Draft (Draught) Horses – Friesians and Gypsy Cobs

Friesians

Brief History

This draft breed is rooted in Friesland, Northwestern Europe, which is now a part of the Netherlands. The original stock was descended from the order of Equus robustus (the big horse). In the 16th and 17th centuries, Andalusian lineage was introduced to the bloodline in the form of Spanish stallions which were abandoned on the battlefield during the war between the Spanish and the Dutch. This new blood endowed the Friesian line with higher knee action, smaller heads, and arching necks.

Description and Characteristics

The Friesian is one of the smaller draft horses, in stature and weight. In order for Friesians to be deemed purebred, and allowed to be used for breeding stock for a purebred line, they must be at least 14.3 hands (57.2 in., or 145.3 cm.) at the shoulder. And the subject must be solid black with no white markings on the legs or body. The typical height is 15.3 to 16.1 hands (155.4 to 163.6 cm., or 61.2 to 64.4 in.). The Friesian is heavily boned, and the adult averages about 1300 pounds (92.3 stones). This breed appears to be short and stocky. The thick manes and tails, and abundant fetlock hair are traditionally allowed to remain full and natural. The Friesian has a good temperament and is sensible but lively. The breed can be used for pulling, or for saddle riding. And while Friesians have the normal gaits – walk, trot, and canter – long tradition has emphasized the “big” trot which is typical of the breed.

Gypsy Cob

History

This small draft horse traces its roots to the Romanys, who had no need for the larger drafts. For almost 100 years the Romany people, or Gypsies, have bred the cob to pull their traditional carts and “mobile homes” throughout the country lanes of Ireland and England. And although many of the “Travelers” – as the ones who move about the country are called – have changed to more modern conveyances, there are still those who cling to the traditional mode of travel.

Even though many people of the Romany heritage no longer travel, they continue to breed these colorful horses as a way of keeping tradition alive. As long ago the modern Gypsy’s wealth is still, in a large part, measured by the size and quality of his horse herd.

Description and Conformation

The Gypsy Cob has no one specific color. The most common are pinto patterned, piebald, and skewbald. They are small, in that they traditionally stand 13 to 15.2 hands (52 to 60.8 in., or 132 to 154 cm.) at the shoulder. They are compact, yet sturdy and durable. Their stamina allows them to pull a loaded “living wagon”, at a steady trot, all day long.

In order to be classified as a traditional Gypsy horse, they must have an abundance of hair and feathering. The feathering starts at the knee and grows all over the bottom half of the leg to the hoof.

The Gypsy Cob has been bred for a particular type for years, but can trace their ancestral roots back to Clydesdales, Shires, Friesians, and Irish Drafts as well a Connemara, Dales, and Fell ponies. This horse is typically known to be very sound and sane, a faithful companion, and to possess incredible versatility.

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Your Independent guide to Horses [http://horse-guides.com]

Originally posted 2012-05-19 07:52:20.

Picking Up A Horse’s Hoof

The idea of picking up a horse’s hooves can intimidate some owners since a well-placed horse kick would really hurt! Such caution is good, but in reality if you pick up a horse’s hoof properly you provide him with no leverage or ability to kick you. This is a situation where a person’s worst fears can cause him to imagine an incident that is highly unlikely to occur with careful handling.
Here’s how to safely pick up a horse’s hoof:

Starting with the front hoof, approach your horse diagonally from his front so that he clearly knows you are there – you don’t want to surprise him. Place yourself even with his shoulder and make sure to face his rear; you will both be facing opposite directions during the hoof picking process.
Making sure that your feet aren’t too close to the horse’s hoof, start running the hand parallel to him down his shoulder and along the length of his leg, finally stopping just above his ankle. Gently grasp the ankle portion and click (or otherwise verbally cue him) to ask him to raise his leg. If he’s well trained, that small cue will be more than enough and he’ll do just what you requested. You’re now free to begin picking his hoof.
If your horse is being a bit stubborn or hasn’t learned how to pick up his legs yet try leaning into his shoulder as you run your hand down the back of his cannon bone. You can also gently squeeze/pinch the tendons to further cue him to what you would like. As you perform these physical cues make sure you provide a verbal one also (I make a clicking sound) so the horse later associates your sound with the requested response. Increase the weight you push against his shoulder until he finally lifts his leg as requested.

When picking a horse’s hoof you want to remove all debris from the hoof clefts as well as the rim and frog. Be careful around the frog because it can sometimes be a bit sensitive, particularly if the horse has thrush.

