Misty and her Club Hoof – Sept 2017

This is Misty.  She’s a 13 year old Thoroughbred we started taking care of when her owner moved to Michigan.  She has a club foot and as a result gets horrible cracks running vertically down both front hooves from her coronet band.misty 1

About a year or so ago, our farrier suggested putting glue-on rubber boots on her to try to stabilize the cracks and heel them.


misty good foot

This is a picture of the good hoof with the boot on.  As time went on with these boots, the cracks kept coming back and then started getting worse.  Then she started getting abscesses within about a week of her getting a trim almost every single month.  This last trim was too much.  She got a horrible abscess and her club foot started dishing inward.  She is normally on pasture 24/7 but we brought her in to a small paddock.  I was terrified that her coffin bone was being affected and she might founder.

We researched and called numerous farriers trying to figure out what to do.  None of them had any experience with this except one, so we chose him.  He recommended a backwards shoe to get the pressure off her toe.  He also cut back her heel so she’d walk more flat footed.misty 5

This is a picture right after he cut away the glued on rubber boot.  It’s terrifying to me.

misty 6

This is what the bottom looks like.

misty 7

He put the backwards shoe on.  He did pound two nails into each side, which made me and her owner a little nauseous.  I try very hard not to put shoes on horses and seeing it done makes me cringe.



Then he rasped down the front of her foot (after trimming it and her heel).

misty 11

He did leave a little of the plastic boot on the sides, just to hold things together.  You can see the tips of the shoe peaking out, so that it cushions her toe when she walks.

Are we doing the right thing?  I don’t know?  I worry every day.  She is still inside in a small paddock with one other horse instead of going out on pasture with the herd.  She limps when she walks.

I have been putting tea tree essential oil diluted in coconut oil on her coronet band most nights to try to keep abscesses from forming.  And I have been painting on a mixture of aloe vera oil mixed with carrot seed essential oil and palmarosa oil and distilled water to promote hoof growth.

And I pray – that we are doing the right thing.  That her hoof will heal.  That she will be alright.

misty, annalisa and lib

This is Misty’s owner just after the trim.  And that’s Liberty in the stall.  He is our 30 something, gelding, who loves Misty very much.  They are never far apart out in the pasture.

misty and lib

misty and lib 2

After her trim, we put her out for a short time with the herd, but she decided it was time for a rest.

misty 13

And then Liberty decided to join her.

misty and lib sleep

misty resting

You couldn’t blame her, she’d been through a lot.



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It’s Summer 2017

The grass is growing like crazy and so are the weeds.  Our horses are pasture boarded on about 30 acres of land.  Sometimes it gets mowed, but it’s hard to keep up.

jungle out here

I waffle back and forth as to whether it’s good to mow or not?  I think horses need some of the weeds and the short, mowed grass has more sugar which leads to fat, sometimes laminitic horses.

dog and weeks

Of course, if you don’t mow, will the weeds just eventually take over completely?  Because once mowed, the grass grows faster than the weeds.

tall grass

A healthy horse wants a mixture of different kinds of grasses, legumes, weeds, bark.  All kinds of things.  So the more diverse a pasture, the better.  Of course, getting a diverse pasture is hard.

evie and grass

You don’t want lush, green pasture for horses.  You want patchy, not-so-nice looking pastures.  With lots of choices.  The horses will find what they need if what they need is there.  We do give them supplements, minerals and salt also as I don’t think they get everything they need from the pasture they are on or the hay they get in winter.  Our pasture is too lush for them sometimes, especially Spring and Fall and they get fatter than they should be.


They’re happy though.  And we keep trying to balance everything out.

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Grazing Muzzles

For the most part, I hate grazing muzzles.  I feel horrible putting them on the horse.  The horses hate them and I feel guilty.  But. . .our horses live on about 30 or 40 acres of grass. It only goes away in the winter – about November to April in Illinois.  Even then, it’s still there, but it’s dead so the sugar is minimal.  We have one horse (Princess) that is insulin resistant and as a resgrazing-muzzle-princess-and-belleult when she gets too much sugar she gets laminitic and is in a lot of pain.  So, in Spring and Fall she must wear a muzzle to minimize her sugar intake from the grass.

grazing-muzzle-princessThis fall we also muzzled our Arabian, Belle, because she is super overweight and it worries us from time to time.


Here’s a picture of her.  She’s a little chunky.  Super cute though.

So, muzzles, which is the best to use?  We’ve tried three different kinds.


