Wednesday, 15 June 2016

A normal summer's day - or how hooves cope with wet weather

When I posted my last morning videos I had a comment from Dancing Donkey who said:

"You know, I've watched the video you posted last week of the horses coming in and this one several times because I was so struck by how dry and hard your ground is in the middle of Spring. 

My 8 year old mare has never worn shoes, is a on a strict and balanced diet and lives on a track system and yet we are still plagued with hoof troubles. These videos really explain everything though. The ONLY time my fields are ever this dry is maybe a 4-6 week period in July and August. The rest of the time, they either squelch or are covered in deep snow. Despite the hard ground around and in the barn, I cannot win against the constant waterlogged state of the hooves. I've already spent over $5000 providing that bit or dry, hard ground and it shrinks father back into the mud every year. I looked into trying to build a hard track, just 8 feet wide around my land, the cost was nearly $50,000. 

Watching those horses come tromping in off of dry pasture in the middle of May really brought home to me the impossibility of healthy bare feet on this property."

I feel for DD because that particular video clip gave a totally uncharacteristic impression of the Exmoor climate, which is actually wet, wet, wet...and of course now, 3 weeks later, we are back to normal and are squelching around again.

In a dry year we will also get a few weeks (rarely more than 3) of dry weather and thats exactly what we had in May. But before that we had (as I told her in my comment) an incredibly wet winter and we average between 75-90+ inches of rain a year.

Wet weather really isn't a problem for bare hooves - in fact our own horses work hardest through the winter when the ground is truly sodden - and their feet still stand up to miles on roads and stony tracks. The secret is keeping the work consistent and feeding a very, very good diet.

So here you go DD - and anyone else struggling with another "glorious" - or typically English summer - have a splash around with us :-) This is a video from a few years ago, in July, but you get the idea - and this June its back to normal here now, for sure!

Wet morning from Nic Barker on Vimeo.


Madeleine said...

Hi Nick,

What do you consider to be a 'very, very good diet?' I have moved my three native ponies to The Isle of Skye and I'm wondering how their feet will adapt to extremely wet winter conditions. They will have a combination of muddy, rough grazing and a lot of heather to graze/stand on.

Nic Barker said...

Hi Madeleine,
There is lots of information in earlier blog posts - if you search for "feed" you should find what you need - if not let me know.

Madeleine said...

Thank you, I will search through your advice.