To trim fetlock feathers or not? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-13-2014, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: NW WA
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To trim fetlock feathers or not?

My paint is 50/50 with 4 white legs. He is prone to scratches in the spring, thanks to our very soggy seasons. He also has a ton of feathers on his fetlocks. Right now we're keeping scratches at bay because he has been stall bound thanks to very wet pastures. No horse go out because they will just tear up pastures and have nothing to graze when it dries out. But as soon as he goes out, he will be in an 8 acre pasture with a ditch running through it. He has a path around the ditch, but always runs right through it, coming in with mud up to his knees sometimes. I actually don't mind the legs getting dirty, but after a few weeks of this, he ends up with scratches/mud fever, no matter how hard I try to avoid it.

I am becoming a pro at cleaning it. I have the medicated shampoo, already, and use an anti-fungal spray per vet recommendations.

My question is: should I shave the fetlock feathers off to allow his pasterns to dry, or should I leave the feathers on so the water runs off his legs the way nature intended? To me, it seems like 6 of one, half a dozen of the others.

I could totally avoid scratches by never letting him out until it dries, but I live in the Northwest, at the base of the cascades, and that's just not fair to a horse. I also board him, so I don't have much of a say in pastures, but the one he goes out in is definitely the biggest, best grazing, most room, least water, so I won't have that changed.


Joni
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-13-2014, 11:02 AM
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Others might disagree, but with horses that are prone to mudfever at my work, their feathers all get clipped off all year round. It means that they can go out into the field, get filthy, come back in and get washed off and towel dried much faster than if they had their feathers on. These horses are generally hairy cob types.

This photo was taken in winter, so he was fully clipped as he hunts and works hard in the arena, but it shows how far down he is clipped.
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-13-2014, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiesaurusRex View Post
Others might disagree, but with horses that are prone to mudfever at my work, their feathers all get clipped off all year round. It means that they can go out into the field, get filthy, come back in and get washed off and towel dried much faster than if they had their feathers on.
I agree. Being able to dry faster/be toweled off when you bring him in is more important to me than the slight amount of natural protection he'd receive from that hair. You don't have to shave his whole leg if you're dealing with harsh winter weather, just the immediate area in question.
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-13-2014, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: NW WA
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I wouldn't shave his entire legs, just the feathers. He looks like a Clydesdale with the feathers anyway. I will shave him this weekend. Thank you.
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