Workshop Dates

Managing Properties and Feeding Programs

presented by WA Horse Council and Perth Natural Resource Management

Click here for flyer with further information


Sunday 14th 2016



Sunday 20th 2016



Sunday 3rd 2016

Henley Brook


The Wet weather is upon us

With the wet weather set in and the green grass flourishing, now is a good time for those of you with laminitis prone horses and ponies to start thinking about how you plan on managing them through the coming months.

A couple of points to remember....

Sugars levels in grass spike after sunny days and frosty nights/mornings.  Avoid grazing your laminitis prone horses/ponies on grass during and directly after these conditions.

A well fertilised pasture is generally lower in sugars, than a deficient one.  You may have more grass due to fertilising, but the sugar level per bite will be less.  So by fertilising and limiting access to grass via strip grazing or a grazing muzzle, you will be reducing your horses sugar intake.

If you need to lock your horse off grass, remember to always provide access to hay.  Sugar levels in hay can be reduced by soaking hay for a minimum of an hour fully submerged in water.  Poor the water off, to remove the water soluble sugars and feed as usual.

If your horse has a tendency to be overweight, then don't rug him over winter.  He will burn extra energy keeping himself warm, through shivering or moving about more.  This is his natural thermoregulation system.  Keep in mind the weight lost now is a good set up for spring, where feed is in surplus and weight gain is more difficult to control.

If you need more information please download the following booklet Founder Facts.



A big congratulations to 2 of my clients who have been out there doing fantastic things with their barefoot horses.

Sandra and Blossom

Blossom had her shoes removed late last year and 4 trims later she is out in the show ring cleaning up.


Deb and Karisma

Deb and Karisma took out Best Conditioned horse in the Heavy Weight Division at the Wilga endurance ride.  Best of all Deb is now trimming Karisma herself.  Congratulations Deb and Karisma.  Its nice to see that all that hardwork has paid off.



Recognising Pain in the Horse

One of the most common reasons I see for horses not behaving and standing still during trimming is not poor training, but pain.  One comment I will usually offer to my clients when I first trim their horse is to allow their horse to drift, if needed, while I am trimming their feet.  This allows the horse to position himself in a way that is most comfortable for him to stand three legged.  It also allows me to see if he is worried about giving up a foot, in which case I can modify my approach.   But finally it will also indicate pain.  The horse is literally saying "I can't do it".

If we automatically assume the horse is misbehaving and discipline him for it, then we will lose his trust.  and things often go downhill quickly from there.  So next time your horse won't stand to be trimmed, take a closer look at what he is telling you.  If you want more information on recognising pain in the horse please take a look at the following website of veterinarian Dr Joanna Robson.  She has produced a fantastic book and DVD on the subject.


Is there a market for Low NSC Hay?

After talking to clients about numerous mild laminitic episodes this year as a result of this season's environmental conditions, I have had a few queries about sourcing hay that is low in Non Structural Carbohydrates (Sugars).  This year has been a difficult season for client's to manage their high risk horses and ponies.  And it only looks like it will get harder, with hay supplies in short supply and high demand. 

Getting a reliable source of hay for the summer period is going to be difficult with most farmers telling me that they have only cut around 50% of the quantity they would usually cut.  So now is the time to be purchasing your hay for summer to ensure you have enough and some choice.  With the majority of hay in WA being either oaten, or meadow hay consisting of ryegrass and clover, it is generally a high sugar feed.  Horses and ponies at high risk of laminitis should have their hay soaked for at least an hour prior to feeding, to reduce the sugar levels by removing the water soluble carbohydrates.


If you have a high risk horse or pony and are interested in sourcing low Non Structural Carbohydrate hay for the 2011 hay season, please click here to complete our survey.  I have farmers that are interested in targeting this niche market, should there be sufficient demand.


Navicular Syndrome

Recently I had the opportunity to trim a semi retired Quarter Horse with Navicular Syndrome.  This poor horse is incredibly stiff and sore.  But it led me to thinking about what we see when we look at a horse.  Before I started trimming, when I looked at a horse, all I saw was the overall picture.  Now the first thing I look at are the hooves and how they move.  This little guy had long underrun heels, tiny rotting frogs and a massive toe first landing. 

Navicular Syndrome is the term used to describe "Caudal Heel Pain" in horses.  Or just pain in the back of the hoof.  It is seen when a horse starts to land toe first.  There are many, many possible causes of Navicular Syndrome.  But one of the best ways a horse owner can help to pre-empt a bad case of Navicular is to be aware of how their horse is moving!  For the hoof mechanism to be healthy a horse should land heel first.  Any sign of a toe first landing should indicate that there is a problem brewing and should lead to further investigations.

See the you tube video below, to see a horse moving with a classic toe first landing.  Notice the dust he kicks up in front of every foot fall. 

Sometimes a toe first landing can be caused by something as simple as thrush in the frog.  When treated the horse returns to a heel first landing, with no long term consequences.  However the longer a horse continues to land toe first, the higher the likelihood that the horse will suffer from long term internal damage due to the deep digital flexor tendon snapping onto the navicular bone with each footfall.

So take a pro-active approach to your horse's health and make sure that he has a heel first landing!  If he doesn't, then investigate, investigate, investigate.  Use your farrier and vet to help diagnose a cause and do what you can (via booting, soft footing etc) to return your horse to a heel first landing as soon as possible.