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1 year ago

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I always brush my horses manes before putting on the collar. I lay the mane flat, with my hand, under the collar to ensure it doesn’t rub the wrong way. I have tried “greasing” it up with petroleum jelly. I have tried plain leather collars, felt pads, vinyl pads, and currently permasoft pads. All to no avail. I cannot get my manes in the collared area to grow out. Even on our previous Belgian team, the hair was always short there. Now, with our new team, it’s not only short and straggly, but one of the mares (with a thicker neck) actually gets apart of it rubbed completely bald. That being said, they don’t show any signs of soreness or tenderness on their collar areas. I have ensured proper collar fit and hame adjustment. Am I fighting for the impossible? Or am I doing something wrong?

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-11-12 08:58:17 (CST)

No, Danielle, you are not doing anything wrong. You are very careful and pro-active with how you treat your horses. Other than your offended sense of neatness you describe no harm,
What you described, though, points to the some movement of the collars over the necks. That can occur when the traces are not attached at the ideal height at the hames. Some hames offer an adjustment slot, others don't. But one can also change that by either shortening or lengthening the hame straps on top or/and at the bottom.
The traces should not sit at the exact point of the shoulder where most of the movement occurs, but slightly above that.
Another source of that movement over the neck I would see in when single trees are not moving with the horse's gait, but are held back with staychains, but I do not assume that you have that.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-11-12 17:22:32 (CST)

I won't deny that I have a great appreciation for "pretty" when it comes to my horses. :-) So, yes, that scraggly, unkempt section bothers me! Oh, well. I am interested in what you said, though about the attachment point on the names. I will check on that. I don't use stay chains, and we try to always pay attention to point of draft and alignment. I have worked hard to ensure proper hame and collar fit, but it could be off a bit I suppose. Both trace connections sit roughly 1/2 to 3/4 inch below the top of the wear leather on the collar.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-11-12 21:50:13 (CST)

I know what you mean on my Haflingers one of 6 get's a sore on his shoulder in about 3 days every time the same place no mater what I do change hame setting, change collars use pads the only thing I can do is wrap the collar and hame with a burlap sack just above the sore I forget how many wraps. I just have a piece cut the length that works. there mane above the collar rubs the hair off, there mane is so heavy and the foretop is so heavy it is hard to get the bridle's on. I don't know if just a top pad would help or not In your case. At least your paying attention to your horses and worrying about there well being. It is humbling to have to ask someone else how to solve your problem, but that is how we sometimes have to do it to solve a problem. Hope that you find out how to do it to get the problem solved.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Barb Lee says 2017-11-13 13:17:59 (CST)

Something that I find curious about the US collar sizing system is regardless of whether a collar is "full face", "half sweeney" or "full sweeney", the stuffing thickness at the top of the collar changes, but the shape of the rim almost never corresponds. I've got a little Morgan mare that is upheaded and has massive traps. A US made collar doesn't fit at the top of the neck regardless of stuffing, the rim is always too narrow at the top. I ended up buying her a collar that has sides virtually parallel to one another - the rim is the same width 1/3 of the way down from the top as it is 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. I recently bought her a half sweeney adjustable collar and it jammed on the rim. A South Australian collar maker who taught me a bit about collars said that many of the horses these days have necks shaped like an upside-down teardrop, very thick at the top as opposed to the bottom, whereas the old style work horses had necks thick at the bottom and more narrow at the top.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-11-13 21:11:08 (CST)

Is the collar fitting today's fat horse compared to yesterdays thinner horse? As all my horses are to fat and thick in the top of the neck I have to keep them in most days just to keep them from grass foundering only turn them out at night, I have had 4 that grass foundered in the past 5 years. they were not fed any grain. anyone else had this problem??

