Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fighting the Big Horse Syndrome

Alys Culhane has used the term "big horse syndrome" in her writings. By that she means that many people want to apply training and horse keeping practices that are suitable for bigger horses such as TBs and warmbloods and Arabs that just don't work for Icelandics.

For example, last summer Blessi was stabled at a farm that was used to taking care of saddlebreds and Arabs. They fed exclusively alfalfa. I got into several arguements with the stable owner about how Blessi needed to be fed orchard grass since he didn't need the calories but he needed the bulk to keep from feeling hungry. I finally won that arguement and then he insisted on putting Blessi out in large pasture with unlimited grass. I moved Blessi after a few months because of all the weight he was gaining.

And since I usually board at dressage barns, I am constantly bombarded by suggestions that I need to bathe Blessi in the winter. Owners of other breeds don't understand how long it takes that Icelandic fur to dry out in the winter. Too much bathing can remove a lot of the oil from the coat needed that is normally
used to keep the coat water repellent.

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