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Home » Calan Sanctuary Update: Horse Health, Hoof Care, and Volunteer Experience

Calan Sanctuary Update: Horse Health, Hoof Care, and Volunteer Experience

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update on the happenings at Calan over the past 2 weeks. I spent last Thu/Fri down there and can say that the horses are happy and healthy. It is suspected that Vinnie has ulcers, a condition he is predisposed to, so the vet is coming out to check on him. With treatment he should be ok.

We trimmed to hooves of 12 of the 15, all except Irish and the miniatures, Gypsy & Tonto. With the trimming being done every 4 weeks the task is quite quick and easy, and the horses are a pleasure to work with. Given the history of many of them it is amazing how patient and tolerant they are of being handled. The approach to trimming here is minimalist and is based on Alan’s experience and observations over the last 17 years. None of the horses at Calan have shoes so their hooves are maintained in a way that more closely mimics that of wild horses, compensating for the fact that the terrain at Calan is less rocky.

I wanted to take a moment to share a little about me and my experience working with horses. My love of horses began in Bude, Cornwall. It was there that I learnt how to halter a horse, lead, ride, and care for. After Cornwall I sent 2 months in Loule, Portugal working at a riding holiday and agistment property. I forget how many horses we had there but there were a lot. Each day I helped to muck out the stalls, take the horses out to their grazing for the day, and help with feeding. I’d also occasionally accompany the guests out riding. It was here that I first cantered and the feeling is still very fresh for me. It felt like flying!

After Loule, I went North to a little village called Santa Clara. Up until now I had primarily been exposed to the classic, English style of care and riding. We used bits, all the horses had shoes, and they were stabled overnight. It was in Santa Clara that I was exposed to methods more commonly associated with natural horsemanship. The horses were barefoot, and were kept in the paddock all the time. I started to read and learn more about horse behaviour, and caring for horses in a way that is more closely related to how the Mustangs and Brumbies live in the wild. I also experienced the more subtle and enjoyable Western style of riding.

I’ve been back in Australia for about 8 years and felt the need to spend time with horses again. After a bit of Googling I came across Calan. I sent an email through expressing my desire to volunteer my time and now I am heading down from Perth for a night every 2 weeks. It has been a great experience to see what Alan has built here at Calan and I am learning a lot about his methods and approach. The efficacy of which can be seen in the health and wellbeing of the horses here.

Thank you everyone for your support. Calan wouldn’t be what it is today without your support.

On behalf of Calan and Alan Gent, I’m James McDonald.

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