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-11-14 08:29:54 (CST)

We had that problem with our Belgians. Our grass here is so lush and rich, if they were on it more than 15-20 minutes, they would go lame. We were plagued with hoof and laminitis issues for over two years. They were lame more than they were sound. After working with horses for over 20 years, I never used shoes on a horse until them. Shoeing became the only way I could reliably use them. Even my mustang came up lame on that grass. That's when we discovered the paddock paradise track system we use now. I didn't want to lock them in a dirt paddock where they couldn't move and run, just to get fat and soft. We built a "prototype" track to try It out. It worked so phenomenally well, we built a new one in our woodlands that we hope to expand to about a mile in length when finished. Now, the horses eat a low sugar grass hay, free choice via slow-feed nets stationed along the track. They get a small scoop (like 2 cups) of oats for the more active ones and a small scoop of Timothy pellets for the big, lazy one, every day....not that they need it, but it keeps them coming up for a headcount and look-over every morning so we don't have to go find them. More details can be found in the RH Oct/Nov 2016 issue. Running the track keeps my horses fit, exercised, stimulated, and in good working condition. We ensure it has rough, rocky terrain so It toughens their feet and allows us to work them barefoot. We occasionally let them graze a few minutes in a mowed section of pasture. We love it, and hope to never return to a confined or pure pasture setup. The fat mare was fat with bad feet when we bought her in the spring, and since her feet were bad, she didn't want to move much at first. Now that we have her feet going well and almost grown a new hoof and sole, she is starting to move and thin down. She's built stocky, but between the track and this work season, I'd like to see another 100 or so lbs off her.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Barb Lee says 2017-11-14 15:22:23 (CST)

The problem isn't "fatness" - it's breeding for a different conformation type. The high stepping upheaded horse needs the muscling at the top of the neck. From what I understand, that doesn't do a whole lot for the physical ability to pull. My little Morgan mare was bred to show. She is shorter strided than my long/low Morgan gelding, because she was bred to pick up her feet, not stretch out her legs.

Coblentz is one collar maker that is taking custom work seriously.

As for grass and founder, what appears to be "rich" and "lush" can be the product of soil that is extremely deficient in minerals. The grass produces energy for its own growth in the form of sugar. There are about 21 minerals involved in the conversion of sugars into protein and other phytonutrients. Any lack of, or imbalance in, those 21 minerals will inhibit the grass' ability to produce complete nutrition for the grazing animal. Mineral deficiency can be naturally occurring, like in the Pacific Northwest, where high rainfall leaches soil, and there is no natural mechanism to replace leached minerals. Or it can be from extractive farming practices. Or both.

Here is a photo of my mare's custom made collar. You can see that the sides of the rim are virtually parallel. Also, here is a link to a blog post regarding the use of a Brix refractometer to monitor sugar in grass.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-11-14 22:14:09 (CST)

This leads away from the orignal topic of "collars and manes" a little bit, but has something to do with how to harness a horse and Barb's latest response prompts me to make some remarks. Barb mentioned that show horses are bred to carry their heads high and that is why the necks are thick on top. What one sees at those draft horse events are horses whose heads are held high with very short check lines and additional devices. That doesn't appear to me to be a result of a changed conformation. In addition, look closely and you will oftentimes see the corners of the mouths pulled up really high, so high that there are several wrinkles. That makes a horse hard in the mouth and should be frowned upon by the judges.
But what the heck- oversized hooves, head sky-high and corners of the mouth pulled into the middle of the face together with legs like stilts and narrow chests, who cares as long as the "draft horse industry" thrives? Not to speak of the discomfort that is inflicted upon these animals which are otherwise pampered quite often by their owners/ caretakers.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-11-15 13:10:27 (CST)

