Trimming Fetlocks

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Trimming Fetlocks

This is a discussion on Trimming Fetlocks within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • How to trim a ponys fetlocks
  • How to cut fetlocks on a horse

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    09-05-2010, 11:13 AM
Trimming Fetlocks

Winter here is typically very wet and muddy all the time. For the past few years I've been in the habit of trimming my Welsh Cob's feathers off in the winter and letting them grow back out in the spring and summer when it's not so wet and muddy. If I don't trim her fetlocks, they become caked and matted in what I like to call "mud dreadlocks".

I mentioned that I did this to a woman at the barn who owns a Friesian and she seemed absolutely horrified, even implying that their fetlocks serve some essential purpose?? I couldn't see how this might be the case, as several horses don't even have them. The Friesian's owner washes, brushes out, and blow dries her horse's feathers periodically throughout winter.

I don't have nearly the amount of time or motivation to go to such a huge extent for my cob's fetlocks, nor does she have nearly as much feathering as the Friesian. So am I really being "cruel" to her on any level? It seems to me that having all of that mud and moisture hanging off their legs for so long would set them up for bad skin conditions... even if you tried to clean it all up once a week.

Here's a picture where you can see about the full extent of fetlocks that my Welsh ever gets. This image was taken in the fall just before I might have considered trimming them, so they're as long as they ever reach. The reason I ask is because it's getting towards that time of year when I'm going to start thinking of trimming her fetlocks again! ^_^

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    09-05-2010, 12:09 PM
I have a friesian, I wash and brush his fetlocks (you actually HAVE TO if you don't want to have those dreadlocks you talked about) though I don't see why I would blow dry them as when I leave them the way they are they're dry in 5 minutes. Recently we had a case in our stables when all except 3 horses (including my horse) got their manes and fetlocks cut overnight (we now know who did it) and I swear I couldn't sleep at night for a good couple of days afterwards fearing that he would come back and finish the horses he didn't do the first night. I mean, friesian with cut feathering!! I freak out everytime anyone with scissors in their hands just passes by my horse. But I've also heard about people who prefer their friesians cut so... I'd say it depends on the owner, if you don't have a horse for shows, dressage and stuff like that I don't think it really matters. I personally do have the time to thoroughly clean my horse's fetlocks anytime they need to be cleaned and if somebody doesn't then I guess it's better to cut them rather than have a matted horse
    09-05-2010, 11:37 PM
Erm...if it works for you, then don't even bother with what the other owner is telling you; the shorter hair could actually benefit your horse, given the mud, as it will dry quicker, and stay dry, preventing things like thrush, and other irritation that can happen when the hair remains wet.
    09-06-2010, 12:16 AM
I don't think fetlocks serve much of a purpose. And if you don't have the time to clean them like that lady does, I think you are better off just getting a pair of scissors and hacking them off.

Cute horse, btw. ;)
    09-06-2010, 01:49 AM
I've never heard of such purpose. Some horses have none, as you said, with no ill effects.

If it makes life easier for you and the pony, go ahead I say. Personally, I think it makes for a much cleaner, neater look. Now, on some breeds, they are gorgeous. But for breeds that just get a little feathering, really, what IS the point?
    09-06-2010, 02:30 AM
Green Broke
Around here we have a few Welsh's....I don't know, maybe we are talking a different Welsh. One girl says hers is a "Welsh Pony" another says hers is a "Welsh mountain pony." I figure they are the same thing as well as the same as yours, if I'm wrong let me know. Anyway, they all keep their ponies fetlocks clipped all year round....
    09-06-2010, 02:41 AM
Cinny - There are different types of Welshes. Different in height, structure, size, confo, ect. But all Welshes.
    09-06-2010, 02:53 AM
Definitely, your horse, your choice. As long as you're not thinking about cutting off a leg you can do what you want with your own horse.
    09-06-2010, 03:38 AM
Originally Posted by Cinnys Whinny    
Around here we have a few Welsh's....I don't know, maybe we are talking a different Welsh. One girl says hers is a "Welsh Pony" another says hers is a "Welsh mountain pony." I figure they are the same thing as well as the same as yours, if I'm wrong let me know. Anyway, they all keep their ponies fetlocks clipped all year round....
There are 4 sections. The A is the Welsh Mountain Pony; The B is the Welsh Pony; The C is the Welsh Pony of Cob Type; The D is the Welsh Cob. Some refer to them all as Welsh, some do that but add the letter.

I LOVE feathers and would NOT want to cut them off, even on your beautiful Welsh Cob. But, if there were a medical reason to do so I would have to face it and do so... crying if it were my Fell pony and his gorgeous feathers! But really, it's totally up to you, and if you want to take hers off, no harm to her at all! :)

BTW I just bought a Welsh Mountain Pony who is red roan and I thought of your girl as soon a I saw her :)
    09-06-2010, 10:45 AM
There is nothing wrong with trimming the feathers at all. I do it all the time if a horse gets a little long back there whether it be summer or winter. Just cause I like a more clean cut look. Don't bother listening to the fresian owner in this matter because you need to remember that in the Fresian world it is highly looked down upon to trim a fresian at all anywhere besides the muzzle. They are a totally different world. I say if it is easier go ahead and trim the fetlocks. Much healthier too because if you don't want to take the time everyday to wash them and dry them then your horse would be at a much higher risk of getting scratches. Something that might help a little bit on the mud back there though would be to apply vasaline. Keeps the area dry and clean and have no worries then.

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