Once you have finished cleaning the front hoof carefully guide it back to the floor; you don’t want to allow the horse to slam it, potentially hitting your foot in the process. Praise your horse and pat him on the front shoulder a bit so he understands that you are pleased with his cooperation, then run your hand along his back to his rear leg. Place yourself in the same position as you did with his front leg and do the process over again.
There is a slight difference between lifting a rear foot and front foot, even though your basic positioning and actions are nearly identical. When you lift your horse’s rear foot he will probably give a little jerk that you might misinterpret as a kick. This is a common reflex reaction among horses and nothing for you to worry about.
Secondly, when you raise your horse’s rear leg you’ll want to step into him a bit so that your hip is underneath his leg. Rest his leg on your thigh, grab his hoof and gently flex it upwards. By doing this you lend him some support and more importantly the position of his leg and his flexed hoof will prevent him from being able to kick you.
Clean the hoof, lower it cautiously as you did the first and praise him. Congratulations – you’re halfway done! The opposite side will be done exactly the same way, but try to return to his front and start the opposite side rather than move around his rear. It’s bad practice to approach or circle all but the most trusted horses via the rear in such close quarters since a horse would be within range to strike.
When lifting any hoof try to make sure your horse is properly squared (balanced evenly on all four legs) so that when you lift one hoof he can easily balance on his remaining three. At no time should the horse actually lean his weight on you! Even when you rest his rear leg on your thigh you’re not allowing him to use you as a crutch.

Once you have picked your horse’s hooves a few times it will probably become very simple and take less than 5 minutes to clear all hooves. Most trained horses will raise their hoof for you the moment they feel your leg run down their leg.
It is a very good idea to control your horse’s head while you are picking his hooves. This can be done by attaching his halter to crossties or asking a partner hold your horse’s head. By controlling his head you ensure your horse can’t move away from you while you’re trying to pick his hooves, or worse… turn around and take a bite at your rear!

By

Jeffrey Rolo, owner of AlphaHorse and an experienced horse trainer and breeder, is the author of the above article.  You will find many other informational articles dealing with horse training and care as well as games and other horse fun on his website:  http://www.alphahorse.com.

Originally posted 2012-05-18 07:51:53.

Courtney King-Dye :Riders4helmets

Remember it’s not just you but everyone you know and love on the horse’s back with you.

US Olympian Courtney King Dye opens the 2nd Riders4Helmets Helmet Safety Symposium. You can follow the riders4helmets campaign on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/riders4helmets, twitter http://twitter.com/riders4helmets and http://www.riders4helmets.com. Courtney suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a riding accident in March 2010. Courtney was not wearing a helmet at the time of her accident and has since shown her support for helmets via the riders4helmets campaign.

The link to the video: http://youtu.be/awJDYBhBPzk

Please go and see Courtney’s interview. Remember it’s not just you but everyone you know and love on the horse’s back with you.

Originally posted 2012-05-12 07:50:24.

Signs of Laminitis in Horses – Symptoms of Laminitis

A horse with laminitis will likely have sore feet. If you notice your horse doesn’t seem to feel good & seems extremely unwilling to walk even out of his stall, it could be laminitis. Sometimes horses with laminitis will stand with their legs tucked underneath their body. This happens because laminitis most often affects the front feet. Your horse is trying to take the weight off the painful areas by supporting a much of himself as he can with his back feet. In some cases laminitis and founder can also affect the rear feet.

If you think your horse has laminitis, call a vet immediately! If the condition is allowed to progress, the laminae break down and resulting founder can get so bad that the coffin bone can actually come through the bottom of the sole. A horse left suffering with this case will more than likely have to be euthanized.

In a less serious case the horse can probably be saved, but will usually require a long painful recovery and sometimes surgery. In the mildest case your horse may need special shoes. How it all plays out depends on how fast you get your horse to a vet.

Laminitis and founder are serious conditions. The two words are often used interchangeably, but actually refer to two different conditions. Laminitis involves an inflammation of the laminae, which are sensitive tissue I horse’s feet. If it progresses, a bone in the bottom of the foot known as the coffin bone actually rotates, and this is called founder.

Horse training made simple is based on the belief that you can build a balanced relationship with your horse using simple but assertive methods that result in gaining trust and respect from your horse. I consult and provide helpful information & resources to enhance your horsemanship.

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Originally posted 2012-05-03 07:47:50.