Although I think the show industry definitely makes changes artificially, thanks to past experience I now know natural confirmation can be a factor. I was actually at Dris Abraham’s breeding farm looking at some young foals he had. Most of the foals looked like typical, Well bred, work horse foals, with natural headsets and normal leg action as they trotted and played around the pasture. Then we noticed one foal, about the same age, with a neck that looked like it had been set at an almost 90° angle to the body. As it trotted around the pasture, it had leg action like the best showhorses I’ve seen. I’ve never seen anything like it in such a young foal. Dris explained that on occasion a foal will show up like this, and they are craved by the hitch horse market. Likewise in the saddle horse industry, I have seen foals and untrained yearlings bred from western pleasure horses, that have very low headsets and very lazy strides. I also know some horses are mentally and physically prefer certain tasks over others. I can’t explain the idiosyncrasies of it, but I’ve seen it on numerous occasions. A recent example is my daughters Mustang. She got it in her mind that she could train her in the early levels of barrel racing. Yet no matter how hard she tried, that horse just did not care to Gallop. She would canter beautifully and in collected form, but it was nearly impossible to get her to open up and run freely. However, one day my daughter was goofing around in the arena and encouraged the horse to jump a barrel. Within a few minutes that horse was soaring over anything in her path. To this day she will jump under saddle or at liberty anytime she’s asked...And sometimes even when she’s not asked! Now my daughter Has decided to invest in some English tack as well, as she insists her horse takes on a completely different mentality when she is jumping. It’s like she was born for it and loves it. I am now a believer in trying to find a horse who’s confirmation, movement, and temperament naturally suits the job you have in mind. It’s just eliminates the fights of trying to force a horse to do something it wasn’t built for or doesn’t enjoy. Although I’m still learning about the driving world, I have seen collars from the early 1900s, and they don’t appear to be all that different than the work collars I’m using today. The only link I can find in my horses mane issues, is that it does appear the thicker neck Horses have more problems with the rubbing.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Barb Lee says 2017-11-15 14:11:04 (CST)

Actually, Klaus, what I said was that MY horse was bred to travel upheaded and move with elevated gaits, and that she has a conformation that supports this. My information about the shift in draft horse conformation and the resulting trend in "upside down" collars came from a collar maker, which I believe I pointed out.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-11-15 15:43:12 (CST)

Barb,I didn't mean to doubt anything you wrote, I just needed an opportunity to vent my irritation with what I see as bad practices. I do not deny that some horses are naturally carrying their heads high, but I oppose the torture instruments to force them to do so, as I also do not like other artificial ways of altering a horse's appearance. Breeding should be our way of improving our horses' gaits, appearance, if that contributes to a horse's performance and practicality. I see no need to force horses to carry their heads artificially high with the often resulting back problems. By the way, draft horse breeds were meant to be easy-going and have good dispositions, they were not meant to be high-strung as we see it so often in the shows. For that there exist entirely different breeds.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Scott S says 2017-11-15 23:05:14 (CST)

Collars will usually wear a mane thin when used much. I always make sure the mane is pulled out from under the collars to keep from wearing shoulders sore. Mane between the collar and shoulders can be a problem. The other thing to watch for is when you pull off your collar is to look for dry spots. A dry spot shows a spot that is to tight. This is also true for saddles. I have read where people would put a collar in a water tank over night then let the horse, mule wear it dry and let it form to animal. I have never tried this. Have used the theory on boots once in a while with good success.

It does seem the pony blood I've been around is more apt to grass founder than most but it seems the easier keepers are worse at founder also.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-11-16 00:00:24 (CST)

I may have stole your post and for that I apologize. It has given me some new thoughts on my problems with my horses. thank you all for posting

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dris Abraham says 2017-11-16 09:15:19 (CST)

Couple things you can do to avoid losing hair under collars;
1. Make sure your trace chains are tight enough to not have slack in them as to cause undo movement on collars.
2. make sure your mane is only hand length, longer manes will wear more.
3. It does not matter what headset you have on your horse if all harness, bridle and trace chains are properly adjusted.
4 we have better luck with the "no sweat" pads as they cause the least amount of wear.
5. If you drive the horses everyday they are going to have hair loss.
6. The type of driver has alot to do with the collar wear on horses, same goes for britching wear marks on horses.
Bottom line unless someone actually sees in person your hitch its all just a guess

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-11-16 16:18:17 (CST)

K.C., I consider such a drift a natural part of conversation! I’d love to sit in a room with all you experienced folks and chat for hours, but since that likely won’t happen, I guess the forum is the next best thing! I always learn something from all of you, and sometimes, like in this case, it’s just refreshing to hear I’m not the only one dealing with this issue.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-11-17 22:27:29 (CST)

thanks Dris I had thoughts in that direction but I didn't know if I was right or not

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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