Hidden Meadow Farm Sport Horses

Everything About Horses

horse age

How to Find Out How Old a Horse Is?

Regardless of the purpose for which a horse is purchased, it is important to be able to accurately determine its age. It becomes the basis for assessing the breeding possibilities of offspring, performing certain tasks and formulating a diet. Of course, today horses are not bought “from the gypsies”, but even a mandatory passport from an animal with an indication of veterinary and other marks for a good owner is not a reason to refuse additional checks.


The age of a horse can be determined from the first visual inspection:

  • on the skin;
  • by muscle tone;
  • by the color of certain breeds;
  • in the teeth.

The first three methods are not very reliable and can be used only as indirect and additional ones. So, with aging in horses, like in other animals, the skin becomes less elastic (the joints visually become sharpened), the muscles lose elasticity. With a dark suit, you can see gray hair on the mane or tail.


“They don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” – it is no coincidence that our ancestors invented this proverb. It is by the teeth (or rather, by their condition) that the age of the horse can be reliably determined.

A complete “set” in mares consists of 12 incisors and 24 molars (36 in total). Stallions have 4 additional canines. During the life cycle, there are 5 main stages of the formation and change of teeth, which “provide” information about the age.

  • eruption of milk (whiter and smaller) incisors: from the first or second week to six months of age;
  • abrasion of cups on milk teeth: on the hooks and middle incisors – up to a year, on the edges – from one and a half to two years;
  • the formation of adult teeth (hooks – 2.5 years, middle incisors – 3.5 years, edges – up to 5 years);
  • the erasure of the cups on the incisors (approximately 2 mm annually) on the lower hooks by the age of 6, the middle incisors by the age of 7, the edges by the age of 8, the abrasion of the upper jaw is observed at the age of 9-11;
  • The shape of the incisors, which is sharply changed due to abrasion (rounding and acquiring a triangular shape), is characteristic of animals 12-20 years old, in older ones, the incisor arcs are straightened, and the teeth are closed in a chisel-like manner.


Before examination, it is recommended to put on a special yawner on the animal, excluding the possibility of a bite. If it is not there, they approach the horse from the right side and insert the hand over the edge without teeth. In this case, the tongue is pulled aside with two fingers, and with the left hand (grasping the back of the nose and upper lip) they raise their head to the position necessary for examination.

Saddle for a Horse

How to Choose a Saddle for a Horse

A saddle for a riding horse is an element on which the health of an animal and a person directly depends. The importance of choosing it correctly, taking into account the physique and the goals set, is extremely important. The modern market offers a very large number of models and varieties, which can be compared and evaluated only with certain knowledge.


Perhaps only Indians and cowboys from westerns are able to make long transitions on the same saddle and perform crazy stunts. In reality, there is a different saddle design for each task. Main varieties:

  • sports;
  • special;
  • on two runners;
  • for ponies.

Sports saddles are used for training and competition. Severe loads provide sufficient strength while being comfortable for both horse and man. Options are training, show jumping, dressage, triathlon saddles.

Special saddles are used exclusively for specific purposes: horse racing, runs, horse riding, vaulting, etc.

Saddles on two plastic or wooden runners combine a very large number of walking, drill, farm and other types. They can have various decorations and numerous mounts for ammunition.


Choosing the right saddle type for specific purposes (loads) is just the beginning. When buying, you should pay attention to:

  • material – it must be made of soft durable leather or synthetics of similar characteristics;
  • sitting – strength, density, ease of fit and no seams at the point of contact;
  • strength and reliability with a locksmith lock;
  • saddle cushions – elasticity, uniformity of weight distribution, packing density – no risk of injury to the horse’s back from knotted bumps;
  • lienchik (lower part) – the integrity and strength of the structure and its placement in the center of the horse;
  • size – the longer the thigh, the larger (front and back should fit across the width of the palm).

Complete with a saddle or separately, you need to purchase harnesses, stirrups, saddle cloth and girth.


