Friday, 14 February 2014

Essentials for Dog Lovers

These things are so true. Read DogHeirs' 20 Essantial facts dog lovers must always remember. I'm pretty sure they'll remind you of one thing or another. And then, just understand this: all relationships are about give and take, we all experience that as a human being, we love to be loved, and we love to love too. So, just love your puppy ... You'll see, you'll love it!

Photo by Thierry Vincent

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Rainy Days Fun

Appropriate levels of exercise for your dog according to his age, breed and abilities are important for maintaining his physical and mental health. 

Whilst many dogs don’t enjoy going out in all this rain you may find that your dog will enjoy a bit of exercise in the wet if you keep it interesting!  My two love to play with the ball as you can see from the photos - a bit of water doesn’t bother them.

If, however, your dog can’t stand getting his feet wet there are things you can do indoors to keep his brain active - how about hiding some treats around the house for him to find or work on some obedience training with a fun game of tuggies as a reward when he’s doing well.

If you have problems keeping this sort of play appropriate, for example if your dog gets over excited and starts mouthing you or jumping up, then give me a call and we can work through some tips for making play time fun for everyone.

Photos © Thierry Vincent

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Year of the Horse

Happy New Year of the Horse to all horse lovers, riders … And horses too!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Website & Facebook page, online!

Follow me on facebook!

It's been a good week of work, but we made it! We took some pictures, sat for some time in front of the computer to select them, and then set up this blog, the facebook page, and last but not least, the website. We still have a few things to add here and there, like rates, dog training information and stuff, but we're quite happy with what we've got so far.

Now you can find me, see what I do, and of course contact me. You're welcome to get in touch for pretty much anything regarding your horse's feet, or your dog's behaviour (I'm not sure I can do much about your dog's hooves though, but for the rest, do contact me!)

Look what we've done!

OK. Enough pixels for today. Time to get out and throw the ball!

 Come and visit my website!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Cath's Testimonial

Horse and Pony Foot Care / Trimming / Behaviour Training

Nicky has trimmed my Welsh Sec D Dafydd since April 2012, taking over from another barefoot trimmer. Dafydd has challenging feet, not in shape but in strength of soles and hoof wall. When he was shod he struggled to keep shoes on, and the year of being barefoot before being under Nicky’s care had not been comfortable for him because of his weak soles.

Dafydd and Baby David

Under Nicky’s care every aspect of his diet was changed, with Nicky explaining every step of the changes thoroughly so I understood exactly why the changes were necessary and would be committed to maintaining those changes. His production of growth rings reduced and the strength of his hoof wall hugely improved. However by July 2013 his soles still weren’t strong enough for him to be comfortable barefoot, except on arena surfaces, so as I have struggled to successfully use barefoot hoof boots, I made the decision to go back to metal shoes. Nicky’s professionalism showed when she insisted on doing a “handover” to the farrier and stayed for his first shoeing to make sure Dafydd was in the best hands.

Me, trimming Baby David

Baby David's foot

My miniature Shetland pony, BabyDavid, presented different challenges. Nicky has been trimming him since his purchase in May 2013. At only 3yrs old and with minimal previous handling, just picking his feet was a struggle. Being only 30in tall also meant working with his feet was very different to a typical horse’s. So trimming him was physically difficult, and his behavioural problems only made this harder.

Small thing, strong character

Nicky has been very patient and we have worked together to improve his reaction to being handled. Nicky has also had to adapt her use of barefoot equipment to cope with such a tiny client, and to ensure that he remained comfortable and happy throughout each trim. His behaviour has improved with each trim which proves that her patient and kind handling works.


Photos by Thierry Vincent

Friday, 17 January 2014

Ann's Testimonial

Foot Trimming
Thrush Treatment
Behavioural Sessions

My first contact with Nicky was earlier this year when I moved back to the UK bringing my two Andalucian mares with me. Both the mares have behavioural problems and severe trust issues due to inappropriate treatment in their previous homes. Prior to coming to me one had never seen a farrier and due to her behaviours had never had her feet lifted. The other used to be sedated to have her feet done ! In Spain I kept them barefoot and managed their trimming to the best of my ability.

Photo courtesy of Ann Hughes

Back in the UK I wanted them trimmed and balanced professionally by a barefoot specialist. Also, as the weather and environment is so different to that in the mountains of southern Spain, this resulted in both of them have thrush to varying degrees. 

My first contact with Nicky was a very long phone call where I was very honest about the horses’ characters. Nicky gave me advice over the phone with regard to treating them for thrush and undeterred agreed to come and meet us. Nicky arrived promptly and very quietly introduced herself to the girls with the approach / retreat technique to relieve the build up of anxiety.
By the end of the first session Estrella (she used to be sedated) was lifting her front feet and having a trim. Nicky was constantly working, giving her a break and a rub with a few words of endearment and then resuming. Very time consuming on Nicky’s time and her patience is her virtue, as on numerous occasions Estrella would whip her foot away, step forwards, step backwards, bite or kick, but undeterred Nicky remained calm and quiet. Over several visits Nicky continued working on Estrella's front feet and also progressed to her hind feet which was no easy task as Estrella would move and kick out. Nicky remained calm all through this and as a result Estrella’s feet now transformed without her being mistreated. Her hooves are now well trimmed and balanced with the thrush being held at bay. Nicky has still to trim Whisper’s feet but gaining her confidence is on-going due to her previous mistreatment.

I really can’t recommend Nicky highly enough. She is always willing to give advice on the phone, she carries an air of quiet confidence about her, is reliable, prompt and so obviously has the well-being of horses in her heart - plus she is a super trimmer.

If everyone worked with the same ethos as Nicky does it would transform the lives of so many equines.

Ann Hughes

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Hi! I'm Nicky

Nicky and Storm - Photo Thierry Vincent

I’d always toyed with the idea of taking the shoes off my pony but never wanted to take the time off of riding that I thought a transition to barefoot would require. When he had to have time off for a suspensory ligament injury I figured this was a perfect opportunity to have his shoes removed and start him on his barefoot journey.  As his ligament problems changed his way of moving and holding himself his feet started to change shape and in the end they were pretty deformed. I started to read up about different approaches to trimming and got in touch with an Equine Podiatrist to see if they could help. His feet started to improve ever so slowly and I became more and more interested in what was happening to his hooves.

To cut a long story short I signed up on the Equine Podiatry training course and in 2 years I learnt more about a horse’s hooves and management than I ever thought possible!

I now trim part-time and love the challenge of working out the best solution for each horse I work with and I have a real soft spot for working with ponies and donkeys.