue with this blog. I really like writing it, and I am sorry my dear readers, whomever you may be. :) I will definitely try and write more.

In other news, I have started volunteering for a horse rescue. It is the Standardbred Retirement Foundation in Hamilton, NJ.  It is about a little less than an hour drive from where I currently reside. Last weekend I spent 6 hours at the barn and helped with the adoption of two horses as well as exercised another couple horses.  I would definitely recommend volunteering with your local animal shelter and/ or a horse farm/ rescue/ etc. nearby. It is truly beneficial work when you spend some of your monetarily un-paid time with animals, in my honest opinion anyway. :)