Friday, February 15, 2013
Why it's important- The Harnessed Horse
Strange picture isn't it? Well it's not really if you know what your looking at. This is a test we do to check for proper collar fit for our carriage horses. The rule of thumb, or maybe I should say finger? is just enough room to slide your hand in flat between the horses neck and the collar. In my case about the same distance from finger tip to center knuckle.
Why is that important you might wonder. The fact is that it is very important. Far worse than a little tighter than ideal is too big or loosely fitting collar. If you see a horse wearing a collar that you could stick your whole fist in between his neck and the lower rim of the collar that collar does not fit that horse. A collar that is too large puts pressure in all the wrong places on the horses neck and can even damages important nerves. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that has to be miserable for the horse wearing it.
A condition called Sweeny shoulder is the result of wearing a collar that is too big and/or hauling too heavy of a load combination. It causes atrophy of the large nerve in the shoulder. Sweeny used to be a well known condition when horse and buggy was the way people got around from day to day. Back then folks were faced with the consequences and well knew the pitfalls of a poor fitting harness.
I see a lot of ill fitting harness these days. It seems in today's modern world that only those that care enough to educated themselves about the antique wisdom of proper harness fit seem to know. Just take a gander around the internet at harnessed horses that are wearing collar style harness and you will see for yourself.
We check fit each and every time we harness.We check it even if it is the same exact equipment that horse always wears. Just gaining or losing weight can cause a harness that used to fit nicely no longer fit well. Rest assured that our horses are always closely inspected for proper harness fit and we are very mindful that they are comfortable when wearing their equipment when pulling a carriage for us here at "The Princess's Carriage"