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CHERRY HILL'S HORSEKEEPING NEWSLETTER

July 2005  

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Horse Information Newsletter from Cherry Hill  Ask Cherry Issue

  2005 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

This newsletter is a personal letter from me to you, a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.
My goal is to answer some of your questions and send you interesting stories
and helpful tips for your horse care, training, and riding.


I'm devoting this whole issue to Ask-Cherry Q&A, some of which will be answered by my husband, Richard Klimesh.


Stall Flooring

Dear Cherry,
What is the best kind of flooring to have in a stall? We are building a new horse barn and want to know about the stall floor to make it as easy to keep clean as possible. The stalls will be 10ft. by 16ft. the stalls will be used to feed and hold a horse for foaling. Thanks for your time.
Debbie

Hi Debbie,
I prefer interlocking rubber mats over decomposed granite or another well-draining, well packed base. I bed with shavings normally but use straw for foaling.
Cherry Hill


Hoof Boot

Dear Cherry,
Do you recommend a particular type of hoof boot? My mare has a bad quarter crack (from coronary band to bottom of hoof) that is just beginning to grow out. We had been shoeing her and using clip type shoes. This season, we are trimming her every five weeks and using rainmaker. She has about 1 1/2 inches of good hoof above her old crack. The most since she was two. She is ouchy on the trails due to our parks putting stone on them.
Thanks.
Sally

Dear Sally,
I recommend a good set of steel shoes on a well-balanced hoof, not only for protection while trail riding but to provide support and stability for the cracked hoof until it grows out completely.
Richard Klimesh


Wall Studs

Hi Cherry,
I have a question regarding building a barn. I am building a two stall barn (12 x 24) and I was wondering how far apart I should put the 4 x 4's? I was told by a local construction guy that I should put them every 4 feet, is that true? Thanks.
Kelly

Hi Kelly,
Your construction guy is right, 4x4 vertical supports for a horse barn should be no farther apart than 4 feet. But for portions of a barn that horse will contact, such as stalls, tie areas, wash racks, I would use 6x6 posts spaced 4 feet.
Richard Klimesh


Bit Recommendation

Dear Cherry,
I have a older Arab gelding who has been ridden with a mechanical hackamore, I am assuming for some time. (we bought him a month ago) But he tends to throw his head all around when riding him or when giving him directions in reining. I was thinking that maybe something wasn't right as a horse should not do this? So I decided to put a bit in his mouth. He doesn't seem to mind although, I do not want to mess him up (his mouth that is) so I am not sure what type of bit to use?
I have a friend who told me to try a snaffle bit with a full cheek? So I tried it but it looks ridiculous on him (he has a very small head) My tack shop owner asked if I had tried a tom thumb snaffle? I said no, but willing to try. So I am trying it right now and he seems to accept it. Is this an ok choice? He is not throwing his head anymore nor is he shying away like he hates it either. Should I keep using this or would you have another suggestion. Anything you or someone else can give me would be appreciated. Thanks.
D.

Hi D,
I like to introuduce a horse to bits by using a simple true snaffle, like a D ring or eggbutt snaffle. They are constructed so as to minimize skin pinching at the corners of the mouth and provide lateral persuasion from the sidepieces without the full cheek look that you mention. The reason that I don't use a Tom Thumb as an introductory bit is that it is not really a snaffle - it is a jointed curb bit. Whenever you have shanks, you have leverage, so the bit is no longer a snaffle. Just because a bit has a broken mouth piece doesn't mean a bit is a snaffle. There are broken mouthed curb bits and solid mouth snaffle bits. So, in summary, I like to start simple, with a direct rein type of bit, which is a snaffle. I've written extensively on this topic on the website and in my books. Here are some additional references:

Above the Bit

Dear Cherry,
When I'm riding Hunter, my 9 year old off the track TB gelding, he lifts his head severely over the bit, speeds up, and ignores my aids whenever I ask him to go in a frame, and especially when he's on the tired side. I try to ride him 5 times a week in the least, alternating between jumping and flat work. My flat lessons usually consist of a 5-10 minute warm up of circles at the walk and trot, and then I focus on bending (he's not very good at that but he's getting better!), and trying to keep him in a frame at the walk, trot, and canter during the following 30-40 minutes for as long as possible. He will go into a nice frame for about a minute or two, and then proceeds to lift his head, take the bit, and accelerate to an almost unruly trot speed, which he has never done until recently. I try lifting my hands to make a direct line from the bit to my hands, and it works in slowing him down, but he lifts his head and neck higher when I'm really aiming for him to lower his head and accept the bridle. I also try softening my hands, and then using a "sponge" technique I open and close my hands while simultaneously half halting, which works for a moment, and then he continues with his speed demon streak until I give up and make him walk. When I bought him about 7 months ago, he was used to a running martingale, and when I switched him to a standing martingale, he improved dramatically. However, recently he has been absolutely terrible even with the standing martingale, and I don't know if I should change my tack arrangement, change my bit, change his exercise schedule so his "dressage" muscles don't get as tired as quickly, lunge him with side reins or something similar, or change anything at all. I looked on your articles site and did not find anything of use for this matter, and I haven't had the time to go to the library or book store to see your books, so I would be indebted to you if you helped me with this dreadful dilemma. Thank you so much.Sincerely,
Carolyn

Dear Carolyn,
It sounds like you are doing many things right and you have already thought of some of the possible reasons for this behavior. Here is my take on the situation just reading an e-mail. First of all, I am assuming you are using a snaffle bit, correct? I would absolutely be sure that the bit is the proper width for the horse (too wide is often as bad as too narrow) and that the horse does not react unfavorably when you manipulate the bit in his mouth from the ground. Then I would be sure that the horse does not have any back problems. When a horse starts out good then quickly gets bad, it often signals me that pain could be an issue. Be sure the saddle fits the horse well. With the horse saddled, have someone hold the horse for you while you mount, then move forward and back and side to side in the saddle as if you were stopping, turning, two point etc. and see what the horse's reaction is. If he is uncomfortable at a standstill with your weight shifts, then the saddle fit could be suspect. Once you are sure the bridle/mouth and back/saddle are OK, then focus your work on two things: lots of varied longeing exercises and when riding, lots of transitions. You can read about these things more in the following articles on the website and in my books, some of which are devoted extensively to these types of problems:

Physical Development
Slow Down
101 Longeing and Long Lining Exercises
101 Arena Exercises


Have a great training session and ride. See you down the trail.

Cherry Hill


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  2005 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

 

 

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