The saddle of a horse is as individual as a person’s shoes. Trying it on before use is mandatory: each animal has its own features of the structure of the back, which require specific dimensions.

The first time the saddle is applied without a protective saddle pad – 5 cm beyond the normal position. Then it should be displaced into the “fold” (from the sides of the withers). If the product moves further and rests against the withers, it definitely does not fit and threatens with injuries. In a normal position without loading the rider, there should be a pair of fingers between the bow and the withers.

In no case should the saddle touch the shoulder blades (hinder movement), and the soft shelves should fit well to the muscles, in other words, ensure an even distribution of loads. At the same time, it is necessary to protect the spine from injuries – there should be a gap above it between the pillows, which, among other things, guarantees good ventilation of the back.

When the horse moves, it is not permissible to move the saddle in any plane. If the animal moves easily and without whims, this is its size. A tucked tail, a tense back or ears should alert you.

Trim a Horse's Hooves

How to Trim a Horse’s Hooves

Trimming (trimming) the horse’s hooves not only keeps the animal healthy, but is also a great way for its owner to build a strong relationship with his hoofed friend. In theory, the whole process is quite simple, but you will need some practice and repeated execution of the necessary (not very long) operations before you can confidently master this skill. Start your practice with short partial procedures (trimming only two hooves at a time) so that you and your horse can gradually get used to the full trimming process.

Preparation for work

Get your tools ready. Before getting started, you will need to collect the tools you need to trim your horse’s hooves. They all serve different functions and together are necessary for proper cleaning and trimming of the hooves. Make sure you have all of the following:

  • gloves to protect hands during work;
  • hoof ticks for trimming hooves;
  • rasp for cleaning hoof irregularities;
  • a hoof knife that will help remove dirt trapped in the hoof;
  • blacksmith’s caps or farrier’s apron to protect the feet when trimming the hooves.

Soak the horse’s hooves. Hard dry hooves are very difficult to trim and will upset not only you but the horse as well. Before trimming the hooves, soak them in water to facilitate subsequent work.

  • Let the horse’s hooves soak in the water or slush for 15-20 minutes.
  • If you live in dry climates, bring a water spray bottle with you to further moisturize your hooves as you work.
  • If the hooves have time to dry out during the procedure, stop and soak them again.

Remove dirt from the hooves. Hooves should be cleaned before trimming. This will give you a better view of the horny tissue and give you an idea of ​​which areas of the hoof require special attention. Use a hoof knife to remove soil and other debris that may have lodged in the hooves.

  • Hold the hoof knife in your hand with the tip of the blade down, not the way you would normally hold a kitchen knife.
  • The wrist should remain straight, and all movements should be done with the hand itself.
  • Also, the hoof knife can be used to cut the regrown areas of the hoof frog along the perimeter of the sole.

Hoof trimming

Study the structure of the hoof. Before you start trimming the hooves, you need to examine the different parts of the hoof. Knowing the structure of the hooves will help you understand which areas should be trimmed, how they should look and how best to trim them.

  • The hoof surrounds the outer wall and defines the line of its outer contour from the sole side.
  • The sole of the hoof is the entire surface of the hoof within its outer wall.
  • The white line defines the inside of the hoof wall.
  • The frog is a large hoof element that starts at the heel and merges into a sharp frog pointing to the center of the hoof.

Find out how much you need to trim the hoof. After the horse’s hoof has been soaked and cleaned of dirt, it is necessary to assess its condition in order to find out what areas need to be trimmed and how best to do it. Each hoof will always have its own characteristics every time you do the next trim. Therefore, carefully consider the appearance of the hoof in order to choose a further course of action.

  • Pay attention to the cracked areas that need to be cut.
  • Estimate the length of the hoof wall.
  • Find out if you need to shorten the front wall.
  • See if the outer wall has any asymmetry.

