Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Internet Horse Experts...

   Despite my preference for coal forges over gas, trucks with hand-cranks over hypercomplex modern vehicles (and horse & wagon over both), I'm not a Luddite, really.  I was an early adapter to the Internet.  Mine might just have been the first farrier's page on the WWW, back when most of the horse-set didn't know what the Web was...

   But I somehow seem to have been outrun by the advancing technology, and fallen behind a new class of Internet Horse Experts.  While these brilliant prodigies have apparently developed the ability to fully evaluate, diagnose, and prescribe for various equine problems simply by looking at a digital photo on a flat screen, I still find myself often at a loss without the ability to get the full, four-dimensional observation, as well as additional data.

   In anticipation of foaling season, I've been watching some of the breeding/foaling forums and groups on the Internet.  Lots of people posting pictures of their mares' udders, and plenty of responses regarding how much longer before the mares foal.

   Makes me feel inadequate... After spending a lifetime around broodmares, midwifing generations of foals into the world, darned if I can look at a picture and tell you "Relax, you've got weeks to go!".  Maybe I'm getting senile, but I sure seem to recall knowing mares who had full udders several weeks before foaling, others who had pretty much no bag until just before labor, and still others everywhere in-between.

Take that out of town trip. Plenty of time before she foals!

   Of course that's nothing compared to the Internet Experts on hoof-care.  A couple of pictures of a hoof and they can tell you everything that's wrong and diagram a trimming approach to fix it.  Decades as a credentialed, professional farrier and my backward self still has to see more than a few angles, observe the horse in motion, and consider the animal's total confirmation before I can begin to seriously evaluate the situation and propose a trimming and/or shoeing approach.

   Silly me.  I really should catch-up on how to be a modern Internet Expert.


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