This is long...and sorry if the pictures post huge...I'm trying! :)
What do you guys think about these two? I've had the gelding forever and have had the mare for not quite a year. They spent almost a year (the entire time I've had the mare) at a barn about 20-30 minutes (at best) away from us. They were in a pasture/herd situation on a coastal hay farm turned boarding barn with 15-20 other horses and seemed to do well, but now their hooves aren't in such great shape. It's so dry here that the mare's feet have just cracked up until they're almost too short. The gelding's feet are long...not quite as chippy. My farrier's hand is healing from an accident where his hand was sliced when a stud pulled his foot away after he'd put the nails in. I'm also considering going a more natural hoof care route and seeing if I can find a trimmer in the area that is willing to show me how to trim these guys hooves myself and to come check on them (and my work). I've got to do more research on that though and I want to see what this new farrier can do because he'd probably be willing to teach me. Not sure about his work though as he's not long out of a school near Dallas. They don't seem to be ouchy on them (been watching the mare really close) so I think I'm okay waiting another week or so on the farrier, but what do you guys think by looking at them in these photos. Like I said, they're not ouchy, but if you guys think I shouldn't wait any longer I'll take hoof photos and post them in the health forums to get a more detailed critique on them.
Anyway...We've recently moved them to a barn about 5-10 minutes away, but they've got no grazing here so I'm playing with their food. They're on Safe Choice and Coastal Hay. When I weighed them the mare weighed about 1100lbs and the gelding weighed about 990lbs. I'm new at weighing them so my measurements may be a little off, but that'll get better with practice. We feed twice a day and based on these measurements I'm feeding the mare 6-7lbs of hay and the gelding 5-6lbs. I'm working up their pellets to 2 and 3/4lbs a day for the mare and 2 and 1/2lbs a day for the gelding. This is based on the directions on the bag at the lowest recommended amount for maintenance as I'm not doing any work with them until I get they're feet worked on. Like I said, I'm still playing around with this as I learn more from the nutrition forum and from my own research online. I'm going to try this food and regular trimmings for 6 months, but I'm thinking about adding bioflax20 from smartpak if I don't see any difference in their hooves.
They're both about 15-16 years old. The mare is registered Appy with quarter horse bloodlines. The gelding is...a mutt? For his coggins he's listed as a quarter horse mix...so any guesses at what else could be in the mix are welcome. They're main purpose is trail riding. Like I said, I'm not going to start working them again until their feet are up for it. I've been told that this hard ground and dry weather are something they'll have to get used to, but honestly the mare's been here who knows how much longer than the gelding and he's been here for 2 years. We're military, so I could care less if they get used to it or not...I just need to figure out how to care for them the way they need. We are considering getting boots (cavallo simple boots or sport boots) for at least they're front feet, but most likely invest in a full set for each horse since I'm not interested in putting shoes on them unless they absolutely need it and I don't know where we'll be moving (or how the next place will affect their feet) the next time my husband is given orders (he's active duty air force).
I know you guys don't sugar coat anything so tear them apart. I'm not interested in selling them or throwing them away. I know you guys are great at what you do when you critique other horses and I'm curious at what other people think of my guys but don't actually say. :) If they suck...so what...I still love them. If there's anything I can do better in caring for them...I'd rather know it so I can do it than not learn it and give them less than what they deserve... I've already failed them there so all I can do is try to do better.
Well...I think that's about it... Let me know if you need any more info or if I need to try for better photos. The gelding wouldn't stand straight for my husband while I was taking photos. Don't mind the crappy braid in the gelding's tail. He got his routine spa treatment/hand job after the photos...boy was the husband surprised about that one. That was the first time he'd ever seen or heard of sheath cleaning! :P
Cookies to anyone who actually read this whole thing(it's a whole page pretyped in Word)!!!