Sickle Hocks in Horses

Sickle-Hocked 01


Clever Ponies

Over the gate

Across the floor

Around a tack trunk

Out the door

Undoing the latch

-it’s really thick

Scraping with a hoof

That did the trick

Kicking open the door-

Without getting smashed

There- in the middle

A pan of hot mash

Jump up on the floor

Little hooves flying

They got into the feed room

Without hardly trying!

Manes frosted with hay

Noses deep in the grain

These clever ponies

Will try this again!





Equine Advice: Macro Minerals


Gypsy, the Equine Encyclopedia, has something to say about the 7 macro-minerals required by the horse.  Like all Shetlands, she is always watching, listening and learning.

Horses require seven different macro-minerals to stay healthy.  These are calcium, chloride, sodium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.

Each one helps the horse in a different way.  Calcium is a partner with phosphorus.  Horses need calcium for strong, healthy bones.  Calcium also helps horses with temperature regulation.

Chloride: sodium and chloride go together to form sodium chloride, or salt.  Salt is critical in the process of sweating and is essential for proper electrolyte balance.

Sodium:  see chloride; the two work together.

Sulfur is  a building block of several amino acids and B-complex vitamins which aid the horse with strong hoof walls.

The mineral that is important in regulating osmotic pressure in cells and carbohydrate metabolism is potassium.  It also helps with maintaining the acid-base balances of cells.

The partner to calcium is phosphorus.  Together, they do great things and are important for strong bones and needed to metabolize and use energy.

Magnesium is important for good bone health and is involved in enzyme function.

These minerals work together for a healthy, happy horse.  This is why it is always important to feed horses a complete, well balanced diet.


Equine Advice: Thrush


Gypsy, the Equine Encyclopedia, has something to say about Thrush.  Like all Shetlands, she is always watching, listening and learning.

Thrush is an infection of the hoof which is caused by anaerobic bacteria (Fusobacterium Necrophorum) that creates a black, foul-smelling sometimes cheesy-looking discharge.  Thrush was originally thought to be a fungus but has recently been proved to be caused by bacteria.

It gives the appearance of the frog (a firm, spongy triangle-shaped structure in the center of a horse’s hoof that helps the horse to absorb shock) disintegrating.  When the infection is fairly advanced, it may cause lameness or may affect the sensitive laminae.  The infection thrives in manure and wet soil.

Thrush may be treated by disinfecting the hoof with an anti-thrush solution, once to twice a day for at least 10 days.

Picking a horse’s hooves once a day is a good preventive measure for thrush.  Thrush is fairly common and rarely causes lasting damage if treated properly.

Equine Advice: HYPP


Gypsy, the Equine Encyclopedia, has something to say about  Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis.  Like all shetlands, she is always watching, listening and learning.

Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis, also known as HYPP, occurs mainly in Quarter Horses and other stock breeds such as Appaloosas and Paints.  It has been traced back to one Quarter Horse stallion named Impressive.

Horses affected with this genetic disorder experience muscle tremors, stiffness and paralysis during which the horse can become unable to breathe.  Episodes are not generally associated with work or exercise; HYPP can be triggered by diets high in potassium.

Being able to see the third eyelid is a warning sign.  Horses with Impressive in their pedigree should be tested for HYPP although not all of those horses are affected.


The splatter of raindrops

Grim clouds in the sky

A storm late in coming

Birds on the fly

The mud level’s rising

Puddles are growing

You can tell that it’s winter

Without even knowing

But out in the weather

The ponies stand

Manes plastered down

On the wet, wet land

Coats fluffy as can be

Tails sodden in the storm

As long as full manes are long

Thick stout coats

Will keep them warm


By the River

Down by the river

The ponies are running

For they can tell

A lion is coming

Hooves slicing the soil

A storm in their manes

Something is coming;

The danger is plain

Then finally they stop

And one turns around

It was only a rabbit;

They’re safe and sound