Q&A: Challenging Disciplines

What discipline do you find challenges you the most when the horse interferes and why?

A: Any issues I see — whether limb-to-limb contact or a horse looking off — leads me to search for imbalances in the body and feet. As a trimmer and body worker, I always evaluate the whole horse before actually working on it. Checking the spine for alignment is very important. I also check the hips and shoulders. I will have my clients move their horses in all three gates. I will also make sure their feet are trimmed properly.

— Debbi Baglione, Arroyo Grande, Calif.

A: The most challenging discipline is hunting because of the deep, English mud we have here in winter and the challenging fences these horses jump out of onto the poor ground. To overcome this, I shoe hunters with sloping hunter heels in front with 8 nails to reduce the likelihood of an overreach pulling the shoes off.

I shoe the hinds with a hunter heel on the inside with any sharp edges beveled off to prevent brushing injuries. I have fewer issues with these horses as a result.

— Marc Jerram, Bishops Wood, England.

A: Conformation can be a tough problem to solve once a foal grows to the point of the bone formation growth centers close.  Sometimes eager owners precipitate this problem themselves by overfeeding and “pushing” the growth of a foal.  Slow growth is best and produces fewer problems.  Sometimes, some early corrective measures are best.

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