Monday, December 25, 2006

Transition to Natural Trim and Good Feet

Transition to Natural Trim and Good Feet

For years, our horses feet (first shod and later barefoot) were trimmed by farriers and had appeared "adequate" -- meaning no MAJOR foot problems. But the horses were tender on rocks, often a bit "off" right after a trim, and one had sporadic thrush in his very deep grooves.

I also was dis-satisfied by the farriers' explanations for why they trimmed the soles. So when our farrier moved away, and the horses needed trimming before we had located another well-recommended one, I decided to do a touch-up myself.

I went on-line for instructions and tools, and fortunately came to Pete Ramey's invaluable site; I ordered his inexpensive book ("Making natural hoof care work for you") and found it captivating! His natural method made such good sense!

I was encouraged that after my first attempt at trimming (following Pete's instructions: letting the sole be the guide, adding a generous "mustang roll", and definitely not cutting into the sole), the horses stepped out fine; and I was amazed that after only the second trimming, their heels had started to de-contract and the horses were becoming more comfortable on rocks than ever before.

Needless to say, I am still trimming!

And the horses' feet are still improving!

Icey's previously withered frogs have become wide and lush; his previously deep grooves that encouraged thrush became dry and wide as the heels de-contracted (by over an inch), and they have become much less deep as his feet have restored their natural concave shape (so never thrush anymore); the bad vertical cracks that for years had plagued Rose's feet have disappeared, and her long-term club foot has now largely recovered; and Svala's previously good feet have become true "gravel-crunchers".

After a few months of trimming, it became clear that my friend's chronic foundered horse was not being trimmed properly by her farrier, who was leaving an enormously long toe and very high heels. [That prevented her from recovering, although she had already been removed from the grass that was the primary cause of her problem.]

So, following Pete's instructions, plus invaluable advice from Paul Chapman through his Yahoo site (BareFootNaturally), I began trimming Glaesa's badly foundered feet (x-rays had showed 30 degree rotation, and the "white line" was stretched out to nearly an inch).

After taking her heels down (by nearly an inch over two trimmings) and resecting the toes of her detached hoofwalls (by nearly that much), she was walking quite happily. She soon became 100% sound and within seven months her old hoofs were completely grown out and replaced by fully attached new ones. That was pretty exciting!

Is this trimming trivial? Certainly not. But it is quite do-able!

And there are wonderful resources, including invaluable more-recent articles on Pete Ramey's web site (a must to read), great web sites of others, and excellent Yahoo groups with very supportive people. Also, there are always exciting new things to learn.

I personally could not get comfortable with the heavy farrier's rasp, but found that a cheap Stanley wood rasp from home Depot worked great for me. And through the AbrasiveHorseHoofTrimming Yahoo group I recently learned about angle grinders speeding and easing hoof trimming, especially for us middle aged ladies; after a few times using one, I have become a convert.

Let me also convey that I am not a horse-person by trade; rather I am a Professor at Johns Hopkins, where my main exercise is typing on a computer keyboard. So if I can make my horses much happier by trimming their feet in the natural way, you can too! Give it a try!

Yours, Barbara Sollner-Webb

PS: If you might like to converse about this with me, please e-mail or call (410-955-6278).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Saddle Fit and Last Rib

If you are trying to determine saddle fit for your Icelandic Horse / Pony, one important consideration is the placement of the last rib. Saddles should not sit past the last rib.

Here are a couple of pictures showing how to find the last rib on an Icelandic Pony:

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

A Day Out With Charm

Charm and I went to the local rider's field yesterday. This is good for exposure for her, as a two and a half year old Icelandic Horse filly. She gets practice with trailer loading, trailering, tying, and seeing new things.

She also has free time to run around and check out the arena, and express herself :-).

The first time she saw the jump standards, she'd walk around them to get to me. I encouraged her on-line to walk over them. Now she's at the point of being able to trot over the low ones.

She also got to wear a surcingle for a while.

There was a new item on the property, a big black drain pipe, which she had to smell and touch (click and treat). Then I asked her to come over it. She had to make a couple of tried, first one front leg, then back up and try another front leg, trying to get coordinated, and she was able to walk over it.

We practiced "the send". Instead of leading her over or thru obstacles, I'd "send" her over or through. The pictures show her being sent over a low obstacle, and thru corral gates.

She went over the Ugly Bridge. It's painted a few different colors, strewn with cut vegetation.

We walked the trail, passed this jump, and after we passed the palm, she turned back to look at it. I guess she wondered what those "fingers" were, and if it was something she needed to worry about. Her default behavior is to stop, look, and touch, to "know" what it is.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

We have several new pages about Charm's training:

[] Charm Says "No"

[] Playing With Charm, Some Fun Behaviors

[] Charm's First Trip To The River

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Charm, Learning to Follow A Feel in the Unwind Exercise

Charm, a two-year-old Icelandic Horse filly is learning to follow a feel, through the lead rope, moving "away" from the handler and coming back in again. This is called the "Unwind" exercise.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A new article about the shape of the horse's back:

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Horse Playing Horn

Gaefur, Icelandic Horse, plays the horn, which he was taught thru clicker training.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Liz Graves, gaited horse clinician, shares some information on bits, bitting, and sidepulls for horses.

Video Hosting - Upload Video - Video Sharing

Friday, July 7, 2006

Icelandic Horse News Headlines:

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

A slide show:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Several new pages added:
See What's New!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

More Babies!

Baby, Baby, Baby!

Some of our new babies from the IceHorses Email List!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Icelandic Horse Postage!!


Click here for Icelandic Horse Postage!!

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Special "Icelandic Horse" items:

Monday, June 5, 2006

New rescue pony available:

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Lee's DVD is available.

Lee's first DVD is now available through Susan's website:

More of Lee's articles:

This DVD is about 50 minutes of a lesson with Elva and Satin.

Proceeds to the family.

Please feel free to forward to other lists or gaited horse forums.



Thursday, June 1, 2006

A new on-line video of my gelding, Ljufur:*iceryder

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Two additional Icelandic Horse rescues: watch for the upcoming story!

Monday, May 22, 2006

We have started to archive some of the past newsletters:

Saturday, May 20, 2006

We have added RSS Feeds for the IceHorses, GaitedHorse, and ClickRyder email discussion lists, to the Icelandic Horse Connection website:

Friday, May 19, 2006

Take The Poll

There is a current poll on Your Interest in Icelandic Horses. Please take the poll at:


Training To The Mat:

We worked on training Asa, the two year old filly, to the mat. The "mat" can be anything, such as a door mat, a piece of plywood, a towel, a stepping stone, etc.

It's very similar to ground tying. It gives the horse a place to stand, his "mark" so to speak, for whatever reason it is needed: grooming, stand and stay, vet work, farrier work, etc.

For more pictures and information, go to this page: