Tuesday, July 4, 2017

feetsies + flies for the 4th

Happy Independence Day to those of you in the States! I thought we could use this opportunity to take a brief intermission from our Fair Hill HT recap and talk a little bit about a different type of independence: from FLIES.

And, related to flies, I want to discuss the various other things I'm doing to protect Charlie's precious (and expen$ive) new shoes from the rigors of summer stamping on hard ground.

This quite naturally leads into another quick update on the tools and products that are currently in heavy rotation here at 'Fraidy Cat Eventing.

the standard arsenal, or, er, most of it!
A - Repel-X from concentrate: This is my second summer in a row using this fly spray, mixed as needed in a spray bottle. I typically go for a heavier concentration than recommended (usually closer to 1:4 instead of 1:7). It works well but needs reapplication after heavy sweating.

B - Horze ribbed bell boots: Charlie is luckily not hard on these suckers bc they likely wouldn't stand up to any abuse. The velcro has already come detached at the seams in places (purchased in December with only moderate use). They continue to do their job, but I likely won't repurchase once they well and truly die.

C - Hoof pick: Self explanatory. This came in a holiday gift bag from a former barn mate. I've heard tell of very fancy extravagant hoof pics, but this oldie but goodie works for me!

D - Sore No-More Gelotion: I bought this for Isabel but continue to use for Charlie. I've also since picked up the liniment for mixing into braces after hard rides or events. Seems like good stuff, gives my hands a pleasant tingling sensation and Charlie yawns a lot when I rub it into his back.

E - Keratex hoof hardener: Picked this stuff up in November at the recommendation of my vet. Still working on that first bottle, but went through a long period of not using it. We've since gotten religious again - now mostly applying directly to the nail hole areas on all 4 feet (tho the farrier specifically recommended just the fronts). The idea is to strengthen his hoof walls, while also adding flexibility (ie, keeping them from growing brittle) so that he might hang onto those shoes more easily.

F - Scritchy bath mitt (from Dover but now I can't find a link): I often use this instead of a sponge when hosing off a horse, or when using a bucket of water to "sponge" off the horse after a ride. I find the mitt does a much better job of invigorating the coat and eliminating sweat and grime, leaving a clean and clear coat behind.

G - Shires plastic curry: I'm a die-hard traditionalist when it comes to my curry combs. It's these old school plastic curries or bust for me. I've even found that some sensitive skinned beasties seem to prefer the hard plastic to the soft jelly curries. This purple one just joined the team after my last one fiiiiinally bit the dust.

H - Horze body brush (review here): I already reviewed my thoughts on this particular brush last October. This is mostly just to say that I still love this brush, and it continues to hold up to daily duty without showing any signs of wear (beyond the Horze branding rubbing off haha).

that's 33lbs of farriers formula. and those are just the refills. he's got another ~30 pounds in a bucket in the feedroom. homeboy eats a LOT of it.
Charlie's hoof care regimen also includes a nutritional element, as might reasonably be expected. My farrier claims to put the most faith in Platinum Performance, which Charlie has been getting since around January. Notably, the addition of that supplement to Charlie's diet coincided with when he became the most reliably sound. He just recently came off the loading dose but will stay on a maintenance dose.

However, I've also added a loading dose of Farrier's Formula to Charlie's diet. And damn but he eats a fuck ton of this stuff. I actually had to legitimately buy new measuring cup scoops to include in the bucket for barn staff so that they wouldn't be counting out interminable scoops with every meal. The reputation with this supplement is that it's very much a "Long Game" type approach - you see the difference in the new hoof growth, but... ya know... you gotta wait for that hoof to grow. We'll see!

the newest addition! and charlie's tootsies haha
And in the meantime, I'm doing what I can now to help reduce the beating those feet take while Charlie is in turn out. Summer heat means hard ground and flies, as we all know. So in addition to covering the horse in fly spray and treating those hooves with Keratex, I've recently added Kensington fly boots to the equation.

here's hoping they help provide relief!
I've been a little reluctant to do so, bc the key to fly boots seems to be finding a pair that stays ON but doesn't rub the horse in the process. Furthermore, if the boots get too hot, the horse will just sweat underneath them - thus attracting more flies. So idk.

We're very much in the trial period with these, but my fingers are crossed that they'll provide at least a little bit of relief - and maybe get Charlie back to a 4 week shoeing cycle instead of 3 weeks (fml)...

and naturally charlie's gotta keep his superstar face protected too!
And for the sake of completeness, Charlie's last little bit of fly gear is this new Roma fly mask. I learned pretty quickly that Charlie likes to take his masks off - in fact he quite politely hung his last mask in the same mulberry tree EVERY DAY.

Since barn mgmt has better things to do with their time than hunt down my horse's mask, I picked up this 'sleeve' type mask. There's no velcro - it's just a stretchy tube with eye and ear mesh coverings. So far Charlie has left this on without issue, and doesn't appear to get hot or nasty under it. So it's proven to be a good solution for him. Might not necessarily hold up against a horse who's a little... harder on his gear tho lol.

So anyway. That's where things currently stand with Charlie and his emancipation from flydom. Have you added any new pieces of gear to your horse's outfit in the fight against flies? Or found any tools or sprays that have helped keep the flies off and the shoes on? Or anything else you've tried, nutritionally or otherwise, that's made a difference for your horse?

26 comments:

  1. Farrier's Formula worked a miracle for Pig when we we're working to come out of shoes. I could literally see the better hoof grow down. He wasn't on any pasture then, so it was necessary. Interestingly full turnout seems to keep need for it at bay now.

    Fly boots are super important for Pig, but he also won't keep on a mask to save his life. Lol. Picky thing hates clothes but doesn't mind socks, I guess.

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    1. Lol socks.... I'm looking forward to seeing results eventually from the farriers formula. It did wonders for Wick's feet. I'm just a little impatient haha

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  2. Bobby's on year two of his Kensington fly boots, and while looking a little worn, they still stay up and stay on great. For a horse that will happily ditch things he doesn't think he needs (HIS HALTER, BAD HORSE) he's never once removed these.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that about the boots! So far he has kept them on ok. I still worry about rubs tho bc I'm convinced Charlie would find a way to turn a small run into cellulitis or some shit like that haha. But we will see!

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  3. I love Repel-X! It's cheap and works about as well as anything. Honestly, I found night turnout was the biggest thing that helped reduce the stomping and prolong the life of his shoes.

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    1. Definitely agreed on the repel-x, it's a product I have no problems paying for again and again. And that's a good point about how turnout affects the whole fly/shoe situation. Charlie goes out over night too so there are fewer flies.... But then again the grass is damper and dewier which wreaks its own special havoc on the hooves. Oh horses, such special snowflakes!

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  4. oh this reminds me i need more fly spray (And I do Repel X too....i call it the cologne of Summer:) HA Remus has a fly sheet but he sweats too much (no matter the brand) that I dont use it. He does have fly masks but luckily the barn doesnt seem to have too many flies and he goes out at night (and has his horrible muzzle on too). I have had friends use the fly boots to great effect so fingers crossed for you. Oh and the bell boots I use are the cheap ass ovation ones from Dover. They last 6 months tops but only 9.99 (20 bucks a year) SO WORTH It....

    Happy 4th!!!

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    1. lol yup repel x seems pretty darn good for the flies we get around here. good to know about the dover boots too. charlie isn't really hard on his bells... but they need to not fall apart.

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  5. I love this post! Really cool to see what you're doing both for flies and hooves. Katai is enjoying her Cashel fly boots so far but it's great to hear about another options.

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    1. oh good! i always like hearing what people are doing for their horse care too bc i think we're pretty much all just trying to see what works, ya know?

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  6. I love shoo fly horse boots. They aren't fitted, so they are much cooler than regular fly boots. They are butt ugly, but really have eliminated the stomping for us.

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    1. I also use the equine sun visor fly mask. http://www.equinesunvisor.com
      Here in sunny Colorado, horses get cataracts just like humans. I get the double closure option, and I have yet to have one come off.

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    2. oooh that visor is interesting - i can think of quite a few horses who would benefit from that extra protection (esp a couple paints at my last barn). i saw those shoo fly boots too and was intrigued. actually i haven't totally given up the thought of trying to DIY some type of solution myself too, if these kensingtons don't work out - and my own design would likely be something a little looser fitting like those shoo fly boots.

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  7. I'll be curious to hear how the fly boots work. I've been thinking about it.

