We live and we learn, what great teachers we’ve had.
I have had some amazing horses over my lifetime and what great teachers they have been. If we open our hearts and heads we can learn so much.
I recently lost my boy, Gabriel. What a phenomenal partnership we had. Throughout our endurance career, trail riding, camping, growing older, trimming his feet, Cushings, IR, snake bites, EPM, Lyme. We shared an amazing journey.
He is just one of many horses I have learned from at our ranch. My heart will be forever sad missing his soft nose and kind heart.
I have learned a few things over my 40 years of partnership with horses.
The sport of endurance blew open my mind. Wow. When I started I had no idea what was ahead of me. I had to learn the proper care of a horse (and myself). In order to be successful you must do both. I always rode for a PERFECT VET CARD. I strived to finish with a happy healthy horse and all A’s on our card. This didn’t happen all the time. I personally believe, from all the disciplines I’ve explored ( hunter jumper, trail, western pleasure, a tiny bit of dressage), endurance has taught me the most.
Modern medicine is a wonderful thing, don’t get me wrong. There is a place for it. But so is proper care and prevention. I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means. In our barn I feed supplements designed for each horse’s needs. Plus I add to the care, homeopathic, herbal goodies, fresh ground flax seed, and pro/pre Biotics. This can get costly, so I observe and listen to each horse to make sure I have it right. I don’t want to overdo it. I always ask questions of my vets, homeopathic vets, herbalist and supplement suppliers. I love learning.
Over the last 40 years I have had farriers come and go. As a kid it was a blacksmith coming to do my horses feet. I had no idea what he was doing other than putting shoes on. As I got older I started to notice my horse’s hooves… learning the importance of a healthy hoof. I’ve even had “master farriers” that couldn’t do the job. This is what led me to learn to care for and trim my own horses. I figured I could give it a try. if the farriers were going to lame them, what the heck, I couldn’t do any worse. Amazingly enough in my trimming journey (the past 10 years) I have kept my horses sound and happy. I have had great teachers, human and horse. I have finally found a happy place with hoof care at my ranch, constantly learning and studying.
One huge change in the condition of the horse’s hooves was a big light bulb moment. My barefoot trimmer, mentor and friend Suzanne told me for several years… “Paulita set up a Paradise Paddock system! Your horses feet will change.” Finally, I opened my eyes, took the time and did it. Wow, she was right! Not only did my horses’ feet change for the better but scratches have never happened since than. (Knock on wood ;-). Taking them off pasture was one of the best things I have ever done. With that said, I do allow the horses to have it, those who can handle a few hours of pasture. But not daily: a few days a week and only a few hours at a time throughout the summer. No spring or fall pasture. It’s hard, especially in the spring when the grass is coming up green, you can see them dreaming of it. It’s like me eyeing a bakery and being gluten free.
I will continue to write about the journey and learning experience I have. Hoping my experiences can help someone else. Thank you for sharing the adventures.
A few companies I highly recommend.
Earth Song Ranch for your herbal needs
California Trace for a great supplement
Renagade boots, a rock’n hoof boot and great support team.
Paradise Paddocks. Google and read the book!