Deadline for April issue is March 25
R & J Feed’s HOW Seminar
Farrier Brett Lewis
By Tommy Brannon
On March 18, 2016, Ginger Kemp and her staff at R & J Feed hosted a Purina Horse Owners Workshop (HOW), termed “a night of learning, exploration, and fun!” The evening’s activities began with supper at 6:00 pm, followed by presentations by Purina nutrition expert Rusty Bane and farrier Brett Lewis.
Rusty Bane described the vast array of equine products offered by Purina and how each product benefits horses for particular needs for performance, age, and condition. He emphasized the fact that energy is fuel for the horse and the digestive system is delicate and unique. One has to feed the horse’s whole digestive system. Each part of the digestive system needs to be addressed: feed, forage, vitamins, minerals, and microorganisms all need to be tested and adjusted to the needs of the horse. He went into great detail about the uses of fats, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.
Brett Lewis brought a power point presentation and a live horse presentation. Prince, a Palomino owned by Bill and Tina Gordon, “volunteered” to help Brett show seminar participants basic horse anatomy. Brett also used Prince to show the proper way clean out a hoof using a hoof pick. Brett said that he is often amazed that folks who have owned horses for years had never learned the safe way to use a hoof pick.
He demonstrated hoof angles, and what angle may be proper for a particular horse. Brett said, “Many horse owners want to trim a hoof to a particular angle, say 54 degrees, because someone else has a horse trimmed at 54 degrees. We need to leave the horse the way God made him. Too much change can stretch a tendon.”
Brett used his power point photos to show participants what they could do on their own and how to look for problems in a hoof, such as an abscess, and how to poultice it. He emphasized, however, that trimming and shoeing a horse is a job for a professional farrier.
A particular issue that he addressed was what a horse owner should do if the horse loses a shoe, particularly if on a long trail ride. “You need to keep a pair of easy boots in your saddlebags. It’s not that critical if you are riding someplace like Natchez Trace or Chickasaw State Park. But if you are on a rocky trail in the Big South Fork and an hour from the trailer, you need to have a spare tire.”
Brett is a graduate of the Oklahoma Horse Shoeing School and has been shoeing horses for 20 years.
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