All natural horse care in the west of Ireland

Equine Open Day
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
On Saturday 19th we visited the ISPCA's National Animal Centre in Keenagh as they were putting on an equine awareness day with positive horsemanship, equine touch, donkey care, farrier care and equine dentistry.

Heather McReynolds, an Equine Touch therapist kicked of in the stable area with a demonstration of the Equine Touch therapy. This was very interesting and the pony that was used for the demonstration seemed to really enjoy it as well.

After Heather had finished Joe Collins, MRCVS provided veterinary talks which was brilliant. He was not working to any scripts when giving his views and apologised in advance if he said anything that the ISPCA would not approve of. I think it was quite the opposite as he explained how indiscrimiate breeding is causing a lot of the problems that result in a lot of these horses ending up with the ISPCA. The ISPCA are left to clean up the mess.

There were two examples shown of young horses who will basically have little of no future. One was a cute little fella who was born with severe conformation problems. One of his knees on a fore leg was bowing out as he walked and he had a hernia. The leg problem would mean that he could never really be ridden and would only have a future as a companion horse. How many people would take on a thoroughbred horse as a companion in this horrible wet climate we live in given the needs of a thoroughbred horse.

The other chap, I didn't think was too bad. He was a nine month old, chunky bay horse. Joe explained that he was plain and that with the abundance of horses for sale in Ireland he had little or no chance of being bought when there were so many horses to choose from.It's currently a buyers market, not a sellers market.

We also saw some examples of deformaties caused by pure neglect. There was a small horse (Cloud) who could barely stand and who had scars on his fore legs where the hooves had been allowed to grow so long that they had curled backwards into his forelegs and cut in causing permanent scars. He has since had remedial treatment and his hooves trimmed back but I dont think he will ever be right. The damage was too severe.

Next we were shown a donkey stallion whose legs bowed in at the knees. Again this was caused by pure neglect. All caused by not taking care of his feet. He was so gentle which was surprising as he must have been in so much discomfort!! 

How can people have any animals and treat them like this?

Anyway, when Joe had finished we had lots of questions to ask him and he was very patient with us all and took time to answer all our questions frankly. I wish we had vets like him around my area!!

There was a round pen set up in the grounds where a student of Positive Horsemanship was doing some work with a Show Pony (Stallion). He was a real handful but they seemed to be making great progess during the day. This show pony was also used by Joe Collins as an example of obesity!! He was a real tub but he explained this is how people want to see show ponies, well covered and healthy!!  

During the day the Gardai Mounted Unit were 'patroling' the area, showing their support on the day.

And to wind down I had a massage by Heather, the Equine Touch Therapist. It was lovely!! I was a little light headed when she finished but I slept like a baby that night.

All in all it was a good day out. The ISPCA are doing a wonderful job up there at Keenagh cleaning up the mess caused by neglect and raising awareness

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