Wild horses are in excellent condition say experts

Courtesy of Avis MacIntyre of Hermanus Times, South Africa

3/7/03 KLEINMOND - The wild horses of Kleinmond [South Africa] are in fine fettle, and their feet are perfectly adapted to the excellent terrain where they live.

This report comes first from Erica Lynall and Jane Kempton who are certified Strasser hoof care specialists on a five-day holiday here from England and later from veterinarian Hiltrud Strasser. Strasser has been studying and researching the causes and cures of lameness and other common health problems of the domestic horse.

She has based her research on the wild horse and has defined the optimum 'barefoot' model.

In 1993 she opened the Institute for Hoof Health and ESHOP (European School for Hoof Orthopaedics) which is a centre for study and learning. She is the author of several textbookd on lameness and healing.

An expedition on horseback (with 'barefoot' horses) took Strasser and her party to the outskirts of the area where the wild horses live. The domestic horses were left at a distance so as not to endanger the wild horses in any way and the party walked in.

A serendipitous interlude allowed Strasser to make a close examination of one of the horses' unshod feet which was found to be perfectly adapted to the terrain.

On the expedition was Frans van der Merwe of Kleinmond, an Equine Nutritionist who has observed this herd for 30 years.

He maintains that the horses' forbears were used on farms before mechanisation after World War 11 and may be relatives of the "Bolandse Waperd" (Western Cape Wagon Horse), an off-shoot of the 'Cape Horse' of the 18th and 19th centuries. These horses descend from imported Javanese ponies, Persian Arabs, South American and Spanish Andalusians and some thoroughbreds.

In an article in this year's winter issue of The Horse's Hoof in England, Lynall writes that around 1880, Hackneys and Cleveland Bays were introduced to increase size and utility for riding and carriage driving. The Bot River horses bear an uncanny resemblance to Cleveland Bays but she also noticed that they have a distinctive Spanish-type head, being very straight and noble in profile. It was also very noticeable, she remarked, how they all stand with beautifully straight limb conformations and had no manmade conformation faults - another strong argument for the growing lobby for an unshod 'barefoot' hoof.

"Their healthy hooves have adapted to the terrain and we noticed hoof mechanism on all the ones we got close enough to. What struck me was how large and wide their feet were. They also spend a considerable amount of time in the water, eating water grass and roaming the marshy area at the centre of their habitat.

"We noticed how their shoulders really moved as they walked just like our own Strasser trimmed horses at home, and unlike any horse with heel/bar pain."

(Avis MacIntyre)

Photos courtesy Erica Lynall

More pictures from the "Bolandse Waperd" (Western Cape Wagon Horse)

Please visit: http://www.kapstadt.org/bilder/tiere_suedafrika/wilde-pferde/

Regards, Ulrike - www.kapstadt.org


©2007 by The Horse's Hoof. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher and/or authors. The information contained within these articles is intended for educational purposes only, and not for diagnosing or medicinally prescribing in any way. Readers are cautioned to seek expert advice from a qualified health professional before pursuing any form of treatment on their animals. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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