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    1. i'll definitely try to keep up to date on them. so far they're staying on, so i'll just be on the look out for any rubs. i've heard that if they're left on 24/7 they could rub, but we're just doing 12 hour shifts basically. they seem pretty cool too in their construction, so hopefully the horse won't be sweating badly under them.

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  8. I have been using the Schneiders fly boots and I LOVE them. AMAZING, and super cheap for a set of 4. So far, I've washed them once, and they cleaned up great. They stand up with no trouble, too. Strong recommend.

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    1. oh that's good to know! i've heard good stuff about those too. so far i'm feeling optimistic about these kensingtons but we'll see!!

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  9. Penn does fly sheet and fly mask. He actually seems happy to wear them this year- he wasn't so thrilled before. Last year, he was super hard on his sheet and easy on his mask... this year (knock on wood), he's easy on the sheet and is being hard on his masks... Yes, MASKS. I had to buy the sucker a second mask after he kept ditching his new Noble Outfitter one via horse in another field. Then within 48 hours of getting his new Supershield mask from TS, he ripped the nose fleece off. Sorry bud, I'm buying some fleece from JoAnn Fabrics (with a coupon this time!), and hot gluing your mask back together!

    I love farrier's formula. And that's the thing about hoof supplements, you have to give them the time to work, and that takes a long time. I think this summer might be particularly bad for hooves- Penn has excellent feet and I've already moved him to a 5 week schedule and I'm seeing a tiny amount of crumbling by the old nail holes. It's too early for that!! I got Farrier's Finish- it's supposed to condition and be anti-microbial (because his feet smell now too). Love me some Life Data products!

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    1. yea this summer got kinda nasty kinda fast. it really took me by surprise - the farrier had just graduated charlie to a five week cycle and then BOOM, his feet just fell apart. i think we've gotten out in front of it now - and the leather rim pads appear to be helping to reduce the crumbling, but still. good to know about the farrier's finish too. i want to talk to my farrier about his thoughts on using some type of oil based product to protect charlie's hooves from moisture. we'll see tho.

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  10. I'm fortunate in that my two aren't terribly bothered by the flies - thank god, because I took lessons on a mare that was eaten live every summer, to the point where her belly was raw and we'd spend half the summer putting Swat and/or Corona on it; swear I spent a couple of summers pink from the stupid Swat. But I've got a bottle of Bronco in the trunk and access to better in the barn for when it's needed.

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  11. I have used the fly boots on a horse before- and they were a lifesaver for me! Flies would literally make his legs bleed around his cannon bone area. The fly boots were a miracle. I hope they work for you guy- keeping the flies off and keeping the shoes on. I cant believe you were having to do shoes every 3 weeks!!!

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  12. I've got a host of the kensington fly boots... they have a bit of a tendency to slide down and get tight, but so far they've been the best brand I've tried (though I haven't gotten the Shoo Fly ones yet...). They definitely keep my barefoot horses in better hoof shape than they would stomping all day. Since we moved the girls home, I've broken down and bought the two princess TBs Rambo Protector fly sheets. So expensive, but they're holding up without rubbing... so I'm pleased enough. My oldest girl doesn't seem to think she can see with a fly mask on, so I've been applying SWAT to her face instead to try and keep her from getting bitten up. Its truly a battle. If the threads on those bell boots are still pretty tight, I broke down and glued the velcro to these cheap bell boots that were the only thing that didn't rub Foxie when she wore shoes. The velcro itself worked well but the stitching never held well without some glue assistance... maybe a way to keep the crappy boots working for as long as they can?

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  13. Great choices. I know that I am going to start looking for a hoof conditioner for Dante (barefoot right now, would like to keep it that way as long as possible) need to do my research

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  14. I am currently saying a little prayer that June will have good feet and not be sensitive to flies. Although, we have a constant breeze (aka wind) at our barn which seems to keep flies at bay for the most part. Maybe Charlie could have a fan attached to him to keep flies away??? lol

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  15. The flies are AWFUL right now, but at least there's just a ton of them, and they aren't really biting (yet). Gross and irritating, but not painful. For now.

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  16. The fly mask seems interesting. I hope you'll do an update if it keep working out. Levi also likes to remove his. We've had luck using BugLyte for the flies. I don't know how much it really works, but it stopped Shasta from itching her mane out from bug annoyance.

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