A Horse’s Pedicure

Caring for your horse is one thing but maintaining healthy hooves is another story.

In case you are new to horses; horses need their feet (hooves) trimmed or shod by a farrier every four to six weeks in the spring and summer. In the fall and winter the job is postponed a little longer; about six to eight weeks. This is because horses’ hooves actually grow slower in the winter.

What’s a hoof and why does it need care? Think of horse hooves like your fingernails. If hooves grew out long, they would expand and become very wide, increasing the chance of the horse’s hoof splitting.

Horse hooves may also become dry in the summer because of the weather. Hoof dressing is a great solution.

A horse’s feet should be picked out just about everyday and definitely before every ride. Horses have two grooves on the bottom of their hoof where, throughout the day, rocks and dirt can get wedged and packed in there.

Between the grooves lies a triangular-shaped bump. This is called the frog. The frog serves as a shock absorber for the horse that can be very sensitive.

Tyler Miller, a farrier in Pennsylvania, added, “The frog is also a very important part of the circulatory system. It helps push blood back up the leg to the heart.”

Most horses require horseshoes. One reason a horse might need shoes is because of bad confirmation. Confirmation is the physical features about the horse, such as, which way the horse’s toes point. Shoes can help correct these blemishes. Also, horses ridden a lot barefoot (without shoes) will eventually wear down their hooves until it becomes lame. The term “lame” means sore, not uncool. Another reason most horses have shoes may be because they live in a rocky area. Rocks can actually bruise the sole of the hoof. The sole of the hoof is the bottom part that is flat and smooth.

What does it take to become a farrier? A farrier is someone who specializes in caring for horse hooves. Farriers-to-be attend horse shoeing school or work with an experienced farrier as an apprentice.

Tommy Lanzalotti, a young local farrier, says, “What made me wanna start shoeing is that I really enjoyed riding and working with horses so I figured being a farrier would be a good job for me.” Tommy ran a shoeing business on his own. It involves scheduling clients, driving back and forth to locations, and a long days work almost everyday. Tommy used the words “interesting, rewarding and time-consuming” to describe his unique self-employed experience.

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Something to Look Forward To!

Hey guys, so over the next few weeks I will try and do an article- I’m thinking horse hooves. This will probably include some shoeing, anatomy, diseases and care. After that I will be posting a Q&A with either a stock contractor/couple who owns a rodeo business or a cutting horse trainer who goes to big shows like the All American Quarter Horse Congress. Also, I am thinking about creating a photo album type post of an area with wild horses… It’s a little bit of a drive but I think it will be a beautiful experience! I don’t want to tell you where because I think it will be a fun surprise. Keep checking back to find out!

Dreaming of the Extreme Mustang Makeover

Hey guys! Okay, so I have good news… Have you heard of the Extreme Mustang Makeover? (If not, check this out) It is basically a horse training competition- with different programs, including a program just for youth.  So once accepted as a trainer, each one will have approximately one hundred days to gentle and train a mustang. To gentle a mustang just means to be able to touch the horse and put a halter on it (the everyday things) and make it familiar to humans. The competition concludes with trainers showing off the tricks and qualities they have taught their new companion. After each trainer’s demonstration, the mustangs are adopted via auction. After a successful event last year, the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition will return to New Jersey at our very own Dream Park located in Logan Township. I applied to become a trainer and received an email Tuesday informing me that I should know if I am accepted to compete shortly after the February 15th deadline. Fingers crossed! If you have already trained a mustang, I’d love to hear about your experience! It’s really interesting how the Bureau of Land Management  works. Numerous mustangs are rounded up from California, Nevada, and Utah (just to name a few) for adoption to control the number of wild horses. Don’t worry, it isn’t to harm the horses. There are actually so many wild horses, that if the BLM didn’t monitor and control the population, there wouldn’t be enough food and water for all of the mustangs. If you’re interested and want more information, check out the film “Wild Horse, Wild Ride” that can be obtained through Redbox.

Photo by Gerry- Mustangs in Northwest Nevada

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Welcome to Chomping At The Bit!

Hi. Welcome to my blog! My name is Chaeli. I live in New Jersey and attend Rowan University. I’ve been involved with horses for about eight years and I don’t plan on changing that anytime soon. I started by taking lessons that eventually changed into leasing. For almost two years, I worked as a stable hand in exchange for my lessons and it was a great learning experience. After years of begging my parents, I got a horse to call my own that I keep in my backyard. She is an eight year old, bay roan, Quarter Horse named Capri. I’m sure I will be posting pictures soon! In this blog, I intend to provide you with tips and advice for owning or caring for horses. If you ever have ANY topics specifically you’d like me to write about, send me an email or contact me through Twitter and I’ll gladly consider it! You’re probably wondering why I named my blog “Chomping At The Bit.” Well, I wanted the name to be a horse phrase that is somewhat common and easy for non-horse people to recognize. The phrase is used to describe the situation when a horse is constantly biting on the bit. So I figured, readers checking my blog for new information is kind of the same thing. If you aren’t familiar with horses, don’t worry, this blog is for you too! Hopefully, I will familiarize you and ignite your curiosity for horses. In the meantime, feel free to check out the sites I’ve listed in my Blogroll. We’ll talk again soon!