Concern Over Chainsaws
[Several concerned readers commented on a picture that accompanied the article “Highfields Farm: A Model in Green Planning in Design” in t he February/March issue. The concern was that the chainsaws presented a safety risk, with the horses in danger of being accidently cut by the chainsaw blades during transport.]
I appreciate the readers’ comments, as safety is a very important topic. Having observed the “packing out” process depicted in the picture, I did not feel that the safety of the horses was being compromised. The chainsaws were firmly secured to the harnesses, and at no time did they come in contact with the horses. The horses have been trained by a professional and are highly experienced in this work. In speaking further with John Hartman about this issue, he reiterated that the safety of his horses is critically important to him. In his 10 years of work as a timber harvester, he has not had any accidents associated with his horses.
That said, additional safety measures, including putting a secure protective covering over the blade, are advisable and would be a prudent way to further reduce potential risk of the horses being accidentally cut. It is also important to note that outfitting horses with timber harvesting equipment should be practiced only by experienced and trained professionals.
Clay Nelson, www.SustainableStables.com
Fear of Founder
Two of our 10 horses are affected with the devastating disease of Laminitis. We have tried many methods over the years to find the best program for our horses, but unfortunately we just ended up with a yo-yo of flare ups that were very painful for the horses to endure, not to mention the fear of our other horses being affected.
In Spring of 2005 I attended a Purina seminar. One of the speakers was an equine nutrition specialist with a very insightful message on how to properly manage and prevent the delicate disease of Laminitis.
Though Springtime is the most common time of the year for a horse to become affected, if a horse is already affected it is pretty much a year round battle. He stated that sugar was your worst enemy in either case. When the lush spring grass arrives, you can guard your equine companions by grazing them in the “safe time zones.”
Simply explained: Grass spends all day producing and storing enough sugar to get through the night, when the sun’s UV rays are not available. The grass’s highest sugar content is in the late afternoon through the early A.M. hours. This makes the “safe time zone” approximately between the hours of 3am and 3pm. This year will be the fifth year I have been letting my horses out to pasture between 5-6am and getting them off pasture by 3-4pm. I have not only kept my affected horses from having painful flare-ups, but I have also successfully kept my other horses from being affected.
My husband is a professional farrier in the greater St. Louis area; he has shared this safe zone program with several of his clients, all of whom have had the same success that we experienced.
When beginning this method it is essential that you pay special attention to your horse’s individual needs. If you see that he is beginning to have some issues then you may have to graze him from early morning to no later than noon. In severe cases of founder I never recommend the introduction of grass unless approved by your vet or farrier.
Kelly Ankelman is owner of Organic Fertilizer Experts, LLC. Her husband Eric is a professional Farrier in the central/eastern Missouri area. Together they have helped many equestrian enthusiasts develop healthier and happier horses through the introduction of natural balanced hoof care and chemical-free pasture management strategies. Visit their web site at www.OrganicFertilizerExperts.com