Wednesday, June 1, 2016

1st June, 2016 Summer Range

We are constantly being urged to examine what lies behind a horse's behaviour and to ensure that there is no pain or discomfort which could be the true cause. Indeed it is unethical to work on eliminating a horse's unwanted behaviour if we ignore the fact that he could well be in pain.

Nowhere is pain and discomfort ignored more than in horse transportation where the position and hardness of breast bars and partitions and the orientation of the horse causes bruising of the chest and restriction of their ability to breathe. No wonder some horses become reluctant or impossible to load, and others vote with their feet by going over the breast bar.

I am looking forward to hearing the outcome of research into the physiological impact of travelling horses in various forms of transport but itching to be able to help horses in the meantime. When I carried out the survey of horse transport incidents and accidents I was surprised to see just how many involved horses going over the breast bars of front facing trailers. I know from experience just how many horses become more and more reluctant to go into these trailers and some that I have worked with have made it very clear that it is the front bar that puts them off. The law of physics dictates that whenever the towing vehicle brakes or even changes gear, the horse is likely to come into contact with that bar with some force. To avoid that, horses will brace themselves, straddling their back legs wider than is natural and this causes soreness in the sacro-iliac region.

I looked into what padding might be available to mitigate the effects of hitting the bar, which in most trailers is hard. The only so-called 'luxury' padding that I found was totally inadequate and even with the addition of a well made vinyl cover not fit for the job.

I have come up with my own proto-type which features thick and DENSE padding which is warm to the touch, and a removable vinyl cover which is washable, robust, and fastens with strong Velcro. Yes, this is something that anyone could throw together themselves and make do, or I can let them know where to get the materials from, or they can buy from me ready made. Since it is 'for the horse' I will add just a few pounds profit in order to keep Henrietta in biscuits!

Vinyl will fit tighter than shown