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Ears: Fuzzy ears can be really cute, and on some horses we leave them exactly as they are. Our miniature horses, Barnum and Bailey (who are now in blissful retirement at the home of Lorraine and Bill Kaliher) always sported this look. When wanting a sleeker look, we trim off just the fuzzy bits and leave the protective hairs inside the ear. These hairs help protect against dirt and insects getting into the delicate inner ear area, so we never shave them. To trim excess hairs, we gently close the ear in half (like a taco) and sweep the outer edges with the clippers to produce a clear outline and finish.

issue 2-2014 | www.horsecountry.ca

Fetlocks: Some horses have beautiful, long hairs

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around their fetlocks, called feathers. They are a distinctive part of many breeds, such as drafts and Friesians. Many crossbreeds have feathers too, and many people love this look and want to keep it. But if you want your horse to have a more defined leg and ankle, here is how we do it… Hold the foot up by the fetlock, allowing the hoof to relax so you can trim off those extra bits of fluff. We make sure some protective hair remains, so we don’t go too short. Trim delicately and conservatively, and leave a little hair around the ergot if your horse is turned out in winter, as this helps water drain off the leg. And if your horse lives in snow or very wet conditions, don’t trim the leg hair at all. It’s his natural protection.

Hooves: Shiny hooves are a reflection of good health, just like the mane and coat - or our fingernails, for that matter. If you see dryness, flakes, cracks and ridges, you need to look at how to help your horse’s health and nutrition.

We only use hoof dressing when the weather is particularly dry; otherwise, we leave them alone. Putting too much moisture on the hoof can make it soft when it needs to stay tough and strong. When we use nutritive oils, we rub them into the coronet band rather than the hoof itself.

The final touch

Groom with LOVE. I’ve seen so many people brush, comb, trim, wash and scrub as if they were working on a dirty wall. Grooming your horse is an intimate thing; this is a living, feeling, breathing and sensitive being. Approach as if brushing a child’s hair. Use “feel”, and do it with care and with love, even if you are in a hurry. Your grooming sessions can either enhance or damage the relationship you have with your horse. Think of this as a way to improve your relationship with your horse, to spend undemanding time instead of just getting your horse ready for what you want. Think of it this way: what would make your horse look forward to grooming time?

If your horse hates to be groomed…

Horses hate to be groomed for one of three reasons: 1) fear, 2) dominance, or 3) because you’re doing it all wrong! • Fear - Some horses are afraid to be touched; they find it invasive and uncomfortable. If you are trying to be gentle but still have trouble, this can be an indication that your horse doesn’t fully trust you. Watch facial expressions for positive signs of enjoyment, such as soft eyes, head tilting and lips stretching when you find that itchy spot. Some horses will even maneuver themselves into position to give you better access to that spot! Watch too for negative signs such as twitching skin, lifting head, ears back or swishing tail, which means “back off or else!” Use the Friendly Game principle of “approach and retreat” to gain acceptance and figure out how to make this something your horse enjoys. When it comes to fear of things like clippers, this will take some serious attention and preparation in terms of building your horse’s confidence. • Dominance – In a herd of horses, it’s the dominant horse that initiates grooming. It’s all about who touches who. If you have a left-brained horse that objects to grooming, it’s most likely because he thinks he is the boss. Rather than resorting to cross-ties, this is your chance to figure out how to improve the relationship and gain the alpha position. It might mean you have to play with your horse first to get him in the mood to be groomed, or that you need to find that itchy

Profile for Linda Hazelwood

Horse country 2 2014 digital  

The collector's copy. The last issue of Horse Country published by Linda Hazelwood - the magazine will still continue but under a new owner....

Horse country 2 2014 digital  

The collector's copy. The last issue of Horse Country published by Linda Hazelwood - the magazine will still continue but under a new owner....

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