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5 ways to keep elderly horses comfortable during a trim

Older horses with advanced arthritis tend to appreciate working on each foot for a short time and rotating around.

When horses grow older, trims can become rather challenging. But there are easy ways to achieve a happier horse, an easier trim and a safe trimmer. For optimal equine health even in their older years, take a look:

1. Find the comfort zone
Keep in mind that what's comfortable to you may not be comfortable to the horse. When you pick up the front leg of the horse, work low and toward the midline. Pulling up and out puts a lot of pressure on the knee joint, which can cause discomfort for the horse. Instead, keep the hoof in line with the animal's body. Additionally, for steeds with a joint problem, owners can take advantage of horse joint supplements. 

When the farrier pulls the back hoof up and wedges it between his or her legs, he or she should avoid turning or pulling the leg out. This can put the horse off balance. Even though it may not be comfortable to the farrier to operate in the midline, it will be easier on the horse. Often, resting the foot on your leg will be more comfortable for older horses, or horses with knee or shoulder pain.

2. Take advantage of a hoof cradle
Horse trainers know that the hoof cradle is an important piece of equipment needed to stabilize an older horse. Preferably find a hoof cradle that has an adjustable feature, allowing horses with limited mobility to lean on the tool at a lower height. 

3. Cross trim
The cross trim entails pulling the back hoof across the horse's body toward the other back hoof and resting it on your thigh. The cross trim is a particularly effective position to clean a horse's hooves. However, this position is not recommended for horses that are not well-broke. 

4. Rest hoof on ground
Train the horse to place its hoof at a 90-degree angle onto the ground, and proceed to scrape. Not only is this a comfortable position for the animal, it is a good training exercise.

5. Do a little on each hoof
For horses with advanced arthritis, it may be necessary to work a little on each hoof and move on to another hoof. Clean up frog left foot, then clean up frog right foot, clean up bars LF, clean bars RF, etc. Although farriers may have to run back and forth, older horses greatly appreciate this method, as it takes pressure off specific parts of the body. With this trick, horses should be able to stand quietly for the entire time instead of protesting and trying to lie down every few minutes. 

Feet First® Coat 2nd is a cost effective feed supplement for healthier hooves, coat, and skin. Feet First Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which are considered the "missing link" in horse nutrition.

Easy Pack™ was developed as a hoof packing for stinging feet, stone bruising, heat, and other minor hoof problems. Easypack™ was formulated in a sticky base that stays in place in the hoof better than a leg poultice, and dries very slowly.

Fluid Action® HA provides the same great benefits as original Fluid Action® except with added Sodium Hyaluronate (HA) for extra support in promoting healthy joints.

Quia-Cal® is a fast acting one-shot oral paste that promotes healthy nerves in your horse. Use as an aid in the prevention of minor nervousness during times of stress.

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