This one.  It’s called Best Friend Grazing Muzzle.  It’s the first one we got and it’s very tough and covers a lot of their nose and mouth.  It allows the horse to eat some grass, but not too much.  It stays on well and we haven’t yet lost it in the pasture.



This one.  It’s called Tough 1 Easy Breathe Grazing Muzzle.  We got this one new this year. It’s much more open and works well especially when the weather is hot.  The hole to eat from is a little bigger and they can get a little more grass on the sides as well.  We have lost this one in the pasture from time to time though.


We also tried this one a few years ago on Princess.  It’s called a Harmony muzzle and we wanted it to work because it’s so much more open and comfortable, but by the end of one day it was all twisted and half way off.  Maybe we just didn’t get the right size, but it didn’t work for us at all.


Our horses live in the pasture 24/7 and have their muzzle on the whole time.  We’ve never had any trouble with that – except they sometimes get the muzzles off.  We go out every day to give all our horses supplements, so Princess and Belle get to graze on grass and hay for somewhere between 1 to 2 hours while we are there each day.

Princess is doing very well this year.  She hasn’t become laminitic at all and is happy being with her herd and moving around instead of being kept away at night on a dry lot (what we tried last year).  Belle – well – she’s still overweight and honestly she kept getting the muzzle off (the Tough 1 Easy Breathe one) and so we sort of gave up.  Winter is around the corner and the grass will be dead, so hopefully she’ll lose some weight then.

Once the grass is brown we take the muzzle off Princess too.  She only wears it Spring and Fall.  She does fine in summer once the grass is established and not growing too much and in winter when it’s dead.






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Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar – I use it for everything.  On myself and for my horses.


For the photo above I am in the process of rubbing apple cidar vinegar on this horse’s stomach.  She has this scaly, rainrotty-feeling spot there with some other bumps around it.  Her owner says it’s allergies.  I have no idea, but I started rubbing apple cider vinegar on it and it’s getting better!  I always use this brand.  Organic, with the mother.


I also use it on my own skin.  I read that it works like a facial toner to rebalance the pH in your skin so I use it as a toner for my face.

Getting back to the horses – There are also a couple in the herd with ours that are prone to Scratches on their legs when the weather gets super wet, so I rub apple cider vinegar on their legs sometimes too.  I don’t have any scientific proof, but I think it helps.


We have one horse that is laminitic when she eats too much grass.  So, I started putting two tablespoons in her feed everyday.  It’s supposed to help her body process sugar slower.  Then I started putting it in all our older horse’s feed everyday.  I leave it at two tablespoons each because if DSCF6484I do too much more, they don’t eat it.  Princess, our laminitic horse, is doing very well.  She is on grass pasture 24/7 though she does wear a grazing muzzle in Spring and Fall, but nothing in the summer.  She also takes other supplements for it, but I think the apple cider vinegar helps.

I also drink apple cider vinegar everyday.  I usually drink it in this drink.  Actually, I do an abbreviated version of that recipe.  I only do 2 lemons, 2 capfuls of ACV, in a glass and fill the glass up with coconut water till it tastes the right amount of sour for me.  It helps with digestion.  It helps makes your blood more alkaline which gives you more energy.

I believe apple cider vinegar can do so much.  It certainly can’t hurt a horse or a human and it’s cheap.  It’s hard to beat that.


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I always hate it when a horse gets moved from one happy home to another home.


Horses are so connected to each other and even though they’ve never met before a herd of horses becomes family very quickly.




I know there are reasons to move a horse, but I hope that owners think twice before they remove a horse from it’s herd family.


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Summer is the season for cleaning water troughs.

two horses drinking

When it was really hot, we froze a bunch of cut up apples and put them in the trough for the horses to bob for.

nya bobbing for apples

It wasn’t easy for them to get.

nyssa drinking

But it encouraged lots of water drinking.

major getting apple

And it was fun to watch.

nevada drinking

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A Little Riding

I rarely ride.  I’m a beginner in any arena, but since I had an extra day off on the July 4th weekend, my daughter and her boyfriend decided to ride, so I went along.




I really did ride, but when  I was done I let Major have some grass.











This is Major and Junior saying hello.



When we were done, Princess and Belle were waiting up by the barn.


Some of the herd taking advantage of the shade.


Sasha eating around the weeds.

sasha finding the right bite

Face pics

belles face


remi over the fence


jr thru fence

Misty from underneath

misty down under


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