Get in the right position for the job. Correct posture when trimming the horse’s hooves will provide you and the animal with greater comfort during this procedure. Holding your hoof correctly will make it easier to control and shape as flat and correct as possible. Be sure to take the correct posture to tackle horse hooves.

  • The horse’s front leg should be lifted and pulled back towards his ribcage. Place it on your thigh.
  • The back leg must be lifted straight up and place your leg directly in front of it. Lean forward to reach the hoof and work on it.
  • When lifting your horse’s leg up, always make sure it flexes naturally at the joints.
  • Do not try to lift the horse’s hoof if the animal resists.

Trim the hoof. Hoof mites are required to trim the hoof. They are a large analogue of the horse’s hoof clippers. The excess length of the hoof wall is shortened with ticks. They are good at helping to quickly remove regrown parts of the hoof and roughly give the hoof the correct shape before finishing the rest of the areas.

  • Use pliers to remove any overgrown areas of the outer hoof wall.
  • To cut off the excess stratum corneum of the hoof wall, bring the handles of the ticks together.
  • Work at a leisurely pace to shorten the hoof as much as necessary.
  • Trim the wall of the hoof at a 45-degree angle to the front (toe) to prevent the hoof from getting too sharp.

Scrape the hoof off with a rasp. During the trimming process, a horse’s hoof can become uneven and rough in some places. The hoof rasp is a special file used to correct the unevenness of the horse’s hoof. If you run it over the hoof, part of the stratum corneum will be removed. Use a rasp to smooth out irregularities and areas where the pliers are too large to use.

  • Do not rasp both sides of the frog at the same time, as this may cause the hoof to become uneven.
  • Work in short strokes at first until you have better control over the rasp and more hands-on experience.
  • Keep the rasp as level as possible in relation to the sole of the hooves to keep the hooves flat.

Brush your sole. After leveling the outer wall of the foot, the sole should be trimmed to slightly deeper than the wall. This allows the load to be transferred to the outer wall of the foot instead of the sensitive zone of the sole.

  • The outer wall of the foot should be longer than the sole in height.

Check the appearance of the hoof. After cleaning, trimming and straightening the hoof, inspect it again. This will be the final check to make sure all problem areas have been treated, the hoof is completely trimmed, and the horse is level on it.

  • Check hoof symmetry.
  • Try to keep the hoof level on all sides.
  • The plantar edge of the outer wall of the foot should be level and flat.

Improving your own skills

Consider taking a training course in hoof trimming. If you are interested in learning how to groom and groom your horse’s hooves yourself, you may want to take a related training course. These courses help you learn about the structure of a horse’s hooves, how to clean them, and the best ways to trim safely and safely.

Understand when to go to professionals. In some cases, it may be preferable to hire specialists to handle the horse’s hooves rather than trying to do the work yourself. By entrusting the job to a professional, you reduce the risk of injury to your horse during the procedure and get the perfect hoof trimming result.

  • If your horse has an injury or any medical problem with his hooves, it is wiser to see a specialist.
  • If the horse’s hooves are growing in an unusual way or unevenly, a professional will be able to give them the necessary even shape.

When doing the procedure yourself, work slowly and carefully. You may be anxious to try to get all of the hooves out in one go, but it’s best to take breaks from work and come back to work again after a while to complete the task. If you are just learning how to trim your horse’s hooves, the process can be quite stressful and difficult for both of you. Taking breaks from work will not prevent you from gaining experience and will make the procedure as pleasant as possible for both you and the horse.

  • If you are new to this business, try to limit yourself to processing only a couple of hooves in one procedure. Clean only the front or only two hind hooves.
  • If you are tired or starting to lose patience with trimming the hooves, pause and return to work a little later.
  • Never lose your composure while working with a horse. If the horse has an unpleasant experience with hoof trimming, he will be less supportive of the procedure later on.


  • Be sure to soak your horse’s hooves before trimming.
  • Don’t be afraid to take breaks from work.
  • When trimming hooves, never rush, work slowly.


  • If your horse has any hoof problems, consult a specialist.

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